BE February Newsletter

A Letter From the Board President

Suzanne Blackburn

Dear BE Community,

2022 continued to be a year of storming and forming, but we’re closing in on norming and performing. As Body Electric continued to be challenged in a number of ways, the Board of Directors continued to do what we do best. We put our heads together, we listened to one another, and we debated to arrive at the best policies. We gathered up our collective wisdom to serve as good stewards and ensure that we are always in support of the mission of The Body Electric School.

We met monthly to help guide this beloved organization through persistently stormy waters. Just when we thought we had a good pulse on Covid, keeping up with the latest recommendations and adjusting our prevention policy accordingly, Mpox appeared. It’s not clear how much of a negative impact Mpox had on enrollment in our in-person events, but it’s clear that it had some. The third threat of 2022 was inflation which, undoubtedly, prevented some enrollment. 

But it’s not all bad news, because all of these challenges are pushing us to consider better ways to continue to make our beautiful work available to more and more people. As Rahm Emanuel said: You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that — it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” How perfect! 

With your support, that is exactly what we’re doing. Our online courses are more creative than ever, and we’re reaching wider, more diverse audiences. We’re inviting teachers from other sex-positive organizations to present their skills as guest speakers on our platform.  And as you have probably noticed, we’re becoming more sensitive to considerations of inclusivity, especially regarding gender and accessibility.

Sometimes, however, you have to weigh your options, make your best decisions, realize you’ve made an unfortunate choice, and reverse your own decisions. That’s humbling, but it’s also good governance. After realizing that trying to comply with tax filings in every state where a facilitator or coordinator resided would be more than overwhelming for our beloved accountant, Scott Freidman, we decided we needed to reverse an earlier decision and return all facilitators and coordinators to contract employee status. 

The board’s mission to play a meaningful role in fundraising endeavors is still in its very early stages. In 2023 the board will take on the responsibility of sending thank-you notes and making thank-you calls to our larger donors. The school could not continue without those and all donations and we want to acknowledge the importance of that generosity.

In November several board members, including me, attended a fundraiser in NYC at the home of Craig Hardwood. It was very generous of Craig to open his home to all of us. This was a wonderful event planned by a committee that included BE  members from on and off the Board of Directors: Eric Lange, Ilise Kritzer-Lange, Craig Cullinane, Don Shewey, and Andy Willett. It was also a fun opportunity to finally meet, in person, Tom Kovach (ED) and Ezra Lowe (board treasurer), with whom I had only ever communicated by phone or Zoom.   

Early in 2022, the board approved funding to hire Tom Kovach as a consultant in developing operations systems — this was brought forward by the Executive Committee. Tom’s help was critical, and in May we approved hiring Tom as Interim Executive Director. This has proved an excellent decision, as Tom has provided strong and wise leadership to guide this organization as it changes and grows.

Here are a few more highlights from 2022.

  • We approved funds to send two facilitators to the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Conference and Creating Change Conference,
  • We began the process of creating a Board of Directors Handbook that would include all of our commitments, our terms of membership, our governance model, our communications agreements, and our bylaws.
  • We made a commitment to ensure that all board documents are written in gender-neutral language.
  • Following current CDC guidelines, we initially changed our Covid policy to allow vaccine exemptions for health reasons and then, in October, we dropped the vaccine requirement and required only testing.
  • We required passwords for online participation to increase cybersecurity.
  • We moved to improve our email efficacy by allocating funds for a Mailchimp subscription.
  • In March we elected new board officers for the 2022-2023 board year. (All votes were held by acclimation.)
    • President: Suzanne Blackburn (nominated by Charlie, seconded by Tom);
    • Vice-President: Mike (nom. Tom, sec. Suzanne);
    • Treasurer: Tom (nom. Carol-Anne, sec. Paula);
    • Secretary: Charlie (nom. Tom, sec. Eric).
  • We agreed to take advantage of the Amazon Smile program, which allows customers to select a nonprofit organization to receive contributions from Amazon sales.
  • Board Member Kristy Lowther worked with Tom Kovach to apply for grants.
  • We considered creating an ombudsman program but ultimately decided to work on policies that would allow the ED and the board’s Executive Committee to handle complaints and issues.
  • We recognized the need for accessibility and the challenge of finding accessible venues. We have asked coordinators to consider accessibility when securing venues. 
  • We revisited partnering with One Billion Rising and the International Day of Violence Against Women.
  • We suggested that Body Electric should have a page on, which was drafted by David Townsend and me. We’re excited for that to be published soon.
  • With Charles McFarland’s mentoring, we developed our storytelling skills for promotion and fundraising.

As we move into 2023, we look forward to continuing our work. We will be welcoming new board members to help us with this responsibility. As required for inclusion and fairness, we will also be reaching out to hire a permanent executive director, and we hope that Tom, along with other strong candidates, will apply for that position.

Below I’m sharing a description of the board to give some insight into what we do and don’t do. I hope you find it interesting. The board is not a closed group but, rather, an open-hearted and open-minded one. We welcome your suggestions and feedback. You can reach me at

We hope that 2023 brings you joy and an abundance of gourmet hugs,

Suzanne Blackburn

BOD President

What the Board of Directors of the Body Electric School does: 

  • The board ensures that the activities and transactions are, first and foremost, advancing the school’s mission. 
  • The board makes decisions that are in the best interest of the nonprofit corporation and addresses issues that are counter to the best interests. 
  • The board ensures that the school obeys applicable laws and regulations and follows its own bylaws. 
  • The board hires and evaluates the executive director. 
  • The board approves funding of the organization and supervises the prudent use of funds made available. 
  • The board creates organizational policy in keeping with the mission and abides by the bylaws. The board creates the strategic plan and evaluates if the goals of that plan are being met. 
  • The board assists with fundraising. 

