Home' Rotary Down Under : July 2013 Contents Editorial
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Can you inspire
a polio-free world was nothing more
than a fantasy?
So you wipe such negativity from
your mind and you start with a clean
sheet of paper.
Let’s start with the Cons.
Meetings, meetings, meetings.
Speeches, speeches, speeches! As
Districts find themselves merging
to meet Rotary International’s ever-
exacting requirements, the once
customary roster of club visits in the
first six months in office becomes
increasingly difficult. Some DGs
have taken a sensible approach and
organised joint club meetings to
reduce the number of one-on-one
visits, but if you think you’re going to
get out of the exercise for less than 50
club visits in six months, think again!
That’s 50 Rotary chicken dinners or
lunches at meetings where the same
checklist is overseen, the same speech
is delivered, and if you’re lucky, your
wife/husband/partner will still be your
wife/husband/partner at the end of it.
That’s right, becoming District
Governor is not something you do
alone (generally speaking). Even if
your wife/husband/partner does not
accompany you on such visits, who
do you think is at home answering
the phone calls that probably began a
minute past midnight on the evening
of the Changeover Dinner!
Apart from all those club visits, of
course, there’s an expectation that
you’ll attend just about every event
staged by any and all of the 80 or
so clubs in your District. Then, of
course, there’s the monthly District
Team meetings, the Council of
Governors meetings, the selection
committee meetings for programs
such as Vocational Training Teams,
Ambassadorial Scholars, World Peace
Scholars, you name it, they’re all going
to want you on their committee.
So what about the Pros?
You get to travel. To the International
Assembly in San Diego six months
before you take office. Most DGsE
take the opportunity to extend the trip
either before and/or after, developing
relationships with counterparts from
all over Australia, New Zealand and
other parts of the world.
You get to become part of the Zone
Institute. The Institute meets annually,
and you get to enjoy reunions with
your classmates, which inevitably
result in life-long friendships. Indeed,
a Past District Governor can travel
to just about anywhere in the world
and meet friends made during their
year as Governor. I’ve seen widows
at class reunions whose husbands/
wives/partners died decades before,
but who are just as much a part of
proceedings as they ever were. The
lifetime commitment runs two ways
and it’s a beautiful if somewhat under-
acknowledged aspect of the Institute.
Ultimately, however, it comes down
to what you can do to make the world
a better place. As District Governor,
you can delegate all the paper work,
you can delegate all the red-tape
functions, but you can’t delegate your
most important responsibility.
As District Governor, you get to
inspire Rotarians. Indeed, it’s the
only thing you HAVE to do! You can’t
delegate that role. You get to choose
a leadership team, thereby generating
renewal. You get to steer the ship,
so that the issues that are most
important get the most attention.
You get to ensure that Rotary and the
people it serves is itself best served by
the best people.
If you can’t do that, then perhaps
the job is not for you, but if you can,
what on earth are you waiting for?
Good luck to you, and to the class of
Just between us
It’s a question that rears its ugly
head whenever anyone who shows
even the slightest sign of leadership
potential begins making a name for
him or herself in any District.
“When are you going to put your
hand up for District Governor?”
A question to shrivel the aspirations
of many well-intentioned Rotarians
just trying to get something
worthwhile done. A particularly well
managed Foundation Grant project
here, an abiding commitment to
Australian Rotary Health or Youth
Exchange there, and suddenly
everyone expects that you naturally
want to one day wear the DG’s chain.
A new class of Governors has just
taken office, and perhaps a few of
these thoughts will lead to a little
more understanding and appreciation
of the job they’ve taken on. My hat is
raised to the class of 2013-14, as it has
been to those classes gone by.
So before you take that deep breath
ahead of that momentous decision to
take this plunge, make sure you ask
yourself the most important question
of all. What are the pros and cons?
It’s a minimum three-year
commitment. Much more if you
count the time leading up to your
nomination. You’ve already been
a club President, but beyond that,
you’ve probably served on a District
committee as an avenue of service
chair or as an assistant Governor.
Many might argue that if you’ve got
any sense, you’ll have seen enough
in that process to scare you away
for life! But that would be taking a
somewhat cynical attitude, and as
committed Rotarians, we don’t take
kindly to cynics. Where would the
global campaign to eradicate polio
be today if Past Rotary International
President Sir Clem Renouf had bowed
to the cynics who said his dream of
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