After a weekend of inspiration and collaboration, Presidents-elect from District 7930 and seven other districts around New England, are now prepared to complete the plans for their year of leadership in their clubs.  Northeast PETS was totally transformed this year in order to help all incoming presidents to Inspire to Lead, Empower to Achieve. That was our promise to them and we are asking them to pay it forward in their clubs.
Thursday afternoon provided icebreakers with a purpose. Andy Winig challenged everyone to share Rotary with passion that inspires others to become engaged with our mission. Imagine 250+ people pairing off and practicing and beginning to master an effective "Why Rotary" elevator speech. Then it was off to three business networking opportunities with 10 people each: exchanging business cards, sharing their professional story, and developing relationships with other Rotarians. The last session of the afternoon was a presentation by Mitty Chang on How to Reshape Your Digital Story and learn how to engage young professionals. Lots of ideas and excitement were the story of the afternoon.
Ian Riseley, RI President-elect was our keynote speaker for dinner. His charm and sense of humor were clearly visible as he shared his vision of the 2017-18 Rotary theme: Rotary: Making a Difference. It is what we do as Rotarians every day. His unique spin on this is how important it is for Rotary to begin to track volunteer hours and dollars donated in service to the world. Each club has been asked to make sure they document the impact we have in ClubCentral so that RI can aggregate the worldwide numbers and demonstrate how critical Rotary is to those who need us.
Our keynote for breakfast was Marios Antoniou who shared his experiences in Cyprus, a nation torn apart and his dream of reunification through education. At lunch, Drew Kessler, the youngest District Governor ever, shared his thoughts on how to effectively balance family, work and Rotary. His recommendation is to create programs and projects that combine all three.
Sessions on Friday and Saturday were focused on how we use Rotary programs to make our clubs more vibrant. Rather than the mechanics of how to apply for a district grant, the facilitated dialog was focused on how projects can revitalize membership ensuring that new Rotarians and current members work together to increase impact and strengthen membership.
During dinner on Friday night something amazing happened in front of our eyes! Shirley-Pat Chamberlain delivered and outstanding speech on her work building libraries for the aboriginal Indians in British Columbia. With an initial plan to build one library, she has received so much support from Rotary, communities, and the Canadian government that the 10th library is in the works. What was so amazing? One Rotarian stood up and offered $20 to support the Write2Read program, and within just a few minutes, $5,500 was on the table in front of her in cash. If that wasn't enough Governor Sheryl and her team of governors matched that, totalling $11,000. With the exchange rate, that is almost 3/4 of the dollars needed for one more library. This is an example of the Power of One - times two. Shirley-Pat with the dream and Mark Brady with the motivation.
Saturday ended with a very interesting panel discussion tying the whole weekend together! Drew, Mitty and Shirley-Pat joined Mallory McCoy, District 7930's Rotaract Representative for a dialog about how to effectively attract and engage young professionals into the world of Rotary.
One inspiration after another, it seemed that everyone was exhausted but even more excited about the year ahead.
If you are interested in learning more about the presentations, the support materials will be available on the NEPETS website in the download section.