Recruitment and Admission
By Beth Heller and Matt Hunter
Part 1 of an Interview with Recruitment and Admission Co-Chairs Beth Fetterley Heller of the Urban Ecology Center and Matt Hunter of CBRE.
THE WAVES: Beth, can you tell us a bit about your involvement in Rotary and, specifically, why you agreed to serve as co-chair of the Recruitment and Admissions Committee?
BETH: I’ve been a Rotarian for a little over 5 years, and each year the friendships, learning and fun grow! I am a third generation Rotarian, following in my father and grandfather’s footsteps. I remember the conversations I had with my dad about joining. It was a great next step for networking after being very involved in FUEL Milwaukee (Formerly Young Professionals of Milwaukee) and a number of other nonprofits. Being newly married, I also was looking for a way to streamline my volunteerism while maintaining my interests in a wide-variety of community issues – education, violence prevention, environmental integrity, economic development. The vetting process brought the excitement of joining something good and something much bigger than me.
I joined the recruitment and admissions committee originally because wanted to bring that kind of great feeling - of being invited to be a part of something bigger - to others. Plus, it has been a great way to get to know other club members.
THE WAVES: Matt, why is recruitment important?
MATT: We need a continuous flow of new members to maintain our robust network of leaders and for fiscal stability. As a club, we average about 10% attrition, which means that we need nearly 40 new members each year to maintain our club size. We’d like to grow our membership a bit so ideally, we’d introduce one new member each week.
THE WAVES: Some members have told us that they are unsure of the type of member that Rotary wants. What would you tell them?
MATT: “Leaders making a difference” guides our thinking. “Leadership” can mean senior or executive management or someone who has received recognition for work within their field. We also look for representatives of businesses with demonstrated success and leadership in their field, represented by a $1million+ budget or some other indicator of similar standing in their industry. “Making a difference” aims at people who have a demonstrated commitment to civic engagement. We would ask you to invite someone whose company you enjoy. And, if someone is new to their role, we recommend waiting a year before asking them to join.
THE WAVES: What if I have a great person in mind, but they do not fit all these criteria?
BETH: Helping answer this question is one of the critical roles of the recruitment and admission committee. We ask that you bring your idea to Mary McCormick or a committee chair. It is much gentler on friendships and proposers to explore a prospective member before extending the invitation. So, if you are unsure, please do not hesitate to ask.