Creative Opportunities Unlimited (COU) was founded in 1999 to support Odyssey of the Mind teams and team members. Six individuals created the non-profit organization for the purpose of helping students around the world experience the benefits of the Odyssey of the Mind program. Together, the board brings a wealth of experience in education, accounting, management, marketing, law, technology, and organizational behavior. Combined, the COU board members have a total of over 200 years of experience with the Odyssey of the Mind program! COU provides the opportunity for individuals, companies, and organizations to make tax-deductible donations to support teams on their respective odysseys. COU operates independently of Creative Competitions, Inc. (CCI), the owners of the Odyssey of the Mind school program, as funds raised by COU are used exclusively to benefit students and the non-profit organizations offering the Odyssey of the Mind program in local areas around the world. Additionally, COU board members are volunteers and receive no financial compensation for their work on the COU board.
THE CURRENT CREATIVE OPPORTUNITIES UNLIMITED BOARD...
James (Jim) Mourey, Ph.D. | president
Dr. James (Jim) Mourey participated in Odyssey of the Mind for 10 years in Illinois, winning 7th, 5th, 3rd, and finally 1st place at World Finals. Jim coached teams during his undergraduate studies at Washington University in St. Louis before switching gears to the volunteer side where he served as Illinois' judge/official coordinator, membership coordinator, and (presently) board member. Jim is perhaps best known for hosting Classics Div. III/IV at World Finals where he sings with the audience, improvises with the teams, and works with the best judging team in the world. Jim is also spearheading the international OdysseyAlumni organization for Odyssey of the Mind. Outside Odyssey, Jim is a professor of Marketing in Chicago, the author of six books, and a consultant/public speaker for marketing and management strategy and corporate culture. In his spare time Jim also sings in the Chicago-based a cappella group The Uptones, as well as does his best to amuse the masses with friends at Second City and iO.
Michael Bojanski | president-elect, alumni coordinator
Associations: North Carolina and Virginia
Michael Bojanski participated in Odyssey of the Mind for 8 years in North Carolina on a homeschool team, advancing four times to World Finals. Michael has judged regional, state, and world competitions since high school. Michael developed and built an Odyssey of the Mind Wiki, organizing content into one accessible portal. He has served on the North Carolina Eastern Region Board and on the Florida State Board as the Business Administrator. Michael is passionate about engaging with Odyssey Alumni and seeks to support Odyssey of the Mind in raising the next generation of volunteer leaders. When he's not thinking about Odyssey of the Mind or pin trading, he enjoys board games, reading, and cooking Greek food.
William R. Cook, II* | vice president
Winner of the Spirit of Odyssey Award for 2000, William was Oklahoma State Problem Captain for Odyssey of the Mind Problem 2, and served the Oklahoma Creativity, Inc. Board of Directors as Treasurer for many years. His wife, Janet, and he coached several teams that competed successfully at World Finals. Janet has also served on the Oklahoma Odyssey of the Mind Board. They have two sons who participated for many years in the program. William is a tax attorney and Certified Public Accountant.
Dennis Godfrey | treasurer
Having served as the Association Director for Virginia for six years, Dennis culminated his 25-year history with Odyssey of the Mind. Beginning as a parent, working as a coach, regional tournament judge and volunteer, he was elected to the Northeast Virginia Regional Board of Directors. There he served as Spontaneous Captain, both for the region and the state. He then served as Treasurer and Assistant Association Director in Virginia for 6 years, before becoming the Association Director in 2011. He oversaw the growth of the program in Virginia, adding two new regions. He has led the outreach of Odyssey to Virginians with Intellectual Disability and Home School teams. He is retired, having spent 45 years in the Financial Services Industry, including Chief Innovation Officer with an $80 billion institution, and the Founder, President/CEO of a broker/dealer. His son and daughter-in- law, both heavily involved in Odyssey, met at World Finals, representing Virginia and Vermont as volunteers.
