Posted by Pete DeLaunay on Mar 17, 2022
President Jimmy called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m., in-person at the Westin and on Zoom.  Song leader Raymond Tymas-Jones accompanied by Ryan Bunbury led Rotarians in a St. Patrick’s Day favorite, When Irish Eyes are Smiling; and followed by Bill Center with the day’s inspiration focused on the plight of Ukrainian refugees caught up since 2/24 in Putin’s   unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.  In context with the recent ‘cold open’ where two cast members introduced the Ukrainian Chorus who then performed their anthem followed by the familiar intro, ‘live from New York’ it was Saturday Night’.   Ukraine has a deep, rich tradition of choral music.   “On this occasion, the performance brought me to tears,” Bill said.  “It's even more moving once you know the words of the prayer – so wise – selfless – and humble”.
Lord, oh the Great and Almighty, Protect our beloved Ukraine, Bless her with freedom and light Of your holy rays.
With learning and knowledge enlighten Us, your children small, In love pure and everlasting Let us, oh Lord, grow.
We pray, oh Lord Almighty, Protect our beloved Ukraine, Grant our people and country All your kindness and grace.
Bless us with freedom, bless us with wisdom, Guide into kind world, Bless us, oh Lord, with good fortune.  Forever and ever more. – Amen ay Night”  
Rotarian, David Bobanick, came to the podium to describe how the invasion in Ukraine has become a humanitarian crisis impacting more than 3 million Ukrainians fleeing the country. “For everyone one of those refugees there is a family story,” he said,” and Rotary is helping these refugees through a special fund to support those on the ground in those five/six countries that border Ukraine”.  Rotary clubs in those countries have stepped up to help, tapping the Rotary Disaster Response Fund to provided much needed aid.  He said these humanitarian efforts will be ongoing, “not just something that happens in the moment”.  He encouraged Rotarians to make a donation to Rotary International's Disaster Relief Fund: Your donation will be matched by Seattle Rotary (up to a total of $5,000) to increase the amount of support our club is giving to displaced Ukrainians.  President Jimmy reminded Rotarians of our club theme: Inspired leaders connecting for good.  
Since 1995, presidents have issued annual proclamations designating March as “Women's History Month.”  These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made.  To recognize and acknowledge women in Rotary, President Jimmy introduced Seattle 4 President-elect, president of the Seattle Sports Commission, Beth Knox to lead a panel of women who have contributed to Rotary and inspired hope -- Seattle 4’s second woman President, Dorothy Bullitt; past Bellevue Rotary president and incoming Assistant Governor, Rachele Bouchand, and International District Rotarian, Vijya Patel.
Beth began with an overview of how women were admitted to Rotary beginning in 1978 when the all-male Rotary Constitution and individual club Charters resisted women in Rotary.  Finally, in May 1987, U.S. Supreme Court of Appeals ruled in favor of allowing women in Rotary; and in 1989 Rotary officially changed the constitution to allow women to join Rotary Clubs.
“It was a watershed time when the court ruled Rotary clubs may not exclude women from membership on the basis of gender,” she said. “Since then, Rotary has benefited from an inclusion of diverse voices and experiences that have sharpened Rotary’s reach and impact in communities throughout the world”.
Community leader, attorney and senior lecturer at the UW Evans School, Dorothy Bullitt was the second president of Seattle #4 in 1987.  She joined for business reasons but was skeptical at the outset as there was some awkwardness at the tables. “My prejudges were quickly dissipated,” she said, “as I got tremendous support from fellow Rotarians who helped me professionally and personally as I found Rotary as my home.”   Although Dorothy said she had all sorts of opportunities for leadership development, she quickly discovered how much common ground there is crossing political lines and being supported by many men in the club where she was welcomed, mentored and under took many projects as a volunteer to help the community.  Dorothy was also a leader in helping Seattle #4 become a more diverse club.  “I worked with then president-elect, Ralph Munro, to engage young people,” she said,” forming the Young Rotary Professional program to recruit leaders in the making.”
Past Bellevue Rotary president and incoming Seattle 4 Assistant Governor, Rachele Bouchard, is managing director of a wealth management and estate planning firm. She is assistant Governor and District Governor-elect in 2024-25. “I was tricked into becoming a Rotarian at the Bellevue Club as one for four or five members who were under 40,” she said. “Since then I have been impressed with speakers at our club and the Rotarians I have met there.”   She encouraged Rotarians to get the word out that Rotary is welcoming and to spread the word as Rotary is not the best at sharing what it does.  Rachele values Rotary for leadership development, mentoring, and even more training as a volunteer. “When called to volunteer it is wonderful to be with great leaders that have benefitted me throughout my career,” she said. “and an opportunity to grow my wings”.
International District Rotarian, Vijya Patel, manages her own real estate business, growing up with principles of giving back. “We are a small boutique firm and I wanted to be involved with the greater community,” she said. “Rotary became a wonderful way to meet people who are making a difference, so I jumped right in taking on one project that led to another”.   She was inspired by the passionate engagement of Rotarians with important programs.
Beth and the panel were an ideal team to highlight Rotary’s engagement with women during March, “Women’s History Month”.
Program Chair, David Fain, came to the podium with a preview of next week’s program Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring with Lisa Fain (no relation), CEO, and founder of the Center for Mentoring Excellence.
President Jimmy closed the meeting with his reflections about sustainable leadership and how courage is the backbone of leadership. “Sustainable leadership involves character, competence and courage,” he said. “Since the time of the cave man, there are three ways to get people to act. Authority, reward and the courage to ethically model and inspire others to be their best selves”.  

Special Thanks to Meeting Reporter Pete DeLaunay! 

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