Since this was a Club Assembly, and Membership was the only topic, we didn’t have many distractions. However, Senor RUDY called on PP ERIC LOBERG to lead the Pledge, which could have started us off in any number of directions. But, for the first time in the memory of YOE, ERIC gave a straight performance, and we were underway! The Song was the Battle Hymn of the Republic, with PP JIM DOWNIE on the piano, and dual leaders, PP’S all, - STEVE DAY, who identified himself as belonging to the Volunteer Army of New Jersey, and STEVE SCHERER, who claimed to be an Arkansas Irregular. But the two sides since this was, after all, a Civil War song, cooperated fully in its performance. GEORGE COX rose to remind us that the song was written in the Willard Hotel, in Washington D.C. which GEORGE learned last week when visiting there. Once we were seated, Senor RUDY gave the Invocation, which he had presented before, and it was a meaningful recitation particularly impressive since he learned it when he was just eight years old!
Let me inject here a report on PDG ANDY ANDERSON’S recent hospitalization. ANDY was having chest pains, and they found that by inserting two stints one inside his previous stint, and another to replace a damaged vein that he could avoid open heart surgery! This was done at Santa Monica/UCLA Hospital on Tuesday, and today, he even took a 15-minute walk. It was the first time in recent memory that he wasn’t short of breath so all is going well. He’s home, and phone calls are welcome. And one more HAPPY medical note KUJOMI EVELYN KOMATSU arrived on Sept 19th all concerned are doing well!
RO SHAW couldn’t report any Visiting Rotarians, but we did learn that LILLIAN KLEIWER’S daughter, Christie, is now a member of Interact at Notre Dame High School. Next up was Rudy’s World, and the first person fingered was DONN CONNER.
DONN cleverly tried to plead the press of business, emphasizing how sorry he was to not have any answers and his piteous tone so moved Senor RUDY that DONN wasn’t even fined! There was a bit of interplay with the words Prostate and Prostrate, and it would probably be fair to call the interchange a draw. This led to the news that either three or four glasses of red wine, per week, would help prevent prostate cancer and if true, we maybe better start having it with lunch, right? ELLIOTT TURNER did rise to point out that if you have three glasses of tequila a day, you don’t care either way. Fortunately, PP JIM COLLINS stepped up with the answer to Rudy’s World. It shows a photo of a P51 Mustang, courtesy of CATHY REZOS apparently one of the few still flying. And Senor RUDY managed to elicit the fact that he, Senor RUDY, was indeed the photographer!
The next District Breakfast looms on the horizon actually, it will be Tuesday, October 12th, 0700 at the LAX Marriott, and we are seeking a few more hardy souls to fill a table. The Speaker will be Pat Boone. Contact CHRIS BRADFORD or DON NELSON if you can make it, please. Senor RUDY then outlined the Plan For The Day that being our Membership focus, as outlined by SHANE WAARBROEK. SHANE will give us some ideas, and shortly thereafter, we will have a few minutes of Table Talk. This will be summarized by a spokesperson from each table. Senor RUDY next introduced a new word, as far as I can recall, in his repertoire, that being, “Let’s Refocus” which I believe means we should shut up, please.
SHANE began by thanking those who had helped with the planning PP JIM COLLINS, CATHY REZOS, Senor RUDY, and KACY ROZELLE. They are working toward a program to cover the next three to five years, to stabilize and grow our membership. Our recent history shows that membership has declined about 7% for each of the last three years and that obviously, isn’t healthy. He listed those who have sponsored two new members LENNY FIIEDMAN, PDG BILL GOODWYN, PP HOWIE HENKES, PP TEN IHNEN, PP STEVE SCHERER, PP JOHN SINGLETON, PP YOE, and RAY ZICKFELD. Three of us have sponsored three new members STEW GILMAN, BRUCE ROLF and note, he is still at Berkeley East, and welcomes visits and TERRY R. WHITE. Two can claim four new members - BRUCE HARRIS, and PP MIKE NEWMAN. And the Champ, with SIX new members sponsored, is HENRY TSENG!
KACY ROZELLE came forward to describe his experience as a potential New Member and note, this occurred just about three years ago. KACY pointed out the two aspects of membership first, is a visitor a good prospect, and second, what does this visitor know about us? He was sponsored by former PP BILL BLOOMFIELD JR, who by then had moved to the Manhattan Beach Club but he recognized that KACY belonged here!
