Today’s meeting was a follow-on of sorts from last week’s meeting, where PDG Martha Weaver talked about diversity, inclusivity, equity, and accessibility. Two veteran Rotarians from our club talked about how we can move forward, building relationships and achieving our diversity and inclusivity goals. Here the full talk on our Youtube Channel: Bill Gray and Greta Du Bois - Rotary Relationships.
President John introduced our speakers today. Bill Gray is a Past Club President, a Past District Governor, and has many roles at the District and Zone level helping raise funds for projects. Greta DuBois is a Past President of her club in South Africa, is a long time Rotarian, and brought to our Club the Friendship Exchange Program. Both have used their service in Rotary to develop a network of connections that help them and us achieve Rotary’s goals.
Thanks to visitors, especially those from India. Rotary’s vision is to create lasting change around the world. This presents an opportunity to create lasting change in ourselves.
Rules to live by – make your future bigger than your past – our learning bigger than our experience – our contribution bigger than our reward – our performance bigger than our applause. How do we show gratitude, have fun, be confident?
First, be open. Park our ideas at the door. Welcome people solidly. I’ve learned by travelling to be trusting. And be curious, explore, walk roads we haven’t been on.
Second, honour friendships by staying in touch. Do we have what it takes to do the work? How’s our listening? How can we be present?
Immersion is important. Be hosted by Rotarians as I have. That builds friendships.
I have stayed with Rotary so long because it’s interesting, and that’s because it’s so varied. Each and every one of us is different – individuals and clubs. We must be inclusive. Everyone here is a volunteer, they’re here to do good things, but do them together.
I know what it’s like to be on the outside. I moved to The Belgian Congo when I was six and am so happy I had that experience. I chose to go back to South Africa. I was lucky because of my skin colour. It was not easy to be there, but I loved it. Then after my husband died, I came to Canada, and was on the outside again. When I came, I asked myself so many questions (am I doing what’s right to ft in?), continues even today. So, make sure new members are welcomed and see in that person something good. I remember a time when a Ugandan Rotarian serenaded us with O Canada while in his country. That signaled to me that he valued us and where we came from.
Elizabeth talked about the 4 Way Test a lot when she was President, not to measure others but to measure ourselves. It can help us create a future out of possibility, to put our minds together to do things together that we can’t do alone. All of you here today are different, and I’ve learned so much from you all. We need to continue to build relationships. There’s a bigger goal – we can learn and grow. Rotary should be a safe harbour, where we learn to be ambassadors (like Greta) and learn new skills. The Bill that joined Rotary is so different from Bill today, and Rotary is responsible for that.
Rotary is not only a pleasure, but also a privilege.
We then turned to breakout sessions to chat and learn from each other. Then we returned to the meeting and talked about what we learned from the breakout sessions. Our international visitors also spoke about the difficult times in India, and how Rotary members are helping where they can.
Ana thanked Bill and Greta for sharing their stories, and for bringing our guests to share in our fellowship.