August '20

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26 • RV PRO • August 2020 rv-pro.com Q&A WITH RVWA'S ENERGY ® The first executive director of the RV Women's Alliance shares the group's plans to connect different segments of the RV industry, as well as her larger goals for the organization moving forward. By Ronnie Wendt Sandy Ellingson E ducating others, con- necting people with similar interests, pur- suing goals and completing projects have long been pas- sions for Sandy Ellingson, the first executive director of the RV Women's Alliance. It's a d e d i c a t i o n t h a t first led her to the banking industry, where she was men- tored by top leadership experts including Jim Blanchard. Later, she opened and ran her own consulting firm for 25 years, with a focus on the non- profit sector. She still serves on the technology advisory board for National Religious Broad- casters association. However, it was not until doctors diagnosed Ellingson with an illness that required her to step away from non- profit work that she discov- ered a new passion – full- time RVing. She fell in love with RVing and the people she met, particularly camp- ground operators, which over time led to volunteering in the RV industry. Her immersion into the RV world started small. First, a group asked her to help with a rally, which turned into more rallies and con- nected her to RV industry vendors. The more people she met, the more her enthu- siasm grew. Her passion for all things RV i n g b l o s s o m e d w h e n Ellingson attended an RVWA breakfast at America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, Pa. There, she connected with RVWA members. During this time, they exchanged their dreams and visions for the industry. Ellingson says it didn't take long for her to get involved serving on RVWA commit- tees and to connect with Susan Carpenter, the associ- ation's president and board chairman. Within just a few months, Carpenter would ask Ellingson to become RVWA's first executive director – and it took even less time for Ellingson to accept. RV PRO recently spoke with Ellingson at length to learn more about the woman RVWA chose to lead the association's charge toward the future. Her responses have been lightly edited for grammar and style and to fit the allotted space. RV PRO: What was your r e s p o n s e w h e n R V WA President Susan Carpenter a s k e d y o u t o c o n s i d e r b e c o m i n g RV WA's f i r s t executive director? Ellingson: Yes! I get to do everything I love for an industry I love. I love mentoring young people – that's the teacher in me. My biggest joy in life is connecting people. If I see something in one person and then I see something in someone else, I enjoy con- necting them. One gap I see today is the need for connec- tions between RV parks and Annual Women in Business Section

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