By Hank Sartin, Rotary editorial staff
District governors-elect got their first look at the 2018-19 presidential theme Be the Inspiration Sunday at the International Assembly, an annual training event for incoming district leaders. RI President-elect Barry Rassin urged the audience to build a stronger organization by inspiring a younger generation and by getting the word out to the community at large about the work Rotary does. “I will ask you to inspire with your words and with your deeds: doing what we need to do today, to build a Rotary that will be stronger tomorrow; stronger when we leave it, than it was when we came.”
We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts on being the inspiration.
Charles Tondeur, Rotary Club of Hazebrouck-Merville, France (District 1520): “I think Rotary needs to be open to new ideas, and this theme encourages us to think about ideas that will inspire our members. Inspiring is about bringing new energy.”
Yoko Hattori, Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo, Japan (District 2750): “This theme is clear and direct, which is going to be useful and powerful for the leadership in districts. He’s asking us to think about how we take care of our Rotary family, but also how we inspire beyond Rotary.”
Malcolm Kerr, Rotary Club of Cobram, Australia (District 9790): “I thought the theme was, well, inspiring. I especially like the way he talked about the sea connecting us all. We have to inspire our districts, we have to inspire our clubs, we have to inspire our individual members, and we have to inspire in the world beyond Rotary. It’s a pyramid of possibilities.”
Jim Cupper, Rotary Club of Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA (District 6360): “What I really liked was Barry Rassin’s emphasis on the environment and how we’re going to fit that into the things that Rotary does. Be the Inspiration is easy for most of us to work into our message to our districts and our leadership teams. Part of inspiring our clubs will be training them to use the amazing tools that Rotary has.”
Linda Murray, Rotary Club of South Everett/Mukilteo, Washington, USA (District 5050): “The theme is so important to Rotary right now, when we all need inspiration. Barry Rassin talked about getting the word out, so I’m going to go post the theme and talk about it on Facebook tonight! His message on membership is so important, urging us to be open to new ideas. ”