StaRGazing 2012 Committee

Madeline Pinsky Walker, Co-Chair Desiree Sagray, Co-Chair
Madeline Walker

I became a Mensa member in 1975 in NoCal, then became a lapsed member for many years. After moving to SoCal, I joined GLAAM in 2004 after my son, Case, qualified for Mensa. I jumped in as Gifted Youth Coordinator, and later added Coastal Area Rep to my responsibilities. My involvement in the RG's have included adding a Kids Track on RG Sunday, finding speakers and venues, and initiating and chairing the 2009 “Mini-RG.” As 2012 co-chair with Desiree, I applaud the hard work and dedication of all the committee members who have created a very amazing RG for your enjoyment. Meet me at the Registration Desk at the 2012 GLAAM StaRGazing RG.

Desiree Sagray

After hearing about Mensa from my aunt and meeting some GLAAM members through the Nova Toastmasters, my first major Mensa event was the 2004 GLAAM RG in Culver City. It literally changed my life. I became active in GLAAM activities over the next few months and by May was on the Board of Directors. By June, I was Chairing the 2005 RG Committee and have been actively involved in the RG for the last eight years, serving as Chair, Co-Chair, Hospitality Chair, Registrar, and Speakers Chair over the years … often at the same time!

Mensa has given me so much, especially a most beloved nephew and some of the best friends I have ever had. Continuing to be active in the chapter is only one of the ways that I can give back to this wonderful organization and some of the truly unique and exceptional people I have met here. I will be at the Registration Desk for most of the RG this year – feel free to stop by and talk to me about GLAAM!

Erika Byars, Hospitality Committee

Jonathan Elliott, Awards Liaison
Jonathan Elliott

Jonathan has been a member of the Los Angeles chapter of Mensa continuously since 1996, and has operated the Answers to Everything SIG during most of that time. He served as chapter Secretary for eight years, Calendar Editor for five years, host of the monthly ELAC gaming event for seven years, SIG Coordinator for two years, and at different times as Chair of the Awards, Bylaws, and Finance Committees. He had two brief stints as GLAAM Chairman, and is now in his second year as GLAAM Treasurer, and his sixth as Executive Vice-Chair. Most of his previous work with the RG Committee (apart from set-up and clean-up and running spot errands during the event) has involved coordinating Games and Tournaments, but this year the big focus is on our big Awards presentation, where we provide recognition to all those GLAAM members — past and present — who have benefitted GLAAM the most by their service to all levels of the Mensa organization.

Hilary Foster, Pub Crawl
Hilary Foster

I joined Mensa in 2008. The first couple of events that I attended were happy hours. After attending a New Member Reception and meeting some great people, I decided to become more involved. Since then, I have participated in the Axion SIG, and the picnics at Griffith Park. This will be my third year co-hosting the RG Pub Crawl; we always have an amazing time. Come join us for the Pub Crawl, and by the end of the night you will have some great new friends!! I have made some wonderful life-long friends in GLAAM.

Jay Friedlander, Game Tournaments
Jay Friedlander

Jay was born in a manger but was kidnapped and subsequently raised by a pack of wolves, from whom he acquired his love of board games. He has a BA in Radio-TV/Film from California State University, Long Beach and has spent most of his career in technical sales and sales management. He is also currently available for the right lucrative offer. His hobbies include basketball and horseracing. He is the co-organizer of the International Diners Club and currently serves as GLAAM's Elections Chair.

Jill Golmant, Treasurer

Heather Hale, Speaker Committee and Speaker Shepherd
Heather Hale

Heather Hale is an independent film and television director, producer and screenwriter currently raising funds for her next feature, a terrorist thriller. She consults on screenplays and business plans and is a motivational speaker who leads workshops at corporations and colleges around the world.

Joyce Hamilton, Registrar
Joyce Hamilton

I've been a member of Mensa since 2000 and have a background in investment real estate (MBA Cornell, BA Smith College). A lot of my spare time is spent tracking wandering ancestors from the frontier to the colonies and back across the pond. I wanted to get more involved in GLAAM this year, but I was shocked, shocked to find myself volunteering to be Registrar for the RG. The upside is that I'll get to meet all of you when you check in: members, speakers, and guests! Or stop by the registration table just to chat — I'll be there all weekend!

