My name is Melanie Murray and I am running for the position of Area 12 Director for Sports Car Club of America's Board of Directors that would start in 2020. I would be succeeding Tere Pulliam who has held the position for the past six years. She has been a wonderful director and I would be honored to follow her in this position.
Eleven years ago, my then 16-year-old daughter, Ariel, participated in a Street Survival Class. By the end of the day, she was excited and ready for her first autocross in her instructor’s Volvo V70R. My husband had already been to a few events and after her first autocross, I was not going to be left out. By year two, I had been asked to serve on South Carolina Region’s Board of Directors as a Member at Large. The following year I was their Charleston Chapter Representative and then moved into Assistant RE. For the past 7 years.
I’ve served as South Carolina’s Regional Executive for the past seven years. As South Carolina’s RE, we had some hard times when I initially took over with a completely new board of directors. Most of us had not been with the club very long but we quickly pulled things together and learned a lot in a short amount of time. We had two chapters, monthly autocrosses, did one street survival and one club race per year. Today we have increased our club to three chapters and I just learned we will be restarting the Gamecock Chapter Region our college age students from the University of South Carolina this August! We continue to autocross and have one club race per year…. We have run two Street Survivals and joined SCCA, NCR and Atlanta Region in running one of the first national time trial events at CMP. I am beyond proud to have also been a part of designing a program called Women at The Wheel, a novice school for women that is taught entirely by women for the past two years. For a medium sized region, that’s a rather large undertaking and I could not have done it without SCR’s awesome support.
My entire family joins me in my love of autocross. I have participated in the rallycross program and in 2018, I had the joy of getting my time trial intermediate license alongside my 19-year-old son. Last year I also realized that I had three generations auto crossing and karting on the same day. I cannot begin to explain how proud that made me to know that I had all of us together doing something that we loved.
SCCA has become my extended family. It has been hard to say that I’m running against Steve Strickland because he is a friend that I admire greatly. No matter what the outcome of our election, Area 12 will have a great person representing them.
So, what is my vision for SCCA?
We are all in this together and need to work hard to remember that. I really want to be a part of moving SCCA forward with new members from all age groups. There has been a large movement to include more women in all area of motorsports. I want to continue to encourage this. I want to work to help all age groups within SCCA to listen to each other. Whether it be a 25-year-old worker- a 40-year-old driver- or a 60-year-old registrar, we all have things that we can learn from each other. I have heard a lot about SCCA needing to turn things over to the younger generation- but we need to remember that the older generation has many lessons and has tried a lot of what we want to do. By everyone realizing that new ideas, old ideas…..listening to each other and finding a middle ground is going to be what will really help us grow. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The same goes for our programs. Club racing, time trials, solo, rallycross… we all benefit from each other. In SCR, our groups cross constantly. We help each other and grow because of it. Autocrossers can work club races. South Carolina Region has done it and quite successfully. I have been an autocross driver, a rallycross driver, a time trial driver, a worker in all areas, a board member, a race chair… I have experienced most levels of our club and I believe that I can help Area 12 bring all workers and drivers from all groups together to help each other.
I have been a part of starting new programs within our region. Building our Women at the Wheel from the ground up was an exciting thing to witness. The new Time Trial Nationals program has also been a joy to see happen. Initially, I was questioning this program, but my region wanted to see it happen and following their requests, I went with their vision and have become one of their most excited participants. That shows that my door is always open, and I am willing to listen to any ideas, questions or concerns that members may have.
One of the things that I would like to see is a better understanding of everyone from the RE’s down to the regular members is about how things work within SCCA. There is so much information available to all of us that is not being communicated. A few months ago, I learned some things that my board called “game changing”. We are a family, yes. We are a club, yes. However, we ARE a business and we are not communicating well enough with each other. Our customers are asking for information and we need to give it to them. By reaching out to every region to find out their strengths, issues and concerns, we can make this club a stronger and more efficient group. You need guidance, tools and support. I have heard that and intend to make sure happens if I am elected as your Area 12 Director.
I’m not going to change the person that I am because of running for this position or if I am elected to this position. I am who I am… and I believe that I can be a good and strong Director for you. Thank you.