Rotary International breaks ground with presidential nomination

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Jennifer E. Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, has been nominated to become Rotary International’s president for 2022-23. For an organization that was all male for half a century or more, they have come a long way. This historic and ground breaking selection will make Jennifer the first female to hold that office in the organization’s 115-year history.

Jones will officially become president-nominee in October if no other candidates challenge her.

Yet another first on a local level was at The Miami Woman’s Club with its 120 year history.

Their new president is Shirley Pardon, a real estate professional and Certified International Property Realtor, Shirley has now become the club’s first president who is British. Shirley Pardon, who joined the club in 2006, has served as the club’s vice-president since 2016. She moved to Miami in 1991 with her late husband, Leonard Pardon, a world-famous decorative artist who worked in palaces, public buildings and cruise ships. Shirley, who is also an active volunteer with her church, the Miami Rotary Club and other community organizations, will be overseeing MWC during a long-awaited period as the restoration of the club’s historic bay-front building will be completed in 2021. The Miami Woman’s Club, whose building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, will the sharing their four-story Mediterranean Revival clubhouse with two world-class restaurants.

Back to Rotary, Rotary District 6990 Governor, Peter Verbeeck, has been making the rounds speaking about exciting strategic plans for the organization. Most recently, speaking at a weekly Zoom meeting of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables (RCCG), Peter noted that most people have heard of Rotary but much fewer understand how Rotary has impacted the world. The good news is that Peter shared various action plans now in place that will make Rotary a stronger and more effective organization. Check out #Rotary Responds and #PeopleofAction. Peter reported that 32 young medical students at FIU are working with the Miami Rotary Club to find ways to get involved. From satellite clubs and more, Rotary is moving forward and adapting to change in a positive way. Collecting on Rotary’s collective strength they have almost eradicated polio worldwide and that is just one example of many, both large and small, that document the way Rotary has made a difference and will continue to meet the challenge for the future.

Rotary members continue to volunteer during these unprecedented times more than ever. Coral Gables Rotarians have taken on virtual bingo games with the clients of the Chapman Partnership again this month hosting two events online a week with Rotarians calling the numbers and underwriting the cost of prizes. Others Rotarians are seen volunteering at Tamiami Park Food Distribution with members of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club (CGWC) with whom they partner on various efforts.

Another great charity RCCG hopes to look into helping is Rise Against Hungry, a nonprofit founded by a Rotarian, Dr. Ray Buchanan, a Methodist Minister. The organization’s representative, Gilbert Chaidez, recently spoke to Gables Rotarians sharing that since 1998 they had provided hundreds of millions of meals to 74 countries with a goal of ending world hunger by 2030. Gil learned of RCCG’s outreach efforts and showed up the following week to volunteer for the food distribution event with the usual suspects, Rotarians Bill Quesenberry and Walter Alvarez and this writer.

Another ongoing partnership for CGWC and RCCG was a Blood Drive on August 22, the second blood these two organizations have held together. The hope is to continue to hold a joint blood drive every eight weeks on Saturdays to get critically needed blood donations in order to save lives. Social distancing and other safe practices are in place for all these events to protect against COVID. For more information on future club blood drives and fundraising events, email gloria@cnews.net.

Until next time, keep making each day count and stay safe.


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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel , non profit consulting and management. Before joining Miami's Community Newspapers as a columnist and marketing specialist, Gloria was the Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee (6 yrs.) and first Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (14 yrs.) and the Pinecrest Community Foundation (1 ½ yrs) . Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist for Community Newspapers writing Gloria’s Gab, that focuses on the non-profit activity, and a host of an online show, Gloria's Gab LIVE. Gloria serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables as Civic and Charity Chair, and is involved in the club's International Committee. She is an active Life Member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee and is Secretary of the Merrick Festival. She serves on the board of directors of the Coral Gables Woman' Club as Publicity Chair and also coordinates the club's monthly fundraiser for various charities with Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger. In addition, Gloria participates in numerous other charitable events and is a member of the Business Forum Group, Profit Inc., the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. In other volunteer activity, Gloria helps Miami Christian School with fund-raising and PR; is an Ambassador and volunteers for events for A Safe Haven for Newborns. She is an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she enjoys singing in the choir every weekend.

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