Going to Oak Brook and the International Headquarters for the board orientation for new International Directors and Board Appointees was a terrific experience! We spent time with Lions Clubs International Staff reviewing our roles as liaisons, advocates, stewards, and ambassadors. In addition, we received technology briefings and ipads to help us efficiently manage the vast amount information and LCI materials we need to complete our committee assignments and board responsibilities.
Patti Repenn-Volante was responsible for organizing and facilitating the orientation sessions. She did a wonderful job of keeping the sessions on time, providing information to support our work as International Directors, and enabling us to get to know each other as fellow board members.
The executive officers joined us for the sessions. President Joe Preston introduced the 2014-2015 theme: “Strengthen the Pride” and he provided his perspective on particular topics as they were introduced. He is very passionate about how we must strengthen our organization, as well as our feelings about and commitment to Lions Clubs International as the world’s premiere service organization.
Past President Barry Palmer was a key presenter when the Lions Clubs International Foundation programs were discussed. Vice Presidents Yamada and Corlew were present to observe the new directors and appointees as they interacted and participated in the structured activities. The division managers and staff of LCI provided useful information in engaging ways to familiarize us with their work.
This information will be particularly helpful for us as we serve as liaisons between LCI and local clubs and Lions around theworld.
As advocates, we need to know about and believe in what LCI does through its foundation–LCIF–and other programs and activities. The upcoming Centennial Celebration was the focus of much discussion, as was the 2015 convention to be held in Honolulu, Hawaii in June 2015.
Finally, our responsibility as ambassadors became the major focus of our final day of orientation. Scheduling speaking engagements, making travel arrangements, and understanding the many “hats” we wear as International Directors were among the topics covered. We also received some tips from The Speaking Specialists who were not only experienced trainers, but effective speakers themselves.
Board orientation is an annual event, but our presenters made us feel like they developed the sessions and materials just for us. In the process, they used creative strategies to motivate and encourage us to participate.
The time went fast because we were engaged. The final “Hunt for the Pride” safari pulled everything together for us and each team “got its monkey!” In fact, the group I was in got two (one by mistake!).
Complimenting the orientation sessions were times when we could enjoy each other’s company and nurture what will become lifelong friendships.We toured along Lake Michigan, visiting parks and landmarks. We ate at interesting and varied restaurants: The Firehouse, Seasons 52, and the Hyatt.
On the last night together, we posed for a large-group photo on the patio and ended with Dr. Yamada, President Joe, ID Svein, ID Charlie, and others stepping up to sing a solo or lead a song.
At the end of the orientation, President Joe asked us if we were “ready to roar?” We responded with a ROAR that could be heard around the world!
Every step of the way, the journey to International Director has been filled with unbelievable people! I am so appreciative to the Lions of MD5 for this opportunity to serve.
–Lion Robert Littlefield