Posted by Tom Talbott
With wit and wisdom, our 106th President of the Rotary Club of Portland, Amy Chipman, took to the podium to share her vision for our upcoming Rotary year 2019-2020. "Honored and excited" to lead, she began by recognizing the leadership and stellar job of outgoing President John Curran, eliciting a standing ovation from the audience. Amy specifically noted the birth of the Opioid Task Force for the training of recovery coaches and community education on the issue, as well as the New Mainer's Initiative helping immigrants getting a start in Maine as two strong new programs that began this past year, and will continue  during her tenure.
Every Rotary year has an international theme, and Amy took a few moments to tell the story behind this year's banner inspired by our new Rotary International President, Mark Maloney. Amy met Mark, an outgoing, friendly Alabama gentleman, who told of his experience during a 6-hour delay at JFK Airport. As he walked with his wife past rows of terminals, his first thought was "this is like Rotary" with all the different people and countries represented all in one place. However, he quickly identified the contrast, because he saw that the different nationalities were not connecting or engaging with each other. He saw each group heading back to their own "island," isolated from each other. Compare this with Rotary, where the global community connects with each other in a "deep and meaningful way." Mark noted that "Rotary connects us with our communities, to professional opportunities, and to people who need our help." Our RI theme for the year thus became, "Rotary Connects The World," and is reflected in the creative and colorful design on the banner.
Outlining her goals, Amy stressed the importance of having all our members, current and future, to feel engaged and excited in our Club. "Fun and irresistible!" One of the keys to this will be to introduce small monthly service projects followed with a social event, essentially teamwork and fellowship.
You'll see some of these fun tweaks in our weekly meetings too. While we continue to have high-profile members of the business community in to speak, you can now look forward to programs that offer the arts and music. In addition, and with a nod to Mark Maloney's "island" imagery, Amy projects that we will team up more frequently with other clubs, both in service projects as well as weekly meetings.
Rotary's "People of Action" theme inspired Amy to work on further developing our local "brand" and public image. It will likely begin by updating the look and feel of our website. Another idea was to create a new video, to aid in our recruiting of new members. Amy wisely tapped PP Bowen Depke to be our Membership Chair, who was highly successful in his term at increasing membership.
Even with the retirement of the highly successful Maine Outdoor Challenge, Amy spoke confidently of the club's fundraising programs, under the chairmanship of Mike Reed. The Cornhole Tournament is poised in year two to grow under fundraising maestro PP Kris Rosado, and the dynamic duo of Charlie Frair and Paul Tully raised everyone's attention with the new “Flags For Heroes” program. (See more info in Bits & Pieces this issue.)
Amy concluded by announcing her committee chairs for the year, a strong and highly capable group that will power our club to another great year of service.