Public Announcements

    BitmoGene Telegram - March 2020



    Each July the Board of Directors hosts an all-day strategic planning session for chapter leaders where we map out the year ahead. Chock full of collaborative creativity and frank discussion that often yields wonderful new ideas, it’s one of my favorite activities as an ARMA chapter leader.

    This past July, at the start of the 2019-2020 chapter year, we thought it would be a good idea to conduct a SWOT analysis of our strengths and weaknesses as a chapter and as a broader association, and of the opportunities and threats that may lie ahead.

    I started off the activity by recounting a parable that I thought could serve as a poignant metaphor for the fluid nature of strengths and weaknesses. It was a story that I’d once heard early in my martial arts training that had stuck with me throughout the years, and I’d like to recount it for you here:

    … Some time ago in the rough slums of Rio de Janeiro, a boy was born with an unfortunate congenital condition that had left him with one arm. Growing up weak and frail, childhood – as you might imagine – was not an easy or pleasant one. Living under the daily threat of violence from his peers and elders alike, the boy had heard of a revolutionary self-defense that was catching on in Brazil, a form of grappling with roots in the Japanese art of Judo, dubbed “Gracie [Brazilian] Jiu- Jitsu”.

    He fantasized of a world where he could defend himself, or at the very least get himself off the dangerous streets of Rio. Working up the courage, he stepped into his local Jiu-Jitsu academy and asked the instructor if he would accept him to the school. Without hesitation, the instructor responded affirmatively, and cautioned him that the training would be difficult and at times confusing, but the boy would have to promise to stick it out. The boy agreed enthusiastically, and so started his journey.

    He drilled a technique – the same technique – over and over. While other students were being taught a spectrum of throws and holds, clinches and sweeps, the boy worked only on this one submission technique. Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Still the same technique. After several months, the instructor audaciously enrolled the boy in a local competition, fully expecting him to win his division.

    And win he did.

    Not only did he win his division, but he steamrolled his way through every opponent that stood in his way. It hardly seemed like a contest at all. Big or small, experienced or novice, everyone fell victim to the suffocating technique that the boy had polished to perfection, knowing how to apply and hold it better than he knew his own hand.

    You see, not long after he started training, he had realized what the instructor saw in him right away: that the only possible defense out of this particular submission technique involved manipulating the other arm to create a bit of room for escape – a gift to an opponent that the boy could not possibly offer.

    There was no defense. The very condition that this boy had spent his whole life convinced was his greatest weakness had become his greatest strength...

    Think about that for a moment. How awesome of an epiphany it is to realize that these concepts - strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats - are not isolated or independent constants. They are fluid and malleable. There is a relationship - an interplay of push and pull, a delicate dance - in which they all swirl and seek balance, much like the art of Jiu-Jitsu itself. We have a blueprint for how to take a scared and weakly one-armed boy and transform him into one of the most physically dangerous humans on the planet. That is the beautiful reality of our world, and it’s an incredibly powerful and inspiring message.

    Little did I realize how prophetic that SWOT analysis would turn out to be. In early March as we were getting ready to kick off our flagship event of the year, CONFIRM.NYC, we found ourselves in the opening salvos of New York City’s war with COVID-19. And while we certainly had no way of anticipating something of the scope and scale that this pandemic is proving to be, we found ourselves forced to figure out how to maneuver around threats to uncover our strengths; to will our weaknesses into opportunities. In one afternoon, the virtual meetings that we’d been flirting with for years but couldn’t ever find a way to materialize suddenly took shape. Volunteers who were never on the radar before offered their valuable contributions, forging new and exciting relationships that will be cultivated for the future. Sometimes it just takes a jarring event to realize the vast potential that we all intrinsically possess.



    Now that we’ve figured out the ins and outs of virtual meetings, we are working hard behind the scenes to bring you speakers and content to advance your career as effectively remotely as we’ve been doing in person throughout the years. The remaining meetings that we have on the calendar are going to be virtual, and some of the dates are subject to change as of right now. PLEASE CHECK BACK OFTEN as we pivot to adjust our educational programming plan.

    Our end-of-year (June) sponsor appreciation social is tentatively on hold pending further development of the coronavirus situation. We are holding out a glimmer of hope for an in-person social but it is too early to tell if that’s a realistic plan. We will keep you posted.



    ARMA Metro NYC exists and stays operational because of the incredible efforts of our all-volunteer Board of Directors, committee and task force members. It truly takes a village to run an association chapter of this size.

    But did you know that volunteering also affords YOU tremendous opportunities in professional development, networking and new friendships that you simply would not get a chance to experience otherwise?

    Take a look at all we have to offer: And in turn, offer us your creative energy and fresh perspective on how to help lead our profession into the next generation.



    Chapter elections are upon us, with the following key positions to be decided by June:

    • President
    • Executive Vice-President
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Vice-President, Membership


    We are now accepting nominations from our Chapter member community. If you are interested in self-nominating for one of these Board of Directors positions, or to nominate another Chapter member, please contact the Nominating/Elections Committee Chair and Immediate Past President, Mary Sherwin ([email protected]).



    We have updated our bylaws and are asking for member review and comments. Please see the current proposed revision here. THE DEADLINE TO CAST A NO VOTE OR TO SUBMIT MODIFICATIONS IS APRIL 30, 2020.



    While most of us are self-quarantined in our homes, hopefully practicing regular hand-washing and good hygiene, please keep those who are out there running what’s left of our society in your thoughts and prayers.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors, now more than ever, sending you our warmest wishes for good health and well-being. We hope to see you soon!


    Gene Stakhov


    ARMA Metro NYC Chapter

    Our Sponsors