Engaging more women in Rotary

Cyndi Doragh

By Cyndi Doragh, Zone 34 assistant Rotary coordinator and member of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South, Florida, USA

Nearly three decades ago, I wanted to join Rotary. The first club I tried to join told me they weren’t accepting any more bankers. (In those days, it was common for Rotary clubs to limit the amount of people based on their profession.) A month later, I learned they welcomed a new member – and he was a banker.

I really wanted to be a Rotarian, and I soon found a club that welcomed me with open arms. I have been a proud member for 28 years. During that time though, barriers still exist for women who want to join a Rotary club. Only 23% of our global membership is women! We can do better. We need to be leaders and show our communities that everyone is welcome in Rotary, no matter what.

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Hybrid meetings keep all members engaged

Hybrid meeting setup

A hybrid meeting setup with a webcam on a dampened tripod, a laptop, and a projector.

By Patrick Eakes, Zone 33 Rotary Coordinator

Patrick Eakes

Patrick Eakes

In our area, the global pandemic arrived like an unwelcome dinner guest. Within a matter of days after the first local case of COVID-19, my Rotary club’s meeting location closed, and gatherings of 50 or more people were prohibited (my club has over 100 members). Face-to-face Rotary meetings came to an almost immediate halt.

David Stovall and Stephanie Urchick, Rotary International Directors, and Director-elect Peter Kyle immediately set up online meetings for all Rotary members in Zones 33 and 34 to attend. They held these meetings twice each week and posted recordings on social media, setting an explicit example for district and club leaders of how they could maintain and strengthen the engagement of Rotary members even during a pandemic. Continue reading

If you can’t find a club, start one

Rudy Balmater

Rudy Balmater

By Rudy C. Balmater, membership committee chair, Rotary Club of Jakarta Gambir, Indonesia

In early 2019, I received an online membership inquiry from Dicky Armando, who lived in Pontianak in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan. Pontianak is about 735 kilometres away from Jakarta and reachable by airplane in less than two hours. For many years, there has never been a Rotary presence in Pontianak. I realized that this was an opportunity to expand Rotary’s presence on the biggest island of Indonesia. Continue reading

Finding my life’s meaning in Rotary, Toastmasters

David and Judy Jones

David Jones and his wife, Judy, in San Francisco in 2006.

By David Jones, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Upper Arlington/Grandview (TriVillage), Columbus, Ohio, USA

In 2008, my world changed when my wife of 29 years was killed by an impaired driver. She was returning from a college visit with our 17-year-old daughter. My life revolved around Judy and our four children (Anne, Michael, Geoffrey, and Lara). We were so close that it felt like I had died too.

A year later, our youngest child left for college and I was alone in a five-bedroom house. I had to choose between curling up in a ball or going on living. I chose the latter and began speaking to first-time offenders convicted of a driving under the influence offense for several programs in central Ohio. Continue reading

How I found support and acceptance in my Rotary club

By Monica Mulholland, Rotary Club of Queenstown, New Zealand

When I made the decision to come out as transgender to my Rotary club, my wife and I were worried that we would be shunned by our community and lose many of our friends, including those in the Rotary club. It is common for transgender people to lose half their friends and half their family when they come out. But we couldn’t have been happier with the acceptance and support we received from club members. Continue reading

Mock interview project benefits more than just job seekers

Members of the Rotary Club of Silverdale interview a job seeker (left, back to camera)

By Cathy Bisaillon, President & CEO of Easterseals Washington, and a member of the Rotary Club of Silverdale, Washington, USA. Video and photos by Steven Boe, Rotary Club of Silverdale

When I shared with my fellow Rotarians last fall that 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed or under-employed, in spite of a national labor shortage, we decided to take action. Our club has a diverse membership, and it values a diverse workforce. By pulling from District 5030’s Partners for Work Program, we organized a high-energy mock interview  during our club’s meeting on 31 January. Continue reading

3 ways to make your club more inclusive

By Katey Halliday, Rotaract Club of Adelaide City and the Rotary Club of Adelaide Light, South Australia, Australia

Rotary recently adopted a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement that sends a strong message that we embrace inclusivity. Rotary has clubs all over the world and reaches a broad range of people with our service projects. So we are already diverse, but a second ingredient, inclusion, is the key to unlocking and maintaining the full benefits of that diversity. How inclusive is your club? 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

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