President Rebecca Butler Mona offers an inspirational message delegates to the 2019 International Convention in Louisville. Follow Rebecca's year as International President on her official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Welcome to our July 2019 Leadership Hotline, highlighting the 2019 International Convention in Louisville with additional updates from around the world of Optimism!

2019 Louisville Centennial Celebration Convention

A Convention 100 Years in the Making

More than 1,300 Optimists attended the International Convention in Louisville, including Club Members, Officers, and Junior Optimist International delegates.

The Optimist Centennial featured heavily in the convention’s events, starting with the dedication of a historical marker at the site of the original Convention in 1919. The marker sits at Fourth and Market streets, in front of the Kentucky International Convention Center, where the Tyler Hotel once stood. Watch a video of the dedication here.

Opening ceremonies on Sunday night started with an interactive timeline. Time-travelers inspired by Back to the Future, and played by President Rebecca Butler Mona's Family guided the audience through the decades of Optimism. Starting with the 1920s, participants appeared in period dress to highlight the successes of Optimism while placing them in the context of world events.

Monday’s business session began with inspiration from President Rebecca Butler Mona. During the 2018-2019 year, Optimist International added 60 new adult Clubs and 40 JOI Clubs, along with expansions in Nepal, Uruguay and several African countries, she said.

“What you do as Optimists absolutely makes a difference, whether it’s to one or to many,” she said. “Sometimes we get to see the beaming face of a proud child who caught their first fish, or who was recognized as student of the month.”

Monica Hardin, a Louisville news anchor and Oratorical Contest winner, provided the day’s keynote address. She described her similar philosophy to the Optimist Creed when confronting her own life’s challenges.

“We’re always going to have obstacles of some sort, but you all choose to face them with Optimism,” said Hardin, an anchor at the city’s WLKY.

Tuesday’s business session featured a multimedia presentation by Jeff Hanson, a Kansas City artist with a business model of “philanthropy first.” Jeff and his parents, Julie and Hal, discussed their family’s challenges, which included Jeff’s childhood cancer diagnosis and vision loss. However, Jeff persevered as a painter and found success.

“Fanatical optimism wins,” Jeff Hanson said. “Every act of kindness helps create kinder communities, more compassionate nations and a better world for all – even one painting at a time.”

In addition to meeting and having fun, Optimists and Junior Optimists also organized service projects. Optimists collected art supplies for the Cabbage Patch Settlement House, which provides programs and services for children in Louisville to help them build self-esteem and a sense of responsibility.

The Convention also reaffirmed the Optimist International Foundation’s commitment to childhood cancer research. The OI Foundation presented a $100,000 check to the Johns Hopkins Department of Pediatric Oncology for research in cancer. In addition, the Pony Scouts Junior Optimist Club of Bonita presented their own check to Johns Hopkins for $8,600.

During the closing business session, President Designate Adrian Elcock introduced his family, including his wife Ann, and daughter Sanaa, as well as discussing his family’s background in Barbados. Elcock’s priorities for his year as president include updating Optimist International’s communications and marketing efforts, and a new approach to Club Building.

“My simple theme for 2019–2020 is iMagine,” President Designate Adrian Elcock said. “We must re-imagine the financial, marketing and operational platforms of Optimist International to become the premier volunteer organization of the world.”

With the Louisville setting, horses and the Kentucky Derby were popular themes. President Butler Mona evoked the Derby theme during her closing remarks, as she thanked members for their hard work and encouraged them to keep it up during the final months of the Optimist year.

“l’ll ask each of you to promise yourself to bring your personal best to everything you do,” she said. “Let’s make the most of our final stretch and leave our mark on history.”

Adopted Bylaws Amendments

Convention delegates adopted several amendments to Optimist International bylaws. These changes will take effect Oct. 1. Click here to read these amendments as adopted.

Online Officer Registration

Remember! Optimist Clubs can register their 2019-2020 officers online. A current officer must login to   and click on “Reports”. Scroll down, and on the right side of the screen, you will see “Club Officer Elect Report,” and click on “Report”. You will be able to select the names of the Club Members who will be filling the leadership roles during the Optimist 2019-2020 year. If you have questions or need assistance, contact Charlotte Baker at Member Services at [email protected] .
Global Spotlight

Optimists are busy around the world!

The July issue of Global Spotlight covers a new Club in Haiti, plus projects in Uganda, Uruguay and Nepal.

