It’s a ritual occurring three times a year – a kind of pep rally to reaffirm the importance of projecting a welcoming atmosphere for all bridge players. It’s the Aileen Osofsky ACBL Goodwill Committee reception, which takes place on the first Monday of every NABC.
The meeting was conducted by Committee Chair Sandy DeMartino, whose first action after her opening remarks was to introduce Bahar Gidwani, ACBL’s new chief executive.
Gidwani noted that in his short time as CEO he has made some changes at ACBL Headquarters. “Goodwill is not something I want to change,” he said. “It’s really hard to improve goodwill. It is the engine that drives ACBL. Keep moving forward.”
ACBL President Bob Heller, nearing the end of his term, noted that he spent the first half of 2017 with other board members in a search for a new CEO for the organization. “We found ourselves an outstanding CEO,” Heller said.
Addressing a room packed with Goodwill Committee members, Heller thanked the group “for the time you spend on the game we all love. It has been a real pleasure and honor to serve as president.”
NABC Chair Ken Monzingo, who is leaving the board when his current term is up this year, noted that the Fall NABC took place eight years ago in San Diego and that the sentiment was to have the big tournament back in the city as soon as possible. He also noted that organizers were lucky that the late Jeff Johnston, who was in charge of booking the tournaments, was on hand. “We wanted the same room rates for next time – and he got it,” Monzingo said.
After announcing that he had appointed tournament director Arleen Harvey to the Goodwill Committee, Monzingo presented a certificate to one of the district’s top volunteers – Lamya Agelidis of San Diego. She is serving as volunteer coordinator at the Fall NABC.
Another retiring board member, Roger Smith (District 21), was called upon to announce the name of the 2018 Honorary Member. Smith is chairman of the Board committee that selects the Honorary Member. Before naming the recipient, Smith said it was for “a person giving time and effort for decades without thought of remuneration.” The crowd burst into applause when Smith announced that the latest Honorary Member is Jan Martel, who has been active in many ACBL and United States Bridge Federation activities for many years.
There was still one more announcement – the name of the Goodwill Member of the Year for 2018. It went to Nelda Linman of Bend OR. A formal presentation to her will be made at the 2018 Spring NABC in Philadelphia.
Linman, president of Unit 476 three times, has also served on the Board of Governors representing District 20 and is credited with convincing the district to schedule a regional tournament every other year in Survivor, in the Bend area. Since the inaugural regional in 2014, Linman has served as tournament chair twice.
DeMartino concluded the meeting as she usually does – with a reminder of the importance of being pleasant and promoting goodwill: “We can be competitive and still be friendly, caring and ethical. Love that competition, hate to lose, but try to lose gracefully and be humble in victory.”