Rotary a New Way – Virtual Clubs

Eira Braun Labossiere and Martin Labossiere are proud members of the Satellite Club of Winnipeg Charleswood Virtual. We talk about the benefits of having a virtual club, doing Rotary in a new way and the important work of this innovative club.


Peter Tonge 0:20
Welcome to this episode of Talking Rotary. I’m Peter Tonge, and I’m a member of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg Charleswood.

Mandy Kwasnica 0:26
And I am Mandy Kwasnica, past president and also a member of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg Charleswood. We are so happy you have joined us here and I are so excited for the new podcast and thankful to our many listeners. Let’s start talking Rotary.

Peter Tonge 1:06
Hi, everyone, welcome to another episode of Talking Rotary I’m PeterTonge and I’m here with Martin Braun Labossiere and Eira Braun Labossiere and they’re in St. Albert, Alberta. How are you folks?

Martin Labossiere 1:20
Good, good. Peter.

Eira Braun Labossiere 1:21
Doing well, thanks.

Peter Tonge 1:23
Good. Okay, just because we broadcast this all over the world. Can you let people know we’re saying Albert Albert is?

Martin Labossiere 1:31
Sure St. Albert is a suburb on the northwest tip of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, all city unto itself, just slightly outside the city of Edmonton. And it is in treaty six territory. And it’s a wonderful little city known for its trails and its trees. Interestingly, it’s very beautiful.

Peter Tonge 1:55
And I happen to know that you guys both made use of the trails and the trees, could you rotate and active, but what was your dog’s Right? Correct?

Eira Braun Labossiere 2:03
Yes, we have a slight obsession with our dogs. And so do you spend a lot of time with them?

Peter Tonge 2:09
Just because they have their own Instagram account …

Martin Labossiere 2:13
might be an indicator and their own clothing? Don’t forget that they have clothing.

Peter Tonge 2:20
That’s a suit you That’s all right. I also have friends that have Instagram accounts for the cats and their stuffed animals. So you know. It’s all kind of all kind of the thing. Now, one of the reasons that I wanted to talk to you folks today is you want to kind of a unique Rotary Club, you want to tell me about that a little bit?

Martin Labossiere 2:43
Sure, I heard you want to go do you want me to?

Eira Braun Labossiere 2:46
Yeah, I’ll go for this. For so the club were part of is called a Satellite Club, which is like any other Rotary club, it’s just that it is a online, it’s online, it’s virtual. And it is also affiliated with a traditional Rotary Club as well. So we meet every couple of weeks in the evening. And it just works so well because Peter and some of the other people of our club are in various parts of Canada. And this allows us to just meet from anywhere at a time that works for all of us. And it’s just incredibly convenient that it allows us to get together and work on projects together, no matter where we are.

Martin Labossiere 3:40
Well and also we so instead of having to go to a destination once a week or or to a meeting every week, or we do every second week, and we do it online, which allows us the freedom in the evening to continue our workdays everything else without interruption and be able to still take part in rotary the way we’d like. It’s not always possible for everyone to just you know up and leave for a rotary meeting at noon or those kinds of things. So this is something that works very well for us. And obviously the the subject matter of our rotary club our commitment things is very much in the vein of of things we believe it

Eira Braun Labossiere 4:23
or not, you can also just throw in, we happen to have really amazing members. It’s always exciting. We always look forward to the meetings because we always have these fantastic conversations. It’s not just get together meet make plans, and go go go it’s also a lovely time to to visit with other people and, you know, enter into new ideas and explore new things which we find very exciting.

Peter Tonge 4:49
Do you think those those in depth conversations are a function of the fact that the club is virtual and everybody’s to have lots of time for the Question or

Martin Labossiere 5:01
I think the format is designed to really allow people, you know, we’ve said this in the club before, he talked about safe spaces, this is a far more intimate space. Because you’re all together, it’s like being at one table with your entire club, instead of being at a bunch of tables, and maybe having to network socially to be able to do that. So you’ll see a bit more of the social slide into our our event in the evening, but a lot of discussion, and it really is a very safe space. It’s a very open and people, people who are there inclusive, and that’s hugely important for, especially for online where you have a technological distance between you.

