Matthew Cantrall

Matthew Cantrall

“Be the Difference Maker”

BY MARIA IANNUCCI

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Governor of Florida Kiwanis, owner of Signs and Specialties, Inc., and Lakeland resident, Matthew Cantrall, may represent the very best of what Kiwanians hope to achieve as members of the premier service organization. While many business leaders and community members strive to reach out and help in local initiatives, Cantrall’s natural leadership and commitment to service is an example worth following.

Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Lakeland is home to three Kiwanis Clubs. He is a member of the Lakeland Club, chartered almost a century ago. Cantrall is a secondgeneration Kiwanian and has dedicated over 26 years to the non- profit organization in a variety of ways. Married to Cheryl, and with 2 children and 8 grandchildren, Cantrall is quick to site his reasons for serving Lakeland Kiwanis for decades.

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“(I do it) because I can,” said Cantrall. “I have my health, a business that is doing okay and a loving wife and family who supports me. All business leaders have a responsibility to share their talents and treasures with those less fortunate. As leaders in our community we need to find that thing that tugs at our heart and then use all the resources we have to be the difference maker.” Recently, Cantrall was elected Governor for the Florida District of Kiwanis, an honor he doesn’t take for granted. His area of responsibility includes the entire state of Florida and the Cayman Islands.

“As a Kiwanian who has been engaged at the district level for the last 9 years,” said Cantrall, “I have been blessed to travel the district working primarily with the young adults in the Kiwanis family. This exposure had afforded great insight into what tomorrow’s leaders want today. Today’s professionals have less discretionary time and Kiwanis needs to be proactive in reaching out to these young professionals by providing a product that is attractive and relevant. Like in many organizations, we have fallen into the trap of doing the same thing year after year without asking ourselves why we continue to do this or that. My message of change is something Kiwanians need to hear if we are expected to leave a lasting legacy for communities to benefit from.”

When asked about his goals for the coming year, Cantrall put forth a clear message.

Kiwanis group with Cantrall

“I have no goals for the new Kiwanis year under my leadership,” said Cantrall, “for in Kiwanis, we should only have one goal: Serving the Children of the World. With that being said, I am encouraging clubs to adopt 5 Steps to Excellence: Eliminate declining membership; Eliminate hunger in our communities; Eliminate inactivity in our Service Leadership Programs; Eliminate old ways and projects whose times have come and gone; Eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus.

“If you’re wondering why I use the term ‘eliminate,’ Kiwanis International is in the middle of a campaign called Eliminate MNT. The goal is to raise 110 million dollars to Eliminate Maternal Neonatal Tetanus in third world countries where for $1.80 you can save the life of a newborn. Children are dying at the rate of one every 9 minutes and we can do something about that.”

To find out more about Kiwanis and how you can help, visit www.lakelandkiwanis.org. 

 

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