From the Rotary International Web site
Article by Arnold R. Grahl
As Rotary clubs continue to promote diversity in their membership, Rotary is marking a milestone. Anne L. Matthews, a Rotarian from South Carolina, USA, began her term on 1 July as the first female vice president of Rotary International.
“Women have contributed significantly to Rotary initiatives, and will continue to do so,” says Matthews, who is also the first woman to serve as both a Rotary Foundation trustee and an RI director. “No doubt, the unfortunate and sometimes misleading image of ‘an old boys’ club’ will be buried for good.
“Whether the job is done by a male or female is immaterial,” she adds. “What is important is that the individual who serves is effective in that role. With that said, I am extremely proud to be the first woman vice president and am thankful for the California pioneers who pursued membership of women in Rotary.”
A member of the Rotary Club of Columbia East, Matthews has served Rotary in numerous capacities. In addition to her service as trustee and director, she has been a regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, RI president’s representative, lead seminar trainer for the International Assembly, Future Vision Committee member, RI training leader, and district governor.
She is a recipient of Rotary’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Award. Matthews is a Rotary Foundation Benefactor, Bequest Society member, Major Donor, and Paul Harris Society member.
She has a long and distinguished career outside Rotary as well. President of Matthews and Associates, an educational consulting firm, she has degrees in business, economics, and educational administration, including a doctorate from the University of South Carolina.
She has served as a trustee of Coker College, on the Advisory Education Board of the National Federation of Independent Business, as president of the National Business Education Association, and as a member of the Southern Regional Education Board of Directors for High Schools That Work. She has also served on the board of the Center for Occupational Research and Development in Texas and the Commission on Occupational Education, a national accreditation agency, among others. She is a member of Leadership South Carolina.
Matthews says she began attending Rotary club meetings in 1989, on the recommendation of her minister. It wasn’t long before she became actively involved in her club. Her most satisfying moments, of which she says there have been many, include immunizing children against polio in India, digging wells in the Amazon jungle, and preparing food for the hungry.
“I feel especially peaceful when simply sharing stories and facts with Rotarians about the good Rotary is doing in pockets all over the world,” Matthews says. “Seeing and hearing their reactions is particularly satisfying.”