PRIP Ravindran will receive the award from the President of Sri Lanka
Polio resurfaces in Nigeria
As a high school senior, star athlete, and nearly straight-A student, Reimers was not afraid to tell the CEO of Whirlpool, Jeff Fettig , that he was gunning for his job during an interview set up by the Rotary student mentoring program.
“I might not do that today, but I was just naive enough or confident enough then to try it,” says Reimers, now a graduate of Michigan State University, USA, and sales development representative for Whirlpool. “His response was, ‘OK, come and get it.’ He welcomed the challenge.”
“Southwest Michigan is one of my favorite places in the world,” he says. “Even in high school, I had high ambitions to achieve a certain level of success, and I thought being CEO of Whirlpool would allow me to work for a local company here that has a global influence.”
Feature story: Rotary club pairs students with celeb, CEO mentors
During the interview, Fettig gave Reimers three solid pieces of advice: pursue accounting or finance instead of marketing because they vary less from campus to campus and are more essential to running a company; always work hard at the present job, letting future jobs take care of themselves; and be ready when opportunity knocks.
“When I asked him how he became CEO, he said he was lucky, which took me aback at first,” Reimers says. “But then he defined luck as where preparation meets opportunity. He said he was prepared when the right opportunity came along.”
Fettig has helped Reimers in other ways, inviting him to lunch with other students he mentors and helping him apply for a summer internship.
Now on the first rung of his intended ascent of the Whirlpool ladder, Reimers says he is thoroughly enjoying his job teaching sales associates how to sell Whirlpool products in a territory that stretches from the western suburbs of Minneapolis to South Dakota.
“My job is to keep Whirlpool front of mind for every sales associate I talk to,” says Reimers. “I get to travel. I get to interact with a lot of great people every day. And I couldn’t be more thankful starting my career off this way.”
Michigan State University graduate; Sales development representative
Dream career: CEO of Whirlpool
Mentor: Jeff Fettig, CEO of Whirlpool
David Reimers has always dreamed of working at Whirlpool, and now he's living his dream. When David was in high school, a Rotary club set up an interview for him with Jeff Fettig, the CEO of Whirlpool. Fettig gave him good advice and helped him apply for a summer internship. Now out of college and working at Whirlpool in sales, David says, "I couldn’t be more thankful starting my career off this way.”
Recently, I attended a great presentation on “Embracing Opportunity” as part of our day-to-day life. I’ve had the benefit of enjoying opportunities through my global Rotary activities and travels, but many members do not do take advantage of this outside their local Rotary club. Here is a great way to attract new member prospects with fun and enjoyment.
Some ideas he shared included saying yes when a friend suggests a trip or activity; exploring different places or doing unique activities that may arise when you travel; meeting people from different cultures and learning from them; and volunteering for an event or group to make new friends and assist with a cause.
These days, he says, people are more interested in being a “Twitter Volunteer” which means they would commit to a short term activity or event, rather than going on a board or committee with longer range commitment. “They may give 144 minutes in spurts to help, but not an endless amount of time.”
What’s the take away for Rotary? Create a “friends of Rotary” group and have hands-on service projects they can join. We can likely attract more people with a shorter term commitment helping out with our projects than getting them to commit right away to all the demands of membership. As people get involved in one project, then another, they will experience the fun, fellowship, and satisfaction which motives them to remain. While members may sometimes leave Rotary, they will not leave their friendship group. This is the key to retention.
Wanting to help others is human nature. So we need to ensure that our club(s) have regular hands-on service opportunities so the Twitter volunteers can embrace them. Potential members will join our cause long before they will join a dinner club.
- PDG Doug Vincent, member of the Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada in Rotary Voices
Two Rotarians, two Rotaractors, and a district governor on board the RV had just concluded a 2,400-mile road trip that originated in Seattle nearly two weeks earlier, stopping for service projects in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, and Arizona. (There was also a kickoff party in October in Hawaii.) The road trip helped link Rotarians with charitable organizations in their home communities, encouraged clubs to partner with their crosstown counterparts, and illustrated the scope and value of Rotary.
After a brief welcome, more than 400 Rotarians, some with spouses, piled onto buses and followed the RV to two Boys & Girls clubs in Santa Barbara where they hoisted paintbrushes, sandpaper, hammers, and rakes to revitalize the youth centers. (Local Rotarians, along with members of Interact and Rotaract, met separately to refurbish a third club, in Carpinteria.) Dozens stayed behind at the hotel to fill 400 backpacks that would later be given to the children. The point: a potent display of the power of Rotary.
