Why telling Rotary’s story is so important

Rotary Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones talks about the importance of Rotary's brand.

Rotary Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones talks about the importance of Rotary’s brand. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

More than a year ago, Rotary leaders launched the Strengthening Rotary initiative to enhance and simplify the organization’s story, visual identity, and digital experience. While Rotary’s recognition on the global scale is strong, our image can still use strengthening in local communities.

Speakers at Rotary’s annual training event for leaders in San Diego, California, USA, this week challenged incoming district governors to champion Rotary’s brand in their districts and make sure that their clubs support the effort to tell Rotary’s story in a clear and compelling way. Here’s what a few incoming governors had to say about the initiative: Continue reading

Incoming district governors excited to ‘be a gift’

150119_themeBy Ryan Hyland, Rotary editorial staff

Incoming district governors enthusiastically greeted the presidential theme for 2015-16, Be a Gift to the World, during a dinner 18 January at the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future district leaders. RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran is asking Rotary members to use their talents, expertise, and leadership in the coming year to transform the lives of others.

We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts. Continue reading

How does Rotary fulfill your need for service and fun?

Evan Burrell

Evan Burrell

By Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales

I’ve been volunteering with Rotary ever since I was a kid. Well, since I was 18. Originally, I joined for my own selfish reasons. I wanted to meet new people and find a girlfriend. I didn’t join because of some great desire to help change the world. I hadn’t had much experience with that at the time. But I soon realized what a difference I was making. Continue reading

Our top five stories of 2014

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

Victoria Alvarez and other youth exchange students during their trip to the West Coast of the United States.

By Rotary Voices staff

As the year draws to a close, we recap our top five stories of the year (based on number of views):

  • During her Rotary Youth Exchange to the United States, Argentinian Victoria Alvarez met teenagers from all over the world and learned how to appreciate different points of view. Alvarez shared how her Rotary Youth Exchange opened her eyes.
  • Chris Davidson, a member of the Rotary Club of Newport News, Virginia, joined 29 other Rotary members under the age of 40 during a Young Professionals Summit in Chicago to discuss how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals. Davidson shared what young professionals are looking for in Rotary.
  • Jurag Gago, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from Slovakia, fell in love with Chicago during his year in the United States, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Aurora Sunrise. Gago shared how Rotary Youth Exchange exceeded his expectations.
  • Bill Wittich, past president of the Rotary Club of Laguna Sunrise, Elk Grove, California, USA, is the kind of guy who hangs out in the local Starbucks. Wittich discovered that the best way to invite someone to join Rotary is to ask.
  • Ron Nethercutt, a member of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat, Pampanga, Philippines, shares his reason for wearing a Rotary pin. Nethercutt was attending a large chamber of commerce meeting in New Orleans when he was approached by a young lady who thanked him. When he asked why, she recounted how her Rotary scholarship allowed her to earn a master’s degree in international banking and improve her life circumstances.

Continue reading

Lighting up China with hope and dreams

Tara Strunk, right, and Rotary President Gary C.K. Huang at the Shanghai conference.

Tara Strunk, right, and Rotary President Gary C.K. Huang at the Rotary China Conference.

By Tara Strunk, Rotary Club of Shanghai

We all become Rotarians for a reason. Each of us has different reasons, but we all have a reason.

Rotary President Gary C.K. Huang inspired more than 130 attendees at the Rotary China Conference held in Shanghai recently with his experiences, his passion for growing Rotary (especially in China), and his family’s commitment and involvement in Rotary.

During the two-day conference, President Gary shared with us his theme for 2014-15, Light Up Rotary. This theme is particularly meaningful to Rotarians in China as many of us studied Continue reading

These women of Rotary are changing the world

Rotary's Women of Action in Washington D.C. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Eight of Rotary’s Women of Action in Washington D.C. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Julia D. Phelps, RI director

As I sat in the audience at the White House on 7 October, listening to 10 amazing Rotary women tell the stories of their volunteer efforts, two quotes kept running through my mind. First, “Be the change you wish to be in the world” (Mahatma Gandhi) and second, “Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has” (Margaret Mead).

In fact, these 10 women took these two quotes, put them together and created projects, foundations, and fundraising efforts that changed their world and the world of others. It struck me that all of their efforts started with one woman who saw a need, a problem, and then went about addressing the situation. They didn’t get permission, they didn’t write a business plan; they just got busy. They were brave and courageous as they stepped out to make a difference. And as their idea grew into reality, they realized that they couldn’t do it alone. That’s where their Rotary club members, their networks, and our Rotary Foundation, came into play. Continue reading

A Day at the White House with Rotary

Honorees speak during Rotary's Women of Action event at the White House 7 October. Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Honorees speak during Rotary’s Women of Action event at the White House 7 October. Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

By Adam Ross, Web Content Manager for Rotary.org

When I lost my state identification card while writing about Rotary’s Women of Action event at the White House on Tuesday, I didn’t have to panic by myself. A Rotarian was there to aid and comfort me.

I’m not surprised, but I’m thankful. Thankful we found my ID together so I could fly home to my family, and thankful to have made a new friend.

I had never been on the White House campus before, but the site was far less impressive than our Rotarians. Ten of them were honored as Rotary’s Women of Action, and they gracefully shared their stories. There are too many amazing projects to write about here, but we documented them on Rotary.org. Continue reading

What young professionals are looking for in Rotary

Rotary members who attended the Young Professional Summit 26-27 September.

Rotary members who attended the Young Professionals Summit 26-27 September.

By Chris Davidson, Rotary Club of Newport News, Virginia

I attended the first-ever Rotary Young Professionals Summit held in Chicago on 26-27 September, which gathered 30 Rotarians under the age of 40 to discuss how Rotary can better attract and engage young professionals.

The summit was a huge success and thoroughly captured the essence of what Millennials and members of Generation Y are looking for — mentorship, friendship, opportunities, and fun. One of my Rotary mentors, past RI Vice President Anne L. Matthews, who I had worked with on district membership projects, had encouraged me to apply.

Joining Rotary as a 32-year-old young professional was a life-changing event. Continue reading

Roundup: Must-read posts of the month

By Rotary Voices staff

Here are some of our favorite blog posts from the past month, which focus on the transforming power of Rotary Youth Exchanges, the good work being done by Rotary Scholars around the world, and how to make the most of social media.

Share a link to your favorite blog post in the comments section below.

Home doesn’t have just one name: lessons from a youth exchange

Rotary Youth Exchange students from several countries in Paris.

Rotary Youth Exchange students from several countries in Paris.

Elizabeth, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 6080 (Missouri, USA) to France

I used to think that the sky only stretched on for as far as I could see, and then where my vision became blurred, the world ceased to exist.

I used to think that happiness came from surrounding myself with things that brought me comfort. I used to think the best friends I would ever have were the ones I’d known forever. I used to think that in order to call someone family meant they had to be related by blood. And I used to think that home only had one name. Continue reading