September 6, 2015

See more, be more

When I first joined an Optimist Club,  my mind was on two things: giving back to my community and increasing business  at my family owned and operated television and major appliance store, not necessarily in that order. I hadn't thought about being club president or rising up through district or international ranks. My motives were utilitarian.

It wasn't that long after joining,  three years to be exact,  that I was tapped to be president.  I didn't hesitate; I was honored to be chosen and vowed to do my best. Doing my best, to me, meant finding out more about the umbrella organization with which  Optimist Clubs are affiliated. And with that in mind, I set off to attend my first district convention.

Over the years, I've attended many such gatherings, sometimes in my own district and sometimes traveling to other states to learn more about how we differ and how much we are the same.

What I've learned has helped me personally and professionally.  I've enhanced my  leadership skills and made new friends from around the world. Perhaps most important to me is, prompted by my involvement with Optimist International,  I've changed careers. In doing so, I've continued to learn.

First, I started an economic development agency directed at providing interim executive management services. I assist start-up nonprofit associations with strategic planning and resource development. I also help them recruit members. On other assignments,  I assist organizations that have lost their course or are ready to take the next step in their growth and development.  These three tasks are similar and adherence to a negotiated and publicized strategic plan is key.

I returned to school to complete my Master's degree so that I could perform these tasks better for my clients. That extends well to my volunteer service with Optimist Clubs.  I have a personal mission to tell stories of service conducted by individuals through their involvement with an Optimist Club.  Like me, each person who gets involved with an Optimist Club expands their horizons and when they open themselves to new experiences, they are better for it.

Share optimism.  Join an Optimist Club today. 

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