Growth is vital to Rotary’s future

Shekhar Mehta
Shekhar Mehta

By Shekhar Mehta, 2021-22 Rotary International President

To grow is a natural phenomenon for everything. Growth is the only evidence of life. As Harvey Firestone, the American businessman who founded the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, said, “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

It is just as true for Rotary. For the last 20 years we had been at 1.2 million members and I think it is time that we add members and grow more. This growth to 1.3 million in 12 months may sound audacious but it is absolutely possible if we work on Each One, Bring One.

Membership’s a gift

To me the gift of membership to Rotary has been an extraordinary gift and I thank my proposer Chittaranjan Choudhury for this most valuable life-changing gift. Membership to Rotary has meant opening myriad opportunities for me. The opportunities to make friends, opportunities of leadership, opportunities of service, and opportunities of giving. It has influenced my life so much that service has become a way of life for me and my guiding mantra has become “Service is the rent I pay for the space I occupy on this Earth.”

Having realized how valuable this gift is, I had always wanted to share this gift with others over 36 years as a Rotarian having bought more than 50 members into different clubs of Rotary. In Rotary many of them have taken up senior leadership positions and have “Served to Change Lives.”

Diversity, equity, & inclusion

As we bring in members, we have to remember that diversity is one of the core values of Rotary. In fact, if we look at the kaleidoscope of membership in Rotary, we find people of different color, belief, religion, sexual orientation, etc. As Rotarians we have embraced this diversity. To attract members, we need to ensure equity, meaning that we will need to be fair, we will respect equality and sameness, and that we will value diversity and inclusion.

This approach will help people feel included, where everyone will be looked at as equal and equal opportunities will be given to all. This approach will also lead to inclusion which is important for supporting diversity. Inclusion will mean being open and creating an environment where everybody is valued and welcome and everyone is given an opportunity.

Rotary Days of Service

I come from a part of the world where the number of Rotary service projects are highest in the world. The needs are many and Rotarians find opportunities to fulfill these needs. When these are showcased to the public, more often than not people enquire about how to join Rotary because they too want to be People of Action and find solution to the needs of the community.

In my own club, when we did an event for Little Heart Surgery, people were so moved and touched that three of them enquired and two of them joined the club.

Rotary clubs have a great opportunity in showcasing their work to local communities by organizing Rotary Days of Service. These could be events that showcase service projects done locally or even internationally, using virtual platforms. Meaningful seminars and awareness campaigns on different service initiatives can be good opportunities too.


Recognizing efforts of Rotarians in an effective way keeps them motivated. We do a great job in recognizing donations to The Rotary Foundation. With this in mind, we have introduced The Membership Society for New Member Sponsors for recognizing the efforts of Rotarians to excel in membership growth. This virtual platform will showcase to audiences worldwide the names of Rotarians who have brought in more than 25 members into Rotary. There are different slabs of recognition the details of which can be seen on My Rotary.

Follow the president on Facebook and Twitter and visit the president’s page on My Rotary

7 thoughts on “Growth is vital to Rotary’s future

  1. Definitely, Growth is the sign of life. But growth must be with a sustainable development with a motto “Leave no one behind”. We are confident that Rotary will reach newer heights under your leadership. Best wishes. Keep going. regards,
    PHF Rajkumar Manglick


  2. Growing Rotary is our organization’s #1 internal priority. We are a membership organization that performs outstanding service. Thank you Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta for setting the right direction for us and for motivating all of us to grow Rotary. DIRECTION: President Shekhar’s “Each One, Bring One” campaign focuses all Rotarians and Rotaractors on what is most important – attracting new members. Engagement and retention are, of course, important; but, to really move the membership needle in the right direction, we need to reach out into our respective communities and bring new and diverse members into our clubs and form new clubs. President Shekhar’s campaign challenges the long standing notion that our Membership Teams should be composed of just a few club members into every Rotarian and Rotaractor becoming a defacto member of their club’s Membership Team. This allows us to focus not only on the numbers of new members being brought into Rotary; but also, on the quality of the members we are bringing in, as we all just have to focus on bringing in the single individual that best fits the culture of our current club. MOTIVATION: President Shekhar’s new Membership Society is the recognition we needed to motivate our Rotarians to sponsor new members. Thanks to President Shekhar’s new initiatives – there has never been a better time to grow Rotary!


  3. Hopefully with a return after the virus destruction we can return to leadership from the top in person rather than the stream of words on Line. Action not words


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