The third female governor of Rotary International District 3850, District Governor Maria Ester (MATÈ) Espina from the Rotary Club of Bacolod Central, reaches another milestone as she celebrates 20 years in Rotary. She joined in 2003, and looking back on her Rotary journey, she recalled why she became a member. Unlike others who were into service, she joined because she wanted to hang out with friends and make new friends.
“In other words, I didn’t get Rotarized from the get-go. Rotary can easily be summed up in two words – service and fellowship. It was the latter that brought me into the fold, but it was service that eventually cemented it for me,” she shared.
She became the club president during Rotary Year 2006 to 2007 and chaired the Council of Presidents in Negros that same year. She is also the second female governor from RC Bacolod Central, following Centennial Governor Maria Victoria “Nanette” Garcia.
Indeed, life brings the best surprises if allowed to run its course. From the simple wishes of more time with friends to being service-oriented, DG Ester showed how diversity in Rotary finds common ground in service and leadership. When these two are instilled in people, they can thrive in Rotary and she embodies that.
Learning from experience, DG Ester gave her pieces of advice for leaders and members of Rotaract. She encourages self-sufficiency, reaching out to other organizations and even the importance of values such as integrity and empathy.
- As a leader who creates hope for the world, what do you think are the ideal characteristics of a Rotarian should a Rotaractor emulate?
Integrity and empathy. You will never go wrong with these two traits, both in Rotaract and in your personal life.
- What are some ways that Rotarians and Rotaractors can work together effectively?
Rotaractors are savvy and attune to new ways of promoting Rotary, particularly in social media and I am a believer in public image as a means to grow Rotary, thus collaborating in this area will certainly be effective for both Rotarians and Rotaractors.
- How will you strengthen the relationship between Rotary Clubs and their sponsoring Rotaract Clubs? How can you encourage Rotarians and Rotaractors to form good working relationships?
With Elevate Rotaract comes the responsibility of being self-sufficient as a stand-alone Rotaract Club. Sponsoring Rotary Clubs can still come in and continue to mentor the Rotaractors, make them as equal partners in service delivery but at the end of the day, the best help sponsoring clubs can make is to empower their Rotaract clubs to be independent and be at-par with Rotary clubs.
- In Rotary, networking, collaboration, and cooperation are essential. What advice would you give to Rotaract Clubs that wish to expand their network for better project implementation?
The spirit of volunteerism is not exclusive to Rotary. If we want to expand our network and provide greater impact in our service projects, we need to go beyond the Rotary community and network with government agencies, village leaders, and other civic organizations and individuals whose heart is in service.
- What will you suggest to the Rotaractors to increase their donation to the Rotary Foundation and End Polio?
Inculcate among Rotaractors the culture of giving, the culture of generosity. Expose Rotaractors to global grant projects and the history of polio and how it has affected the lives of millions before Rotary and other partners came in to work on the eradication of this disease so they understand the why in giving to the Rotary Foundation and Ending Polio.
- What do you think inspires Rotaractors to become Rotarians? How will you influence Rotaractors to continue their leadership journey as Rotarians?
Seeing someone doing good, not for themselves but for others, is always inspiring and Rotaractors must imbibe this trait among Rotarians. It is when you start living with this that your leadership traits will flourish and your journey in Rotary becomes more meaningful.
- What advice will you leave to the young leaders who are just starting their journey as part of Rotary International? This question applies to both dual members and newly inducted Rotaractors.
Two Cs – Change and Caring. We need to change our mindset especially with Elevate Rotaract, and be self-sufficient and independent as a Rotaract club. Change in implementing our programs by ensuring that each and every Rotaractor is invested in the projects. Change by working with other clubs and other groups to create a bigger impact. Change may be a big word but in this ever-changing world and with the challenge of Elevate Rotaract, we all need to adapt.
Change coupled with our core value of caring makes for a new mindset that can work wonders in a short time and make your Rotary journey worthwhile.