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07.07.16 – Luncheon Notes and Photos

SPOKES  Notes by Chelsea Dubey

The Passing of Tiller is one of my favorite luncheons of the year. It’s a time to thank the outgoing president and to look forward to the ideas and energy of the incoming president. This year was especially meaningful to me because I’ve been able to watch President Derek serve our Club as a board member, future Club president and as a friend. Incoming President Michael accurately described Derek as “humbly working hard” for our Club and community.

Derek shared his most memorable highlights from the year and they included:

  • Rotary GR bracelets
  • Coffee with the President (but also agrees that Happy Hour with the President might be an easier sell;)
  • Centennial bench project
  • Weekly Selfies with the President
  • Holiday social
  • Past presidents meeting
  • Service Above Self Dinner and Award
  • Club met the Every Rotarian, Every Year fundraising goal
  • Club ending the year in strong financial standing

Derek also left us with his suggestions to build a better Club for the future. He encouraged us to focus on growth, diversity and to have a greater presence in the community. He made note that he and Michael (although wonderful presidential material) are white, male, heterosexual bankers…and we should be more representative of our Club and community.

Derek thanked his wife Jennifer (and admitted that he should have done that FIRST), Dawn Smith, Ted Vecchio, Tom Mathison, Bob Stark, Renwick Brutus, Michael Sytsma, Chelsea Dubey, Neal Marchand, Jon Hankins and John Preston for supporting him this year. He also presented the annual Presidential Award to Jim Pike, our Club and Foundation Treasurer. Jim does a lot of work behind the scenes through his service and as our accountant, and we have him to thank for much of our financial stability the past several years. Since Jim didn’t take this award that seriously and wasn’t in attendance, we text bombed him congratulatory messages.  Congratulations and thank you for your service Jim!

In closing, Derek announced Rotary International’s annual theme for 2016/17, “Rotary Serving Humanity.” He then welcomed Michael Sytsma to the podium for the official passing of the tiller.

Michael presented Derek with a mounted tiller to commemorate his year of presidency. He then quickly thanked his wife Kristen, because he’s learning from Derek’s mistakes quickly.

Michael presented his vision for the next several years – which have been adopted and embraced by the next four presidents in order to have a unified strategy. First, we desire for our Club to be relevant in Grand Rapids. We want to give more, serve more and connect more leaders in the business community. Second, we will focus on member growth and retention. By 2019/20, the goal is to have 250 members. We want to celebrate membership, reward those that invite guests and honor member achievements.

In closing, Michael encouraged the Club to communicate with him and tell him what we should be doing to be a stronger Club. He thanked the Board and committee chairs, and as an attempt to start the year out right, adjourned a few minutes early.

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