More than 1,000 Masons from 400 Pennsylvania lodges completed the Overture Series seminars held at eight locations throughout the state. The Overture program was developed as a way to help lodges increase membership and reduce the number of losses due to suspensions and resignations. The goal of the Overture Program is zero losses in 1998 as the first phase of a renewed membership development effort. The seminars were conducted by G. Kent Hackney, Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of the Overture Program, assisted by David Meachen, Staff Assistant, and facilitated by Dudley Davis.
After each session, participants were asked to evaluate the seminars based upon their expectations and the effectiveness of the presentations and materials. More than 800 Masons completed the evaluations and the results speak for the quality of the experience.
In opening remarks made before the majority of the seminars, R.W. Grand Master James L. Ernette asked each of those attending to keep an open mind and to learn from the experience. He also said, "I'd like each of you to think of your members as customers and to see what you need to do to satisfy them by meeting their needs."
Bro. Davis noted that in research conducted among men several years ago, it was evident that: "Men bring clearly identified needs to their lodge when they join." The research also indicated that men wanted a role for their families, active community outreach programs and an opportunity to lead.
Most of those who attended the Overture Series seminars were very interested in learning those specific needs and the ways in which they could meet them in their leadership in the lodge. They also were given materials that would make fulfillment easier and more exciting in the lodge.
"Many of those who attended saw immediately what the Overture Program was all about," said Bro. Hackney. "It was clear that the ideas about leadership were applicable not only to the lodge, but also to their jobs and to life as well."
Fifty-eight Masons in Pennsylvania, who have a significant background in service to customers, have accepted the Grand Master's call to help in the Overture Program by volunteering for a two-year term as membership chairmen. These Masons have accepted the task of helping the lodges with the concepts of the Overture Program and with the implementation of the goals for membership development and retention through excellence in leadership.