Lonoke Lions Club member Leanna Rich was inducted as a Lions Club district governor in Busan, South Korea, in June.
Rich works at State Farm Insurance in Lonoke.
Rich said more than 55,000 Lions from 207 countries attended the conference. She said Lions Clubs International sends all 800 district governors-elect to seminars the week prior to the convention.
After a 20-hour flight, Rich met on June 18 with International President Wayne Madden and his wife, Linda, from Auburn, Ind. They all were presented with a rolling briefcase, an international banner, lapel pin, name tag, scarf and an 8-by-10 picture.
From Tuesday through Friday, Rich said, she attended courses in communication, how to plan her year as a district governor, leadership, conflict resolution, where to get resources, recognition and motivation.
She said her favorite lessons came from her peers from other states and countries by sharing ideas. In her class, there were Lions from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Washington, New York, Idaho and Canada.
"I enjoyed learning from my peers as to the issues they faced in their respective states and how they addressed those issues as much as I did from the curriculum," Rich said.
She said a highlight of the trip was interacting with Lions from other countries. During lunch, attendees were assigned tables and Rich sat with Lions from Mexico, Peru, Equador, Chile, New Zealand, India and Oregon.
"Even with language barriers we were able to share with one another, ideas, culture differences and an occasional joke or two." Rich said.
She learned several things about Lions from India.
In India, she said, women are not allowed to be Lions, a person must be wealthy and well-educated to be a Lion, Lions own schools and hospitals and it costs money to be a district governor, but not in America.
"It’s a status symbol to be a Lion in India," Rich said.
Attendees participated in an international parade in their native costumes parading down the main streets of Busan. Rich said she walked behind the Arkansas banner calling the Razorbacks.
On the way back to the hotel, Rich remembers seeing a 3-year-old Korean girl wearing big sunglasses. She stopped to take the girl’s picture and then the girl blew her a kiss.
One of the biggest challenges, Rich said, was the language barrier and getting around the city.
On June 28, Rich along with others were inducted as district governors.