On June 24, Rotary President, Lisa Thorpe presided over her last meeting. With a gracious and grateful address to members, she handed the torch of leadership over to her successor, Kirsten Lauritzen.
A new year of Rotary began and 12 months of learning, hard work and dedication were acknowledged. Presidency in the realm of Rotary is known for its peaceful transfer of power. The success of a Rotary Club is based on continuity and individual creativity.
Presidents of Rotary Clubs are multitaskers. Most are professional people with full time jobs, family responsibilities and community outreach activities. They have joined the Rotary Club with hopes of giving back to others. They serve the club by taking on all the responsibilities of leadership and action. They enrich their community by encouraging club members to work together on goals and projects.
A yearly change at the helm of leadership might sound daunting. It is the job of each president to ensure that continuity of the club is fostered and strengthened. In the recent history of the Tualatin Rotary Club, the backgrounds of each president have been widely different. A high school principal, a lawyer, a Chamber of Commerce executive, a dentist and a city employee have all served. Each of their skill sets provided the club with an array of leadership styles and techniques. Each president enriched the club in a unique way.
No Rotary president flounders. Just as the president of our country has a cabinet of advisers, each Rotary leader has a board comprised of members who will facilitate the functionality of the club. Together they work to achieve their goals. In addition, the club leader spends a year as President Elect and is offered opportunities to reach out and connect with district, regional and state clubs as well as other Rotarians.
Leadership is enhanced by tradition but then came COVID-19. Lisa Thorpe was the first Tualatin club president to serve in a pandemic. No club member, no board member and no past president had any experience in social distanced directives. Lisa was original and empowered. She began the first ever Zoom meeting format. She kept the club membership informed at every turn. She switched gears from handshakes and hugs to “muted and unmuted high fives.” She tackled the trials of technology like a professional and she managed to keep her members engaged and active while being virtual.
Whatever power she wielded as a president showed itself in her ability to adapt and thrive.
As Kirsten Lauritzen begins her presidential year of service, she will have one tested and tried advisor in past president, Lisa Thorpe.
If you are interested in joining a local group that fosters leadership and community service, contact us at tualatinrotary.org.