Top Ten Challenges for 2015-2016 District 7620 Rotary Club Presidents

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I was trying to count em up and I think this is my twelfth PETS, where the first eleven were acting as trainer in the service of another District Governor, and this being, of course, the one and only PETS where I am serving the Club Presidents as their DG.   I can tell you that it sure is different when your the DGE.  The bad news?  You want so much for your PEs to have a great experience that you can get pretty stressed out hoping that all goes well.  The good news?  It’s nothing that the proper medication can’t fix!

I want to thank Mary Nagle and Sean McAlister, our District 7620 Training Chairs, for doing a magnificent job putting together our PrePETS 1 and 2, and now Chesapeake PETS.  (For those not in the know, PETS stands for President Elect Training Seminar).  This was their first year of doing the training and they did a magnificent job.  I also want to thank our facilitators, Area Governors, and Sergeant At Arms, who took their time last weekend to help support our presidential “newbies.”  They were terrific.  And, this is a special shout out to Chesapeake PETS Chair, Eric Grub, and the DGEs and committee members from three other Rotary Districts, who made this possible. (Note:  Eric, in a very brief fit of common sense, is retiring this year from running Chesapeake PETS.  Well done, Eric!)

I find myself comparing this time of year to baseball’s spring training where hope abounds that this will be the year we win the World Series.  Except in Rotary we hope this will be the year where our new Presidents are all fully engaged with creating vibrant and enthusiastic Rotary clubs.  This is when we hope all PEs will actually input their goals into Rotary Club Central, and they will take active steps to follow District 7620’s six-step leadership program of 1) Create your Go-To Team, 2) Make a Plan, 3) Write it Down, 4) Recruit Great Committee Chairs, 5) Have them engage club members in their committees, and 6) Hold Everyone Accountable.  It may seem easy, but doing all six steps is a tough challenge to meet in a volunteer organization like Rotary.

Like every year at this time….I hope every Club Presidents step up to the challenge.  They all don’t succeed of course, but that’s baseball….er…..Rotary.

Here is the class, with just a little rehearsal, attempting to shout out the 2015-2016 Rotary Theme, “Be a Gift To the World.”  Be kind…this was at the end of a long day of training.

This year at Chesapeake PETS I offered our President-Elects a list of ten priorities for our District this year.  This list was prefaced by a reminder that Rotary District’s are nothing more than a group of Rotary Clubs, and that the “One Thing” that makes a great Rotary District IS GREAT ROTARY CLUBS.  No list of five, ten, or one hundred items proposed by a District Governor makes any difference at all unless our Club Presidents take them to heart.  Hopefully they did.  Here they are:

1)  Supporting new Membership Chair, Rich Glover, as he helps our District to grow.

2)  Attending our first ever Young Professional Summit, under the leadership of our two YP         RI Summit attendees, Clarissa Harris and Justin Saltzman.

3)  Generate quality content for our District communications pipelines, including our                    Facebook Page, Blog, Linked In Group, and Twitter account.

4)  Use 2015-2016 RI President Ravi Ravindran’s Presidential Citation as a model for being         an excellent Rotary club.

5)  Focus on building our Paul Harris Society as a means of achieving our $200 per cap                 Annual Programs Fund giving goal.

6)   Extend two new Rotary clubs in 2015-2016 with special attention to Prince Georges                County and Baltimore City.

7)  Have our clubs be more engaged with creating partnerships to participate in District               and Global grants.

8)  Attend the District Conference for the strategic reason of increasing member retention.

9)  Support Polio Eradication with two District-wide Polio fundraisers

10)  Change the culture in District 7620 about using Rotary’s on-line tools.

OK.  I get it.  This is a very ambitious agenda.  But if you were there with us in Reston you would have seen the enthusiasm, energy, and skill  that the 2015-2016 PEs are going to bring to bear on achieving these goals.  As I said at the PETS training last weekend, “There is no “GOOD IDEA FORM”  that must be filled out in District 7620 and approved by District leadership. The only barrier for our Rotary Club’s to the amount of good we can do in the world is our own imagination, energy, skill, and determination to change things for the better.”

I am so proud of the Rotarians who stepped up to be Club Presidents next year.  You have to admit…this IS a good looking group of PEs!


RI Director, Robert Hall, survived my introduction and gave a great speech to the Plenary session on Friday night.


Can you see the name on the name tag matches the name on the bottle?  Chateau Morrisette.  Too bad Claude’s name is Morissette.  They got the wine name wrong.

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PDG and Polio survivor Ann Lee Hussey gave an inspirational talk to the Plenary session and also found a few minutes to stop by our District breakout session to chat with our PEs.

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Putting the District 7620 puzzle together for how to build an excellent District.  Only one way….with excellent Rotary Clubs and excellent Rotary Club Presidents.





4 thoughts on “Top Ten Challenges for 2015-2016 District 7620 Rotary Club Presidents

  1. Hey Ken!!!!!!

    Best PETS I have ever been to.

    For those of you don’t know me, it was my first PETS and I am just kidding. It was a great and rewarding experience. My thanks to Ken and the rest of the PETS team.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Stu. You and your classmates are awesome. Let the work to build our teams and hit our goals begin!

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