NAME: LYNNE PEARSON
HOME CLUB: Parksville AM
AG AREA / CLUB NAMES: Area 3 • Ucluelet • Port Alberni • Port Alberni Arrowsmith, Qualicum Beach • Qualicum Beach Sunrise • Parksville AM
YEAR JOINED ROTARY: 1996
- Why did you join Rotary? What did you expect from your Rotary membership?
I joined Rotary in November 1996 in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. With two kids, a husband, a farm and senior jobs, I didn’t have much time for service organizations, and Rotary would not have welcomed me anyway, because I am a woman. Rotary did not admit women until 1989. However, in 1996, I became Dean of Business at the University of Saskatchewan. Part of the job was building relationships with the business community and it was recommended that I join Rotary because many business people were active club members. I also wanted to contribute to my community. There were 5 Rotary clubs in Saskatoon, and I chose the oldest and original club – the Rotary Club of Saskatoon – partly because it had the most business people in it.
That club also had a special place in my heart. I grew up in Saskatoon and in Grade 12, this Rotary Club sponsored me to attend a Model United Nations in Winnipeg. It was a marvelous educational experience. In addition, I came from a poor family and this was my first airplane ride.
I became a Rotarian because of my job, but I stayed because of three things that really impressed me:
- the many projects done by the club in the community
- fellowship, and
- the work of the Foundation
I became very committed to Rotary and when I moved to Parksville, B. C., in 2007, I transferred my membership to the Rotary Club of Parksville AM.
- Has Rotary lived up to your expectations – how?
Rotary more than lived up to my expectations. It takes a world-wide, well organized and respected organization to carry out the hundreds of humanitarian projects Rotary does around the world. The Foundation is very highly rated by groups that report on charities. It is rated high in effectiveness and high in efficiency. I found it eye opening to compare the administrative costs of the Rotary Foundation, with administration costs of other charities. The Foundation’s small administrative cost is very impressive. And of course – there are the thousands of local community projects that all of the Rotary clubs are involved in. I also appreciated the fellowship.
- We know Rotary is a big part of your life, but what do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?
The biggest fun thing is being with our grandchildren. During COVID, my husband and I were able to see our 3 grandchildren in Campbell River, but we have not seen our 2 grandchildren in Oakville for a year and a half, except on FaceTime. They are coming to visit in August. The next fun thing is travel – we have been in 81 countries and are hoping to add more when COVID is under control.
- What inspired you to become involved at the club level? Then at the district level?
While I was a member of the Rotary Club of Saskatoon, I was an active member but was also in leadership positions in other charitable organizations, so did not have time to take a leadership position with Rotary. When I moved to Parksville, it was a much smaller club and the expectations were that you took on leadership positions, including President. I was President Elect and then President in 2011-12. Since then, I have been the Foundation Chair for the club.
After coming to BC, I thought about putting up my hand for the District level, but since I was busy with various organizations in Parksville and also with a business I chaired in Saskatchewan, I didn’t come forward. However, last year, there was challenge obtaining an AG for Area 3 and I was asked to put my name forward. I am so glad that I did, because I very much enjoyed my first year as Assistant Governor and am looking forward to the next two.
- Best experience so far as Assistant Governor?
It’s hard to choose. If I have to select, I would say there were two. The first was watching with deep respect how the Presidents and Boards of the Clubs in the Area adjusted to COVID. They changed their meetings; they changed their fundraisers; they changed their service projects; and they kept their members engaged. It was amazing and I thank them for their very hard work, their adaptability, and their commitment to Rotary.
The second one was the opportunity to be present (under COVID limitations) at the unveiling of the Indigenous Mural in Port Alberni. The Port Alberni Arrowsmith Club began working with local Indigenous groups about 4 years ago, in order to assist reconciliation, which is an important process in Canada. There are 11 First Nations in the local area. The work of the Club and the First Nations led to a decision to paint a mural on a blank wall opposite the train station, which in pre-COVID time was used for a tourist train. An Indigenous artist was chosen, the concept was developed through research and artistic design, and the painting took place over 3 days in August 2020. The mural reflects the history of the Tseshaht people and highlights 5 past Indigenous leaders. On September 19th, the mural was unveiled in a very moving ceremony that was part of reconciliation. The relationships which were developed over the past 4 years are strengthening the community. The mural is a source of pride and education, as well as adding an attraction for residents and tourists of Port Alberni.
- When will we see you as the District Governor?
While I would be very honoured to serve as District Governor, I’m afraid that I have to be realistic. District 5020 has an excellent succession planning process which incoming DGs go through and it results in very well-prepared District Governors. However, it does take time. I am getting on in age and it would not be realistic for me to aim for District Governor.