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Nancy Cardwell Resigns as IBMA Executive Director

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Nancy CardwellLong time IBMA staff and Executive Director of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), Nancy Cardwell, has resigned her position during the World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, NC. Cardwell will serve through the end of the year and hopes to help make the transition easy on the association.

Cardwell has been a hallmark of the association for nearly two decades. She was the focal point for communications during my membership and long after. Cardwell served on staff for over a decade. When Dan Hays left the organization, she was selected as the interim Executive Director and, later, she was selected as the full time Executive Director by the board.

The bluegrass community welcomed her with open arms as the Executive Director for many reasons including here knowledge of the association and how it managed its many functions, her positive image and, her open willing attitude to help the music and the association in any way possible. Her selection as the Executive Director was seen as a breath of fresh air by members and fans everywhere. Many joined or renewed their memberships with the IBMA because of her becoming Executive Director.

The move to Raleigh and the big successes there are directly attributable to Cardwell. The broadening of the bluegrass arena can also be linked to her leadership. For those on the outside of the association, her leadership was what the association needed to jump start it and get it headed in the right direction. This was a sign that the association was embracing much needed change.

Yesterday, Nancy sent this letter to the association's membership:

Dear members of IBMA:
After 20 years serving on the staff of the International Bluegrass Music Association, I made the decision last month to resign as executive director, effective Dec. 31, 2014.
When I agreed to take the interim ED position March 5, 2012—and later in August 2012 when I was asked to take on the fulltime position, I let the IBMA Board of Directors know I intended to stay three to five years, to help the organization get through what I perceived as a crucially important transitional process following the tenure of longtime director Dan Hays—who I credit with building the organization from the ground, with the help of many of you early members.
My goals were to work with current and new staff, the board, and our new partners in Raleigh to rebuild membership numbers; to increase attendance, value, and the overall vibe at World of Bluegrass events; and to start the process of re-building our finances. We’ve also updated our website and our entire online presence during the past two and a half years. And the IBMA Youth Council, Membership Recruitment Committee, Leadership Bluegrass, and the international “I” in IBMA are strong and moving forward.
Bluegrass music is about passing tunes from one generation to another, and it’s also about passing leadership roles along to the next person on the industry side. Twenty years is a long time to do anything, and I know 2015 is the right time for me to pass the torch to the next executive director of IBMA. The IBMA team and I have accomplished what we set out to do during the past three years, and I have a passionate, talented staff with over a year’s experience under their belts in place with Taylor Coughlin, Eddie Huffman and Joe Lurgio, working hard for the future of bluegrass music.
I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next, but I have a couple of interesting leads—both inside and outside the bluegrass music world. I’ll let you know the details as soon as I can, and I would truly appreciate your support as I move forward in another role.
I grew up in a bluegrass family band in the Missouri Ozarks—hitting the stage and radio airwaves for the first time at age seven, and I’ve been writing professionally about bluegrass music in magazines since I was in college. I’m not leaving the music. My dedication and personal support of bluegrass music and its international trade association will continue.
It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve IBMA for 20 years, and to get to know and appreciate so many of you. I’m proud of what the organization has accomplished so far, and I’m excited about the future of both IBMA and bluegrass music. I appreciate what I’ve learned from each of you, the music and the stories, and most of all, your friendship.
Nancy Cardwell

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