What the Board of Directors does not do: 

  • The board is not responsible for or engaged with the school’s day-to-day operations. 
  • The board is not responsible for hiring, training, or dismissing any staff or faculty. 
  • The board does not manage a task or project once spending has been approved for it. 
  • The board does not oversee anyone on the operations team. 
  • Members do not receive any salary or compensation for their service as a director or officer.

Introducing “The Erotic Liberation Podcast” – Conversations that connect bodies, minds, hearts and souls; hosted by Craig Cullinane and G Love.

2022 Executive Director’s Year End Report

Executive Director’s Year-End Report, 2022

Tom Kovach

The overarching theme for last year, it seems to me, was “Both, And.” It was a time of great challenge and steps forward, of focusing on the past and paving a road to the future.

Body Electric was founded for gay men in the 1980s amid the AIDS epidemic. While there’s nothing like death on a massive scale to catch our attention, there’s nothing like living and surviving in power to give us love, hope, and a heavy workload. Visionary leaders see applications of sex-positive embodiment to all people. As our work continues with gay men, it also includes other groups in society who are handed death and body shame as part of daily reality. Dominique Jackson says in Imara Jones’s documentary The Future of Trans (Jun 24, 2020) says that “when you wake up and hear a girl is murdered, or a trans man is murdered, it becomes really personal, because you think, ‘This could be me.’” Bodies carry this fear and trauma. Bodies need to love and accept themselves. At BE we cherish all bodies, and sometimes, but not always, in the same room.

Our vision is: to invite all people into erotic awareness, expansion, and expression. By expanding our BE home, we are only making room for more people.  We will continue to honor our roots, keeping our classic, beautiful, and time-honored affinity spaces for men, while inventing new ways to celebrate the bodies of all people.

In 2022 we focused on how we can do both and serve everyone who comes to us with, as our mission statement calls for, expertly guided educational experiences grounded in the erotic and its integration with the sacred to foster transformative personal and communal healing. 

In order to expand our reach and better serve our membership, we launched our new website, . This effort was a year in the making, which included a branding process and a design-and-build phase for the website. This work was a team effort but was only completed with the guiding hand of Board Vice President Mike Galan. 

Once launched, we worked on search-engine optimization and added features to help those new to our work better understand what paths are available in their Body Electric journey, thanks mainly to Agi Lurtz and her team at Full 360 Marketing. The results include videos from facilitators and testimonials from participants. As we closed out the year, we started remastering the videos for broader appeal with the help of one of our Ambassadors, Ken Immer.  Because of this effort, we have 5,100 new visitors a month to our website, and now we are redoubling our efforts to convert those visitors into participants.

Our social media efforts continue to expand with the use of those remastered videos and more intentional posting of workshops as events, assisted by Pawel Lorkiewicz, another ambassador. We have added a YouTube channel and Twitter feed — and most importantly, our own social media platform, the BE Community, found at

This platform allows us to create a private space for BE alumni and members that will increase connection and provide a place for Body Electric resources and archives. It has been fostered in large part by former board member Arthur Goodman. 

We revived our BE Blog and Newsletter and started a monthly appreciation circle to highlight individuals who have positively affected the school. But our biggest outreach effort is the Erotic Liberation Podcast hosted by Craig Cullinane, former Executive Director and Creative Director, and G Love, one of our Board Members. 

At the direction of the JEDI (Justice Equity Diversity and Inclusion) Committee, we revamped the language we use to describe and classify our workshops to make it clear which are open to all people and which are affinity spaces, like our new BIPOC Men’s CBE. As a part of this process, we had input from the faculty, Board Members, and JEDI Committee members and considered participants’ feedback. Related to this work, we had a faculty training on gender diversity and expression with Dr. Lucie Fielding. 

Many of our Emerging Faculty completed their training this year. We have initiated a guest faculty program for those who teach workshops related to Body Electric but are not BE Faculty. We call these Associated Workshops, and they will broaden the scope of the content we present and introduce BE to those who follow these guest faculty through our doors. 

We have taken a hard look at our finances and thoroughly reviewed expenses, both fixed and variable. Based on what we found, we have restructured many things to help make Body Electric more viable in the future. We have coupled this with marketing improvements to help bring in more revenue. 

The membership program was restructured to encourage a broader range of folx to become members. The program continues to help fund scholarships, of which we gave out over 130 in 2022. 

We received the Gold Seal of Transparency from Guidestar for our work to make our finances clear and transparent and our efforts to make leadership accessible and representative of our members. 

We met over 95% of our strategic planning goals. All those things were done in the challenging time of COVID-19, Mpox, a slowing economy and high inflation, and a change in leadership, asCraig Cullinane leaft the Executive Director role. 

None of this could have been accomplished without the support of the Body Electric community, who volunteered, donated, became Ambassadors and Board Members, and came to our online and in-person workshops. 

We also are indebted to the faculty, coordinators, and operations team members who gave of themselves with passion for the school and the work it does. Many of our highest donors are faculty and coordinators. Where else can you find this kind of devotion? 

I want to thank Craig Cullinane, Paul Willis, and Sarah Belzile for supporting me as interim director. It is a great honor and privilege but also a huge responsibility that takes a team to back it up. Part of that team is the Board of Directors, who have given so much of their time, treasure, and talent to support the school. 

Body Electric is a labor of love by many who together support the school and its mission. Together we will create a lasting future for BE.

Respectfully submitted,

Tom Kovach

Interim Executive Director

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