By Rowan McClean, District 9800 Club Service Chair

Ann’s father was in Rotary for fifty years; her grandfather was President of Rotary Essendon when Royce Abbey was inducted; and, two of her uncles were Rotarians. You might say Rotary was in Ann’s blood, so it was not surprising that she joined Albert Park Rotary in 1993 just four years after women were admitted to Rotary.

Ann recalled that Albert Park had recruited, in her words “some madcap members” who embraced fun and tackled activities that people said couldn’t be done. The Club also balanced local and overseas projects, understanding that the needs of developing countries are far greater than the needs here with the exception of our indigenous populations.

“I understand the need to look after yourself and do things in your own backyard and, while I am happy to work locally, I would not feel like a true Rotarian in Rotary International if we were not involved outside this very lucky country,” Ann said.

A trail-blazer for women in Rotary, Ann became the first female club President at Albert Park in 1996/97; chaired the Membership and Club Service Committees at District level; and, was the first female Assistant Governor before being appointed the first D9800 female District Governor in 2001/2002.

Highlights in her year as District Governor included the District Conference at Mount Buller, recruiting members and chartering clubs. A standout for her, though, was the awe-inspiring international assembly at which District Governors prepare for their year. Through persistence, and considerable “cheek”, Ann became a District Assembly trainer, and eventually a trainer of trainers, so that she could continue at international level.

Ann has found that the rewards from her involvement with Rotary have come from shared values and satisfying project outcomes with colleagues. Having observed how clubs often mature, resist change and revert to safe projects, she is grateful for the opportunity to have chartered three clubs and strongly promoted the E-Club, as she believes new blood revitalises Rotary.

On membership retention, Ann feels that with so many activities competing for time, we must tailor expectations and actively enlist non-Rotarians in projects.

Ann has prioritised her own IT businesses right now, but with luck, we might see her once again involved in a substantial way.

Her two rules of conduct are: “Everything in moderation – nothing in excess,” and “Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” 

Sage advice.