#WomenWednesday Rotary Profile – Patsy Marshall

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On June 25th, Rotarians of District 7080 will welcome new District Governor (DG), Patsy Marshall. We are thrilled to profile our incoming DG in this edition of Women in Rotary.

A member of the Guelph Trillium Rotary Club, Patsy has had a distinguished record of service in Rotary. As a passionate, dedicated Rotarian, she has been involved in a variety of club and district committees, has served on her club’s Board of Directors, and was President of her club in 2000/2001. During her year as President, her club chartered the Rotary Club of Guelph South. It has since become a vibrant club.

Patsy was an Assistant Governor with the Guelph Wellington Cluster, in 2010 and 2011, taking on a variety of assignments. She continues to be actively involved as a member of the District Training Committee, especially with President Elect Training (PETS) I and II, and Club Leadership Training. She is a member of the District Foundation Committee, the District Conference Planning Committee, and is an engaged, certified instructor with the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI). Patsy speaks at Camp Enterprise, and at the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) program, as an avid supporter of young adults. She has encouraged other clubs to support Youth Services.

Patsy is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and is a member of the Paul Harris Society. In addition, Patsy has been involved with numerous community boards and committees, as a leader and as a member, throughout her lifetime. In 2012, she received the Woman of Distinction Award for Training and Education, from the YW/YMCA of Guelph. She has also received the J. David Stewart Award from Conestoga College, in 2007, for excellence in teaching and leadership.

Married to Jim, owner of Vac-Man, they live in Guelph and have two grown children; Peter and Heather, a daughter-in-law Natalie and a son-in-law Matt. In addition to family outings and getting together with friends, international travelling and gardening are passions for Jim and Patsy.

As a farm girl, Patsy was educated at Medway High School in Arva, and then attended the University of Guelph (B.A.Sc. 1974 and a M.Sc. in 1976). Her career has been in health care and education, and her vocational classification is Adult Education. She served in senior leadership roles in respiratory medicine for eight years and was Director of Education for Homewood Health Centre (a psychiatric hospital) for eight years. Patsy has owned her own training and development company, Train on Track, for over 20 years and focuses on training soft/people skills to develop the human side of business. She continues to offer leadership and management training programs to several Top Fortune 500 companies. In addition, Patsy continues to teach with Conestoga College, Sheridan College, the University of Guelph, Brock University, and BlCVeWlIUAIfiSlthe University of Waterloo. Patsy’s distinguished career has provided her with unique leadership opportunities as she has developed colleagues and coached many high performing teams.

Patsy is excited about the new challenge ahead as District Governor for 7080, supported by fellow Rotarians, family and friends. She hopes that during her year, her District will continue to be a resource to clubs, encouraging Rotarians in District 7080 to reflect on what Rotary means to them and their contributions to the world of Rotary as they Light Up Rotary! 

Q. Why did you join Rotary?

I liked what my [Rotary] sponsor told me – sounded like I would be joining other professionals to make a difference in my community and around the world. And there would be fun!

Q. How would you describe your Rotary experience in one word?

Rewarding.

Q. What was your Rotary Path?

I began my professional career as a teacher at the Rotary Children`s Centre (Guelph) with five special needs children aged 18 months to three years of age—all in diapers. At that time, I didn`t know what Rotary was, or what the wheel affixed to the building meant.

I joined the Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium in 1996. By 2000-2001 I was President. After this, I joined the District training team. From 2008-2010, I had the privilege to be the Assistant Governor of the Guelph-Wellington Cluster. In 2011/12 I was invited to be the District Governor Nominee Nominee. The last two years have been a whirlwind. Now I am looking forward to the honour of accepting the role of 7080 District Governor 2014/15.

Along the way, I have received multiple Paul Harris fellows and I enjoy being one of the facilitators with the 7080 Rotary Leadership Institute team.

Q. What was the greatest challenge you`ve ever faced?  

As a child, I required major surgeries for a bone condition which impacted my physical ability. My parents were brave and prepared me for what was to come.