BILL JR invited KACY over to his house, where they talked about Rotary and all the great things we do. After that, he brought him to our meetings, always sitting next to him and introducing him around at the various tables. This led to a dinner meeting at a local restaurant, with PP HOWIE HENKES as the host, and there were several other members present. They talked about Rotary for over an hour, answered questions and generally filled KACY in on what membership entailed. KACY equated this process to fraternity or sorority ‘rush’ events, where both parties are looking the other over, to see if there is a fit, so to speak. Next, he was invited to PP STEVE SCHERER’S house for dinner, during which he met the current President, the Past President, and the Incoming President. The result of this extended cultivation, of course, was that KACY came aboard and up to that time, he wasn’t even sure that WVRC was seriously interested! But you can certainly see a developing process underway here - and it’s a standard we need to meet again if we expect to attract and keep good new members.
Our Table Talk produced several speakers, and I’ll now try to report what they said it may be repetitious, but that’s probably better than leaving something out, so here goes:
LILLIAN KLEIWER was interested in the physicians in our area but it’s tough for them to get two hours off in the middle of the day, especially every week. KACY ROZELLE suggested that we write those who have left and ask why. LEO TSENG noted that we should NOT say, after introducing a Special Guest, “We hope you’ll join us”. CATHY REZOS commented on the lack of a Westwood Community, and wondered if someone like MIKE GINTZ, with his knowledge of local businesses, could form a new local business association. She felt this could best be done by one special person, not by a group. BRIAN BUMPAS suggested we join the Westwood Historical Society, and publicize the many good things we do, locally. He also plugged the Abraham Lincoln Celebration which will occur next year on Saturday, when it should be possible for some of us to attend.
PP HOMER NEWMAN reminded us that our spouses were usually willing and eager to make social contacts, and this is an aspect we should emphasize in speaking about our Auxiliary and note, we are the ONLY local Rotary Club that has such a wonderful organization. Why people join or do not is a matter of both time can they get away at noon and money it is expensive, particularly for younger prospects. PP JIM DOWNIE spoke about Classifications, and how important they were at one time. This provided the basis for some economic networking, but that classification exclusivity no longer exists. MARK BLOCK reminded us that we were all talking in the same vein. We do so many really wonderful projects yet only those who are members even know about Polio Pllus, or the eradication of Polio worldwide, or our Ambassadorial Scholarships, to name just a few. There was some feeling that perhaps we should lighten up on our attendance requirements, since that can be a deterrent to a potential new member. The time commitment is a problem but the other side of that coin is that if a prospect cannot come to lunch weekly, how can we expect such a possible member to be able to participate in what we do. I noted that we have recently ‘rushed’ several older individuals, and without exception that have all been excellent recruits. This is an area that surprised me, for instance, but there is a field here which should not be overlooked. And note that older prospects are more likely to be able to afford our membership costs.
LENORE MULRYAN pointed out that ELLIOTT TURNER, at her table, said we need publicity the only newspaper article recently called Rotary the Club that wears ugly ties! SALLY BRANT said the Chair of each Avenue of Service should submit reports that could be published. LEE DUNAYER reminded us that Rotary started for three reasons it gathered good people, it was created to help people, and business networking made it attractive. MIKE GINTZ suggested we provide one meeting a quarter which would be well publicized, and open to the whole community, featuring a subject/Speaker specifically designed to attract business owners. TERRY M. WHITE (the younger one) was next up, and he reminded us that don’t have a community in Westwood anymore business and the professions are much more fragmented than in the past. This is an area that needs developing. Also, when TERRY joined, he guesses that 20% of the Club were from UCLA and since the University is such a vital part of the community, we ought to try to bring back some of those UCLA contacts. Note that the Beverly Hills Club has grown, which is against the general trend, and the reason is that they have become a central part of that community. In other words, how can we become more involved with the social and professional people who now populate Westwood Village? Someone reminded us that we have a few present members who were sponsored by their fathers and note, they are all long-time members. I again suggested that we need a professional person to place articles in the local media, since they know how to get it done (and we don’t) I will check with Cheryl Kingston to see how we can use her services.
And now, my Mea Culpa (again!). Several of you were asked by Senor RUDY to submit your ideas in writing, and I urge you to do just that, please. I know that no one suspects that I may have missed a couple of thoughts but, seriously, we NEED specific ideas. Today’s meeting was a great start in that direction. Thank you, SHANE WAARBROEK!