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RVC Columns

THE TENTH STORY for September

In preparation for the October American Mensa Committee (AMC) meeting, we've begun discussions about the questions for candidates running for the next AMC. This is per our Bylaws, which specifies that the candidates' answers to these questions must be provided by the AMC for the election ballot. While this may seem early for an election that won't occur until next April, the Election Committee needs to have them before December in order to prepare the nominating rules.

I don't intend to run for the AMC again, so other members from Region 10 need to start thinking about whether they would like to take on that opportunity. I have found the position fulfilling, and would like to continue to serve on national committees if they'll have me. However, after over 10 years as RVC, I have had to slow down, and cannot fulfill some of the expectations for the role - such as visiting each of the local groups throughout the year (the long car trips have become quite challenging).

One of the tacit expectations of the members of the AMC, and indeed of all officers in Mensa, is finding successors for their positions. This is mildly ironic, considering the bylaws referendum from several years ago that eliminated the national Nominating Committee. One of the complaints was the suspicion that candidates were being chosen by the NomCom from the "in-crowd". Having gone through that nominating process with a panel that did not know me, I don't see how that was more of an inside job than me actually picking my own successor, but so it goes. Conspiracies don't necessarily follow standard logic.

If anyone is interested in running for Regional Vice Chair (RVC), let me know if you have any questions. I would start you out by referring you to Appendix 28 in the Actions Still In Effect (ASIEs), which outlines the job descriptions for each of the positions on the AMC, and we can go from there.


I mentioned in my previous column that Membership Officer Kimberly Strickland would be providing a Region 10 breakdown of her Membership Satisfaction survey, and the results were striking. A key measurement in these types of surveys is the Net Promoter Score, or NPS. The way this is measured is that on a scale of 0-10, Promoters are those who give a score of 9 or 10, while Detractors provide a score of 0-6 (7 and 8 are considered Neutral). Each Promoter is given a plus 1 score, and each Detractor is given a negative 1 score.

When asked the question "Would you recommend Mensa to a friend?", the percentage of Promoters was 38%, while the percentage of Detractors was 31%. The result was a NPS of 7, which is consistent with similar surveys done in the past. Any NPS over 0 is considered good, so 7 is in the right ballpark.

For Region 10, the results were much different. The percentage of Promoters was 43.5%, while the percentage of Detractors was 28%. That gives Region 10 a Net Promoter Score of 15.5%, which is a higher level than I'd seen in any previous surveys. The creators of the NPS metric put 20 as a "Great" score, but 15.5 is Very Good. And given the reticence of so many members to even admit that they are members of Mensa, this is a surprisingly high number. I hope we can keep the trend going!

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

Thomas George Thomas
Mensa Connect
Region 10 Facebook Group:


The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met on July 6, 2023 at the Annual Gathering in Baltimore, MD. There were three motions passed that updated our Actions Still In Effect (ASIEs), which is Mensa-speak for "official policies" not dictated by our Bylaws. The first was the motion I outlined in my previous column (authorizing Gifted Youth Member Volunteers). The second and third were tandem motions which clarified some redundancies and inconsistencies with the Testing Team, including who appoints the Testing Team Chair, that the Testing Team Chair and National Testing Officer (NTO) are the same person, and the scope and limits of the authority of the NTO and the testing team. There was an additional motion to update the AMC Meeting and Quarterly Reporting requirements, but in discussion concerns were raised about some inconsistencies and potential unintended consequences in the various parts of the motion. Past experience with editing a motion on the fly has demonstrated that this is poor practice, as we may miss any potential new issues that may be created as a result, so rather than voting it down, the motion was recommitted to the mover (Jon Gruebele/ RVC 4) and we will discuss in more detail before the next meeting so these problems are resolved.

There were three reports presented at this meeting, with the usual Treasurer and Executive Director reports plus a report by the Election Committee that Chad Anderson had been elected as National Ombudsman with a term beginning on August 1, 2023. I look forward to working with him to refine the referenda I was working on over the past year (covered in several of my past columns) so we can alleviate any concerns before putting them before the membership for a vote at the next election.

In addition, there were three presentations given to the AMC. Taz Criss (Treasurer) as usual presented an Education by the Treasurer, this time explaining our Investment Funds, specifically our Life Member Fund and 3/5 Year Member Fund. Tracey Guice (RVC 8) provided a presentation on their Regional Gifted Youth Coordinator program, and Kimberly Strickland (Membership Officer) went over the results of the Membership Satisfaction Survey from February of this year. We've been promised a breakdown of the results by Region, and I look forward to seeing how our Region stands up in terms of member satisfaction.

The AMC also serves as the voting members of the Mensa Education and Research Foundation, and a recess in our regular meeting was called in order to hold the Annual Foundation Meeting. Nguyen Pham and Michelle Rakshys were elected to serve as Foundation Trustees for a term ending at the annual meeting of the Mensa Education & Research Foundation in 2026.

Various appointments of Committee Chairs, Individual Appointees, Action Committees and other appointments were discussed in executive session, and once those individuals were informed of their appointments announcements were made regarding those results. These were made public via the Mini-minutes on the website on July 10, 2023.

