Home' Rotary Down Under : June 2016 (International) Contents | 10 | ISSUE 584 JUNE 2016
Last month we asked for feedback on:
Are we strangling the potential for Rotary to make
strategic changes and grow by insisting that one needs to
be a district governor to rise through the organisation?
Not the be all and end all
As a younger Rotarian, the question raised by Philip Endersbee, (RDU, May 2016) is a very interesting one.
It could be debated that the questioner is using the old “age vs experience” argument. But I think there is more to it
than that. There is an underlining to the question about what commitment someone is prepared to make to Rotary and
vice versa. In some respects, there is a perceived need to “pay one’s dues” and sometimes this is fairly self-evident to
achieve further success within the organisation.
I do acknowledge that the commitment in being a district governor is one of the better ways to identify further
potential leadership material, but being a district governor shouldn’t be the be all and end all.
If a member wants to use their skills to further help within the organisation on a higher level, they should be
encouraged to do so and not be discouraged because they haven’t “jumped through enough statutory Rotary hoops”.
Without the diversity of people’s different experiences, it is too easy to get stuck within the mindset of “this is the way
we’ve always done it” and sometimes it is those who have a diversity of experiences who challenge us to think about
how we can improve and move forward.
Rotary Club of Turramurra, NSW
‘G-train’ not the only way to rise through the ranks
In response to Philip Endersbee’s Burning Question, ‘Are we strangling the potential for Rotary to make strategic changes
and grow by insisting that one needs to be a district governor to rise through the organisation?’ (RDU, May 2016): You
can advance through all the Rotary Australia and New Zealand-wide organisations without being a district governor; for
example, Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS), Rotary NZ World Community Service (RNZWCS), Rotary
Oceania Medical Aid for Children (ROMAC), Australian Rotary Health (ARH), Youth Exchange, ShelterBox, etc., as well
the non-RI international organisations such as Club Visioning and Rotary Leadership Institute.
You can also advance internationally through the myriad of Rotary Action Groups and Fellowships.
One of the unspoken issues Philip might be raising is the age at which Rotarians become district governors – that
tends to make them conservative and old fashioned to younger members or potential members and therefore we may
not be achieving our potential for strategic change.
I have always been keen to get younger district governors, while they are still working, and to change the way they
administer their districts. The model we use at the moment is far too labour intensive (especially with official visits to
every club and organising separate full-on district conferences that attract less than 20 per cent of the membership) and
it doesn’t encourage delegation to assistant governors and others. This, unfortunately, discourages younger Rotarians
from taking on the role.
Some districts get very few applications for the ‘G-train’ (to be district governor nominee, then district governor elect
and finally district governor) and quite often have to seek out a Rotarian to stand. It is not as difficult as perhaps Philip
thinks to get on the G-train, especially if the applicant has the strategic energy to challenge and inspire Rotarians in
The vast bulk of district governors never advance beyond district governor, because they are too exhausted after their
year (you only need to look at the drop-off rate of past district governors at the Rotary Institute).
The number of Rotary International committee, coordinator and board positions eligible only to past district governors
at a higher level nationally and internationally is very limited. For 2016-17 there were 1000 applications worldwide for
26 vacancies on RI international committees. So being an active past district governor doesn’t necessarily advance one
strategically in our Rotary organisation.
PDG Euan Miller
Rotary Down Under Board Director and RDU Editorial Advisory Committee Member
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