Joyce said Margaret is a member of the Bracebridge Club, joining in 2003, but that she has a lifetime of experience with Rotary as her husband, Ron, has been a member for 30 years.  She was Club Pres in 2010 - 11, has served on several committees and been on two trips to Cambodia to distribute bicycles.  She's a Land Use Planner in a company with two partners.  During her years as Ass't DG - 2010 to 2015 she established the current Strategic Plan for the District.
Margaret said she was happy to visit such a fun and active Club.  Her ties to Rotary go back even farther than Ron's, her grandfather was a charter member of the Orillia Club and she remembers selling peanuts as a fundraiser.  Ron joined while they lived in Yellowknife, before women could join, and when they moved to Bracebridge he joined there.  When the kids moved out, she was invited and they became one of the 7 couples in the Club.  Her experience is that she would have joined sooner but she was 'never asked'.  She feels this is a lesson - when talking to people, be sure to ask them.
Their three kids are married and there's one grandson.
The International theme this year is Rotary Serving Humanity, set by International President John Germ.  There are 540 DG's and at the last training session 90 of them were women.  The route to Governership is long, requiring service as a Club President, a DG, a Zone Director, etc.  This is hard for young people to manage with careers and families, especially women, but the numbers of women in the positions is growing.
The areas of focus this year are - membership, foundation giving, online presence, humanitarian service, new generations and public image.  She explained that online presence is increasingly important because the stats gathered there support applications for funding, especially from the feds, who are contributing currently.  Public image is also vital - she feels Rotary has kept its light under a bushel for too long and needs to get the community aware.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Foundation - started with the profits from the Atlanta conference of 1916 - $26.50.  Total endowment now exceeds one billion.  The Foundation is highly effective and well managed - very low admin costs, the money is spent on projects.
It's important to understand the Foundation donations return to the community.  $300,00.00 given in 2013 means that $150,000.00 comes back to the District to be spent as we see fit.  And matching grants can leverage a commitment by 4 or 5 times.
This year Polio was limited to two countries but a section of Nigeria where Boko Haram holds sway now reports cases, though efforts are being made.  It's clear that only Rotary could manage the job - it's in more countries than the UN and WHO and UNESCO didn't recognize that eradication was possible - coming to the task well after Rotary had started it.  The model is now being repeated with malaria, etc.
Her mantra at the District is the "power of combined efforts" and she encourages us to come together, to join at the District level.  The District has been asked by some of the smaller clubs to launch District projects they can join so they are working on and Int'l, a Community Service and an Indigenous project, on which more later.
Her goals are to strengthen the Clubs, focus on the humanitarian, enhance our public image, get connected, promote leadership and celebrate Rotary.  So, there are still some spaces at the District Conference in two weeks and there are a couple of spots on a Friendship exchange to NZ leaving Feb 8.