Our club’s founder, Don Salverda, believes that most people aspire to do what’s right—for themselves and their communities. He’d learned that during his experiences as a leadership and business consultant and while serving as an elected Ramsey County Commissioner for 18 years.

Naturally Don had heard of Optimist International (O.I.) and had seen their booth for many years at the Minnesota State Fair. In 2016, he stopped there, collected information, and left his name and phone number. The next day, Don received a call from Terry Gorman, governor of our region within O.I. (DMM 35 Dakotas-Manitoba-Minnesota). Terry and Don met for coffee, along with a longtime friend of Don’s and Roseville resident, Barb Einan.

Those three agreed to meet again and to include several other local leaders, colleagues from the Roseville Rotary Club, and friends from other associations. Interest among those gathered was great enough that they agreed to establish a club—the 23rd in the state of Minnesota.

The first meeting was held on the second Friday in January—January 13, 2017. People gathered for a buffet lunch at the Radisson Hotel Minneapolis/St. Paul North, located in Roseville. Everyone introduced themselves and assembled a board of directors from the 29 charter members present. Table hosts distributed information to guests. The presentation at that meeting was dynamic consultant, author, and motivational speaker, Scott Welle.

Seventeen months after our club was founded, we welcomed our 100th member. We’ve discovered that people are longing for a positive experience in their lives. We are addressing that longing in many ways:

  • Our meetings
  • Inspiring presentations by our guest speakers
  • Videos of those meaningful presentations that are recorded by a volunteer member and posted on our website by a volunteer member/designer/updater
  • Discussions during two leadership-related book clubs
  • Monthly “Leadership Lessons Learned” seminars
  • A leadership lending library for members
  • Production of a book of 69 unique stories
  • An annual fundraising gala dinner.
  • Activities within our community that benefit youth and our community

We welcome guests who wish to join us for a meeting. Registration is easy at the “Our Meetings” navigation button on this website. The people we are especially enthusiastic about are those who are willing to become a member and join us in fulfilling our dedication to the mission of Optimist International: “…bringing out the best in youth, in our communities, and in ourselves.”

Directors 2023-2024 (Charter member*)

Charles Gitzen, President
Patty Sagert, Past President
David Schaps*, Secretary
Terry Gorman*, Treasurer
Dave Bartholomay
Mike Ericson
Dick Klick
Tonnie McCloney
David McKnight
Lynne Megan*
Karen Schaub*
Dennis Stolp

Optimist of the Year

2017: Don Salverda, founder and first president
2018: Zola Burns, charter member and first treasurer, and Sue Filbin, member since May 2017 and editor and designer of our book, Voices of Optimism
2019: David Schaps    
2020: Patty Sagert
2021: Karen Schaub
2022: Curt Stockford
2023: Joanne Biewald