Monday, June 7, 2010
Sunday morning opened without a cloud in the brilliant blue sky. The Unitarian church being busy with services, our LifeRing group convened in a community center next to Cheesman Park, as we did in 2007. Immediately the contrast with three years ago was obvious. In 2007, the whole body met around a modest conference table. This time we needed a conference room with a head table and classroom seating. This session, known formally as the Delegates' Assembly, is composed of LifeRing participants who have been selected as delegates by their meetings. The basic rule is that each meeting (face-to-face or online) gets to select one delegate, who has one vote in the Assembly.
Tim S. from Tucson acted as Secretary to the session, and his Minutes will give a comprehensive report. I'll just give a short synopsis. The group approved the Minutes of last year's Delegates' Assembly. We then heard the Treasurer's report, by LifeRing CFO Robert Stump. This led to discussion of how LifeRing handles money; the report was approved unanimously. LifeRing Office Administrator Rachaell C., the only person doing LifeRing work who is paid (as a contractor on part-time hours), then presented information about the role of the LifeRing Service Center in Oakland. I then presented the Annual Report, which, after discussion, was also approved unanimously. I then yielded the chair to Craig Whalley, a leading member of the Expansion Committee, who presented the Expansion Committee proposals. These proposals had been worked out over the course of six months with input from a wide variety of stakeholders. They were then published and publicized widely (we even had a YouTube video) for comment. In view of the deliberate and transparent process that had preceded them, these wide-ranging proposals aroused no deep controversy at the meeting. The labels of some of the newly created leadership positions were amended, and then the whole package was adopted without abstention or dissent, giving rise to a burst of applause from the group. As it happened, I was the only person present who had also attended the LifeRing founding Congress in 2001. This session had the same enthusiastic and energized atmosphere.
While the newly elected Board met to do the heavy lifting of dividing up the workload, I seized my new freedom and went for a long walk in the park and a visit to Denver's top-notch Botanical Garden (photo of prize-winning roses, above). I got a bit of a tan and returned to the meeting site just in time to help Kathleen G., the hard-working main organizer of the event, turn off the lights and close the doors. I learned that Craig Whalley (photo, right) had been elected Executive Director of LifeRing (the CEO position has been retired) and that most of the other new positions have also been filled. Craig is a wonderful person, whom I have known for many years, and he has my full support. Pouring my energies into LifeRing as founder and CEO for the past thirteen years has been a wonderful and rewarding experience for me. I'm proud as heck that the network has now grown both in size and in talent to the point where I can hand over the leadership to others.
I'll still be working on the new website for a while, and I've got some unfinished LifeRing writing projects in my hopper, and of course I'll still be attending (and probably convening) a meeting or two, and blogging, and a bit of traveling and speaking as author. But first, a break. Did I mention that the World Cup is starting at the end of this week? What perfect timing.