David Hetherington, President The Rotary Club of Toronto

     On July 1st, 2015 The Rotary Club of Toronto embarked on its 103rd year of community service.  Through the efforts of our members, the Club is dedicated to improving the lives of the most vulnerable people in the Toronto Community.   We also seek to help people in difficult living conditions in foreign lands through our International Service Committee.  This continues to be accomplished with fervor and fellowship by our dedicated members.   We encourage our Philanthropic Committees to seek out new needs in our community that should be addressed by our Club.   This is our tradition.
      Every institution needs to take time to re-examine its goals and practices and The Rotary Club of Toronto is no exception.   To this end, at the urging of Past President Sandy Boucher (yes, the recent father …. again), the Club established a Strategic Plan.   In order to insure that the implementation of this Plan is ongoing, the President – Elect will be the Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for each future year.
     In the Plan, the Committee established priorities, the first two: Engaged Membership and Inspired Communications have been, and continue to be implemented.    The third priority is Effective Committees; this is a key part of the plan and arguably the most difficult to implement.   Since each committee chair brings different skills and experience to the leadership role.  Some will find it daunting and challenging while others will find it common to their everyday business lives.  Everyone can learn, or be reminded of, the most effective ways to conduct meetings and gather consensus.  To this end we are implementing training sessions for our committee leaders.   Through this training and review process, we hope to achieve effectiveness in all our committees and gain an enthusiastic and engaged membership, clear action steps and a welcoming team atmosphere.   I don’t think that we can over-estimate the importance of this initiative.  This is where our community service efforts are developed and implemented and this is where leadership shines.  
     One thing I would like to encourage in our Club is the promotion of Rotary in general and of The Rotary Club of Toronto in particular.  Every worthwhile activity or product needs to have its story told, otherwise no one learns of its benefits.   I would ask that you enthusiastically communicate to friends, family and colleagues, all of the aspects of Rotary that you enjoy as an individual.  This will encourage others to come and enjoy Rotary as well.
     With this goal in mind, we plan to continue the evening gatherings at the National Club during weeks when the Friday meeting is not held due to holiday weekends.  This is an excellent time to bring those who may be interested in Rotary, to an informal gathering of Rotarians to have them learn of our activities first hand. 
     I look forward to working with each of you as we begin a new and exciting Rotary year.  And while we are at it, let’s enjoy ourselves and our Club activities.