Message from the President

I recently convened a Strategic Planning Committee, under the able chairmanship of Bill Anderson, because every organization, including ours, needs to step back from daily operations from time to time and take stock of its objectives, where it stands on the road to achieving them, and how best to continue the journey. Instead of focusing on how well we are climbing the mountain, we paused to ask whether we are climbing the right mountain.


The Committee concluded that, by and large, we are climbing the right mountain, but we face strategic challenges in two principal areas: Growth Limits and Leadership Succession.


Growth, with a 20%-plus increase in membership over the past year, is the product of success. This is welcome because our mission to educate and inform our community about world affairs is furthered by reaching more people with our programs. Growth also increases our revenue without our needing to raise dues. This additional revenue is needed as our economy recovers, venues charge more, and we increasingly need professional technical support and new equipment to present more sophisticated programs to larger audiences. However, the downside of growth is also becoming apparent, as the number of members who want to attend our programs begins to strain and sometimes exceed the capacities of our available venues. We recognize we are entering an era of limits and must plan for and adapt to limits that may constrain, not only our present activities, but also our further growth.


Leadership succession is our second major challenge. The Council has been well served by having experienced, seasoned volunteer leaders in place for some years, with occasional additions of new volunteers who bring new energy and ideas. However, the number of potential new leaders has not grown nearly as rapidly as membership. Our leaders are starting to step down at a faster rate than experienced volunteers are available to replace them. Thus, we need to find potential successors for our leadership positions, as time and the indignities of age take their toll on the volunteers who have served our Council so ably for so long.


In that spirit, I ask all of you, especially our newer members, to consider joining our corps of volunteers. You may be surprised where it takes you! Just use our member feedback link on the home page of our website (look for the green triangle), e-mail us, or call. Give us your talents, and we’ll show you a good time!


Paul Willihnganz

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