To the membership and communities of the Titans of the Midwest:
It seems only fitting that I start writing this letter on Thanksgiving. After three years in this post I have much to be thankful and grateful for. On Sunday, November 30th, I officially handed over the leadership of this young and amazing organization to a new and exciting Board of Directors.
A lot has happened since four kinky men sat at a table in the Legendary Blazing Saddle deciding to stop traveling for our kinks and work to build something new. It started as just a few people going out together in gear and an online forum, from there the Titans of the Midwest had grown into social nights, gear nights and the resurgence of play parties in Des Moines culminating in the formation of a board and official organization on July 29th, 2012. Now, the Titans have grown into a multi-state and Canadian organization with over 100 members and our flag ship program, Kink U, continues to take the Midwest by storm by providing kink and fetish based education to areas long since forgotten.
I’ve been asked time and time again “was this the plan all along?”. In all honesty, NO… We didn’t know what to expect, we came into it with no preconceived notions but more with a passion to see a positive change in the fetish communities of the Midwest. Everything that has come from this organization has been driven by a need and has helped us to be able to respond quicker to what our communities have asked for rather than what we felt they wanted.
Recently, I was caught by a friend from San Francisco looking with what he called my “proud papa” look during an event. Then the photos came out and the photographer had caught it. At the moment in the photo I was watching someone who has grown into his own fetish path and enjoying the confidence he showed the world on that stage, a confidence that would not have been visible two years prior. I remember the feeling at that moment well and have been able to reflect back on many other instances in which I got the chance to step back and watch what our members have achieved with the same feelings. I am a very proud papa and could not have asked for a more wild ride these past three years. This is what this organization is about, helping build up those around us and helping them feel comfortable being the kinky fuckers they are.
We now step into the next phase of this organization and a phase where a batch of new leaders take the helm without a founding member on the executive board. I could not be happier with the new president and board that our membership has elected and could not be more grateful for the work and devotion from every person who has sat on this board in the past three years. It is time for many of us to step back and to let those, who’ve come up within our ranks, take the lead. We’ve laid the path, built a base and now look forward to helping you take this organization to the next level.
To the outgoing board, many of you have been here since day one. It would not have happened without you. Thank you for the laughs, the joys, the anger, the arguements, the passion and the love. Now is our time to let the new board take the wheel and get to enjoy the progress they will continue to make. They will need our help and I have no doubt many of you will continue to mentor members of our community.
To the new board, you will face challenges, you will argue and it will be hard at times. Please always look at the heart of this organization in every decision you make, our people. The simplest version of our mission statement is this: to educate, to motivate and to cultivate.
Take time to educate those around you, to motivate those with you and to cultivate those who will come after you.
It is now my pleasure and honor to announce the 2015 Executive Board of the Titans of the Midwest:
President – Jason Zahlen – Minneapolis, MN
Vice President – Mike O’Donnell – Iowa City, IA
Secretary – Missie Larson – Des Moines, IA
Membership Secretary – Matt Hengle – Cinncinati, OH
Treasurer – Turk Pierson – Des Moines, IA
Bookkeeper – Bryan Kreisinger-Denk – Des Moines, IA
Public Relations – Mark Turnage – Des Moines, IA
At-Large North – Ryan Brown – Minneapolis, MN
At-Large East – Zach Bellman – Cinncinati, OH
At-Large West – Mark Nelson – Omaha, NE
At-Large South – Elena Franco – Kansas City, MO
Please help me in welcoming them to these new roles and know they will need all of our help in the year to come. Thank you again for these past three years.
Founding Member – Titans of the Midwest
Founder, Kink U