Friday, March 13, 2020
Hello folks,
COVID-19 (coronavirus) has definitely brought the word perspective to the forefront for me. Across our global network of clubs and participants to the very top of our organization, COVID-19 has placed us all in unprecedented territory. Uncharted waters for sure. Far from business as normal. Leaders at all levels of our organization are faced with decisions they never believed they would encounter. Leaders at all levels of our organization asking for guidance on how to deal with this global pandemic relative to our organization.
From a North American perspective none of us could have imagined a scenario where Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League would suspend or pause their seasons. The Masters golf tournament postponed indefinitely. March Madness, the annual college basketball tournament, cancelled. College sports on hold. The list is endless. Normal life right now anything but normal.
In my area of Pennsylvania, USA, K-12 schools all closed. Non-essential businesses (movie theaters, shopping malls, gyms) recommended to close. Jury trials postponed. Social distancing. Restrictions on gatherings. Each of you either has, is, or will be dealing with similar scenarios in your local communities.
In the US and Canada, we are still in the initiation phase. We haven’t even broached the acceleration phase of this pandemic. No one with a crystal ball. Questions right now without answers. We have though a narrow window to get ahead of this, and containment is the watch word of the day.
President Mark cut his European tour short by two and a half weeks to return to Evanston. He and Gay will head to their home in Alabama where they will remain until at least the end of this month. The April Board of Directors meeting will be held virtually rather than in person at One Rotary Center. All in-person meetings and trainings in Evanston were cancelled for March and now April. All international and domestic travel for all Rotary funded volunteer travelers suspended through 30 April. All staff travel both domestic and international suspended through 30 April as well. Rotary staff in Evanston are working remotely through the end of March. Telecommuting the new normal for many of us.  
President-elect Training Seminars cancelled or cut short. District Conferences cancelled. District Assemblies in jeopardy. Club meetings, social events, and fundraisers cancelled or postponed. I can hear the disappointment in the voices of those I speak with who have planned, sometimes for over a year, for signature events that now will not happen. Don’t feel shortchanged. Perspective. Others lives are being totally upended and derailed. Some of them may be your members. No one is in danger from an overabundance of caution.
We are all being asked to be socially responsible. That shouldn’t be a heavy lift for us. We’ve been socially responsible as an organization for over 115 years.   
Spend some time thinking of the opportunities, not just the challenges. Can that cancelled district conference become a future district service project when the time is right? How can technology (Zoom and other platforms) help us to stay connected during this time, and how can that knowledge help us to Grow Rotary going forward? How can we find ways to support the most vulnerable populations affected by this pandemic?
As an organization, as districts, as clubs, as participants, we’ll get through this. Together. Go to for the latest information from Evanston.
For all of our District Governors, Governors-elect and constituents in Zones 24(28) and 32, Director-elect Valarie Wafer and I are here. Your leadership will be tested in ways that you never anticipated. We’re a phone call an email or a text away to support you in any way that we can. Feel free to share this with your clubs and districts. Together, we’ll get through this.
Stay safe,
Jeffry & Valarie
Jeffry Cadorette
Rotary International Director (2018-20)
Valarie Wafer
Rotary International Director (2020-22)