Agenda for the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Ramkota Hotel, 2111 Lacrosse Street, Rapid City at $92.99 plus tax per night. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel at 605-343-8550 (mention the Masonic Education Conference to get this rate), or online at:


Midwest Conference on Masonic Education

Brethren, mark your calendars now for the 2018 Midwest Conference on Masonic Education. The Conference will be held April 20-22 at the Ramkota Hotel and Convention Center in Rapid City, in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.
We have a great list of speakers lined up, including Brother Shawn Eyer, Most Worshipful Brother Jim Savaloja, and our keynote speaker, Worshipful Brother Mark Tabbert. More speakers will be added as we get closer to the Conference, and we finalize the agenda. If you have an interest in presenting, please contact Yancey Smith at
Registration is $160.00 for both Brothers and Ladies. The cost includes conference materials, social time with hors d’ oeuvres Friday night, breakfast and dinner Saturday and continental breakfast Sunday. A hospitality room will be open Friday and Saturday nights after the events.
Men’s registration also includes lunch on Saturday at the Ramkota. Ladies’ registration includes a Saturday trip to the Journey Museum, a private tour of the StavKirke Chapel in the Hills, lunch at the Firehouse Brewing Company, and shopping at Prairie Edge Trading Post.
A block of rooms has been reserved at the Ramkota Hotel, 2111 Lacrosse Street, Rapid City at $92.99 plus tax per night. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel at 605-343-8550 (mention the Masonic Education Conference to get this rate), or online at:
The Ramkota will hold this block of rooms until March 20.
Registration for the Conference closes April 13, 2018, so don’t delay; register today.
The conference flyer can also be found here: Flyer for the Midwest Conference on Masonic Education.
We look forward to seeing you in Rapid City in April.
Yancey Smith, Grand Master


Four Master Masons Raised

District Master Dan Wagner presented a 50-Year Pin to Charlie Walker and Darrol Bjerke, a 70-Year Pin to Ray Neuhauser and a 70-Year Pin to Homer Harding at a celebration after the mid-year meeting of the South Dakota Lodge of Masonic Research. Numerous Brothers, family members and friends were on hand for the event. Brothers Bjerke, Walker, and Harding are members of Pierre Lodge #27 and Brother Neuhauser is a member of Hiram Lodge #123.

District Master Wagner and Grand Lodge officers with Brothers Bjerke, Harding, Neuhauser and Walker

Family members with the four pin recipients.


Key to Great Leaders

Those that work under you will literally either make or break your career and/or organization. For all the training that leaders receive, the single most important part of it often is “listen to your subordinates.” Any success that I might have as a leader is a direct reflection on the type of mentorship I received from my subordinates and sage advice from superiors. So that said, here are a few characteristics of highly effective individuals that I’ve observed over the years.
Whether you’re on a project or back in the office, an individual that both understands and anticipates implied tasks is worth their weight in gold. As a leader, time is a precious commodity. It’s the subordinates that ensure basic tasks are completed allowing a mission to go forward or to keep an organization running. They are the oil in the machine that is the organization. When people stop being proactive and become reactive, the unit basically grinds to a halt. It’s always painfully obvious when that kind of breakdown occurs. A unit can survive a poor leader; it cannot survive poor subordinates.
Know the Duty Position
It goes without saying, leaders and subordinates have different responsibilities. Just exactly what some of those are and how they are split between the two can be a bone of contention for many people. It’s not just that leaders plan and subordinates execute; there’s more to it. Organizations that understand their leader’s plan and execute it will be successful. Subordinate leaders are the senior advisers for their organizations. If officers are not using them as sounding boards and guideposts, that officer is bound to fail. When officers/leaders and subordinates understand their roles and stay out of each other’s way, it’s a beautiful thing to see. That’s when an organization can function with maximum efficiency.
Mentor Subordinates
Junior leaders are the backbone of an organization. Subordinate leaders are trainers, confidants, institutional knowledge, conscience, and teachers of any organization. One of the finest young leaders I ever had was a quiet individual who just had the sheer presence of leadership that he carried with him everywhere. He didn’t brag, he didn’t shout; he just was the essence of a good leader. He could most often be found teaching his people everything he knew. In everything, he would work with them one-on-one until he saw the light of understanding come on in their eyes. He was training up a whole team to be like him. And sure enough, those leaders have gone on to excel — and became mentors in their own right.
Know When to Step Back
This one is hard. So many junior leaders are outstanding team leaders, and when they finally achieve a key leadership position, stepping back is a tough adjustment. In order to allow younger leaders to grow, you have to be able to step back. Of course, you can jump in if asked or if things are about to go dramatically sideways, but leaders need to learn by doing. The best junior leaders know as they advance they have to become less hands-on and pass the torch to the new person taking their place.
Guide their Superiors
Leaders should not be afraid to have two-way conversations with their subordinates on the best ways to accomplish projects or tasks. Make your subordinates comfortable about asking questions or presenting ideas. This action will portray to them that they are an integral part of the team and are important. Provide clear guidance and discuss plans as to the direction or goals each team is to meet. Then take questions, provide guidance, and input to accomplish the goals. Always strive to ensure subordinates know they are a part of the team in making your organization successful.
Protect Their Profession
Leaders ensure their subordinates understand and know the ethos, values, and creed of your organization. Yes, they should steward our profession, but they should also protect it; protect the profession from those who would undermine it with toxic leadership or by breaking faith with our Brothers and fraternity. Successful leaders understand that they set the standard that they wish to see. They also take ownership of their roles and guard them fiercely. The overall strength of the company is part of our joint responsibility as leaders at all levels. We must safeguard the profession to make sure that the right people are in the right positions.
Lastly, all leaders must have a passion for their organization and their job. While this holds true for leaders at all levels, it is especially important for junior leaders. Many subordinate leaders will see their officers but most of the time will not be working directly with them 24/7. The junior leader is the one most see and model their behavior after — or take notes on how not to be when they reach that level. In this way, the team leader and subordinate leader positions are the most powerful for effecting change. Passionate leaders imbue their own people to drive for excellence. Good junior leaders uphold the standards and traditions of the company and are fair disciplinarians, but they also realize the organization is made up of individuals and it is their duty to care for their folks. Without empathy, they cannot truly connect with their people and make them feel like part of the larger whole.  This was by no means an exhaustive list, but when you come across a junior leader that people want to work for and superiors want to work with, they by and large have these characteristics. And they make you want to hang on to them forever.

Harold D. Ireland, Senior Grand Warden  



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