DRR Ian shares how a single tweet leads him to become an effective Rotaract leader

By Elyrose S. Naorbe | Posted on February 4, 2022

The Rotary International District 3820 is one of the active and vibrant districts in the Philippines. Aside from dynamic Rotary Clubs, the district also houses innovative Rotaractors who unite and help the community over the years. 

Comprising more than a hundred Rotaract Clubs, the Rotaract District 3820 is led by District Rotaract Representative (DRR) Christian Galaban de Borja of Rotaract Club of San Pedro East. 

Serving the community for years now, DRR Ian recalled how he started joining the organization and rendering services to the people and its community. But more than the service, let us know him deeper as he narrated his Rotaract journey to Pilipinas Rotaract Magazine. 

How long have you been in Rotaract?

I was first inducted on August 10, 2013, during the Laguna Area Induction, and a month after in our Club Induction Ceremony. This year 2022 marks my 9th year in Rotaract service.

Tell me about your Rotaract journey?

It all started with a tweet. Yes, a tweet in Twitter, by my former professor who happens to be an active member in Rotaract.

Back in College, I was a very active student leader, and have already rendered my service as a Volunteen, a youth arm of NSTP in our college. As a Volunteen, I was exposed to some Rotaractors back then, whom I looked up to a lot, most especially when they walked towards me in their matching Rotaract shirts. Judging them with how they look, they looked very dignified. I was given the opportunity to interact and work with them in some service projects, and I witnessed how selfless they are. I knew that I wanted to be like them but I do not know how, since back in College I was a very introverted guy, who lacked confidence.

Being inducted as a Rotaract Member during the Laguna Area Induction, August 10, 2013

Going back to the tweet, my former professor tweeted me several times, but I did not totally entertain her countless invitations as I was busy back then as an org president of our local Junior Marketing Association, leading over a thousand students. She was very persuasive, and so, after a few attempts, I gave her my “yes”. I joined Rotaract while I am in the midst of fulfilling  my role as President in the said school organization.

My first experiences in Rotaract were all pleasant and life-changing experiences – repacking groceries, descending into waist-deep flood to conduct relief operations, joining the District RYLA where I met new friends from different towns and cities, and attending my first ever PROCON in Camsur Watersports Complex, where I met different Rotaractors from different parts of the country. I really felt the happiness that I did not know I would ever feel if not for Rotaract. It gave me a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, knowing that I was able to extend my hands to others and to change lives in my own little ways. More than that, in the process, I felt that Rotaract is changing me in different ways.

In your stay in Rotaract, what are the perks and advantages of being one?

One of the very first community service activities that I attended – YOUNG ONCE Project at a facility for the elderly. October 2013.

There are countless of perks and advantages of being a member of Rotaract; some of it are the following:

  • As a Rotaractor, I was able to travel all over the Philippines to attend the Pilipinas Rotaract Conference to represent both my club and the district. Being able to travel – aside from the sight and sceneries from the different places I’ve been to, being able to taste different cuisines and experience different cultures was made extra special with the presence of my fellow Rotaractors. This made the experience even more special.
  • Making a change locally and connecting with people with different walks of life through community service projects – learning about their stories of hardships, perseverance, and stories of hope, inspiration and success.
  • Totally expanded my network – was able to land good jobs because of Rotaract. In my previous work I was recommended by our Past President, and in my current work, I was recommended by a PDRR who saw my potential.
  • Enhanced my leadership skills – this will definitely be put into test most especially when I became a President and DRR.
  • Enhanced my communication and professional skills – I used to have stage fright but now it’s gone, thanks to Rotaract! I also developed professional skills that came handy when I entered the workforce.
  • Enhanced my talent in graphic designing – I am our club’s resident graphic designer for years, and being able to see my ideas come to life through the posters I make, it made me feel gratified. I was able to share this talent in the district and on a national scale .
  • Being able to serve and help different people in my humble, small ways. Seeing people smile because of you is very heartwarming.
  • Connecting internationally through partnering with different clubs and countries.
  • Bottomline – Countless opportunities came because of Rotaract. I am forever thankful. I can’t imagine what my life would be if not for Rotaract

What are the struggles you’ve experienced and how did you conquer it?

