A word from your Assistant Governor and fellow Rotarian.

I joined Rotary after Lorraine Tarpey, a Rotarian, invited me.  I had no idea what Rotary was other than 'I knew' it was an old men’s dinner club and was shocked she attended.  WOW, was I wrong!  In fact Cohasset Rotary is 50% women and member range from 30 to 95 years old.  I learned I had no idea what Rotary really was or the international power of it as a service organization!  Did you know Rotary is ‘this close’ to eradicating Polio worldwide?   Rotary is a major player in peacemaking, education, community development and maternal & child health among their six focus areas!  When my fellow Rotarian told me the motto of Rotary was ‘Service Above Self" I replied, “OK I’m in!… BUT, I can only come every other week with work, three kids who need shuttling to sports, homework, dinner, etc".  I joined in 2011.  After a year I was hooked and needed an excuse to come every week.  My husband arranged his work schedule to be home early and I looked for a job within the club.  Rotary has become a family to me.  I have met so many quality people in Rotary who I NEVER would have crossed paths with otherwise.  I am GRATEFUL for Lorraine’s invitation.  

Don’t be hesitant to go out and invite your friends to Rotary!  Your friends most likely are similar to you and probably enjoy helping others as well.  Why don’t you invite them to be a guest for a couple of our dinner meetings, one with a speaker focus and a business meeting in the next month or two, this way they will get a good cross-section of what we are about.  And when they join, be their mentor and attend one or two District Trainings with them and they will understand that Rotary is MUCH more than your small community.  If you haven't been to a District training in a while, go to one soon to open your own eyes and imagination wider, and see how Rotary connects the world.

Do not be afraid to be nominated for an office.  We all learn as we go and Rotary has great training.  I became Secretary the year after I joined.  I am just terrible at remembering names and this was a GREAT way to get to learn everyone’s names after taking attendance at the beginning of each week.  If you sat near me at the back table you would hear from me, “Psst, what’s that guy’s name again with the blue shirt, I can't see his name tag?”.  As I sat quietly and typed away on the  Clubrunner email service for the next couple years (much easier than handwriting notes then retyping to email out minutes I learned), I got to know the members.  Our current secretary did the same, becoming secretary her first or second year and jumping into Rotary feet first.  I observed the current couple years of presidents and saw how nice everyone was who led, and how kind members were towards them - we are all volunteers and live by the Four-Way test after all!  A few of these presidents were my mentors (they may not realize it but I was watching), as well as Lisa Braun from Plymouth Sunrise who was our Assistant Governor at the time.  I noticed leadership was fun and forgiving (maybe a little different from work), and our small but mighty club in particular was SO warm and encouraging.  My entire life I had been a terrified public speaker and with the help and genuine encouragement of my fellow Rotarians I became comfortable behind the podium as president (now twice) leading weekly meetings. I am now comfortable in front of people because I ‘felt the love’ from all my fellow Rotarians.  When I stepped up to be president I learned it was best if you focused on one thing during your short year.  Membership, Fundraising, Foundation, Service Projects and Grants, Rotary International and Public Image  - there are so many areas you could focus on.  Often times the Rotary International President guides his vision for the year.  A president cannot do it all in a year, nor is he or she expected to do it all, so don’t put that burden on your back.  We are all volunteers and have busy lives, so it is best to set your goal for ONE or TWO of these areas only to improve the club and make a community or global impact.  Each of us leaders brings our own passions and ‘why’ we became Rotarians, so focus on The Rotary International focus for the year or your gifts when you lead.  If your passion is children then focus on finding Service Projects for children.  If it’s opiate education and addiction treatment then connect with other clubs across the country, learn from one another and effect change.  

Delegate.  Great leaders delegate and Rotary has set up clubs to have many hands make light work.  All the other members will help you by doing the little things that take time… setting up, cleaning up, meals, getting speakers or service projects weekly, posting activities on the website, social media etc.  And your chairs will lead initiatives. 

I highly recommend each person invites a friend to join them in Rotary and people from the club step up and volunteer to be nominated for an office in November.  Each club needs upcoming officers in December.  The 'current' President Elect will go to PETS in March to begin planning their upcoming year's goals and budget to be set to become president July 1, 2020.  If you are elected as President Elect in December you will take office as President Elect July 1, 2020 and be installed as President July 1 2021.  If you are a President Nominee you will not be installed as a president until July 1, 2022, but this lead time allows you to begin to observe and get trained for leadership the following year. (President Nominee is a great position for a newish member by the way, with presidency not happening for two and a half years!) You will be inspired as President when you attend PETS (President Elect Training Seminars) which is a  three-day training (Thurs PM - Sun AM) in March with clubs all over the Northeast and southern Canada.  It opens your eyes to how Rotary truly can connect the world.  There will be a few other district trainings to help you learn and lead, as well as the International Convention you could travel to.  At trainings you will hear from speakers who have personally made an impact worldwide, and realize you too could personally make a difference in people's lives far beyond your vision with the power and reach of Rotary.  You will hear of great ideas from other clubs for Service Projects, small and large, and learn how others grew their clubs and raised money.  All very inspiring!  Time commitment?  Being President usually took me three hours a week including emails, planning, a monthly BOD meeting, a district meeting 2-3 Sat mornings a year, on top of leading the meeting.  It's really very doable AND I went to Toronto to the International convention one of my presidential years.  It was incredible meeting people from all over the world who have similar goals.  How cool is that?! 

So, when your president asks at the next meeting who wants to be nominated as an officer or B.O.D. position will you raise your hand?  It is not daunting - remember one or two goals only.  Your members are there to support you as are the past Presidents, Governor and Assistant Governor.  It is fun, and you too can make a difference in the lives of many because Rotary connects the world!

Diane Herth, Assistant Governor Area 12, District 7950