INS Presidential Election and Proxies
There are 7 different and important sections to this email, and they are separated by bars, such as this, with a Proxy form at the end:
To All Members of the INS,
We understand that there has been concern expressed about lack of information concerning the election for president at the upcoming convention. The nominating committee has been actively and diligently sorting through its options, which unfortunately was a lengthy process to be as thorough as possible. It was not an easy job and we all owe them a great vote of thanks.
The Nominating Committee and the Board of Directors are happy to announce that we have two highly qualified candidates- Karen Knudson and Michael Strone, who are willing to run and if elected, serve. They both are quite capable, have a passion for the art form, and have been actively involved in the society. We plan to formally present this slate for discussion, and any additions and/or modifications, to the Board of Directors during the meeting in NYC. Pending their approval, we will then present the same choice to the membership at the general meeting of the INS for a final vote.
The possibility exists of an additional nomination(s), either at the board meeting or the general meeting. Anyone may be nominated from the floor or by mailing or e-mailing me the nomination before the Board of Directors Meeting. We do ask that anybody choosing to put forward such a nomination should please clarify with the nominee that he or she is willing to serve and understands what that entails. We have been managed these many years by a small but dedicated group of volunteers, but we are always looking for new talent. If anybody would like to be involved, please let us know. Attached are CV's of the two nominees.
Any paid-up member may vote either in person at the General INS Meeting or by proxy vote.
1. The proxy form cannot be e-mailed.
2. There is no voting by mail, only in person or by a person attending who has a proxy or proxies. That Member can vote as many proxies as he or she has.
3. The Proxy form is to be downloaded and signed and then faxed directly to me, or to anyone to whom you wish to give your proxy, at the NY Palace Hotel. ( New York Palace Fax: 1-212-303-6000 )
4. It may also be mailed to me directly at the INS Convention: Joseph Kurstin, The New York Palace Hotel, 455 Madison Ave, New York, N.Y. 10022, USA.
The proxy may be made out to anyone attending the convention and I will give it to them. That person must attend the meeting to present and vote the proxy.
5. Please put a short note at the end of the proxy and initial it indicating who you wish to vote for with your proxy.
6. Be sure to sign the proxy.
Any paid-up member may come to the General Meeting of the INS with no charge, but to spend time at the convention must pay a daily or full convention charge.
Joseph Kurstin, President, and the Board of Directors
Our current bylaws (from the original By-Laws of the Netsuke Kenkyukai Society, dated: 1977, Mission, Kansas) do not require a member in good standing to register for, or attend, the convention in order to attend the General Meeting:
Article III, Section 7: Voting: At every meeting of the members, every active member of the Society, in good standing, shall be entitled to one vote. Unless otherwise provided by the Articles of Incorporation or by these Bylaws, a majority of the votes cast shall be sufficient to elect officers and directors and to pass any measure.
Article III, Section 6: Active members may vote either in person or by proxy, but no proxy shall be dated more than eleven months before the meeting at which it is offered and shall not be accepted unless such proxy states on its face the time period during which it shall remain in force and in effect. No proxy shall be granted for a period exceeding one year. To be qualified, proxies shall be in writing, subscribed by the members and shall be presented to the presiding official at the meeting or in advance thereof.
Personal Statement for
Karen N. Knudson
June 22, 2009
I joined the INS in 1999, when I had one netsuke, and have been collecting ever since. I have attended every convention since 1999 and benefitted enormously from the lectures and workshops, the Journal, the Chapter meetings in New York while we lived in Princeton, and now in Seattle with the Northwest Chapter. My activities with the INS include hosting Newcomers Luncheons in San Francisco and Miami and for another in New York this year. I was elected to the Board in 2007. With my husband Eric, we have chair Membership for the INS since early 2008. For the past couple of years my husband has been compiling the digital image netsuke archive (about 6,700 so far) - this has been a terrific education in itself.
I joined the INS because my collecting and interests connected with the reason d'être of the INS: education. My goals with the INS are to continue the never-ending process of education and collecting, and to serve with commitment, imagination, skill and integrity. I will work for responsiveness, accuracy, clarity, responsibility and honesty on the part of everyone in a position of authority in the INS.
