About Las Vegas WON Rotary Club Index
We are known as Las Vegas WON Rotary Club. The word WON stands for "WHERE OPPORTUNITY NETWORKS.” Our objective was to build a new, revolutionary type Rotary Club which fits with the needs of the 21st century.
Las Vegas WON Rotary Club, Chartered on April 8, 2016 with 125 members.
To fully explain about Las Vegas WON it requires going back into history. The next few paragraphs are a highly condensed explanation of what happened from 2013 to date.
On a trip to Evanston, Illinois to visit the Rotary International building, we (District Governor Elect Miles Petroff and myself, Richard Reed) met with the Rotary International President Ron D. Burton, 2013-14. While in his office in a very informal meeting (see images below of President Ron clearing his desk and having Miles and myself sit at his desk to be a temporary Rotary President.) we were talking about the future of Rotary.
The various items of importance about Rotary history and what might need to be changed to secure another 100 years of progress seemed to be the key topic of conversation. During the conversation it was clear the objective was to keep all the heritage, quality, loyalty, and pride associated with Rotary and change archaic items which slow down or soon would kill the future of Rotary.
President Burton suggested I step up to change the Rotary Club I currently belong to and set a new course for the future of Rotary. I explained the odds of changing an old Rotary club which started nearly 100 years ago was not going to make any major changes was zero. Nonetheless, I felt an obligation to return to Las Vegas and see if change was in the horizon of the club I was a member.
Change is a word which scares most people and of course asking the multi decade prominent members of my then Rotary club about making huge changes met with an instant NO.
To give an example of how CHANGE scares people and businesses alike, below is a short list of business opportunities for CHANGE and they did not take it. CHANGES would have created a different world if the companies had not been scared and set in their old ways and refused to CHANGE.
* Blockbuster reject Netflix.
* Kodak turned down digital cameras.
* Nokia rejected Android.
* Yahoo rejected Google.
My ideas were moved from something which needed to be fixed today to the back burner. Making a modern Rotary Club would have to wait. I kept my mouth shut and continued with the old fashion weekly meetings which were exactly the same as they had been for decades.
Many months passed and numerous Rotary functions I attended, but the need of changing the old style Rotary club was never going to be out of my mind.
After talking with approximately influential 100 Rotarians throughout the world the need for change grew. It kept ringing in my head the need to change Rotary meetings and some rules to attract the new masses of potential members.
Maybe it is the entrepreneurial side of me or maybe my personality is one of a stubborn person who just does not give up, but I kept replying in my mind the conversation with President Burton. The myriad of changes which could easily be implemented without cost which could help Rotary worldwide was a need which should be accomplished.
A small group of five people of the original 100 I talked to got very interested in my ideas of changing to a new Rotary meeting and club policies. Four of my fellow club Rotarians listened to my ideas and said they also thought it was time for a change. Susan, Nathan, Ron, Kirk, Dave and myself were really the core of which helped shape Las Vegas WON Rotary Club.
I began the first of dozens of drafts of new Bylaws to create a modern Rotary Club. During this time my interactions with Rotary International continued and I asked several of their staff questions on how to modernize Rotary.
Being friends with a few members and visiting a few times to the famous Chicago #1 Rotary Club, I exchange ideas with them about building a new style club. They suggested it would be great to have a way to express Las Vegas as it is one of most well known cities in the world and keep Rotary dignity in tact.
I got the idea to call the new club Las Vegas WON Rotary Club but my reasons for the word WON was a little weak. It was never the intention to infringe on the first club ever in Rotary, Chicago One. Core member Kirk is the actual person who thought we should make the word WON stand for “Where Opportunity Networks.”
More months passed. After meeting with Rotary President K.R. Ravindran, 2015-16 and James Damoto from Rotary International the new club was really taking place. It was James who mentioned the fact of how large previous clubs were formed. After some research, the number 91 was discovered as the largest new club to charter in Rotary history.
By this point I had finished the Bylaws with numerous revisions and we started to put the finishing touches on gathering people to join. When the number 91 was told to me, I sent an email to all the existing 79 soon to be members and explained even though it was our intentions to charter on April 1, maybe we should try and find a few more people to join and set the record.
With the pride and enthusiasm which has always been part of the fiber of Las Vegas WON, our soon to be members found a lot more than 13 more people to break the record. They found 36 more people who wanted to be part of the new Rotary Club and they submitted applications. A few days past our original April 1 deadline, I submitted the applications to James at Rotary International. We had beat the previous record by 34 new members.
Let us recap and see what the Las Vegas WON Rotary Club really created. Sure we have the record of 125 members for a new Charter, but let us look deeper.
1. No Attendance Policy
2. Live Video of Meetings and videos stored online for future review
3. No Fines
4. Flexible Meeting schedules
5. Extremely Low Monthly Membership Cost, less than a $1 a day
6. No Geographic Boundaries
7. No Mandatory Participation
8. Anyone can quickly become President or Board Member
9. Any issue costing more than $500 must be voted on by entire club
10. New members are presented to club and become a member in 72 hours
11. Monthly networking events: Socials, Retreats, Parties, Field Trips
12. Minimum age to be a member is 18.
13. Expand Networking Connections - business is highly encouraged