Maryborough Rotary Club’s new president, Carisbrook’s Alison Teese, intends to combine creativity and the use of modern technology throughout her 12-month term as the world copes with the COVID-19 pandemic. A member of the club for nearly eight years, Ms Teese, took over as president from Leigh Williamson at a changeover meeting, held online at the end of June. Ms Teese said she had never envisaged being president when, in 2012, she responded to a call from the club for more women members. “I never joined with the view to becoming an office bearer, I was just keen to get involved in their fundraising, their friendship and particularly interested in Rotary as an international organisation,” she said. Ms Teese said the wellbeing of the club during COVID-19 is her first priority as president, and with that in mind video conferencing would play a major role. “The first thing is to keep everyone safe and happy within the club and to take advantage of going to online meetings like Zoom,” she said. While Zoom meetings were taking place for the health and comfort of club members, they also offered a wealth of other opportunities; one of these being meeting with other Rotary clubs, both within their district and overseas. “Our district runs from Maryborough to Swan Hill to Mt Gambier and all the way back to Geelong,” she said. “It’s a big district and of course we don’t get to see a lot of these clubs. “Now we’ve got this opportunity to share meetings and speakers, and also with overseas clubs, that we really always wanted to do, but were involved in our dinner meetings program.” She is also excited about the prospect of utilising video conferencing to get good guest speakers, who would normally not be able to make a trip to Maryborough, for their meetings. She said they have already begun doing this and were able to have Hugh Bucknall from the Melbourne Rotary at the changeover meeting to hear what the club was doing. Ms Teese said members have taken on board a comment made during Mr Bucknall’s talk to ‘never waste a crisis; you learn when things are tough’, seeing it as a challenge to exercise their creativity. (Written By Lurlene Salmon)