It is a pleasure to share Mélanie Schrauwer’s story with you as part of our Profiles of Women in Rotary. I first learned about Mélanie while at a Rotary training session. I was intrigued when I heard that it was the men in her Rotary Club who organized the baby shower for her most recent child, Mila! I knew that I had to speak to her.
What I learned is that Melanie is a very busy mom, entrepreneur, and Rotarian…but also someone who may very well have found that elusive recipe for balance.
How does Rotary align with your values?
Rotary’s motto, ‘Service Above Self’ has always held a special place in my heart. Our family thrives when helping others. We try to always be kind, generous and compassionate with our neighbours, friends and people of the world. To serve others is a priority.
What keeps you coming back every week?
The Rotary Club of Burlington Central consists of 65 friends who meet weekly. We can lean on one another professionally and personally! We have a lot of fun, with a common goal—to make a difference in our community.
What is/was the greatest challenge you’ve ever faced?
Prior to going on maternity leave, I struggled with my career and the direction it was taking. Making the decision to start my own business was a big one. I received an incredible amount of support from my Rotary friends. They never ceased to encourage me. I really do feel like I can do anything.
What do you consider your greatest accomplishment?
My kids and our family are what I am obviously the most proud. However, being a Rotarian allows me to teach our kids the importance of being involved in something other than ourselves. I am proud to be able to teach them that.
What was a defining turning points in your life?
I moved to Ontario, from Chicoutimi, QC, when I was 18 and didn’t speak English. I worked hard to pick up the language and make a decent life for myself. I will never forget those who helped me along the way. Rotary gives me a chance to ‘pay it forward.’
What do you consider your greatest Rotary moment?
While visiting Fort Worth, Texas, I had a chance to attend the District Conference dinner with a friend. She is the person who sponsored my Rotary membership and my dearest friend. They do say to invite your best friends to become Rotarians!! The focus for the event was polio. Members of organizations such as Centre for Disease Control, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Past Director of Rotary International, Phil Silvers, spoke about the polio situation as of May 2013. The presentations were interesting and incredibly eye-opening. I am proud to be a part of an organization so dedicated to ridding the world of this terrible disease.
What are your future Rotary goals?
Short-term, I would like to become more involved on the District level. Not a position, per se but, promoting Rotary to younger people, even young parents. Being a part of the membership growth campaign.
Long-term, I would like to take my family on an international trip. Whether it be a vaccination mission or other projects. Since Mila is only one, this is super long term goal!
If you could tell another woman one thing about Rotary membership, what would it be?
GET INVOLVED! Break the mold. One of my fellow Rotarians, an older gentleman, calls the 18 women in our club the “powerhouses”! We get things done!
Rotary membership adds positive value for woman. Having women with so much experience become my friends has given me courage, knowledge and the “can do” attitude I didn’t have before! There is no limitations for women today. The only limitations are the ones we inflict on ourselves!
Is there anything you would like to add?
Rotary has changed my life. It has made me a better person and has given me a feeling of “belonging”.