Professional Development Plan: National Team Member Brian Donovan

Congratulations to the 2021-24 PSIA-AASI National Team for all the work they’ve done promoting, supporting, and assisting with the development of PSIA-AASI education materials, programs, and activities at all levels.

As the team enters its final season, team coaches and members reflect on the work they’ve done for the association, their personal accomplishments, and their professional development plans — including how they think those plans can help you reach your goals this season.

AASI Snowboard Team Member Brian Donovan

Q: This team has achieved a lot in a short time — including representing the association at Interski 2023, continued refinement of the Learning Connection, and working toward the target date to align certification processes. What achievements stand out to you?

A: Watching Ann Schorling absolutely captivate the room presenting her Keynote Presentation on Gender Equity in Snowsports Instruction at Interski 2023, seeing the immediate impact of her research and findings as the world realized we have big steps to take to move us forward. Ann’s presentation changed our industry. It is one of the most impressive things I have ever seen a peer do!

What also stands out is how this team began as all the technical, teaching, and people skills were just hitting their stride and being worked out in real time. Despite the newness of so much content, the team worked to refine the understanding and ownership of the real value of the Learning Connection Model to what we do on the mountain every day. We delivered that content to our membership, then also delivered that content to the world. One of the most exciting things was showing how we can assess and train people skills. After the team introduced them at Pamporovo in 2019, the world was waiting to see how we developed content to train instructors to better employ people skills and assess their application during certification assessment events. It was exciting how the world followed the hard work of all PSIA-AASI instructors identifying and working to improve how we interact with our students.

Q: Where do you want to improve this season, especially in regard to the individual people, teaching, and technical skills of the Learning Connection?

A: Teaching skills: My home resort of Stratton Mountain is currently completing an overhaul of all our beginner terrain, surface lifts, and chairlifts. It will be fun to look at how we can utilize terrain differently with students this season. Fall lines, stopping spots, and natural pitches will be new and different, and it will be fun to re-imagine how to use the terrain with my students. It will be a cause to re-think the “why” of how I’ve been teaching there and how I can do it differently and better.

People skills: I’m super tuned in on my own actions and behaviors and how they impact others and trying to use the SBI Model to generate best practices for my own actions and behaviors. I want to be checked in and aware of cues that help me improve my people skills.

Technical skills: I want to be in the learning role to see how others present technical content. I want to pay attention to the nuances and biases we all have in our understandings of our sports, then see how those align or influence how I can think differently. Basically, I want to be a student of the game as much as possible to learn beyond what I “think I already know.”

Q: What other professional goals do you have in terms of teaching and riding?

A: As chair of the Snowboard Taskforce, I want to be able to support all our regions and reps at the national and regional levels. I want to help support them as we move toward and through the alignment in 2026 as they embody the changes and alignment we are working to achieve.

Q: How can you work with and learn from other instructors on this journey?

A: I want to be the type of person who always has my mind open and ready to be expanded by how others think about sliding on snow. I want to be challenged to think outside my beliefs and understandings to work through other concepts and ideas with my brain and my feet.

Q: How can your professional development plan help other instructors work to achieve their goals?

A: If we all spend time paying attention to how our decisions, behaviors, and actions affect those around us, we’ll all learn a ton about ourselves and how we can do it better. I want to do it better, and hopefully my actions speak louder than my words.

Q: What does being a member of the PSIA-AASI community mean to you, and how do you share that sense of belonging with the people you teach, as well as other snow pros?

A: Members of this organization are dedicated professionals looking to improve. That pursuit of getting better in all facets of being a snowboarder, instructor, and trainer pushes me to be better for myself and my students. Getting better looks and feels different to all of us, and I want to help people feel a sense of belonging to this organization by helping them identify what they want to get better at, then giving them the tools and measurable scales to work toward those goals.