New Voices

Service, Membership,
Leadership,  & Marketing

The New Voices Initiative promotes gender parity and diversity and seeks to increase the number of women, young adults and underrepresented populations within our association. It features a diverse group of Lions and Leos who are selected annually by their district governor for their dynamic and innovative contributions in one of four areas: service, membership, leadership and marketing.

This initiative is focused on the district level to encourage support at the grassroot level. We encourage local areas to promote the program and their nominees with the goal of attracting new dynamic members into our association and encouraging them to seek leadership positions.

our 2023-2024 New Voices awardees


Lion Lisa Klein

Cromwell President and Midstate Leo Advisor

"As I grew up in Cromwell as the daughter of a Lioness, service became part of my life. Helen Keller was my childhood heroine. Who knew I would become immersed in something so close to the heart of my idol?

 Cromwell Lions Club rechartered on Friday, March 13,2020. The next morning, the headlines announced the Pandemic officially started in CT. Starting a new club is tough enough, but the Pandemic gave us a challenge. It forced us to be creative. Social Distancing was the new normal.

 After my first year as a Charter member, I received the honor of becoming President. We wanted to spread the word that Cromwell has a NEW Lions Club, and we were ready to SERVE. It became our mission. Pancake Breakfasts were not an option for us.  Cheerful, handmade cards and gifts were delivered to seniors and veterans who were feeling even more lonely and isolated during the pandemic. The MidState CT Leo Club, a personal goal, emerged as a result.

 Quickly, we earned a solid reputation for our willingness to show up and SERVE alongside other clubs. Assisting with their fundraisers filled our empty coffers while supporting our Lion brothers and sisters to meet their goals. When a neighboring Club faced too many challenges to be successful alone, we collected the lion’s share of the 500 lbs of recyclable plastic needed for a TREX bench. When the bench was delivered, the recipient’s tears marked my “Ah-ha” moment in Lionism.

Being chosen as the Service New Voice Nominee may be the result of a need to stay positive during an intense time in the world. Securing a plot at the Cromwell Community Garden gave us a safe way to gather as a club, and donating our crops endeared us to our town’s food bank. 

Connecting with the Cromwell Creative District got us involved in collaborations with other nonprofits.  The infamous WINGS project allowed us and our Mid State Leo Club to design a huge set of painted wings that incorporates our logo and the Lions Global Causes icons into a bright backdrop. The unique design draws attention to what Lionism is all about. Locals and tourists now snap selfies in front of the Wings, and our message spreads.

By sharing the ideas with new friends made at the Boston Convention this summer, the spirit of Cromwell Lions has been carried to my mother’s homeland. I learned that these two projects are now being implemented in Argentina. Lioness Edna would be extremely proud to have her only daughter serve as President of the Cromwell CT Lions Club. As a female of Hispanic and Jewish heritage, it is an honor to be nominated as a New Voice.

 Deepest thanks to DG Teri and District 23C for letting me do what makes my heart soar."


 Lions Jacob & Amanda Shanks

Lebanon Lions

"We have always found enjoyment in service, while serving in programs like Big Brother, Big Sister, as an AmeriCorps, with Habitat for Humanity, and on Mission trips. When we began a family of our own we knew that we wanted to raise a family in service. We love being a part of our local Lions Clubs and appreciate the opportunity to give back to our community while raising our children in a lifestyle of service. We love being able to serve with other outstanding people and getting to make an impact. 

We are still fairly new to the Lions Club and thus are not sure what our greatest accomplishment will go on to be but so far we are incredibly honored to have been a part in expanding the reach of our Kidsight Vision Screenings in our town, so that we are now screening every child in the entire school system as well as 2 preschool programs, 2 daycares, our homeschool community and folks at our senior center.

It is a completely humbling honor to be selected for this recognition for our contributions towards growing our local club’s membership. When our last beloved Membership Chair’s health started failing, we knew we wanted to carry on his legacy and encourage new members to join our club. Jake stepped up to support the membership committee and Amanda brought back information learned at the Lions International Conference. In collaboration with our Membership Committee Chair, we dove into reinvigorating our membership recruitment process and the clubs recruitment efforts. We organized, advertised for, and held a member information meeting, inviting all sorts of people from the community and individually inviting many people who we thought may be interested. We used this event as a catalyst to encourage club membership and increase our enrollment. We wanted to ensure that it was the first step in the process of engagement rather than just an event, so we followed up the information meeting with calls to those who attended and ensured that everyone knew the next steps to continue to participate in Lions. We structured a process of welcoming people into our club while ensuring that they had their questions answered and felt engaged in the work of Lions. It feels empowering to be able to connect people to the mission of service and to be able to expand our club's impact. 

But you see, Lions isn’t about the work of one. That is the entire point. We can’t do any of this alone. This is about serving the world together, improving the world that surrounds us all, and doing it with the best group of people side by side. We have something very special. When we can serve the community we love and in the process build the best friends we could ever know, it makes it clear that we are doing something right. Lions is our family’s favorite place to be because we get to improve the world that we live in side by side with strangers, who have become family. We are a loud, proud, loving, and ever-growing family. We are delighted to be a small part of welcoming more people to our Lions family." 


