This is a great opportunity, to be able to endorse the election of a really valuable member of Mensa, LaRae Bakerink, to the position of 2nd Vice Chair.
The “why” is I think really interesting, especially since among the things I’m praising her for is her effective method of opposing a position I held intensely at the time. Her strong, very capable, and yet kind opposition to my then firmly adamant condemnation of the Ethical Guidelines and Code of Conduct for Proctors was especially productive, in that her way of doing it allowed me to realize after several months that she was right but that I was not surrendering to pressure, instead was seeing the light so clearly that I began recommending on Proctor Talk and to our group’s proctors that the document be signed by all of us.
Strong firm opposition to my point of view: Sound like someone not very easily or pleasurably dealt with, but as I then began to seek her ideas and advice, she showed that she is also especially kind and caring.
Isn’t a strong opponent who is also a very kind helpful ally a unique really valuable person? That is why I will vote for her and recommend that choice to you.
Testing Coordinator and Past President
South Texas Mensa
LaRae is well loved by her community and is the reason I got more involved in Mensa. She is a constant source of inspiration and I am amazed at how selflessly she commits to the group. I would consider any effort that has LaRae's focus to be an inevitable success.
Jarrod Overson, Former LocSec – San Diego, Former GenX/GenY SIG leader
I’m voting for LaRae Bakerink for Second Vice Chairman. She put life into a slumping San Diego Mensa as their President for several years, and as Activity Chair. She has been their Regional Gathering Chair for four years running. She brought the national Mind Games to San Diego and has now succeeded in bringing the Annual Gathering to San Diego in 2016. She has re-energized many veteran members and has involved lots of new younger members as well. LaRae is a highly successful business woman who will be a tremendous asset to American Mensa. LaRae is a superstar.
As LocSec of Southern Nevada Mensa, I have come to rely on LaRae Bakerink on a wide range of activities.
She helped us fix a broken testing and proctor system, providing the training and support our new Testing Coordinator needed to get that effort back on track and successful.
When we needed to do a local Leadership Development Workshop last Fall, to bring our largely inexperienced ExComm up to speed on their jobs and to give other local members insight into Mensa jobs they might want to pursue, LaRae took charge. She not only helped organize the event, rounding up speakers and then coming to Las Vegas to oversee the workshop, she also served as one of our primary speakers. It is a task she has agreed to repeat this year.
While all of that technically may fall under her responsibilities as National Testing Coordinator and assistant RVC-9, LaRae has consistently gone above and beyond, coming to Las Vegas from San Diego many times in the past year to help us rebuild and re-invigorate our ExComm and the chapter at large. In every case, she has been congenial, committed, willing to do far more than the minimum required and, frankly, invaluable to us.
Endorsing her bid for a seat on the AML Board, therefore, is an easy call.
The Bible tells us that “By their deeds ye shall know them.” Here’s a small selection of LaRae Bakerink’s deeds within our organization, accomplishments that have immeasurably enriched our Mensa group here in San Diego:
· professionalized the tracking of our budget and established new revenue streams so that we no longer have to address one financial emergency after another but have become solvent and actually profitable;
· as a result, we are able to donate funds to worthy causes, including Mensa Educational Research Foundation and scholarships for winners of the Greater San Diego Engineering and Science Fair;
· instituted an e-mail blast that informs members of upcoming events and opportunities;
· vastly expanded our web presence;
· vastly expanded our community presence, including Mensa booths at various public events;
· vastly expanded member activities, including behind-the-scenes visits to our zoo and baseball stadium;
· increased testing opportunities and membership;
· secured an excellent venue for our Regional Gathering and acted as Program Chair for the RG each year;
· secured an excellent venue for our Holiday Party;
· secured Mind Games for San Diego in 2010 and the Annual Gathering for 2016.
Great leaders are dedicated, focused, creative, and humble. Great leaders are possessed of a powerful vision. LaRae Bakerink possesses all these qualities in abundance and has transmuted them into reality. She builds castles in the air and always puts foundations under them. She is unremittingly humble about her accomplishments and, as a result, an inspirer and uniter, not a divider. To take but one example, when she became president of our group, there was some tension between older and younger Mensans. LaRae took steps to ameliorate that situation and has succeeded in creating a cooperative membership.
As one who loves Mensa, I would love Mensa on the national level to share the benison of LaRae Bakerink’s gifts as we have on the local level.
president emeritus, San Diego Mensa
language columnist, Mensa Bulletin
twice recipient of National Chair’s Service Award