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Weekly Speaker Program

September 21, 2020: Mary Turner, District Governor.     District 5360 website

Steve Rickard introduced our guest speaker, DG Mary Turner, providing a brief bio. With sound issues, we unfortunately missed much of what Steve had to say and the task was passed to Marie Rickard.

Marie described her experiences of the dedication, energy and enthusiasm of Mary.

Mary began by expressing the honour and appreciation she felt at being given the opportunity to fulfil the role of our DG, and acknowledged the Treaty 7 nations on whose traditional lands we meet.

Virtual media were not how Mary anticipated beginning her role as DG. Such was the mandate provided to all DGs, however, by the then incoming RI President, Holger Knaack, in order to keep members, their families and their coworkers safe. It is her sincere hope that she will be able to meet many of us in person as soon as possible.

All incoming DGs meet for one week before assuming their tenures. In 2020, the meeting took place in San Diego, with the opportunity to meet and spend time with both the RI President and his wife and DGs from around the globe. Holger is passionate about youth and he and his family have hosted 43 youth exchange students over his Rotary career. Mary brought greetings from Holger, and described his enthusiasm for all aspects of our Rotary arms. Holger also stated we need to be revolutionary and we need to try new models from time to time, knowing there is no wrong age to join Rotary. We must grow Rotary organically and sustain our growth via good “fits” with club expectations and not just “fills”.

Our alliance with Toastmasters International is developing well and generating new Rotarians. Clubs are encouraged to invite toastmasters to speak at their meetings. Soon, there will be an announcement better defining our relationship.

RI has added environmental issues to its areas of focus. Keep this in mind when looking for additional service opportunities.

RI also encourages more women to be Rotarians. Britain took this issue seriously and the female membership there has grown from 19% to 33%. Congratulations to our current female population, and a challenge to the males to perhaps encourage the women in our lives to join the club. Our own Jennifer Jones, of the Rotary Club of Windsor has been nominated for the RI President for 2022 -2023.

RI would also like to see younger District governors. All of us are encouraged to seriously consider throwing our names into the hat.

RI President asked Mary to bring us four messages:

  1. Consider new clubs and club formats. E-clubs, passport clubs, satellite clubs or cause-based clubs are excellent examples.
  2. Have one strategic meeting each year, asking where we wish to be in five years time, and what each of us can contribute.
  3. Select club members carefully, and then nurture them and their development as Rotarians.
  4. Continue efforts in the eradication of polio. Pakistan and Afghanistan still present cases.

At the District level, the 2019 Strategic Plan was reviewed and areas of focus and objectives with dates were assigned to District board members.

The importance of a number of club goals was reiterated:

  • Build vibrancy within the club by investing in youth, new members and strengthening club relationships. (Find out one new thing about every club member.)
  • Have a club purpose with all members involved. This is critical for the first two years of membership.
  • Establish a current plan.
  • Engage in collaboration between clubs and organizations.
  • Start new clubs, ensuring a good fit for new members.

Covid-19 has thrown new opportunities our way to try new ways of thinking and working. Invite potential members to virtual meetings. Look for new ways of fundraising. Remember that the Calgary Foundation can be very helpful. Covid-19 has generated many conversations about club finances – consider making Rotary your charity of choice. Debate what new great initiative might follow the global eradication of polio.

The District 5360 Conference will be held in Drumheller on May 14–16. Registration will be opening soon. Please plan to attend. Should conditions dictate that the conference must be held virtually, fees paid will be refunded.

Mary provided a personal insight into her own transformation into a Rotarian. Manifesting as a life-changing experience for Mary, the great need and opportunity described by a close friend led to her and her club’s hugely successful work in bringing schools, supplies and finances into a district in Kenya.

The Los Amigos project, donating and delivering surplus service vehicles to Mazatlan, is a great example of clubs pulling together to serve a need. The jaws of life, included in a recent delivery, found immediate need on-site at a vehicle crash and were instrumental in saving three lives. Regrettably, Covid-19 travel restrictions have put the annual convoy on hold for this year.

Despite the inevitable Covid-19 constraints, however, we are urged to find alternative ways to attain our dreams and goals.

Mary concluded her presentation with the hope that, during her tenure as DG, she will have the opportunity to actually meet many of us “in the flesh” and become friends.

Mary was warmly thanked by PDG Dan Doherty for her service, energy, commitment, dedication and enthusiasm in all things Rotary, and her presentation to us today. Dan emphasized that the slogan "Rotary Responds" dictates that we really need to start thinking out of the box, moving and growing forward.

reported by Les Morgan

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