Because the surgery I had as an infant had not been successful, I had to wear steel braces until my 13th birthday. When I went in for surgery again, this time with a more successful outcome, my mother told me that I would need to learn to walk all over again. I thought she was joking. She wasn`t.

I still remember my dogged determination to get on my feet as soon as possible. After being in a body cast for five months, and two months of rehabilitation, I was chasing those young interns and my orthopaedic surgeon around!

Most children at school were wonderful, too. They always included me. I played baseball and was goalie in soccer – although I let more balls go in the net, than I stopped. My brother and sister were supportive, too. I was not treated differently which really helped me to overcome adversity and become self-confident.

I bring the lessons I learned during my childhood to every challenge I face.

Q. What`s the best advice about Rotary you`ve received?

Remember to consider the big picture items in Rotary. I received this sage advice from Past District Governor, Ian Ferguson.

Q. Rotary does Rotary align with your own values? 

I have always been a giver and Rotary enables me to share my vocation to make a difference in people`s lives.

Q. What Rotary initiatives are you passionate about?  

So many things!

And, of course, Club fellowship and connections with similar-minded individuals. All of the above come with membership, and being an active member.

Q. Do you think Rotary membership adds positive value for woman?

Yes; all of the above and brings a sense of inner peace.

Q. If you could tell another woman one thing about Rotary membership, what would it be?

You will never regret becoming a Rotarian.

Q. What do you consider to be your greatest Rotary moment?

Being told I would become a Rotary District Governor!

To find out more about Rotary and how you can have an impact locally or globally, visit the Guelph Trillium Rotary Club website, or check out the District 7080 Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

Mediation in the life of a peace builder

Rotary Voices

Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop. Dimitra Messini, left, discusses mediation with another participant of the workshop.

By Dimitra Messini, a 2013-15 Rotary Peace Fellow at International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan 

Having chosen to pursue human rights as a lawyer, mediation has been a major part of my life. Even in my home country of Greece where mediation is not a popular practice, I have used mediation to resolve issues, helping married couples in prolonged disputes or companies with substantial lawsuits. Every kind of law, from criminal to civil, has a place for mediation. 

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Kitchener Rotary Down Under

The ramblings of a first-time Rotary International Conference goer

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G’day from Sydney!

This is my first Rotary International (RI) Conference. The conference is a privilege and requirement for incoming Presidents of the Rotary Club of Kitchener; and certainly something I was looking forward to. I viewed it as a chance to connect with Rotarians across the globe and discover a bit about the southern hemisphere.

But, only one day into the conference, what I have found is so much more.

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Since arriving nearly a week ago, David and I found the watermark of Rotary everywhere. Stepping off the plane, we were greeted by two Rotarians from Australia—Past District Governor, Alex McHarg and David Martin—as well as a volunteer friend, Robert Scott. The trio helped us with travel information and offered a friendly face after the fifteen-hour plane ride.

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This welcoming atmosphere would be replicated right across the city over the course of the next week. Where ever we went, Sydney welcomed us with specular restaurants, Rotary flags lining the streets, and the incredible Vivid Light Show which included a display of the Rotary wheel.

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We quickly discovered that a simple Rotary pin gave us free access to all means of transport; bus, ferry, and their sophisticated network of trains. A gift from our generous host state, New South Wales. A gift we put to great use exploring the city.

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Although the trains of Sydney are traditionally quiet (in fact, they have entire cars dedicated for this purpose), the trains to Sydney Olympic Park for the opening ceremonies was anything but! Stuffed with Rotarians from the four corners of the globe, laughter and camaraderie echoed freely throughout the cars of the train. Many people meeting for the first time and filled with excited anticipation of the day ahead.

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I rode the train with new friends from Arizona and a community radio host, Peter Saville from Mid North Coast of New South Wales. An outside observer would think we’d known each other for longer than just 30 minutes!

