Posted on Jan 05, 2024
I hope each of you enjoyed the many holidays in December, and are now refreshed and ready to start a new year: welcome to 2024! Rotary’s theme for January is Vocational Service. Sadly, most Rotarians don’t think much about Vocational Service these days, but it’s the most distinguishing form of service that we have, something we should celebrate. What makes Rotary unique is the idea of applying one’s vocational expertise in service to others. The skills we’ve all gained in our work lives can and should be used to serve both one another and those in need. That’s been a core principle of Rotary since Paul Harris started Rotary 119 years ago.
Let me suggest several ways you can do this. First, ask yourself, how might I apply some of my vocational skills on projects my Rotary Club is doing? Doubtless, your club is doing valuable projects in your community. Your vocational and professional skills should be valuable.
Second, why not offer to give a club program on your work? The typical Rotary Club always needs good programming. Club members can learn about what you do for a living. We think we know what our fellow club members do, but our knowledge is often at best superficial. Not only that, but it’s a great way to do networking. If your program is good, it might be worthwhile for other clubs in your area, too.
Third, see if there’s a way to share your vocational skills beyond your local club. How can you do this? I suggest you visit, our website. RAGCED is always looking for people with a broad range of skills. The simplest thing is to join one of our committees. Each one is listed on the website. One of the great benefits that Rotary offers its members is the opportunity for leadership development. You can gain that just by being in your club’s leadership, but you also can do that as part of one of our committees. RAGCED’s committees are doing valuable things. If you’d like to apply some of your skills and experiences directly to Rotary Foundation projects in community economic development, consider applying to become a CADRE. You can learn more about this by contacting Nilam Bedi, the head of RAGCED’s CADRE group, at
Fourth, consider working to improve one of your skills during 2024. This could be beneficial to you both in your professional life and service to Rotary. One of the great things about the Internet is the incredible range of free or low-cost educational resources available. A good place to start is This site focuses on career-relevant education. Of course, that’s just a starting point.
Fifth, maybe consider listening to podcasts focused on education and/or professional development. I listen to two such podcasts: 1) The Knowledge Project, hosted by Shane Parrish from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; and 2) The Tim Ferriss Show, hosted by Tim Ferriss, the author of The Four-Hour Work Week. The benefit of these two podcasts is to introduce the listener to experts in various fields who offer useful productivity and professional development insights. You might also take a look at and/or
For some fun, I encourage people to watch a TED talk by Matt Cutts, a former engineer at Google. You can find his talk at
As Rotarians, we’ve dedicated ourselves to serving both one another and those in need. The very best way we can do that is by sharing our vocational and professional skills. Everyone reading this has valuable skills, even if you’re retired. Let’s find ways both to put those skills to good use and find ways to grow and sharpen them in 2024, all in service to one another and to those in need.
Happy New Year! Make it a great one.