Altoona (WQOW) - Our latest Jefferson Award winner has made a career out of shattering the glass ceiling.
Connie LeCleir-Meyer has been a member of the Lions Club for nearly 20 years and has been the first woman to hold a number of positions in the organization.
"I was raised an Army brat," LeCleir-Meyer said. "My dad was a career military man."
In fact, her father taught her a lot about service growing up, which is why her decorated career as a volunteer is not much of a surprise. What is a surprise is how that career started -- a fight with her father.
"He tried to talk me out of it because at the time the club was for men only, and I didn't really like that, so I asked mom to help me," LeCleir-Meyer said. "So, she convinced dad it was important for us to be in the club, so I became the first woman in that club."
It didn't take long for her to show her dad she belonged. In fact, it was her father who nominated her for the Jefferson Award.
"I use that in all my speeches, because it started in kind of a quirky way," LeCleir-Meyer said.
She first became a Lion as a way to network with those in her community, but it didn't take long before she was hooked.
"When I got into the organization, I saw the things that they were doing and it really hit home for me," LeCleir-Meyer said.
She jumped in head first, quickly moving up the ranks in the Lions Club. "There were a lot of firsts being a woman in this organization."
That might be an understatement. LeCleir-Meyer was the first female Altoona Club president, zone chair, region chair and district governor and just the second woman from Wisconsin to serve as an international director.
Now, she mentors other women who are carving out their own path in the club. "I went in thinking if I can learn it, it won't be so hard for other women," she said.
Her success as a Lion has led to more time on the road volunteering, attending board meetings and giving speeches.
"I would say pretty much every weekend we're traveling somewhere," LeCleir-Meyer said.
She says the time spent is nothing compared to what she gets back.
"It was a part that was probably missing," LeCleir-Meyer said. "I put a lot of energy into education, my work, my family and my religion, but there was something missing. I didn't really know what it was until I discovered it and then it kind of made it complete."
LeCleir-Meyer has earned numerous awards for her work in the Lions Club, including an international leadership award and an international president's award.
She said anyone can make a difference, they just need to pursue a passion.
If you know a volunteer in our area that is making a difference, click here to nominate them for a Jefferson Award.