July 6, 2013

The convention concludes; that means it's time to get to work

The Optimist International Convention 2013 has come to a close. I watched most of it live via Ustream, but it was not quite like being there in person when the enthusiasm from others can infect you and make you happy about most everything that you see and hear. It's easier to be critical of the production quality, and sadly, the message, from afar.

Perhaps it is not very optimistic of me to comment, so please accept my apologies up front if my criticism offends you; but to watch the convention come to a close with a slideshow of random children from around the world without linking them to why they should matter to me or to other Optimist Club members can only be described as an example of a poor public relations strategy. A much stronger ending would have been to show us how Optimist Club members touch the lives of so many in their communities every day. Uploaded to YouTube, such a video could have served double duty as a membership recruitment and retention tool.

It's sad to miss opportunities, but that is what happens when there is not a professionally-designed and managed communications plan in place.

On a more positive note, I am quite enthralled with 2013-2014 International President Ron Huxley's theme. He plans to lead the organization with "MO." Standing for "My Optimism," President Ron explained that belonging to an Optimist Club means something different to each person. We all have different reasons for continuing our commitment to our clubs and the organization and to recognize such individuality, "MO" will give us the opportunity to share our stories with others. As a social media activist for optimism, I'm looking forward to bringing this theme to life.

Melvin Bannister speaks against individual
memberships to Optimist International
In other happenings at the Optimist International Convention, I'm happy to report that the amendment to the bylaws that would have started a pilot program for individual membership to Optimist International thereby bypassing Optimist Clubs failed. Perhaps there are more folks like me who know how important it is that Optimist Clubs have a voice in the management and strategic direction of Optimist International. With that knowledge, perhaps we can begin to design a more collaborative future vision, one where Optimist Clubs come first.

Please contact me, Linda Vaught Jackson, to share ideas so that we may be involved in designing that vision and working together to make our dreams real.
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