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Imagining Rotary: My Role as District Governor thus far

Author: District Governor Juliet Altenburg

It’s hard to believe we are already 3 months into our Rotary Year speeding out of Summer and into the new season of Fall.  As District Governor my summer has been a whirlwind of activity encompassing three months of travels with 32 clubs, assorted club/district service and social gatherings, and a myriad of virtual meetings with Zone, District, and Club leaders and more.  I write this as I take time to pause and reflect in airport lounges in Toronto and Chicago as I head home from a wonderful time of connection at the Rotary International Zones 28/32 Learning to Lead Summit in Toronto.

District 7390 Team: DGN Paul Thompson, PDG Connie Spark, DGE Fred Gellert, PDG Una Martone at the Learning to Lead Zone Summit in Toronto Canada

At this three-month mark, I would have to say my themes thus far are the gifts of human connections and the opportunity to use my passion for nursing and Trauma Centers in a bigger way.  As I’ve met many Rotarians throughout my travels, I often get the question “how do you do it with a full-time job?”  Truth be told, I was a bit fearful on how I would be able to juggle it all.  I’ve always been a believer though, that if your heart is in the right place, and you are focused on doing good, more good will follow.   And so it came to be.  Travel time on the road while passing through rural areas of our District was forced time to be thoughtful and reflective.  Time at the clubs with kind, passionate and funny members was uplifting in a way that energized me to contribute in bigger ways with my paid job and Rotary activities.  The sheer volume of human connection after a prolonged period of isolation and anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic is the fuel that has kept my engine running to do what I can to support our clubs in thinking of ways to increase our impact, expand our reach, enhance member engagement, and remain adaptable – Rotary’s four strategic priorities.

My Visit involving three clubs: Harrisburg Keystone, Passport, and Susquehanna Township

For those of you who have experienced my club visits, you may recall that I share a quote from RI President Jennifer Jones that she shared with all the incoming District Governors at the Rotary International Convention in Houston Texas in June:  “BE BOLD, BE BRAVE, AND BE INTENTIONAL”.  I’ve said these words so many times they have begun to change me.  I feel myself grow in leadership the more I courageously move forward and jump on opportunities I may have been more timid about in the past.   

One such opportunity is using the partnerships I have made over the last 20 years with Trauma Centers while working at the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation to move forward a high impact program called STOP THE BLEED ™.  STOP THE BLEED ™ is a bleeding control course that has been promoted by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) since 2012 when the Sandy Hook shooting occurred. The ACS publicized the work of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg North on their international STOP THE BLEED website after a District Club grant that provided 300 tourniquets to East Pennsboro township staff helped save the life of a 10-year-old boy.  That saved life occurred because of a partnership with Penn State Holy Spirit Medical Center Injury Prevention Coordinator, Sunny Goodyear RN, who taught the course to township police officers and continues to teach the course throughout Central PA.

 In addition to Penn State Holy Spirit, two other Trauma Centers in our District are committed to connecting with Rotary Clubs to teach the program at club meetings or community events:  Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital.  One fantastic way your club can help in this effort is to apply for a District Club Grant for $2500 that with a District match of $2500 will provide $5000 worth of tourniquets to people in your community such as police officers, farmers, and residents in violent neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent.   One such area is Alison Hill in Harrisburg.  Penn State Holy Spirit would value one or more Rotary club partners in helping them provide tourniquets in Alison Hill that would be distributed along with education.  Interested?  Reach out to me for more information.  The next deadline for District Club Grants is March 15, 2023 when the Form of Intention is due.  Each tourniquet is about $20.00.  Find out more about the grant process at

Lastly this time of connection has reinforced what was stated to me for years during my District leadership journey – that I would never be alone in my efforts. It takes a village to spearhead the many District Initiatives that we all take for granted: Global and District Grants, Membership, Youth Exchange, Safety, Polio Eradication, Communications, Public Image, Rotary Foundation, Education, Finances, Event Coordination, Member Services, Outreach…. and the list goes on. That village is comprised of an incredible group of Committee Chairs and teams behind them that work hard to support the impact our clubs and District have on our communities. I thank all these “villagers” for their amazing efforts that are not only felt within our District but at Zone and International levels.

Lastly, I want to put out a request for those of you who may be feeling a tug in your heart to be District Governor but are fearful of the time commitment. Being a District leader AND having a full-time job is absolutely possible. Your Rotary work will benefit your paid job in countless ways and vice versa. Being District Governor is the opportunity of a lifetime and without a doubt is absolutely life changing. I will reiterate the quote by Jennifer Jones “Be Bold, Be Brave and Be Intentional”. Don’t wait. The time is now. You never know what tomorrow will bring. If you are interested reach out to me. There is a process for your club to nominate you and forms are due in early December.

Thank you for a great three months.  What a privilege its been to visit your clubs and serve you. Looking forward to more adventures in the months ahead.

Yours in Service:  DG Juliet

Email me at

My new Rotary shirt while blogging in the Chicago O’Hare airport.

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