2050 : RI General Secretary's Speech @ IA 13 - Text
- RI General Secretary's Speech @ IA 13 - Text
Your Support From RI
RI General Secretary
It's great to be here today to address this incredible class of district governors-elect and to speak with you at a little more length than I have done so far. Because, as important as it is to know where the fire exits are and what time the buses are leaving, there is of course a larger reason why we're here, and that is helping all of you lead your districts to the most successful year possible in 2013-14.
As district governors-elect, all of you are looking ahead to a year of hard work, ending in the satisfaction of a job well done. Your focus now is on preparing for that job: on doing everything you can do to make your year, and your district, the best it can be.
It's natural that here in San Diego, your thoughts will be centered most on what will happen from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014.
But today, for the next 18 minutes, I'd like to ask all of you to join me in thinking beyond that about how to ensure that the good you do as district governors endures long after your year is over and how you can profit from the experience of your fellow Rotarians, and the support of RI and the Secretariat, to keep your good work going for as long as possible.
Let me start off by saying something all of you already know, which is that Rotary International truly is an organization unlike any other. There are plenty of humanitarian organizations out there, plenty of other service clubs, lots of nonprofits and NGOs with great missions doing great work but Rotary is the only one that gives talented and accomplished individuals, of any background and profession, the chance to step forward, to put their skills to work, to really make a difference themselves.
It's an amazing platform for each of us, and my job as general secretary and the job of every- one who works at Rotary International is to help every Rotarian in the world, in every Rotary club in the world, to achieve as much as they possibly can, not just this year but in all the years to come. And that is why I would like to ask you, as Rotary leaders, to keep in mind two related
concepts two watchwords at RI that can be brought to bear on nearly everything you do as district governors.
They are continuity and sustainability.
Continuity is a word that we've been using in Rotary for many years. Every Rotarian, and every Rotary leader, is a link in a chain. Our success can't ever be measured by our own strength. It will be measured by how well we link what was done before us to what can be done after us.
To this end, I'd like to encourage you to make and keep a strong connection, not just with the current governors in your districts, but with as many past district governors as possible and with the governor-nominee as well. Learn from the experiences of past governors, and stay in touch with the governor who will follow you. Communication between generations of leaders means that fewer lessons will need to be relearned, and less will fall through the cracks. Effective com- munication, planning for each changeover, and developing district strategic plans that go three to four years out into the future means that it is less likely that the work of last year's officers will be abandoned when a new class takes office.
At RI, we recognize that continuity in our strategic priorities ultimately leads to more effective service. And we recognize that applying this thinking not only to how we run our organization but how we serve our communities results in more effective service as well. That is why I would urge each of you to utilize Rotary Club Central, a new tool that RI rolled out this past summer, which is designed to help districts and clubs, on the one hand, to better understand and capture their past goals and achievements, and to plan strategically for several years into the future. It is a great tool and it has received extremely positive feedback from those district leaders who have used it so far. It's on the rotary.org website under Member Access, and I encourage each of you to take a look, spend some time learning about it, . . . and then start using it, when you get back home.
Setting ambitious but realistic goals, and tracking our progress toward meeting them, is essential to keeping clubs and districts on track in their Rotary service.
The goal isn't just doing good work it's doing the best work we can, work that will have the largest, and longest-lasting, positive impact.
And this brings me to the second concept I'd like to talk about today, which is sustainability.
Whereas continuity is a familiar word in Rotary, sustainability is something that we've started talking about only more recently. But it's a word you're going to hear a lot this week, and it's a word that is going to be absolutely central as we move into a new chapter of our Rotary Founda- tion, with Future Vision.
Sustainability, at its core, means that the work you do will have a continued impact, without continued investment. The classic example is giving a man a fish, versus teaching him to fish. A helping hand that meets a need in the short term is never as efficient a use of our resources as an investment that will continue to meet that need over time. For example, we might look at a village without a source of clean water a situation that you see so often in so many parts of the world. It's tempting to look at this situation and say, you know, for a few thousand dollars, we could go in there and dig a well and put in a pump, and the villagers will have water.