“I was amazed,” says Jeff Henley, vice chairman of Oracle Corp. and a governor of the national board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, who watched the mob of Rotarians give a center a face-lift by painting the hallways and gymnasiums, adding storage lockers, weeding playfields, and refinishing picnic tables.
Santa Barbara Rotarian Michael Baker is the CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County, which serves about 550 children every day, mostly underprivileged youth who find the clubs to be an after-school haven. “It was beautiful, ” Baker says. “There were teams assembling cubbies, teams sanding and painting benches, teams doing general cleaning. We had another two sets of teams cataloging books. Nobody was standing around.”
In Santa Barbara, he cleared brush from a playground at a Boys & Girls club as others, including Past RI President William B. Boyd, painted a door in a blue closely matching Rotary’s hue. Vaesen signed on for the RV expedition at the suggestion of Katie Coard, charter president of the Rotary Club of Downtown Victoria. “It started off as this public image type thing,” he explains. “We were focusing on what Rotary is doing on the West Coast and just trying to get the word out there.” But Vaesen says the RV tour also ended up connecting local clubs that otherwise might not have worked together.
The 14-city RV expedition was primarily organized by Danielle Lallement, charter president of the Rotary Club of San Francisco Evening. The self-described tour manager says the RV trip was modeled after a similar journey in which four Rotarians drove an RV from Pennsylvania to Iowa a year earlier.
That foray, called Rollin’ with Rotary, was inspired by RI Vice President Jennifer E. Jones. Jones had asked the participants of the 2014 Young Professionals Summit, a Chicago meeting of 32 young Rotary leaders, to “dream big,” and one suggested an RV tour.
“We took their idea and expanded it,” says Lallement, who called this tour “Connecting for Good.” RI Director Brad Howard gave the road trip his stamp of approval. “The tour was organized and orchestrated by these emerging Rotary leaders – every aspect, all the finances, all the logistics,” Howard says.
Giving younger Rotarians freedom to make a difference in Rotary is key to the organization’s vibrancy, Howard and Lallement say. Separately, the two bemoan the obstacles that younger Rotarians have faced.
“One club, to get on the board of directors, you had to be in the club for eight years,” says Lallement, who chartered what is now a 40-member club with an average age of about 37. “Especially in the area I live in, you have tech people, they’re millionaires, and they’re 25, maybe 30. You ask them to come into an organization and then you tell them that they can’t be the leader of the organization? So they don’t join. Or they come into the club and they realize, ‘well, they obviously don’t need me.’ ”
“Only in Rotary could people in their 30s or 40s be called young professionals,” Howard says. Only about 5 percent of Rotarians are under 40.
Inspired by the Chicago Young Professionals Summit, Lallement and Howard developed their own zone summit to match young Rotarian professionals with older ones, the “cultural” leaders of Rotary.
“We wanted to develop a network of emerging Rotary leaders and put them in leadership roles,” says Howard. “But we needed buy-in from the current leadership – the 50-, 60-, 70-year-olds – to view these people in their district as having a voice. We hired two professors of innovation and change management from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.” The summit showed participants that, young or old, Rotarians all have common ground – they share the same values and goals......
Snow is falling in St. Joseph, Michigan. On this December day, the overcast sky, swirling flakes, and twinkling bulbs of holiday decorations have created a festive, almost Capraesque atmosphere along the brick-paved streets of this community, which sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Michigan. Across the street from the Boulevard Inn, stairs lead down to Silver Beach, a 1,600-foot-long expanse of sand that is the town’s main attraction in warmer months.
Inside the inn’s restaurant, Jackie Huie sits at a corner table explaining the student mentoring program that the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor started a decade ago – a program that has helped more than 400 local high school students learn more about their dream careers by connecting them with professionals in those fields.
The exposure to community service that the program provides has led students to start Interact clubs at six local schools, including one at St. Joseph High School that has about 150 members. As the Rotarians work their connections to find mentors for students, they have strengthened the bonds between the 140-member Rotary club and its community. And in small ways, the program is even building bridges between St. Joseph and its “twin city” across the St. Joseph River – Benton Harbor, a once-affluent manufacturing town fallen on hard times.
“I grew up in an entrepreneur family where my father did something I found interesting, and he allowed me to see behind the scenes,” says Huie, CEO of JohnsonRauhoff, an ad agency her father built. “I felt very fortunate to be able to do that, and I want that opportunity for others.”
Her wavy brown hair is pulled back in a ponytail, and her words come out in a rush: Everything about Huie attests to an intensity that gets results. In 2006, she met with fellow Rotarian Maria Kibler and a few others at Phoenix Rising, a café in the nascent arts district of Benton Harbor, to map out a plan. Kibler was a chaperone in the club’s student guest program, which brought two high school students to the club’s lunch meeting each week.
