Organization Overview

The Imperial Divan is the international governing body of Shriners International. This governing body works as a corporate Board of Directors and consists of 13 officers, each of whom is elected to the lowest position on the Divan and moves up one position each year (with the exception of the Imperial Treasurer and Imperial Recorder).

The highest leadership position within Shriners International is Imperial Potentate.

  • The Imperial Potentate is both president and chief executive officer of Shriners International, and is elected for a one-year term.
  • The Imperial Potentate will spend his year in office visiting many of the Shrine temples (chapters), attending regional Shriners meetings and visiting Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
  • He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for both Shriners Hospitals for Children and the fraternity.

This same organizational structure is followed at the local level within each of the local temples (chapters) across the United States, Canada, Germany, Mexico, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and the Republic of Panama.

Imperial Potentate Jerry G. Gantt

Jerry G. Gantt of Houston is currently serving his 11th year as a member of the Boards of Directors for Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Gantt was elected Imperial Potentate, part of the 13-member body that helps govern the Shriners fraternity, during the Shriners’ 2015 Imperial Session – held in Houston July 5 – July 9.

Gantt was raised a Master Mason at Cherryville Lodge #505 in 1971. He is a member of the York Rite, Grotto and was honored with the 33rd Degree of the Scottish Rite. Gantt became a member of Oasis Shriners in Charlotte, N.C., in 1972, and joined Arabia Shriners in Houston in 1980, where he held numerous offices, including chairman of the Five-year Planning Committee. He served as the temple’s Potentate in 2002.

Gantt is a chairman emeritus of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston Board of Governors and has served at the Imperial level as Outer Guard Aide, Captain of the Guard Aide, Imperial Marshal Aide and member of the Imperial Dispensations and Charters Committee. During his years as a member of the Boards of Directors, he has served on a number of committees, including Budget, Building and Equipment, Information Systems, Public Relations, Salary, Personnel and Retirement, Planning, Corporate Compliance, Education Seminars, Sports, Research, Medical Affairs, Strategic Planning, Investments and Budget. In addition, he has served as Liaison Officer to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, Montreal, Tampa, Honolulu and Galveston. In addition to his service in the Shriners fraternity, Gantt is an honorary member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor.

Born in Gastonia, N.C., Gantt attended Wingate College in Wingate, N.C. He then joined the United States Marine Corps., where he served as an air traffic controller. He is now President of Piedmont Contractors, Inc., a commercial general contracting firm in Houston.

In his community, Gantt and his wife, Lisa, enjoy NASCAR and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, where they are life-members and Gantt is an active committee member.

First Lady Lisa Gantt

First Lady Lisa Gantt and her husband of 20 years, Imperial Potentate Jerry Gantt, share many interests and activities.

They met through connections in the construction industry, and now work together in the family business, Piedmont Contractors Inc., located in Houston. Lisa and Jerry are active members of their condominium association, where Lisa serves as vice president of the board of directors.

Although they have lived in Texas for a long time, both Lisa and Jerry are natives of North Carolina, and, as would be expected, enjoy basketball and race cars.

“When you’re from North Carolina, you have to love basketball and NASCAR,” said Lisa.

The couple also shares an affinity for the outdoors, large gardens and horses. They are active, lifetime members of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and members of the Prime Time Cookers cooking team.

Family and faith are important to Lisa and Jerry. In fact, their commitment to Masonry and Shriners International is centered on the organizations’ dedication to brotherhood and improving the lives of children and families “It’s all about being there for others – and for the children,” said Lisa. “We feel this is a mission God has graciously given us.”

While they do not have children of their own, Lisa and Jerry enjoy the young ones, and spend as much time as possible with their several nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews in North Carolina, whom they treat as if they were grandchildren. Together they share a variety of activities, including going to the zoo and enjoying family vacations at the beach or in the mountains.

As is true for many in the Shriners family, their dedication to the fraternity, and appreciation of the friendships found there, has only increased and deepened over time.

“We have met so many wonderful people. It’s not about what you receive, or even where you can go. It’s about who you will meet, and what that opportunity may bring,” said Lisa. “It’s about who will be there, waiting for you.”

In her spare time, Lisa enjoys reading and going to the theater.

As First Lady, Lisa will introduce a program, In Dreams I Walk, which will augment the programs of Shriners Hospitals for Children that assist children with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI, also known as brittle bone disease).

“Every decision in these children’s lives is altered or influenced by OI,” said Lisa. “I asked the staff at our hospital in Canada to survey the patients with OI and ask them what it is they wish they could do that they are unable to because of having OI.

“Over and over, the answer involved walking. One child said, ‘In my dreams I can walk.’ We hope to increase awareness of what these kids deal with every day, and improve their lives through continued research and treatment programs.” To learn more please visit