Monday, July 30, 2012

From the IMPACT Archives: How IMPACT got its name

Excerpts from Mark Morris’ “Making IMPACT” in A History of Model Mugging[1]

Backstory from Mark’s history, 1990
In July 1990, Carol Middleton organized a meeting with chapter heads from Boston, LA, DC, Chicago, and the Bay Area to meet with Matt Thomas to come up with a plan to pay him for the rights to use the name Model Mugging, even though he had not taken any steps to protect the trademark. Negotiations broke down and some chapters decided to explore a national organization with a new name; [1] this group is who Mark called the Organization Faction, chapter leaders who wanted to form a national organization. Mark identified two other factions: the Owners (some of the founders who developed Model Mugging into a full-fledged program—Matt Thomas, Julio Toribo, Danielle Evans) and the Community Faction (people who did not want to go either way, but wanted to maintain relationships).
The Chicago Meeting
On March 12 and 13, 1991, the Organization Faction met in Chicago. This meeting was attended by Melissa Soalt, Model Mugging (MM) of Boston; Al Potash and Lisa Gaeta, IMPACT Personal Safety in Los Angeles; Carol Middleton; DC Model Mugging;  Sheryl Doran. Bay Area Model Mugging (BAMM); Martha Thompson and Joe Connelly, Self-Empowerment Group of Chicago (SEG). I was there too -- however I no longer represented a Chapter. Bill Kratoska (MM of Minneapolis) was very supportive of our efforts, but he was unable to attend. We were joined by Laine [Jastram] and her husband, Jeff Evans, representing MM of New York, and Rick Gibbons from MM of Kansas City….
We approved an idealistic Mission Statement that focused on the public good. I pointed out that we were also working together for our own benefit. Failure to keep this agenda out in the open would lead us directly to the same sort of self-serving self-righteousness we all resented so much in Matt [Thomas]. After this good start, we quickly got bogged down in a debate over a name for the proposed association. There was a deeper question underneath this surface issue. Were we trying to create a strong association built around a new trademark or a weak association with a generic name? Most of us agreed that IMPACT was the best sounding of the suggested names. However, concerns were expressed about giving undue influence to the LA Chapter. [According to Mark’s chapter The Dust Settles, in 1989, Irene van der Zande , Al Potash, and Lisa Gaeta decided to establish a new organization. They all wanted a new name for the organization that did not involve the name Model Mugging. In 1989, Al came up with the name IMPACT, the IMPACT Foundation was incorporated, and Model Mugging of Los Angeles began a transition to the IMPACT name.] Al said he was willing to yield the IMPACT name to the national organization.
Sheryl Tips the Scales
In May, Sheryl [Doran] opted to support "IMPACT" as the trademark for the national organization. [Sheryl’s support was critical because she was “the mother” of Model Mugging. She created and defined the female instructor role. She was technically skilled, professional, empathetic, and a skilled facilitator. Sheryl’s combination of networking, word of mouth, and ability to connect with people brought women into the courses. Her business and marketing skills were key to the success of Model Mugging]. At our next meeting, a phone conference on May 16, 1991, we settled on Impact International Inc. (III)…. A majority (the Chapters in LA, the Bay Area, Chicago, and D.C.) now supported a strong association and the III name….
May to October 1991
From June until the December 1991 National Retreat, we held III meetings on a monthly basis through phone conferences….Martha Thompson played an important role (beginning with the March conference) by facilitating our meetings. Through her leadership, we were able to move forward, if only at a crawling pace, through even the thorniest issues…
Impact Personal Safety organized a National Model Mugging Staff Retreat for December…By the time of the Retreat, III consisted of an association between the [former] Model Mugging Chapters in the Bay Area, LA, Chicago and DC….Carol Middleton from D.C. was the first President of IMPACT International, Inc.

[1] Martha Thompson selected the excerpts and has inserted some explanatory notes. To read the full history as written by Mark, contact Martha ( for an electronic copy.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lot of long meetings -- ugh! It is cool (and not a surprising) that the Chicago-contingent was in the thick of things, laying a solid foundation for the IMPACT Chicago of today. Thank you, Martha, for your patience and perseverance. It is interesting to think back as we (particularly Julie, AC, Leslie, and Martha) lay the foundation for the IMPACT Chicago of tomorrow. I see IMPACT's work for next 25 years being as carefully and strategically crafted as its first 25 have been. Happy Anniversary to IMPACT Chicago and many thanks to that group of amazing women and men that brought their creativity, skills, and lives to IMPACT to help reduce violence.