President Hannah's November message. 
 
I was recently listening to a podcast titled, “Stop Networking, Start Connecting” and as I was taking in the discussion, I kept thinking about Rotary. 
 
While yes, there is a global Rotary network - Rotary is so much more than networking. 
 
Networking is defined as the action or process of interacting with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts. Connecting is defined as joining or uniting to form a relationship or affinity. 
 
Susan McPherson, author and communications consultant who was the guest on the podcast, pointed out that networking often feels like work. Collecting business cards at conferences and “working a room” can feel transactional. But connecting is building a deep meaningful relationship with someone. This is what Rotary offers to members who engage.
 
Most people who join Rotary are not joining to simply sit back during a presentation, enjoy a meal twice a month, and put it in the back of their mind. They joined to help create a better community and better world. They joined asking “How can I help?” not “What can you do for me?”
 
Coming together with people to serve others builds connection. 
 
Painting fences and building bunk beds at Camp Whittier is not networking, it’s connecting.
 
Spending a couple hours with fellow Rotarians ringing the bell outside Paseo Nuevo to raise funds for the Salvation Army is not networking, it’s connecting. 
 
And traveling to Nicaragua to provide games and equipment to schoolchildren and witness a community have access to a clean water system for the first time is certainly not networking, it’s connecting. 
 
Rotary has connected me to so many wonderful people, many of whom I likely wouldn’t have met if not for becoming a member. Having a group of people working toward shared goals with shared values is powerful. McPherson says connecting leads to impact and happenings.
 
If you are already a Rotarian, I encourage you to take some time during this season of thanks and gratitude to reflect on the meaningful connections you have with other Rotarians. And those of you who aren’t a part of Rotary - what are you waiting for? Now that the world is slowly coming back together, it’s a great time to join our international community of 1.2 million people.
 
Written by Hannah Rael.