March 13, 2014

Women, Optimist Clubs and Awareness

I did not post this year on International Women's Day, March 8, 2014. I had planned to do so as I have for several years now. But on that day I was preoccupied with a regional meeting for the PNW District - Optimist International and since I wasn't engaged in the online stream of my social media accounts, my thoughts for the day went unpublished. And like the plight of many women's issues, my lack of comment also went unnoticed.

However, in preparation for the regional meeting of Optimist Club members in Idaho, I created a Women's Day presentation. I tied the awareness goals identified by the International Women's Day organization into a discussion for Optimist Club members. Specifically, I was going to tell them that women must play a visible leadership role in their Optimist Clubs. I was also going to elaborate on the importance of sharing stories online about their Optimist Club. My preparation was for naught. I gave a presentation, but stayed light on the women's day tie-in. Instead I explained that I believe social media is a great equalizer. 

With social media, there is an extremely low barrier to entry; one needs only to sign up for a free account at Facebook and Twitter, among others. Next, they must share interesting information. A lot more goes into gaining a large number of followers, but I encouraged them to start with the basics first. One must get comfortable sharing your ideas online and then, with diligence, they will get their cause noticed. 

Participation in social media is a win-win for Optimist Clubs and Optimist International. Happy people, volunteering for worthy causes and sharing personal testimony about the impact that community service has on their lives and their community provides positive social credibility for the organization. I'm convinced that participation in social media will lead to more awareness and more members.

And for women - within this post-International Women's Day musing, I encourage women and men alike to share their honest emotions in their stories. By journaling our activities and emotions, we bring our flaws and oversights to light. With the public awareness provided by social media, we may even see where we can adapt, change and do better for all. 

Inspiring positive change: It's what Optimist Clubs do (or should do) best.

See the presentation here. 

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