President's Message

Dr. Colin Rousseaux, President, 2020 - 2021

Here it is July 2020 and we’re in the midst of a global pandemic that epidemiologists are saying “is the worst-case scenario of what we learned at school.” We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we get back to our jobs then there will be many more COVID deaths, and if we continue to isolate, the economy will tank.  

While the impact of COVID continues to leave us uncertain about the best ways to serve others, Rotarians can be the glue to help bridge these extremes. We can change the odds against the virus by education, teaching persons of all ages about the new ways to communicate, providing safe community service, and leveraging the funds and non-fiscal resources we have access to in order to have a greater impact.

As a club, the days of having lunch or going for a coffee or a drink to solve problems and share ideas is on hold until the pandemic is in abeyance. However, this has also created new opportunities. For example, we’re using Zoom for club business operations, and for fellowship, our first “Memory Lane” meeting, held recently, was considered a success. We’ll be having more of them over the year.

How do we operate under the restrictions of COVID? While our intent and principles cannot be defeated by the coronavirus, a paradigm shift is required by using technology more and becoming more of a digital club. For RCO members, in addition to meeting online for the time being, this means learning more about digital fundraising and community building through education using virtual platforms. It also means that all members need to use Club Runner. (Think of Club Runner as a digital administrative assistant.)  Membership Relations Chair Kateri Clark and Secretary Heather Smith-Hanna will be leading the training initiative for using Club Runner.

Becoming more of a digital club might make some members feel apprehensive due to a lack of computer knowledge. But don’t worry. We’ll ensure you have the tools and the training needed for this transition. Yo-Yo Ma didn’t pick up a cello one day and instantly become an accomplished musician. It took time, and it took practice, as it will for becoming comfortable with our more digital format. 

My vision is simple
By the end of this Rotary year, I envision a vibrant club that has transitioned to a largely virtual environment while carrying out humanitarian work. I also see us having fun in doing so. It’s an honour to serve you as president for this year. I will work hard for you and look forward to finding innovative ideas for fellowship and adapting to the challenges we face.
Respectfully submitted,
Colin Rousseaux
President 2020/2021
Rotary Club of Ottawa
District 7040