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For the first time in its 115-year history, Rotary International has selected a woman to serve as president of the worldwide service organization with more than 1.2 million members.

A Feb. 27 event at the Blackhawk Museum in Danville introduced Jennifer Jones to a gathering of more than 350 Rotarians from the western U.S. – including members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

Jones has been a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland in Ontario, Canada, since 1997. She was selected as president-nominee by an all-male board of directors, based on her years as vice president of the group.

Her selection signals progress since 1989, when Rotary International amended its constitution to admit women. The number of female members in the Los Altos club has risen to more than 48% of its total membership of 184, according to club president Harry Price and membership director Duanni Hurd.

Diversity, inclusivity

Jones, founder and president of Media Street Productions Inc., said she would uphold Rotary’s “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” statement.

“I believe that diversity, equity and inclusion … begins at the top, and for us to realize growth in female membership and members under the age of 40 – these demographics need to see their own reflection in leadership,” she said. “I will champion double-digit growth in both categories while never losing sight of our entire family.”

Jones said she sees Rotary members as “people of influence, people of action.” She cited helping people escape Afghanistan recently as demonstration that “we are capable of doing more than we ever dreamed of.”

Among other humanitarian efforts, she supports the Tutu Campaign to provide lap desks for 120 million children in Africa who have no desks at school.

Noting the challenges facing the world today, she acknowledged members of more than 50 Rotary Clubs in Ukraine and 127 clubs in Russia. She said she imagines Rotarians from those countries seeking “how to make the world a better place through understanding.”

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