District Governor's Newsletter

December 2016

Successful new habits create a successful 2017

Happy New Year, District 5950 Rotarians!  
I hope your holidays have been filled with joy and peace!
Like most of you, I’ve been reflecting on 2016 and thinking about my 2017 goals. Marketers know that we resolve to change bad habits. If you are in the “I want to lose weight” camp, all sorts of companies offer solutions….even though we all know how to lose weight: eat less and exercise more. 
I am listening to an audio book during my daily commute, The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. This book has many work applications. I was attracted to it because I also want to improve my work habits.The book talks about triggers. For example, I assessed my eating habits by keeping a detailed food journal for one week. It turns out that I have a few bad habits! Every evening when I get in the car (a trigger) I feel hungry and have a habit of snacking in the car. Continuing to snack while making the evening meal is another bad habit. My food journal made it clear that these snacks are essentially another meal I’ve consumed! So, what triggers must I recognize and habits must change to be successful?
It was interesting to learn that people who make their bed in the morning and consistently straighten things up are more organized and productive. If your mother required you to make your bed each day, be grateful! That is a positive habit!
When I boil it all down, I see three keys to forming good habits and achieving your goals. First, visualize where you want to go. One way is to pull out a picture of how you used to look when you were fit. View the picture often as a reminder of your goal. Second, constantly believe you can reach your goal. Belief is a key ingredient; it guides your way. Third, get coaching. A coach or an advisor can help you avoid pitfalls. They also suggest methods that have worked well for others. Perhaps best, working with an advisor or coach creates accountability.
I urge you to evaluate and understand your habits, then create positive new habits. You will find the success you are seeking!  
Have a Happy New Year!
--DG Mark

Jump start 2017 at the Mid-term Assembly!

Come in from the cold! Join your fellow Rotarians at Mid-Term Assembly on January 28 at the Earle Brown Center (map). If you are a club leader, incoming officer, or just an active Rotarian, this training day is for you. The day begins with registration and a complimentary breakfast, then wraps up after lunch. Training costs are covered within your District dues, so 10 members of your club can attend for FREE. Register online by January 23, 2017.

Survey available until December 31

Last call for your ideas that will make District 5950 more vibrant!

If you haven’t completed the survey yet, please follow this link and spend 5-10 minutes sharing your opinions: The survey is available until December 31.

Data will be compared to similar questions from the October 2013 survey when 1,205 Rotarians responded. Results will be shared with members on the District 5950 website, DG newsletter, and at District gatherings such as Mid-Term Assembly and Pre-PETS. Clubs can also request a club-specific compilation of responses.

Thank you for investing your time and thought in this survey.

PETS registration opens!

District Governor-Elect Bob Halagan (Buffalo) will host all club Presidents-Elect at Iowa State University in Ames when they gather for President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) from March 9-11, 2017.
PETS training is required for all incoming PEs. A club’s President-Elect Nominee (PEN) is also strongly encouraged to attend PETS during both his/her PEN and PE year. Our North Central PETS includes Districts 5950, 5960 (MN & WI), 5970 (northern IA) and 6000 (southern IA). Assistant Governors and Assistant Governors-Elect are also invited. 
Register at www.NCPETS.ORG. The early-bird discount ends January 22; costs rise to $240/person after that.

Is membership growth your club’s New Year’s resolution?

Great goal! Now….how?
How many different ways are there to invite a business associate or personal friend to visit a Rotary meeting and consider joining? Ask the 1.2 million currently Rotary members who all said Yes! at some point.
For the most effective ways within District 5950, check out our Membership web page to see:
You can find many more resources on this District web page. Feel free to call or email me at with questions, ideas, success stories, or to request assistance. Thank you for your service to Rotary and your community.

RI relaxes rules, encourages club flexibility

Rotary International research showed that when they allowed clubs freedom regarding meetings, membership and engagement, clubs are more able to attract new members and motivate current members. The 2016 Council on Legislation voted to give Rotary clubs the flexibility described below.

Five New Options

  1. Change your meeting schedule. Vary meeting days, times, and format. For example, hold a traditional meeting on the first Tuesday of the month and get together socially on the last Friday of the month. Clubs just need to meet at least twice a month.
  2. Vary your meeting format. Your club can meet in person or online using e-clubs.
  3. Relax attendance requirements. Ease attendance requirements and encourage members to participate in other ways, such as taking a leadership role, updating the club website regularly, running a meeting a few times a year, or planning an event. If your club is dynamic and offers a good experience for members, attendance won't be a problem.
  4. Offer multiple membership types. Your club can offer family memberships to those who want to bring their families, junior memberships to young professionals with leadership potential, or corporate memberships to people whose employers want to be represented in the club. Each type of membership can have its own policies on dues, attendance, and service expectations. Rotary will count these people in your club membership and will consider them active members if they pay RI dues.
  5. Invite Rotaractors to be members of your club. Rotaractors can join your club while remaining members of their Rotaract clubs. Your club can make special accommodations, such as relaxed attendance requirements or reduced fees, as long as these are reflected in the club’s bylaws.
Review the updated Standard Rotary Club Constitution to see which guidelines are flexible. Edit your club bylaws to reflect new practices.

Resources & reference                                          


RI offers a sneak peek at updated website

In January, visitors to will discover a new, contemporary website that tells Rotary’s story in a fresh and exciting way. It’s the first step in a two-part process to refresh our entire website; the first changes are to the public site,, and then to My Rotary.

Some of the changes will be obvious:

  • a modern design
  • increased use of imagery and graphics to tell our stories
  • better organization of content to help readers find out who we are and what we’re doing
  • improved speed of the site.

We believe these changes will more clearly show that Rotary is making the world a better place — and will persuade potential members and donors to support our work by joining a club, volunteering on a project, or donating to a cause. Visit in January to see all the improvements.

Upcoming Events
Mid-term Assembly
Jan 28, 2017
8:00 AM – 1:30 PM
District Leadership Training Seminar
Crown College
Feb 11, 2017
Where in the District is DG Mark?
Where in the District is Mark?
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.
Rotary International District 5950
PO Box 2158  
Minneapolis, MN 55337-2158
For further information, please email
Carol MacDonald, Executive Director 
Cheri Ashfeld, Newsletter Editor