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International Vice President-Elect Nominee

Gerri Barnett

Current Optimist Club(s)
  • Fort Madison Area Optimist Club, Fort Madison, Iowa
  • University of Iowa Hawkeye Optimist Chapter, Iowa City, Iowa

Date you first joined an Optimist Club:

September 30, 1997

Year(s) you were a Club President:

2006-07; 2010-11

Year(s) you were a Lieutenant Governor:

2005-06; 2007-08; 2013-14

Year(s) you were a District Governor:


International Offices or positions you have held:

  • International Membership Committee Member (2013-14, 2014-15)
  • International Junior Optimist Committee Member (2015-16, 2016-17)
  • International Ad-Hoc College Committee Chairman (2016-17)

Optimist Awards achieved:

  • Distinguished District Governor, Iowa District (2011-12)
  • Distinguished District Foundation Representative, Iowa District (2015-14)
  • Distinguished District Secretary/Treasurer, Iowa District (2015-16)
  • Junior Optimist International Chairman’s Excellence Award, Iowa District (2002-03)
  • Optimist of the Year, Iowa District (2004-05)
  • Honor Club President, Fort Madison Area Optimist Club (2006-07, 2010-11)
  • Distinguished Club Secretary, University of Iowa, Hawkeye Optimist Chapter (2014-15, 2015-16)


I am a Registered Nurse. I have had a specialty certification in Ambulatory Women’s Health Care since 1994. I now work in a multi-specialty clinic training new staff and act as the Quality Coordinator to ensure that our patients get the very best care from our clinicians.

What are your primary qualifications for this office?

I have sat in the “driver’s seat” that new, as well as seasoned, District Governors, Lt. Governors and Club Presidents will be occupying. I feel that I can guide them through their journey and have them enjoy the adventure as well.

I am structured yet flexible; able to switch gears as needed. I can multi-task and stay focused. I am a good listener; empathetic, yet realistic in response. I provide encouragement to be assertive, yet am respectful of all sides.

I have been and continue to be a supporter of past and current Governors. At times, I have been a Governor’s personal advisor. We work together to identify opportunities. I always take great enjoyment in celebrating their achievements with them and congratulating them on their success.

Why should a Club vote for you?

I am loyal to our organization and will do my best to help fellow Optimists maintain their legacy in their local club. I listen to concerns and act on individual’s questions as they arise. I want to serve as an advocate for each Club and its Members.

What specific things will you do to help the Clubs and Districts in your Region?

I would help provide a network of communication between the Clubs and their Districts through whatever avenue is best for each party, whether that be e-mail, Facebook, or another form of media. However, I would also promote maintaining personal contact and emphasize that it is most crucial to maintain relationships.

Share techniques I have learned through my own experiences that have been successful in obtaining growth, resolving conflict, and establishing relationships between District officers and Club leaders.

I would like to work beside my fellow Optimists, being “hands-on” in projects to show what “just one more” (Member) can do.

Anything else you would like to say to Clubs. 

I am forever grateful to the Optimists that aided me as a teenager in an inner city community! If not for their kindness and encouragement, I would not be who I am today. Hoping to “Pay It Forward” and show Optimists how much of an impact Clubs make.

Candidate Bios

2017-18 President-Elect Candidates:

  • Rebecca Butler Mona, IA
  • Fatima Plater, MI
  • 2017-18 Board Director at Large Candidates (2 to be elected):

  • Don Brose, MI
  • Lola, Cumbo, AC
  • Sandy Cyphers, NCE
  • Robert Floyd, WMO
  • Patsy Garner, NTX
  • 2017-18 Vice Presidents-Elect Candidates:

  • Region 1 Northeast & Great Lakes – Cherryl Thames, MI
  • Region 2 Southeast – Brenda Ortelli, NFL
  • Region 3 Mid-Atlantic – Stewart Mallard, NCW
  • Region 4 Middle America – Gerri Barnett, IA
  • Region 5 Great Plains – Edie Harris, AMS&NW
  • Region 6 Southwest – Paul Lucas, NTX
  • Region 7 West Coast – T G Thomas, PSW
  • Region 8 St. Lawrence – Nathalie Boulet, QW and Roch Daigle, QC