Our Presidents Speak - August 22, 2016


Our Presidents Speak: Barbara Guthrie, Worcester

Please tell us what factors helped you decide to join Rotary.
The first time I joined Rotary, I was interested in becoming part of an organization of “doers.” I was the executive director of a nonprofit organization that served low-income people. I wanted to tell their story and I wanted to interest the business community in recognizing there was a great need for the community to recognize these needs. It was all about networking, fellowship and giving back to the community.
When I came back to Rotary after having left for a few years due to work commitments, it was to fulfill those needs again. I am a person who wants and needs to be involved and Rotary provides the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the community and in the world.
Of your Club’s activities, what do you consider the one thing that best identifies what your Club is all about?
I truly believe that the Rotary Club of Worcester is all about networking, fellowship and service. I feel that the words “networking” and “fellowship” are interchangeable.  There is great camaraderie in the group. There is a strong core of members who truly step up to the plate and can be counted on to help when needed.
What is your Club doing this year to attract new members?
Bob Mangan, our immediate past president, is this year’s membership Committee chair. He is in the process of building a strong committee and is planning several events to attract new members. We plan to attend the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo again this year. With a strong Membership Committee, we should have a good follow-up plan to attract potential new members to the organization. Bob is planning a breakfast event for potential new members as well. We also want to encourage existing members to sponsor new members. 
Do you have any advice to offer others in the District about how best to achieve a successful fund raiser?
First, you have to have buy-in from the membership, both in what you are raising money for and your fundraising plan. Your goals need to be attainable. Then, it needs to be all hands on deck.  The full membership needs to support the effort for the club to be successful.
Do you have any innovative plans for Rotary related to publicity during your presidency?
We started by putting our meeting notices in the Sunday Telegram’s “Business Matters” section.  Club member Matt Erskine agreed to take this on.  We now have co-chairs for our Public Relations Committee, and one member, Brad Wyatt, is responsible for social media. We have a website and a Facebook page.  Our other co-chair, Frank Doherty, is responsible for print media.  I am hoping we will have a larger presence in the newspapers - both print and online - than we have had for some time. The Worcester Club will be 105 years old this year. Between that and The Rotary Foundation’s 100th anniversary, there are stories to be told.
As president, what is your biggest concern for the coming year?
Engaging the whole membership, getting people involved in committees, and getting people to attend events, whether they are fundraisers or service projects. Time is a precious commodity these days, but if everyone could find their niche and make a contribution in terms of service, we could be that much more successful in what we do.
What is the best book you have read in the past three years?
I love to read. I was brought up in a reading family. My children are all big readers. My problem is that I have a difficult time allowing myself to take the time to read unless I am at the beach!  As far as a favorite book, I have read many. I love mysteries. Some of my favorite authors are Stuart Woods, James Patterson and John Grisham. I also enjoy “sagas” - particularly around the World War Two era. I have one that I am going to be taking on vacation: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.
What’s your favorite quotation?
One of my favorites is, “A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” I can’t help but think that if more people would take the time to smile at others, we would have more peace in this world.
What is your favorite restaurant in your community?
Well, living in Princeton, I would have to say Sonoma.  That is the place to go if you are celebrating a special occasion and money is no object!
What one thing would you recommend as a “must see,” a “hidden treasure,” for visitors to your community.
This is a tough question. Living in Central Massachusetts, there are so many special places to visit and to tour. Many of them are places we aren’t even aware of. Think about it. Within a two-hour radius, we can visit places along the shore, the mountains, as well as inland. We are very fortunate to have myriad “special” places to visit, depending on the interests of your visitors.
Barbara Guthrie, president of Worcester Rotary, may be reached at bguthrie1@verizon.net.