Four District 7490 special Rotarians are now part of a new initiative in New Jersey – our Young Professionals Council. All of the Council's members are Rotarians ages 40 or younger who had been Rotarians in good standing for at least a year and who were recommended by our current District Governors. The group has already held two conference calls – one in April and one in July.
Rotarians Jennifer Aitken (Jersey City), Alberto Zelaya (Paterson), Wendy Paul (Jersey City) and Phil Wells (Park Ridge Rotary) joined RC Karien Ziegler (7470), ARC Bonnie Sirower (7490), Incoming RC (2017-19) Carolyn Johnson, DG Jim Boyer (7490) and RI Regional Membership Officer Diana Edwards in two thoughtful one-hour discussions.

The first call focused on the following topics:

1. How can we attract more young professionals to Rotary?

2. How can we best use social media to attract and engage young professionals?

3. How can we engage and retain young professionals once they have joined a Rotary club?

Suggested answers to the first question, attracting new members, included:

 Have flexible meeting times: hold meetings in the evening, or at least one evening a month instead of only lunchtime meetings. Or hold two meetings a day (as in Jersey City) - one in the afternoon and one in the evening. It is difficult for young professionals to leave their jobs for two hours at lunch;

 Hold after-hours social events such as happy hours;

 Offer hands-on, short-term service projects as part of the meetings, such as painting local bus stops, coat drives, food packaging. Use service projects as a jumping-off point for attracting younger members.

The second meeting focused on these three topics:

1. What would the panel like to see or change as the format for regular club meetings?

2. What would young professionals like to see as humanitarian projects, both community and international projects?

3. What would the panel like to see or change regarding the COST of Rotary?

Suggested answers to improving programs included:

 More skills development and leadership training. We should have more experienced individuals critiquing the leadership skills, speechmaking skills, etc. of younger members.

 More emphasis on local service projects and local efforts, such as someone from the town explaining affordable housing and how it was affecting local Government. Make meetings purposeful;

 Keep meetings on time, as people want their time respected;

 Have fewer speakers and more time to plan service projects.


The next conference call will be held on Tuesday, October 24 at 7:30 pm. If you would like to participate in the next call, or know someone in your club who would like to join, please contact ARC Bonnie Sirower at