New Leadership Takes Rotary Helm In SJ/BH

While American Presidential inauguration ceremonies are traditionally relegated to winter in the nation’s capital, Rotary Clubs across the country typically hold their’s in what should be a more summer-like season. So once another round of thunderstorms moved through on Monday, the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor headed to the Hilton Garden Inn of Benton Harbor for their Induction Ceremony to kick off the 2019-2020 Rotary year.

At that ceremony, the club inducted their new Club President, Brandi Smith, and welcomed the Board of Directors who have been name for the 2019-2020 year.

Incoming president, Brandi Smith, says “I see it as a privilege to have been asked. The opportunity to lead and serve is one that I take seriously. This volunteer role is a great complement to my work at Spectrum Health Lakeland as VP of Philanthropy because it allows me to be in the community, listening to where we have the greatest needs and hopefully be able to address those needs.”

Brandi says that one of the things she’d like to achieve is to inspire deeper relational connections among the membership as well as throughout the communities of Benton Harbor and St. Joseph, noting, “I want to spend the first month asking community leaders about how the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor can be more relevant with our service mission here at home, while also aligning with our areas of focus globally.” She goes on to share that she’s “excited to strengthen relationships because the more connected we are, the more we are able to solve problems together – to lift one another up in difficult times as well as celebrate our victories together.”

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Brandi also has the distinction of being the first African American President of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph-Benton Harbor which she sees as an opportunity to attract and invite more women and men from diverse backgrounds to engage with the club, saying, “We want to be a welcoming club to all people who have a heart for service and I hope I can inspire more people in our community to join us in our mission.”

The Rotary International theme for 2019-2020 is “Rotary Connects the World.”

Club Leadership for the 2019-2020 year is as follows:

Board of Directors

  • President – Brandi Smith
  • President-Elect – Matt Hanley
  • President-Nominee – Mike Huie
  • Immediate Past President – Wendy Edwards
  • Treasurer – Tom Watson
  • Secretary – Janice Ferguson
  • Directors – Jennifer Cole, Lisa Cripps-Downey, Mary Frey, Jackie Huie, Charles Jespersen, Emily Kirchner, Kevin Roney, Therese Saggau, Rick Villa

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community’s business and professional men and women. The world’s Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds and unite around the motto of “service above self.”

In the photo accompanying this story on Moody on the Market are Board Members: Front row (L to R): Jackie Huie, Mary Frey, Rick Villa, Wendy Edwards, Brandi Smith, Emily Kirchner, Jan Ferguson. Back row (L to R): Matt Hanley, Tom Watson, Charles Jespersen, Mike Huie.

Not pictured: Jennifer Cole, Lisa Cripps-Downey, Therese Saggau.