As the pace of change in our lives seems to accelerate, it’s a pleasure to point to things that endure. Of course we all must move on, and the same is true for members of our Board of Directors. Peter Lasusa has served on the U.S. Squash Board for nine years, since 2004 (when it was USSRA!). He has served as Board Chair for the last four years, the maximum allowed by the By-laws, and the third longest term in the history of the world’s first National Squash Governing Body. The last Chair to serve longer was W. Mifflin Large from 1942-48, and the only other was the first Board Chair, Sydney P. Clark who served from 1920-25.
Peter recognized early the importance of good governance and has been both a visionary and tireless advocate for it. He received the President’s Cup, the Association’s highest honor, for his work in governance in 2005, two years prior to the conclusion of the Task Force he lead which resulted in the successful reform. During this governance reform in 2007, the Board shifted from one made up of 35 constituent members who elected themselves for one year terms every year, to one with ten members of the Board. We reduced the number of standing committees from 13 to four.
This major step laid the groundwork for incredible progress. If you consider the generic, though not guaranteed, life-cycle of nonprofit Boards to be a continuum from Founding to Managing to Governing and finally to Institutional, U.S. Squash took 100 years to navigate the Founding and Managing phases. In my view, our outgoing Board Chair Peter’s efforts and leadership have been central in transitioning the Association’s Board from Managing to Governing in the last five years.
He is the Cal Ripken of U.S. Squash Board members, having attended nearly 50 straight meetings and, adding in committee meetings and calls, in the hundreds of meetings over the last decade. Peter has also traveled around the world several times to represent the Association and build relationships, and traveled extensively in the US doing the same. He has been deeply involved in the initiative to gain Olympic inclusion, in strategy and fund-raising for the effort, and has himself along with his wife Marcia, given generously to the Association, well over $100,000 in the last decade, setting an example for all members. He even chaired the 2008 Gala held at the Pierre Hotel which raised nearly $100,000 for the National Teams.
Peter has exemplified the duty of loyalty and obedience to the organization in serving as a Board member, always putting the interests of U.S. Squash before his own. There is also nothing Peter has been unwilling to do in the interest of the Association, much of which lacks the glamour imagined when the thought of serving as chair of a well-regarded national association comes to mind!
All of this, even before considering the incredible absolute results the Association has generated in growth of the game, revenues, and reputation during his term. Membership has doubled, participation has doubled. Revenues have more than doubled. The U.S. Open is among the premier squash tournaments in the world, and U.S. Squash is considered a leader among its peers.
In my opinion he will be viewed as one of the Board Chairs who has had the largest impact on the sport, in the US and internationally, and most certainly one who has left the organization in a far better state than when he joined. Having served as the 44th Chair of the Association, I do not believe we as a membership can thank Peter enough for his service.