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RVC Columns

THE TENTH STORY for November

The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met on Sunday, October 8, 2023 at the National Headquarters in Hurst, TX.

Four motions were carried over from previous meetings as Unfinished Business, after having been taken back for more work. These were a motion to clarify the definition of Regular vs. Interim Meetings, requiring a tentative 14-month rolling calendar of AMC meetings for planning purposes, sending a referendum to the membership to allow Regional Ombuds to be eligible to vote for and run for National Ombudsman, and sending a referendum to the membership to deal with a potential vacancy in the role of Ombudsman (in cases of recusal or pending the election of a new Ombudsman). All four motions passed.

New business included the appointment of Allison Reeves and Karen Gruebele as Co-Chairs of the 2025 Annual Gathering in Chicago, IL, establishing a SIGs (Special Interest Groups) Committee and rolling the SIG Officer into the role of SIG Committee Chair, and opening the position of Leadership Development Committee Chair to non-AMC members. The Election Committee requested two referenda to be passed to the membership - one to clarify an election eligibility question (a technicality around renewing memberships vs. paying membership dues), and one to require a minimum 6-month period of membership prior to running for office. There was also the required review of questions to AMC candidates, with the primary change being an addition of a question asking whether the candidate had ever left an elected/appointed position before the end of their term (including an opportunity to explain why if they had). All of these motions passed as well.

Reports included a review of the Lapsed Member Survey, which will be posted in the Meeting Reports (link below), and an Education by the Treasurer presentation explaining the process for dues increases.

It was also announced that the recently appointed Communications Officer had resigned, and the position had been opened up on the Volunteer Marketplace ( with an application deadline of November 10. The responsibilities of Communications Officer are defined in detail in Appendix 28 (American Mensa Committee Job Descriptions) in the Actions Still In Effect (ASIEs) which can be found at

Details and a recording of the meeting will be posted at


The day before the AMC meeting, the AMC held a strategy review/planning session in the national office. We are currently in the third year of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, so changes to that plan will be left to the next AMC in a couple of years, but we still needed to see how we are progressing against our goals and what obstacles are in the way, as well as concerns arising. Clearly, a plan that was adopted for 2020 immediately ran up against some unprecedented problems with the COVID pandemic, and some of our targets such as Local Group testing are lagging, although we're on target with our overall and 1st year member retention rates. In one case our success is making future success impossible - we met aggressive goals of getting member reinstatements, which meant the lapsed member pool has been getting smaller, not larger, for subsequent years!

The Strategic Plan can be found at

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

Thomas George Thomas
Mensa Connect
Region 10 Facebook Group:


The next meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) will be held on October 8, 2023 at the National Office in Hurst, TX. At this writing, the agenda has not been finalized, but proposed items include a motion to define AMC Meeting terminology (clarifying after debate among some members what constitutes a regular meeting), a motion to establish an ongoing tentative calendar for future AMC meetings, a motion to pass the Regional Ombudsman referendum to a vote by the membership, a motion to pass an Ombudsman recusal process referendum to a vote by the membership, appointment of the 2025 Annual Gathering Chair, modification to the Special Interest Group (SIG) Officer and Committee rules, changes to the Leadership Development Committee rules, motions regarding national election qualification rules to be passed to the membership (at the request of the Election Committee), and a motion to update the AMC Questions to Candidates. Membership Officer Kimberly Strickland will also present the Lapsed Member Survey (different from the Member Satisfaction Survey from the previous meeting). (It's going to be a busy day...)

These may change before the meeting, but the final agenda will be posted at soon. Information on how to attend the meeting virtually will be posted to the membership the week prior to the meeting.


As a member of the AML (American Mensa Ltd.) History Committee, I have been reaching out to local groups to find out who has dedicated archives of their documents, minutes, newsletters, etc. from the time they were established. It's important to retrieve as much of this information as possible before it vanishes; in the case of one local group it appears to be too late, as the archivist passed away several years ago, and after their spouse passed away a number of years later, most of their papers went to a landfill. Many assume that this information is available through the national office, but reviewing the online history only Central Florida Mensa and Palm Beach Area Mensa have newsletter archives preceding 2005 (2003 and 1999, respectively). There are scattered newsletters preceding these dates (Palm Beach has a variety between 1973-1984, and Tampa Bay has a sequence from 1976-1977), but for the most part early history of many of our local groups is missing, and with the reduction of frequency and detail in recent newsletters newer history is going the same way.

The only full archive that I know about is for Tampa Bay Mensa, because it's sitting in a large file cabinet in my storage room. These included the original letters establishing TBM as a local group back in January 1976, and some of the meeting minutes leading up to that. Tampa Bay also has a member handbook (last updated in 2011) on their website, which contains a history chapter that mentions Central Florida forming in 1973 (Suzanne Wright tried to reactivate a group in Orlando and was presented with the entire expanse from the Atlantic to the Gulf!), and Manasota Mensa forming in November 1989 (under the leadership of Dwight Gill). In reviewing some of the early newsletters, I was interested to find that back in the '70s, there was an Indian River chapter, which in later years was either merged with or expanded into Space Coast Area Mensa (currently in the process of dissolution). But much of the information about that, and other local groups, is sketchy at best.

To all the long-time members out there still reading, if you have archives for your local group, or know who would, please let me know (even if you think someone else will let me know, because that often doesn't happen)! My contact information is below.

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

Thomas George Thomas
Mensa Connect
Region 10 Facebook Group:

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:

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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