Incoming Downey Rotary Club president Ingrid Martin gets an opportunity to meet with 17,000 fellow Rotarians from around the world at the Rotary International Convention slated for June 20-24 in Montreal, where they can exchange ideas, share success stories, and learn about a variety of viable club projects, and through this cross-fertilization of insights and perspectives provide participants with workable guidelines with which to steer their clubs during their coming terms.You can call this travel as one of the perks of office. Martin officially assumes her role July 1 but she doesn't get to bang the president's gavel down till the first club meeting in July, which is Tuesday, the 6th. She succeeds outgoing president Jim Boyd. Martin will be joining up in Montreal with another Downey Rotarian and work associate, Doug Baker, who was himself recently installed as district governor of District 5280, which comprises the Rotary clubs of Downey, Bellflower, Paramount, South Gate, Lynwood, and Rio Hondo. Rotary's founding traces back to 1905 in Chicago, when Paul Harris, an attorney, was said to want to recapture the same friendly spirit he had felt when going around the small towns of his youth. The name 'Rotary' is also said to derive from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices. Rotary International today is acknowledged as the world's oldest service club organization, with more than 30,000 club affiliations in over 200 countries and geographical areas, dedicated to "encouraging and fostering the ideal of service" through humanitarian and educational projects, both locally and internationally, that "aim to reduce poverty, advance literacy, eliminate hunger and thirst, prevent disease (e.g., the eradication of polio), and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations." At the regular Tuesday noon meetings, the proceedings are so loose and friendly camaraderie so pervasive that the repeated touting of the club as "the greatest Rotary club, in the greatest Rotary district, in the world" and indeed the "greatest club in all of Downey" is greeted with good-natured mock approval. Martin, who will turn 50 in October but became a grandma recently, has thought long and hard about her plans for the club. She says, for instance, that in addition to the traditional trademark activities the club has been engaged in (such as the pancake breakfast, Children's Christmas party, Arc fishing derby, the Mulege outreach project, golf tournament, books for schools, etc.), she wants to strengthen and enlarge the following programs: the library 'read to me', working more with college-bound students and Darren Dunaway's Human Services Association, assisting more in blood drives and community beautification projects, and encouraging more participation by Warren High's Interact Club, etc., etc. She says she wants to emphasize more 'structure' in the Rotary's projects, while encouraging more intensive participation by members of her board, including her project directors (membership, club service, community and youth service, vocational and international service). "The key ingredient in all this is fellowship, and I want to emphasize this," she said. Martin was born in Huntington Park to Dutch parents, and grew up in the area, moving to South Gate in 1963, graduating from South Gate High in 1978. She opted to start working right away. One of her first jobs, she says, was working part-time in the summer doing a variety of administrative jobs at CBS Studios, where she glimpsed the likes of Carol Burnett, David Hasselhoff, and Bob Barker, as well as the trio of Suzanne Somers, John Ritter, and Joyce DeWitt as they did the show, "Three's Company," and thus got an insight into the workings of at least the TV industry. She then worked as executive secretary with a bank, followed by nine years as a sales rep for the House of Lloyd, which enabled her as sales topnotcher on several occasions to travel to such places as Greece, Spain, Austria, Germany, and Thailand. She was a stay-at-home mom for fifteen years, she says, as she raised three daughters: Jennifer, who is married and lives in Long Beach, and Erin and Allison, who reside here in Downey. She has worked for the past 16 years as operations manager for a financial services firm, Meridian Capital Management (run by Doug Baker), with a portfolio of $125 million and services 400 accounts, and lately more and more with affiliate Portfolio Designs Company, which Baker also advises. She is a proud graduate of the University of Hard Knocks, she says. She also says she enjoys reading biography and history, and was wondering where she could obtain a copy of "Priceless," a book of history, which she plans to read on her flight to Montreal.
********** Published: June 17, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 9