When I joined the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC), I was the only brown-skinned and black-haired woman in the group, the only Filipino among white Rotarians. At first, I felt insecure. They were all seasoned professionals with vast experience and devoted all their time to community service. I saw only a few ladies at the meetings, but they were all bright. I would turn my head from left to right and right to left, listening to their brilliant ideas and thoughts. In the back of my mind, I believed I could not be as committed and eloquent. I am not a native English speaker, and I was unsure if I could commit to community service the way they did. This initial insecurity has since passed. CMIRC club members and leadership put their trust in me. I was elected a Membership Chair in July 2022 and have been working tirelessly to expand our membership base.
CMIRC ensures equity in all aspects. We make sure that each person has the necessary access to resources, opportunities, networks, and support to thrive.
I was the Interact Club Advisor at Unity Concord International School prior to joining the Chiang Mai International Club. The CMIRC liaison to the Interact Club at the time, Bill Trempus, invited me to attend the Club’s regular meetings and sponsored me to become a member. I got all the necessary support from him to thrive as an Interact Club adviser and a CMIRC member. And ever since, a wide range of opportunities opened for me to explore and do service.
CMIRC strives to create an inclusive culture where everyone knows they are valued and belong. When I accepted the role of Membership Chair, it was difficult for me to attend Board meetings since I have a full-time job from 7:30 am - 4:30 pm. The CMIRC Board adjusted the meeting time to suit my schedule and made the coffee shop in my workplace the venue. That was when I felt that they appreciate me and that I belong there.
When I started organizing regular “unfreezing” team-building exercises, I was pleasantly surprised that everybody was open to participating. It is such an empowering feeling when other people embrace your ideas positively!
My love and commitment to the Club and its members are unsurpassable. What each member does for the community is truly inspiring. I feel appreciated and loved. CMIRC club members make me feel like family and that I have someone to turn to. It only took a year for me to realize that the Rotary motto “Service Above Self” lives in the heart of every club member and that the commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is alive in Chiang Mai International Rotary Club.