Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Governor for the next biennium. I am part of a leadership team, which has a good mix of individuals with prior District Board experience and fresh new faces with new ideas and energy. I’m sure I speak for them when I say we are looking forward to these next two years.
However, before we look forward, I’d like us to look back to the last biennium. We can be proud of many achievements and should use the momentum gain from them to propel us into the future.
We developed a District Strategy, the Virtuous Zonta Circle, to emphasize the inter-connection and synergistic energy of coupling Service, Advocacy, community awareness, and membership. We saw increased cross-club and strategic partner collaborations such as the Area 4 Zonta Says No Advocacy march and St Charles, Geneva, Batavia’s LunaFest. We surveyed and trained members on Advocacy skills and found; 1) we do more advocacy then we realize and 2) Telling Your Story is powerful and easier than you think. We added to our ‘Next Generation of Zonta’ pool with new Z and Golden Z Clubs. While official biennial Membership statistics revealed no growth, we also had no loss in overall membership. Therefore, the initial 5% growth did buffer our end of the year losses.
Now let’s look forward. “What do we want to look like in the next 100 years?” To keep our Clubs and District vital, we need to build on these achievements to meet our challenges.
We have an aging membership with several Clubs not only small but feeling old and tired. The Evanston Club recently disbanded for just that reason. Insular clubs are at risk also since they miss out on re-vitalization through networking and Zonta education at workshop and conference. Leadership “burn-out” and hesitancy by Club members to step up to Leadership roles is prevalent in many of our Clubs. Club projects and fundraisers also have a tendency to get old, tired and no longer relevant to our members or the community. And, the age-old “What is Zonta?” still is a problem.
Again, let’s look back and not be discouraged. We have our past achievements to build on as we deal with these challenges. Network, share, collaborate, and step up to these challenges and our Clubs and District will be stronger and better ready for the next 100 years. Your new leadership team is eager to address these challenges, but remember it is the responsibility of every member to “Add Your Voice” to the effort. For “If not now, then when?” and “If not you, then who?”