Jennifer Gilbert Gebhardt 2013-10-08 10:06:17
Want to Woo Women Lions? Female Lions Leaders Know How When they got married, Karen Sell’s husband, Lloyd, had been an Olympia Host Lion for 35 years. She thought becoming a Lion would be a great way to share experiences and create memories together. When Sell joined the Washington club in 1993, she was one of just two women members. The Lions welcomed the change. “They almost immediately invited me to take on a leadership role. They could not have treated me better. I was proud when I became the first woman president of a 60-year-old mostly male club. Today, women make up close to 40 percent of the club’s membership,” Sell says. Immediate Past District 21 B Governor Sell has continued to thrive with her current club, the Tucson Downtown Lions in Arizona. She has also become an enthusiastic champion of recruiting women Lions and building women leaders. Why? She believes in what Lions do, and she knows this is a place for women to contribute and prosper. “Women are eager to work on causes that touch their hearts, and they have skills and talents we need,” Sell points out. “To recruit women, we have to do things like go where the women are and do projects and programs that women would find interesting. And current women Lions need to step up more publicly and show that women are active and valued in Lions.” President Palmer also wants to welcome more women members. He has asked Lions to increase women’s membership from 24.5 percent to 30 percent by the end of 2013-14 with the ultimate goal of achieving a 50/50 parity of men and women by LCI’s centennial in 2017. LCI formed a Women’s and Family Development Task Force in 2010 to increase female membership and leadership. International Director Judy Hankom, chair of the task force, says that the group is engaging in public relations and participating in workshops, focus groups and symposiums worldwide. “We are missing out by not including more women. It can be as simple as when you invite a man to join then invite his wife or daughter. Ask a few women to join together. Then get them involved, find out what service they’re interested in doing,” says Hankom, a Hampton Lion in Iowa. It may or may not always be that simple, points out Kelly Wiseman, who in 2010 at age 42 became the first female president in the El Paso Downtown Lions Club’s 87-year history. Wiseman loved the 12 years she spent with the 97-percent- male Texas club, but she eventually needed an environment that better suited her lifestyle. “The club was steeped in tradition and routines. You have to determine what works best for your club, but I believe you can’t have traditional clubs anymore and continue to recruit new members, women or men. Life is too hectic,” says Wiseman. Now a zone chairperson, Wiseman found a great fit in the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Lions Club. “I wanted to be able to focus more on my career, and this club was not as traditional. They were doing more service projects and met less often. I could continue serving and focus on other aspects of my job and life as well. Joining the UTEP Club has helped me realize that women can really grow to their potential in Lions,” says Wiseman. The more flexible, fresh approach of the UTEP Club must be working—60 percent of members are women.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Recruiting+Members/1527984/178501/article.html.