I joined the Rotary Club Melbourne in 2010. I had attended many meetings of various Rotary Clubs before, but always as the guest speaker, and on many occasions, I would be asked about “my interest in joining Rotary” but I never did as I was busy with my work and studies. When I joined Rotary Club Melbourne, I had been in the role of CEO of Benetas for a few years. Benetas is a large Victorian based not for profit company that provide a range of support and accommodation services to older people and people with a disability. It is easy when you work in a reasonably sized and organised industry to feel that you have all the connections that you will ever need, but for me, nothing could be further from the truth. Some may also have the view that if you work in a mission driven, for purpose company, your obligation to “build a better world or give back” is lessened because you are already making a contribution through your work.
I have always worked in the health and community services sector supporting people of all backgrounds and ages through government and not for profit companies. In regard to “why I joined Rotary?”, I have two main reasons I would like to share. Firstly, I have always held a strong sense that if “you can do more to assist, then that is what you should do”. Working for many years in a variety of roles, with all sorts of people and having many experiences (exhilarating, character building and lukewarm) provides you with knowledge of how to go about getting things done, content knowledge of the areas you have worked in, who to speak to and a rather large data base of potential contacts. Imagine the synergies here, the rich source of opportunities just waiting to be unleashed.
Secondly, regardless of your industry and family connections, I believe that in most cases the backgrounds of those we mix with are limited. We know that Australia is an amazingly diverse country but most of us are not presented with the opportunity to experience the richness of what engaging with diversity has to offer. My experience is that Rotary offers this opportunity which in turn educates us further when seeking to assist individuals and communities in Australia and internationally. I would like my level of engagement with Rotary to be at a broader and deeper level, but currently my work and other volunteer commitments are precluding this from being realised. One thing I know, is that I will not be working forever, and at this time I hope to be able to “get my teeth into” a number of projects and give back a lot more.