Leader Spotlight: Bill Coady

Leader Spotlight is a monthly blog to showcase our incredible volunteer leadership at The Mountaineers. Meet this month's featured leader: Bill Coady. He is a sea kayaking and cross-country ski leader who plays the drums and loves being a grandparent!
Sara Ramsay Sara Ramsay
Education Manager
December 29, 2018
Leader Spotlight: Bill Coady

For our Leader Spotlight this month we talked to Bill Coady, a volunteer leader with the Everett Branch who encourages others to lead because he enjoys helping other similarly-minded outdoor enthusiasts ... and because he loves it!

Name: Bill Coady
Branch: Everett
Where do you live? Snohomish, WA
How long have you been a leader? 8 or 9 years (member since 2001)
What activities do you lead? Sea Kayaking & Cross-Country Skiing

Leadership Questions

What inspired you to become a Leader for The Mountaineers?

I was flattered and honored to be asked if I wanted to be a sea kayak leader. This organization only works if members volunteer and give back to the best of their abilities. After considering the question in this context, I realized that it is not only an honor to be asked to be a leader, but also it is my duty to be one to the best of my abilities.

What is your favorite trip that you've led for The Mountaineers?

My last one and my next one... seriously! Every trip has created memories for me. The great majority of these memories have been great and a few are probably better called "learning experiences". Doesn't matter if I'm cross-country skiing or paddling, being part of a Mountaineers trip - as a leader or participant - enriches my life. I hope my involvement has, in some small way, also enriched the lives of other Mountaineers.

How has your leadership style evolved as you've gained experience?

One part of my evolution has been to learn that I can never be complacent as a leader (or a participant). I might have lead the exact trip before, but since weather, water, or snow conditions are always changing, I've learned that is important to treat each trip as a unique event. I try to prepare for all trips as if it is the first time I've lead it. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

What learning experiences you can share with us, such as take-aways from a close call or a near miss?

We all have different skill sets. Just because everyone on a trip has earned the prerequisite badge that theoretically makes them "qualified" to be on the trip, reality and experience tells a different story. Through a couple of trips paddling or skiing with folks I don't know, I've learned to not just look at their activities log. If there is any question in my mind about their ability, I will contact one of the person's previous leaders to ask them their opinion.

I also have learned to carefully observe participants as they prepare for the trip (load a boat, strap on skis, etc.). I believe that this pre-launch observation and preparation practice helps me be better prepared during the trip and to be a better leader all around.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders in The Mountaineers community?

Do it because The Mountaineers organization only works and thrives when members give of their time, skills, and sweat equity. Do it because you enjoy helping a group of similarly-minded outdoor enthusiasts. DON'T do it because you like being in charge and telling people what to do. Do it because you love it.


Wow! Quite a loaded question, isn't it? :-) While I thoroughly enjoy being a Mountaineers member, some of you may know that I also play drums in a couple of jazz big-bands, enjoy home-improvement projects, and have two adult children (one a PhD Microbiologist and one an attorney) who both enjoy the outdoors also - but aren't yet Mountaineers :-( My wife, Michele, and I enjoy traveling, camping, kayaking, cross-country skiing, and are just learning how to be grandparents by spoiling our 15 month-old granddaughter.

is there Someone that you'd like to see in the spotlight?

Send an email to Sara Ramsay to make a recommendation for one of our upcoming Leader Spotlights!