When I was asked to write this blog, I had no idea what I was going to say.  Nisha Kotecha, RGBI Publicity Officer, suggested I talk about leadership and motivation.  I thought that in order to explain my perspective on these ideas, I’d start by telling you a little bit about myself and how I became the first ever female President of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland.  I joined Rotary in 1997 after receiving an invitation to visit my local club.  I wanted to give something back to my community but wanted to be plugged into something bigger than that too. So I did a bit of research and discovered that Rotary was a huge international organisation with what seemed like unlimited scope.  I was given a job in my club immediately, was club president three years later and went straight on to be an Assistant Governor.  From there I was District Governor.  I was lucky enough to be asked to be on a committee at Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI), two in fact, one after the other.

I had every respect for those who had been President of RIBI during my time in Rotary.  I just felt that I could bring a different approach and really put my stamp on the role. Much to my surprise, I was elected first time, with a good majority.  Preparation for the office takes a lot of time and is probably the most important part of the job.  I had to learn about the mechanics, the politics and the people.  The politics of an organisation is probably what puts most people off.  My advice is: don’t let it, and don’t allow negativity to divert you from what you want to do.  We all need to set ourselves at least one goal and then aim to complete the course.  Don’t let others make you deviate from that goal; only you should be allowed to make you change your mind about where you are heading.  If you don’t set yourself a goal, how will you know where you’re going or make sure you get where you want to be?  Preparation.  There is no other word that covers it.  If you don’t prepare, you won’t perform well. Flying by the seat of your pants is just not going to allow you to reach the standards you are capable of.  Believe in preparation and high standards and you will be amazing.  One of the earliest lessons I had, long before Rotary, is that you should always be yourself.  If you try to be someone else, you’ll come a cropper.  So be yourself and be proud of who you are and what you can do.

Being involved with any service organisation needs to be fun.  Rotaract seems to have no problem with this aspect.  Rotarians could learn a lot from Rotaract; Rotaract could also learn a lot in return, we need to work together.  Communications need to be kept open, not only between RIBI/RGBI but also club to club, especially at a local level. Let’s try to work together better.

I know that lots of Rotaractors shudder at the thought of joining their local Rotary Club when they reach the magic age when Rotaract finishes.  If it’s that bad, let’s look at setting up a new club where all the Rotarators in one area can join a club that suits them better. Maybe we could discuss that when I speak at the RGBI Conference in November and have the opportunity to meet lots of you.  I’ll be there for part of the weekend with my husband and we’re both really looking forward to it.  Come and talk to us.

Nan McCreadie,

President – Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland