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Minot member named DMM District Optimist of Year

Terri Philion received the Optimist of the Year award for the DMM District of Optimist International at the quarterly district meeting in Bismarck in late October. The DMM District includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Manitoba.

The accolade is a “grassroots” award presented to a common member for very uncommon efforts during the year. It has been many years since a member of the Optimist Club of Minot has received this honor.

Philion is the immediate past president as well as the current 2nd vice president of the Optimist Club of Minot. She joined the local service club in April of 2015 and has served on its board of directors since 2016. Among the accomplishments outlined in the letter of recommendation, submitted by club secretary Melanie Moore, Philion led the club by example, achieving a year of tremendous growth and transformation.

According to current President and Board Chair Heather Cymbaluk, “Our club was going through a period of attrition and low attendance; Terri wasn’t afraid to have tough conversations about what needed to change in order to sustain the club. It was a challenging year, but Terri always navigated with grace and optimism.”

“The recognition was an absolute surprise. I didn’t know this award was given at the district level,” said Philion of being named DMM Optimist of the Year. “Our club was at a tipping point. We committed to making adjustments in order to continue serving the community. I would not have received this award without the support and dedication of our entire membership.”

Philion said the club focused on adding new members monthly, engaging those new members quickly and giving them ownership in the organization, re-engaging current membership through programming and activities as well as being more flexible with meeting days and times. The local service club also committed to a record gift of $50,000 to the Souris Valley Animal Shelter as the winners of the club’s Big Give campaign.

The Minot State University alumna is currently employed as the director of sales for the Hyatt House of Minot. In addition to her continued service to the local Optimist Board of Directors, the mom of four is also the chairwoman of the Strengthen ND Board of Directors, executive director of the Miss Minot Scholarship Organization, publisher and co-founder of Minot Magazine and an Ambassador for the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Optimist Club of Minot has been serving the local community for over 40 years.

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