“The students were so great,” says Kibler, a senior vice president at St. Joseph-based Edgewater Bank. “We all started thinking there was more we could do.”
The new program they came up with asks students to describe their dream career in an essay, then matches each participant with a Rotarian who accompanies them on a “reverse interview” with a professional in that career. The students ask the mentors about their typical workday, what they like best about their job, and advice on how to achieve their goals.
Ten students chosen by counselors at St. Joseph and Lake Michigan Catholic high schools took part in the pilot phase of the program in 2007.
Rachael Kuehn, who was leaning toward studying medicine, was a senior when she participated in 2009.
“When I talked to her to see what kind of doctor she was interested in becoming,” Kibler says, “she said she was interested in business as well.” So the Rotarians set up Kuehn with two mentors – a local physician and Huie’s husband, Mike, a Rotarian who was then the global director for Whirlpool’s KitchenAid division. “She loved the business interview,” Kibler recalls.
Kuehn was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin when she realized she preferred her economics classes over science. She says that having shadowed both a doctor and a business executive a year earlier helped her decide to shift gears.
“In high school, it’s hard to picture what a day-to-day job looks like,” she says. “This program lets you sit with professionals in different fields and say, ‘Oh, this is what you do every day, these are the kinds of problems you deal with.’”
Kuehn earned her degree from the university’s School of Business and works as a senior financial analyst for L’Oréal in New York City......
A new book in the field of public health highlights Rotary’s role in the global effort to wipe out polio, and places it in the context of humanity’s relentless struggle to contain the world’s epidemics.
In “The Health of Nations: The Campaign to End Polio and Eradicate Epidemic Diseases” (Oneworld Publications), British journalist and Sunday Times best-selling author Karen Bartlett surveys the global landscape of epidemics past, present, and future. Beginning with the 1980 eradication of smallpox, she guides us through more timely threats such as the Ebola and Zika viruses, and looks ahead to a future without malaria, measles, or polio.
“Who decided to rid the world of polio? Not politicians or global health organizations, as you might expect,” she writes, in one of several chapters devoted to polio. “The starting gun was fired by Rotary International, a network of businessmen more used to enjoying convivial dinners, raising money for local good causes, and organizing floats to carry Santa Claus around suburban neighborhoods at Christmas.”
Bartlett offers a comprehensive, readable account of the polio-eradication campaign’s history and Rotary’s unlikely role as its chief advocate. From epidemiologist John Sever’s early suggestion that Rotary adopt ending polio as an organizational mission to the first immunization drives in the Philippines and Central and South America, the world community doubted both the idea of a campaign targeting a single disease and Rotary’s capacity as a volunteer organization to execute it.
The narrative traces Rotary’s mission to reach all the world’s children with Albert Sabin’s polio vaccine, the formation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), and the struggle to interrupt transmission in the world’s poorest communities, particularly in densely populated countries like India, which has not reported a new case since 2011.
“Polio eradication is a twentieth-century dream, conceived by idealists and driven by big international institutions and mass mobilizations of volunteers, working together to make a better world for all,” Bartlett writes. “It must succeed or fail, however, in a twenty-first century marked by factionalism, religious intolerance, and rising inequality.”
Aziz Memon, chair of Rotary’s National PolioPlus Committee in Pakistan, is interviewed about the challenges facing his country, one of the few where polio remains endemic and conflict has slowed progress. Carol Pandak, director of PolioPlus at Rotary headquarters, weighs in on the contributions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in both funding and high-profile advocacy. Other prominent voices from Rotary’s GPEI partners chime in throughout.
Based in London, Bartlett has previously worked in politics and written for Newsweek and Wired. She’s produced documentary films and written nonfiction books, including a biography of musician Dusty Springfield and a collaboration with Anne Frank’s stepsister Eva Schloss on Schloss’ memoirs.
More than 240 Rotary members and other guests gathered in Brussels, Belgium, on 8 March for Rotary at the European Union, a special event that explored how Rotary and the European Union can work together to achieve peace.
The meeting was the first of its kind at the European Union (EU) and was modeled on the tradition of Rotary Day at the United Nations. Rotary members, EU officials, and business leaders at the two-hour event asked how business and civil society organizations like Rotary can work with the EU to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and build more peaceful and stable societies.
Françoise Tulkens, a professor and former vice president of the European Court of Human Rights, moderated the meeting, which included presentations from Karmenu Vella, European commissioner for environment, maritime affairs, and fisheries; Jean de leu de Cecil, general secretary of the board of Colruyt Group; Rene Branders, president of the Belgian Federation of Chambers of Commerce; and John Hewko, Rotary general secretary.
