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ROTARY CLUB NEWS: Rotary’s area governor returns

May 24, 2019
By BEN KERNAN and MARTHA SPEAR - Lake Placid Rotary Club , Lake Placid News

After a year off, taking care of family matters, Jenn Grisi agreed to return as the Rotary International area governor. Her responsibilities span the four Rotary Clubs in this area, namely Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, AuSable Valley and Tupper Lake.

In a recent interview, we wanted to better understand her dedication to this position.

Q: What attracts a busy person like you to Rotary International?

Article Photos

Jenn Grisi
(Photo provided)

A: "For most of us, it's the fun service projects that make a real difference. The camaraderie and fellowship, and the simple satisfaction of doing good work. For me personally, the attraction to Rotary is that I enjoy contributing to 'Rotary's track record of doing good in the world.' In fact, the Rotary Foundation has, for the last 11 years, received the highest rating from Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog group.

"Rotary relies on volunteers worldwide, to keep administrative overhead to a minimum. Most of the funds raised go directly to where they are needed most. Whether it's the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid, or a children's eye clinic in Delhi, India, the more we volunteer, the less overhead there is, and the more money can go to worthy projects."

Grisi lives with her husband, Brian, in Saranac Lake. Much of her professional life has been spent working with seniors. Jenn does projects for Mercy Care of the Adirondacks, and Saranac Village at Will Rogers as well as organizational consulting on the side.

For 13 years, she was the leader of her daughter's Girl Scout troop, but when her daughter graduated from high school, she decided to look elsewhere for volunteer opportunities.

In 2011, Jenn was invited by the Rotary Club of Saranac Lake to speak about independent living at Will Rogers.

"I had never thought about Rotary before. It wasn't even on my radar. I found myself intrigued by the club's activities during that hour-long meeting," she said. "When you're invited as a guest speaker, you not only have the privilege of addressing the group, you also have an opportunity to observe the club in action, listening to reports on the various club projects, and a lot more. You see how people truly care about each other and the community. Right away, I felt the urge to get involved. Little did I know that Rotary would become such an important part of my life!

"In the winter of 2012, I joined the Saranac Lake club and almost immediately was asked to fill in for the club secretary who had unexpectedly resigned. Apparently, I handled the responsibilities well enough that the club board asked me to accept the role of president. As crazy as it seems, I accepted and was the club's leader for the 2013-2014 term of office.

"As my presidency was coming to an end, the then area governor, Stephanie Battisti, invited me to consider replacing her as area governor. I accepted the invitation, and then acted as AG for the four-club area, from 2014 to 2018.

"My intention in this esteemed position was to get to know the four clubs and have them know and trust me. I wanted to be someone local whom club members could count on for information and support. I wanted to help bridge the gap between Rotary International and the local clubs. Using one of my strengths as a supportive listener, I want people to know that I'm in their corner.

"What I have found most special is being inspired by what each of our clubs has accomplished. My main goal for this year is to continue to help the four area clubs share ideas and projects and assist each other in whatever they can."

If you like helping other people and are curious about Rotary, feel free to attend a Lake Placid Club Rotary meeting any Thursday at 7:20 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott.

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