Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Our First Board Meeting

Fellow Club Members,

We had our first board meeting last night.  There is a summary in an e-mail that we will be sending out  to you today.    

If you have any questions, let us know.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

So, What's Next?

Fellow Club Members,

Now that the euphoria of our victory on April 11 has died down a bit, we figured it was time to share with you what's next.

Well, first of all, we want to thank you again for your support.  All three of us go to Columbia Club with a new sense of purpose each time we visit and we could not have done this without you.

We have decided that we will keep this blog going as way to stay in touch with the membership.  We will let you know what the Board is doing and how its decisions impact you.  You can also use this blog to field questions or concerns you want us to take to the Board.  You can also e-mail us, our addresses are below.  We ran on a campaign of openness and transparency and we plan to keep that promise. 

With that said, our first Board meeting is April 29 at 5 p.m.  You are welcome to come watch.  Please note, only Board members can participate, but we feel that it is important for you to know what's going on and if you can, see things for yourself first hand.

Thanks again for your support.  We promise not to let you down.

Joe Ferrara (jfferrara@aol.com)
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz (attyabdul@gmail.com)
Bruce Stauffer (bstauffer@ameritech.net) 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Election Results

Some of you have asked about a breakdown of the recent election at the Club.  The results have been certified by the Election Committee.  Here they are.*
  • Abdul-Hakim Shabazz - 216 total;  160 in person; 56 absentee.
  • Joseph Ferrara -  211 total; 160 in person; 51 absentee.
  • Bruce Stauffer - 187 total; 141 in person; 46 absentee.
  • Tim Wilcox - 160 total; 101 in person; 59 absentee.
  • David Ring - 159 total; 102 in person; 57 absentee.
  • Dan Yates - 106 total; 57 in person; 49 absentee.
Once again, thanks for all your support.  We would not have been victorious without you.

*We are working to get an exact count on how many members voted.  By last estimate, slightly less than 300, about 21% of the membership, participated.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


You won tonight!!!! If you are a member of the Columbia Club who believed that members should elect the Board, that there should be more accountability and transparency, and that membership has value, then you were the big winners!  We just filled in for you.

Thanks to you, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Joe Ferrara and Joe Stauffer did a clean sweep, despite the best efforts of our detractors.  We appreciate all the support we received, not only from fellow club members and our spouses, but also members Sam Turpin and Larry Woods.  Their organizational skills kept us focused and on track and made our victory possible.

Celebrate today because tomorrow the work begins to restore the Club to what it once was.  We've taken it back and you made it possible.

Election Day!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Less than 24 Hours to Go

In less than 24 hours, the voting will begin for the three vacancies for the Columbia Club Board of Directors.  Our team feels very encouraged by the support we are getting from the membership, including some members of the current Board who also think it's time for change.

However, we can't rest on laurels, we really need you to come out and vote tomorrow between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

The maintainers of the status quo are really worried that we are shaking things up by calling for direct elections, accountability and transparency.

And they should be.

This is NOT THEIR CLUB, this is YOUR CLUB and you deserve have a Board that is not only willing to listen to the members, but value their opinions!

Thank you for your support and let's win this one for the Columbia Club!

Joe Ferarra
Abdul-Hakim Shabazz
Bruce Stauffer

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Columbia Club & Membership Value

To Our Fellow Columbians,

One of the issues in this year’s election for the Columbia Club Board of Directors centers around “Membership Value.”  But what is Membership Value and why do we need it? Membership Value is hard to define, but easy to recognize. It’s an intangible, the basis of which is belonging and respect. Other connotations include “esteemed,” “worthwhile,” and   “important.”Membership Value is a necessity, because without it, we are not a club--we’re just a group of people who happen to frequent the same place for cocktails and dinner. Membership Value means:     
§  To know that you matter

§  Not just being heard, but being listened to

§  Having your opinions sought after, valued and respected

§  Being an integral part of your club (opposed to just being a member of a club)

If you feel membership Value  has diminished over the past few years we ask for you voter the Columbia Club Board of Directors on April 11th.*

Thanks in advance for your support.

Best wishes,

Joe Ferrara        Abdul-Hakim Shabazz       Bruce Stauffer                        

Monday, April 8, 2013

Our Supporters

In case you were wondering, these are the fellow Columbians who are supporting our candidacies for the Board. We appreciate their authentic and genuine support.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Quick Thank You

As the campaign enters its final stretch, we wanted to take a few moments and thank all of you who have supported our candidacies and read this blog since we put it together.   Since its inception we have had nearly 1,800 page views, which is more than we have members at the Club.  

Our goal has been to share with you our vision and to make a promise that we will always put the Club and the membership’s interests before our own.  Also, there will never be any question about what we stand for, open elections, membership value and accountability and transparency.  

