Michelle O’Brien, of First City Rotary in Ketchikan, has been appointed to serve in the volunteer post of Rotary District 5010 Governor for Alaska and the Yukon for the years 2016-2017. As District Governor, she will assist in coordinating the volunteer efforts, community and international service projects, as well as other Rotary initiatives, such as Youth Exchange, for approximately 39 Rotary clubs throughout Alaska and the Yukon. Her current title will be Rotary District Governor Nominee Designate until July of 2014. The last Ketchikan Rotarian to be appointed to this position was Bill Holman in 1991-1992.
O’Brien, a Rotarian since the age of 28, has held many roles in Rotary, including being Past President of both First City Rotary (2012-2103), as well as the Charter President of the Tallahassee Sunset Rotary Club (2003-2004). In addition, she currently serves as the Rotary Youth Exchange Officer for First City Rotary, and she teaches both Public Image and Social Media classes to nearly 800 attendees of the Pacific Northwest Rotary President Elect Training Seminar held in Seattle every year. Her daughters, Devin and Holly O’Brien, who attended or attend Ketchikan High School, have participated in Rotary Youth Exchange. They traveled to Brazil and Ecuador in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
“Rotary is pivotal in providing avenues of service for bettering the lives of individuals both locally and globally — from local scholarships, local projects such as the food pantry at Schoenbar, rebuilding Rotary Beach, and many more,” O’Brien said, upon learning of her appointment. “People are the reason we are successful. ‘Relevant, exciting, and surprising’—that’s what makes Rotarians special and why our membership has surged in the past two years here in Ketchikan. Because we have vibrant members worldwide, we are able to not only serve our local communities, but to achieve such things as nearly eradicating polio. It’s my goal to assist and support our Rotary Clubs around one of the world’s largest districts to realize that they can make a difference on a daily basis. In my mind, it’s all about the enthusiasm. When you get folks excited, the possibilities are endless.”
As part of the Sales and Marketing team at KPU, O’Brien has been instrumental in bringing local television to Ketchikan. She also currently serves as President of the Ketchikan Board of Education, Chair of the PeaceHealth Ketchikan Donor Recognition Committee, as well as being a Commissioner on the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission, and a Board Member of the Alliance for Community Media Northwest.
Rotary International is a worldwide service organization that has over 1.2 million members and over 34,000 Rotary clubs. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service above Self.
First City Rotary meets every Thursday at 7 a.m. at the Cape Fox Lodge, and Rotary 2000 meets every Tuesday at noon at the same location. Visitors are always welcome.