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Why I’m a Rotarian

By Robin Loving Rowland

Long ago and far away – it was the 1980s — I was witness to the first woman to enter what would become “my” Rotary Club in Austin, Texas.  Her name was – really – Marilyn Monroe.  She was tall and blonde and pretty like the other famous Marilyn Monroe, and she ran what we affectionately called the association for associations.

In other words, she taught people who ran various associations – the apartment association, the accountants’ association, the realtors’ association – how to do their important work professionally.  Her network was vast, and in my business, public relations, I could use a vast network.  The day she joined Rotary, she increased her network by 400 people, for that was the size of that club at the time.

I thought, I want some of that!  It wasn’t long before she graciously sponsored me into that Rotary Club, and I found out that my network not only expanded in an instant by 400, but much more, for, as in San Miguel, there was more than one Rotary Club I could attend.  This helped me in my business and in my other civic affairs.

I soon found out that joining Rotary was a great way to learn more about leadership, for I was nominated and elected to the board of my club.  I was welcomed by the men and the women, had a great time each week hearing their meeting speakers, and have lived by their creed ever since, which says:  Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned?  Will it build goodwill and better friendships?  Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

In San Miguel, the Midday Rotary Club (as compared with what we affectionately call the Night Club), has a fifth question of the things we think, do, and say:  Is it fun?  And, it is fun to be in Rotary.  We not only raise funds for great community betterment and have interesting speakers, but we socialize together, take fascinating field trips, and learn loads about the local culture.

I’m not the only woman in the club, of course.  The club’s founding president was Gail Lawton, and later Merle Howard has also been one of our presidents.  Layla Wright is in charge of membership, we have a woman in charge of fellowship, and I’m in charge of public relations.

We have Mexicans and Canadians and Americans and Danes, and Christians, and Jews, and artists and educators and shopkeepers and business managers and…  The diversity of Rotary, actually, is unlimited, as each new member reflects a new facet of the world, and Rotary is the largest humanitarian organization in the world, and needs total diversity.

So, what do the guys in the formerly all male Rotary Club think of women in Rotary? “It’s a pleasure working with our women members,” says Lee Daneker.  “Like men, they are diverse, and each brings her own special qualities to the club.  Among those qualities are intelligence, compassion, humor, hard work, insight, balance, determination, and a perspective on life in San Miguel that often differs from my own.  Exposure to those different perspectives broadens my horizons and, I hope and believe, makes me a better club member and a better citizen of San Miguel.”

If you are looking for a meaningful way to serve and achieve your goals, Rotary is an option you might want to consider. For more information, contact Rotary President Lee Carter (, or me at Rotary meets each Tuesday from 12:30 to 1:30pm at the Hotel Real de Minas on the Ancha de San Antonio at Stirling Dickinson. Meetings are free.  See more about Rotary at

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