Large Shoes to Fill—Nancy Koreen Leaving USPA
By Ed Scott
Over the past 10 years, in her quiet and unassuming way, Director of Sport Promotion Nancy Koreen has done more for USPA and the sport than most will ever know. Single-handedly as a department of one, she has handled a myriad of tasks and responsibilities, taking the promotion and marketing of our sport to its highest level. When she departs USPA at the end of the year to pursue other opportunities, she will be leaving large shoes to fill.
When USPA hired Nancy in 2010, it began making the marketing and promotion of the sport of skydiving a priority. Up until that time, nearly all the news about skydiving was bad, with skydiving and jump-plane accidents getting most of the attention. USPA decided to turn that around by providing the media with positive stories about the sport.
Nancy’s very first task was to ensure that record-setting skydivers and skydiving competitors who medaled in national and international competitions received public acclaim for their feats. After each Nationals, world meet or successful record event, she created press releases that extolled jumpers’ achievements and sent them to the local and regional media outlets in their hometowns. Media pickup was nearly guaranteed, since those outlets were always on the lookout for good news featuring people from their communities. And when Nancy advised them of the availability of in-air video and photos, they readily ran the images with their stories, allowing the public to view the dynamics of our photogenic sport. If, as a skydiving competitor or record-setter, you were ever the subject of an in-person or in-studio media interview when you got home from a meet or a record, it almost certainly happened through Nancy’s efforts and USPA’s outreach. Over the past nine years, the media have run many hundreds of stories that placed a positive image of skydiving in front of millions of viewers and readers.
Nancy’s duties and accomplishments expanded from there. She sought out, cataloged and wrote marketing tips for Group Member DZs. She created an e-newsletter that USPA sends to every new A-license holder, congratulating them on their achievement, presenting ideas about the directions in which they can take their skydiving and encouraging them to continue jumping, learning and progressing. She took charge of the biennial DZ Operators Conference, keeping the conference fresh with up-to-date topics and exciting speakers and ensuring that sponsors covered the conference’s costs.
Nancy established the Sisters in Skydiving program in 2011 to help bring more women into the sport and keep them in it by providing mentorship with more-experienced female skydivers and helping them to build a community. The program now has more than 800 Big Sisters around the world who host dozens of SIS events each year.
Nancy also became the go-to USPA staffer for media relations, handling reporters’ pointed inquiries arising from accidents while weaving in the positive news of USPA’s decreasing fatality rate despite increasing jump numbers. Meanwhile, she proofed nearly all of USPA’s copy, making sure USPA communications were clear and professional.
This was actually Nancy’s second time at USPA. With 400 jumps under her belt, Nancy first came to work for the association in early 1996 as an advertising associate for Parachutist. When she left USPA in 2006, she was Parachutist’s managing editor. The creation of the new Sport Promotion department in 2010 lured her back. Now, with a combined 20 years of service to USPA and more than 9,000 jumps—one of the most active skydivers on staff—Nancy’s many professional talents will be missed. When you see her on the DZ, be sure to thank her.