Greetings from our new District Governor, Jessika Hane
To say that I am excited to serve as your District Governor is an understatement. I am elated and I am honored. If we haven’t met yet- I wanted you to know a little bit about me and my Rotary story. You’ll quickly see the theme of family is woven throughout my Rotary story.
My grandfather was a Rotarian but, like many members of the Greatest Generation, he didn’t talk about his service. He didn’t share Rotary with his family. I attended a meeting of the Rotary Club of Logansport, Indiana as a high school senior, and I was impressed by the passionate group of “grown-ups” and by their female president (probably the club’s first). The idea of Rotary became stuck in the back of my mind.
I waited patiently to be asked to join Rotary. It wasn’t until a casual conversation with our close friends in the summer of 2007 that I realized I could join Rotary and that my local club would actually be happy to have me. I asked my friend if she would sponsor me, she said yes! And there I was- a brand new member of the Rotary Club of Bloomington Sunrise family.
My club welcomed me with open arms. I don’t think I realized how lucky I was to join this small but mighty club. I was just beginning to stretch my professional wings and was looking for opportunities to grow as a leader. My club allowed me to run our biggest fundraiser in my second year of membership, they listened to my ideas and they laughed at my corny jokes. They made me feel like family. I’ll never forget the phone call asking me to become Vice President of the club-no doubt about it, it changed my life. Serving as Club President in 2011-2012 was such a joy and gave me a sense of purpose as a young professional. I personally love this year’s RI theme “Rotary Opens Opportunities” for this exact reason.
I realized early in my Rotary journey that I was inspired by the men and women in leadership positions. I also realized that I wanted to see more women, young people, and diversity in Rotary leadership. Because I’m a natural “hand-raiser”--meaning I’m usually the first to volunteer for new experiences and responsibilities--I knew I wanted to serve on the District level. So, after my year as Club President, I was fortunate to serve on the District level as a Trainer and Assistant Governor.
While serving in District roles, I started asking questions of other District Leaders. District 6580 is FILLED with talented, dedicated and helpful leaders, and they all helped me realize that I could go even further in Rotary leadership. I was inspired to take the next step, and I set my sights on becoming District Governor. It’s a goal I’ve pursued for many years.
Fast forward, 13 years. I’m a mom of four kids (ages 7, 4, and 2-year old twins), a wife, an HR Director at Oliver Winery (my home away from home for over 21 years) and I am the proudest Rotarian you will ever meet. My family is a true Rotary family—my husband is also a Rotarian and we bring our kids to Rotary events. COVID-19 restrictions are going to make it harder to have the whole family at in-person events this year, but we will continue to share Rotary with them in every way that we can.
As a working mom, many people ask me HOW I will do this. How I will balance family, work and Rotary? The honest answer is- I’m not sure, exactly. But I’ll give it my best effort. The reality is- I won’t be doing it alone.
Thank you to the Rotary family of District 6580 for the OPPORTUNITY to serve as DG this year. I look forward to seeing you (virtually or in person) at a Rotary meeting soon. I love Rotary (and I also love COFFEE and vegetarian tacos).
Let’s have a great year!