And in fact, that's what many people do, and have done, both in Rotary and in other organiza- tions. And that is why many parts of the world are littered with broken pumps pumps built by well-meaning people who did not think past that first gush of clean water, who perhaps did not plan for what would happen when a pump breaks, or needs a new part, or just needs to be cleaned and maintained to keep the water drinkable.
So that's why we're talking about sustainability, and why sustainability is going to be so key to the success of Future Vision. Because when your mindset is on sustainable projects, you realize that fixing the problem of that village without water is going to take a little more effort, a little more involvement. If you really want to fix the problem, and do it right, it might not be the work of a few weeks and a few thousand dollars.
If you're committed to doing it right, you'll involve the community. You'll work with local stakeholders to determine exactly what's needed and what the challenges are. You'll make sure mechanisms are in place to provide a reserve fund for maintenance, and that there are people not just one person, but multiple people who are responsible for that pump, who know how to fix it, who can get spare parts and install them, who are invested in seeing to it that the pump keeps working, not just for a few days or months, but for many years, and that when the pump needs to be replaced, it will be.
Because clean water that lasts for only a few months isn't going to change anyone's life. But clean water that is reliably available means families who are healthier, children who go to school, mothers whose days are not consumed by meeting their families' most basic needs. And all of this good impact will continue on after the last hand is shaken, the last bag is packed, and the last Rotary dollar is spent on that particular project.
When we talk about sustainability in Rotary, we're not just talking about making sure our service lasts: We want to make sure that Rotary lasts. And that means making sure that our clubs are sustainable that they're going to keep going strong long after we ourselves have left them.
That means, of course, not just bringing in new members, but mentoring them and making sure that they become active and engaged Rotarians. It means adapting to the needs of younger members, so that Rotary clubs are friendly to younger working professionals. It means finding better ways to bring past Interactors, Rotaractors, and RYLA participants into our clubs as Rotarians, so that no former Rotaractor ever says, "I would have loved to join Rotary, but no one ever asked me."
And making sure that Rotary is sustainable means making sure that every club has a presence on the Internet, so that the younger members that Rotary needs can find us when they look for us.
The Internet is the easiest way for a potential new member to get information about a club and one of the easiest and best ways for a club to show what membership has to offer. The best club websites give a window into the life of a club, with details on projects and speakers, the club's calendar of meetings, and its schedule of events. It's the best way to show people who might not know much about Rotary what it's like to be a Rotarian.
I also encourage you to think of the Internet as part of your public image toolbox. Use social media, use Facebook and Twitter, to get the word out about what your district and clubs are doing. Not only does this help Rotary reach new members, but it helps Rotarians reach each other with ideas and inspiration, and the potential for new partnerships.
In your year as governor, you'll see a redesigned RI website that will enable Rotarians to connect with each other even more easily. In the meantime, we've added some features that you can ben- efit from now. Just last week we launched a microsite that allows you to apply online for Foundation grants under Future Vision. In addition, at the Bangkok convention we introduced Showcase as a resource to highlight the great work that Rotarians do around the world, and I would urge each of you to encourage the Rotarians in your district to post their projects on Showcase, so that we can use the power of social media to show the world the fantastic things that Rotary does.
As your general secretary, one of my goals has been to ensure that Rotary's work is recognized especially our role in the eradication of polio. In the past year, Rotary has been the subject of feature stories on the BBC and in The Economist magazine and in many other media outlets around the world. This month, Time magazine's international edition ran a cover story on polio eradication, with Rotary prominently featured as a leader in the eradication effort. It's great to see. It builds morale and enthusiasm among Rotarians and shows the world what an organization such as Rotary can accomplish. But, even more important, it helps build support worldwide for polio eradication so that we get the resources we need to finish the job once and for all.
Now, I'd like to close by quoting something I once hear President-elect Ron say, which was that, as much as he's done for Rotary, he could never pay Rotary back for everything Rotary has done for him. I think he speaks for all of us. And I believe that the best thing that each one of us here can do for Rotary is not to try to pay it back but instead, to pay it forward. The best thing we can do for Rotary is to make sure that Rotary continues to grow, continues to go from strength to strength not just this year or next year, but for many years and many generations of Rotarians to come.
I wish you all a wonderful day of learning and preparing, and an incredible year of service and leadership in which you will all engage Rotary, and change lives.
Source : Rotary International
Courtesy : www.eflashonline.org