Cambridge Lions’ new president Warren Beard is taking a three-pronged approach to his role at the top – share, care and serve.
Keenly aware that many of the club’s 88 members are either retired or semi-retired, he wants to see more load-sharing in the club.
“It is important that nothing weighs too heavily on any single individual … that we share the load and share the knowledge we have as a group,” he said. “We also need to support each other more in doing that. Without sharing the load and caring for one another more, we simply won’t be able to properly fulfil our main function, and that is to serve the community.”
With that in mind, Warren has already put succession planning in place. Just before this month’s annual meeting, he told Cambridge News that he had installed five vice-presidents to help spread the workload. His own first vice-president, Elbé Moreland, will undergo training in Christchurch in October. It is all part of a larger strategy which he hopes will move the club away from a system which saw much of the work rest in the hands of a willing few.
Warren took over as president from Jan Howie on July 1; his tenure goes to the end of June next year. He brings to the table a sound skillset based on 43 years spent in the teaching profession and about 30 years as a Lion.
He admits that those early years as a Lion, spent in Reporoa with a young family and burgeoning career in tow, were challenging. Even so, he was president of the Reporoa Lions twice.
“Lions has a ‘family first, Lions second’ approach, and I understand the difficulties in being time-poor as a member with a young family. There are other priorities, and we want people to parent their children first. But I would like to use my term to attract new members, perhaps in their 50s, people whose children have left home and who still have the drive and energy to put something back into the community.”
Another aim he has is to work more of the Lions International history and focus into regular meetings. Not everyone fully appreciates the link to an international organisation, or what work they have done around the world, he said. “We need to get that out there.”
Warren has lived in Cambridge for over four years, and he is proud of Lions’ efforts to meet growing community needs.
“We gave over $250,000 to the community last year and will likely well exceed that in the next Lions year,” he said. “The Cambridge community supports us hugely, and that lets us give that support back. Apart from the local organisations, we also give something to Lions International each year – so we give internationally, nationally and at local level.
“We’re doing more and more in the community with each passing year … and we’re increasingly needed out there.”