Candidate Statements

Fran Gitsham
Statement of Candidacy
July 31, 2021

My name is Fran Gitsham and I am excited to announce my candidacy for a position on the Orange County Wine Society Board of Directors.  I’m looking forward to working harmoniously and cohesively with other board members and volunteers in an effort to continue to make the OCWS the very best it can be.

For those of you who know me, you know I love the OCWS! For those of you who don’t know me, I have been a member and active volunteer for 21 years.  After retiring from business, I had the privilege of serving on the board, during which time I served in the positions of secretary, treasurer, and president. I have always tried to learn as much about the organization as I can in order to be the best and most informed volunteer possible.  I have been a member of the Commercial Wine Competition and Finance Committees, have acted as the liaison to the OC Fair and have chaired the organization’s major annual fundraiser, the Courtyard at the OC Fair.

I have the passion, and believe I have the capability, to join the board again and help lead the OCWS into coming out of a socially and financially depressed Covid-19 restricted time for the organization.  I know what the job entails and feel I have the necessary experience to do it well.  I am very enthusiastic and try to give my all to every task I undertake. In looking towards the future, I also welcome the opportunity to help recruit and mentor the next generation of OCWS leaders.

Thank you for your consideration.

Brian McDonald
Statement of Candidacy

My name is Brian McDonald and I am a candidate for the Board of Directors.

My wife Susan and I have been members of the Wine Society for over eleven years.  I served on the Board of Directors from September 2014 to September, 2020.

For all of my six years on the Board, I was Membership Chair.  As Membership Chair I created a new membership campaign which raised our membership count from the 800+ to almost 1100 just before the Covid shut down; as OCWS automated membership, I created the procedures to produce membership renewal notices; and I revived the new membership mixer (originally the idea of Past President Leslie Brown)’ which increased our retention of new members.

As a past member of the Board, I served as Treasurer for two years; served on the Finance Committee; was Chair of the committee that rewrote the bylaws; was Chair of the Holiday Dinner Dance for three years; chaired two fall social events; was vice chair of the Courtyard; served as a member of the Cooks’ Caucus since 2012 and have worked just about every OCWS event in one capacity or another.

I have the skill, experience and motivation.  If you give me the honor of again serving on the Board of Directors, I would focus on rebuilding membership to pre-pandemic levels and beyond.

I hope I will have your vote.

Mel Jay
Statement of Candidacy

My name is Mel Jay and I seeking re-election to the Orange County Wine Society Board of Directors. These last three years have passed very quickly. During the last three years we entered the pandemic. It has been a difficult time for our beloved OCWS. We have survived and we are now in the process of resuming normal operations and activities. There are still many challenges ahead.

I bring my professionalism and experience to my service on the board. I have been a CPA in practice for forty-five years. As an active member and volunteer for over 20 years, I have served on many committees and chaired some of them.  Among the activities I have participated in are being a manager in the Wine Courtyard, judge in the Homewine Competition and chairman of the finance committee. Most importantly, I am the current treasurer of the OCWS and served you in that capacity  for 5 years.

I am enthusiastic about our future. I will work to enhance and expand the goals and purposes of our society while keeping it financially responsible. I will strive to promote new and novel events for our members as well as improving existing ones.

I would appreciate your support.