Posted on Dec 07, 2018
On Friday, December 7, WPRC 2018-2019 President Larry Myers had the opportunity to attend the District Conference of District 3650 in Seoul, Korea. District 3650 follows the newer model of a one-day conference, and the gathering was attended by more than 500 Rotarians.
Members of the Sae HanYang Rotary Club of Seoul, together with their Rotaract Club members, gathered for a photo with District 3650 Conference dignitaries. Pictured next to WPRC President Larry Myers (to his right) are Yun Sang-Koo and his wife. Mr. Yun is a past Director of Rotary International (RI) and is currently a Trustee (2018-2022) of The Rotary Foundation (TRF). He also chaired the 2016 RI Convention in Seoul, Korea. To his right is Tom Thorfinnson, the RI President's representative at the District Conference. And, to Mr. Thorfinnson's right is Chang Sae-Ho (David), the current 2018-2019 District Governor.
Mr. Thorfinnson is a past Vice-President and Director of RI and is currently the RI Chief Strategy Officer. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Eden Prairie Noon (District 5950) in Minnesota. He graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and he has a law degree from the Marquette University Law School. As the RI Chief Strategy Officer, he shared critical information regarding the new vision and strategic plan for both RI and TRF. Click on "Read more" to read his prepared written remarks at the District 3650 Conference.
“For the first time ever the Board of Directors of Rotary and the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation have joined together to adopt a unified vision and strategic plan for both organizations. The new vision statement was approved by both boards at the time of the convention in Atlanta in June 2017. The vision statement is:  ‘Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.’”
“To help us move towards this vision, we have adopted a new strategic plan that will begin to roll out with the next Rotary year. Within this plan are four new priorities. They are:
  1. Increase our impact;
  2. Expand our reach;
  3. Enhance participant engagement; and
  4. Increase our ability to adapt.
“Why are we in need of a new vision statement and new strategy? The answer lies in a combination of factors. Those include:
  1. For over 30 years we have worked on the eradication of polio. The end of polio is fast approaching, and we must prepare Rotary for a future without polio eradication as our corporate program.
  2. Rotary membership is not performing well in many parts of the world, in particular the western world, with declining membership numbers and a rapidly aging membership.
  3. Demographics across the globe are shifting dramatically – the world is becoming urbanized and as of late we are not performing well from a membership perspective in urban settings.
  4. The next generation of leaders were born into the digital world and embrace it. We must do the same if we are to attract those future leaders into our organization.
  5. Our research has demonstrated that future leaders are attracted to our values, but not as attracted to our current club model.
  6. In reality, our competition is not Lions International or other service clubs. It is the fast-paced, high technology world that provides unique ways to connect and serve.”
“In the next Rotary year you will begin to see new developments due to our new strategic plan:
  1. We will begin to place a stronger emphasis on Rotaract, encouraging all to register in MyRotary.
  2. We will start experimenting on small scale, pilot programs experimenting with new and different channels under which someone can join Rotary;
  3. On the Foundation side, we will launch a new grant model allowing us to take on larger scale programs in developing countries;
  4. We will also further refine the Areas of Focus to assure we are creating a greater impact with our efforts and better meeting the desires of our Rotarians in terms of their projects;
  5. We will enhance our business processes to assure better efficiencies at the Secretariat; and
  6. We will look at the governance structure to make it easier to be a District Governor, to remove some of our layers of governance, and to streamline how we operate as a volunteer driven organization.”
“I challenge you as Rotary leaders to take those same creative skills, energy, and drive to enhance the quality of the Rotary experience, to create cutting edge opportunities for people to connect, for Rotarians to take action, to better utilize their business and professional skills and in the process transform both our organizations and the world around us.”