President Laurie Harrison (far right) and most of the 2022-23 club leadership team.
For the 109th time, the Rotary Club of Norfolk installed a new leader to guide the club in the coming year. President Laurie Harrison took the helm from past President Michael Desplaines on July 5, 2022, at a luncheon meeting at the Harbor Club at Waterside. Past President Lorna Cochrane (2019-20) installed President Laurie noting that Laurie is the ninth female president of our club and takes the helm just weeks after Rotary International elected its first female president, Jennifer Jones of Canada.
Although Immediate Past President Michael was under the weather and unable to attend the change of command, he was at the meeting in spirit and online as the club celebrated for his leadership over the past year. A highlight was President Laurie's list with accompanying photos of 10 Reasons Why We Love Michael. The reasons included his efficient meetings, spontaneity, healthy lifestyle, knowledge of the environment and gardening, pride in having been a Rotary Exchange participant, love for his mother, his sense of fun, and his ability to make us laugh. But, the No. 1 reason we love Michael is his sense of style which makes him a fashionista. 
Outgoing board members were thanked for their service as the club's new leadership team was installed. New officers are President-elect Jeff Wells, Vice President Barbara Lipskis, Secretary/treasurer Dave Duncan and Immediate Past President Michael Desplaines. New directors and their areas of service are Barbara Lifland (administration), Kelly Stefanko (community and international service), Mary Raiss (fellowship), Chris Bugg (membership), and Sharon Laderberg (public image), and Tom Ambler (vocational service). John McLemore was installed as the parliamentarian.
President Laurie gave highlights of the Rotary International Convention she recently attended in Houston with her husband, Mark. It was the first in-person convention in two years due to the pandemic. She let us know that a small delegation from war-torn Ukraine attended the convention. Rotarians worldwide have donated $15 million to help Ukrainians -- an effort she called "uplifting and inspiring." She was surprised to learn that Rotary has 65 clubs in Ukraine and that membership is growing as the country struggles to remain independent.
Attending this gathering of 11,000 Rotarians from around the globe made Laurie realize that "our challenges and passions are the same and that we are not all that different from other Rotarians." She enjoyed the House of Friendship where 90 different Rotary fellowships (clubs) and Action Groups were represented in their quest to unite Rotarians with common hobbies or concerns. She connected with Rotarians from around the globe including one from Ghana, whose club is 90 percent female.
In her working life, President Laurie is director of community engagement at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Her professional calling has inspired her goal of increasing club engagement so every member feels valued. She is looking forward to monthly service projects, club assemblies, and listening to members.
Happy Bucks for Charity
  • Tom Koller, President Laurie's brother-in-law, donated in honor of Laurie being the new club president.
  • Past President Jim Kitz also donated in honor of Laurie.
  • Carlisle Wroton is happy he got to enjoy a trip to Alaska.
  • Chris Bugg announced that the May Suds & Buds party generated a profit exceeding $30,000, which was split evenly among Norfolk Rotary Charities, Norfolk Botanical Garden and PrimePlus Senior Center. He thanked everyone who helped and noted the strong ticket sale.
  • LauraBeth DeHority celebrated her son's 26th birthday.
  • Chic Robison was happy to be at the meeting at the Harbor Club.
  • Susan Donn also was happy to be at a different venue and to support Waterside.
  • Bob Batcher is happy for PrimePlus to get its check from Suds & Buds since furniture has been ordered for the center.
  • Barbara Lipskis is happy she could host a birthday party for her husband.
  • Jeff Wells is happy the last Rotary year has ended and he is no longer in charge of programs.
  • President Laurie had several family members as guests -- Her husband, Mark; daughter Margaret Anne, and twin sister, Linda.
  • Club dues notices for July through December will be emailed soon and should be paid promptly.
  • The next meeting will be at Norfolk Yacht & Country Club with new member Dr. Patricia Raxter speaking about her work in preventing wildlife trafficking.
  • July 29 will be a community service day at PrimePlus Senior Center in Norfolk where there is a variety of needs ranging from packing food bags to gardening.