Advice from Kathi Smith…
Throughout the past 25 years, Rotary has taught Kathi Smith many things. Along the way, she has experienced friendship, fun, change that makes a difference, found opportunity to network and gain valuable leadership skills. When she advises other women, “what are you waiting for—join today. There is something for everyone”, she knows of what she speaks.
When she arrived in Kitchener from Burlington to work with Junior Achievement, Kathi joined Kitchener Rotary because some asked her to join. Kathi and Pat Talman were asked to join Kitchener Rotary Club as the first women in the area (actually the District). She as attracted to Rotary through its work locally and internationally. The local clubs were also strong supporters of Junior Achievement. Becoming a Rotarian facilitated Kathi’s pursuit of her passion, making a difference in the lives of children in our community and making a difference in the lives of children around the world.
During her tenure as a Rotarian, Kathi has served chairperson of the Youth Exchange, treasurer and attended district conferences on an annual basis to gain a fuller understanding of Rotary. A clear focus of her Rotary activity has been her involvement as a Group Study Exchange Team leader.
In 1999, Kathi led an exchange team to District 2660 in Osaka, Japan. She returned determined to see a Pease Monument erected somewhere in KW. As such, it was a proud moment for Kathi when the Rotary Peace Park in Waterloo dedicated.
Five years after leading the exchange, Kathi returned to Osaka to attend an RI Convention. This afforded her the opportunity to visit her host families. It also left her awe struck by the opening ceremonies at the Osaka Dome where 50,000 people were in attendance. These experiences have inspired her to attend many more RI conventions: Chicago, Salt Lake City, LA, Copenhagen, Montréal and New Orleans.
Kathi continues her involvement in training at the Zone Level for GSE/Scholars prior to leaving the country. Time conflicts at noon caused her to transfer her membership to the breakfast club of Kitchener Grand River, where she has served as a director and President.
While accompanying Kathi on her many Rotary-related ventures, her husband Ray takes great delight in correcting the assumption that he is the Rotarian by quipping “Kathi is the Rotarian, I am the Rotary Ann”.
Kathi’s involvement has led to receiving several Paul Harris awards. She attests to the richness and variety of the Rotary experience. From her perspective, Kathi believes that Rotary is not just one thing. “It is a great organization to help you fulfill your dreams of making a difference on a local or global scale or both; of networking; of developing leadership of making friends; of learning more about yourself and realizing just how small our world is”.