2016/17 has been a very busy year as District Governor Elect District 1180.
Having met other DGEs in Zone 17 and 18A at Alcester we all eagerly started our RI training at GETS (Governor Elect Training) which was held in Madrid in November 2016.
Making my way through a work book, participating in break out sessions and hearing inspirational speakers was totally absorbing and thought provoking. After the 2 day training I stayed on for the Rotary Institute and found this most instructive and interesting.
I made loads of notes and will refer to them during my year in office.
It was the first time I heard RI Vice President Jennifer Jones speak – wow – she is some Rotarian! I also enjoyed the Rotary Foundation presentations and listening to RI Director Bradford Howard from Canada – another very inspirational Rotarian presenting on RI financial matters. I happened to meet up with a Rotaractor named Selva Taskol – a charming young lady from Madrid and we now keep in touch on Facebook.
Straight after Christmas it was up and away to the RI Leadership Assembly in San Diego. We managed to take a few days holiday prior to the Assembly so I was nicely relaxed and acclimatised by the time we arrived in San Diego. Nothing prepares you for this experience. Working with 540 other District Governor Elects in preparation for your year in office gives you a much greater understanding of the complexities and size of Rotary International.
We were all delighted when the year theme was announced by RI President Elect Ian: Rotary Making a Difference and the logo depicts the diversity of the peoples of the world. I loved it. What a fantastic theme to promote for 2017/18.
Apart from just one country, we all appear to have similar problems with membership recruitment and retention and we all need to increase giving and educate our Rotarians on Rotary Foundation. I most loved the General (Plenary) sessions when we all heard presentations by such eminent Rotarians as Immediate Past RI President Ravi Ravindran,
RI President Elect Ian Riseley, RI Vice President Jennifer Jones and so many others. I was totally awestruck.
Visiting the trade stands, I was able to purchase badges, ties and scarves for my District Support Team. Being a Buyer for my business probably helped me to be quick thinking and organised with my buying. (The good patterns soon get snapped up).
We enjoyed the company of the RIBI (Rotary International of Great Britain and Ireland) incoming President Denis Spiller and his wife Penny.
The International Parade is something else. We stayed to nearly the last to represent Wales along with fellow District Governor Elect Maggie from District 1150 (South Wales).
The days were long and exhausting but exciting and interesting. I must say, I benefited greatly from the interaction with other DGEs from across the world, hearing first-hand about the way Rotary is governed in other countries. Also, the particular problems they face.
I could write pages but lets just say – an experience of a lifetime and one that I hope has prepared me for the year ahead and will hold me in good stead during my term of office.