My formal education includes the University of Washington (BA), Edinburgh University (MLitt) and graduate studies in Law and Business at Wayne State University. My work experience is in nursing, real estate sales and management and securities brokerage and management.
Beginning in 1968 I have served on boards of non-profit 501s and 509s including Children's Hospital of Seattle, American Association of University Women, Christ Church Grosse Pointe, Trinity Church Princeton, Princeton Community Housing, The YWCA Princeton, St. Mark's Cathedral Foundation, Women's University Club, Sand Point Country Club and the Executive Committee of the Asian Arts Council of the Seattle Art Museum. My leadership positions with these non-profit organizations are in the areas of finance, investments and governance.
I understand leadership in small organizations (20+/- members) up to large organization (2000+members), some with endowments up to $25 million. The key to all the non-profit leadership jobs is that we are all volunteers. Leadership for these groups requires energy, appreciation and recognition of people and talents, shared responsibility for the outcomes of the undertakings of the group, creative and analytical thinking about the group and living up to the reason d'être of the INS. I recognize the needs of all collectors for a friendly, informative environment in which we can share knowledge and collecting experiences. When members do not feel that all are working for the desired outcomes and do not feel appreciated and recognized, volunteers go away. Without volunteers, there is no group.
I believe there is a future for the INS if some of the younger members and prospective members believed they can share in leadership. I have no interest in personal gain. If elected, I have received a commitment from John Hawley to serve as Vice President for Finance. I will ask the members to ratify that choice at the annual meeting.
OPEN LETTER FROM MICHAEL STRONE TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE
INTERNATIONAL NETSUKE SOCIETY
June 23, 2009
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As a candidate for the presidency of our society, I am writing to express my reasons for seeking the office. First and foremost is my passion for netsukeundefinedpure and simple. For almost 20 years, that I have devoted myself, heart and soul to the study and appreciation of netsuke and sagemono, written over 20 articles in the International Netsuke Society Journal, and devoted hundreds of hours to organize and chair a convention that I hope you will all attend to learn and enjoy. I have served on the Board of Directors since 2005, the last two years as Vice President of the Society and been on the Editorial Board of the INS Journal since its inception in 2004. And yes, pursuant to the suggestion of several members of the Society, I declared myself to be a part-time dealer since shortly after the 2007 Miami convention. I have paid to the Society thousands of dollars for advertising in the Journal. Most of this, with much more, is set forth in my attached resume.
I am an attorney, having spent much of my career as Real Estate General Counsel at the General Electric Company. In that capacity, I also served as Ombudsman, responsible for all employee complaints about managementundefineda role that has given me great sensitivity to ethical as well as legal issues. Because of my concern for even the appearance of impropriety, I asked Edward Flower, Esq., the General Counsel for the Society, to render an opinion as to whether my status as a part-time dealer would pose an inherent conflict of interest. His letter of support is attached and I encourage you to read it. I promise you that I will never use the position of president in any way for my personal gain. What I want is for the Society to succeed and prosper. With the benefit of all of my organizational experience and demonstrated expertise, I am willing and able to work extremely hard to achieve those goals with total integrity. The Society and its journal are absolutely essential to our collecting experience.
There exists currently a great opportunity to bring new life to a Society that, except for a biennial convention, is now basically a subscription organization. The next President must have a clear vision of the potential for the Society. As vice-president of the Society for two years, I have experienced both the bad and the good. I have managed to create what I know will be a wonderful and fiscally responsible biennial convention in New York City without any allocated funds and without an event planner that would have cost the Society over $40,000. There were naysayers who intoned that it couldn't be done.
The next President requires integrity, competence, patience, resolve, and flexibility. I will be open to new ideas. I have learned that often the best ideas are unexpected. That said, I have a vision of that which I would like to accomplish for the Society during my tenure:
· Create openness and transparency throughout the Society by distributing monthly financial statements to the Board and by instituting a system of checks and balances such that no one person may commit funds of the Society. I have demonstrated total integrity over my entire professional career. Nonetheless, I will ask a qualified member of the Board or the Society to fill the position of Vice President/Treasurer.