Vella emphasized the importance of working with business and civil society to achieve the development goals. He also recognized the important role Rotary can play in this global effort.
“You have a massive asset, your vast network, and you can use it to bring community stakeholders together in order to turn the SDGs into reality. Rotary International is uniquely placed to create transformational alliances between business and civil society, pushing forward the implementation of our common agenda,” said Vella.
Hewko highlighted Rotary’s efforts to address the ongoing migration crisis and foster inclusive economic development.
At Rotary, we believe that we can only respond by forming smart partnerships in which the EU, governments, civil society, the private sector, and other organizations all play an important role. This is why the growing relationship between Rotary and the European Union is a cause for optimism,” said Hewko.
Because the EU supports the global polio eradication effort, organizers of Rotary at the European Union are confident that there are other opportunities for collaboration between the organizations.
The event was coordinated with the European Commission and organized by Michel Coomans and Hugo-Maria Schally, RI representatives to the EU, with the support of Kathleen Van Rysseghem, Philippe Vanstalle, and Nathalie Huyghebaert, the governors of the Rotary districts in Belgium and Luxembourg.
Better known as Sister Martha, the 54-year-old Rotary community advocate is one of her country’s most prolific campaigners for the rights of people with albinism, the often-misunderstood, inherited condition characterized by abnormally light skin, eyes, and hair, limited vision, and extreme sensitivity to the sun.
Mganga, an albino herself, has spent three decades helping those with the condition get an education, protect themselves from harmful ultraviolet rays, and fight pervasive myths and stigmas, including false beliefs, propagated by rogue witch doctors, that albino body parts can bring good luck or fortune.
Over the last decade, these superstitions have led to a wave of grisly albino killings, dismemberments, and even grave robberies. At least 76 Tanzanian albinos have been murdered; 72 others have survived attacks, often with severe mutilations.
On this day, Mganga is part of a team of facilitators taking part in a Rotary-supported community workshop, convened under a plastic tarp with a small group of elders from this village of about 10,000.
Already, multiple colleagues have addressed those in attendance: mostly male civic and religious leaders, dressed in fraying button-down shirts, who are joined by Nyamizeze’s two albino residents, Happiness Sebastian, 24, and her infant daughter, Keflin.
Albinism is a curse brought on by evil spirits, one villager says he was taught as a child. It’s the result of an African woman sleeping with a white man, says another. “Albinos do not die,” says a third. “They simply disappear.”
Mganga, speaking toward the end of the session, saves her words for what she believes is the day’s most critical message.
For all the horrors of the killings, she tells the group, albinos face an even greater danger from the sun. Because albinos have low levels of melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair, and eyes their color, they lack adequate protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, a reality that is often deadly in an equatorial country like Tanzania......
Today, World Water Day, is a wonderful opportunity to take a look back at the goals Rotary members have achieved in the Wash, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Founded in 2007, the Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag) strived to reach the Millennium Development Goal’s target of reducing the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 50% by the year 2015. Rotary members around the world played a significant role in meeting that ambition goal, five years ahead of schedule.
But, nearly 663,000 million people lack access to safe water.* There is still much work to be done. The new Sustainable Development Goal 6 is calling for action to ensure everyone has access to water and sanitation by 2030.
Join WASH-minded Rotarians in meeting the water challenge, providing sanitation and most importantly – adopting proper hygiene practices. Rotary is leading the charge in many areas, including:
These are just a few examples of the many Rotary projects focused on WASH! Make this World Water Day the day you commit to joining Rotary’s water team by taking action. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at www.wasrag.org.
Join the global celebration by using #WorldWaterDay to share messages about Rotary Water and Sanitation initiatives on social media.
* Source: www.water.org
World Water Summit
Are you attending the 2017 Rotary International Convention? Come early and join us for Wasrag’s Annual World Water Summit! The 2017 summit will focus on WASH and Women – A Brighter Future.
Hear first-hand the stories of women in the developing world and how access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene has transformed their lives. Learn about the challenges they faced and how Rotary helped along the way.
Stay for the afternoon workshops which will be focused on global grants, behavior change strategies, choosing the best technology for your project, engaging with communities, gender issues, and approaches to menstrual hygiene management.
Date: Friday, 9 June, 2017
Location: Georgia World Congress Center
Time: 8:30 – 12:30
- The Water and & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag) in Rotary Service Connections
Posted by C.J. Singh on March 20, 2017 at 11:51am
Posted by Ambalakat Ram Mohan on March 16, 2017 at 5:27pm
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