President Update – 11th February 2018

Posted By Kaj Pedersen


I have just returned from the slopes, after skiing this Sunday, and enjoyed a thoroughly wonderful day, where the weather was brilliant and the trails were in pretty good shape.  Add to this the fact that their weren’t too many people on the slopes letting you move quickly up to the start of each run on fast moving lift queues.  A well-oiled machine was in effect to make this an awesome day!

As I reflect on the past three months, since my last communication to you, it is with some pleasure that the same can be said for our club.  We are experiencing improved engagement, as measured by attendance, by our members.  We are also seeing continued growth in our membership.  In some ways, our club is also becoming a well-oiled machine, which is best illustrated by the charts below:

We are seeing an encouraging trend that is reflective our strategic focus defined in our M3 Vision, where we are renewing our focus on mission and membership engagement.  As we are only just embarked on what is a 3-year strategy, then I think it is good to see such early progress and my thanks to all members for their support.

In the last six months, our board has been diligently working on areas that is putting in place a foundation that will support our club’s ability to deliver on the M3 Vision.  I want to acknowledge and thank the board for their active involvement as we have looked to strengthen the Club’s governance and the extra burden this has placed on them.

Here are some of the noteworthy changes that have happened in the first half of our Rotary year:

  • The first half of this Rotary year has been focused on putting in the necessary tools and controls to support the governance of the club. This includes some considerable effort on the part of Ann Norman to make sure all of our club records are digitized on Dropbox.
  • We have also established better practices with respect to our communications through the use of our Microsoft tools and thanks to Paul Osborn we now have role-specific email aliases. This allows us to track all communications in support of succession between our club officers.
  • We established the M3 Visioning working group, who delivered on their first goal of updating on our club by-laws, which our club approved last Friday. We will be further optimizing our club’s organization under the M3 strategy for the remainder of the Rotary year, which will set us on path for success for securing our club’s future within the community.  I want to acknowledge Wendi Fischer leadership in this area, especially in making sure we deliver on our promises for this Rotary Year.
  • We are signed up for the district initiative to support the Sustainable Rotary Club project, which is a program that has clubs committing to growing its membership for three years. We have submitted our M3 Vision and we will be using this as a control mechanism to support the execution of the plan for the next three years.

With this in mind, let me provide a quick update on the four areas of our “Back to Basics” strategy – Tell our Story; Engage our Community; Grow our Membership and Improve our Brand.

Tell Our Rotary Story:

We have almost met our goal for postings on the website and social media channels for this Rotary year with 495 postings against a goal of 500.  This helps us to communicate our story within the community, while showing the energy and dynamism of the membership.  We are seeing our reach being extended as others, including our members, Like and Retweet items with the result that our audience is also growing.  Please continue with this support.

Our relationship with the Bellevue Reporter continues to deliver articles on our clubs activities.  We continue to get stories published and we have plans for upcoming activities:

We continue to look for support from members in our marcom efforts, so for those of you who want to engage with social media or work with our press campaigns please reach out to Paul Osborn.  We also want to encourage members to help with promoting the club’s activities by taking pictures and publishing them to our social media sites or website.  It is easy and quick to do; and allows us to quickly Tell our Story to the community.

Engage our Community:

The outreach with our community continues.  This helps us get noticed and also allows us to build sustaining relationships for the long term.  Notably, we have been active in these areas:

  • New Generations: We supported our Rotaractors with their Sock project over Christmas, and we were able to help them with the fund raising by helping to secure $500 courtesy of Clint Merriman and Insperity.
  • Thanksgiving Turkey funding: We raised more than $6,250 over our necessary goal. We used the additional funds raised to support RFH and to recognize Michel Carter within RFH.
  • Issaquah Food Bank New Box Truck Project ($78,500): Our campaigning with district allowed us to secure the full $12,000 match. This is added to funds from BBRC of $24,500; Sammamish RC of $2,000; Issaquah RC of $1,000; Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank of $9,000; and a promise of $30,000 from King County (although it will be met from other sources if not delivered on).
  • Every Rotarian Every Year: We achieved 100% contribution from each of you in support of the RI Foundation. We are forecasting an increase of 8% over last year’s contribution, which will put us at approx. $33K.  We also saw a 10% increase in individual member contributions, which will place us around $363 per member.  This places us in second place within the District for both Annual Giving Totals and Per Capita Giving.  Congratulations to everyone in the club for making a difference!  We are clearly punching above our weight.
  • We continue to see a really strong attendance at RFH each month, as Colleen Turner has made sure to get us engaged with this monthly activity. Laura Cosacchi has also made sure that our Interactors are strong contributors to the RFH work parties, which is a wonderful way for us to partner with this young group of Rotarians.

 Grow Membership:

We have grown our club membership to 92!  This places BBRC in second place for membership growth and we are only one member shy of the fastest club in District 5030.  Please pass on your congratulations to Tim Leahy and the membership committee, while continuing to bring more guests to our meetings.

Congratulations to Mark Buick and John Hall for being our newest additions to the member rolls.  We continue to see more guests coming to our meetings and we are actively pursuing some of them in conversations about joining the club.  Well done to everyone who has brought in guests to experience our unique brand.

We also had a wonderful Black and White Wine Evening for the annual party this year.  It was oversold, which was a good problem to have although we did have to turn some of our members down due to the room restrictions.  We will make sure to have a bigger room for next year.  Thank you to Carmela and the Fellowship committee for making this a great evening, including the wine tasting.

A big announcement is that we are going to have our Club Retreat this year.  It will happen in May, and the plan is to hold the Retreat at Icicle Village Resort in Leavenworth.  Dennis Newell has kindly taken the lead on this effort for our club and he has an active committee working on the details.  Make sure to keep 4-5 May open.  It is sure to be an event that cannot be missed!

The M3 Vision working group is now starting to work on new classifications of membership that will help us be more in tune with what we believe people are looking for from Rotary membership.  It is our hope these changes will allow for younger professionals, family members and others pressed around our attendance restrictions to find ways that will allow them to be a part of our club.

The working group is to present their findings to our board shortly and then we will share with our membership.  Our goal is to get these changes approved, so we can take quickly apply them in support of our club’s longer-term legacy in Bellevue.

Improve our Brand:

We have launched our new banner for the Paul Harris Fellows this past Friday, after the 100% EREY announcements.  This is in keeping with our banners being displayed at our meetings.  To aid us in making sure that the banners are setup before each meeting, we have secured Corey’s services in the morning in assisting us with this effort.

Chuck Kimbrough has been actively involved in promoting the Adoption Party across Rotary far and wide.  It is great that he has been able to leverage the BBRC brand and banners in this effort.  It is great to see the branding used so effectively.

Our next big effort is the All in for Autism event.  Not only is this our biggest fund raiser; it is also our largest platform for promoting the club and leveraging our brand across the community.  Chris Boland is going to be looking for our support in this project and please heed his calls to action, so we can make sure it is both successful in raising funds and our visibility.


Please keep your ideas coming through to me.  I have been thrilled with the feedback and support so far from each of you.  I continue to commit to each of you that we will bring value to your membership and involvement with BBRC.  I hope you can continue to help us keep this well-oiled machine running at top notch!