Posted by Peter Roaf on Jul 24, 2018
Two women who have consistently demonstrated the essence of our philosophy, "service above self" are members of the Rotary Club of Ladner, Sonia Baron and Irene Forcier. They are two trail blazers, who, over the years, have exemplified the spirit of what it means to be engaged Rotarians, in conversation with fellow Ladner Rotarian Avis Glaze. -- photos by Mel Baly
Sonia Baron served as Rotary District 5040 Governor in 2005-06 and her bio is on the Rotary District 5040 website.
 
Irene Forcier was the first woman to: join the Rotary Club of Ladner; serve as the club’s President; join the Delta Foundation board; serve as the Delta Foundation board chair. In 2017 she was named Citizen of the Year at the annual Delta Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony.
 
Here some of their comments in conversation with Avis Glaze.
 
Sonia Baron speaking
Irene Forcier speaking
IF: What do I want to fight for? Anything this club says it wants to do, especially if it involves the vulnerable and disadvantaged. What I am most proud about the Rotary Club of Ladner is that we, as a 60-year-old club, decided that we were going to do something [Ladner Rotary Splash Park, for which she chaired the committee]. The minute we decided to do it there was a commitment to the time it was going to take, and the resources, in getting it done. One of the goals of the splash park project was to increase our visibility. After 60 years in the community we are still not well known. I think we met that goal. People will be attracted to our club because they like what they see.
 
SB: Thanks to the team that went to Laos, I am really pleased to have been part of a global project delivering water filters to vulnerable people in remote villages of Laos. Last year we did a lot of work fund-raising for our project in Laos, to build the dam and water system to a village there.
 
AG: What do you say to a new Rotarian about what it means to be an engaged member?
 
SB: Diana and I were members of the same club in Kelowna years ago and attendance was stressed. So attendance. Also, participation is everything that’s going on, if it’s a social event, a project, loading a container to go to the Philippines. Participate. And last, wear your Rotary pin.
 
IF: When I came into this club I decided I was going to do one thing and accomplish that. I would say, as a new member, I am going to join one committee and achieve one thing, and I am going to bring in one new member.
 
AG: Irene, last year you won Delta Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award. What was going through your mind when you accepted that award?
 
IF: The only thing that came to mind that night was that I did not do it alone. As long as I have been working in the community I have never actually accomplished something all by myself. I have people like yourselves in this room who have worked together to get the job done. You don’t get awards like that because you did something all by yourself. It wasn’t “my” award, it was “our” award.
 
AG: Sonia, what does it mean to have power?
 
SB: In 1989 I was fortunate to be hired by ICBC for community relations in a very large area of the province. My manager at the time said that there were two types of power. He said you have the position that has power over the people you will be responsible for. Credibility is the second kind of power. If you work at your credibility, you gain power. If you make a mistake it will not affect you much. Every action you take, every decision you make, has a ripple effect on the people we influence. All of us have a tremendous amount of power by what we do today.