March 22, 2012

by JKL


Our Maestro conference call meeting was called to order by President Eric Byler at 5:07 pm PST.  Other directors present included: Secretary Jeanene Louden, Treasurer Eric Whinery, Jose Gutierrez, Frank Kirkwood, Christopher Ritter (who had to leave the call after about an hour), and Egberto Willies. Those who missed the call included Vice President Kerry Helmer, Craig Dunigan, and Executive Director Debilyn Molineaux. Membership Director Billy Sears was the only staff present.


Meeting minutes to date are posted.


Treasurer Eric W informed us that our membership / fundraising goal for March is no longer on target. We discussed the current plans for renewal and new membership opportunities.

Eric W also reported on the condition of our open receivable with the legal firm that exceeded the charges allowed in our contract with them back in 2010-11, while dropping the ball on our 501(4)c application (a “decision” they made and we did not discover until we tried to file our tax return this year). After discussing the history with this vendor, we encouraged Eric to either, 1) inform the firm we consider this account paid in full, or, 2) offer no more than $2000 to satisfy the $11,000 A/P (per previous Treasurer input). In the end we all felt the attorney fees we are now paying to correct the tax status situation they created easily justifies not paying anything more on this account.


Chris and Eric B told us the work group met last night to hammer out a 2012 approach. They shared that the meeting was intense, and still the group was able to come up with an innovative solution that served all identified purposes and functions:the work group has split into two new committees to support our new mission and vision:

  • One committee which will work out problems with the existing Groupsites and maintain the Coffee Party footprint on the web (a maintenance and operations group)
  • One committee which will now be looking outward beyond our in-house projects to find creative ways to interact with the outside world (trends, tools, technology).


Eric B initiated a discussion on the need to expand the membership of the Messaging Work Group. The Public Relations slots were filled with highly qualified volunteers last week. We discussed the difference between messaging, development, “advocacy and action”, and public relations, only to come to the realization that we, the members of the Board, WERE the messaging work group: that while the many work groups would always assist us in important ways, we are the focal point for information to and from the membership, and we could not give that job away if we wanted: and that the newly formed Public Relations group could fulfil the tasks that were messaging in nature that we COULD give away.

Messaging Work Group

  • WHEREAS The Coffee Party Board of Directors is directly accountable to the membership, and
  • WHEREAS the Messaging Work Group is the voice of the Coffee Party USA, it is
  • RESOLVED that the Coffee Party Board of Directors is the Messaging Work Group.
  • It is further
  • RESOLVED that the Public Relations is a subcommittee to the Messaging Work Group.

Motion was made by Eric B, seconded by Egberto, and passed: 5 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain (Frank), and 2 not present (Craig and Kerry).


Eric B opened the discussion of a vision statement chart he developed using the planning tool developed by Ash Maurya, Alexander Ostenwalder, and Lucas Rodriguez Cervera. We all liked the direction of the document, but came to agree that it was really more a strategic plan than a vision statement, and how it did a fine job of capturing the direction we had created in Chicago.

We discussed the need to launch this strategy outside ourselves; how it was already operational within the Board, but, because it had not been wordsmithed, we were not able to share it with our membership. We discussed the risk of going out too soon v. the risk of taking too long in search of “just the right language” and explored if an early release was wise given that two directors were not at the meeting.

We also discussed releasing a draft of our Core Values. We decided that we should not do that now, given that the Strategy and Organizational Design work group was just days (hours) from delivering a very good working draft to us, and it would be a shame to not honor their effort.

In the end, we decided that all our documents, especially those that were put out for input, were intended to be transparent and organic; that perfection was the great enemy of doing. And, that since all the directors had had a chance to comment on all three pieces we were considering releasing, the two absences were tolerable to most of us.


  • WHEREAS The Coffee Party Board of Directors is committed to transparency and participation in all of its work, and
  • WHEREAS all documents, especially those released for comment, are considered “organic” and subject to change per the will of the membership and our better understanding of our charge, and
  • WHEREAS we believe the time has come to expedite the launch of #CP2012, it is
  • RESOLVED that the Coffee Party Board of Directors release the draft Mission Statement, Vision Statement, and Strategic Plan for review and comment by both members and followers.

Motion was made by Chris, seconded by Jeanene, and passed: 6 yes, 0 no, 1 abstain (Frank), and 2 not present (Craig and Kerry).


In the little time left, Billy gave us a quick history of the 2010 Coffee Party Week and why he thinks this would be a great kick off for the new affiliate program. We have several links to read before next week’s meeting.

There were several other fundraising ideas on the agenda that will have to wait for next week. There were good docs linked for our review before we meet again.


Last week we started a significant discussion on the pros and cons of endorsing this organization. It happened again as soon as the name, “Americans Elect” was mentioned. Because there was such a disparity of facts available among us, we decided to invoke the Coffee Party way (outlined in our collaboration guidelines) and conduct a research effort to address all concerns.  We will have the facts we need to make a decision next week.


The Organizers National Team call is Sunday, 3/25. Eric W will be leading the call. Frank will be giving an update on the Anti-Corruption Pledge collaboration with United Republic. Everyone is invited to participate on the call. Local groups are a key element in our strategic plan!


The next meeting will be held Thursday, March 29, 2012, at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern. We closed with 30 second check-outs and then all got a chance to say Aloha to one another.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jeanene Kay Louden