Capital Rotary members – unable to hold their weekly breakfast meetings at the Palmetto Club for the past seven weeks – held their first remote meeting via Zoom (as shown in photo) at 7:30 a.m. on May 6. President Abby Naas said the digital decision was made because “it has been too long since we have seen each other,” and a time frame for resuming onsite meetings is not known at this point. Nearly half the club joined the Zoom session, where donations of $1,100 each were announced to Harvest Hope Food Bank and to Senior Resources to assist in coronavirus relief efforts. Rotarians also discussed how they’ve been able to work remotely during the pandemic and to help business clients applying for government loans and financial assistance. Naas said the club plans to hold future Zoom meetings every other week and may even induct new members using the app. She also shared contacts that might assist in getting hand sanitizer, disposable face masks and face shields for those needing personal protection equipment.
Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) boasts a refreshed look, feel and direction while trying to build on a 24% growth in passenger traffic since 2018. That’s the message Capital Rotarians heard March 11 from guest speakers (left to right in photo) Kim Jamieson and Mike Gula. Jamieson heads marketing and air services development, while Gula has been the aviation facility’s executive director for six years. They said CAE’s customers are 70% business fliers, 20% college, government or military passengers, and 10% family-based travelers. To compete with larger airports in Charleston, Charlotte and Savannah, CAE emphasizes a “fly with ease” theme of comfort and convenience. Gula said 91% of passengers move from the terminal’s entrance to security screening stations within five minutes. CAE also has local pride of ownership. Along with businesses operating on its campus, the airport generates over 1,800 fulltime jobs, more than $80 million in labor income and $535 million in economic output in South Carolina. CAE handles over 132 million pounds of cargo each year as a regional hub for UPS Airlines – the world’s third-largest airfreight operation. Gula said strong local support allows the airport to work for bigger planes, new air service and better fares.
Capital Rotary’s Philip Flynn (at right in photo) presents a new lapel pin to Dr. Tommy Gibbons, recognizing him as a Paul Harris Fellow Plus-Five contributor to The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable fund to support programs for world understanding and peace. Gibbons has made an initial $1,000 donation to the fund, followed by five additional gifts of $1,000 each. Gibbons served as Capital Rotary president in 2016-2017. Flynn, the club’s immediate past president, is chairman of Foundation giving and international service during this year. Paul Harris Fellow honors are named for the Chicago attorney who founded Rotary International in 1905.
Capital Rotary members got a lesson on “Generation Y” millennials from March 4 guest speaker Matt Vaadi, who heads ERG, a Columbia-based human resources and payroll services company. Vaadi (at right in photo with Rotarian Darren Foy) defined millennials as those 20 to 39 years old, born from 1980-1999. At 86.9 million, they’re today’s largest demographic and 54% of the workforce. They contribute $1.3 trillion to the economy and are 61% college-educated. But on average they change jobs every two years, costing some $30.5 billion in turnover/retraining. Vaadi said millennials are often described as entitled, but should be more accurately seen as achievement-oriented, socially conscious, team players, continuous learners, digitally dependent and optimistic. Their most valued employment benefits are training and development opportunities (22%), flexible working hours (10%), cash bonuses (14%), free private healthcare (8%) and retirement funding (6%). Vaadi said the keys to retaining millennial workers are job flexibility, recognition of their efforts and a feeling of “work family.” He said Generation Y likes to focus on the “why” of doing a job rather than the “how” or “what” the job entails.
Capital Rotary president Abby Naas (left in photo) recognized Philip Flynn and Katherine Anderson on March 4 for their continuing support of The Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable arm that funds programs for world understanding and peace. Flynn was named a Paul Harris Fellow plus-one donor, representing an initial $1,000 donation, plus another of $1,000; Anderson is a plus-two Fellow with an initial $1,000 donation followed by two more for $1,000 each. Flynn is Capital Rotary’s immediate past president. Anderson has been a club member since March 2009.
A reception (in photo) recently launched a new mentorship program being established by Columbia’s Rotary clubs and students in the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club. The goal is helping Rotaractors find success in their fields of study, professional development and life after graduation. Mentors and students will be matched based on profession and the student’s major and area of interest. A student may have up to two mentors and will participate in activities such as career and course guidance, resume review, local industry networking events, and exploring internship opportunities. USC Rotaract is open to young adults interested in community service, leadership and social activities. Capital Rotary became the student group’s lead sponsor in July 2019. The local Vista Night and Main Street Rotary clubs are co-sponsors.
