WHAT drives Kerry Kievit and her work with New Norfolk Lions is simple: a clear sense of giving and getting.
“When we came here six years ago, we were quickly made to feel comfortable,” she considers.
“And in return, we looked for ways to give back, to invest our time and energy in the Valley.
“As a philosophy, it’s worked well. People see what you’re doing, recognise your contribution. And that quickly makes you one of them.”
This is a woman whose working years were in the hospitality industry, including managing a property in Stanley.
“It taught me a number of things that have proved useful in working with Lions,” she continues. “I learned time management, people skills, and dealing with conflicts as they come up,” she says.
There were more subtle skills,
too, like cultural diversity, learning
to manage different people and their different approaches to the task at hand.
And then there’s a talent for which Kerry, President of New Norfolk Lions for a shade under three years, is much celebrated. It’s her cooking skills.
“I was taught to cook as a youngster and it has stood me in good stead ever since,” she tells me.
Now famed for delicious two-course home-cooked meals at every Lions meeting, it’s no surprise that Lions is running regular barbecues for the construction crews at Bryn Estyn.
“It’s been great watching that place get transformed,” she says.
Then there’s her talent for selling raffle tickets, running meetings, bringing people and projects together.
“I’m a bit of a control freak,” she admits. “Being able to lead a group of people is valuable, and honestly, I’ve found people like to look to a leader. They have skills to contribute and my skill is bringing them and the various elements together.”
She and her husband Michael, also a member of Lions, moved to New Norfolk from the North- West Coast about six years ago, after retiring for medical reasons.
“Our son, daughter- in-law and their family had already settled in the Valley, and I needed to be closer to specialists,” she says.
Coming to New Norfolk turned out to be very easy. She singles out what she calls the ‘feel’ of the New Norfolk community.
“There’s a friendliness here, an openness. We were made to feel comfortable.
“They say it takes 20 years to become a local. We’ve become locals in just six!”
Look out for Lions’ fundraisers in the next weeks, including raffle and other events around Mother’s Day, May 14. Look for Kerry, too, and what’s she’s just put on a plate.