In early November, Rotary International Vice President Jennifer Jones visited District 5950 and spoke at several gatherings, presenting her vision of The Future of Rotary.
Jennifer’s warm, affirming, and inspiring visits celebrated that Rotary’s success is upheld by Rotarians' participation. RI's newly relaxed attendance requirements recognize that serving takes various forms – forms beyond weekly club meetings. That participation is valued.
So how do we, as Rotary, differentiate ourselves from other groups and community clubs?
  • Abide by high ethical standards including the Four-Way Test.
  • Promote that we are both a service organization and a humanitarian organization.
Jennifer shared three key findings at the heart of Rotary’s strategic vision. She shared emotionally touching stories and powerful examples that demonstrated those findings.
#1  Young Thinkers, whether in their 30s, 40s or 70s, have a young mindset that keeps us fresh and different. We are leaders.  Participation in Rotary makes better leaders, and the tools we learn by leading in the local club setting are applicable to other areas of our lives and businesses. Rotarians are leaders by mindset, not by title. We can share insights with the younger leaders and we can learn from them.
#2  Rotary is about connectivity. We are a quality network.
#3  We are about community service scaled globally. We are people who basically have “no extra time on our hands” yet are committed to doing amazing work around the world.
Everywhere Jennifer visited, she welcomed questions. Here are some examples:
What is the biggest challenge to Rotary?
Recruiting and retaining members. RI brought in 1.2 million members...and lost 1.2 million members. How do we engage members and what is our value proposition?  Engage new members quickly.
After polio, what is the next big opportunity before Rotary?
We won’t announce polio's eradication until we have finally served all the children at risk for polio. Rotary leaders are split on whether it will be best to announce one Rotary project or multiple individual projects around the five areas of the Rotary strategic plan.
Jennifer's final presentation was to a group of New Generation Rotarians, as well as Rotaract and Interact members.Their comments confirmed RI's research of why young professionals join Rotary. Several noted that Rotary is a “quality” networking organization for young professionals that offers all the aspects they are seeking.
We were honored by Jennifer’s willingness to make herself available to so many groups. A big thank you to past District Governor Tim Murphy for making her visit possible, and for District Governor Mark Hegstrom's encouragement throughout the district.
View one of her Minnesota presentations: "The Future of Rotary"