Everybody deserves a choice

Editor’s Note: This summer, Rotary International hosted two fellows from the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders program, who worked with our Rotary Peace Centers and Global Communications staff. Veracruz Ebong, a corporate finance professional and civic leader from Equatorial Guinea, wrote the following account of her experience.

Veracruz Ebong

By Veracruz Ebong

Had it not been for my friends Pablo Edu Nkene and Rosa Reyes Salomon Ehopi, I would have missed the opportunity to witness the important role education plays in people’s lives – people like myself. Pablo is a very good friend of mine who attended last’s year Mandela Washington Fellowship. One of the first things he did upon his return was talk to me about how amazing the program was and most importantly how it has changed his perspective of life. Continue reading

Satellite club gets back to Rotary’s roots

Leeds Phoenix satellite club

Members of the Leeds Phoenix satellite club present their first charity check in dramatic fashion.

By Tony Scaife, Rotary Club of Aireborough, West Yorkshire, England

For the last few months, I’ve been helping exuberant members of the Leeds Phoenix Satellite Rotary Club get established. I’ve been on a wonderful voyage watching as a new network of professionals rediscover Rotary’s roots. Continue reading

3 steps to a 100 percent membership increase

Dinesh Gajeelee

Dinesh Gajeelee

By Dinesh Gajeelee, Rotary Club of Haute Rive, Mauritius

One of the ongoing challenges in Rotary is maintaining a healthy level of membership. My club of Haute Rive is no exception. We started the club in 2014 with 20 members, and despite the fact that we have gained new members since then, we’ve also lost a few. So much so that membership fell to just 18 as of 1 July 2017. Fortunately, our leadership team was proactive and began forming a plan to address the situation. Continue reading

How Rotary helped my career

Board of directors include four Rotarians.

Joyce Lau’s Rotary experience helped her land a position with a major financial firm in Hong Kong. Four Rotarians serve on the board of directors.

By Joyce Lau, past president of the Rotary Club of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong

On my first day at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a college senior invited me to the Rotaract Club of Chung Chi College. This small step introduced me to the wonderful world of Rotaract, where I strengthened my leadership and organizational skills while taking part in some amazing activities, including bringing smiles to the faces of people with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, hosting a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards training camp, and helping charter a new community-based Rotaract club.

Having benefited so much from Rotaract, it was natural for me to join Rotary when I had the chance. But never would I have thought that Rotary would take my career to the next level. Continue reading

Why you shouldn’t be afraid to take risks

John Smerdon and Daniel Vankov prepare sausages for the homeless.

John Smerdon and Daniel Vankov prepare sausage sizzle for the homeless in Brisbane.

By Daniel Vankov, Immediate Past President, Rotary Club of Brisbane, Australia

Rotary’s secret is cooperation. Alone we are useless. Together we are powerful. And together in a million we are unstoppable.

I had the honor of serving as president of the Rotary Club of Brisbane in 2017-18. It was a task that was not only challenging, but highly rewarding. My desire had been to make a difference, which also happened to be the theme 2017-18 Rotary President Ian Riseley put forward for the year. Continue reading

How we set up a Rotaract club in a refugee settlement

A Rotary team visited the Nakivale Rotaract Club in January (select cc for English subtitles)

By Francis Xavier Sentamu, District 9211 (Uganda) governor-elect

When I first saw a story on BBC in the spring of 2016 about the Nakivale Refugee settlement, I didn’t give it much thought. It was distant to me. Somewhat coincidentally, I attended a “changemaker” event that November organized by the American Refugee Committee, where 13 youth from the Nakivale Refugee settlement were being honored for their project ideas to impact the refugee community. Continue reading

How accessible is your club?

Shogo Williams-Matsuka, left, attends a club event in 2016. Williams-Matsuka says he joined Rotary partly to improve the representation of people with disabilities in community groups.

By Shogo Williams-Matsuoka, president-elect, Rotary E-club of Western Australia

My life as a Rotarian began in 2014, when I became a member of the Rotary Club of Cockburn in Western Australia. Since then, I have joined the Rotary E-club of Western Australia and am the current president-elect for 2019-2020. My involvement in Rotary is motivated by the need to do more to improve the representation of people with disabilities in community organisations. Often people with disability are portrayed as the passive recipients of charity, undermining our capability to provide meaningful contributions to society. Continue reading

What value does your club have for young professionals?

Michael Walstrom

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of blog posts celebrating Membership Month.

By Michael Walstrom, president of the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Florida  

Rotary, like any business, has customers. For us, those customers are our members and we must provide value to assure satisfied customers. The key to attracting and retaining young professional “customers” is presenting a Value Proposition that is attractive. Continue reading

Bringing the Rotary family closer together

Albert E. Kafka, Rotary Club of Wien-Oper, and Peter M. Rabensteiener, Rotary Club of Wien-Stadtpark

Change is the only constant in life. No matter how prepared we think we are for it, transition can be challenging. Closing the exciting chapter of our lives as members of Rotaract and moving on to the new adventures that await us in Rotary can be difficult. As a young person, how do we fit in? A desire to help others through this difficulty and to promote true unity among Rotarians led us, along with Philip-Sebastian Marchl, to create Intarconnect. Continue reading

Is it time for a re-read of Rotary?

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Public Image Coordinator for Zone 31

English was not my father’s first language. And like a lot of second language learners, he was an avid reader. He especially liked Conrad and Melville and read their bodies of work not once but several times during his life. As a young man, it was not uncommon for him to drop my mother off at her home after a date and head for a neighborhood diner, book in hand, to read and drink coffee until the night waitress closed up and shooed him home. Continue reading