Peter Tonge 5:42
I like that description, though. That is like having everybody at the same table with a traditional Rotary meeting, because that’s kind of true. I hadn’t thought of it in those terms before. Yeah. But

Martin Labossiere 5:51
it’s one of the things we love about rotary is the camaraderie of Rotary. And to be able to kind of connect with all at once is, is I think, pretty powerful. And I think it tends to allow for a better flow of ideas. So

Peter Tonge 6:09
So it was it was it sort of the virtual aspects of the club that was really appealing?

Martin Labossiere 6:17
Yep, for us, that was a huge appeal. It meant that that we were I mean, that was that was a huge part of it is that it was virtual, that we could just be together log in, you know, take part be part of an active community that’s doing something developing concepts, working on ideas to try and improve this world, we live in a very difficult time in history. So that that was a real appeal. But also, because we had history with rotary and Charleswood. In Winnipeg, it meant that we were able to connect with people that we had a previous connection with already, which, again, makes that a more comfortable spot for us. So, you know, Nancy is our chair, obviously, she is Nancy Hansen’s brilliant person. And we know ideologically we, we have always enjoyed Nancy, we knew it’d be a great experience to kind of work with Nancy on rotary issues directly.

Peter Tonge 7:14
So it’s kind of an interesting link between your first rotary experience. And now this is a new one that sort of, I guess, you could say has fallen out of it or built out of it.

Eira Braun Labossiere 7:25
Yeah, kind of an offshoot? Yes.

Martin Labossiere 7:27
My first Rotary experience was actually was where I live, when I was 17 year old. And so I actually came back to rotary later in life. But I always wanted to get back to rotary because I believed in the concepts that that were there. So this just extends it to where I think, for those people, and I’m not young by any stretch, but for younger people, I think there can be an appeal here, that they don’t have to go and sit and have a dinner, there’s no gavel, there’s no, you know, it’s a bit of a different kind of free or structure in a traditional meeting, and I think that for a lot of people works, I think there’s a lot of appeal to that. And I think it allows us to, to go straight to those conversations that I think a lot of people don’t even have time. So

Peter Tonge 8:18
yeah, I really liked that description about everybody around one table with certain I’ve been to several different meetings in your club. And there really is a lot of a lot of interesting discussion. It’s quite interesting, then maybe the the small talk that happens at a more traditional robbery meeting around dinner.

Martin Labossiere 8:39
Yeah, for sure.

Eira Braun Labossiere 8:40
Also, something else that I really appreciate is as much as I enjoy the meetings, we also are quite mindful of keeping it to a certain time limit as well, because it is understood that everybody is really busy. There’s so many things going on. But yet, Rotary is still a priority. And so it’s it’s great to know that, you know, just you carve out this one hour or a little bit more than an hour, and we get a lot accomplished in that one hour. And but it doesn’t feel rushed by any means. But it’s anyway, we just really appreciate that.

Martin Labossiere 9:18
What’s interesting about that to Peter is I think, I think it’s and not saying that anything needs to change in Rotary. None of us would ever say that about Rotary, of course because you know, we’re Rotarians. But if rotary is listening to something like this, I think there’s some truth here for busy people that they have busy lives. So going to a two hour two and a half hour meeting at at a lunch or a dinner. A lot of people don’t have time and I wonder how many people would be more interested? Should they have a format like this where they say okay, I can sit down after dinner. My kids are doing their thing and I can sit down and take part in this comfortably and be part of an active community.

Peter Tonge 9:58
be apart of an active community. For for sort of a set period of time. Before we go much further, Vern, I want to take you back a little bit to the railway experience, because I had forgotten that that was how you first came to rotary. Tell tell us a little bit about that. Because we haven’t talked a lot about that on the podcast.

Martin Labossiere 10:17
Well, you know, is a long time ago, 70, not so many years, I can only remember parts of it. Being an older guy now, but it was at the Bamp Art Center, and it was a very large RYLA. And I was living at the time in metal Lake, Saskatchewan, and which is north of North Battleford, which is north of Saskatoon for those who don’t know where that is? Well into the boreal forest in Canada. And my neighbor was a proud Rotarian. And, and he ran into me one day, and he said, Would you be interested in coming to a rotary meeting, we’d like to talk to you about this RYLA thing. And I said, I don’t know what it is, but I’d love to. So I got to go. And it was truly three days of an unreal experience. We had speakers from from the government, some that were, we had one that was a general that had been held prisoner during the Korean War, we had all these variety of speakers. And it was really, in the vein of what leadership and where leadership comes from in rotary is really ultimately kind of what it was. And it was days of that, including talking about practicing working on. And so for a young person, it really cemented some ideologies that existed within me already. But it made me go you have these are really important, I just think, and it’s been instructive in my career, it’s been instructive in my day to day life, and how I deal with people. And so the concepts always stuck with me, which always for me, meant that I needed to at some point to get back to being part of Rotary. And that’s, that’s kind of how I ended up back in that direction.

Peter Tonge 12:00
That’s interesting, though, that is to say, it was many years ago, but you, you’ve sort of carry those principles with you.

Martin Labossiere 12:08
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. It’s totally true. I mean, there are values that are rotary that are, I think, no matter where you are in life, and leadership and Rotary, I think they will always serve you well with humans around you. Not that any of us get it right all the time by any stretch, but it’s certainly a good sounding board. And they’re their core values that I think, are easy to, to incorporate into one’s life as as being important. I think they have a good impact. I mean, I’ve been in management for, you know, 2028 years. And, honestly, a lot of the way I manage people comes from the sort of leadership model that that rotary offers. I went back and did the rotary leadership training. And I was like, Yeah, I guess that’s pretty much where I’ve been for a long time already. A lot of it was just like, This is my life. You’re welcome to it. So I feel quite fortunate that way. And I think it’s, it’s meant building collaboratively rather than building combative Lee or even overly competitively. I’ve been fortunate to have really great teams wherever I’ve gone. And I don’t think it’s that I’m that bright. It’s just that if you encourage people the right way, if you give them off actual leadership, they will grow and they will, they will find their, their their better selves as they go through their career. So that’s always been part of it for me.

Peter Tonge 13:33
Well, within robbery, we always say that Rotary changes lives. And clearly that’s, that’s a good example, when you get to carry those tools with you for all those years. For sure. That’s really, really quite neat. So let’s I’d like to talk a little bit more about your, your your club is the Satellite Club of Winnipeg. Charleswood. Virtual, because it’s a virtual club. Talk to me a little bit about the things that the club is trying to do.

Eira Braun Labossiere 14:03
Sure, um, well, this has been really exciting because we we’ve all been putting our, our, our own personal interests together on this as well. So it’s not like we sort of had a menu to choose from, we all contributed to the ideas of what we would really like to see in terms of how can we affect change, even if it’s the tiniest of little changes? One of the things that we’ve been looking into is food insecurity, and really trying to get to the bottom of what that means and how could we affect changes, even if we’re just a little tiny satellite group? Is there is there something we can do there? Another thing that we’ve been talking about is, of course, truth and reconciliation is something that’s just so incredibly important. And, as we all know, lots of things that are happening right now that it’s is particularly important for us to address and think about how we can be allies. Another thing is literacy. We have been looking at ways in which we can donate books, to schools and even prisons, is there some way that we can help with literacy and create a way for whether it’s young children, whether it’s families that are new to Canada, whether it’s people in prison, that that really would like to educate themselves further. And Martin, what else?

Martin Labossiere 15:41
Accessibility has been one of our subjects that we really have held as part of our core issues. And along with that diversity, I think we have a group that looks at the world around us and says that the status quo of leadership in the world needs to show diversity. And of course, accessibility is an issue surrounding health and accessibility of a marginalized communities. All of those things fitting into a bigger picture that, that I think, really, when you when you look at it, I mean, a lot of our issues revolve around diversity, inclusion and equity. And I think that that that really is a good sort of defining sort of nature of what we have, I think the risk, of course, is you want to do everything. And I think we’ve done a good job of of wading into it and saying, let’s pick the small things we can do. The inclusion of donations of books, one of the little things we do in our little neighborhood is we collect tabs, pop tabs, for wheelchairs, there are small there are there are small things, small steps that you can do, you don’t have to change the entire world in one moment, but rather, take small steps, make small changes, and hopefully develop information that can go out to people that is valuable in a time when information is is much under attack, I would say that we’re really kind of trying to focus on getting good information to people to move those concepts for that we believe in and

Eira Braun Labossiere 17:18
educate ourselves as well.

Peter Tonge 17:21
I think I think that’s something that your group has done very well, I’d say I was involved in in the the early discussions in the development of equipment, it was the idea of let’s take some small steps and have have some impact, and then sort of learn what we’re doing and how we’re growing as we go. I thought that was very wise choice on behalf of the group. And it really was, as I understood it a group decision to go that way. And I think I think it was, I think I think it’s vital because I think it’ll grow a strong, strong group, because everybody isn’t trying to change everything in the world all at once.

Martin Labossiere 18:02
But I think that can be a little overwhelming. Peter, I think one of the things that happens with people and in groups like like rotary or any other service group is, it can feel overwhelming right now to think that there’s so much in the world that needs to be done. Where do I start? What do I do? And I think you can, I can be anxiety promoting even in people. And I think if you can, if you can change that focus and make it a place where you can go, oh, no, I can take a small step here. And that small step improves the world. If everyone took a small step, a lot of problems would disappear very, very quickly. I think the fact that a lot are frozen, and not able to take that small step probably holds things back more than anything else. But I think we’ve been quite fortunate that way to have small we’ve had. I mean, part of it is it’s a very egalitarian environment where where it’s, it’s a discussion and that is good leadership. I think that there’s always always an open floor for someone to share their ideas or concepts with them. And everyone’s open to that. So

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Peter Tonge 19:34
The other thing that I wanted to talk to you about about your sort of growing, evolving club is maybe this is an unfair question, but where do you see it going a few months or a few years down the road?

Martin Labossiere 19:50
Oh, it’s a good question. I actually I I think it’s just my opinion. And again, you know, I’m always shy to share my opinions. But my, my feeling here is that this is part of rotaries future if they can engage it, I think this club, and we’ve talked at length about trying to connect with other satellite clubs around the world, because I think it’s such a smaller world now with with things like zoom, or teams or all these things. And I think part of what I see as the strength of our world is the fact that, though, we’re all different, we’re all really still just people on this planet. But good ideas come from different thinking different ways of life, different experiences, you know, and so I think that, because it’s like being at one table, I think that if you can extend that out to other places and learn from other places around the world, I think there’s a real future here. And I think, traditional Rotary, that the exchanges and everything else, which are great. I think this is more immediate, and I think it’s more functional, that you could actually accomplish things or have a clearer understanding of things faster.

Eira Braun Labossiere 21:10
And because satellite clubs can connect geographically in a unique way. It would be lovely to connect with other satellite clubs to see how are they dealing with that uniqueness? What how are they playing that to their strengths? What can we learn from other clubs? What can we learn from each other, instead of reinventing the wheel, there may be ways of doing things or like, that didn’t even occur to me, that’s a great idea. And, and also just connecting to different different cultures, different communities, that’s always a great way to grow your own insights and think grow individually. And as a club.

Peter Tonge 21:50
I agree. And I think one of one of the, we talked about some of the comforts and advantages of virtual rotary pros, but one of the things that I find really appealing is all of those, those geographical borders that are gone as you, as you mentioned, your club includes folks from all different parts of Canada. And we’re now working on and I’ll put all the contact information for your rotary club, in my in my immediate material, but is to reach out and find other virtual Rotary Clubs, because let’s take advantage of the power of rotary when we don’t have a physical border in the way. Yeah, right.

Martin Labossiere 22:33
I think the other thing, I think there’s an evolutionary process that happens with a new club. So I think if you look at the initial parts of our club, a lot of it is really, if you’re a marketing person, you call it brand identity. But you know, we’re really trying to identify what it is we want to work on. And we’re transitioning from that into how are we going to make that work? How do we make those kinds of projects work? When you’re separated by distance? What things can you do so it’s not like a traditional rotary club where you’re all in the same building, maybe all living in the same smaller geographical area, you want to do? A raised garden at a school like West Grove, you could just go and do that. When you have virtual clubs spread out over the country. Now you got to figure out how do we do that? How do we affect change? And, and so I think there’s that evolutionary process. And I think we’ve done a really good job of of identifying who we are as a club. Like, I think if you had to write down how would you define your club, you could do that with our club quite succinctly. Now, we’re sliding slowly into how do we affect change as a club? How does that go from the conceptual to the, to the actual in the world? What does that mean? And I think part of it is, you affect change just by the fact that we’re able to come together and share these concepts, I think gives us the strength to go out into the world and be a positive influence in the world. So I think there’s a very, you know, very real truth to that. And, again, slowly converting to how are we going to get books to, to a school or to prisoners, those are all pretty operational. And I think we’re figuring those things out. So I think that’s kind of the exciting evolution of a club like so. I see in the future, that we’ll have more actions to go along with the concepts that we’re developing, as we flush out how to make that really work for us.

Eira Braun Labossiere 24:36
And I think that’s where connecting with other satellite clubs as well, is that something that we can definitely learn from them because we’ve, we’ve made some inroads, but it’s just exciting to hear about how others are approaching that as well.

Martin Labossiere 24:50
And who knows what partnerships are there between different regions where it can work, right, so

Peter Tonge 24:56
yeah, absolutely. Because a lot of a lot of the the The ideas that you’re working with or the concepts that you’re working with, you know, apply around the globe. So why not? Why not? Why not take advantage of the connections to do more? Right?

Martin Labossiere 25:11
Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Peter Tonge 25:14
So the other thing as we’re having this conversation that that crosses my mind is, how calkin, Rotary International take make the best use of new formats like virtual Rotary Clubs? Oh, boy.

Eira Braun Labossiere 25:32
Well, the question is, how can they?

Martin Labossiere 25:35
So we talked about this for our club? I think, I think Rotary at times is good and telling its story. But I think things like this need to be at the fore of that story. So it’s not a slight to traditional club that that that satellite clubs are popping up. But if if I look at Rotary International, I’d say, get on to this, and give it a give it a platform, give it a voice, through your marketing materials, or public relations, and revitalize your membership by by giving this as an option. So this has been, and I think as long as we’ve talked about this, Peter, satellite rotary was, oh, you could do a satellite club is not a, this is a premier way to do things. It was just well, you could if you wanted to. But I think the other way to look at is to go the other way. Why not say this is innovative, this is new. I know. It’s not like what we’ve always done. But the truth is, we want to continue to grow and do good in the world. We don’t do that if we don’t engage people. So this is a new way to do that, we should engage that. And I know that change is not easy for a well established organization like Rotary, but I think it’d be well worthwhile for rotary to, to push for that and say, let’s bring people in, how many rotaractors are out there that end up done with Rotaract? And just disappear? And we don’t see them till they’re 65? And why would we not create a bridge if this is the bridge? And maybe this is the bridge?

