A Quick Primer on What Igor Chirashnya Brings to the USA Fencing Board

Fencing in America is a wonderful thing, and as a community we are constantly looking for ways to make it better. 

I’m running to sit on the Board of Directors of USA Fencing because I believe that we need a positive, supportive direction for our sport that’s informed by the needs of the people on the ground. The reality of what is happening in clubs and on the floor of competitions is not always the same as what it looks like from the boardroom. 

My candidacy brings a bottom up approach to leadership, rather than a top down view. 

A voice for fencers, parents, and coaches

As a parent, coach, and former fencer, I have a unique perspective that provides empathy and understanding for each of these important groups within our sport. AFM has grown from small beginnings to one of the largest clubs in the country, but we are still intricately involved in the sport trajectory of everyone involved. 

The board must have a clear voice from the people who are living this world, and that’s what I bring. Because I am right here with you, I have the ability to be that voice. Through the AFM blog over almost a decade, I’ve had the privilege of hearing what parents, coaches, and fencers all over the United States are talking about and what they see for the future of our sport. 

A central goal of my candidacy is to focus on the voices that I hear every day and give them a microphone to the decision makers at the top. 

Common sense approach

We can reach the lofty goals that we want for the sport  and that are almost universally agreed on – higher visibility, improved training, better competitions, stronger pathways to achievement, and so on. Those big dreams are important and they keep us going. 

To get there, we must rely on a common sense approach. How we structure our competitions, how we support and develop our fencers, starting from youth, how we take care of families’ needs, what we require of our coaches, and how we support our clubs has to happen with our feet on the ground. 

I bring a common sense, realistic approach to the board that can get things done in ways that really work. My experience in large organizations and the strength of my network in fencing means that I have the skills to guide our future that relies on the collective imagination and intelligence of our amazing people. The answers are here! We can think big while making smart moves to get to that future that is within reach. 

Leadership as service, not politics

Being on the board is not an ego venture for me – it’s about supporting the people. Yes, I have to put all of these things out there with my face on them and you’re seeing a lot of my words, but I don’t need any of that. I’m running because I know that I have the skills to lift up the tremendous voices in our community that deserve to be heard. 

The board, USA Fencing, and all of the supporting personnel are there to make the lives of fencers, parents, and coaches easier and better by understanding their needs and adding more opportunities. This is how we grow. The people know best, and leadership should be here to support the people who live in this sport. 

Inter-organizational politics, agendas, and self-interest happen in every organization, but my goal is to minimize if not eliminate these distractions from our core needs. The service of our community is what matters and it’s how we can move forward in the best way possible. 

As a leader, I am intrinsically motivated by helping the community, a community that is made up of individuals who are all here to revel and grow through this sport. You deserve leaders who are always mindful of who they serve. 

We can move USA Fencing in the right direction by listening to the community and expanding our opportunities.