Posted by Carol Hutchinson on Jul 12, 2019
Guest Speaker: Friday July 12, 2019
Location: The National Club, Howland Room, 303 Bay St.
Topic: President Kevin's Vision for 2019 - 2020
More Power to You
The start of another Rotary year!  This marks the 107th year of The Rotary Club of Toronto.  I am honoured to have the opportunity to be President of this great club.
I am excited with the direction in which our Club is moving and the various initiatives being worked on in our club.  This coming year we will be continuing to implement the initiatives developed in our Strategic Plan.  We are starting into the third year of the Strategic Plan and are working on the Program Transformation group of initiatives.   
When I joined the Club my first committee was the program committee, chaired at that time by the late John Spragge. I enjoyed our regular line-up of speakers and the connections within our Club to obtain great speakers.  A highlight for me in our Club was hosting Stephen Lewis at a regular Friday lunch.  Through the efforts of our late member, Nina Cole, approximately 1,100 Rotarians from our club and district along with esteemed guests attended The Rotary Club of Toronto Friday lunch in the Canadian Room with Stephen Lewis.
More recently our Club held Power of Rotary luncheons.  Speakers included retired General Romeo Dallaire speaking on the events in Rwanda and Mark and Craig Kielburger, founders of Me to We.  Sylvia Geist and a group from our program committee have started to explore options for new speakers and series to bring to our luncheons to inform, educate and entertain.  Thank you to our program committee, under chair Bert Steenburgh, our program calendar on Google Calendar is now full through to the end of this calendar year.   We have a strong line-up of speakers.
Our Club is much more than a lunch club.  We will be finalizing the branding sessions that were started this past Rotary year.  These branding sessions, initiated by Lori Brazier and the membership committee, with the assistance of our members Andris Pone and Mike Leon among others, will help us to update our Club materials we provide to prospective members and help us launch a corporate membership plan with the goal to build our Club membership.  We are very much looking forward to introducing our positioning statement and brand story that all members can use!   
The Rotary International Theme this year is Rotary Connects the World.  Rotary International President Mark Maloney is looking to grow Rotary.  Membership is a key issue.   Membership will continue to be a key priority for our club as we look to build our Club to move forward and to support the diversity of committees inside our Club and the programs in our community that we continue to support. Growing membership in our Club is not a simple task.  Membership remains a concern and a focus at the board.  It is a standing item on the agenda at each board meeting.  As members of our great Club, we are all on the membership committee. 
In Hamburg at the Rotary International Convention, inclusivity and diversity were discussed in relation to the Rotary International Board of Directors.   Rotary International introduced targets to increase the membership of women on the Rotary International board to 30% by 2021.  There are two women on the board this year and will be five in the following year, including a past district governor from District 7070, Valarie Wafer.   I am excited to be welcoming into our Board this year four amazing members that will bring their experience and perspectives to our club board, in no particular order, Luzita Kennedy, Dawn-Marie King, Anny-Sandra Hamel and Lorna Johnson.   
Our new Board members have already been working with Vice President Prince Kumar on this year’s Club Assembly where we will be looking at our Club committees. When I joined our Club in 2000 our membership was around 230 members.   With our current membership numbers around 160, our resources are being spread thin in our committees and subcommittees.  Some committees are struggling to find new members to carry out the work initiatives.  Many committees struggle with succession planning.  Vice President Prince Kumar and his committee will be examining our current committee structure and exploring possible changes.  I encourage all members to take part in this process and to attend the Club Assembly in November.
I recently attended the Rotaract Club of Toronto changeover.  The Club this past year obtained the Rotary international Presidential Platinum Citation, the highest level.   They introduced eight new members at their changeover meeting in June and the diversity of the Club and the board reflects the community in which they serve.  We look closely to continuing to work with our Rotaract Clubs this year, not only the Rotaract Club of Toronto but also the University of Toronto Club and the Ryerson University Club.  We look forward to partnering with other local Rotary Clubs to co-sponsor the University Clubs, including the Toronto Eglinton and the Toronto Danforth Rotary Clubs.  Rotaract was a big focus this past year of Rotary International President Barry Rassin and we look to continue this as a big focus in our Club as well. 
We continue to have a strong Foundation, led by Foundation President Susan Howson.  As of the end of June, the current market value of the Foundation was approximately $19,600,000.  The leadership and experience on our Club Foundation is outstanding. The Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation remains a real strength. 
We are a great Club.  While we do have some challenges, I am confident that working together we will take on and resolve these challenges.  This may require further changes.  Some may find change to be difficult. I would ask that you keep an open mind.  We will need to continue to adopt and change as we move forward.  We have a great Board of Directors and dedicated and strong Club members to move our Club forward. 
Our future is bright.