About COU

1/6

RESOURCES:

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...

 

Calla Pott | president

Association: Colorado

Calla began her involvement with Odyssey of the Mind in 2000 as a parent of an OMer then joined her husband Rick as a coach of their sons’ team the following year. The pinnacle of their coaching experience was when the team won World Finals in 2005, Problem 4, Division II. After hanging up her coaching hat, Calla served as a volunteer, judge and Spontaneous Problem Captain before becoming the Association Director in Colorado in 2009. Rick also currently serves as the Structure State Problem Captain and their daughter participated in the program for several years. Calla holds her SPHR and SHRM-SCP and is the Principal at Align By Design: Human Capital Consulting where she works with organizations to develop strategic human capital solutions aligned to their business goals. Calla often says she would hire an Odyssey of the Mind alumni because of the skills they learned as a result of participating in the program. 

Association: Illinois

James (Jim) Mourey, Ph.D. | president-elect

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.

William R. Cook, II* | vice president

Association: Oklahoma

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

Association: Virginia

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.

Andrew Gibb | secretary

Associations: Iowa and Florida

Andrew competed in Odyssey of the Mind from ‘92-97, with one trip to World Finals.  He served on the FLOMA (Florida Odyssey of the Mind) board as Alumni director and Primary Problem Captain for 2 years from ‘97-99, and also spent time judging at the regional and state level.   He has been a World Finals volunteer working in souvenir sales since ’97.  He served another year on the FLOMA board as secretary in 2011, before relocating to Iowa.  Andrew is a Manufacturer’s sales representative for EFCO, a Pella Company, living in Davenport, IA.

Joel Anderson | director

Association: Georgia

Joel has been involved with the Odyssey of the Mind program since 1993. First as a parent, then a coach, then a Regional Director for Spontaneous  (3 years), and finally as a Director on the State Board for the last 12 years. As a coach he lead teams to World 3 years in a row, and also had 2 second place finishes. On the State Board he has held positions of Spontaneous, Membership, and Sponsorship. Joel has attended World as a Spontaneous Judge every year since 1999. He is also very proud that his daughter Melissa (who started his involvement with OofM) continued her interest in the Program, and was the AD responsible for organizing Odyssey in the Dakotas. After retiring from Bechtel Corporation as a Project Manager, he started his own Management Consulting company. In addition he serves on the Boards of several other non-profits/charities. 

Michael Bojanski | director, 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.

Lynn Larsen, Ph.D. | director

Association: California

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.

Dr. Harold Kurtz* | director

Associations: Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Winner of the Spirit of Odyssey Award for 2008. Harold has been active in Odyssey of the Mind since 1983.

He has served as State and Regional Problem Captain (PA) and has served as a head judge at Worlds for 25

years. Harold served as Association Director for New Jersey (CUinNJ) and Secretary for Pennsylvania

(CUinPA). Currently, Harold is in charge of the Graduation Ceremonies at World Finals. Since he is an “official”

Snowbird and spends the winters in Florida, he now judges with the Florida Association.  His wife, Joy has

been the International Problem Captain for Spontaneous for nearly 30 years. All four of their children have

participated in Odyssey of the Mind as students and two of them served as judges and/or problem captains in

both PA and NJ. This program has had a powerful influence on their family! Harold is a retired Superintendent

of Schools (17 years). After a 36 year career in public education, he was employed for three years as the

Director of Charter School Operations for a New Jersey non-profit.  Since 2004, he has worked as an

independent consultant as the Founder and President of Synergy Educational Consultants designing and

opening new charter schools as well as providing technical assistance to various charter schools in

Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He claims he is “semi-retired’.

Wojtek Radziwilowicz | director

[This biography is on its way!]

Association: Poland

FORMER COU BOARD MEMBERS

Michael Bledsoe*

Association: Florida

 

Sid Brockman*

Association: Colorado

 

Fern Brown

Association: Maine

Mike Byars

Association: South Carolina

 

Athelene Carter

Association: North Carolina

 

Carola Gnadt, Ph.D.

Association: Germany

 

Charlotte Griner

Association: North Carolina

 

Jimmie S. Jones*

Association: Arkansas

 

Carl Lewis

Association: Oklahoma

Tim Perkins

Association: Vermont

Ron Raab-Long

Associations: Delaware & Maryland

Dan Semenza*

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

CONTACT US:

© 2019 Creative Opportunities Unlimited