We will never fudge numbers to make things appear to be better than they are.  Nor will we ever mislead the members about how much support we have.  And we always hold the democratic process in high regard.   A cornerstone of our campaign has always been honesty and integrity.  We respect the Columbia Club and our fellow members too much to do otherwise.

So as we go forward, remember, we are not running to maintain the status quo, but to move the Club forward.   And together, we can make that happen.

Vote on April 11th for Joe Ferrara, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz and Bruce Stauffer.  And if you can’t vote in person, there’s always absentee.  

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ten Simple Questions

When we decided to run for the Board of the Columbia Club we promised to run a positive campaign. We said we would not attack our challengers, but we would respond if need be to set the record straight.   It is time to set the record straight.

An e-mail was recently sent out implying our candidacies are detrimental to the progress the Club is making.  If our candidacies are supposedly detrimental to the Club’s progress, then ask yourself these questions.
  1. Why did we lose 25% of our members between 2008 and 2012?
  2. Two of the “slated" candidates have been on the Board for the past four years as membership declined.  Shouldn't  they be held accountable by having to stand for re-election?
  3. If challenging the “slated" candidates is bad, why did the Board amend the By-Laws to allow challenges by members who obtain signatures from 10% of the membership? 
  4.  Why did 200 members (nearly 15% of the Club’s membership) sign those petitions?
  5.  Why did 10 of the 12 Past Presidents-including one who championed the change to the current process--sign those petitions calling for member elections?
  6. Is a "slated" member nominated by a committee automatically more qualified or dedicated than one who does the leg work to actively solicit the support of other members to get on the ballot?
  7. Do you feel the Executive Committee is fully accountable to the Board and members?
    Even the Board of Directors last month passed a motion asking for transparency and accountability from the Executive Committee which meets every week. 
  8. Do you feel your voice is being heard in the current process? 
  9. Who do you feel best represents your interests: “slated” candidates that you did not choose  or candidates  who clearly demonstrate they have member support to be on the Board? 
  10. Do you feel you would get better value out of your Club with “slated” candidates hand-picked by a committee or with ones who went out and worked diligently to get members' signatures? 

Ask yourself these questions.  And if you reach the same answers as we did then vote for change; Bruce Stauffer,  Joe Ferrara and Abdul-Hakim Shabazz on April 11th.* Membership should have its privileges and it will be a privilege to serve you on the Board of Directors.

*Remember you can vote absentee by mail or in person between now and April 10.  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vote Early, Just Not Often

Dear Supporters,

We found out today that you can vote early at the Club prior to the April 11th elections.  All you have to do is go to Kelly Campbell's office (which is located right past the front desk in the lobby) and fill out an absentee ballot request form.  Once you fill it out, she will hand you a ballot which you can complete there. 

We strongly encourage all of you to vote early so that way you won't have to worry about anything on Election Day.

If you have any questions, just give Kelly a call at either 317-767-1361 (the main number) or e-mail her at kellyc@columbia-club.org.

As she is very busy helping run the Club so as a courtesy any advance notice that you could give her letting her know you'll be coming down to vote would be great.

Thanks again for your support.  We have the momentum to take this all the way to finish line with your help!

Have a great Easter Weekend.

Click Here for a link to download an absentee ballot.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Letter of Support

Friends and Colleagues,

As you all know, on April 11th we will be selecting new members to the Columbia Club Board of Directors. The Columbia Club has become a place for all of us to enjoy each other's company and create the relationships that we have today. I think we all understand in times like we are in today, when financially we are finding more and more people who are struggling, we need outstanding leadership for a prestigious club such as this.

That is why I am asking you all to vote for Bruce Stauffer, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz and Joe Ferrara. With their leadership and guidance, there is no doubt in my mind the Columbia Club will continue to flourish, and remain the most prestigious club in Downtown Indianapolis!

The voting process will take two very important steps on your part. First, you must request an absentee ballot from the Columbia Club. I have made this step that much easier for you, as the request is attached to this e-mail. Once you have filled out the form, you can return the form in person to the Columbia Club, mail in the form, or fax the completed form to the number included on the request form. You CANNOT e-mail the completed form as an attachment! A short response confirming your interest in the absentee ballot process would be greatly appreciated! Once you receive your absentee ballot you will have until April 11th at noon to vote! I will continue to remind you, and e-mail you as we get closer to the election deadline.

Once again, the Columbia Club continues to play an important part in all of our work and social lives. We all continue to want what is best for the club moving forward, and I believe with the leadership of these three individuals the Columbia Club will be in good hands for years to come.

Your Friend,

Rod Ratcliff

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Candidate Night

Don't forget this Thursday night (3/21)  is Meet the Candidate  night at the Club.  It's your opportunity to come see the candidates for the Board in person and ask questions about our positions.

