Greetings District 6250 Rotarians!
Welcome to September, where we Rotarians turn our attention to the good works surrounding Basic Education and Literacy.  We also look forward to our district’s upcoming Vibrant Club Workshop, our Interact Clubs firing up in schools across the district,  and an unusual opportunity for all to become involved in our Rotary Zone activities at the Rotary Zone Institute from September 8-13.
More on that in a few moments… but I first want to return to the groundbreaking, earth shaking news of August 6th
On May 4, 1987, the US Supreme Court ruled that Rotary Clubs could no longer exclude women from membership on the basis of gender.  At the first gathering of the Rotary Council of Legislation following the decision, Rotary moved to admit women into Rotary Clubs worldwide.  This remains a watershed moment in the history of Rotary.
The response to the decision was overwhelming:  By June 1990, the number had skyrocketed to over 20,000.  By July 2016, the number of women worldwide had surpassed 250,000.  Women immediately embraced the leadership opportunities provided by their clubs and have been making an impact in communities around the world.
District 6250 embraced the moment as well.  Sharon K. Imes of La Crosse became our first female District Governor in 1997-1998.  Mary Beth Growney-Selene of Madison followed soon after as District Governor in 2000-2001, and was then selected to join the Rotary International Board of Directors from 2013-2015, and then a Rotary Foundation Trustee in 2016-2017.  We have been ably led by 6 female District Governors, and Karen Hebert will become our 7th in 2021-2022.  Women now represent over 36% of our membership in District 6250.
Which brings me to the present now.  On August 6th, The Rotary International Nominating Committee selected Jennifer E. Jones of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario Canada to serve as Rotary International President for the 2022-23 Rotary year, a groundbreaking selection that will make her the first woman to hold the office of President in Rotary’s 115-year history.
One of the gifts that is given to those who serve within Rotary is the opportunity to meet many remarkable people.  I have been honored to know Jennifer for almost a decade.  I can speak firsthand of her compassion and ability to connect with people.  One of the dearest of many memories with Jennifer just occurred this past September.  I am blessed to be married to my best friend, confidant and harshest critic 😊, Jackie.  Jackie has always been very supportive of my involvement with Rotary, but is not a Rotarian herself.  She has often said “Rotary – that’s your thing”… but has always without hesitation supported my desire to get engaged in Rotary.  When selected to become your District Governor, I shared with Jackie that she and I would be traveling to the Zone Institute in Kansas City for training, as well as the Governor Elect Training in San Diego.  Over the years, Jennifer has heard of Jackie often… and so when the time came for us to visit Kansas City, Jennifer made it a point to search out Jackie out of a sea of thousands and ask her and I to sit with her and her husband Nick during dinner.  Jennifer made Jackie feel welcomed and made sure she was involved.  That is Jennifer’s special touch – her ability to connect.

I could go on and on… but I could not be more proud of Rotary’s selection of Jennifer Jones as our first female President of Rotary.  I am sure there are many more to follow… and look forward to the continued growth of female representation within our clubs, our district leadership, and the leadership of Rotary International.
Be sure to register for our Vibrant Club Workshop that will be held virtually on October 14th from 6-8 PM. 
Finally, Rotary has opened up to all a unique opportunity to participate in the 2020 Rotary Zone Institute.  It will be held virtually this year from September 8-13.  The Zone Institute provides training session for specific Rotary Positions.  Our district will be well represented during these trainings.  But in addition, there will be training sessions open to all that focus on areas of Membership, Public Image, and Leadership Development.  Rotarians can also register to attend the virtual plenary sessions that include some incredible presentations from our Rotary International President-Elect Shekhar Mehta, Rotary International Trustees Sangkoo Yun and Jorge Aufranc, Past Rotary International President Barry Rassin and our International Director Suzi Howe.  We will receive updates on Rotary’s Five Year Financial Forecast, an update on our battle to eliminate Polio from the world, and an update on the good works on our Foundation. 
The Rotary Zone institute is the closest thing to being at an International Convention.  Best of all… due to the virtual nature of the Institute, there is NO COST to register and attend.  Visit for the entire schedule and to register.
That’s enough for now… Thank you all for the great things you do in the name of Rotary!
Bill Pritchard