OCA Executive Director Kay Teisl resigns after 14 years in the organization

SALEM, Ore. — This Friday marks the end of an incredible 14-year run by Kay Teisl at the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

Teisl, who has been the executive director since 2005, has resigned from the OCA. She and her family will soon be moving to the Spokane, Wash., area where she will live closer to her family.

“It’s obvious that she’ll be sorely missed,” said OCA President Ray Sessler. “We’ll have a difficult time replacing someone of her quality and integrity.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn OCA staffing committee — comprised of six people — was formed to find the OCA’s new executive director. After posting the position in the appropriate venues, the staffing committee received eleven applications. Upon the review by the staffing committee, a slate of candidates was selected to be interviewed as soon as possible.

“We would hope that we can get someone in the position by Oct. 1, but in the interim, Kenzie Smith, our former administrative assistant, has agreed to fill in the meantime to get us through this period,” Sessler said.

Teisl won’t cut all ties with the OCA, though. She will continue to produce The Oregon Beef Producer magazine. She will also attend the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting from Dec. 4-6 in Bend.

We asked Teisl about her time at the OCA.

Q: How did you originally become part of the OCA?
I started as the administrative assistant for OCA because I wanted to spend my time and career making a difference in people’s lives and it was a great fit because of my strong connection to agriculture.

Q: When you moved into the executive director role, what was that like?
It was a natural transition because I was familiar with all aspects of OCA from administrative to its policy, had a good understanding of OCA’s history, and had gotten to know our members and shared their values.

Q: What do you think some of your biggest accomplishments were?
The biggest accomplishment from my perspective is the producer image program because when OCA initiated this earned media campaign in 2005 the Oregon cattle industry had virtually no media or public recognition. Today, through this program, there has been over $4 million in ad equivalency of media coverage OCA has influenced. We have heard time and time again, ranchers need to tell their story or someone else will. OCA has done an outstanding job of informing the public about the benefits of ranching to the environment, economy and society. Ranchers are providing what Oregonians want Oregon to be!

Another significant accomplishment is the Oregon Resources Monitoring Program, where agreement has been reached among a multi-stakeholder group including state and federal agencies and organizations. This program will position ranchers to be able to provide acceptable and credible grazing data on both private and public lands like never before. Looking to the future, it would be prudent for landowners to collect their data as a protective proactive measure.

Q: How far has the OCA come since you’ve been here?
While I can’t believe it has been over a decade since I started, over which time I have seen considerable progress and growth in many aspects of OCA. The adoption of the first OCA Strategic Plan since my involvement with OCA is an excellent example of our leadership’s vision and discipline to continue to advance OCA. This plan provides a roadmap for OCA’s future and how it will strive to accomplish its mission.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the OCA’s Centennial Anniversary Celebration last year, this was a momentous event of a lifetime!

Q: You’ve spent a significant portion of your career working for the OCA. What has the OCA meant to you and what do you think you will take away from your time here?
Working for the OCA has been much more than a profession, it has been a personal endeavor that has been very rewarding. It has been an honor representing ranchers, who are salt of the earth and among the hardest working people I know. The most valued thing I will take away from my time here are the friendships I have made.

Q: Personally, what will you miss the most about the OCA?
I will miss the interaction with our members out in the country the most. Attending local events and getting to know the folks I am representing has been especially enjoyable.

Q: Can you tell us a unique OCA-related story?
The most unusual circumstance I encountered while at OCA was during the 2012 Spring Meeting in Corvallis when the meeting was abruptly disrupted by four or five wolf protestors who busted in with blow horns and a spray painted sign. If someone would have told me there would be protestors at an OCA meeting, I would have never believed it! It was so bizarre that by the time most attendees realized what was happening, they were gone. Outside of the registration table being messed up, there was no damage and, most importantly, no one was hurt. I was particularly impressed how the ranchers who intervened were able to remove the protestors without using physical force. Perhaps they weren’t quite as stupid as they looked since they did chose to exit as several ranchers were approaching them… It couldn’t have been handled more professionally.

Q: Any last words for the members?
I sincerely appreciate the many kind words of gratitude and thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Executive Director. Please remember that this is your organization and your continued involvement is essential to the future of OCA.

If you’re interested in reaching out to Teisl, email her at KayTeisl@gmail.com.