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Monday, August 14, 2017

IMPACT Chicago Beginnings

IMPACT Chicago dates its beginnings from when the first course was offered in August 1987.

Founding the Self-Empowerment Group, August 1986-November 1988
Key people and groups:
Joe Connelly—Founder of Self-Empowerment Group
  • Joe heard about Model Mugging from friends in California and read an article in Black Belt Magazine.
  • Negotiated with Matt Thomas of Model Mugging and the Personal Empowerment Center and met the requirement of having a business plan, identifying two candidates for instructor training (Joe and Lonna Brooks), and having an outreach person (Connie Conroy)
  • Provided funds for the first instructor candidates and for the fledging organization
Business Advisory Group
Norm Axelrod, Dennis Detzel, Elliot Rubenstein, and Dennis Conroy

Board of Directors
President: Lonna Brooks, Vice-President Joe Connelly, Members Dennis Conroy and Laurie Haight

Others: After August 1987: Dianne Costanzo (first certified lead instructor), Theo Pintzuk, and Carole Isaacs; After July 1988: Martha Thompson

Main Activities in Founding
Negotiated with Matt Thomas and Personal Empowerment Center
Sent people for training
Offered first class August 1987 at Hillcrest Community Center, 13 women 
            Offered 4 other courses
            Total of 50 women trained during the founding period

Key Decisions
Established a nonprofit rather than for profit
Didn’t sign a royalty agreement with Matt Thomas

Main issue
How to create an effective, efficient organization with a commitment to offering programs to as many women as possible?

Building the Self-Empowerment Group, November 1988-November 1990
Key People and Groups
Martha Thompson—coordinated the creation of an infrastructure to support programming and coordinated the instructor team
Core Group of Volunteers: Martha (coordinator), Susan Andrews, Dianne Costanzo, Debborah Harp, Anne Mason, Theo Pintzuk, Becky Yane
Long Range Planning Committee: Martha (coordinator), Joe Connelly, Dianne Costanzo, Anne Mason, Theo Pintzuk, Becky Yane
Interim Board (all the people above) plus Linda Jedrzejek

Main Activities
     Building an instructor team—regular meetings, in-service training, ongoing instructor training
     Building a volunteer organization
     Offering a regular and expanded schedule
21 basics courses, over 200 women trained
Review course
Defense against an armed assailant (DAAR) instructor training in Boston (Joe and Martha)
Training rest of instructors in DAAR
Offering DAAR
Boundaries workshop
Key Decisions
Established the organization on principles of the program: empowerment and personal growth
Created a joint committee of volunteers and instructors to lead the organization
Moved to a membership-based Board of Directors
Main Issues
How to build an organization consistent with the principles of the program?
      Related: decision-making, division of labor, accountability, communication, language, and 
      problem-solving           

What kind of leadership model did we want to support?
      Related: recognizing invisible work and the people who do it; preventing burnout; what role will         instructors play; how to transform instructor-student relationship to a peer relationship?

How do we determine/evaluate our success?
Focus on process or product?
Focus on program/women served or organizational (office, # of paid people, career lines)?


Notes from a 1990 Interview of Joe Connelly by Martha Thompson and her organizational notes.

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