The Flywheel

Program for March 7th

International Women's Day and Why Hallmark's Got it Wrong

Bill Wittich

Spring... flowers... love... romance... mothers... daughters... wives... friends... human rights... equal rights for women... feminism. What does it all have to do with March 8th? Why is it so popular in Russia?

Irena Dyatlovskaya (translator for the 2007 Russian Architect Delegation hosted by Richmond, El Cerrito & Albany Rotary Clubs) has opinions about International Women's Day that will challenge inertia and old Hallmark routines.


MEETING OF February 29th, 2008

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

Prez Pam Jones called the meeting to order. Herb Cole asked for a moment of silence for world peace. Red-badger Josh Surowitz led the pledge of allegiance. Henry Kelman’s thought for the day was that Presidential Primary results on Tuesday, March 4, should bring matters into clearer focus for the voting public.

Visiting Rotarians

There were no visiting Rotarians.

Rotarians with Guests

  • Kerrie Andow was the guest of Pam Jones.
  • Jon Lawlis and John Nicol did a 50:50 guest share of Roy Swearingen, past Richmond Rotary member and newly elected Pinole City Councilman. (Roy’s father, Van, was a life member of Richmond Rotary.)
  • Ted Abreu introduced his guests, Henry Ro, Interact (Rotary for high schoolers) advisor at Salesian High School. Students and Interactors, Cynthia and Daisy, also joined Ted.

Sunshine Report

Bill Koziol’s sunshine report revealed that Elof’s feeling better and Charlie’s feeling good.


  • Mark Howe announced plans for a volunteer work party on Saturday, March 1, at his heavily Rotary-involved First Street and Nevin Centennial Garden project in order to place a few cubic yards of rock and soil in time for spring plantings.
  • Richmond Rotary readers joined other volunteers for Read Across America at the Peres Elementary School on Monday, March 3, 1:30pm – 2:30pm.
  • Ted Abreu reminded us of the good work done by the Richmond Rotary-sponsored Interact Club at Salesian High School. The Interact Club members have been involved with the Rotary “Hands” project and also helped out with the first annual Richmond Rotary Crab Feed. Guests Cynthia and Daisy talked briefly about their Club’s fundraising efforts, including $400 for “Heifer International” (help end poverty and hunger). Richmond Rotary will be matching those dollars raised by Salesian Interact.


  • Jim Beaver recognized Liliane Koziol for her recent birthday, which she celebrated with her husband on a trip to the mountains.

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Jim Beaver paid some happy $$ for Roy Swearingen’s Pinole City Council election victory.
  • Jon Lawlis had happy $$ for his daughter being home from college on an early Spring Break (with a new tattoo!).
  • Svelte David Brown had some very pleased $$ for the simple pleasure of being able to comfortably button his suit coat. He’s actually getting ready for a summer swimsuit photo op.
  • Lilian announced that the UC Berkeley International House will host a panel discussion of Rotary Peace Scholars on March 4 at 7:30pm.
  • Henry (or was it Hank?) announced the upcoming 17th Annual Golf Tournament that provides tuition assistance at Salesian High School.

Raffle Results

A white ball was pulled out of the bag by the person whose ticket was drawn.


Age Diversity

Bill Wittick

Tom Waller introduced Dr. Bill Wittich, a fellow Rotarian from Elk Grove, CA, and a frequent speaker to Clubs about generational diversity and the associated challenges of reversing Rotary’s declining USA membership trend while attracting and retaining more young people. He suggested that at least half of the solution is to sharpen our awareness of generational differences.

In a well-delivered, densely packed presentation, Bill took a broad brush to the canvas and told us that Rotarians are, on average, between the ages of 40-59 years old with less than 11% under the age of 40. He used the following age categories and described each of the four generations currently seen in workplaces and in Rotary.

  • “Matures”, born before 1940, representing about 10% of the workforce and 39% of Rotary.
  • “Boomers”, born 1940-1960, about 45% of the workforce and 50% of Rotary.
  • “Gen-Xers”, born 1960-1980, about 45% of the workforce and 11% of Rotary.
  • “Millennials”, born after 1980, now emerging into the workforce and Rotary.

After broadly characterizing each generation with a fun litany of targeted descriptors, Bill brought it all down to one key word for each one, as follows.

  • Matures – Loyal
  • Boomers – Optimistic
  • Gen-Xers – Skeptical
  • Millennials – Realistic

As for what to do about declining Rotary membership and the need to recruit more young members, Bill recommended one sure-fire technique: ASK!

As for other things to stay aware of, Bill shared with me after the presentation another prescription for dealing with the challenges of intergenerational connection-making. He talked about a slight revision to the golden rule: do unto others, keeping their preferences in mind. When we recognize someone else’s preferences, we honor them. By adapting our style to other generations, we slip into a different mode called flexibility. Viva la difference!

- Rotating Scribe, Tom Waller