Editor’s Note: In celebration of International Women’s Day, which is 8 March, we are running a week-long series of blog posts from women who are making a difference in their communities and around the world through Rotary.
By Celia Cruz de Giay, 2014-15 Rotary vice president
If anyone had told me that I would be writing a blog post today as vice president of Rotary International extolling the impact of women, I would have thought that person was dreaming. But when I think about it a little longer, I can see how the idea of service modeled for me since my childhood through my Rotarian father, and then through my Rotarian husband, Luis, led to this day, and I recognize that Rotary was always part of my life. That is why I am a Rotarian committed to serve.
I joined Rotary 21 years ago. But I have been involved in service all my life, whether through preparing a grant to help the hospital in my town, or organizing vocational education classes for youth, or vaccinating children against polio, or organizing fundraisers for scholarship associations, and so on.
The most important lesson I have learned by serving is that to truly lead, we need to be in touch with the people we serve. Anyone can become a community leader, but to truly achieve something as a leader, we must be immersed in their agonies and inspired by their causes. True leadership is a commitment to help others reach their full potential.
As the world’s oldest service organization, Rotary has come a long way. Today we have more than 1.2 million men and women working to improve the lives of people in their communities and around the world. Around 250,000 of them are women, who bring a different perspective to the way we look at challenges and opportunities. These women are from diverse ethnic and religious background; they employ teamwork, persistence, determination, creativity, enthusiasm, generosity, self-confidence, and compassion; and they advocate for education and new opportunities for children, youth, and young adults.
I believe Rotary’s challenge today and in the future is to engage more women and more young people into our organization to allow them to grow as leaders, so we can together contribute to bringing about social justice, peace, and understanding.
Many times I have told myself that my legacy to my family, and to future generations, should be to leave the world better than I found it. So I will continue serving through Rotary and putting my heart into all I do, hoping to inspire Rotary members in my club, district, and worldwide to do our best to leave the world a better place than we found it. Because if we can dream we can do this, we can make it possible!!