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On behalf of Rotary International and President Barry Rassin, I would like to welcome you to the 2018-19 “Be the Inspiration” Rotary year. I know this will be a great year for District 6930 where we have positive impact on our communities and throughout the world. District 6930 will be known as the Champions of Change.

This is a very exciting time in Rotary; it is a time of change not just in our leadership but within our organization as a whole. I think for most of us change inspires some degree of anxiety and fear. A fear that can be challenging for leaders, because it could generate resistance to our efforts to make even small positive changes, let alone the transformative kind of change that Rotary needs to consider.

I faced this kind of resistance early in my career. I was the first female machinist hired by my company. I was the only female assigned to work in a machine shop with 65 men ranging in age from mid-20’s to retirement. Talk about revolutionary change, there was not one person happy that this 5 foot, 110 pound woman was about to change their world. They wanted no part of this change and tried everything they could to make me quit. It was a challenge to say the least but the more they resisted me the more determined I became, and the harder I worked and the better I became at my job and the more they liked having me around. There were naysayers who said I would not make it in that environment, people who did not want the change. Sound familiar…?

So what does this story have to do with you? Well we as Rotarians and Rotary leaders need to make some changes. Our membership has been stagnant for years. Every one of us wants and NEEDS to attract younger members as well as the recently retired. Yes you read that correctly… as well as the recently retired. We need to make our processes more efficient. Most of us have some level of strategic planning within our clubs. District 6930 has recently revised our strategic plan. It is critical to have a strategic plan so that you do not find yourself going from one year to the next doing the same old thing “because we have always done it that way”. Without a strategic plan we are not looking to the future, anticipating trends, devising ways to improve our clubs so we can attract new members. The younger members that we all want to join our clubs are not going to magically appear. We need to actively and enthusiastically seek them out and embrace them for the skills and energy they will bring, while offering them something in return.

Rotary’s success, its strength doesn’t come from individuals, but from the collective members of our clubs…and of the 1.2 million globally who pull together and do amazing and transformational things that others simply cannot.

We INSPIRE, We ACT, We LEAD, We DO. We get the job done. We make the world a better place. With more inspired members, we can do so much more, to make the world a better place. Imagine what your club, what Rotary could do with more members. We are currently bringing new members in the door, but we are not inspiring new members to stay. So, embrace new members, Be the Inspiration to our fellow members, and remind them both of their importance to the good we are doing in the world…and let’s remind ourselves as well.

I look forward to all the great things we will achieve together this year… Be the inspiration, Julia