Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland in Ontario, Canada, took office Friday as president of the 117-year organization.
By Jonah Meadows Patch Staff
Posted Fri, Jul 1, 2022 at 1:32 pm CT
EVANSTON, IL — For the first time in its 117-year history, a woman has taken office as president of Rotary International, according to the Evanston-based nonprofit service organization.
Jones, who will serve a one-year term as president, took office in Friday while in Ottawa, Canada, in the middle of a coast-to-coast, 12-stop trip across the country dubbed the Imagine Rotary Canada Tour.
During the trip, she is meeting with local officials and taken part in projects related to food insecurity, litter in waterways and guest worker safety, according to Rotary representatives.
The incoming president made the organizations commitment to inclusion a key part of her presidential platform. Jones plans to focus on expanding relationships and collaborations with other organizations that share Rotary’s goals of service and global leadership development.
“Diversity has long been one of our core values and continues to serve as a foundation for how we interact with each other and our communities,” Jones said in a statement.
“I know that my experiences and perspective as a woman mean that I bring a different lens to how I see and approach opportunities and challenges for our organization. I hope to be a catalyst for similar opportunities for leaders from all backgrounds that comprise the global mosaic of our organization,” she added. “We are stronger, more creative, and more effective when we ask for and leverage those diverse perspectives to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges.”
Jones succeeds former president Shekhar Mehta, of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India. Mehta is an accountant and founder and chairman of the Skyline Group real estate development company and a director of the Canada-based organization Operation Eyesight Universal, according to Rotary.
Mehta helped build almost 500 homes for families affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, pioneer a program that has performed more than 1,500 heart surgeries in South Asia and is the architect of the TEACH Program to promote literacy across thousands of schools in India.
During her year in office, Jones is due to tour the globe to view examples of Rotary International’s projects, connecting with some of the organization’s more than 46,000 clubs.
“This year, we are going to bring Rotary service projects center stage around the world,” Jones said. “We will put a special focus on visible, high impact acts of service across our areas of focus, drawing attention to the incredible work that Rotary members are doing.”
Jones is set to highlight projects around the globe, including: efforts to get life-saving vaccines to remote South Pacific islands, to expand water and sanitation across Haiti and to improve education for underserved Guatemalan students, as well as work to fight malaria in Zambia and the work of women health workers to end polio in Pakistan.
Ending polio remains Rotary’s top goal. According to the organization, nearly 1.5 million people are alive who otherwise would have died and 9.4 million people are walking who would otherwise have been paralyzed by the vaccine preventable disease thanks to the efforts of Rotary and its global polio eradication partners.
“When we harness our connections, deepen our relationships, and create new partnerships – our collective efforts can change lives for generations,” Jones said. “There is no better proof point of our impact than our effort to eradicate polio.”