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Meeting Notes for April 14, 2021
The Light for April 14, 2021
By Neil Gambow
The virtual meeting was called to order by ELRC President Chris Joyce and Rotary Club of Evanston President Tracy Tebear at 8 a.m. on the dot, with Chris ringing his bell.   
The thought for the day from Steve Steiber - “If you’re ever having a bad day, just remember that in 1976 Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $2,300.  It’s now worth $70 billion.” Anonymous  Ronald Wayne later became a motivational speaker.
Steve Goranson: Our Club is sponsoring the cleanup at Evanston Lighthouse Beach on Saturday, April 24, starting at 10 a.m.  Currently, there are 22 signed up.  For those who want to help set up, please let Steve know and he will send you how you can help.  
Don Gwinn: He has been in contact with the Rebuilding Together people and hopes to restart this work this summer.  More to come on this. 
Linda Gerber: A third Evanston Rotary Club is being formed.  Lyle Staub mentioned there are some models for this sort of situation that are very successful in helping clubs navigate three separate identities.  Linda suggested the three clubs get together to talk about this at some point.    
Topic: What’s RI Up To Nowadays?
Speaker: Holger Knaack – RI President
Holger is a member of the Rotary Club of Hherzogtum Launburg-Molln (Germany) and spoke to us from his home. 
He is the CEO of Knaack AG, a real estate company.  He was previously a partner and general manager of Knaack Enterprises, a 125-year-old family business.  Holger is a founding member of the Civic Foundation of the City of Ratzeburg and served as president of the Golf-Club Gut Grambeck and is also the founder of the Karl Adam Foundation.
A Rotary member since 1992, he has served as Rotary treasurer, director, moderator, member, and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor.  He is an endowment/major gifts advisor and was co-chair of the Host Organization Committee for the 2019 RI convention in Hamburg.
He and his wife, Susanne, are Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation and members of the Bequest Society.
Holger started out saying he has been virtual for his RI year, as have most of the Rotary clubs around the world.  The clubs are adapting to the virtual world and members are using Zoom to stay in touch and active as many battle loneliness and the challenges of being in their house with all that entails.  He has many long days with Zoom, phone calls, and other appointments throughout the day.  When talking to clubs, he emphasizes club independence and finding their own way in this new environment. 
Two concerns are on his mind, the aging of Rotary club members (in the UK, the average Rotarian age is 75) and the lack of diversity of club membership around the world.  He is encouraging clubs to stay attractive to young people in general and women especially.  Germany and Japan are two examples where diversity is not particularly evident. 
He went on to talk about his theme for this year, “Rotary Opens Opportunity.” He believes this is true not only for the people Rotarians help, but also for Rotarians themselves.  Rotary widens perspectives simply because of the international connections that Rotary offers. 
His last point concerned social media.  On platforms including Facebook, Twitter and others, you never know what is the truth and what is not.  His club has added the phrase “Am I Being Honest?” to the first line of the 4-way Test to honor this issue. 
He answered several questions:
What are your greatest accomplishment and challenge for your year?
Challenge – managing time
Accomplishment – Reaching more people with Zoom rather than extensive travel.
What is Rotary (referring to his “elevator speech”) ?
This depends on the audience but in general, Rotary is a platform for networking, sharing ideas and being active. 
Can you talk about the focus on Environment going forward?
Many chapters are getting projects and grant requests ready for the new year.  In his home area (Germany and The Netherlands) projects are starting up to remove plastic from the rivers and the ocean.  He said taking care of the environment is everyone’s responsibility around the world.  He is also a strong advocate for the issue of climate change and said that climate change is not a political issue in Europe as it is in other places in the world. 
What are your thoughts about digital meetings?
He sees value in them and thinks that digital meetings can be used even after the pandemic is mitigated.  He suggested the general club meetings be virtual monthly and would encourage club members to attend other virtual club meetings and come back to tell their club what they learned. 
What has RI learned as a result of the pandemic? 
RI has become more nimble, more efficient, because of the availability of people virtually.  With the severe reduction in travel, costs are lower.  Training is also more efficient.  A drawback is meeting new people, which can be more difficult when done virtually.
Harold Bauer asked about diversity and about the expense of being a Rotarian.
For diversity, Holger mentioned the inclusion of a diversity policy that was implemented two years ago.  Discrimination is everywhere.  It can be for many reasons, including specific country and culture.  Solutions must be related to this.
The cost of being a Rotarian is varied and is mostly due to club structure.  Some clubs meet in bars with no meals and just a drink, which keeps costs very low. 
Linda Gerber asked about his personal passion.  He remarked that he promotes different points of view and that should be part of club membership and he believes in having people in clubs that can be friends. 
Guests and Milestones
Visiting Rotarians
Evanston Noon Club
Holger Knaack - RI President
Lyle Staub – District 6440 Governor
Mary Bak – D6440 Assistant District Governor
Evelyn Lee - D6440 Assistant District Governor
Other Guest
Evan Girard