For two days at the end of February, Rotary club leaders from northern Illinois gathered in Schaumburg to train for the upcoming year.


Presidents-elect training (PETS) took place on Friday and Saturday with a range of topics.  District Governor Elect Carlos Früm stressed the need for Rotarians to take chances, to look for new ways of doing things, and to encourage true involvement rather than simply meeting attendance.  Leaders were given tips to make their clubs more vibrant and forward-thinking, not locked into the Rotary of past generations.  By embracing creativity clubs can attract new members, who will in turn breathe new life into clubs.




By partnering with Rotary District 6420 (Northwestern Illinois), our district provided ample opportunities for incoming club presidents to share ideas with other clubs, which were grouped by size.  Rotary International President-Elect Kalyan Banerjee and Past Rotary International Director Ken Morgan both addressed the group and offered their suggestions for improving local clubs. 


On Saturday, the District Assembly ran concurrently with PETS.  Club officers and others attended sessions dealing with the nuts and bolts of club projects and administration.


Throughout the two-day event, Rotary vendors and projects such as Operation Warm and ShelterBox were available in the House of Friendship, where Rotarians mingled with each other and enjoyed fellowship opportunities.


Saturday afternoon the group heard from Dr. Kevin Freiberg, a renowned speaker on leadership in all types of endeavors.  He challenged Rotarians to reach people’s hearts, to use new media to reach prospective members and spark enthusiasm in young people, and to avoid doing things one way simply because “we’ve always done it like this.”  Dr. Freiberg inspired everyone to return to their clubs with renewed passion for the possibilities Rotary provides.


 Rotary International President-Elect Kalyan Banerjee stressed the idea of looking within oneself to carry the work of Rotary out to the world.


“We must look outward, if we want to care for others truly,” Banerjee told the presidents-elect. “But the only place you can start is within your own heart,” he said. “You have to look within yourself to find kindness.”


“We have to be the change we want to see in the world, but it must start within us,” he said. “We must think and see things in a different way.”


He concluded his speech by telling the local club leaders: “The world needs Rotary now more than ever, and Rotary needs you.”


Morgan outlined his five rules for successful club presidents:


 1.                  Be a leader; transfer your proven leadership skills to your club.  Club presidents need to be involved, to do what is necessary,  and  to be passionate about Rotary. 

 2.                  Starting now, commit the time necessary to do the job right.  Set aside time each week to prepare for your year as club president.  Identify two or three key things that will make you successful. 

 3.                  Recruit a strong team of committee chairs and directors.  Set high standards and expect success.  Check in with your team regularly to evaluate progress.  Involve members in developing programs and projects so they are invested in success.

 4.                  Make sure your weekly club meetings have food that’s good, fun, and fellowship. 

 5.                  Know and implement the four elements of a successful Rotary club: Sustain and grow membership. Do projects both locally and internationally. Support The Rotary Foundation financially and through program involvement. And get involved in Rotary beyond the club level.


Morgan concluded that the success of your club lies in the commitment you make to the club.