Lion Judy Engel

Niantic Lion and Shoreline Leo Co-Advisor 

"I have been a Shoreline Leo Club Co-Advisor for approximately 15 years. Our club was chartered in 1992 and comprises one of the largest Leo clubs in District 23, which typically has between 100 -125 members. I am always looking for new volunteer opportunities for our Leo members. This past summer, I enjoyed attending the International Lions Club Convention in Boston where I met fellow Lions from all over the world! Being a Leo Advisor allows me to employ my teaching skills and instruct the Shoreline Leo's public relations skills, entrepreneurship, and customer relations all while performing community service!  We have an incredibly high number of first-generation American kids in our club, resulting in a high degree of diversity. I am very confident that we are grooming our future leaders.

Our Shoreline Leo Club has participated in several projects and fundraisers (many with the Niantic Lions Club), culminating in thousands of dollars raised for our local food pantry. I am most proud of our ongoing support of the food party, but I know we can do more! In the future, I hope to teach our Leo's knitting and or sewing skills so we can make little dresses for poor African children, trauma dolls for children suffering from wartime PTSD, and scarves for those who lack sufficient winter clothing.  I would also like our Leo's to become more involved in the East Lyme Giving Garden to address food insecurity and develop ways to identify and address loneliness within our community.  We are presently participating in a competitive environmental project of saving plastic bags along with the Niantic Lions with the goal of winning a Trex bench.

I initiated an alphabet crayon project using broken crayons and making them into new, usable alphabet crayons.  The Leo's jumped right in by sorting, peeling and breaking the crayons in preparation for placement into silicone molds.  The recycled crayons have been sold at the Niantic Lions Arts and Crafts show, the Niantic Farmers Market, a local PTO Holiday Shopping event, and Celebrate East Lyme.  The results were beautiful crayons that have raised over $1500 that was donated to our local food pantry and Camp Rising Sun, a summer camp for pediatric cancer patients. Given the size of our Leo Club and desire to take on more projects in our community, I'm hopeful that we can have an even greater role in helping our community be a better place for everyone."


Doria Daviau

Putnam Leo-Lion and
Putnam II Leo Co-Advisor 

"My name is Doria Daviau and I am a member of the Putnam Lions Club, located in Putnam, CT. I started out as a Leo during my Freshman year of high school, and upon graduation made the transition to the Lions club. Lion Hilary Kumnick sponsored me through the Second Century Ambassador Program, which emphasizes the importance of Lions mentoring up and coming members. This is now my sixth year as a Lion. In total, I’ve been a Leo/Lion for ten years.  

I was first drawn to the Leos program after seeing pictures of a Leo's car wash posted on a family friend/Leo advisors Facebook page. After seeing the Leos in action, I knew this was a club that I wanted to be a part of. When I attended my first meeting, I had advisors who were immediately signing me up for leadership training opportunities, listing community service activities, and explaining the grand scope of what the organization had to offer. Although I didn’t know any of the other Leo’s members at the time, they all fostered a positive and welcoming environment. By the end of the year, I was nominated for an officer position and my journey with the Leos and Lions continued to progress from there. I learned so much as a Leo, whether it was learning how to facilitate a meeting, running service events, coordinating fundraisers, giving club reports, or making an annual budget, I made sure I knew how to do it all. This helped with my transition into Lions immensely. 

I joined the Lions club as an 18-year-old, fresh out of high school. I was lucky to be familiar with many of the members from my years in Leos, but nonetheless was still the “new kid” of the group, who came in with nothing but ideas. I spent my first couple of years as a Lion working on building relationships and understanding the functioning of the club. I am now one of our fundraising chairs, developing new and exciting fundraising opportunities for our club to try out. I am also serving as Second-Vice President this year. During my time as a Lion, I have also served as an advisor to my Leos club, working with students to help build their leadership skills and community awareness. 

This year my District Governor asked me to join the multi-district marketing committee. It has been an exciting experience, getting to work with Lions with varied levels of marketing experience when it comes to Lions promotion. One of my goals for our committee is to get back to the basics and touch base with our local clubs to see what areas they need help in, when it comes to promoting their clubs and service initiatives. There is no better tool than our own Lions, and as such we need to make sure they have the support they need to thrive. Highlighting and promoting events and activities from our clubs not only motivates and brings new ideas to other clubs but shows our communities what we are doing. We should be educating our clubs on ways to use social media most effectively, understanding the platforms that we are on and how to best reach our target audiences. Additionally, we should be focusing our marketing efforts on showcasing our service in action, giving a more comprehensive look behind the scenes of Lions projects. By promoting the activities our Lions partake in regularly, members of our communities can see that service can be a part of everyone's day to day life. It is my hope that I can help usher in a new generation's perspective on marketing. 

I am immensely grateful to the large number of Lions that have supported and uplifted me over the years, and I look forward to continuing in my Lions journey offering support to those in need."