“We Serve” is the motto for Lions International, and this motto is also clear through the leadership at Rural Computer Consultants.
Following Dad’s Footsteps
Brian Sheehan, President of RCC, has been a member of Lions Club International for almost 30 years. He remembers, “I was very fortunate to be asked to be a Lion in 1991, and after the first meeting, they said to me, ‘how would you like to be President?’ ” Brian’s involvement and memories of the Lions go back even further though. His Dad, Fabian Sheehan, was one of the Charter Members of the Bird Island Lions back in 1964. “Dad was always helping out in our community and felt that was one of the most important things in life. As a kid, I remember being part of events like selling Christmas trees, delivering meals on wheels, and all kinds of other events around Bird Island.”
“Dad was always helping out in our community and felt that was one of the most important things in life…”
Leading a Community & Business
Of course, Fabian Sheehan was a leader not only in his local community and the Lions Club but also with his business, Sheehan’s Gas. Inspired by their father’s business and leadership, and armed with knowledge in computer programming and finance, brothers Brian and Kevin developed Rural Computer Consultants forty years ago to help optimize fuel deliveries for fuel companies like Sheehan’s Gas. A family-run company, the Rural Computer Consultants management team now consists of Brian Sheehan and his sister Susie Peterson, and their kids, the second generation of Sheehan’s.
Stepping Up when Opportunity Knocks
It wasn’t until a few years after joining the Lions when Brian attended a Lions Convention in Willmar, MN, that he found out how large the organization really was. “I didn’t realize that the Lions were making an impact across the country and even internationally, not just in little Bird Island, Minnesota.” It was at that Convention in Wilmar where the Lions District Governor asked Brian if he would be interested in a Zone Chairperson leadership position with the Lions. Brian was hesitant at first, “I had four kids in school and was involved in the Civic and Commerce group, church, and had so many irons in the fire. I was looking for excuses not to it… But the reality is that someone had a little bit of faith in me, and was confident that I would do a good job. The deeper I got into it, the more I saw the impact that Lions were making, and I was hooked.”
Lions Club International is indeed making an impact everywhere from Bird Island, MN, USA to across the globe. With over 1.46 million members and 48,000 clubs in 210 countries, the Lions are active in more countries than the United Nations.
Family Values that Extend Beyond Family
Brian has learned through his years at Rural Computer Consultants and with the Lions Club International how important community and family are. “RCC is a family business but it’s more than that. We see our employees and customers as family too. I feel the same about my Lions family that I now know around the globe.” Being a Lion has been a major commitment for Brian and his family but he feels it’s his calling, “One thing my Dad always taught me and we embrace at RCC, is ‘when you have talents, you share them.’ RCC is compromised of people who care deeply about their customers, and their community.” The commitment that the RCC staff has to their community shows through their volunteer work asl well. Brian also knows that if it wasn’t for his team at RCC and his sister Sue, the owner, he would not be able to be as involved with the Lions. With the second generation of the family-run business in place, he can travel frequently without disruptions at RCC.
“One thing my Dad always taught me and we embrace at RCC, is when you have talents, you share them.”
Making a Global Impact
Brian was asked to be on the Lions International Board in 2011 and has been involved on an International level ever since. “It has been amazing to travel the world with our kids, and be directly involved with disaster relief and feeding the poorest of the poor.” He has made am impact on a global level and the Lions leaders kept asking him if he wanted to be International President. Brian came aboard as 3rd Vice President in 2018 and currently serves as the Second Vice President with the Lions.
Growing with the Lions
While his experience with the Lions grew, so did his confidence and leadership, “When I started RCC, I was shy and didn’t like meeting people. When I went tradeshows, I would have rathered sit in my hotel room and program then socialize with people.” It wasn’t long before Brian realized that being in the Lions was helping tremendously in his role as President at RCC as well. “As I continued with the Lions, I watched the other leaders and continued to grow. I got better with communication skills, conflict resolution, leadership skills, and all those things that are important in business. I also realized that I loved facilitating and training.”
Worldwide Reach Virtually
As 2nd Vice President, Brian can be gone for a month at a time, traveling. Each week, he gives presentations to people in places like India, Africa, and Russia, “People like that I am a grassroots Lion, down to earth and from a small community.” COVID-19 has put a pause onto some of the Lions events, but not entirely. Many of those events have now been moved to virtual presentations through Zoom. He has logged in from home at three in the morning to do Keynote speeches for Lions members from India, “With RCC being in the technology industry, I have found it easy to stay upbeat and ahead of the game with virtual conferences and communication.”
Lions International President in 2020
Next, Brian has his goals set on being the International President in 2022, which will be at the International Convention in New Delhi, India. He has to stay in his Second Vice President position an extra year due to COVID-19, but he is excited for what’s to come. He mentioned, “There has not been a Lions President from Minnesota in over 100 years!”
Learn more about the Lions
If you are interested in learning more about Lions International or finding a local club in your area, visit LionsClub.org or reach out to Brian. Brian also pointed out that when people donate to the Lion’s Foundation, 100% of the money goes to help people, whether it is for diabetes, cancer, or other need. “We are all volunteers and no one gets paid. There are no administration costs (all administrative money comes out of our dues) so when you donate a dollar, the full dollar goes to help people in need.”
“Being involved with the Lions has been an unbelievable ride. I am so grateful to have my sister, Susie and the second generation leading the way at RCC. They are doing an amazing job at RCC.”