By Jeris Gaston, Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA
A Rotary convention is a time to reflect upon the past year, look forward to the year ahead, and connect with friends, old and new, from around the globe. But it’s also a celebration of all things Rotary. The people gathered together are what make this event special. Being together again, in person, after a two-year hiatus made the 2022 Rotary International Convention in Houston even more sweet. A big part of convention is meeting people. So in that spirit, I want to introduce you to five interesting Rotarians I met in Houston:
1 While visiting the Rotaract Preconvention, I met Philip Flindt, a Rotaractor from Denmark who will begin serving as a Rotary Public Imagine Coordinator in a few short weeks. Notably, he will be the first Rotaractor to serve in that capacity. Be on the lookout for great things from Philip!
2. The House of Friendship is always a great place to meet new people, and this year was no exception. While working my club’s booth promoting our 2023 Rotary Peace Conference in Birmingham, Alabama (come join us!) I visited with Rotarian Scott Nelson from Michigan, who shared his passion for a vegan diet and the link between social harmony and health. I certainly thought twice before ordering dinner that evening!
3. While doing some light shopping in the House of Friendship, I met Sybella Namigadde, a friendly vendor selling beautiful Ugandan clothing. She is an accountant for a living but is hard at work building her clothing business. Her mother is a Rotarian, and after such a positive experience in Houston, she is now considering joining Rotary herself!
4. I met Marissa Multari, past president of the Capital Region Rotary Club in Albany, New York, during a breakout session. Breakout sessions are a fantastic way to learn nuggets of knowledge to take back to your club and district. While attending the session “Family, Career & Rotary, she bravely stepped in to help the leaders navigate the online session chat and she did a fantastic job. It was a notable ‘service above self’ moment!
5. Last but certainly not least, I had a chance to meet President-Elect Jennifer Jones! She took time to meet and chat with Rotarians and Rotaractors from several districts during an evening reception. Her vision for Rotary is inspiring and we are all thrilled to ‘Imagine Rotary’ together in the upcoming year!
This year’s convention was one for the record books. If you weren’t able to make it, go ahead and register now for Melbourne 2023. You never know the interesting people you will meet, and we hope to see you there!
About the author: Jeris Gaston is a former Rotaractor and current member of the Rotary Club of Birmingham, Alabama, USA in District 6860. She serves as Vice-Chair of the RI Membership Committee and will soon begin serving as an Assistant Rotary Coordinator for Zone 30.