The Quest for an Effective Chairman in 1997

Candidate: Sander Rubin

Summary of Primary Accomplishments in Mensa to Date

and Proposals for the Future


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Purchased premises?
Endorsements (later)


Office Held


Sander's Accomplishment




The original AMC operated on a cash basis, but was spending beyond its means, without regard for its obligations to the members.

Designed and implemented action urgently needed to avoid impending bankruptcy

Instituted a quasi-accrual accounting system that assured solvency in ensuing years.

Tax status needed to be clarified, and made more advantageous for American Mensa.

Procured tax exempt status from IRS.

Wrote the original submission to the IRS to square American Mensa's tax status with the law.

It was impossible to plan reliably or work within a budget because of the uncertainty of income when dues were billed throughout the year.

Instituted uniform billing date for dues

Saved thousands of dollars for Mensa and made reliable planning possible by changing from anniversary to common billing.

AMC was subordinate to Mensa in England and decisions bounced back and forth so that "the government of Mensa resided in a cloud floating over Iceland."

Conceived the idea and then negotiated the autonomy of American Mensa

This negotiation model was adopted by other national Mensas.

Canadian Mensa had the same problem.

Negotiated the independence of Canadian Mensa

Needed to reconcile Mensa's social and public service goals

Founded MERF, Mensa's Education & Research Foundation

From conception to drafting its charter.

AMC had a monopoly on internal communications

Established the local group newsletter subsidy.

Arranged to distribute the Mensa Bulletin by second class mail and used the savings to institute the local group newsletter subsidy.


AMC Chair

Even though AMC had computerized membership records, no rosters were available to members.

Produced the first national membership list and first Mensa Register

Also provided for regular re-publication with new data.

American Mensa had sustained a declining membership over a period of several years..

Conceived a non- hierarchical organization based upon sub-units relating to one another by exchange of functions and services.

As Chairman of AMC, successfully managed Mensa according to these principles. As a result, starting in 1970, American Mensa achieved its period of greatest growth.


Proposals for the next Chairman




Allocation of resources for long-term growth

Set up separate capital budget

Invest in equipment and developments that bring actual benefits to members

Incoherent and complex rules - uninformed decisions

Prune obsolete AMC actions. Set up open committee for radical bylaws reform

Give special attention to opening up election and referendum procedures to an informed membership

Obstructed internal communication, incompatible with a "round table"

Invest in modern communication technology available to all members

"Intranet" is the current buzzword for the concept

Sub-units include LGs, SIGs, HQ staff, AMC, functional subcommittees (e.g., ElecComm, Logo) MERF, the members collectively. And International Mensa is also a sub-unit relating to the national groups. The whole is all of Mensa; the sub-units relate to one another by what functions they perform, not in a hierarchical tree.There is a place for hierarchy but not when looking at the whole society. It isn't a matter of pre-defining what are sub-units; it's a way of seeing relationships and functions. Sub-units are created (and destroyed) as the need for them arises (and vanishes) It's not an easy concept for many people, but it works.
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Copyright © 1997 by Sander Rubin
Related sites are welcome to establish a link to this page upon notifying me by e-mail. I shall be glad to reciprocate upon request.

Created: 01 Sep 96
Revised:22 Mar 97