· Increase membership by offering incentives (perhaps a reduced membership fee for new members for a period of time) and/ or different classes of membership with different benefits (lower fees for students and academic professionals and/or a subscription rate only). Perhaps we need to advertise in other magazines such as Arts of Asia, Orientations and Daruma. We must increase involvement by new collectors, especially the young.
· Encourage and develop the INS web site, and especially its forums that are ongoing daily activities of the Society and represent our presence on the Internet, the communication highway of the present and certainly of the future. The forums are truly international, with regular correspondents from the United Kingdom, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and other countries, and have recently brought a number of new members into the Society.
· Create mini-conventions around the world in venues that might not have the facilities to support a full convention. Two or three days at times in between the biennial convention may provide an opportunity for collectors and dealers alike to meet in an informal and less structured setting.
· Bring the by-laws of the Society into the 21st century. I had drafted a revised set of by-laws for presentation to the Board in San Francisco but they were not presented. Features of the revisions called for changing the State of incorporation from Kansas (yes, Kansas) to Delaware or New York whose not-for-profit laws are more liberal and better understood, as well as to impose term limits for directors who now are elected for life. We need to infuse the Board with more energy and greater commitment.
· Reduce the cost of the Journal without sacrificing quality. The cost of the Journal is an incredible percentage of Society expenditures. Linda Meredith has done a superb job of garnering and presenting educational and entertaining material. No author is compensated for his or her efforts. Nonetheless, we need to competitively bid the production of the Journal to ensure that we can produce the finest product for the lowest cost.
These are but a few ideas whose implementation will have, I believe, an astonishingly positive impact on the Society and create a robustness that is, frankly, missingundefinedparticularly in a down economy. We must also achieve unity and an environment where differing opinions are welcome and kindness prevails. The President must be a leader but also a servant who acts with humility. As any past president will agree, this is a thankless jobundefinedone where organizational skill and netsuke expertise go hand-in-glove. Nonetheless, a passion for netsuke and for those who collect make it all worthwhile. I promise to do my utmost to validate your trust in me and respectfully ask for your vote.
For whomever you choose to vote, please exercise your right and vote. Use the attached proxy, designate a person to present your proxy (either by selection of one of those in the proxy or by separate note attached). Make sure you sign the proxy and return it to Dr. Kurstin at the New York Palace Hotel (hold for arrival), 455 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022.
With true thanks,
Michael J. Strone
45 Lakeside Lane
Bay Shore, New York 11706
June 22, 2009
Michael J. Strone
P.O. Box 6
Harrison, NY 10528-0006
Please consider this letter an endorsement and support for your candidacy as president of the INS at the election to be held at the forthcoming convention. I have given careful consideration to what I believe to be the qualifications of the two announced candidates and it is my sincere and enthusiastic belief that you are best qualified to lead our society (please bear in mind that this is my own personal endorsement, and not on behalf of any committee or the board of directors).
I have been particularly impressed with your efforts in organizing the forthcoming convention in New York City, a job which has in the past proved to be most difficult for the INS, and especially at this time in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis. I have also been impressed by the numerous articles you have written and which have been published in the journal.
Finally, I have considered the question of your role as a dealer. I believe that this is a non-issue – and for those who raise it, a red herring. It will have no bearing on our status as a tax-free institution with the IRS, provided of course, that we continue to function in the manner which originally enabled us to obtain such status; nor do I believe that it creates a conflict of interest per se. I would note that at least two or three of our local chapters have dealer presidents. The test is one of character and ability, and what will be accomplished for the INS as well as the ability of that dealer officer not to make commercial use of his or her position. I have no reason to believe that you will do so, nor that any other dealer member would do so in a similar position.
