Posted by Laura Mello on Mar 02, 2018
I attended my first Rotary meeting at the age of 6. My dad was president of his club and brought me and my older sister to one of their lunch meetings.
 
I wasn’t impressed! There was singing (not my thing), quite a few people napping and not a single woman in the room.
 
Fast forward 20 years to my taking a job in my home town of Rancho Bernardo, where I was looking to get involved within the community and connect with other professionals. Besides working full-time in the financial services industry, my sister and I had just started a 501c3 organization located in Johannesburg, South Africa.
 
Sister Beth told me about a Rotary club who helped fund a security wall at one of our children’s homes in Johannesburg. I loved the idea of people across the world connecting for a cause and doing good things. It wasn’t a big leap to connect individuals in South Africa having a need and manpower but no funding with San Diego Rotarians and their money. This connection was to be amazingly impactful for the 10 children who called that house a home.
 
I attended my first meeting at the Rancho Bernardo Sunrise Rotary Club in 2011. There was no singing, definitely no napping and quite a few women in the room. I immediately found the room to be full of dynamic individuals who were passionate about making our community and our world a better place.
 
These were the kinds of people I wanted to surround myself with. I immediately saw they’d provide the substance in my life that I so desperately craved…and I was hooked.
 
Fortunately, I was working for a firm that stressed networking and community involvement. As I didn’t feel a purely “networking” organization was the right fit, I sought out more relationship based networking. And that’s just what I discovered at RB Sunrise Rotary.
 
These were not the kinds of people passing out business cards and forced referrals back and forth. Rather, they were professionals building partnerships over a cup of coffee or at a social hour where everyone took the time to truly get to know each other and each other’s families. There’s a genuine interest in discovering how we can support one another, and I’ve come to trust these Rotarians with the needs of my clients and with those of my own family as well.
 
Indeed, this trust and personal insight helped guide my career as I developed a relationship with a fellow Rotarian (and president of Cornerstone Wealth Management). And I know that any services I need, personally or professionally, I’m going to find the right partners within Rotary, and I’m going to look within my club first. Because in the years since I’ve joined Rotary I’ve found these people are the best of the best; intelligent and effective individuals with integrity and a willingness to tell me what I need to know…even if it’s not always what I want to hear.
 
Since I originally joined Rotary  my life has changed a lot. Now married, I have two children, a new job, and still run my non-profit.  My available time is extremely limited, and I need to make every minute of every day count as much as possible.
 
Still, giving back to the community is what I’m all about, and my involvement with Rotary ensures I have balance between philanthropy, work and family. From hands on projects to our annual fundraiser, RB Sunrise allows me to fulfill my craving for philanthropy without bombarding me with too many requests. I appreciate our club’s flexibility, allowing us each to find our niche and grow within it.
 
Members know they can get involved building houses, handling finances, pouring beer…the list is endless, and each is equally important to the club and the community.
 
Because when work and mom life seem overwhelming, taking a few hours to drop off dictionaries at a local elementary school or spending the morning at Junior Achievement Biz Town helps put things into perspective. And I never seem to get tired of sharing my passion for this club and all the good work we are able to accomplish locally and internationally with the money we raise.
 
It’s funny: At this point I’ve visited dozens of Rotary clubs around the region and the world. Each one is unique…but I haven’t found a club that compares to the RB Sunrise Rotary club. The members of this club push me to be a better professional, philanthropist and person. My motivation is renewed each time I’m in this room, surrounded by successful people who passionately strive to make this world a better place.
 
And though my life will undoubtedly get busier over time, there’s no doubt in my mind that I will always make time for my Rotary club.
 
You might also fit in well in our club. Join us for breakfast any Tuesday morning, 7-8:30am at the Rancho Bernardo Country Club on Greens East Road. Tell them Laura sent you.
 
Want more information? Visit the club online at www.rbsunrise.org.
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