  • Time management – I had a hard time managing my time and balancing my tasks as a Club President, and also as a marketing Professional that time. There was even a time when my boss approached me as I looked preoccupied and not focused with work. This served as a wakeup call for me to really find time and balance things out. As long as you love what you do, you can really surpass all the odds.
  • Adjusting to different people – in my first year in Rotaract, I find it hard to adjust to different personalities. Eventually, I realized the beauty of it – and made me appreciate different personalities, and not to focus on the bad, but instead, see the good in them.
  • Membership involvement – this is one thing all Club Presidents may have encountered. There are times when you envision something but it is not what happened. Then you’ll realize that you were not able to encourage and involve much of your members. It made me realize that I should trust my members and officers that they can really do the job for you and empower and encourage them that they can really surpass the challenges you gave them.

Who motivated you to join Rotaract?

It was our Past President Zen Zamora who invited me to join Rotaract. If not for her countless tweets and persuasion, I will not be here. CP/PDRR Mhon Brazas also played a big role in the reason why I joined Rotaract. He was very inspiring, moving and motivating when I heard him speak the first time.

What is the good advice you want to remind the new members of Rotaract?

  • Know well what the organization is all about.
  • Immerse yourself with the culture about the club and what it can do to the community, to you, and to the people around you.
  • Experience and enjoy serving the community –
  • Rotaract is not for the fainthearted — do not be scared to take leadership roles! Go out of your comfort zone and take everything as a challenge to improve.
  • Make lots of friends and learn from them.
  • Ultimately, create memories! Just enjoy and do not forget fellowship through service!

What’s the highlight of your Rotaract life?

  • When I became a President in Rotary Year 2017-18 with the theme Rotary: Making a Difference. During my term as President, our club was awarded as The Most Outstanding Rotaract Club in the District. Under my leadership, the Club also garnered many major awards including most outstanding projects in different avenues of service.
  • When I was elected DRR for Rotary Year 2021-2022, and now leading as a DRR with 116 Rotaract Clubs and over 2,600 Rotaractors. Despite the challenges brought about by the Pandemic, I was able to pioneer some changes in how our district operates by integrating technology into our district activities, meetings and events. Also, it gave me a lot of satisfaction being able to mentor club presidents. I also learn a lot from them everytime I conduct my DRR’s Visits.
  • When I was invited by Rotary International President Elect Shekhar Metha to participate in the 2021 Rotary International Assembly last February 2021. I am one of 85 Rotaractors from all around the world that have been given the opportunity to be trained alongside other District Governors.

What are your contributions to Rotaract?

Rotaract District Committee during the District Team Training Seminar. June 2021.
  • District Secretary in 2018-2019
  • District Rotaract Area Representative for Laguna Area in 2019-2020
  • District Public Image Director of the District in 2020-2021
  • Lecturer on Protocol during the Pilipinas Rotaract Online University
  • Instrumental in the success of Pilipinas Rotaract Convention (PROCON) 2019 Legazpi and the inaugural RYLA Pilipinas as the Marketing Head.
  • Currently the host DRR for the Asia Pacific Regional Rotaract Conference 2022, hosted by RI District 3820, Philippines

How’s your relationship with other Rotaractors and even Rotarians and Interactors?

Close with some. Slowly building relationships with notable Rotarians; doing my best to bridge the gap between Rotarians and Rotaractors. I also envision a close collaboration and involvement between Rotaract and Interact.

What made you still stay in the organization?

What made me continue are the following:

  • My parents who saw the value of Rotaract through me
  • Our club past presidents and Past DRRs whom I look up to
  • Those whom I met in Rotaract – friends that turned into family
  • The satisfaction that I get from being able to help others and nurture the next leaders of our district.

How are you able to mentor other members and leaders in the group?

By empowering them -–giving them leadership roles and not micromanaging them

Giving them valuable insights, advices and constructive criticisms, and extend help when needed

Make them heard and feel valued

By celebrating their small wins and be generous with praises and commendations

Showing genuine love, concern and care to them

What made you a RacStar?

I am a RacStar because I am a trailblazer. I paved the way for others to be inspired, aspire and believe that they can do greater things. Through my leadership, I hope that I was able to inspire others to reach further, and aspire to be more than who they are. I hope to inspire others with my dedication, commitment and heart to Rotaract.

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