Q&A with Gary Schlee


Gary Schlee

Gary Schlee (pronounced ‘shlay’) began his one-year term as president of LLIR at the AGM on March 16, 2018. He started taking courses at LLIR in 2011 and joined the board in 2013 where he has served as Secretary, Communications Director and Vice-President.

Q: How are you enjoying your role working with several new board members?

A:  A lot! Six energetic members have joined the board this year and every single one is already busy with specific roles and duties. That’s great to see. Add to that the 11 returning board members who play such a major part in the success of LLIR – it’s hard not to admire the talent everyone brings to the table.

Q: Is the board active year-round?

A:  For the most part, yes. Even though we don’t meet between June and August, many teams – particularly Registration and Program – are busy through the summer ensuring everything is ready for a September start of classes.

 Q: What are you most proud of at LLIR that inspires you to take such an active role?

A:  From the time I joined, I’ve been impressed with the caliber of courses offered by LLIR. I can truly say every course I’ve taken has been interesting and enriching. What’s most remarkable is that it’s all accomplished by volunteers. We have no staff support, which is incredible for an organization that has over 1,200 members.

Q: What are your key priorities for the upcoming year?

A:  As always, we’re committed to ensuring we have great courses to offer to LLIR members. We’re continuing to reduce the size of the board and increase the number of volunteers helping in other ways, such as co-chairing courses. Watch for revised bylaws next winter that will reflect this shift. Two other initiatives underway this fall are a review of our registration process looking into the future and the development of a contingency plan to address any possible class disruptions – strikes, for example.

Q: What challenges do we face as an organization?

A:  Our size suggests that operating solely with volunteers will continue to be a challenge. Will we need to augment our occasionally contracted computer consultants with additional paid help? That’s a discussion we’ll be having. It’s very unlikely we can grow any larger right now, but we’d certainly support any other third age learning initiatives that might be launched in North Toronto.

Q: Will you have time in your busy schedule to enjoy any of the Fall and Winter course offerings?

A:  You bet! In fact, I’m the chair of the Comparative Religions course this fall. We’ve expanded to 11 courses for the first time this year and, I have to tell you, every single one of them looks fascinating to me.