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The Women in Rotary group meets quarterly to unite the women of North Fulton’s Rotary clubs and encourage other women to join.

Women in Rotary highlights club benefits to community By JULIA GROCHOWSKI


ocal resident Karen Hipes was drawn to the Alpharetta Rotary Club as soon as she learned about the good it does for the community. Alpharetta Rotary, like all Rotary clubs, is part of an international group that brings together business professionals and leaders to provide humanitarian service, goodwill and peace around the world. Rotary clubs focus on six areas: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water and hygiene, saving mothers and children, supporting education and growing local economies. Eradicating polio worldwide has been a signature project for several years. “Some people probably come in with the idea of it being a networking group, but it’s not supposed to be a traditional business networking,” said Hipes, who began frequenting the Alpharetta Rotary meetings after her husband, John, became president of the club in 2008. “It’s more about giving back to the community. There is, of course, some networking because of the nature of the club, but it’s not the main focus.” In the North Fulton area, Rotary clubs tend to focus on those areas that most affect the local communities, Hipes said. North Fulton’s clubs work on maternal and child health, literacy and

basic education, and economic and community development. While there is a club for each city in North Fulton, as well as an overarching North Fulton Rotary Club, the organizations work together and collaborate on several events, service projects and fundraisers. This becomes especially apparent when the clubs support the same causes and nonprofits, like North Fulton Community Charities, Habitat for Humanity and The Drake House, Hipes said. One of the aspects that makes the North Fulton Rotary clubs stand out is the quarterly Women in Rotary event. It originally started as a social event for women in the North Fulton clubs to get together once or twice a year, but has grown since. “The event is where we can have a social and talk to women in the other clubs and see what they’re doing,” Hipes said. “It’s really for the camaraderie. But it also gives us an opportunity to invite other women to Rotary, so they can see who we are and what we’re about. “It’s really no more than let’s get together and celebrate women in Rotary and encourage other women to join,” she said. While Rotary once had a reputation as an older man’s club — women were not admitted as members under Rotary International’s constitution until 1989 — that’s simply not true anymore, Hipes said. “In our club, there’s not a distinction that

men do this and women do this,” she added. “You can do anything in our club. Gender doesn’t seem to play a part in our club at all and certainly not in prohibiting you from doing anything.” Almost half of the local clubs have women serving as presidents this term — Alpharetta, Johns Creek, North Fulton and Roswell. During the event, women can check out the different North Fulton Rotary clubs, the service projects they’ve worked on, and find the best fit based on home and work location, as well as meeting time. All of the local Rotary clubs meet at different times and on different days. The Alpharetta Rotary, for example, meets Friday mornings. “It’s very high energy, and we like it that way,” Hipes said. “It kicks off our weekend … It’s just a different feel from if you went to, for example, Roswell Rotary, which meets Thursdays at lunch and has hundreds of members.” People can join either through an application process or by being sponsored by an existing member. The next Women in Rotary event will be held Wednesday, Feb. 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Hotel at Avalon, 9000 Avalon Blvd., Alpharetta. For more information and to find a local club, visit ■ february2019 | | 29

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Northside Woman, February 2019  

Northside Woman is a woman's work and play publication and companion website that covers news information for the northern Atlanta suburban...

Northside Woman, February 2019  

Northside Woman is a woman's work and play publication and companion website that covers news information for the northern Atlanta suburban...

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