At a Feb. 26 club assembly reviewing 2019-2020 accomplishments to date, Capital Rotary president Abby Naas Flynn shared these highlights:
- Collected 42 units of blood from 38 donors, including six first-timers, in the yearly summer blood drive.
- Continued sponsoring the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club; introduced a mentorship program involving students and Rotarians.
- Donated free paperback dictionaries to third-graders in Richland District One schools; enlisted Rotaract to provide dictionaries to Richland District Two’s third grades.
- Worked with youngsters in the new EarlyAct club established at St. Peter’s Catholic School.
- Continued assisting local college students with four-year, $5,000 annual scholarship awards.
- Adopted a Columbia-area family and provided holiday gifts in the 2019 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program.
- Initial planning for a Little Free Library to be set up at W.A. Perry Middle School in Richland District One.
- Began a Discover Rotary program to help attract new members.
- Continued weekly participation in the Meals on Wheels food delivery program.
- Planned April 2020 participation in Rise Against Hunger, a project to pack and distribute food to people in developing nations.
- Continued support for The Rotary Foundation (funds world understanding and peace programs) and the CART program (Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust).
- Publicized club activities with 31 website and social media posts; reached 2,000 people through social media; had 1,357 website visitors; had 30 postings on District 7770’s website and newsletters; 81 press releases/photos posted by local media; and seven monthly recaps e-mailed to members.
Capital Rotarian Le Frye (left in photo) was recognized as a new Paul Harris Fellow by club president Abby Naas at the Feb. 26 meeting. The honor – named for the Chicago attorney who founded Rotary International in 1905 – acknowledges individuals who contribute $1,000 to the humanitarian organization’s charitable foundation in support of programs for world understanding and peace. A South Carolina native, Frye holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina. She has nearly 20 years of experience in planning, managing, and executing various aspects of political and advocacy campaigns, working with elected officials both in the SC State House as well as Congress. Frye joined Capital Rotary in February of 2019.
Columbia’s Capital Rotary Club has added two new members – an exercise trainer and a local school district director. Shown after their induction are (from left) Barbara Gelberd with sponsor Ann Elliott and (from right) Sandy Brossard with sponsor Ione Cockrell. Gelberd is a former healthcare executive, consultant and project manager who now owns The Movement Studio, a Five Points gym and physical fitness center. She’s licensed to teach the Gyrotonic exercise method that incorporates movement principles from yoga, dance, gymnastics, swimming and t’ai chi. A cum laude Furman University graduate, Gelberd has master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. Her past community activities include volunteering with Family and Children’s Services, United Way of the Midlands, South Carolina Contemporary Dance Company and the Project Management Institute’s Midlands Chapter. Brossard is Richland School District One’s Chief of Teaching and Learning, with an educational specialist degree from the University of South Carolina and a doctorate from Capella University. She previously worked in both the Berkeley County and Charleston County school districts, was an associate superintendent in Lexington School District Four, a Southern Regional Education Board consultant and president/CEO of Educational Services and Policies, Inc. A Paul Harris Fellow, she’s also been a member of Lake Murray-Irmo Rotary.
Goodwill is more than a thrift store – it’s an organization dedicated to helping people find work and a place of belonging in their lives. That’s the message guest speaker Gerry Partridge (in photo) had for Capital Rotary members Feb. 18. Partridge, development director for Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands South Carolina, said thrift store sales of donated items fund the agency’s jobs mission. There were nearly 1.3 million donations of “gently used merchandise” in 2018-2019, converted into 3.4 million purchases at 36 stores. In 16 Upstate and Midlands counties, Goodwill helped more than 23,000 people seeking employment and placed over 13,000 in jobs. During their first year of work, these newly-placed employees were projected to earn $172 million in wages. Partridge also noted that Goodwill helps the environment by recycling items like computers and printers, keeping 390,000 pounds of potential electronic waste from going into local landfills. He said the organization is guided by volunteer board members who see that over 93 cents of every dollar spent goes to programs and services. “Every day we can help someone is a good day at Goodwill,” Partridge concluded.