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First Email from Me in December 2018

Said by some to have caused irreversible offense to the EC. No offense was intended and, frankly, I can see nothing but patently obvious facts. These are no more than observations that I would have expected the EC to be fully aware of way before I came on board.

I make it crystal clear that these are my observations before talking to the EC, and the subsequent feedback from Members was terrific.

What could be controversial about making an assessment of the current situation and the tasks ahead of us? I invite you to take this view —of a regular Member who attends the Centre and who can see these obvious issues— and then compare it with the handover document Frank and I were given.

Who should be offended?

You may already have heard the news that Judy has finally been able to wriggle out of the Director’s seat after her amazing stint of 10 years or so. Even then it has taken about a year to find a replacement. And even then… it took two people to replace her! Frank Brock and I will be taking over the reins from the start of 2019.
Frank will be Assistant and I will be the CD. I will attempt to follow the advice of Lama Yeshe who founded Tara Institute in the mid 1970s; Think Big, Communicate, Be Professional.
Obviously, it’s early days and I haven’t yet met the Executive, spoken to Mark or had a handover brief from Judy. None-the-less, I thought it was important to give you an idea of where I stand at the moment and where I would like to point the Centre in the short time ahead of me.
  • How I see what’s in front of us today
    • everything is ageing
      • the people
        • can lead to closed “who-you-know” environment
        • doesn’t encourage younger involvement
      • building is much the same as it was long ago, only more run-down
    • income is down
      • membership is down from the 200 Members we had when we first came to Brighton
      • loss of tax deductibility has dramatically curtailed big donations
      • the average person who uses the Centre doesn’t know that TI needs support
    • We don’t seem to have the same interaction with the world-outside-TI that we used to have
      • apart from Cafe Bliss!!
  • How I am aiming to tackle the situation for the future
    • bringing experienced people back into the committee
    • more participation
      • Members will run more of the centre via portfolio committees…
      • …where they will design and plan portfolio projects for approval by the executive
      • more committees will give younger people more chances to contribute and learn how to run TI
    • transparency
      • Members will see thinking/plans and figures on the website
      • Frank and I will rotate through portfolio committee meetings to participate and answer questions
    • new physical infrastructure to consider
      • need to renovate the building
      • solar power
      • better accommodation
There is a lot to consider and I would really encourage you to get involved. It’s clear that the Centre will continue to shrink unless we can all give it some energy. I have really been heartened by the support offered, not just in words, by the people I have already been able to talk with. Not only have said they will get involved and help but even in our conversations they have mentioned really great ideas that we can definitely take up.
Do you have any ideas? Questions? Please get involved to make TI a Centre we can be proud of and a gift that will keep fuelling our karma long after we are gone. 
-peter (guiliano)
BTW: I got this list from Llysse as she was shutting the Office for the year. No one was “left off” — if you know anyone else who should have had this email, please apologise on my behalf and give them a copy too.