Skip to content

President’s Message 2013

Engage Rotary
“Service Above Self”
President’s Induction Speech
Julie Ziebart, President
July 4, 2013

Good afternoon Fellow Rotarians and Guests, it is my honour to serve as the 51st Club President during the 2013/2014 Rotary Year. 

While I was inducted into this club on October 1, 2009, my journey with Rotary began 10 years earlier, during my Christmas vacation to the Philippines. My uncle was a Rotarian, and invited my husband and me to his club’s annual fundraiser gala, as his personal guests from abroad. I remember thinking, “Wow! The projects that this club is completing are contributing to so many lives. I’m a new CA, just coming out of the starving student stage of my life. I hope this $100 I contribute helps in some way to their cause. I should really look into Rotary when I get home”. Then I came back, and the process of building a career, contributing to my small firm’s success, and having children took over. Fast forward to 2009. Shortly after being called to partnership at my current firm, my partners, Trina Warren and Gavin Still, invited me to a Rotary meeting. I can’t thank Trina enough for welcoming me into Rotary as my sponsor.  I was fortunate enough to have joined an amazing club full of gracious and generous Rotarians. When at a Club Assembly two years later, I put an idea for a community event out there; you all encouraged me to take charge to make it happen. You have no idea how your support empowered me, and impacted my belief in myself to make great things happen! As we just celebrated our Club’s 50th Anniversary, I find it fitting to share the message of our incoming president for Rotary International:

The Rotary club meeting you walk into today might, at first glance, seem very different from the weekly meetings of 50 years ago. And if you could pay a visit to every one of Rotary´s 34,000 clubs, you´d see men and women from all different backgrounds, speaking just about every one of the world´s languages, involved in service projects from the local to the global. You´d see clubs that are getting together to repair a neighbourhood playground this weekend, while working in partnership with other clubs to install sanitary facilities in a school thousands of miles away. And you´d see a group of people who are absolutely committed to making the world a better place, in ways large and small.

There´s a lot that´s different about Rotary today. But the foundation that Rotary is built on hasn´t changed. Rotary is based, as it´s always been, on our core values: serves, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. There are the values that defines us as Rotarian: they´re the values we live by, and the values we strive to bring to the communities we serve.

Every one of us in Rotary is here because we were invited, and because we made a choice to accept that invitation. Every day since then, we've been faced with another choice: whether to just be a member of a Rotary club, or to truly be a Rotarian.

Being a Rotarian is a commitment that goes far beyond just showing up at meetings once a week. It means seeing the world, and our role in it, in a unique way. It means accepting our communities as our responsibility, and acting accordingly: taking the initiative, making the effort, and doing what's right, not what´s easy.

All of us came to Rotary to get involved, and to make difference. And in Rotary service, as in just about everything else in life, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. If you only put in a token effort, you won´t accomplish very much, and you won´t find very much satisfaction in what you do accomplish. But when you make the decision to truly engage Rotary ― to bring Rotary service and Rotary values into every day of your life ― that is when you start to see the incredible impact that you can have. That´s when you find the inspiration, the excitement, and the power to truly change lives. And no one´s life will be changed more than your own.

In the 2013-14 Rotary year, our theme, and my challenge to you, will be Engage Rotary, Change Lives.

You've chosen to wear a Rotary pin.

The rest is up to you.

As your leader, what do I hope we will accomplish in the coming year?

I hope that we each find a way to get involved and to make a difference in our Club.

I hope we increase membership and grow new members into sustainable members.  Taking from my profession, there is “strength in numbers”!

I hope we will look beyond our own club and expand our participation in the Rotary world beyond.  Let’s revisit how neighbour clubs, locally, within our district, and with the Rotary world, can work together to accomplish great things.

What about tapping into matching grants available from the Rotary Foundation?  Our club members have been continuously generous in this area.  Let’s see how we can take advantage of that to benefit our community.

I hope the Youth Exchange sees more of us contributing to it’s continued success.  It has been the core of Rotary’s mission to foster world peace and understanding, since 1927!

We stand behind our motto: “Service Above Self”.  But that does not mean we cannot talk about ourselves.  Let’s do a better job of tooting our own horn.  Let’s make our accomplishments known to the community.  Let’s enlist the community to join us and help.  Again, there is “strength in numbers”!

Finally, the core of what we Rotarians do, service projects:  Let’s use upcoming meetings and Club assemblies to decide what we will organize, support, and participate in over the next year, to benefit our community, our district, our world.

In the spirit of this year’s theme, let’s join with our District Governor, Betty Screpnek and Rotary International President Ron Burton, to Engage Rotary, Change Lives.

Thank you.