Executive Director Carol Meyer Announces Departure from US Chess

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Randy Bauer, President of US Chess, and the rest of the Executive Board wishing Carol Meyer the best shortly after she announced she was leaving US Chess. Photo by Austin Fuller

Executive Director Carol Meyer has announced she will be leaving US Chess effective February 2024 to take a position as Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director at another organization. US Chess President Randy Bauer states, “Carol has been an outstanding Executive Director for US Chess. Besides her remarkable experience and expertise as a non-profit executive, she has devoted incredible energy, time, and effort to our organization. She has built a highly qualified professional team and earned the devotion and praise of our US Chess staff. I've learned so much from her and will greatly miss her wise counsel. The good news is that Carol's many contributions to US Chess will live on, even as she takes on a new and exciting professional challenge.”

Upon her hire six years ago, one of the very first things Carol wrote to the membership was, “I want you to know that my door is always open and that I’d like to hear from you. US Chess is your organization and I encourage you to share your ideas with me or with members of our Executive Board. Organizations benefit from member engagement and your voice and involvement matter.” Members who did reach out to her were not disappointed; people were often surprised to hear her answering the phone herself, listening to their ideas and concerns, then taking concrete action. This was just one of the many ways that she worked to improve the chess culture.

That level of care and attention translated into hard numbers: US Chess membership stood at 93,000 when she started; it is now at 115,000 — a 24% increase, one of the most dramatic membership increases since the Fischer Boom, and despite a crash during COVID.

Meyer showed similar concern with US Chess employees, who always felt they were treated with care, respect, and understanding. “Carol was always quick with praise and to deflect positive attention from herself to her staff, who were extraordinarily loyal to her because of this,” said Senior Director of Strategic Communication Dan Lucas, who continued, “If Carol disagreed with how a matter was handled, her approach was to make you feel as if you’ve just learned something new, not to make you feel that you did something wrong. Further, it was not unusual to see Carol go from handling a high-level contracts discussion to literally rolling up her sleeves as she carried trash out to the dumpster or put together office furniture.”

Notable achievements during Carol’s tenure

  • Expanded senior staff 2018-2023
    • Senior Director of Strategic Communication
    • Development Director
    • Director of Operations
    • Director of Programs
  • Successfully cultivated and solicited major gifts for new development program 2018-2023
  • Transgender Policy 2018
  • Formalized Women’s Chess Program 2018
  • Safe Play Policy 2019
  • Title I Grants Program 2019
  • Steered US Chess through COVID 2020-2022
    • Navigated the Payroll Protection Plan: No employees were laid off
    • Online rules adopted
    • National championships played online
    • Delegates meeting moved online
  • Moved US Chess offices to St. Louis 2022
  • Partnership with the U.S. Center for SafeSport 2023

That list only represents major highlights. Carol’s lasting influence on US Chess will be felt in countless small, day-to-day, matters. While the chess community will be the poorer for her leaving, we are happy for her as she continues her own professional journey.

The Executive Board will be initiating a national search for a new Executive Director soon. 

More comments from the US Chess Community

Kimberly Doo, Co-Chair of the Women’s Committee:

Carol has helped to improve US Chess in immeasurable ways during her tenure as ED. She has been an outstanding and tireless leader with great vision who has done a remarkable job of bringing the chess community together. The Women’s Committee has made incredible progress in the past few years in promoting and empowering more women and girls through chess — and we could not have done that without Carol's leadership and support. It has been an honor for me to work with Carol and she has been a wonderful mentor and friend to me. I am sure I can speak for many when I say that Carol will be greatly missed and I wish her the best of luck in the next chapter of her career!

Melinda Matthews, Managing Editor and former Chess Life/Chess Life Kids Editor:

It has been a privilege working with Carol for the past six years. She has been a strong, empathetic leader who allowed me the space to stretch beyond my immediate responsibilities in Publications. I will miss her presence at US Chess, but I know the good work she did — especially around Safe Play, women, and diversity — will live on. And while saying goodbye is never easy, I wish Carol the best as she embarks on this exciting new chapter.

David Grimaud, Chair of the Nominating Committee:

When Carol joined US Chess as its Executive Director, I liked her right away. She is smart, professional, enjoyable to work with — as I learned while working with her on two US Chess delegate committees. The Executive Board had the foresight to bring this hard-working visionary to the team to move its mission forward as a new 501(c)(3). She was the right person at the right time.

Mike Hoffpauir, US Chess Executive Board and a Past President:

Carol Meyer became our Executive Director at precisely the time US Chess needed a true 501(c)(3) expert as our chief executive. Her knowledge of nonprofit organization, taxation, fund raising, and non-profit best practices was instrumental in the evolution of US Chess business processes in support of our mission. After seeing us through COVID, her leadership is directly responsible for setting the stage for the ongoing membership growth, a laser focus on Safe Play, and positioning the organization for the future.