Thursday, September 14th at 6:30 pm
Minsky’s at 51st & Main, Kansas City, MO

Being a Regional Vice Chair in Mensa is a vast but gratifying position! It’s also confusing since I wear many hats, cross responsibility lines, and can easily take on more than I should.

On one hand, RVCs are official board members of the American Mensa Committee, or “board.” Wearing that hat, we set goals that should stretch us as an organization, help us grow, increase our appeal to more potential Mensans, and so on. Looking at an “Ends vs. Means” approach to board governance, these goals are the “ends.” Some examples could be increasing membership to 50,000; reducing expenses by 5%; or planning an Annual Gathering that attracts 2,500 attendees.

When we remove the hat of “board member,” RVCs become involved with the local groups by planning LDWs (Leadership Development Workshops); helping with RGs; and even arranging games night at the local speakeasy (that’s my event!). These efforts are the “means” that accomplish a board’s “ends.” For instance, if I plan to host an RG, growing it annually and making local group members happy, then it follows that the “end” of increasing national membership could also be accomplished! Or, if I reduce local expenses; conduct additional testing sessions; find more Foundation donors; etc., these can also represent “means” to accomplish an “end.”

Obviously, in an optimal world, board members would only set and delegate “ends” and local leaders and members would figure out their best “means.” Or, one could also say that RVCs should remain at a more high level and leave the tactical stuff to the local groups. In our Mensa world, the lines have become blurred. Since I’m not going to solve that problem today or by myself, I’ll focus on what can be done immediately!

Delegation, succession planning and volunteer recruitment are all critical objectives for local groups. Finding more great people to help generate creative “means” shows we’ll deliver better local and national services and accomplish goals along the way. What can we do?

  • Brainstorm ideas. Identifying what a local group needs can start the accomplishment ball rolling.
  • Define roles clearly. Knowing what’s expected of a particular role helps a volunteer commit.
  • Ask people. Personalized invitations sometimes solicit the best volunteers.
  • Reward effort. Showing appreciation is a key component of however you define thanks, plus it helps recruit more volunteers!

Case in point, I volunteered (among other candidates) to be appointed as AG chair last year and was happily appointed! At present, I’m working to recruit chairs (e.g., hospitality, white hats, tours) to my AG 2024 committee – specifically, creative, enthusiastic, enterprising individuals who can put on a component of a great AG! As an example, a Kansas City volunteer who has experience with local highlights might make for a great local tour coordinator, thus increasing AG attendance simply by offering a microbrew tour, barbeque tasting, jazz evening and more. We’ll then drill down and recruit volunteers to help on site using personal requests, social media posts, the iVol system and more.

With these examples (no AG promises yet!), you can see how setting a clear “end” and allowing competent volunteers to explore creative “means” makes for a stronger, more focused organization. Recruitment and delegation are key. And while, as an RVC, I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility, it’s a ton of fun! Reach out if you’re interested in helping, or I’ll speak on all these topics at the MAM board meeting on September 14th. See you then!

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Editor’s note: This article is reprinted courtesy of the Mension. Additional information will be made available in the September 2023 Mension.

All Mensa members are invited to join us at Minsky’s to meet Beth Anne and attend the September 2023 MAM board meeting. You might have questions about the 2024 AG in KC and who can answer those questions better than Beth Anne. Seating may be limited.

RSVP to Diana Dyer, [email protected], so you will be sure to have a seat at the table or for the Zoom login info if you can’t be there in person, but still want to know what’s going on.