Is our club maintaining relevance? How are we doing in our efforts to engage our millennials and the diversity in our community? I can tell you from my 37 years in the floral industry, I’ve worked hard to change the way Fremont Flowers has traditionally done business to be more inline with a diverse clientele. In the old days, we ran ads in the newspaper and had BIG listings in the phone book. It doesn’t work that way anymore. With any organization looking to grow, one better become savvy with Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Whatsapp, Facebook or a few other social media or communication apps. Personally, I struggle to keep up! I am encouraged and excited that a few of our newer Niles Rotary members bring this tech expertise to our club. That’s not to overlook our more seasoned members who are the backbone of Niles Rotary. Every member plays a very important part in the fabric of Niles Rotary. But in this Pinion, I want to focus on technology and relevancy to the future Niles Rotary member!
“Younger people” (those younger than myself!) work differently. They grew up with technologies that I struggle to understand. The idea of a lunch meeting may be foreign to them! That said…how can we bring our meeting to them? We have seen the emergence of eClubs to Rotary. Niles Rotary has always been a traditional club….with weekly lunch meetings following the same format year after year. Personally, I love our weekly lunch meetings and know the value to the fabric of our Niles Rotary family in those face-to-face interactions. Yet…under the leadership of past president Bruce, we saw how we dramatically changed the way we conduct club business under COVID-19 shelter in place mandates. As we move towards a post COVID time, one of our biggest challenges is to maintain a balance between traditional club meetings and a vision that provides our members with greater flexibility in the way each can attend a meeting. With the help of Niles Rotarians Deepak Jain, Angus Cochran, and Paul Phipps along with Srikar Boddu from Washington West, we are working on an initiative to allow our club to continue offering members a live broadcast option of our weekly meetings. We all need to ponder the implications of possibly allowing participation in a livestream meeting as a substitute for physical attendance. Yet, ever so present in my mind are the words of Past President Chuck when he talks of a live Niles Rotary event. He accurately states ”you can feel the energy in the room.” And, as Past President Rose made so clear in her year…..we Niles Rotarians are “Family By Choice” and we want to stay that way! So I ask….how can we maintain our sense of fellowship and family while embracing this livestream technology? A recent article in The Rotarian magazine points out…..”when we see something that may serve an existing bias, we tend to respond to it without thinking it through.” To this end, I ask you to be open minded and think through how we might weave such a proposal into our Niles Rotary fabric while maintaining that which we value so much as Niles Rotarians.
Keep on Blooming!