Incoming Rotary coordinators Nico de Boer, of the Netherlands, and Jozefa Poláková, of Slovakia, participate in a breakout session at the RC institute held 1-4 March in Chicago. Photo by Jamie Berg
‘Bigger, better, and bolder’ was a recurring phrase at last week’s institute for Rotary coordinators (RCs).
“Bigger, better, and bolder represents a change in attitude rather than in structure,” explained Nico de Boer, an incoming Rotary coordinator from the Netherlands who will serve zones 13A and 18B. “It’s a positive dynamic that will help Rotary reach its goals.”
The four-day institute held in Chicago focused on defining the role of Rotary coordinator and discussing how the 41 incoming coordinators can help clubs and districts realize the three priorities of the revised RI Strategic Plan : support and strengthen clubs, focus and increase humanitarian service, and enhance public image and awareness.
The revised plan emerged from extensive research and Rotarian feedback -- including a survey of 14,000 Rotarians worldwide -- that showed that “Rotarians want growing, vibrant, and innovative clubs,” said RI Director Tom Thorfinnson during the institute’s opening plenary session. The phrase “bigger, better, and bolder” came from that concept, and Rotary coordinators are charged with supporting clubs and districts to help make the idea a reality.
“Rotarians are looking for change, but they need to be able to take practical steps toward that change,” said Canadian Dean Rohrs, incoming Rotary coordinator for Zone 24 West. “And they need to take ownership in order for change to occur.”
Having bigger and better clubs is not solely about increasing the number of club members and programs, said Thorfinnson. Bigger clubs have a diverse membership that reflects the demographics of the local business community, along with strong membership recruitment and retention efforts. Better clubs are balanced in Rotary’s four Avenues of Service, have strong strategic planning and leadership development processes in place, and embody Rotary’s core values.
“Fun is a part of what I consider to be a Rotary core value,” Thorfinnson added.
“When you make a club better, you often will find that it is bigger as well,” noted RI President John Kenny in a Monday morning address.
What is a bolder club?
Promoting bolder clubs involves empowering club leaders and "stepping out of the box a bit," Thorfinnson said. “We want to foster flexible and innovative clubs. The leader must determine where the club needs to go and take that club there.”
While bold moves will vary by culture, bolder clubs in general are those that take action to solve community problems, develop and become known for signature service projects, and promote the networking opportunities that Rotary clubs offer to their members, he said.
Rotary coordinators will be one leg of a three-legged stool supporting clubs in each Rotary zone, said Duane Sterling, Rotarian coordinator for the 2010-11 RI president, who moderated the institute. The other two legs will be the regional Rotary Foundation coordinators and the zone’s RI director.
“Clubs with high expectations for their members and for their club are bigger, better, bolder clubs,” said Bevin Wall, incoming Rotary coordinator from Zone 33 in the United States. “Some clubs are afraid to spend $10 on a good idea.”
But he said it’s important for clubs to find ways to foster innovation while respecting tradition. “Our job is to help them succeed.”
Rotary coordinators will begin their terms on 1 July.
For more information