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We were greeted on the Olympic Park platform by a jazz band playing despite a soft drizzle. Peter promptly informed us that jazz is very popular on Australia, with its own dedicated station. In the midst of the Park the Olympic Caldron burned brightly. Special authorization was granted to have the caldron lit in recognition of the many Rotarians who hosted Olympic families.

With over 20,000 in attendance, it was no wonder we soon lost each other in the House of Friendship. The building, dubbed The Billabong (the waterhole) by Australia’s indigenous people, was an enormous space. It was fitted with replica outback homesteads and pseudo-habitats—even an enormous replica Harbour Bridge!

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To secure a good seat for the opening ceremonies (this year’s conference is so full that they’ve had to arrange two opening ceremonies!), I made my way to the AllPhones Arena. The arena was typically reserved for entertainment industry’s most prestigious and spectacular events. On my way I crossed paths with another President Elect, Karen Morgan. Karen is incoming President of the Rotary Club of Juneau. We shared stories of our clubs and hopes for our upcoming leadership roles. I was intrigued to learn that her club is nearly 50 per cent female and they have found an interesting way to engage young professionals—especially new moms. She was interested in our President’s Advisory Breakfast and our wine quizzes.

We were successful in our efforts, locating two seats on the floor in the second section. We were soon join by the very outgoing, District Governor Elect for 5440, Julie Phares. She danced away with Human Nature and even showed us the tattoo of the Rotary wheel that she had been dared to get when she accepted the DG role. I can’t wait to share this bit of information with our own DG Nominee, Bill Proctor!

The ceremonies launched with a stunning performance by traditional dancers from the NSW Public Schools Traditional Dance Company. The performance was a ‘welcome’ to the Rotarians gathered on aboriginal lands by the aboriginal custodians of the land. It was very powerful. After which, Convention Chair Mark Maloney took to the stage to welcome everyone. He rang the bell like he’d been waiting ten years to do it (and he had!).

The Rotary Parade of Flags were delivered to the stadium by the young men and women of Australia’s Surf Life Saving. The group, known for their selfless acts of bravery, rowed the flags to the stadium starting at Manly Beach. The reading of the 180 countries (including the recent addition of Myanmar!) was provided by RI Director-elect, Julie Phelps.

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The Honourable Mike Baird, Premier of New South Wales (only six weeks into his role) told those gathered that he’d seen the great work of Rotary tackling issues such as homelessness and mental health. He went on to say that when emergencies broke out, like bush fires and floods, Rotarians were always prepared to step up; to say, “we are here to help.”

But it was the surprise announcement of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott—whose father Dick, a 40-year Rotarian, was in attendance—that drew the greatest applause. Abbot stated that his government would commit a whopping $100 million towards fighting polio! He also dubbed everyone in the crowd “honorary Australians.”

Canada’s Monty Audenart introduced RI President Ron Burton. Burton highlighted the innovative work being done on every corner of the globe to change lives, all in the name of Rotary.

When the lights finally came up, the convention hall was electric! Everyone excited for the days ahead and proud to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. I wondered how I would ever be able to bring the essence of the day back to our Club in a meaningful way.

On the way out I ran into our unstoppable District Governor-elect, Patsy Marshall, and rode the train back to my hotel with the Rotarian couple; District Governor Debra Rodenbaugh-Schaub and Past President of Konza Rotary Club, Patrick Schaub. They shared a very touching story about how they met and married because of Rotary. “He came pre-screened,” said Debra, referring to the Rotary four-way test.

Changing for final train, I was stopped by one of the many Rotarians in yellow vests stationed on the platforms.

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“You’re from Kitchener,” he said reading my badge. He beamed as he pointed out a small gold pin on his lanyard that read, “Kitchener”. “I met a Rotarian from Kitchener earlier today and he gave me this pin.”

I smiled. “Was his name John Thompson?”

“It was!” he responded.

Today I was reminded how proud I am to be a Rotarian; proud to be a part of an organization that includes so many of the wonderfully warm and friendly people I met today; and those, like John Thompson, that I have known for years.

I wonder what day two will bring…

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