Tabula Rasa (Clean Slate)
In 2018, I asked myself what would a meteorite association look like if I started with a clean slate? The first step was to better understand our community’s needs and desires, or, in other words, what problem(s) did they need solved. I then started writing down ideas, requirements and, most importantly, interviewing my “customers” including fellow meteorite collectors, dealers, and scientists. During this time and even now, Tomasz Jakubowski and I had many conversations about how the community could be better served.
The goal was not to start a new organization, but to imagine how I could bring meaningful change to the existing meteorite collectors organization. As a board member of that organization, I was committed to work from within to enact change, provide benefits beyond just a membership number, and repair the relationship between members and the board. However, my efforts during the following two years proved no more productive than my previous four years serving on the board – the last year as Vice President.
In November 2020, I felt it was time to start extracting myself from the existing organization so I could focus my efforts in a positive and constructive direction. My goal was to fill the void in our community and create a vibrant, modern, active, transparent, and inclusive organization.
As I began writing the required documents, I kept in mind one of the most important lessons from my corporate experience, “the customer signs your paycheck.” For our nonprofit organization, I translated that lesson into “the members fund your organization’s future”, meaning that organizations must embrace change and listen carefully to its customers/members in order to remain relevant and to grow in the future.
With this lesson in mind, I created our Board of Directors’ Golden Rule: The Board operates for the benefit of and is accountable to the membership, its volunteers and staff. Over the course of the next two months, I created the first draft of all the required documents, incorporated the organization, initiated the website and logo designs and established a truly international board.
A Fresh Beginning
The board reviewed these first documents and with their incredible ideas, insights, and occasionally brutal feedback helped establish a solid foundation from which the Global Meteorite Association could grow and become a member-focused organization. The organization was then incorporated as a 501(c)6 on January 7, 2020. These documents also establish our culture to guide the future of the organization beyond any one person’s vision. In the spirit of the Board’s Golden Rule, the GMA member #G0001 is forever blocked to signify that no member is any more important than any other member.
GMA’s First Board of Directors:
- President – Mendy Ouzillou (USA), Member #G0002
- Vice President – Tomasz Jakubowski (Poland), Member #G0003
- Secretary – Rob Keeton (USA), Member #G0004
- Treasurer – Matthew Martin (USA), Member #G0005
- Francesco Moser (Italy), Member #G0006
- Noreddine Azelmat (Morocco), Member #G0007
- Dustin Dickens (USA), Member #G0008
- Andre Moutinho (Brazil), Member #G0009
- Sean Mahoney (Spain), Member #G0010
Five of our first nine board members are outside of USA (including North Africa) and only four are inside USA. Our advisory councils include volunteers from all over the globe as well.
The time for “I” is at an end. Now, “We” will focus on growing our hobby, educating our audiences, and striving to continuously improve in order to better serve our members.
GMA President and Founder