President’s Message, 2019-20


Dear Rotarians,

It was a privilege to speak to you all on July 11th as President of Club 31!  Thank you for the honor, and thank you to those who were able to be there in attendance.

From the podium I answered the question, “Why am I a Rotarian?”  The first reason I joined is because…I was asked!  Thanks, Mom!  This is a reminder to all of us that we need to invite people to join us!  But then the real question is why have I stayed a Rotarian for 11 years?  Well, I see our group as good people endeavoring to do great things for others.  It is so easy to get involved.  It’s safe (though sometimes maybe too shielded and hands off), but I have mentored kids, taught in classrooms, cleaned up a crisis relief center and the Cherry Creek Trail, sorted medical supplies bound for Africa, and served meals to homeless people.  For me, Rotary has developed a basic awareness of humanitarian and community issues.  I want to look back and feel that I helped the world, that I was empathetic and chose to get involved in order to make a positive difference.

Being a Rotarian is a commitment.  I sacrifice other opportunities so that I can be a Rotarian: my time, money, energy…Yet, it feels good to be involved on the good side; the side whose intentions are truth, fairness, goodwill and benefit for all.  It relieves a feeling of guilt – that I can and should be doing more – and then I feel even better.  Pretty much the rest of my life is about my family and me.  Rotary, however, is about other people.

When I prompted from the podium, sixty-three people at their tables also answered in writing why they are Rotarians.  Well done!!  I look forward to incorporating members’ answers into some upcoming club programs.

Let me detail some important things about the year ahead. Darlene Mast, our marvelous and loved Executive Director, will retire on June 30th.  Her fifteen years of service to the Club will be remarkable in uncountable ways, including a lasting gift of her (and Steve’s!) daughter Lauren, being on track to take over the role on July 1st.  Related, over the next year our office will prepare to be a one-person operation supporting the Club with some tasks taken up by members and others done with more efficient technology.

Over the years, member have requested longer speaker programs, more emphasis on what we are doing as Rotarians, and more time to talk to each other.  Consequently, the structure of our regular meetings this year will aim to accommodate these requests by having dedicated speaker programs twice monthly.  We will also have dedicated Rotary engagement days once a month, and our customary special meetings once a month, including offsites and fellowships.  When we have five Thursdays in a month, there will be a service and/or social opportunity outside the normal meeting time.  My major objectives for Rotary-themed days are to build awareness, enthusiasm and participation: in other words, meaningful fun for our members.  Please let us know what you think: each Thursday at 1PM a survey link will be emailed to you asking for feedback on the week’s program.

We have an awesome group of members who agreed to lead the Club for the 2019-2020 year, including three new members and three people with Rotary experience beyond Club 31.  Please seek any one of us out with your comments and questions.  The executive team, meeting once each month, includes these folks:

Secretary, Brian Sweet                                                            VP of Communications, Ian Campbell
Treasurer, Chris Peters w/Seth Patterson                          VP of Fundraising, Jill Santuccio
President-Elect, Debbie Beasley                                           VP of Membership, Chad Tyler
Past President, Pam Adams                                                   VP of Programs and Events, Doug McLemore
Executive Director, Darlene Mast                                        VPs of Service, Lisza Gulyas & Jeff Kleinschmidt
Assist. Exec. Director, Lauren Mast

In addition, here is our Board of Directors, which meets every two months:

Ben Allen                                 Lucius Ashby                            Harry Ellison
Chad Tyler                               Nancy Austin                           Louise Westfall
Susan Brushaber                    Bob Kapelke                             Andrew Walker
Melissa Bowen                        Will Snider                               Debby Kaufman

Lastly, I shared a short video clip of a talk given by Mark Maloney, President of Rotary International for 2019-2020.  He is a good man from Decatur, Georgia, and has been a Rotarian since 1980. I encourage you all to give it a listen to gain insight to what our global organization’s leadership is thinking about and prioritizing in order to improve Rotary’s impact and member experience.  The full 20-minute video can be found here.  (During our lunch meeting, I showed from minute 18:22 through to the end.)

In closing, let me modify some great words spoken by U.S. President John F Kennedy:
And so, my fellow members of Club 31, ask not what Club 31 can do for you.  Ask what you can do for Club 31.  My fellow Rotarians of the world, ask not what Rotary will do for you, but what together we can do to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

What you can you do for Club 31?

  • keep coming to meetings!
  • volunteer as a mentor
  • organize a new opportunity
  • go to District 5450 events
  • occupy yourself on the website
  • donate to End Polio Now and our local Denver Rotary Club Foundation
  • ask people you know to join the Club 31

Thank you for being a Rotarian!

Jim Johnston
President, 2019-20
Rotary Club of Denver

Posted in President Messages.