By Denman Wall
Ethan V. Draddy, Scout Executive and CEO, Boy Scouts of America Greater NY Council and Member of the NYSAE Board of Directors.
This ongoing series has been an incredibly awesome experience to interview NYSAE members and share their stories with the rest of the association and nonprofit community.
This month, we get to learn more about Ethan Draddy, CEO & Scout Executive at Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America. When you first meet Ethan, you know you have met a friend and confidant. I first met Ethan at an NYSAE event a few years ago and became fast friends. Each time we connect, we have great conversations about his organization and his most recent activities.
Without further ado, here is the interview…
Denman Wall: Ethan, thanks so much for participating in our eInterview. I’ll share a true story with you. I had the pleasure of attending my very first Eagle Scout ceremony for a friend of ours a couple months ago. I can truly say it was one of the most inspirational, motivational events I have ever witnessed. Tell our readers what it means to be a leader in the Boy Scouts organization…
Ethan Draddy: That’s a great story, Denny. As you know, a young person attaining the rank of Eagle Scout is… a mountain top experience. It’s not only the highest rank in Scouting, with hundreds and hundreds of skill sets and requirements met, it’s a signal to others of one’s potential… Personally, I think an Eagle Court of Honor is also a celebration of one’s family.
My life work is to serve as CEO and Scout Executive for BSA here in the city. But it’s not really a normal job. I like to think of it as a lifestyle, a 24/7 commitment. I get to work with many, many others who lead and inspire many others as volunteers…that’s honestly very inspiring to me because they are working with our city’s most impressionable, our city’s future: our youth. Some of those I also work with are CEO’s and corporate leaders themselves of many of our city’s leading companies and organizations. Through their examples, I try to learn from them. I like to think I am lucky in that way. Hopefully, the real beneficiaries are our thousands of city Scouts and Explorers.
Denman: Thanks for that! How has being involved with the Boy Scouts inspired and shaped your career path in association management?
Ethan: I see that many of the people involved in NYSAE manage or lead large complex organizations as well. If they are like me then it’s really all about relationships. It’s about people. It’s about people focused on accomplishing a mission. Our mission is straight forward: to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. Others have a different mission. The task or effort to me is to surround yourself with smart people who feel the same about accomplishing that mission.
Denman: That’s awesome and great to acknowledge the mission that you and others do together, daily. What has been your favorite initiative that you’ve worked on in the Boy Scouts that you can share with our readers?
Ethan: That’s actually a hard question because I feel here in the city we are only limited by our imagination. But I can easily rattle off some favorites: I am really proud of our volunteers and staff who have successfully organized the five annual World Championship Cub Scout Pinewood Derby’s in Times Square. I am really proud of our board who have successfully led the nation in several social justice positions welcoming LGBTQ youth and adults!! As the father of two daughters, I am really proud that BSA is now welcoming girls and boys into Cub Scouts, and in February Scouts BSA. I am very proud of the progress made to our facilities at Alpine Scout Camp, Ten Mile River Scout Camps and the iconic William H. Pouch Scout Camp. Lastly, I would say I am really excited about the energy I see in our volunteers and staff to grow our 800+ programs in the five boroughs to serve more city kids and young adults…growing Scouting and Exploring is a really big deal to me!
Denman: Nice! I was looking at the Scout Law to prepare for this eInterview and, wow, are they impressive. If you could name two or three of the Scout Laws that also lend themselves to professionals in the Association and nonprofit sector, which ones would they be and why?
Ethan: One, I would say ‘trustworthy.’ To me, everything starts with Trust. If you and I trust each other well…we can get through a lot. So as adult professionals either in non-profit or Association management, when trust is burned so is the relationship.
Friendly. Some may say courteous which is fine. I will say friendly. Especially here in our hectic city, there are always disagreements, but one does not have to be mean about it. Being ‘friendly’ is an undervalued quality in today’s world. Being friendly does not equate to being naïve or less than intelligent. One can have a position AND be friendly. Reverent. Not only is ‘reverent’ the 12th point in the Scout Law, it is the most important. A Scout is Reverent teaches all of us that showing reverence includes being respectful to the convictions of others in matters of custom and religion including others of differing views.
Denman: Very inspiring that I think all of us can aspire to meet. As you know, NYSAE is celebrating its 100th anniversary. From your perspective, what can NYSAE do to help shape association and nonprofit community for the next 100 years?
Ethan: Our 100th NYSAE Anniversary really gives us this neat chance to tell our story, to raise our profile. I am saying that if you are a non-profit or association leader that you can really meet our region’s top decision makers by getting involved in NYSAE.
Denman: From your LinkedIn profile, it looks like you’ve worked in a lot of regions. What is the coolest thing about working in the New York Metro area?
Ethan: Believe it or not, I have not moved around as much as some in my profession. I was raised at the Jersey Shore so I am close to home. I think I am a New Yorker at heart. I love, love, love our city’s diversity. I love the energy. My mom was born and raised in Hell’s Kitchen, so the city is personal to me. We live across the street from Central Park. I love just how vibrant the city is, and at the same time there are some quiet place to be found.
Thanks, so much Ethan. I look forward to our next conversation.
Denman Wall is the Editor of InView Newsletter and Director of Interactive Services for Dolci Interactive.