Danielle Hanne, Pub Crawl and Speaker Shepherd
Danielle Hanne

Danielle has been a member of the RG Committee since attending her first RG five years ago. She considers “Nerd Winter Camp” to be one of the best reasons to be a member of GLAAM. “We have an amazing committee who puts together the best event outside Nerd Summer Camp” (the Annual Gathering) she'll tell anyone who will listen. She wears many hats in the organization and as such ends up participating in Nerd Winter Camp in many different ways from Pub Crawl to Speaker Shepherd to Speaker to Hospitality Server to whatever. Feel free to say “hi” to her, but if she just waves as she's running past you don't take it personally — she's usually trying to be in at least three different places at once.

Kate Harlan, Hospitality Committee
Kate Harlan

I moved here from Colorado and joined Mensa to meet people. The 2011 RG was my second Mensa event ever; I loved it. A year later, I am grateful for the opportunity to help out with the RG, spending time with my GLAAM friends and meeting more Mensans. You can find me in the StaRGazers Lounge much of the weekend. Please stop in and say hello.

Annette Hassell, Photographer and Speaker Shepherd
Annette Hassell

Annette is a transplant to Los Angeles from New Orleans. She is a fine artist, and also works as a scenic artist for theater and television. Apparently, she believes that this gives her the right to arm herself with her trusty, little Canon A630 and take sneaky pictures of unsuspecting RG attendees. Smile, y'all!

Peter Jeensalute, Audio-Visual Coordinator
Peter is a recent addition to the Mensa community. Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, he is a teacher at an all-male high school. His background is Theater Arts (BA from LMU Los Angeles) and has travelled to Germany and Russia to study acting and directing techniques. Look for the dashingly handsome young man playing with audio and video cables and introduce yourself. (No, he is neither a robot nor cyborg but can pretend to be if the timing is right.)

Brian Madsen, Webmaster and Speaker Shepherd
Brian Madsen

Brian has been GLAAM's Webmaster and Data Guru (and Calendar Editor, and a few other things) for the last several years. He is painfully aware (because his kids continually remind him) that he has been using the same picture of himself for about as long, and that he needs to find a more recent one because he's a lot older now … but no picture has been taken since then that makes him look nearly as good as this one does, so he's going to keep using it until that changes.

Annette Mann, Speaker Shepherd
Annette Mann

Annette enjoys hanging out and disscussing a variety of topics with her Mensa pals. While most Mensans are very well-read, Annette — while an avid reader — is not a very ambitious one. Her recent reading has included: To Maim a Mockingbird, A Brief History of Tile, Something Somewhat Annoying This Way Comes, and Breakfast at Kay Jewelers. Be sure to say hello to Annette at the RG and recommend a good (but not too challenging) book to her.

JK Mueller, Speaker Chair and Speaker Shepherd
JK Mueller

JK Mueller, MBA (USC), BA (UCR) Anthopology and Art History, Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (UCLA), Insurance Agent. My friends have called me scattered all my life, because I am passionate about multiple topics of interest, dropping old ones for new ones. But I did not understand why until I joined Mensa in 2003 on a fluke (aced the GMAT at 52 — who knew?). Happy ever since with my interest in multi and widely dissociated disciplines, I comprehend now that varied interests can be a blessing, not a weakness. Working on the RG committee, I get first choice at finding speakers on topics I want to hear. Being a speaker provider widens my knowledge base and increases my friendship base by 4-5 people every year. What more could a mental diddler want? I hope that you are as enchanted by our speakers list this year as I am.

Doug Walker, Pub Crawl

Bryan K. Willis, Hospitality Chair

Michael Wong, Gamesmeister and Tasting Host
Michael Wong

Michael Wong is a self-proclaimed gourmand and the host of the infamous Finding Unique Chinese Kitchens dining events each month. He is also the long-time host of the ELAC gaming party on the last Saturday of each month. He has a modest collection of games.

Ed You, RG Site Researcher and Speaker Shepherd
Ed You

Ed You has been an avid member and promoter of Mensa since 1986-ish. He is proud to have brought Palabra and Palabra tournaments to many RG's and AG's, knowing Mensans would just love it. He has also run several originally written and comic Mensa Murder Mystery Games, as the overworked, but not incompetent, “Inspector You.” Since 2007, he's brought the group game Werewolves to the membership. He lives a happy “double-M” marriage with his wife and fellow lifetime member, Viki Kind. They share the joys of parenting their two cats, Lovey and Pixie.