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Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club welcomes first female president

A female president has been appointed for the first time at Maidenhead Thames Rotary Club since it was founded by 32 men in 1986.

Julia Collis was inducted at a black-tie event at Maidenhead Golf Club on Friday, with more than 50 Rotarians and guests in attendance.

A Rotarian for 10 years, Julia was originally a member of the Windsor St George club.

The Eton Wick resident said: “I did join that club specifically because there was a female president. I think Rotary suffers from having this old fuddy-duddy image.”

Julia is a client service director who has also owned her own marketing agency and stood out when she joined the Maidenhead Thames Club two years ago.

“The way they’ve welcomed me has been amazing,” she said.

“Particularly the older generation, they recognised the need for change.”

In the past three years the average age of a Rotarian at Maidenhead Thames has gone from 71 to 53 and more change is afoot.

Although Julia officially started her new role on Sunday, she has already drawn up a three-year plan. Just a few of the alterations include addressing fundraising methods, including the members in assessing the clubs priorities and making decisions based on consensus rather than majorities.

Julia said: “It’s more about driving change rather than just doing what we’ve always done. We need to reflect the world today in what we do and how we do it.”

Another change is more involvement for the wives of members of the club, which has a 32:68 women to men ratio.

Julia said: “Wives have always been supportive and I want to involve them more in their own right, not as a spouse.”

She added: “We are people of action and we have fun at the same time as we are helping others.

“One of my priorities will be to grow the club and anyone interested is welcome to attend one of our meetings which are held on Monday evenings at the Holiday Inn twice a month.”

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