Posted by Roy A. Balfour on Jan 16, 2021
Paul Harris started Rotary asking fellow business professionals to use their skills to help their community. People join Rotary for fellowship, networking, but, unlike some Business Networking International groups, to also have an impact on their community and their world. Fellowship and networking are often overlooked, yet are Rotary's most powerful tools. Vocational service is one of Rotary’s main efforts. It is in that context that Rotary developed the "Rotary Means Business fellowship years ago for Rotarians, to help fellow Rotarians grow their businesses.
The Rotary Means Business fellowship recognizes these are difficult economic times, and in District 7910 we would like to expand that fellowship and vocational service view to include Rotarians helping Rotarians and their community, under the banner of Rotary At Work, in three main areas:
• Growth in business
• Mentoring
The Rotary at Work team of District 7910 held its monthly Economic Forum: Brainstorming Sessions on January 5 via Zoom, to find out if this had value, and did any Rotarians want to help harness the power of Rotary. Brainstorming sessions confirmed there is value to these areas and strong interest in moving forward under an expanding service banner of "Rotary at Work." Although the "why" (COVID-19 economy) was clear to everyone, the "who", "how" and "when" are under construction.
To watch a 47-minute video of the summaries of the breakout sessions, click here.
Following are key points from each of the three breakout rooms of Jobs, Growth and Mentoring, as well as a survey summary of those that attended, and next steps.
Jobs: Rotarians saw value in helping Rotarians and non-Rotarians looking for jobs or employees, as follows:
  • Create a special Rotary LinkedIn Group to allow the exchange of needs for seekers and employers, based on Rotary fellowship principles.
  • Provide Loom/YouTube links for LinkedIn group members to use outside of meeting spaces for resources, information, contacts, and exposure.
  • Schedule speakers for job seekers on relevant topics in today’s job search.
  • Provide opportunities for employers to promote current openings/personnel needs.
  • Provide contact and network opportunities to mentor.
  • Provide growth subgroups to create larger personal networks.
Growth: Rotarians saw value in helping Rotarians and non-Rotarians to grow their businesses, as follows:
  • Create a directory: What product/service do you provide, and who are your target clients.
  • Set up continuity of interactive virtual meetings.
  • Highlight businesses of those who attend, at both events and via e-mail.
  • Develop a success matrix. Possibly measuring number of referrals given/received.
  • Past District Governor Karin Gaffney suggests that expanding the annual District Membership Directory to include such information may help.
  • What kind of mentoring can you "give?"
  • What kind of mentoring would you "want?"
  • Overarching theme: Rotary members have a wealth of business experience, skills and experiences to share and use for mentoring business owners - from start-up to exit.
    • For business operations: Leverage the knowledge of Rotary business owners and retirees to help business owners with their COVID response - to help them deal with the issues of trying to keep their business alive.
    • For professional/skill development: Develop a program to help newer businesses with the basics of getting their business up and running.
    • For both, provide workshops/educational opportunities to help develop speaking and presentation skills. o Engage possibly working with other community organizations such as Toastmasters.
    • For community/social good: Encourage Rotarians to get more involved with mentoring young people and helping woman/minorities with career- and business-skill development. There was a side benefit to this in potentially attracting these folks to want to join Rotary.
    • Because people often don't know whom to ask for help, potentially establish a database of Rotarians who would want to be mentors, with a list of the skills/experiences they have, for Rotarians and non-Rotarians looking for such help.
Survey results: All respondents saw value in continuing to develop this effort. But to make them more enjoyable and productive, create more opportunities for give and take. Topic breakout rooms would be an analogy to Rotary meetings, where smaller groups of Rotarians sit around a table and share ideas on how to solve a specific problem.
Next step: Rotary At Work will set up follow-up district meetings with longer breakout sessions on jobs, growth, and mentoring, to develop organization and implementation plans (who, how, and when).
Save the date: District 7910's next monthly Economic Forum - free, and open to both Rotarians and non-Rotarians - is set for Tuesday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Respectfully submitted by the District 7910 Rotary At Work team:
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