??? Tallahassee Area Mensa - MenTally Online - Newsletters
Mensa Logo
Tallahassee Mensa - MenTally Online
Tallahassee Mensa Home Page
About Mensa
Calendar of Events
MensaSpeak-Glossary and Acronyms
Join Mensa
Local Officers
Newsletters
Services Available
Resources Available
Gifted Kids
Fun Stuff
Tallahassee's Capital Building
 

MenTally

Newsletters from 2021
January 2021 MenTally February 2021 MenTally March 2021 MenTally
April 2021 MenTally May 2021 MenTally June 2021 MenTally
July 2021 MenTally August 2021 MenTally September 2021 MenTally
October 2021 MenTally November 2021 MenTally December 2021 MenTally
Newsletters from 2020
January 2020 MenTally February 2020 MenTally March 2020 MenTally
April 2020 MenTally May 2020 MenTally June 2020 MenTally
July 2020 MenTally August 2020 MenTally September 2020 MenTally
October 2020 MenTally November 2020 MenTally December 2020 MenTally 
Newsletters from 2019
January 2019 MenTally February 2019 MenTally March 2019 MenTally
April 2019 MenTally May 2019 MenTally June 2019 MenTally
July 2019 MenTally August 2019 MenTally September 2019 MenTally
October 2019 MenTally November 2019 MenTally December 2019 MenTally
Newsletters from 2018
July 2018 MenTally August 2018 MenTally September 2018 MenTally
October 2018 MenTally November 2018 MenTally December 2018 MenTally

RVC Columns

THE TENTH STORY for December

The quarterly meeting of the AMC was held on Saturday, November 13 in Charlotte, NC in conjunction with the Sweet Carolina RG hosted by Charlotte-Blue Ridge Mensa. There were several agenda items to discuss.

The first two items regarded committee appointments. Jessica Ellis-Wilson of Boston Mensa was appointed Chair of the Diversity Committee, and five members were appointed to the Election Committee: Michele Clemente of Greater New York Mensa (Chair), Lowell Aplebaum of Metropolitan Washington Mensa, Jennifer Morris of San Diego Mensa, Scott Smith of Chicago Area Mensa, and Lee Stillman of Central New Jersey Mensa. The Election Committee appointments had been on the Consent Agenda but were moved to the regular agenda because one member wanted to abstain. (Consent agenda items are considered unanimously approved; this time around it included acceptance of officer reports and AMC Committee appointments). Both of these motions passed.

The next two motions were Finance related. One related to the Life Membership Fund policy, which was last updated in 2013, to clarify the language and intent by defining the principal of the fund, defining when the fund gets updated, changing the term “interest” to “investment returns”, and adding a sentence regarding reinvestment in the fund. There was no financial impact of this motion. The other motion involved updating the deadlines for cancellations and refunds for AGs, which had previously been set to 10 days prior to the event, but hotel and event contracts have evolved since the policy was set in 2014, and more flexibility is required going forward. Both of these motions passed as well.

The last motions were more complicated than they appeared at first glance, and engendered the most discussion. They involved changes to the use of membership lists, and were a response to the fallout from the Oral History Project. Everyone agreed that some safeguards need to be put in place to prevent some of the negative impact of the recent event. However, these motions were seen as rushed, as there was significant disagreement on the language of the motions and potential unintended consequences of passing them as written. While these had been moved by Robin Crawford from her vantage point as Communications Officer with input by the National Office, the motions created potential obstacles to plans by the Membership Committee (Kimberly Strickland), the Marketing Committee (Tabby Vos), and other projects planned by the Research Review Committee. There was disagreement about who would review future messages, concern that the wording of the motions would change member preferences that had already been set by the members, and several other issues. Rather than vote on the motions as written, or wordsmithing them during the meeting and creating other unintended issues, it was decided to commit these motions back to Robin, Kimberly and Tabby to resolve the concerns and bring the motions back by mid-February for discussion and approval during the next quarterly meeting on March 19, 2022.

Details of the agenda can be found at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/ under the dropdown "2021-11-13 - Charlotte, NC".

____________________________________

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

THE TENTH STORY for November

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the AMC will be held on Saturday, November 13 in Charlotte, NC in conjunction with the Sweet Carolina RG hosted by Charlotte-Blue Ridge Mensa. The agenda had not been set as of the deadline for this column, but it will be posted before the end of October at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/.

____________________________________

As I noted in my September column, the Mensa Oral History Project was launched on August 3 with an email to the full membership, explaining the project and providing a link to be able to opt out if not interested. Additional notices were sent out to local group officers on August 10 and August 24 via the Mensa Leader e-newsletter, and to members subscribed to the Mensa Wired e-newsletter on August 17. We thought we had covered our bases in letting members know about the project, but we were blindsided by the method used by the company (PCI) to implement it. As a result, emails and postcards were sent using PCI's boilerplate messaging, which looked a lot like phishing to many members (and to several of us on the AMC as well). The yellow postcard went out with the header "IMPORTANT NOTICE" and didn't mention the Oral History Project at all, except in the return address.

