Leadership Development Chair: Roger Lesofski (Great Falls Uptown)
Roger is a long serving Optimist since 1984 who is strongly committed to leadership development as part of building a strong District. In addition to serving a the District Governor in 2003-04, Roger has served as Leadership Development, Membership, Retention and New Club Building Chairs in previous years. Roger served as Club President (Distinguished) in 1997-98 and as Zone 1 Lieutenant Governor for 1998-2000.
Res: (406) 771-7061
Why did I become an Optimist? "Initially to get on a softball team the optimist club had."
Roger just completed a year on the OI Convention Committee that planned and ran the Annual Convention in Denver. Roger enjoys helping the kids and all the great friends he has made because of Optimism.
What is the primary reason I continue to serve as an Optimist? "I believe in all the aspects of Optimism and the great things we stand for."
As part of the Growth Team, his role is to plan, promote and conduct the training of Club and District leaders making them more effective leaders. Roger believes in all the aspects of Optimism and the great things we stand for and he invites everyone to attend the quarterly District Conferences to participate in the many informative workshops.
What do I enjoy most about being an Optimist? "Not only helping the kids, but all the great friends I have made because of Optimism, throughout this District and in my own club."
Find out more about Leadership Development
Membership Chair: Jay Strever (Billings Breakfast)
Res: (406) 254-8590
Jay joined the Billings Breakfast Club in 2002 and he is strongly committed to increasing membership in each club throughout the District. He has served as Distinguished Club President (2005-06) and Distinguished and Outstanding Zone 4 Lieutenant Governor (2006-07).
Why did you become an Optimist? I became an Optimist because I was asked. I had belonged to a service club (Kiwanis) since 1982. When a job change forced me to resign in 2001 because I could not attend the 2 hour luncheon meetings, I felt something missing from my life. I enjoyed giving back to my community and I enjoyed associating with people of true character. When my best friend in the whole wide world, Greg Piper, asked me to become a Breakfast Optimist, I jumped at the opportunity.
Jay last served as the District Junior Golf Chair for 2007-2009 running two very successful District Junior Golf Competitions. Jay enjoys being an Optimist and invites everyone to spread the gift of membership to a friend.
What do you hope to accomplish in your District position this year? I want to teach my fellow Optimists how to great ambassadors for Optimism. When their enthusiasm and character shine through they cannot help but succeed when they ask a friend to become an Optimist.
Membership is the lifeblood of any Optimist club. Clubs that run one community service project a month, one fund raiser per quarter, ensure that all members are assigned to a club committee, enjoy a strong and active membership. Running a successful new member recruitment drive is vital to the future success of your club. I invite you to attend the quarterly District Conference workshops on membership.
What is the primary reason you continue to serve as an Optimist? That’s easy. I’m selfish. I get more out of being an Optimist than I put into it. In return for a few hours of my time I get to associate with the finest people in the world. I get the satisfaction of seeing kids realize opportunities that they would never have had if it had not been for our organization. Who wouldn’t want to do this?
Find out more about Membership
New Club Building Chair: Edie McInnes (Blackfalds)
Edie is a Charter President (Distinguished) in Blackfalds in 2002-03 and Zone 3 Lieutenant-Governor in 2003-04. Edie previously served on the Growth Teams for Past Governor Don Morrison (as New Club Building Chair), Norm Sagen (as Membership Chair) and Doug Kirby (as Membership Chair) where she was successful in helping the District achieve Distinguished growth goals.
New Club Building
Res: (403) 318-5782
How did I become an Optimist? "I saw an ad in our local utility bill that asked 'Would you like to help the kids in your community?'. I went to the information meeting hosted by the Red Deer Optimist Club and I liked what I heard. We are a small community and we did not have a lot for the kids in our town to do. Since the Optimist Club's organization there is a ton of stuff for our kids as well as a JOOI Club and an Octagon Club. I love the friendships I have made! My closest friends are Optimist members!"
Building a new Optimist club in a community without a club is one of the most satisfying projects that you can participate in, and is one of the greatest gifts that you can give to a local community. I really believe that every community needs an Optimist Club! I would like to help start a new club in all the small communities, like my own, because it has helped our little town so much. I invite you to attend our New Club Building workshops at the quarterly District Conferences this year.
Find out more about New Club Building
JOOI Chair: Lee Weiszhaar (St. Albert)
Lee has server as an Optimist in St. Albert since the early 90's. She has served as a Distinguished Club President and Secretary-Treasurer. In addition to serving as Distinguished & Outstanding Governor in 2000-01, Lee has served on previous District teams as Club Services, Faculty, Essay and Candidate Qualifications Chairs. Lee is looking forward to meeting fellow Optimists who want to build new JOOI clubs throughout the District.
Res: (780) 458-3829
JOOI clubs are often more active delivering projects in their community. Building a JOOI club goes a long way to helping to train the leaders of tomorrow. I invite you to attend the JOOI club building workshops at the quarterly District Conferences this year.
Find out more about District JOOI Clubs
Personal Growth & PGI: Jeff Barnhart (Great Falls Uptown)
Jeff joined the Great Falls Uptown Club in 2001 and has served as Honor Club President in 2003-04 and as Distinguished Lt. Governor in 2006-07. Jeff has been bestowed a life time membership by his club for his work as an Optimist.
Res: (406) 453-5375
"Throughout my military career I believed that only with the help of many can we make a difference. I was introduced to the Club and found that here were many who wished to help a very needy and deserving population of our community. I appreciated the intense meaning of the creed which supports our organization's goals and philosophy and I appreciated the opportunity to give back to my community."
As the PGI Chair Jeff plans to encourage all the incoming Lt. Governors and incoming Presidents to get every member who already has achieved one level of PGI to aspire to move up at least one more level. In addition he hopes that all the new members recruited this year will be enrolled into PGI and as a minimum will complete their first level as quickly as possible.
"Each year that I have enjoyed working with the club, makes me less cynical about where our younger generation will lead us. I enjoy seeing the effort that we do materialize into some greater good that one person alone could not accomplish. Some of our working members I know have their own problems and concerns, but regardless, will take some time off without first thinking of themselves and whats in it for them. It is a pleasure to work with a strong team who see the rewards of their labor without first thinking of themselves."
Running an active PGI program at the club level helps to strengthen an active membership by enabling them to take ownership of their participation. We will continue to run PGI training modules at the quarterly District Conferences. This is an excellent opportunity to train your next club PGI Chair.
"I have found that the best part of being an Optimist is what it has forced me to become ... I realized that the sincerity of those that are in the organization with me is habit forming, and not only brings out the best in kids, it also brings out the best in the adults. I believe I have been better prepared to perform my duties at work and at home with a better feeling of satisfaction and a far better appreciation for our fellow man."
Find out more about the PGI Program