My journey in the ManKind Project began in April 1992, when I was initiated at Carver’s Point, Miss., during the first training conducted by the Memphis Center. What I remember most about that experience was other men telling me the truth and showing me how they really felt, for the first time in my life. Up until that point, I felt alone. On a deep level, I thought there was something wrong with me. Since my initiation, and slowly over the years since, I have become more comfortable with myself and able to relate to others on a much deeper emotional level.
What a gift!
I moved to Arizona in summer 2000 and connected with an I-group here. This has become my home and the men of MKP Arizona are my community. My first staffing was in 2002. Since then, I have served as Training Chair on the MKP Arizona council and took on the role of Center Director in January this year. At the annual meeting of ManKind Project International at Glen Ivy Center in Corona, Calif., I volunteered to serve on the Executive Team for the new MKP USA, and was elected by the Center Council as one of the five men on the Executive Team (along with Glenn Gordon, Gene McMahon, Jim White and Robert Powell).
This work is powerful and important. I want to see it grow more quickly and include more men. Over the past 25 years, MKP has developed leadership and structures that have enabled us to grow to where we are now. Today we’re working to rebuild these structures and thinking about how to direct that leadership in a way that will make us bigger in the world. We are now MKP USA, one of eight regions under the MKP International umbrella.
There are thousands of men like you who are passionate about the work that we do and want to see it have an even bigger impact. Being one of so many men who are committed to this mission, I feel part of something permanent and meaningful.
Many men have invested their time and hearts into figuring out how to build an organization that can support faster growth, while maintaining the soul of our work. The men of the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team have spent the past two plus years looking at how MKP is organized and how we fund our activities. They have analyzed other organizations with missions similar to ours and that operate in the same legal, cultural, and financial environment as we do. And, they have told us that we must find a better way if we are to survive and thrive.
The MKP USA Council is working to set the stage for the implementation of many of the recommendations of the Stanford Alumni Consulting Team. We have built committees that are working on the pieces that must fit together to get us where we want to go. The MKP USA Membership program is the first step, to get us the funds needed right now to meet our current budget and to provide money needed to fund marketing activities and investment in “development” efforts which are intended to provide us with substantial funds that will give us the financial base to support our growth plans many years into the future. This is a realistic goal. Our work is powerful, the world needs what we do and there are people with resources who will invest in us to help us change the world… a little faster.
Can we create an organizational structure that will enable us to survive and extend our reach without losing the soul of this incredible work that we do? My belief is that we must and it won’t be easy. As I look around at the other organizations that I know (for profit companies, non-profits, religious institutions, government, military, etc.), all are in a struggle to achieve their objectives while balancing the needs of all of their constituencies. We are no different.
Our world is hungry for men who can create new models and tools for high functioning organizations. What we learn over the next few years about how to do this for MKP USA can become a whole new set of skills that we can teach – and another way to improve our world. My belief is that it is critical THAT we keep doing this work and that we embrace the risks that may come with doing it more assertively. HOW we do it is just as important.
Thank you for the work that you put into sharing the message of MKP within your community. As MKP-USA moves into this next phase of its mission, your voice and your passion make a difference. Please, use your voice and tell us what you are thinking and feeling.
Executive Team for MKP USA
Center Director for MKP Arizona