The second message that went out corrected this with input from Communications Officer Robin Crawford, and explained upfront that the primary purpose was to gather stories for the oral history. Unfortunately, by that time the well had been poisoned, with many members certain that their privacy had been compromised. While this is not the case, it's harder to gain back trust after it is lost than it is to maintain it in the first place, and this has been damaging in ways no one had anticipated. This is particularly disappointing to me as a member of the AML History Committee, since I believe in the value of the project. I want to emphasize that member information has not been sold (or given away) for any purpose outside of gathering stories from members. The company is bound by their contract to use the information solely for this project, and to offer to sell the final book of stories to members while gathering the information, but not for any other purpose. There will be additional messages sent out in November and December, but you can opt out of additional contact from the company by going to https://members.us.mensa.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=CommPref, scrolling down to the Project box, and unchecking the Mensa Oral History Project box to stop receiving messages.

On a positive note, many members did take the opportunity to update their contact information after the first contact, and over 8,000 phone numbers were updated and/or added. This is the sort of information that is not kept up to date when a member's address changes, so this was a side benefit of the project. You do not need to contact PCI to make updates to your profile, however. You can update your information yourself online by visiting "My Mensa" directly at https://www.us.mensa.org/profile/ where you have the opportunity to view your phone number, address, and email on file, and edit them if they are incorrect or missing.

The FAQ about the project (at https://www.us.mensa.org/featured-content/american-mensa-oral-history-project/) has been updated to answer many of the questions that have been asked, but if you have additional questions or concerns, please let me know.

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

THE TENTH STORY for October

As noted in my previous column, the quarterly meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) was held on Thursday, August 26, 2021 at the World Gathering in Houston, TX. There were no changes to the agenda I previously announced, and all motions passed. We did break into executive session to review a hearings committee report, but no actions came out of that session.

Taz Criss pulled double-duty during the World Gathering, not just running a tremendously complicated event under unprecedented circumstances, but also providing her Treasurer's report at both the AMC meeting and the Annual Business Meeting (more on that below). Her full presentation is available at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/, but she made one important announcement that I'd like to note here. Over 12 years ago American Mensa filed a trademark protection lawsuit when it appeared another company was appropriating the Mensa brand as part of its marketing. (I won't go into details on that; it preceded my time on the AMC and members have had endless arguments since then about the appropriateness of the lawsuit, with no indication that those members will ever come to a consensus on the issues involved.) One common misconception about that lawsuit was that Mensa went into debt to pay for it (all going to legal fees and related documentation). In her Treasurer's report, Taz reiterated that contrary to rumor, Mensa did not borrow any money for the lawsuit, but that it was entirely self-funded. We did take money from our investment funds to pay for the suit, but the Life Membership fund was paid back years ago, and the 3-to-5-year member fund was paid back in August. So, all funds used for that lawsuit have now been paid back in full.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the AMC will be held on Saturday, November 13 in Charlotte, NC in conjunction with the Sweet Carolina RG hosted by Charlotte-Blue Ridge Mensa. The agenda for the meeting will be posted before the end of October at the link above.

____________________________________

The Annual Business Meeting (ABM) was scheduled on Friday, August 27 as a hybrid on-line and in-person meeting. In order to comply with New York law (American Mensa Ltd. is chartered in New York), all members attending whether in-person or remotely needed to have the same opportunity to participate, so members were asked to register in advance so everyone would have the voting tool to conduct business. Unfortunately, although there were sufficient pre-registrations to ensure a quorum, at the meeting itself too few members actually attended, and the meeting could not be called to order. The State of the Organization reports were provided by the previous year's officers (LaRae Bakerink (Chair), Taz Criss (Treasurer), Charlie Steinhice (Foundation President) and Trevor Mitchell (Executive Director)), but the minutes of the 2020 ABM could not be approved. Nevertheless, documents for the meeting, including the American Mensa and Mensa Foundation audited financial statements, can be found online at https://www.us.mensa.org/attend/calendar/entries/2021-abm/. We'll try again at next year's ABM on July 8, 2022 in Sparks, NV.

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

THE TENTH STORY for September

The quarterly meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC), usually held in September, took place on Thursday, August 26 at the World Gathering in Houston, TX. Since I am writing this column prior to the meeting I do not have any details yet, but since this is taking place so soon after the July meeting, it was expected to be a brief meeting, and the agenda only included two motions.

The first was a change to the ASIEs to resolve conflicts in the procedures for appointing National Representatives (NatReps) to the International Board of Directors (IBD). In the earlier version, one section gave the Chair discretion on the appointments, while another section gave the approval to the AMC. The revision made it clear that the AMC must approve the appointments, and that the NatReps must be voting members of the AMC. Theoretically, as the ASIE was originally written, the Chair could have appointed anyone - friends or family, Mensan or non-Mensan - to these positions, but this motion makes it clear that the NatReps should have a first level of approval from the membership via election, either as one of the nationally elected officers or one of the RVCs in case any of the nationally elected officers could not serve.

