Monday, June 7, 2010

Denver (Finale)

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.

After a short humorous side-show, of which more below, we went on to the elections for the Board of Directors.  There were three vacancies, and three candidates, so this was not a complicated affair.  Craig Whalley, a former member of the Board of Directors, was elected back to the board.  Joe M. of San Francisco and Tom J. of Denver joined the Board for the first time.  Tim's minutes will give more details.  After an expression of thanks to the Congress organizers, the group adjourned for a short break.  Then the newly elected Board of Directors met for the very important business of filling the newly created leadership slots with people.  Thanks to Steve S. for this portrait of the new board.

Since this was my last appearance as CEO of LifeRing, I was the subject of repeated honorifics.  At the Saturday session, the Board presented me with a full-size functional life ring fitted with brass plaques containing words of thanks (photo above, thanks to Steve S). At the dinner, I was awarded a nautical clock with a lifering motif and more messages of appreciation (photo right, by Steve S).  At the Assembly, LifeRing participant Shauna W., a classmate of mine at Boalt Hall School of Law, Class of '86, had me and the group in stitches with a roast embroidering on some of my radical activities of the 1960s and 1970s, including a fantastic post by somebody on a forum somewhere in 2001 claiming that I had disappeared into the jungles of Brazil with a guerrilla army.  I squirmed and loved it.

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.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said Marty. Thanks for taking the time to share this with us!