World Oratorical Championships

Optimist International Oratorical World Championships will take place July 18-20 in St. Louis, Missouri. Watch the competition live at

We can't wait to see what these young orators will achieve this year!
Bringing Out The Best

" Bringing Out the Best--The First Century of Optimist International (1919-2019)" by Past International President David Bruns was the hottest souvenir at the 2019 International Convention. This 600-page work chronicles the origins and accomplishments of Optimist International, and will be available at our International Convention in Louisville and through Amazon.

If you missed Convention, you can still buy the book on Amazon. The list price is $25, but you can get a post-Convention special price of $20 for a limited time.

If you're heading to the Optimist Oratorical World Championships this week in St. Louis, Dave will be available to sign books. Don't miss this chance to meet Optimist International's best-selling author!
Junior Optimist International

More than 200 Junior Optimists from around the world joined their adult counterparts for the JOI Convention in Louisville, June 30 to July 2.

Junior Optimists joined the adult group for a combined Opening Ceremony on Sunday, June 30, where JOI members carried flags representing the countries of Optimist International.

After the opening ceremony, the group quickly turned its attention to service. Group members made 75 blankets of tied fleece for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kentuckiana. They also performed the Art with Optimism service project, where they worked on projects with children from the Cabbage Patch Settlement House.

We also wish congratulations to the 2019-2020 JOI Board. They are President Julia Cooper, Whitby, Ontario; Past President Cole Mullins, Coronado, California; and Members Sophie-Chanel Bourré, Ottawa, Ontario; Maya Gluck, Altamonte Springs, Florida; Abigail Proctor, The Valley, Anguilla; and Alice Potvin, Métabetchouan, Quebec.

The Pony Scouts JOI Club of Bonita, California received special recognition for winning the Reel Optimism contest, and for raising $8,600 for pediatric cancer research at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

The Junior Optimists also want to express a special thanks to the JOI Committee for making this convention a success: Mark Claussen, Vicky Buteau, Sean Mueller, Donna Priester and Janet White.
Upcoming Webinars
The Leadership Development Committee will be having the following webinars over the next few months:

Sep 9, 2019                      B2B September Checklist: Are You Really Done?             
Daniel Rich/Sylvain Menard
The end of the Optimist year is just a few weeks away – have you done everything you set out to do? How will you know? This webinar will help you to review the goals you had for the year and evaluate your progress toward them and the goals set for the whole organization. Once you know where you stand, remember – “You are never really done until October 1”. The Registration Link is:

Webinars begin at 7 p.m. Central time. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]
Childhood Cancer Campaign Matching Grants

The Childhood Cancer Campaign has been a significant endeavor for the OI family for many years. Many children and organizations have benefited from the caring support of Optimist to fund research at Johns Hopkins plus much-needed local projects.

Optimist International Foundation is proud to announce the re-launch of the CCC Matching Grant Program. Clubs can get a matching grant up to $1,000 to fund a local childhood cancer project. New to the effort, the scope of the matching-grant program has been broadened to include health and wellness projects that relate to childhood cancer.

Canadian Children's Optimist Fund

Earlier this year, the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation sent a survey to every Canadian Optimist Club and Canadian Optimist Member. We asked for suggestions on how we can improve and they responded.

This is why the Canadian Children’s Optimist Foundation Board of Directors is revising the Recognition policies to better suit our donors’ needs and wishes. We are modifying the recognition process as its stands today to move it in the 21st century.

You may consult the survey report, conducted at no cost by an external firm, on the CCOF website here: .

Membership Recruitment

July: Neighbors, Friends, Coworkers.
An opportunity to recruit Members who are sitting right under your nose! Ask people close to you to join Optimism during those summer BBQs and pool parties.

August: Educators. Speak with teachers, coaches, and administrators about joining your Club. These individuals interact with youth on a daily basis and can be a great asset to your Club through these connections. Educators can join for $30 for their first year!
Our Centennial - Let's Celebrate

Each Optimist has a story to tell - it could be how you got involved, why you are still an Optimist, or an inspirational moment you had at an Optimist event. We want to hear your story! Submit an Optimist Story here . Video and written stories will be shared throughout the year on social media.

Centennial merchandise may be purchased at our official suppliers.
Official Optimist International Suppliers

United States and the Caribbean:
Ansell's Awards and Specialties

Members outside of the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean may order from either vendor.
Contact the International Board of Directors 

If you have comments, concerns or suggestions for the International Board of Directors, please send to  [email protected]