The second motion was to set the location for the 2025 Annual Gathering. The proposed site for 2025 is Chicago, IL in July 2025.

The AMC also serves as the voting members of the Mensa Foundation, and we voted on the appointment of Deb Stone (former AMC Chair) to serve as Foundation Trustee until the annual meeting of the Mensa Foundation in 2024.

____________________________________

At the beginning of August an email went out to the membership launching an Oral History project in partnership with Publishing Concepts (PCI) to gather stories from Mensa members about their experiences in Mensa, with the goal of creating a book for members to purchase. Postcards and emails with more details will be sent to members in late September, but PCI will not be provided with member data. Lapsed members will not be included, since only current members will be invited to participate.

This will be the first collected history of Mensa in 25 years, following Vince Bonzagni's "Mensa Book Of Lists" in November 1997. As a member of the AML History Committee, I hope you will consider participating in the project.

____________________________________

With the resurgence of the COVID pandemic in Florida, most local group meetings have still not resumed. Those that are happening are subject to the requirements of the host of the event. A host has the right to require proof of vaccination or not, as they choose. This restriction is permitted per the ASIEs (Actions Still In Effect) of American Mensa, as only official meetings (business meetings or those hosted by the local group itself) are required to be open to all members. Social events are specifically excluded from the definition of official meetings, per Article 12 Section E(3) of the ASIEs. For full details, the ASIEs can be found at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/policydocuments/actions-still-in-effect/.

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

THE TENTH STORY for August

The quarterly meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) was held on July 10, 2021 at the new American Mensa headquarters in Hurst, TX. The meeting was simulcast via YouTube for members who wished to observe, although because there were no cameras in the conference room, it consisted of audio and PowerPoint presentations. It also started with an extended period of silence for the observers, since the first order of business was handled in executive session to discuss volunteer and personnel issues.

During the session, the four appointed officers to the AMC were confirmed, including Charlie Steinhice as Director of Science and Education and Tabby Vos as Marketing Officer (both continuing from the previous term), and Robin Crawford as Communications Officer and Kimberly Strickland as Membership Officer. Robin was the 2019 recipient of the Margot Award "for the rendering of exceptional service to Mensa for a number of years", including serving as Communications Officer several years ago. Dr. Strickland is a new addition to the AMC, and brings expertise in Marketing that she uses in MBA instruction in Marketing and Organizational Design. All four will be serving for the one-year terms that are traditional for the appointed positions, and I look forward to working with all of them.

Other business conducted during the meeting were approval of Action Committees and their appointees, appointment of Committee chairs, acceptance of the 2020-2021 financial audit, appointment of the 2023 Annual Gathering co-chairs, and the selection of Lora Mitchell (RVC 3) as the RVC representative to the AMC Executive Committee.

Regional Vice Chairs (RVCs) are expected to serve on a number of national committees, and during this meeting I was appointed to three Action Committees (Bylaws Committee, Community Service Committee, and Finance and Audit Committee). Each Action Committee requires a minimum of three voting members of the AMC to approve any actions taken by their committee. I will also serve as the AMC Liaison for the AML History Committee and the Gifted Youth Committee. The Liaison serves as representative to the AMC on behalf of the committee when the chair is not a member of the AMC.

The next meeting of the AMC will be at the World Gathering in Houston on Thursday, August 26, 2021.

____________________________________

During the World Gathering (August 24-29), I will be holding a Meet-and-Greet for Region 10 members (and any guests who wish to attend) on Wednesday, August 25 from 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM. I'll also be attending the Broward Mensa meet-and-greet on August 26 at 4:30 PM (that is, if the AMC meeting is over by then). I will also be co-moderating a small-group discussion session with John Neemidge (RVC 6) entitled "Best Practices for Local Groups by Size" on Friday, August 27 from 3:00 PM to 4:15 PM. This is one of 11 Leadership Development Workshops that will be held during the Gathering, ranging from getting Area groups going to Succession Planning and The Future of Mensa.

To those who will be attending, I hope I get a chance to meet you at one of these sessions.

____________________________________

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/

See our new proposed by-laws (PDF format).
See our current local by-laws (PDF format), and the national minimum standards for bylaws (PDF format).

MenTally Online!

[ Home | About Us | Calendar | MensaSpeak | Join Mensa | Local Officers | Newsletters | Services | Resources | Fun Stuff ]

© Tallahassee Area Mensa. All rights reserved.
Mensa® and the Mensa logo (as depicted for example in U.S. TM Reg. No. 1,405,381) are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by American Mensa, Ltd., and are registered in other countries by Mensa International Limited and/or affiliated national Mensa organizations. Mensa does not hold any opinions, or have, or express, any political or religious views.