On 9/1/2020, the membership of the Magnolia Rotary Club was able to listen to a video speech by John Hewko, General Secretary of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. Pictured above is John Hewko.
The video that everyone watched was presented at the Rotary International Meeting in Hamburg Germany discussing how the International Foundation affects the world and why Rotary leadership is so important. John said that leadership was one of Rotary’s core values and it has been a beacon, guiding activities for the last 114 years. He explained that Rotary’s actions are guided by a special combination of leadership and integrity, since leadership without integrity was nothing more than self-interest.
John asked the question: "The world is ready for Rotary to lead. Is Rotary ready to Lead?" especially given the fact that may people in many parts of the world are becoming more and more disgusted with their governments. John answered the question by explaining the past, present, and future of Rotary around the world.
  • Past: The birth of Rotary came about because a leader (Paul Harris) was looking for acceptance of a cause greater than oneself. His idea was to make the world better by combining business friendships and relationships with great causes that needed help. That idea was accepted and has grown to what Rotary is today. John pointed out that it also helps to be an optimist when taking on a difficult project.
  • Present: Rotary needs great leaders to help decide what causes will have the greatest impact on the world. The eradication of Polio (99.9% complete) is an example of a great cause the Rotary organization has taken on that no government has been able to do. John also stated that good leaders are not born leaders but are made during stressful times. To date, Rotarians have been able to raise over $484 Million in the fight to eradicate Polio in the world (one of our members told everyone that it was just announced that Africa has finally achieved 100% freedom from Polio).
  • Future: Rotary needs to build on our future while still honoring the past as well as increasing new ways to adapt to ever changing situations and needs in the world. To that end, Rotary’s new strategic plan will be rolled out this year. John said that the plan is tailored to serving the diverse demographics of the current membership and the Rotary members of tomorrow. It will be launched in the next Rotary year to keep Rotary not only relevant, but also thriving, he said. The plan is structured by four strategic priorities: to increase Rotary’s impact, to expand Rotary’s reach, to enhance participant engagement, and increase Rotary’s ability to adapt.
John also pointed out that Rotary is the first global service organization to conduct an empirical analysis of our volunteers’ impact. The Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Studies in Baltimore, USA, has estimated that Rotary members commit more than 45 million volunteer hours a year with an economic value of $850 million (£667.8 million).
John finished up his speech, by stating that the challenges before us are great. However, Rotary has proven itself to have the great leadership to meet those challenges head on and overcome them. To answer his initial question of  "Is Rotary ready to lead the world?", John got a resounding "Yes" from all Rotarians.
A photo of the Magnolia Rotary Club members who attended our meeting can be seen below: