Rotary Changes Lives with Angela Walker

Rotary changed Angela Walker’s life. An injured veteran, Angela was feeling lost. After a chance meeting with a Rotarian, she decided to become involved.

Today this two time Club President and District Membership Chair brings commitment and energy to Rotary. She makes Rotary better. We had a great conversation.


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 Iam 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 this new podcast and thankful to our many listeners. Let’s start talking Rotary.

Peter Tonge 1:06
Everyone, welcome to another episode of talking Rotary. I’m here with Angela Walker. Welcome, Angela.

Angela Walker 1:12
Hi, Peter. I’m doing great. How are you?

Peter Tonge 1:16
Good. Nice to see you again. We met a few weeks ago through a mutual friend and had some great Rotary conversations.

Angela Walker 1:24
Yes, we did. Yes, we did.

Peter Tonge 1:29
So thank you for taking the time to record this with me. And we’re going to share some of your some of your knowledge with my podcast listeners. Now I know that you are assistant governor and district membership chair in district 6440. Right. That’s right. Okay. And you guys recently had a membership Summit?

Angela Walker 1:56
Yes, we did. We did. We had a membership Summit. And it was the very first one our district has ever ever held. It was on March 28. And, you know, I thought it would be a great idea as a new membership chair, to meet a lot of the presidents and President elects. Also membership chairs to kind of meet them online and do some, some, some membership work. And the goal was to inspire and empower our members with resources. From Rotary, we wanted to explore our membership resources, and and we wanted to do all this to help expand our membership. And also, you know, help with retention.

Peter Tonge 3:01
The hottest topic in Rotary.

Angela Walker 3:04
Yes, it is very hot topic. What’s really great about that was that, you know, some of the people that came out to speak someone you know, Alex Jackson, from Plano, West Rotary, he came and gave us a lot of good information about service projects and just growing membership through service projects. So Julie Clark, who is the Assistant rotary coordinator, currently, and in our district, she spoke as well. And also Emily Tucker, who was the regional membership staff person at Rotary International. And so they were able to provide a lot of great information to our members.

Peter Tonge 4:02
And what did you take away from from it?

Angela Walker 4:05
Well, one of the first things that I I realized was that we have a lot of creativity, within our own membership within our own district, we have people who are willing to collaborate and communicate together. So I learned that our district is very capable of sharing information. And actually, you know, just listening to each other is a big deal. I think engagement, you know, means that all parties should share information and work together. So that’s one of the things that that we learned in the summit. We also learned that You know, no club is the same, every club is a little bit different, and unique in its own way. And so knowing that, you know, you can’t approach a membership issue in the same way, so what you will give to one club may not apply to another club. So it’s, I find that you have to know the club’s, you have to really have boots on the ground and meet with the different clubs, individually, but during our summit, we actually get the opportunity to do breakouts. And that gives us opportunity to have that back and forth chatter and get a good understanding with with club members.

Peter Tonge 5:53
So, ya know, when you were saying was sort of the boots on the ground I agree. So at the district level, would you do that through the Assistant Governors or directly to the Presidents? Or how would you try and do that on a regular basis.

Angela Walker 6:09
So I have a more direct approach. As an assistant governor, you know, we carry information back to clubs, as assistant governors, as a membership chair, I think it’s good to actually meet and talk with each club. So I have a membership team. And we’ve divided up the team. So that, you know, each team member has a certain amount of clubs that they’re that they communicate with, either through email, or by phone, and also doing visits. So I myself, am visiting and plan to visit every club in a district, either by internet, you know, on Zoom, or actually going to the club, and also, you know, visiting the some of the actual service projects, which, which is really nice. Because when you go to service projects, you’re gonna meet volunteers who may eventually decide they want to become a Rotarian. So at those events, you know, you, you get the feeling that, you know, the President is happy that someone is there from membership team. And we can’t afford, you know, a friendship and understanding. So it’s teamwork, I think that will get the job done in the end. Because I don’t know about you. But for me, you know, when I’m working with someone side by side, it feels a lot better, as opposed to someone who might be way off somewhere telling me what I should be doing. And they don’t know, actually what’s going on. So yeah, boots on ground means exactly that boots on the ground.

Peter Tonge 8:09
No, and I agree, I think the most effective work gives them you can build a relationship. Right? Right. So is it fair to say sort of the next step out of the summit then is are the are the connections made with the clubs and the membership team is that kind of the next phase,

Angela Walker 8:29
That is part of the phase that we’re in now, actually, I have visited a couple clubs already, and service projects I’ve been to. But there is a little more classroom work that we need to do. So we’re gonna have a spring conference. And at that spring conference, I plan to with the assistance of a team together, we will provide additional resources. And we’ll dig in a little bit deeper in trying to get a better communication in order to collaborate with the with the clubs and help them with attracting new members and also help them to find better ways to retain membership.

That is part of the next step. It’s like a review. But this will also allow me to see if what we’re helping with what we’re helping them with. This will allow me to see if it’s working, like so we know we did the summit a few weeks ago. So now Let’s see what have you been doing? And? And let’s kind of measure we want to measure what’s been going on? What successes have you had? What have you run into any complications? And what else can we help you with to help you reach your goal?

Peter Tonge 10:23
That sounds like an excellent approach. One thing I’m curious about whenever there are these kinds of events, like a summit, can you think of one or two things? The key word of the summit that were really being surprised that had never sort of crossed your, your, your your mind or your authority as a as a membership chair, and you went, Oh, I never thought of that, or, or, you know, something like that? Because usually, there’s some jam that comes out of some jam or some rock that comes out of these things. Yeah.

Angela Walker 11:00
Well, it was interesting, but we did have one glitch in our in our breakout system, right. For some reason, the timer for the breakout kept going kept going off every two minutes for like the first, I don’t know, eight minutes, or six minutes. So we would go on to breakout, and then it would stop and bring everybody back to, you know, the home front. And and then we’d have to send them back into the breakout room. And it would it would go off again. And so there was something going on with the timing. And that was really a surprise because that’s that’s never happened before in in any Zoom meeting that I’ve been in with the district. But I think it was just, it was just a glitch. Um, another thing that was kind of surprising to me, was that the the membership, the RI membership Link was actually down that day.

Peter Tonge 12:13
Okay, ironically,

Angela Walker 12:16
It was, but it was down. And we don’t know what happened. But, you know, I had some backup. So that’s good. Um, but other than that, everything, everything pretty much went well.

Peter Tonge 12:31
That’s good. I’m glad. That’s excellent. So I also understand that you just recently got an invitation to be a speaker at a district conference. I think it is.

Angela Walker 12:44
Yes, yes. Yes. It’s district 7950. That’s out in Cape Cod. Rhode Island area, right? That’s from May 5 through the seventh. And I’m going to do a couple of breakouts there. So I’m kind of talking about membership in a way. Okay, but I’m going to be really focusing on Rotary being moreinclusive to people with disabilities, and veterans.

Peter Tonge 13:26
You have a bit of experience there?

Angela Walker 13:30
Yes, I do have some physical challenges. And, you know, the way that I came to Rotary is a story in itself.

Peter Tonge 13:42
Please tell it, it’s important.

Angela Walker 13:45
Ah, you know, I, I am. I’m a military veteran. And I was injured and I did suffer some really debilitating conditions, which led me to be in a wheelchair. But what I came to rotary, you know, I was pretty much lost and had really, I guess, lost my self esteem. And I was just really down. But someone invited me to come and speak at a rotary meeting to talk about some other experiences that I’d had as a veterinarian. And I feltthat the members of that particular clubwere very interested in what I had to say, but not only that, they were friendly. And they were kind And, and they were very inviting. And that kind of sparked my interest. And I began to visit other clubs. And then I decided to become a Rotarian. And my, my whole life changed, I think, because I became a Rotarian. And, you know,I’ve grown quite a bit.

And I find myself in a leadership role again. And I’m very proud, but still humbled that, you know, I can be in a international organization, and help people, right, because that’s what it’s really all about. It’s not about me, it’s really about helping others. And that’s what also drew me to the Rotary Club. Because when I was sitting there, in in, in those meetings, I was observing and listening to what, what those clubs were doing, and they were talking about packing food for homeless people, and they were talking about getting shoes and coats then shelter box, and so all these things, and you know, you don’t, you really don’t have time to think about yourself, when you are exposed to people who have way less than you and people who need more help. So it really gave me a chance to not think about myself, think about others, and get to work. And I’ve kept my head down. And I’ve been working ever since. But that’s why it’s so important. That, you know, sometimes people when they see someone who is physically challenged or mentally challenged, sometimes they don’t even be in any pay them any attention. Sometimes they just look past them, you know, and they go to the next person. But people who have physical and mental challenges or and or disabilities, you know, they shouldn’t be looked over. And they should be invited to the table. And they can they can help or we can help just as much as anybody else can. We just need the opportunity.

Peter Tonge 17:43
I agree with you completely. And the, the regular listeners of the podcast will know that that’s something that you and I share in common. I’m not a veteran, but I also have a physical disability and use a wheelchair. So I have all about inclusion in robbery and the other organizations that I work with. So that’s one of the things that you and I bonded about. Now, I know I know isn’t about you. But before we leave you for a minute. You mentioned the fact that coming to rotary helped you rebuild your self esteem. Can you just talk to me about that a little bit? You’re right. Yes. I somebody who’s very, very confident working really hard. So I wanted just a little bit about that transition.

Angela Walker 18:30
Well, I can tell you that when I first came to Rotary,I could barely talk. I had memory loss. I had really bad memory loss. I couldn’t write well. And I and I and I, I spoke with a stutter. That was really bad. So I had to go to speech therapy. I was in memory therapy. I guess it’s the same. And I was losing losing the hearing on my right side. And my mobility was pretty bad.

I was actually scared to speak up but I was I was invited to speak but somehow I managed to to speak, but it was really hard. Right? Now before before I had this memory, memory loss, and all these things happened to me. I was teaching at a college. So if you can imagine what it’s like to be teaching one minute or One day, and then the next day you can’t even read or write.

Peter Tonge 20:04
Right? It has to be frightening.

Angela Walker 20:06
Yeah, it’s very frightening. And, you know, people can be intimidating. And you will be surprised at how people, you know how some people treat other people when they know that they have a problem. But this was something that just happened to me. And, but I was determined that I didn’t want to stay closed up in a house, or I didn’t want to go to a nursing home, I could have gone to a nursing home. But I, I did something that I would tell my students to do, if they were struggling, and that would be to practice speaking every day, to practice to try to read every day, try to get on your computer every day. And so the same things I will tell my students, I told myself, so I started volunteering at the VA hospital. And that’s how I met a Rotarian who said, you know, you know, you’re, you’re volunteering, and oh, by the way, when I was volunteering, I did that to make myself be in the public. To make, so if someone came up to me, you know, if I had to sit with a patient, I can at least say hello, and I could listen to what they had to say. And I could try to talk and try to recall my words. But the whole time that I was there, I would be just helping out with, with the patients. So I I felt very insecure, you know, at the rotary meetings, and I had lost a lot of self esteem, because people will beat you down. You know, when when you’re sick. Sometimes people can treat you very badly.And I,I just I worked on myself, I worked on my speech, I worked on my memory, I worked on my writing, and I you know, as as, as I began to get better, I started to speak out more at meetings. And eventually, I became a president. And then, and then I was really challenged because that was the year of the pandemic. So I was very challenged, but I was determined. And even though I didn’t have all my skills, I used what I had to make things work. And I delegate it work, right, I delegate it. And so, as a result of that hard work, our club, received the Rotary International citation, platinum. And we got the governor’s citation. And it was, I guess, a big to do. My club went 100%, Paul Harris. And we did about 20. I think it was 24 or 26 service projects. And that first year, because the knee was so great, fantastic. Yeah, the knee was so great. Right? But if people knew how I was struggling, right, they didn’t know. So the second year, nobody wanted to step up. It was the pandemic, so I had to be president again. But I, I took it on, and I said, Okay, I’ll just try to finish whatever didn’t get done last year. And, and persevere. And I think in my second year, I realized that I could do more. It doesn’t have to stop here. Less look at what what I’m really good at. And what I’m really good at is sales and marketing. And what I’m really great at is teaching. So becoming a membership. The district membership chair. I didn’t I didn’t ask for it. But you know, when it came up and it was offered, I said yes, I will take it and I just I believe that our club can, and our district will, we will meet our goals, we will meet our goals because because our members are going to be empowered, our members are going to be inspired, our members are going to naturally attract people, because we’re going to be serving the community. So we will be the inspiration and we will serve to change lives.

Peter Tonge 25:34
Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. Because I was, I’ve been very fortunate. I met Angela, who’s been through all this stuff, and who is teaching and speaking and learning and all that stuff. So So I wasn’t there to support you through the most difficult parts. But Charlie’s to see the Okello together. Because I love, I love talking to you just because you you have that ability to share and teach and do all those things that are that are so important. I learned from you every time I talk to you.

Angela Walker 26:13
Oh, Peter, thank you.

Rotary Ad 26:19
Possibilities are all around us. We see potential in unexpected places. And when we share our knowledge, vision, and connections, we turn great ideas into action. Together, we can make real change happen. We’re Rotary, we are people of action. Get involved today at

Angela Walker 26:47
It is good to engage with each other. Yes, yes, it’s good to engage

Peter Tonge 26:55
In both in Rotary and outside Rotary, we move forward when we build relationships, and we do things together.

Angela Walker 27:05
Right? That’s Yep. Collaboration.

Peter Tonge 27:09
You know, and I’m, sometimes that’s a struggle for me, because I’m very much a type A personality. And I think I know what the answers are. And it’s, you know, but what I learned to work together with people has become that much stronger. Because I of course, I don’t always know what the answers are. In fact, I probably seldom do but you and I both, both agree that diversity and inclusion has to be has to be part of Rotary? How do we do that? And how do we make it more part of the culture?

Angela Walker 27:44
Well, that’s a really, really good question. Um, so I think just having the insight, to know that Rotary has to grow, no matter what we have to be more creative about attracting people. But also, we really need to, I believe rotary needs to open up a little bit more, because we got all the resources we need. But we need more people. So I believe that we need to start looking at, you know, looking at looking at including every body, you know, people with disabilities, don’t look past them, invite them in. Yep. Invite us in, right.

Peter Tonge 28:51
Because man, you’re gonna get some great members if you do that. He says modestly.

Angela Walker 28:58
Where I really think that Rotary is is missing, missing out on a lot of good talent. And we should be planting the seed now. And grooming our next set of leaders. You know, no matter where they come from, no matter what their background, you know, people are people but leadership, right. Is it’s it’s in everybody is just, you know, some of us learn differently. Some of us teach differently. What if we want to grow? We need to be ready to accept everyone. Mm.

Peter Tonge 30:02
Absolutely. Now you and I have talked a little bit of a leader ship in the past. I’m wondering how rotary can help identify and grow leaders of all different types and backgrounds?

Angela Walker 30:24
Well, for one thing, take a look. Take a look at what, what the what? Take a look at the membership right now. And see what is your membership missing?

Does your membership reflect your community? Who is missing? I think we need to look at who’s missing, who is not at the table, right? And find them? Because they’re here. We’re here.

Peter Tonge 31:06
Yep. You know, our friend Alex would tell us to find our community. Yes, go to the community and do work, to

Angela Walker 31:19
just go just go to work, just go to work. Because there’s plenty of work to do.

Peter Tonge 31:26
You know, and I’ve said that within my own rotary districts in my own role remainings. From my point of view, it’s not the idea of saying, Okay, here’s, here’s a list of the six types of members that we want to try. It’s like, here’s the list of the six communities that we want to go and do some work in and some service in so we can build some relationships. And that’s where the membership is going to come from. I don’t know if you agree, but I think we have to build relationships. Right? Yes, yep. Say, Let’s go out and find this disabled member, or let’s go out and find it, LGBT, Q member. But now let’s go out and work in our community with folks that have disabilities who are with the LGBT community. And guess what, we’re doing good work, you’re gonna find numbers? Who are going to want to be part of the good work that you do?

Angela Walker 32:39
Well, I’m in agreement with you, you that you do have to build a relationship because one thing you should not do is go somewhere, and and maybe do some service work that they don’t need done.

Peter Tonge 32:59
Exactly. That big, the world sin of service clubs, right, I’m gonna come to your community and tell you what you need.

Angela Walker 33:07
Right? It doesn’t work like that. You have to find out what the need is. And and that’s through communication. Then collaboration? Yes. Yes.

Peter Tonge 33:24
And then, and then people are gonna want to join the good work that you do.

Angela Walker 33:28
Well, that’s attraction. Yep. And then we got to talk about retention.

Peter Tonge 33:34
And I guess retention is good, you got to keep up the good keep working those communities. And saying things is that is too short, continue to do the work that you’re asked to do in those communities. Right. And that’s why and I’ve and I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it just through this podcast, where I’ve seen certain projects where people go into a community, and they ask what needs to be done, and it’s very successful, and I’ve seen other Rotarians tell me Well, we went into the community and did this. Right, because this is what they needed. And guess what wasn’t as successful because they didn’t ask first. They told

Angela Walker 34:22
well, well, yeah. Because sometimes, you know, and, well, you know, you might provide something that people can’t use.

Peter Tonge 34:37
We’re really addressing the problem.

Angela Walker 34:40
Right? Right.

No, you got to know what, what, what is valuable for that community. What is it that they they really need so you know, as one thing to say, oh, you should read to your child every day. But what if I don’t know how to read myself?

Peter Tonge 35:12
Or I don’t have the books? Or I don’t have those kind of access? Yeah.

Angela Walker 35:18
Well, yeah, we’re gonna give you books and you need to read to your child every night. Well, but, you know, some people are, or they need help to read your children. So, you know, at that point, you got to come up with something else. Okay, well, then let’s do you know, let’s have a reading corner. And we’re going to work with you on your reading too. So, I mean, it’s just an example. Maybe not a very good one. But if we want to engage the community, then we have to know what what the need is, and why don’t need exist? Right. How do we fix it? Yeah,

Peter Tonge 36:02
Absolutely. You know, something like that, that sort of crossed through my mind as we were, as we were having this conversation, as, as far as I understand it. Rory doesn’t have sort of a formal relationship with veterans organizations. Are we missing out? They’re, particularly countries like the United States?

Angela Walker 36:27
So that’s kind of interesting question, because I did ask someone, you know, do we have a way of tracking? How many veterans are actually a part of rotary know how many veterans are members of Rotary? And we don’t have a real way to track that yet. But I thought about it, I said, Maybe we should see how many veterans we have as members throughout Rotary International. But to answer your your question, there are individual Rotary Clubs, I believe, that do have affiliations with some veteran organizations.

Peter Tonge 37:11
Yeah. Uh huh. Good. I just think you were you were talking about going on hospital visits and talking to patients and presumably meeting people that were trying to find new ways to contribute, right? Yes,

Angela Walker 37:27
Yes and that’s actually one of the things that I’m going to be doing at the conference. At the end of the conference, I’ve already researched the area of where I’m going to be and I’ll be passing out a list to the participants that will have all the veteran organizations in that area, contact information. So when I do say to them, would you be willing to open up your club, to veterans to people with disabilities? Would you be willing? Well, if you are willing, then here’s a list of organizations you can start with today.

Peter Tonge 38:13
I think that’s right.

Angela Walker 38:17
We have to start somewhere. And then I think, end of April, I’ll be speaking about rotary and opportunities for volunteerism, I’ll be speaking to the Military Officers Association of Lake County. So that’s a whole club and whole club is our every member in that club is a military officer. Okay? Or they are a military veteran, who is maybe you know, a retired officer. So I want to try to engage these officers and let them know about, you know, volunteer service projects with our district. And so I’m I, I am trying in my own area, because, you know, where, you know, I live in an area we have a military base here is Great Lakes. Um, so, you know, I, if I’m going to walk if I’m going to talk to talk, I got to walk the walk, right.

Peter Tonge 39:31
You know, and let’s be the wee bit selfish here too. These are people that know how to get stuff done.

Angela Walker 39:42
That’s one thing about military is that you know, we have, we have some discipline we, you know, we know how to, to start and finish a job. So, yeah, military skills are needed. I believe

Peter Tonge 40:01
Yeah, I understand why. It’s, it’s not not ever haven’t been a member of the military, but but see how I operate? These are these are people that want to do stuff and want to get things done right, which is kind of.

Angela Walker 40:25
Exactly, exactly.

Peter Tonge 40:28
You know, so I see, I see an obvious link there and certainly with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, I’m a big, I’m a big champion there as well. So those are, those are sort of two, two big pathways for rotary, I think.

Angela Walker 40:47
I would have to agree with you, Peter.

Peter Tonge 40:49
Good, that doesn’t happen very often.

Mandy Kwasnica 40:56
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Angela Walker 41:31
Well, we haven’t talked about sports.

Peter Tonge 41:33
It’s true. You and you and I are both para athletes. Absolutely. Yeah. I’m sometimes wheelchair rugby player and sometimes sensor and I know you’ve done a whole wide number of things to what your what your current sport because I know you’ve tried quite a few.

Angela Walker 41:52
Uh, well, um, right now I am working on air rifle. bocce ball, horseshoes, and shuffleboard. I was doing archery archery. But I don’t think my shoulders are going to allow me to wait on that bow. So I may have to wait to go back to archery.

Peter Tonge 42:18
Now, it sounds to me like you might not you might have a bit of a bit of an arm up at air rifle, given your background.

Angela Walker 42:30
Well see I use a stand with my rifle. Right? I use I use a stance so I’m an sh to shooter. Right. So that allows me to use a stand. But I heard you guys were having some shooting events out there.

Peter Tonge 42:45
We did and but Well, I’ll tell you both sides of it. The shooting event itself was great. The the local provincial shooting club went on a thing for parachuters and we got to try out air rifles that we got to try out pistols and all that it was beat the other fight and the reason that it didn’t work is because it’s in the basement of a Legion hall is where they’re all set up. So access was horrible. They have this airside lifted broke down place in the village with ended up breaking ourselves. But oh, so I don’t think I don’t think the parachuting program in my area is gonna go ahead not because it’s not interesting or fine or they weren’t welcoming with the venue just doesn’t work. Right? Yeah, you need to find another venue divine another venue. Yeah, I was horrible. But I shot the pistol for a while and it was it was kind of it was part of the dressing. But you know, it was one of those things that I even I learned before I went to this event that there was a there was a seldom use stairs I left and both my wife and I almost said simultaneously to each other. It’s going to break down it’s not used to having 15 people in chairs come in and out of there all the time.

Angela Walker 44:13
Wow. Yeah, yeah, I started I started with pistol and and then I and then I got a rifle and I never went back to pistol after that.

Peter Tonge 44:26
I didn’t try the rifle. I probably shouldn’t have tried it. It was easier than the pistol but

Angela Walker 44:31
it is well okay, you know what? I don’t know. Maybe it is. But I’m doing pretty good. And but some of the other sports that I’ve done kayakingand surfing. Do that once. Well, I found fun. It was hard.

Oh yeah. Those waves are good. Should be really strong

Yeah, that’s pretty,

pretty bad. I’m gonna do a new sport. It’s a power. We do it with our power chairs, okay? But I don’t know the name of it yet but we got to do some practicing. And then I’m also learning that sport that is a is a winter sport and is almost like Bochy, but it’s the big balls that you slide down on on the ice, okay. And so I’m gonna be learning that this year, actually in about a week or two as I get my first lesson. And so I’m pretty excited about that.

Peter Tonge 45:47
I will be anxious to hear but because I know I’m I’m a very amateur athlete but I love her athletics and plus part of what I do is working para work so yeah, a year but do sports and, and all that stuff. We’re having a great deal of fun fencing at the moment, it’s a lot of fun. I do have a sport here that I use for for running and basketball and stuff like that. But as you probably know the rugby chairs are very specialized and play rugby and i i have the use of one that I get from my rugby club, but it’s not custom fit for me.

Angela Walker 46:31
And you know, I’m really shocked that you play that game because you guys just beat each other up.

Peter Tonge 46:35
I love it. It’s the best stress reliever I have. Like, forget about therapy or medication or anything. Let me Bastion you’ve ever seen it or watch it but it is loud girl when those chairs started to come together? Yeah. Wow. Yeah, it’s fantastic. Definitely. And over defensive players. So that’s my only role right if I run into

Angela Walker 47:02
it’s very physical just like wheelchair basketball, right? Very physical.

Peter Tonge 47:07
Oh, yeah. Keeps an old man for being dead. That’s all.

Angela Walker 47:12
So I was telling you that I was getting my voice back for Rotary. Yes. And so you know, I have the opportunity to to talk about rotary to everybody. But then I also got the opportunity to sing a little bit so do you want me to sing a little bit for you today?

Peter Tonge 47:40
I would love anything for me today.

Angela Walker 47:43
Okay, I’m gonna sing acapella I’m trying to sing that song Imagine by John Lennon

Peter Tonge 47:52

Angela Walker 47:55
okay here we go

oh Bara Bara

Imagine there’s no heaven

it’s easy if you

try no hell below above us only sky

Imagine all

the people living for today

Imagine there’s no country

in isn’t hard to do.

Nothing to kill

or die for. And no relate John to


all the people living life MP please. You. You must say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will ps1

Imagine no possession I will wonder if you can?

No knees filigree or hunger

of rubber hood

imagine Hoffa P Bo. Sharing all the world, you dream. But I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. Yay. And the world will live as one.

Peter Tonge 50:58
Rob Oh, that’s fantastic. Thank you so much.

Angela Walker 51:02
I’m glad you enjoyed that. Peter.

Peter Tonge 51:05
I’m glad you have your voice back.

Angela Walker 51:09
I know, you know, I have that bug jeeesh. I was really down for a while.

Peter Tonge 51:15
Clearly you’ve recovered to get that sounds great. And congratulations. This is a Talking Rotary first. I’ve never heard the podcast before. You’ll never hear me sing on the podcast because I removed all by. But I really appreciate you sharing that with us. That’s fantastic. And thank you so emblematic of rotary and what we’re trying to do as well.

So I only have one standard question that I have in the podcast, and that is there. There are literally hundreds of service organizations in in North America. And there are 1000s of places you could be given your talents and your energies and all that. Why Rotary International? Why why are you putting all this effort in this organization?

Angela Walker 52:18
Well, you know, first let me say this, Peter, I don’t think it was any accident. I think that I am, I know I am here for reason.

Rotary chose me right? They invited me and I took him up on it.

I’m gonna tell you that it really wasn’t easy as for at first, but it was worth it. Right? It was worth staying is easy. It is easy to come in the door. And then the first thing that goes wrong, you say, Oh, I like it. I’m out of here. But it takes a lot more stamina, you know, to stay and play it out. Yeah. And I think that

I feel really good about my decision of being a part of Rotary International. It really has changed my life. It really has.

Peter Tonge 53:30
That’s amazing. And I feel really good about your day too, because I can see the contributions, that you’re making them the friendships that you’re building. So it may be a really bad analogy, but was the first little bit of robbery a little bit like being in boot camp and wondering where you were allowed to go?

Angela Walker 53:53
No, no, it was nothing like bootcamp. No, no.

Peter Tonge 54:00
I told you was probably a bad analogy. It didn’t go out of my mind when you were saying there were days right? That he would go.

Angela Walker 54:10
No, but the reason why another reason why I think I probably like it is because, you know,Rotary leadership and organization is so important. And I think that’s one thing that really attracted me was was, you know, being able to go online and take classes and, and learn. You can learn anything you want on the on the Rotary International website. And that just really intrigued me because, you know, I’m a teacher. So I just thought, wow, this is they’re so organized. And I love that. But I think some people find it intimidating, because there’s so much information On the website, but I just think you have to, when you’re really interested in an organization, you take the time to learn as much as you can, even if you just do a little bit every time, right? It really depends on how hungry you are to learn about Rotary, and I think that the, the more that I, the more that I learned, the more that I wanted to learn. And that’s why I’m here.

Peter Tonge 55:31
I have to be honest with you, for me, the Rotary Education Center in the online learning was a real revolute raishin. For me, it was my friend Alex, who put me onto it, I had never used it as a resource at all. And I’ve been in recovery for more than 20 years. When I was asking him questions about this. The other thing and he was like, well, back on the Learning Center, yes, I’m learning center and I. And then I said, really, I’ve never been to the Learning Center. And he looked at me like I had seven. And

Angela Walker 56:11
He didn’t give you to Alex Johnson look.

Peter Tonge 56:13
Like I had seven heads. So, this is a man so that our listeners understand who’s who’s, you know, taking it to the edge, because he’s taken hundreds of courses from the Centre . And

Angela Walker 56:30
I think he’s number two in in the whole, I think he’s like number two,

Peter Tonge 56:36
Right and I was I was the exact opposite. I didn’t even really, if I want to know that the learning center existed. So I was I was given the walk consent away to do my homework. Right. And it was at the time where I was, I was being considered to be district governor for my district. So that’s when Alex said, you know, get your butt to the Learning Center. Which I did. And it really, really helped me through the process. But I’m glad we’re talking about the sources that Rory had, because to couple of things that it’s happened to me in in, in the last few years, was I learned two things, one that I learned about the rotary Learning Center. And I also learned that the, the staff at Rotary can be very helpful and be very good resources. And I was, you know, I’ll be frank, and I’ve said this before, I’m not going to surprise anybody. I was one of those Rotarians that didn’t think that rotary helped me at all they did was get in the way. And I was that was sort of a revelation for me, too, that they could actually help me get to where I wanted to be if I made appropriate use of the resources. So those are two big things that I’ve learned in the last couple of years.

Angela Walker 58:03
That’s awesome.

Peter Tonge 58:05
But it didn’t take me 20 years to do get there. So one of the reasons that I’m talking about it is, so I’m hoping that Rotarians that are listening to this, don’t take 20 years to make those revelations. It’s pretty good. Particularly if you’re new. There are so many great resources to draw upon.

Angela Walker 58:25
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I visit there quite frequently now.

Peter Tonge 58:35
Well, I’m never going to become an alux. But I do like to go there when there’s a particular topic or something that I want to, that I want to learn about, or I want to dig into. For sure.

Angela Walker 58:46
Right? Well, I know that, for me, I definitely learned quite a bit. And, you know, didn’t didn’t think I would need any of that stuff early on. But as time went by, you know, learning how to pull reports and read reports and, you know, make reports, all those things are, are good to know and can only make make you better, right? It only improves you as a member. And again, whatever you learn, you can always teach to somebody else, right? Or you can at least direct them and say, Hey, why don’t you check out? Why don’t you check out check out the classes. Dealing with membership and attraction or dealing with Rotary Foundation. You know, there’s just so much is so much to learn. You can never get you can never get tired of learning.

Peter Tonge 59:54
No, I agree. I agree. I’m married to university professors, right? All of them learning. Right? difficult part of learning in our house is how to navigate through all the books. Wow. We are home of books. Nice. Absolutely.

Angela Walker 1:00:16
Thank you for the opportunity.

Peter Tonge 1:00:18
My pleasure. Nice to spend some time with you and I’m sure we’ll do it again.

Angela Walker 1:00:24
Absolutely you take care

Mandy Kwasnica 1:00:52
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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