In November 1999, I moved from the corporate world to a local independent insurance agent. The problem was that my business connections were local insurance agents and not local business owners. One of my mentors recommended I join a Rotary Club, which started my search for the club that best fit my personality.
At this point, I knew nothing about Rotary except that it was nothing more than a civic organization. The Rotary Club of South Gwinnett had the fray that best fit my personality. I was accepted as a member and I went quick to work meeting everyone in the club. However, no one was talking business. All these successful people were enjoying fellowship and planning service projects. Over time, I learned that building relationships is more than networking. Building relationships is finding other successful people who believe in the same passion as you. I enjoy serving my community and being involved in projects that are truly making a difference, and since Rotary’s passion is service, it was a perfect match for me. There is no better way to build a long-lasting relationship than with service with one another.
Every Rotary club has their own local projects and goals as well as their own unique personality. Rotary is a worldwide organization. Each club is a member of Rotary International, which pulls the world’s clubs together to fight global issues. Rotary International has been fighting to eradicate polio since 1979. Rotarians have combined their efforts to immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. When South Georgia was hit with tornadoes this year, our local districts helped to support those communities. My club supports a local title-one school, Annandale Village, The Salvation Army, The Lawrenceville Boys & Girls Club, Brookwood High School, and more.
This year at the Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Dinner, the Rotary Clubs of Gwinnett County received the D. Scott Hudgens Humanitarian Award for work the clubs do locally, nationally, and globally. My club provided me with a group of mentors, a chance for personal development, and a venue to give back to my community all while building strong business relationships (aka friends). At The Whitlock Group, we sponsor one of our employees in the Duluth Rotary Club, which has provided them with similar experiences and opportunities.
I do encourage you to learn more about Rotary. I have listed the Rotary International link below. Also, I highly encourage you to go online and search for your local Rotary Club and reach out to them to learn more.