Posted by Marta Knight & Mark Daniel Maloney
Messages from new RI President, Mark Daniel Maloney and new District 5340 Governor, Marta Knight
I love to travel!  I even enjoy the mundane process of getting from here to there.  But, last year, my wife, Gay, and I had one of those experiences that would strain the optimism of even the most cheerful traveler.  We found ourselves with six hours to wait, at an airport where we were not scheduled to be, on a day we had not planned still to be traveling, having woken up that morning at a hotel unknown to us the night before.  It was one of those days.
As we waited at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New Your City, Gay and I took a walk to people watch.  We went from one end of the terminal to the other and back, looking at every gate, every destination, every group of people waiting for their flights.
Each gate was its own island of humanity.  When we walked down the center of the concourse, we were in New York, moving along with everyone in one river.  But, when you veered off into those seats, you left the current and landed on an island.  You were already in Delhi or Paris or Tel Aviv.
As we started our walk, I thought: "All these different people, all these different countries, and all in one place.  This is like Rotary!"  But, as we walked past gate after gate, I realized something.  It was not like Rotary at all.  Because everyone in that river was heading for an island.  And every island stayed an island.  The people heading to Taipei might be talking to one another, but they were not talking to the people heading to Cairo or Lagos.
Contrast that with Rotary.  Rotary allows us to connect with one another, in deep and meaningful ways, across our differences.  It connects us with people we would never otherwise have met, who  are more like us than we ever could have known.  It connects us with our communities, to professional opportunities, and to the people who need our help.
Connection is what makes the experience of Rotary so very different from walking along that concourse at JFK Airport.  In Rotary, none of us is an island.  All of us are in Rotary together, whoever we are, wherever we are from, whatever language we speak or traditions we follow.  We are all connected to one another - part of our communities, and members, not only of our clubs, but also of the global community to which we all belong.
This connection is what lies at the heart of the Rotary experience.  It is what brings us to Rotary.  It is why we stay.  Please join your fellow Rotarians on this journey as Rotary Connects the World.
It is an honor to serve District 5340 as your Governor with our new theme - Rotary Connects the World.  I hope that this will encourage all of you to connect with your club and your community, sharing what we  as Rotarians are all about - People of Action - doing good in the world.
We got off to a great start connecting, by reaffirming the Sister District Agreement, that was originally signed in May 2005, with our neighboring District 4100 at our Governor's Dinner.  District Governor  Fernando Otañez and I will be working very closely to bring about great working relations between our districts.  
We are also starting the Rotary year with a new Vision Statement Strategic Plan, a roadmap to follow that will create an impact around the world:  "Together we see a world where People Unite and Take Action to Create lasting Change - Across the Globe, in our Communities and in Ourselves."  
We will achieve this new vision with four priorities:
Increasing Our Impact - At our Hamburg Convention, we learned that John Hopkins University did a study on the impact of our service reporting that Rotary collectively donated 45 million volunteer hours that would have cost $850 million.  We are People of Action who are effective problem solvers.
Expanding Our Reach - We are People of Action who activate and inspire one another by growing and diversifying our membership and creating new channels for Rotary in our communities.  We can increase our openness and appeal.  Let's build connections and opportunities that will allow people who share the same drive to do the same.
Enhance Participant Engagement - We are People of Action who strive to understand the needs of others.  Let's commit to putting the needs, expectations and growth of our participants at the center of all that we do.
Increases Our Ability to Adapt - We are People of Action who are inventive, entrepreneurial and resilient.  Let's stay true to ourselves.  We're ready to seek out fresh opportunities, create more paths to leadership, open our conversations to diverse voices, and simplify how we operate - with confidence.
I am looking forward to sharing these priorities and my goals further with you as I begin my rounding on clubs this week.
This will be a year where we will be "Making Good Happen" TOGETHER - with love, compassion and joy!