Eira Braun Labossiere 27:12
And why is that because of that age, they’re developing their career, they’re having families there. They’re so busy. And so that’s what the satellite Club is a perfect fit. Because it you can, you can have limited time, and you can still be involved in Rotary, and you can still do the things that you love to do, even with your limited time. And I think that Rotary International has such a capacity for connection, that if, if, as Martin was explaining if we could find ways to encourage more satellite clubs, explain what they are, how they work, and maybe even create some sort of a matrix so that satellite clubs could connect a little bit easier to that might be a really helpful way.

Martin Labossiere 28:00
I think I think it reflects the technology gap. Why exists? Rotary does some very interesting technological things. But we’ve always said that they could do so much more on those fronts like that. I mean, we were talking about one satellite club, and it’s district has a satellite Rotary person in presenting in the district.

Peter Tonge 28:21
I think that’s a great idea.

Martin Labossiere 28:23
Really, right. Like, I mean, you want them to grow, find someone who’s willing to say, okay, so club, a nipple and says, I want to have a satellite club, because we got a lot of rural area, but people can’t always come in. Why would we not have someone in our district,

Eira Braun Labossiere 28:38
or their whatever it is, to make it to the meetings and whatever capacity, right,

Martin Labossiere 28:43
so you have someone who’s a facilitator of that process, who can help it grow and help it become what it can be. The other thing, and I will say this about about satellite, and I would say this about Rotary, I think we do have to pay attention to generation ality, and the fact that the generation coming up behind us, and when we put ourselves kind of in the middle, but we look at, you know, nieces and nephews and young people coming up. They are hands on much more than traditional rotary was they were much more, not just they want to be involved, but they also want to be the ones who build a garden or they want to actually do a thing. And so I think

Eira Braun Labossiere 29:23
this would be the money for contributions, but they can do

Martin Labossiere 29:27
something. Yeah, that’s right. And I think that’s crucial as well.

Peter Tonge 29:30
I agree. And that’s, that’s the message that I’ve heard often in my time in rotary and invited this podcast is I hear from folks that are younger than I am going. I don’t want to come in here as Speaker every week and I don’t I won’t but I want to do and ideally I want to do rather than give financially because I have some some time and And, you know, I’d like to have an impact on the environment or whatever. So I think service clubs, and particularly because we’re on a rotary podcast, Rotary International has to find various ways to take advantage of that.

Martin Labossiere 30:15
I think and I think you’ve said it. I mean, let’s add to this was talking about our food insecurity thing, but at the root of it is an economy. And we’re seeing a generation that’s going to come up now that will have less available income than did the generation before it. And so I think, I think, funds, I think, not that they’d be unwilling to give. But I think it’s much harder to do where traditional rotary was well established business people quite often, who had the money to be able to say, well, I can I can put $1,000 toward that. And do that quickly. Whereas you got a generation coming up now saying, I don’t know that I’ll ever own a house. Right. So, but I would like to make my world better. I think I can do something there. And I think there’s so much opportunity to do that. For sure. For sure. Yeah,

Peter Tonge 31:04
absolutely. Absolutely. I agree. I agree completely. And I and I also agree with your assessment that I don’t see virtual rotary clubs or satellite rotary clubs is being secondary. I see them as being innovative and opening up a whole new set of doors. So yeah. I, personally, I’m biased, because I think they’re the way to go. But I I think they’re they’re the future of rotary not not not the side job.

Martin Labossiere 31:37
Yep, I agree that that’s a good way to

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Martin Labossiere 32:10
Peter, you you are exposed to more clubs, and more people from all over. And obviously, I’m betting you’ve talked about the subject with people as you’ve traveled with Rotary a bit. How do you find the response of rotary traditional rotary is to the satellite clubs, do they see it just as a sideshow? Or how do they see it?

