This is always an exciting time. Club presidents and boards are stepping into their new roles. Everyone is looking forward to a great year.
We have additional excitement this year as we enter the first time in Rotary International’s 117-year history when we are led by a woman. Female leadership is nothing new in Rotary. Clubs, this district and most other aspects of Rotary have all had numerous presidents and chairs who are female.
The naming of Jennifer Jones is a milestone for the organization because the argument for why there have been no female presidents has always been that there is a process that has to be met- the successful candidate has to have been one of only 8 or 9 people every year who are named as directors of Rotary, they are expected to have led a number of Rotary International initiatives and they have to compete with every other person from around the world who has the same qualifications.
Jennifer Jones is the first female president of Rotary, but she is also the most qualified person to fill the role.
In her address to the incoming District Governors, Jennifer talked about the importance of caring for our members. It is important that we introduce new people to Rotary. It is vital that we bring in new members to grow our organization. Equally and perhaps more importantly, we need to ensure that our existing members are fulfilled and satisfied with being Rotarians.
We all share that responsibility. These are our Rotary clubs. There is no “they” in the operation of a Rotary club. There is only us.
All of us have been somewhat removed from regular contact with people for the past couple of years. It has caused many of us to seemingly lose our social skills. It has also caused most of us to yearn for the human contact that comes from meeting together and working together.
Our product may be service, but Rotary is a membership organization. These are our friends, our compatriots in a great adventure.
Let’s touch base. Let’s make sure we are all ok. Let’s check to see what we could be doing to make everyone’s Rotary experience worthwhile.
We are at an inflection point in Rotary. People, both young and old, are looking for the opportunity to do something good. People are looking for an opportunity to build friendships with like minded people. People are attracted to the idea of high ethical standards. We have a unique opportunity to build our membership.
Let’s just not forget to take care of the members we already have.
Here’s to a great and successful year in Rotary.