After my first day at the podium and 14 days on the job, my first thought is that I’m sorry you all missed my experimental blog post on another platform where I reflected on the last board meeting at which Dave presided and his term. I have far more appreciation today than I did even a month ago for Dave’s legacy in terms of leadership, planning and a very steady hand on the wheel. It’s not a simple task or a light one and Dave made it look easy. As I started to demonstrate today, I will do my best to make it look extremely difficult. Thank you Dave.
Learning to blog after crafting a certain style on Facebook (i.e. brief) causes me to be a bit more reflective in this format. There are many things in the holding pen to write about but my primary reflection on today’s meeting is how well it captured my priorities as president.
*Engagement at the weekly meeting: My goal is for us to leave with more energy than we came with. There are many other ways to put that but whether it’s fun or intellectual engagement, I want you to leave with that feeling. I unleashed the “departure greeters,” a title that needs improvement (“thanks for coming” greeters) on you without warning and apparently that needs some explanation next week but all it’s to the end of that goal. Let me know how you’re doing. Please.
My objectives for engagement extend far beyond the weekly meeting and are an extension of Dave’s work — and that of many, many others — but the weekly meeting is my core focus under this header for today.
*Membership recruitment and retention: Before today’s meeting, I attended the Membership Committee meeting. Welcoming seven new members and getting to meet them in person today was very exciting. Find them. Befriend them. But the bigger picture is that this is the lifeblood of our club. I could give you a lot of numbers but in the end the numbers are about our success and commitment as members to believe so much in what we are doing that we invite colleagues to join us — and keep them. Ok, but it also fundamentally affects our bottom line, our spirit, and try fooling around on LinkedIn, it is most fascinating.
*Annual fund: I am most sorrowful that Stu was not at today’s meeting as we would have gained a nice donation to the Foundation. Susan Schmitz will chair the committee this year, and we are committed to a diverse campaign that builds the Foundation’s coffers. I went to my first Foundation board meeting yesterday and the quality of the management of our funds, in terms of both giving and growing, is excellent. The more you know, the more you will be inspired to give. Or perhaps you shall be fined.
*Rotary Youth Exchange: We enjoyed having an inbound and outbound student at the club today, both, ironically from/to Germany. We are hosting a get-together on 7/21 (next Wed) before the meeting to talk about the easy ways we can all help this program and connect us with these great students. Laura Davis and a small group of dedicated Rotarians have managed this program and we have the vision of expanding involvement to everything from taking a student to a Mallards game (“take me out to the ballgame”) to hosting. Come if you can, email if you can’t.
*Planning and succession: This largely deals with eliminating the roast; however, I have made room for (1) charging Paul Riehemann with leading an ad hoc committee to create a new five year strategic plan, as the current one expires in April and (2) engaging with Paul (who is President Elect), Pat, and our committee chairs in conversations about how to ensure continuity of leadership while fostering change. There will surely be more posts about that in the future. We will also carry forward this year the legacy work of Bob Sorge’s strategic planning team (and the plan) and Dave’s leadership — with a lot of help from Derrick and others — to create a one year annual plan linked to the strategic plan.
While I share with you these priorities, I also know that I harbor — ok that’s a lie, have set sail to — a series of other things I Really Care About. You can’t make 126 or whatever appointments and not get engaged in the work of every committee. I have fallen in love with the work of every one of them. But I trust all of you to go forth and make Rotary, so I will focus as I’ve outlined above until I stray into your camp, camps I’ve camped in before (ethics symposium), or where the camp counselor has tackled the Wed meal with me (e.g. Laura Peck and Centennial committee). Etc.
While there is so much that is exciting and attractive to work on, the great news is that you all make it happen while I look for the switch on the mic.
Yours in service above self, Juli