All of these presentations and reports, plus a recording of the session, are available on the website under 2023-07-06 - Baltimore, MD in the dropdown at The next meeting of the AMC is scheduled for October 7, 2023 at the National Office in Hurst, TX.

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

Thomas George Thomas
Mensa Connect
Region 10 Facebook Group:


At the most recent American Mensa Committee (AMC) meeting on May 20, 2023, the appointed officers of the AMC were approved for the 2023-2024 term. Dustin Hawkins from Mensa in Georgia will be the new Communications Officer and David Leavitt from Mid-America Mensa will be the new Marketing Officer. Kimberly Strickland and Charlie Steinhice will continue in their roles as Membership Officer and Director of Science and Education, respectively. Additionally, the Governance Task Force was officially established, with Second Vice Chair Baker Ring as Task Force Chair, and RVC7 Beth Anne Demeter, RVC4 Jon Gruebele, and RVC10 Thomas G. Thomas (hello!) assigned to the task force.

The second vote to remove the National Ombudsman was declared moot due to their resignation, and the motion to align the review of AMC Job Descriptions with the Terms of Office was adopted.


The next meeting of the AMC will be on July 6 in conjunction with the Annual Gathering in Baltimore, MD. While the agenda has not been finalized as of this writing, I can mention a motion that I submitted on behalf of the Gifted Youth Committee.

The fastest growing segment of American Mensa is our Gifted Youth, but as a member-run organization we have been limited in our capacity to serve this segment. Each Local Group's Gifted Youth Coordinator must receive a background check in order to interact with youth members, but it is still a challenge for an individual to cover all the bases for coordinating youth events. One option adopted in 2014 was to permit non-member parents of Gifted Youth to serve as volunteer assistants, but this still didn't offer enough flexibility.

In the latest review of the Gifted Youth Program and its volunteer handbook, it was determined in conjunction with the Risk Management Committee and Leadership Development Committee that we could allow non-parent Mensa member volunteers to assist with Gifted Youth, with the same background check protocols as the Gifted Youth Coordinators. This would allow qualified members who already work with youth (such as educators, counselors, and others) to assist without taking on the administrative duties that the programs require. In those cases where a local group does not have a Gifted Youth Coordinator, these vetted member volunteers would be permitted to assist the Local Secretary.

The motion I've submitted will modify Section 9.C. of the ASIEs (Actions Still In Effect), which are part of the governing documents of American Mensa. I've already received enthusiastic support for the motion, and hope that this will open up opportunities that we have been missing for our Gifted Youth members.

Finally, the Annual Business Meeting will be held in conjunction with our Annual Gathering on Friday, July 7 from 9:00 AM to Noon Eastern Time. I expect that members will be able to attend remotely. Detailed information should be available at by the time you read this.

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

Thomas George Thomas
Mensa Connect
Region 10 Facebook Group:


I am writing this column before the May 20, 2023 meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC), but it will not make it into Local Group newsletters until after the meeting has occurred. The best I can offer is the agenda.

Beyond the announcement that the site of the 2026 Annual Gathering will be the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, we needed to start with the unfinished business of the vote to remove the National Ombudsman. This is a moot point because the National Ombudsman resigned and the election for a new National Ombudsman is underway, but as a technical matter the original motion must be resolved, hence its inclusion here.

The next order of business will be held in Executive (closed) Session in order to discuss the AMC appointees for next year. This must be done at this meeting in order to invite the approved members to the AMC meeting in July at the Annual Gathering. Although we've heard some complaints that Executive Sessions have been overused, it would be unfair (not to mention legally questionable) to discuss the applicants' qualifications in open session, and out of respect for those members who might not want it known that they had applied and been passed over, we will not be providing that information, just as we did not release the names of all the applicants for the Second Vice Chair position when we filled it at the December 2022 meeting.

The last formal motion on the agenda is a housekeeping motion regarding the timing of updates of AMC Job Descriptions. The ASIEs specified that the job descriptions be reviewed every two years, which aligned with the terms of office for those roles. But since the terms were increased from two to three years in the last bylaws referendum, this needed to be updated as well (or it needed to be decided to leave it every two years - I don't know what the decision will be yet).

To end the meeting there will be a discussion/presentation by Executive Director Trevor Mitchell and AMC Chair Lori Norris on potential changes to our governance structure. This was alluded to in the last meeting, and this is where we'll start working on it in earnest. This is not a new discussion, and in fact a consulting team had been hired in 2007-2008 to review our governance structure. A Governance Task Force was then established to review the information received and offer recommendations for future action, and a 53-page report was submitted in November 2010 (which can be found in the reports from that meeting at the link below). But at that point all momentum stopped, and very little action came from it.

Now once again there are suggestions coming from various directions: Should we have fewer or more members on the AMC? Should all AMC members be elected nationally? Are Regions and Local Groups obsolete? And so forth. But none of these suggestions are coming with analysis, and since we already have data to work with, we should probably start from there, with updates to take into account technology and cultural changes in the intervening 13 years.

Although minutes will not be posted yet, the recording of the meeting should be, along with mini-minutes. You can check it out at


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

Thomas George Thomas
Mensa Connect
Region 10 Facebook Group:

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).

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