On a global scale Rotary's brand is strong, said Rotary leaders speaking at the International Assembly on Monday in San Diego. From governments to worldwide NGOs to large corporations, Rotary is trusted to create positive change around the world.
But Rotary's image needs strengthening in local communities, said RI Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones.
"We are the greatest story never told," Jones said. "Quite simply, strengthening our brand is essential to Rotary's future."
"For so long we did our good work quietly and not for recognition," added Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, and past Rotary public image area and zone coordinator. "While this was noble, it made it difficult for people to understand the good work of Rotarians and why we exist. What we've learned is that when we tell our story, like-minded people want to join us."
More than a year ago, leaders launched the Strengthening Rotary initiative to enhance and simplify the organization's story, visual identity, and digital experience. In her address, Jones outlined the essence of Rotary's brand: Join leaders. Exchange ideas. Take Action.
"This is how we frame who we are," she said. "Every single person in this room is a leader. And what happens when we get a group of leaders together? We exchange ideas. And let's be honest, once we have shared these thoughts, we are then compelled to take action."
Jones cited a Harvard Business Review article, which opined that the branding initiative to simplify the message is the key to Rotary's success. "We have taken the right steps towards better clarifying who we are, what we do, and why it matters," she said.
Jones challenged the incoming district governors. "At the end of your term, no one will need to ask the question, who, what, or why Rotary?" she said.
Top health official says Nigeria close to being polio free
Earlier in the day, Dr. Hamid Jafari, World Health Organization director of the polio research and operations, said Nigeria is as close as ever to being polio free. In 2014 polio cases dropped from 53 the year before to six, and it's been more than five months since the last reported case. Nigeria is the only country in Africa where polio has never been stopped. The virus also remains in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Jafari, who was recently appointed as the top official for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), said the remarkable progress can't be taken for granted. "Our worst enemy right now would be a false sense of security that the job is done in Africa," he said. "We have to keep moving in that direction."
Jafari went on to say: "What Rotary has added over the past 25 years in the fight against polio is leadership solutions to management problems. You have the ability to mobilize political leadership and social change. Rotary's legacy in this fight is unmatched."
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