International Board Director at Large Nominee

Sandi Schmidt

Current Optimist Club(s)

    Moline Breakfast Optimist Club (Illinois)

    Bettendorf Optimist Club (Iowa)

Other Optimist Clubs you belonged to in the past:

    Optimist Club of Silvis (Illinois)

Date you first joined an Optimist Club:


Year(s) you were a Club President:

  • 10/1/2002-9/30/2003
  • 9/14/2020-9/30/2022

Year(s) you were a Lieutenant Governor:

    10/1/2008-9/30/2010 (IL)

    10/1/2021-9/30/2023 (IA)

Year(s) you were a District Governor:

    10/1/2018-9/30/2019 (Illinois)

International Offices or positions you have held:

  • Audit & Finance Committee: 2020-22, Chair 2021-22
  • Governance Committee: 2022-23
  • NCB Field Representative: 2018-23
  • Club Trainer: 2019-23
  • Credentials Committee: 2019-20

Optimist Awards achieved:

  • Distinguished Governor (Illinois) – 2018-19
  • Distinguished District Foundation Rep (Illinois) – 2011-12
  • Honor District Secretary-Treasurer (Illinois) – 2005-06
  • Builder of Excellence (Illinois) – 3/31/2019, 9/29/2019
  • Distinguished Club Treasurer (Illinois) – 2020-21
  • Centennial Distinguished Club Treasurer (Illinois) – 2018-19
  • Honor Club Treasurer (Illinois) – 2016-17


    Accountant and Project Manager, Retired

What are your primary qualifications for this office?

    As an Optimist member for almost 30 years, I have held multiple leadership positions at both the club and District levels and been as active participant in many club projects. My experience as a member of the OI Audit & Finance Committee and the Governance Committee has provided me with a deeper knowledge of the workings of our organization and the challenges and opportunities we face as members, clubs, and Optimist International.

    During my career at John Deere, I served as a member of the leadership team who evaluated payroll software solutions and made the decision of which solution to implement at John Deere. I managed a multi-function team for the payroll system replacement project and communicated with employees at all levels of the company and with the vendor and consultants involved in the project. Listening to the concerns and evaluating options, then working with the team to take the right actions was an integral part of my position.

    I served on the board of a national trade group for several years, including serving as President. Our board was responsible for the ongoing operation of the trade group as well as planning and organizing the annual convention and conferences, with a budget whose only revenue source was the registration fees paid by the members attending our conferences and convention.

Why should a Club vote for you?

    I am passionate about the Optimist organization and the amazing things our clubs are doing to improve the lives of children in their communities. I’ve seen and experienced the challenges we all face, and I want to work with Optimists at all levels of the organization to ensure that we remain a vital, vibrant, and relevant organization in the future.

    Whether face-to-face or by phone, email or Zoom, sharing information and being respectful of everyone’s opinions is crucial. My past career experience required solid communication skills, listening to often diverse opinions and working toward an acceptable solution. I will use those same skills in the Optimist world, working to provide open communication between members, clubs, and the OI leadership team.

    My primary goal is to listen closely to the needs of your Optimist Clubs, the grassroots success of our organization. It is imperative to bring the needs and concerns of Optimist Clubs to the Board of Directors and Optimist leadership and to make certain they are considered when making decisions for the future of the organization. I will do that for your club!

As an Optimist International Board member, or Optimist International President, what specific things will you work to achieve for the good of the organization?

  • Looking to the Future. We must actively search for and implement changes in our organization and our programs to attract younger members and keep all Optimist members engaged.
  • Membership – attracting new members, retention of ALL members, and building sustainable new clubs. We must turn our long-time trend of declining membership around to survive and thrive as an organization.
  • Financial stability. As a membership organization, declining membership means declining revenues. I will push to be sure we define and implement non-dues revenue sources, taking some of the burden for our revenue stream off the backs of our members. We MUST move forward with an aggressive action plan to make this a reality.

Anything else you would like to say to Clubs. 

    I promise to do everything I can to support your club and your members as we look to the future of Optimist International. When we all work together, we can truly achieve our Mission and make a difference in the lives of children, our communities, and ourselves.

    I am excited and proud to have been nominated by the Candidate Qualifications Committee to serve on the Optimist International Board of Directors. I look forward to serving in that role and helping your club and our organization thrive. I hope I can count on your vote.