The event begins at 6 :00 p.m. in the Crystal Terrace on the third floor.  There will be complimentary hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar at 5:30 p.m.

The way it has been explained to us is that each candidate will get 2-3 minutes for an opening statement (going in alphabetical order) and then we will answer questions.  We will draw numbers to see who goes first.

We think it will be a great evening and a chance for us to share our ideas with you.   Don't forget, the election is April 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  And if you can't make it you can request an absentee ballot.  One is embedded in the post below.

We look forward to seeing you and taking your questions. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Your Absentee Ballot

To make life easier for those of you who want to vote absentee on April 11th, we've embedded a copy of the absentee ballot request form here so you can print it off and send it in. 

Remember, pursuant to Club rules:  The absentee ballot request may be delivered to the Club via fax, United States Postal Service, commercial carrier in-person, etc.  No e-mails

We appreciate your vote and support. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Club Rules

The Columbia Club has just released the rules for the upcoming April 11 election.  We're posting them here to help keep you up to speed.   Here are some of the key points you should be aware of ...

  1. The Election is on April 11 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 10th floor of the ballroom foyer.  There will be a complimentary lunch for members between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  2. You must be a member in good standing to vote.
  3. You can vote absentee, but you MUST request it in writing.  You can drop off your request in person or fax it to (317) 634-6550.
  4. There is a copy of standard absentee ballot request form embedded in the PDF below.
  5. Absentee ballots cannot be faxed or copied and they must be received by noon April 11 via the postal service or some other commercial carrier.
  6. Candidates are allowed to have election observers, pursuant to the by-laws.
  7. The winners will be announced at 7 p.m.
As always, we appreciate your support, and more importantly your vote.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Little Background Info

So, who are these guys running for the Board and what do they bring to the table, we're glad you asked.  With the Election coming up on April 11, we figured you'd might want to know that.  You can also meet us in person at candidates night on March 21 at the Club.

Joseph F. Ferrara

Joe and his wife Karen have been members of the Columbia Club since July, 2002. Joe has served on the Entertainment, House, and Finance Committees, and has strongly supported club activities throughout the years.

Joe has served on the Columbia Club Foundation for the past six (6) years, and is currently Vice President; he has been involved in numerous, successful fundraisers and in 2011, Joe was instrumental in securing a $25,000 grant from the Indiana Historical Society to repair the front fa├žade of the Clubhouse. 

Joe received his undergraduate degree from The College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), his MBA from Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, NC), and his Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institute.  Joe is self-employed where he and Karen make their home in downtown Indianapolis.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has been a member of The Columbia Club since 2006.   During that time he has served on both the Membership and Fitness Committees.  He has served as the Club's Master of Ceremonies for the annual Beefsteak Dinner as well as other Club events.

If you don't see Abdul at the Club, you can find him on television as a contributing panelist on "Indianapolis This Week" on RTV Channel 6 or as a panelist on "Inside Indiana Business" with Gerry Dick.  You can also hear him Fridays debating the issues of the day  from 1-3 p.m. on “Amos & Abdul” on AM 1310.

Additionally, Abdul is a contributing columnist for the Indianapolis Star, NUVO and the StatehouseFile.com.   His foremost writing vocation is the editor and publisher of IndyPolitics.Org, a website that covers Indiana state and local politics.

Just to top it off, Abdul is happily married, an attorney, college instructor at the University of Indianapolis and  Ivy Tech Community College, an  actor and stand-up comedian. 

Bruce Stauffer

Bruce has been a member of the Columbia Club since 2002 when he and his wife Terri moved downtown.  He has been active at the Club through participation in the Entertainment Committee and the Silent /Live Auction Committee. 

Bruce and Terri currently co-chair the Entertainment Committee and Bruce was recently appointed to the Long Range Planning Committee.  He is retired after 40 years in the construction management industry and is active in the Indianapolis community as a member of the Indianapolis Historic Preservation Commission and a longtime supporter of St. Mary’s Child Center.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Meet the Team

Hello fellow Columbia Club members.   The three of us, Bruce Stauffer, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz and Joe Ferrara are running for the Board.  The election is April 11th.  We're running for three basic reasons...
  1. We want to restore direct member elections of the Board.
  2. We want to restore full Board participation in Club decisions.
  3. We want to restore value to members and membership.
We're NOT doing this because of ego or anymosity, but because like you, we love the Columbia Club and we want it to be an organization that can make progress, while still respecting our long heritage and traditions.

We created this blog as a way to communicate our ideas with you.  We plan to include more information about who we are and unveil more details as to what our plans are to make the Columbia Club an even better place for members.

We really do believe in the old saying, "membership has it privileges".  And it will be our privilege to serve you.