Posted by Paul Casey on Mar 17, 2023

President Beth called Seattle 4 Rotary Club  to order at 12:30 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2023. The meeting was held at the Rainier Club in downtown Seattle and via Zoom.

Inspiration for the Day

Cathy Gibson  addressed new initiatives underway that will revisit oversight and the mission of Seattle 4 Rotary Club.   

What are Rotarians vision and new ideas? Contact Cathy if you are interested in joining this effort.

President Beth acknowledged Jimmy Collins and Eric Newman  with a pin, marking their 10 years of Rotarian membership.

She then introduced guests and new Rotarians.

Short Program

The short program was introduced by Ken Grant, that featured Jack Schaloun.

Jack went through his family history of coming to Seattle for the first time in 1951 and opening surplus stores in Seattle, that has now expanded to Long Island. His customers are now worldwide. On another note, Jack paid tribute to his parents who opened up the surplus stores with almost no income. He also mentioned that his parents survived the holocaust.  

Featured Speaker

Former CEO and Fortune 500 Executive Colleen Brown addressed the current and future role of women on non-profit and corporate boards.

Ms. Brown is an experienced CEO and a former media executive. She has served on a number of corporate boards throughout her career.

She was honored as Director of the Year in 2017 by the Pacific Northwest National Association of Corporate Directors.

She said that when she began her career serving on corporate boards she was totally surrounded by men. She cited studies that show gender balance is good for business. 

She spoke of a defining moment when she was in New York, when then president of CBS Tony Malara came up to her and introduced her to numerous executives at the gathering at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. She said that the gesture had a huge impact on her. She decided right then that she would do whatever she could to advance women in the corporate world.      

Ms. Brown then provided an overview of women’s current and projected positions on non-profit and corporate boards.

Overall, she said that women’s positions are improving. Some European countries have minimum quotas on how many women must be allowed to serve on corporate boards. She sees some benefits to this type of structure but also sees some drawbacks.

The U.S. does not have a quota system.

Women make up about 25% of corporate boards in Washington state, which ranks 18th in the U.S.

She said that in 2014 Washington was seriously lagging in this area.

She pointed to several reasons why women are held back:

  • Gender Stereotypes
  • Lack of Role Models
  • Resistance to Change
  • Visibility

The future of Corporate Boards

  • More diverse
  • Women make up 44% of Fortune 100 companies and that will only grow
  • Digital Literacy is a must for everyone serving on corporate boards in the future.
  • Strategically driven
  • Greater Accountability
  • More Callaborative
  • More engagement with employees
  • Continue learning the strengths and weaknesses of Chat GPT and other AI technologies
  • More responsive
  • Disruptive
  • Women have unique strengths
  • “Do not make an assumption if you don’t have the facts.” 


What makes a “qualified” woman?

Coming up through the ranks.

Corporation v. Non-profit

Many non-profits are governed like a for profit.  Differences aren’t that great.

Not a good idea.

President Beth said 600 donations will be made to Harvest Against Hunger in Colleen Brown’s name.


John Adams, Director of Rainer Club Board was asking Rotarians to consider joining the Rainier Club.

If interested, contact the Rainier Club.

John Steckler reviewed the status of Seattle Rotary membership

  • 5 new members
  • There is a concerted effort underway to recruit new corporate members. (Visit with John if have any ideas.)
  • Currently there are 30 corporate members

President Beth closed meeting with local sports highlights.

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