Peter Tonge 32:35
It’s interesting, I mean, in my opportunities, where I talked about things like virtual regrowth, I think it’s, it’s starting to get more and more accepted or or considering in, in more urban areas. Like in Winnipeg, for example. I think a lot of rural areas have trouble moving away from, from the idea that it’s not a group of community leaders meeting somewhere in the community each week, you know, in a place. So. So in sort of more urban areas, I think it’s more open. I don’t I haven’t, I haven’t seen a lot of it. That’s a great idea from some of the more rural areas, they still like the idea of, you know, these are community leaders, and we’re showing ourselves in the community at a local restaurant or the local curling club, or whatever it is,

Eira Braun Labossiere 33:29
right? Yes.

Martin Labossiere 33:30
Do you think, Peter, that part of the potential of the satellite Rotary clubs is to shift the paradigm of what a community leader looks like?

Peter Tonge 33:33
Well, yeah, that that certainly is one of the things that I mean, I think your Rotary club is a good example. There’s people with all kinds of divergent background background and physical abilities, and whatever that that, you know, in some circles may not be seen as traditional leaders, but everybody that’s there certainly is. So I mean, I think it opened that possibility. For our listeners that don’t know much about Canada, Canada is a huge space geographically, with our population spread all over the place. So gathering 30 people for a rotary club physically, outside of the city can be a challenge, but gathering, gathering 10 or 15 people on on a zoom call for a rotary meeting removes a lot of barriers.

Martin Labossiere 34:29
Oh, for sure, for sure. That makes a lot of sense. And there’s other places in the world where the geography of it probably makes sense as well. Like, I got to think Australia suffers some of the same issues that Canada does in terms of geographic space and, and those kinds of things. And there got to be places in the world where that’s the case as well. But if you just think it’s interesting, because I think, you know, right now, when I look around the world, I don’t see the world looking at the young people coming up necessarily as leaders unless they forced themselves into the same bad suit that they’re that they’re grandparent’s forcing ourselves into, you know, if you look like if you look like a business person, then you probably are a business person. And I think that there’s a generation coming up that will look very, very different than what we were used to seeing as leaders. And I think the myths here would be part of that inclusion to say that you don’t look like what I think you should look like for a leader. So therefore, you’re not really a leader, but think there’s a lot of young people, a lot of diversity out there, by gender, by, by, by race, by all all the categories that that have a leadership that we just have not tapped into. And I think the world becomes a better place when we open that to, to people that that we wouldn’t traditionally think of as leaders or have not traditionally be thought of as leaders, I think, could be very powerful. And I think it’s a way to our future, but

Eira Braun Labossiere 35:55
much richer, as well, you gain so much from so many different perspectives. And it’s, you always build a stronger group, when many different ideas come together, instead of everyone agreeing on the same thing. I mean, take a look at scientific processes and discoveries, and why did those things happen? Because you had many different kinds of thinkers coming together? Typically, not always, but typically, to to come to a stronger conclusion.

Peter Tonge 36:26
Right, agree. And it comes back to the discussion that we had earlier about diversity, right, the more that we can bring to that that rotary table with different views, the stronger the clubs are going to be, the stronger the organization is going to be as, as a whole. I mean, there’s a there’s a, there’s a certain comfort in, in groups being homogeneous, but that’s not the most creative or maybe not the most effective. Everybody thinks exactly the same way. Yes,

Martin Labossiere 37:00
it’s funny read humans look for comfort. Yeah. So when you put them outside their comfort zone, they struggle. And I think part of what we should be looking at is, how do we how do we put ourselves in discomfort enough to learn, because if we don’t, if we don’t, if we don’t, not just endure change, but embrace change? And we will struggle to advance ourselves individually as humans or as a group, we struggle when we look homogenized everything into the one base sort of concept, I think, I think the, you know, diversity, equity and inclusion, we, you know, it’s, it seems to be more, it’s a talking point these days. But it is the truth, there is a truth there that we need to embrace. And I think that this is part of that and

Eira Braun Labossiere 37:49
embrace it authentically. And credit just in language check.

Martin Labossiere 37:52
It can’t just be It can’t be a corporate catchphrase. It can’t be that it’s got to be something much more where it’s believed and felt and thought.

