I have to admit I’ve had the pleasure of receiving many pins on the lapel of my jacket throughout my career. Pins representing different charitable organizations, events, cool employers and chambers of commerce.
Are they a big deal? Well they represent and signify that you belong to something or that you are part of something much bigger and in that way, it feels special. You’ve been accepted and you are part of the clan, the tribe or the team and that’s where the fun starts with this “ pin thing”.
I was reminded lately of the significance of a pin and the whole experience behind it.
On the eve of Mos Nicolai (a celebration in Romania where children wait for surprises from Saint Nicholas and if they were good boys and girls, Saint Nicholas would fill the children’s boots with candies and small gifts for the next morning) Mike Popa, President of Rotary Club Pipera welcomed me as a new member and put the Rotary International pin on my lapel. It seems that Mos Nicolai thought I was a good boy after all.
What happened next was momentous. For starters I was completely shocked, the emotions kicked in and I probably gave the worse speech of my career – it had to be in Romanian 😊 and even after my speech was finished, I remained completely jaw struck!
Why? Well firstly, to be accepted as a member takes time. Unlike a chamber of commence where you’re accepted in a relatively quick process the Rotary club membership implies that you are committing to a long term. Second, although most members are elite professionals, leaders in business and the local community what connects us as members is not deal making but rather following and adhering to the motto or creed of “Service above self “ for this wonderful organization. Needless to say, it was an exciting moment for me and I strongly recommend anyone to learn more about Rotary International.
Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships and today there are 1.2 million members in 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries.
Rotary International is dedicated to six areas of focus to build international relationships, improve lives, and create a better world to support our peace efforts and end polio forever.
These areas are:
- Promoting peace
- Fighting disease
- Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene
- Saving mothers and children
- Supporting education
- Growing local economies
Needless to say, I look forward to contributing as this was one of my personal goals this year. There’s a lot more to share about this fine organization than I can highlight here so my suggestion is that the next time you’re networking and you recognize the Rotary International pin on someone’s lapel, ask her of him “what is Rotary?” then, notice the smile and passion since this really is a big deal!