Jennifer Jones, Rotary International Director 2015-2017
Jennifer is the President and CEO of Media Street Productions Inc., a television production company in Windsor, ON. She is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland and is a Past District Governor of District 6400.
In Rotary, she is the Chair of the Strengthening Rotary’s Advisory Group and has served as the Moderator of the 2013 RC/RPIC Institute, Vice Chair of the RI Communication Committee, North American RPIC Coordinator, the Advisory Board for Rotary Canada and the RI Promotions Committee’s for Lisbon and New Orleans. She is serving a third term as Seminar Leader at the International Assembly 2014 and has been a featured speaker at this event on three occasions.
Jennifer also contributes much of her energy to local organizations. She is the Chair of the Board of Governors at the University of Windsor and the immediate past Chair of the Board of Directors at the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.
She has been recognized with many awards and recognitions including Rotary’s Service above Self Award, the YMCA Peace Medallion, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and Wayne State University’s Peacemaker of the Year Award – a first for a Canadian.
Jennifer is happily married to Nick Krayacich, a local family physician. They share a love for many things including travel, cycling, golf and relaxing at their family cottage. They share a thirst for adventure and reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa in January 2009.
As champions of The Rotary Foundation, they are members of the Arch C. Klumph Society, the Paul Harris Society and are charter members of the Bequest Society.
PDG Jennifer Jones has been selected to serve as Rotary International Director in 2015-2017. As of December 1, 2013, she is officially our Zones 28-29 Director-nominee. What a great time for all of us to get to know Jennifer as she begins her preparations.
What are two of your most memorable Rotary experiences?
How do you select just two…. there are so many Rotary experiences that have framed the way I think, feel and act. I think for most of us it’s the intimate, shared experiences as a Rotarian…the joys and the sorrows of life are that much richer when you walk alongside those who you cherish.
A day I will never forget was being a club president on 9/11. By about 10am I began receiving emails and phone calls asking if we would be cancelling our meeting. I knew this was an important time for us to be together and share our feelings…so the meeting went on, but certainly not as had been planned.
Our members all arrived that day and as Canadian’s we stood belting out the Star Spangled Banner and weeping with our neighbors to the south. Rotary punctuates more than anything that we exist without boundaries and borders and that day as human beings we were all united.
A second memorable experience that I have been recently reflecting upon was being the Host Organizing Chair of the Rotary World Peace Summit in April 2008 in Windsor, ON. It was a dynamic, three-day event in which over 1000 people attended including 400 young people. Rotarians came from far corners of the world and we opened the doors to the community to attend. More than 3500 people participated in a parade of flags along the Detroit River and an outdoor opening ceremony. It was breathtaking.
There were many notable speakers including UN Ambassadors, Nobel Nominees, Rotary Senior Leaders and on Sunday morning a “spirited” keynote address from Robert Kennedy Jr.
What first attracted you to Rotary?
I first attended Rotary because I was asked. It may sound cliché but I think this is the case for so many Rotarians. I was 27 – had just started my business and didn’t have a family history in Rotary. I really didn’t have much of an idea of what I was getting into at first but once I walked through the doors and saw like-minded people, some who I knew and some I didn’t, I was hooked. Right away I was asked to chair our club’s big Lobsterfest fundraiser. While terrified, I agreed. Ahhh…youth! It was a great lesson for me about engaging new members in Rotary. You have to give them something meaningful to do.
How has Rotary changed your life?
The most profound way that Rotary has changed my life is how it’s affected my family and my circle of friends. My husband Nick is a Rotarian, as is my mom. As a matter of fact, the last official act I performed as a District Governor was installing my mom into Rotary.
The embarrassing part of this story is that I am not the sponsor of either one. Sometimes we look right past what is in front of us and miss the opportunity to share service with those closest to us.
They both had the opportunity to serve as club presidents last year. We all attended PETS together. Nick doubled the size of his club and my mom hosted an incredible international Rotary Peace Walk.
As of late, we have reflected upon how our membership in Rotary has deepened our marriage – making this life journey even more special by sharing in service.
What are your goals for service on the Board of Directors?
While the role of the Director is one that governs the organization at large – I think there are opportunities to continue to grow relationships within our paired Zones – everything we do needs to be focused on improving the club experience …and this is a theme that is central to all of my thinking.
We are truly entering into what will be one of our most historic times as an organization with the end of polio and strengthened brand communications.
However, our biggest task in North America is to continue to focus our attention on the North American Membership Plan and make it real to Rotarians so they are able to take action.
And finally on a more personal note, I’m quite excited to work with President Nominee Ravi Ravindran. I have had the wonderful opportunity to work with him over the past several years and he is an outstanding Rotarian, incredible business mind and a progressive thinker.
What do you see as Rotary’s biggest challenges?
Membership is definitely our biggest challenge. If we don’t have Rotarians we don’t have Rotary and then nothing else matters. We can’t rely on the same old business model and expect things to change. Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
What about you would surprise your fellow Rotarians?
While attending University for a degree in communications, I worked full time in radio at AM800 CKLW. This is the station that launched all of the Motown greats including Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and so many more.
I began as the world’s worst overnight disc jockey and then transferred quickly into the newsroom where I found my passion. I loved being an anchor and reporter and breaking news as it happened. These were formative years and the most profound lesson learned was about the power of story telling – a skill that I now rely on daily in sharing Rotary with others.
There are many other things that people wouldn’t know but one other memorable surprise would be that I starred in a movie called “The Gift of Time”. It was shown nationally and was sent to Hollywood to qualify for the Academy Awards. It was a cute little flick but as you can see, I kept my day job! As I reflect upon the name of the movie – isn’t that what Rotary is all about!