Leadership skills gained through Rotary
Another Birthday and a time to reflect on what has Rotary done for me. Rotary has and still is significant for me. Rotary gave me a beam of light when things were not going well at work. This was through Terry Kenyon when she was a District Governor and she put me in contact with Jim McWhirter and I spent a month working in the hospital at Kamuli. This was the start of looking at ways to share my professional skills as a midwife and nurse to health professionals in Uganda whilst being part of Rotary.
Each of the roles that I have done at District Level has developed me and improved my Curriculum Vitae. The one thing about Rotary is that it gives one an opportunity to try things, work with others to gain skills and learn about how to do it. The wealth of experience in different levels of management, gained through working in a variety of work places and the support from other Rotarians as one tries things out. The one thing I have always found is that the audience made up of Rotarians want you to succeed.
Committee member at District
As a member of a District Committee it is possible to share the subject that I am passionate about. The committee and its chair allow one to explore how to present your interest to a wider audience. It is an opportunity to develop presentation skills, but it also opens other avenues such as networking with like minded Rotarians with other Districts. Yes, other people do share your interests. If you have a thirst for knowledge like I do this is an excellent way of learning about other subjects and how Rotarians raise money, get involved and change outcomes but you must share it with someone else otherwise the skill is lost.
District International Service Chair (DISC)
I was fortunate to have the opportunity to receive guidance and training as part of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) leadership training for District Chairs, Assistant Governors etc. This allowed networking, sharing of ideas and projects and what the expectations were of a chair. A DISC informs the District of what is required when an International Disaster occurs. This role teaches one about researching and asking other agencies and Rotarians on what is required so that one passes on relevant information. The Chair is a conduit for passing information on and answering questions.
This role informed me about the rules that Rotary abides by, but it also taught me about the importance of listening. There is no one true way to be a Rotarian or a Rotary Club. I also learnt about mediation, facilitating conversations but most important of all to ask another Assistant Governor, District Secretary or District Governor for advice before responding.
I soon learnt that it is important to find people with skills that fulfil the requirements of the committee to get the job done. I am not an accountant, but I can read a bottom line and I learnt about adjusting what was possible with the income coming in. Yes, one represents the interests of the District Governor, but the conference is for the Rotarians in the District and it needs to meet their needs as well.
The most important lesson I am learning is time management and saying No as there is not enough time to do everything that clubs would like you to do. This role is outward facing so one must learn about marketing yourself and more importantly selling to the public the work that the local Rotary Clubs do. Yes, I am learning about different styles of social media but I need to as Young Professionals use this to organise their lives. The District Governor also supports and develops the District Team with support from all the members of the District Executive.
So, what has Rotary taught me? I have learnt about presenting different subjects, improved my skills in negotiating, facilitating, enabling and empowering others. I have learnt about my limitations and the importance of asking others for support and advice. I have also learnt about time management, saying no and most important all this knowledge was gained through fun and fellowship. So yes, Rotary has given me skills which are essential for work, but it has also given me an area where my contributions to society and recognition of my skills are encouraged. So yes, when it is challenging at work, I also know that there is someone who can give advice but also, I am supported by others for what I do.
Thank you, Rotary you allowed the seedling, to grow.