Author DGE Juliet Altenburg
Be bold, courageous and intentional were the words of advice given by incoming RI President Jennifer Jones when she addressed a room filled with District Governor Elects and their partners. As a class this was our first in-person time with her after over two years of on-line meetings. My husband Rob and I were joined by about half of the 521 DGEs worldwide. “Jen” was warm, down to earth, funny and engaging. Past RI President Ian Risely joined her on stage as incoming Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rotary Foundation. Ian too has a great sense of humor and the two together were quite the pair.
It is quite special serving as District Governor during this historic year of having a first woman RI president. Women Rotarians are still in the minority worldwide and in our District comprise 28% of our membership. Women lead differently and that difference creates a richness within a club, committee, and leadership team. Rotary is committed to empowering women and girls and creating inclusive environments for all people regardless of gender identity, culture, age, religion (or lack of it) and the list goes on. Ian Risely chimed into the conversation encouraging all of us to take chances and advance initiatives. We must not be afraid of making mistakes. They WILL happen for sure but are preferable to mediocrity and going with the status quo.
Each group of zones got a photo opportunity with Jen, her husband Nick and Ian Risely. The excitement was palpable as we all shared stories of the journey and our plans for the year ahead.
Speaking of good, I got to take part in the International Rotary Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals meeting. Fantastic medical projects were featured based on partnerships between Rotarians and the medical community. My passion for advancing the STOP THE BLEED (TM) program and creating partnerships between Rotary clubs and local trauma centers will be more important than ever. My international healthcare colleagues reinforced this and it was a privilege to share ideas together.
These personal experiences were what made today extra special and reinforced to both me and my husband why there is no better place to invest our time and money than Rotary International.
Come back tomorrow for reflections on the final day of the convention!
Meanwhile Be bold, courageous, and intentional! – DGE Juliet