Peter Tonge 38:00
Yeah, and I’ll be I’ll be the first to say, and I’ve said it on this podcast before that Rotary International, was very late coming to diversity, equity and inclusion. But I’m so glad now that it’s become one of the key points not only of this rotary year, but moving forward, because that’s how we’re going to be that’s how we’re going to be stronger.

Martin Labossiere 38:25
And relevant, Peter? Yeah,

Peter Tonge 38:27
that’s yeah, that’s a very, that’s a very good point, I think is it does make make clubs more, more more relevant? Absolutely, absolutely. So I’m glad. I’m glad to see that those those shifts have began, we still have a long way to go. But at least it started

Martin Labossiere 38:47
one step one step at a time.

Peter Tonge 38:50
Yeah, you know, we well enough to know that patience isn’t always my best. I appreciate the reminder.

Martin Labossiere 39:02
Peter, it’s something we all suffer from. We all want to pull our hair out and run down the street going, why well did change.

Peter Tonge 39:11
But when I mean, we’ve seen We’ve, we are seeing change. And I think this podcast is a very good example. This podcast exists. Because meeting meeting virtually and tools like zoom exists. I mean, I this morning, I was in Nairobi, having a conversation and this afternoon, I’m in St. Albert, Alberta. Not something that we that we thought about not very long ago, it was always very, very local. Very whatever. And it’s so much fun to, for me the spin around the world and see what people are doing and why they chose to do it.

Martin Labossiere 39:55
No, totally. It’s totally true. I mean, it’s awesome. Uh, I mean, it’s ironic if we could pull something really positive out of the pandemic. And I know that seems tough, but the pandemic, you know, really made all these tools brought him to the fore. And I mean, necessity being the mother of invention, I think probably made it more viable for the for clubs like ours to really thrive. And people do engage and say, Well, I like that I can live with that. I’ve been through lots of that I know what it’s like. So

Peter Tonge 40:25
I know a lot. A lot of my friends and acquaintances roll their eyes at me when I say this, but I’m a big fan of virtual connecting and zoom meetings, and whatever it is, you know, even in the work that I do locally. With Rotary, we’re not driving all over all over the district to try to have meetings and things. We do it, we do it via zoom. And so we’re spending our time doing the work instead of getting there. And again, coming back to this podcast, I’ve literally interviewed people all over the globe, because I can do it while sitting in my in my podcast studio. Yeah, right. I’m not I’m not on an airplane to interview somebody in, in Nairobi, or in Sweden, or Norway, northern India, I’m just getting up a little bit early and disrupting my sleep.

Martin Labossiere 41:19
When I mean, it’s ironic, to me, it’s not ironic baby’s a bad choice of words. But I mean, environmentally, the less we’re in our cars, driving around hopping on planes flying around housewares, there’s a downside to having this conversation remotely. Versus like you say getting getting up early, disrupting your sleep or getting on a plane and being part of the fuel that that that’s part of what’s difficult for our environment. I just think that there’s a lot of you could start with one point and you could just go crazy adding why it’s important and why it can add value and where it can bring things and I think the environments just one more place that that works.

Peter Tonge 42:02
Well, I I appreciate you guys being ambassadors for virtual Rotary clubs and satellite Rotary clubs. And I’m hoping it’s the future of Rotary because I think it is.

Martin Labossiere 42:16
Well thank you so much for having us, Peter. We’re we’re honored we appreciate all your help with the with the satellite Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Charles Wood it’s been an absolute pleasure and you know, we we’re looking forward to good things for us going forward with the club and with with other clubs as they as they grab on to these things. Oh,

Peter Tonge 42:35
yeah. Absolutely. I think there’s lots of really good things to come.

Mandy Kwasnica 43:08
Thank you so much for joining us on another great episode of talking Rotary. We would love to hear from you. Please send us your comments and story ideas and you can share with us easily by sending us an email at feedback at talking Let’s keep talking Rotary.

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