Sharon Starr hits ground running as new district governor

by: CLIFF NEWELL - Sharon Starr displays the banner showing the theme for Rotary International this year. She has long lived up to it.Sharon Starr has just become the new district governor for Rotary District 5100 and already her accomplishments are monumental.

The longtime Lake Oswego resident and former executive with Wells Fargo Bank has already visited 40 of the 80 Rotary Clubs in District 5100. She even surprised herself.

“I went on 10 visits in the first week, and I thought I would be tired,” Starr said. “Instead, I was exhilarated. I couldn’t wait for the next week. It has just been a pleasure.”

Starr has been the traveling lady for the Lake Oswego Rotary Club for a long time, ever since she signed up nearly 20 years ago. Starr makes it a point to attend the Rotary International annual world convention, no matter how far away the host city is located (she recently attended the convention in Lisbon, Portugal). But her first love has been going on eight Rotary humanitarian missions over the years, including trips to Africa and Thailand.

“I am really eager to go to Central America in the near future,” Starr said. “There are so many projects going on there with water and schools. I would like to roll up my sleeves and go to work.”

Meanwhile, Starr will stay mega busy as a district governor. Although a longtime LO Rotary Club member, she is already learning more about the organization.

“It has been a fabulous experience,” Starr said. “Nothing else would show me the scope of Rotary’s work, how the clubs choose their own projects, how each club creates its own atmosphere. Whether it’s local or international projects, what Rotary has done is amazing.”

Since Starr became district governor she has been giving a test to the clubs she visits. It is simple and revealing. She asks the members what words they would use to describe Rotary.

“The word service is always number one,” said Starr, who is compiling a list of all the words she hears. “Next is fellowship and friendship and definitely fun.”

One of Starr’s goals is to spiff up the image of Rotary.

“There are 1.2 million Rotarians all over the world, and there is a tendency to think of us as an older group,” she said. “But we are getting more and more members under age 40. This is not your grandfather’s Rotary Club. It is very active and fun-loving.”

Every year Rotary International has a theme. This year it is “Engage Rotary, Change Lives.”

No Rotarian does that better than Sharon Starr.

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