Gastonia East Rotary (GER) inducted its 2022-23 board members in a ceremony during their weekly lunch meeting on July 11, 2022. The new leadership will serve through June of 2023.

According to the incoming president, Jenna Jourdet, the club will focus on inclusion and diversity this year. “Creating diversity within our club opens up additional opportunities for our club to serve our community, expand our reach, and enrich our understanding of one another. ” The club currently consists of 89 members from various ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds.

The focus on diversity follows Rotary International, which elected its first female president, Jennifer Jones, this year. At the organization’s annual convention, District 5000 diversity, equity, and inclusion chair Lakecia King praised the incoming president. “She believes in something that is so necessary. This time calls for peace and unity, for embracing despite our differences.”

Imagine Rotary: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Rotary International President Jennifer Jones imagines a Rotary where members act to make their dreams become reality and make the most of their club experiences. During her year, Jones will focus on four presidential initiatives that Imagine Rotary: advancing our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); creating a welcoming club experience; empowering girls; and expanding our reach. (Source)

Locally, GER has encouraged women to participate and take on leadership roles for decades, yet club leaders acknowledge there is an opportunity to deepen the diversity within the club. The club hopes to evolve into a more racially and ethnically diverse organization that better reflects Gastonia’s population through the 2020s.

“The fact that I’m not the first female club president (nor the last) is a great source of pride for our club. Our work this year will focus on welcoming new members from all backgrounds,” says Jourdet.

Adapting to Serve

Gastonia East Rotary continues to lead the way in adapting to cultural shifts in the community and the world. In the midst of the global pandemic, the club was among the first in the Charlotte area to resume in-person meetings with new safety protocols and online options. And the club has seen a steady increase in membership, particularly among Millennials and Gen-X members.

This year, the club will offer new membership options, including corporate memberships that account for multiple participants in one company and alternative membership levels that lower the cost of entry.

According to Jourdet, “We want to offer memberships that reflect the needs and lifestyles of today’s community leaders. Some members may be passionate about serving their community, but can’t always make the weekly lunch. We want to embrace those folks and give them an opportunity to serve their community in a meaningful way.”

Throughout 2022 and 2023, Gastonia East Rotary will continue its successful community initiatives. Earlier this year, the club awarded $9,500 in grants to local nonprofits. They also provide an annual lunch for first responders each Labor Day, a Thanksgiving dinner for local seniors, and meals for kids at the local Boys and Girls Club 4 times per year. Funds for these initiatives are raised through the Gastonia Summer Concert Series, which the club produces, membership fees, and donations from club members.members.

The 2022-23 Gastonia East Rotary Board of Directors

  • Jenna Jourdet, President (Premier South)
  • Andrea Sipka, President-Elect (Sipka Consulting)
  • Wil Neumann, Past President (Gaston Capital)
  • Jennifer Thomas, Secretary (Truist Commercial Banker)
  • Vincent Wong, Co-Treasurer (Gaston County Executive Project Manager)
  • Brian Bazemore, Co-Treasurer (Gallagher Insurance)
  • Drew Horine, Website & Public Image Chair (Escape Plan Marketing)
  • Barron Wright, Club Historian (Carolina Software & Computer Service)
  • Jesse Caldwell, Club Trainer (North Carolina Courts Superior Court Judge)
  • Sallie Hendrick, Club Trainer (Bit of Hope Ranch)
  • Monte Monteleone, Bulletin Editor (Retired)
  • Megan Shepard, Membership Chair (Gaston County Assistant Public Defender)
  • Roxann Jimison, Sergeant at Arms (Dream Center Academy)
  • Kevin DiBella, Foundation Co-Chair (Dibella Chiropractic Center)
  • Jennifer Killen, Foundation Co-Chair (Piedmont Community Charter School)
  • DeLissé Thomas, Service Co-Chair (Carolinas Metro Reds)
  • Pam Aycock, Service Co-Chair (Retired)
  • Kellum Morris, International Chair (Gaston County Public Defender, Ret.)

Want to Go?

Gastonia East Rotary Club meets for lunch Mondays from noon to 1:30 pm at the Gastonia Conference Center. Each week features a presentation by leaders and influencers in the Gaston County area. Lunch is free for current and prospective members and $14 for guests.

***For Immediate Release***

For more information about Gastonia East Rotary, please contact us here.