August 8, 2018

Opening up the 110th year of LA5 was an exciting challenge. There were many things running through my mind. What do I want to change? What can I change? Will I know the difference? What change do members want? What changes do they absolutely not want? And finally, why Rotary?

Just back from the Rotary International Convention, I was really inspired by and excited about Rotary. In my time with LA5 I don’t think I have ever felt as much momentum as we are feeling now. I have a great and engaged board. Our leadership team has been working together for two years with a unified set of goals and aspirations for our club. Members are volunteering for committees. I am hopeful that we have hit the nadir of our attrition. So things are looking up!

Our VP and Program Chair, Matt Ball served up the perfect opening speaker. I wasn’t sure about it until I read his book and had the pleasure of having lunch with Greg McKeown. It really hit me that the question for all of us, and especially those who we are inviting to join us, is: why is Rotary essential?

Friday the 13th of July, 2018, did indeed turn out to be “Erick’s lucky day.” Great friends and clients attended the inaugural luncheon. We had a wonderful membership turnout. I had a secret entertainment planned. I had new shoes.

What the heck was I going to say? I didn’t want to come off pedantic. I didn’t want to be silly. I didn’t want to talk too long. Oh, all the things I didn’t want to do. But finally I began pacing my office, a glass of wine by my side, a cigar patiently awaiting the clip and fire. I set my phone to timer mode. And I started to talk.

For the next couple of hours (and then for some time every day until the 13th) I rehearsed the things I wanted to say and kept a “map,” if you will, of the ideas I knew I wanted to articulate. I wanted to speak from the heart but not get lost in my own narrative (and to come in at about six minutes total).

The picture you see above this little essay is the map I used for my brief address on the 13th. Yes, I timed me. I came in at six minutes and forty seconds, just under the seven-minute Toastmaster gold standard! I share this map with you because I think it does capture (in a kind of doodle like mash up of notes and colors) the ideas I hope we are all keeping in mind this year.

It’s true you know. My Rotary Club really did make me who I am today. And I thank each and every one of you for it.


Erick Weiss