MICHAEL J. STRONE ESQ.
with nationally recognized expertise in
· Not-for-Profit Investments and Law
· Complex Problem-Solving, Teaching and Writing
· Organizational Structures, Asset Management and Negotiation
· Demonstrated High-Level Commitment to Not-for-Profit Causes
Oracle Investment Advisors, LLC and Oracle Finance, LLC
Chief Executive Officer – since 2002
· Investment Advisor specializing in Mid-size Pension Funds, Foundations, Endowments, and Eleemosynary Institutions
Kokoro Japanese Art Advisors – Principal (part-time) since 2008
GE Asset Management Incorporated (formerly GE Investments)
Senior Consultant – 2002 to present
Real Estate General Counsel and Ombudsman– 1984 to 2002
· Representing real estate and private equity portfolio of largest in-house managed group of pension fund and not-for profit
investments in the United States; asset management responsibilities for workouts, restructurings, bankruptcy, and litigation with tax,
insurance, ERISA and environmental expertise
Botein, Hays & Sklar and Rathheim, Hoffman, Kassel & Silverman
Associate Attorney -- 1978 to 1984 Specialization in Real Estate and Not-for-Profit Entities
American College of Real Estate Lawyers, Fellow, elected to membership, 1993;
Program Speaker; Member and Vice-Chair (1998-99), Committee on Professionalism and Practice
American Bar Association, Chairman, Committee on Asset Management, 1992 to 1994, 1995 to 1997; Chairman,
Committee on Pension Plan Investments, 1990 to 1992; Program Speaker
National Association of Real Estate Investment Managers, Member, Steering Committee of Senior Legal Officers,
since 1992; Program Speaker, Program Chair, 1997
Who's Who in America, Biographee since 1986
NOT-FOR-PROFIT AND COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES:
International Netsuke Society, Vice-President of Board of Directors, elected in 2007; regularly featured columnist: International Netsuke Society Journal, since 2004 (20+ articles, reviews, profiles and other writings); member, INS Journal Editorial Board since 2004;
Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Member, Board of Directors, 1989 to 1997;
Vice President, 1991 to 1997
Parkinson's Action Network, Member, Board of Directors, 1994 to 1998
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Member, National Finance Committee; Vice President, New York Chapter
Board of Directors, 1978 to 1989; Lifetime Achievement Award, 2003
The Westchester Symphony, President, 1984 to 1986; Chairman of the Board,
1986 to 1990; Executive Managing Director, 1990 to 1994; Bassist, 1984-2002
Gerald L. Phillippe Award for Distinguished Community Service, 1994
National Conference of Christians and Jews, Vice-Chairman, Westchester Chapter
Annual Dinner, 1987
Colby College Alumni Council, Member, 1994 to 1998; Member, Executive Committee; Chairman, Financial Affairs Committee, 1995 to 1998
Harrison Little League, Member, Board of Directors, elected in 2001; Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Member, Executive Committee 2004--
New York District 20 Youth Baseball, Commissioner of Senior League, Junior League and Fall Baseball for Lower Westchester County, New York 2007--
Mariners Youth Hockey, Member, Board of Directors, 2003--8; Executive Vice President, Managing Director and General Counsel 2005 to 2008
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players, Chairman of the Board, elected in 2007;
Chair, Executive Committee; Chair, Business Development Committee and
Chair, Task Force on Strategic Planning, 2007-2008; Troupe Member, 2008undefined
Languages: Russian, French and conversational Japanese
Bar Admissions: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and United States Supreme Court
INTERNATIONAL NETSUKE SOCIETY
KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, ____________________________
Name of Member
residing at _______________________________________________________
Street Address of Member
City of __________________________________________________________
City of Member
State of __________________________________________________________
State of Member
Country of Member
do hereby constitute and appoint ______________________________________
Name of Proxy
Street Address of Proxy
City of __________________________________________________________
Name of City
State of _________________________________________________________
Country of _______________________________________________________
as my proxy to attend such meeting of Members of the INS as may be held from Thursday, July 2nd through Monday, July 6th, 2009, including the bi-annual meeting for the election of officers and directors or any continuation or adjournment thereof, with full power to vote and act for me and in my name, place and stead, in the same manner, to the same extent and with the same effect that I might were I personally present thereat, giving to
Name of Proxy
full power of substitution and revocation, and I hereby revoke any other proxy heretofore given by me.
Date of Proxy
Signature of Member Giving Proxy