Lynn Larsen, Ph.D. | secretary
Dr. Lynn Larsen earned her doctorate in Special Education at the University of Maryland after being a special education teacher for six years. She joined Brandman University in California in 2004 as full-time faculty. She served as Associate Dean from 2010-2017 and was promoted to Full Professor in 2010. She has been involved in numerous scholarly presentations and publications in teacher and program assessment. She teaches and develops courses for the special education master’s and licensure programs. Dr. Larsen serves on the Riverside Chambers of Commerce Business Education Partnership Committee as vice-chair, and the steering committee for the Riverside College and Career Fair. She was a coach and district coordinator for Odyssey of the Mind for ten years. The teams coached with her husband Paul won numerous regional and state titles, and advanced to the World Finals. She was California’s volunteer state director for five years, and is currently SoCal Odyssey’s state director.
Marci Colb | director
Marci Colb participated in Odyssey of the Mind for 3 years in Colorado. Her greatest Odyssey memory is winning a Renatra Fusca award. Marci started volunteering for Odyssey in Illinois when she worked at Washington University in Saint Louis. She then moved to Colorado where she served on the Colorado Odyssey Board as a director and as president. Additionally, she coordinated judges for 10 years and created an online training for all judge roles. Marci found her volunteer home in Problem 3 where she most often serves as State PC and a World Finals style judge or timekeeper. In Colorado, Marci owns a business called StretchLab which specializes in one-on-one assisted stretching. Prior to this, she spent 20 years wearing many different hats in higher education administration. For fun, Marci spends time with her dogs, hopefully snowshoeing or hiking. She also loves to try out new restaurants and new cuisines!
Diedre Girod | director
[This biography is on its way!]
Joy Kurtz | director
Association: Pennsylvania and New Jersey
Joy heard Dr. Sam speak about Odyssey in the summer of 1978 and knew immediately she wanted to use it in her classroom. As she progressed in her career to Principal, she brought Odyssey with her everywhere she went. Joy started coaching in 1979, then became board member, regional and tournament director for PA soon after. Joy accepted the role as Spontaneous IPC in 1987 and has been inspiring kids ever since. Her passion for creative education is also evident in her community service as the Education Director/ Special Projects Coordinator for the Gulf Coast Symphony. Joy and her husband Harold have four children— all who were involved in OotM. Family is important to Joy— and we are lucky that she considers OotM family. “Odyssey is a special program. It’s more than just a creative way to reach children. It is a lifestyle. Through Odyssey I have made many friends, from around the world, have gained knowledge and had experiences I would never have known, and my life has been greatly enriched.”
Wojtek Radziwilowicz | director
[This biography is on its way!]
Jason Wheeler | director
Jason has been involved in Odyssey of the Mind since 1990. In his time as an OMER, he’s been a wizard, a TRex, an M&M, a clown, a crayon, and construction worker, a kangaroo, a World Finalist, a coach, a judge, a head judge, a World Finals judge and a World Finals Head Judge. He has served on the Maine Odyssey of the Mind Board since 2003 and is currently the state Association Director for Maine and New Hampshire. But of all his OM roles, OM Dad is by far his favorite. Jason has made it his life's work to ensure every kid has the opportunity to be a part of Odyssey of the Mind. Jason has been working in technology sales, communications and marketing for more than two decades. Jason lives with his wife, kids and several animals on the Southern Maine coast and can be found frequently at what feels like his second home, Terminal C at Logan Airport.
FORMER COU BOARD MEMBERS
Association: South Carolina
Association: North Carolina
Associations: Iowa and Florida
Carola Gnadt, Ph.D.
Association: North Carolina
Jimmie S. Jones*
Association: Pennsylvania & New Jersey
Associations: Delaware & Maryland
Association: New Jersey & Florida
* = designates a founding COU member
501(C)(3) NON-PROFIT INFORMATION
Creative Opportunities Unlimited is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. According to the IRS...
"To be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, an organization must beorganized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3), and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. In addition, it may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.Organizations described in section 501(c)(3) are commonly referred to as charitable organizations. Organizations described in section 501(c)(3), other than testing for public safety organizations, are eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Code section 170.The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, and no part of a section 501(c)(3) organization's net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. If the organization engages in an excess benefit transaction with a person having substantial influence over the organization, an excise tax may be imposed on the person and any organization managers agreeing to the transaction."
For more information about 501(c)(3) organizations, please visit the IRS website here.
For more information about COU's tax-exempt status or for a copy of COU's official tax-exemption letter from the IRS, please contact us using the contact form below.