August ……. Quota’s Valued Mentors
While the dictionary simply describes a mentor as a “valued advisor”, the contributions of Quota International’s Parliamentarians over the past century would be more aptly described as invaluable! Quota has been blessed immensely by our competent, understanding, and loyal parliamentarians. Like the organization’s long-serving and dedicated General Secretaries/Executive Secretary/Executive Directors, our Parliamentarians have been few in number but highly in value and worthy of our kindest honors.
Quota’s Robert’s Rules Connection
In the first decade, the Parliamentarian at the 1929 Board Meeting was none other than Professor Henry Robert Jr., son of General Henry M. Robert, the author of Robert’s Rules of Order. Even our current members know that name and I’m sure most have a copy of his latest edition in their club. Professor Robert continued to serve as Quota’s Parliamentarian through 1935. During this time he took an active role in offering his expertise to the organization on its progress as it related to its parliamentary law. He was introduced at the 1930 Convention as “one in our midst who has adopted Quota, and Quota has adopted him”.
Parliamentarians Through the Decades
Mrs. Harry Harvey Thomas then accepted the role, and when she could no longer carry out the responsibility, Mrs. Marie Suthers was engaged as Quota’s Parliamentarian. Marie Suthers served in the role from 1957 till her death in 1983 and not only gave classes in parliamentary procedure which were extremely engaging, but she also wrote a Guide to Parliamentary Procedure and helped with the structure of the organization. It was she who provided ideas for streamlining methods of nominations and elections for the annual conventions. In 1973, at the Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Mrs. Marie Suthers received the distinction of Honorary Member of Quota International.
Mrs. Margaret Steele followed as Quota Parliamentarian in 1983. Margaret was a quiet and gentle lady, but her parliamentarian sessions at Conventions were always well attended. Over the years she sparked the interest of convention attendees by her informative and witty workshops on parliamentary procedure.
Margaret Steele was followed by Carolyn Stubbs – Quota’s current Parliamentarian. Carolyn was a member (and still is) of Quota International of Flint, Michigan. Her interest in parliamentary procedure was sparked during her term as a member of the Board of Directors and International President in 1995-96. It took a great deal of time and dedication for Carolyn to gain her parliamentary qualifications and recognition, but she is now, and has been for a number of years, a walking encyclopedia on Robert’s Rules of Order and Quota’s Bylaws. Like her predecessors, Carolyn has provided valuable advice on structural and relevant bylaw changes needed over the past two decades to keep bylaws (and Quota!) compliant with parliamentary law.
Over the past century, these parliamentary professionals have been invaluable in guiding Quota Clubs International Inc. and Quota International Inc. in a safe and compliant direction.
Looking at “mentors” from a broader definition, “Mentorship is a relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person – it is a learning and development partnership between someone with vast experience and someone who wants to learn”. If this type of relationship between experienced leaders and newer members had not been present from the establishment of Quota in 1919 through today, our organization would not have survived (thrived, even) the 100 years that it has. In the times of member classification, professional development became a major bonus in Quota membership and leadership – Past International Presidents, Area Directors, District Governors, Regional Directors, and Club Presidents have all been willing to share their Quota knowledge and leadership skills with new and willing members – and still do!
Mentor Tools – Music and Words
In the early years, music played an important role in Quota meetings and the songs that were sung provide a keen insight into what the club represented to its members. Many of the meetings, particularly evening meetings, opened with music. Archival samples of the programs at these meetings portray a sequence of events that one might experience in church, e.g. a minister was often invited to give the invocation which was promptly followed by members singing the “Quota Song” and other favorite club songs. A member or guest would extend a greeting followed by more singing, with words written to such tunes as “Mary Lou”; “Jingle Bells”; “How Can I Leave Thee” and “Marching Through Georgia”. This style of program at the time reflected members’ passion for friendships and companionship. Friendships fostered in the club seemed to bring out the “fun loving, carefree spirit” of the “girls” who attended the meetings.
Quota – that’s the Club I shout for,
That’s where I love to be,
Pals there are dear to me, Friends are sincerity.
I rush to be there
And to mingle with those girls that I am proud to know
It’s the Club that proves our loyalty,
Everybody has the time to sing to thee
Of Quota, that dear fine Quota Club,
In good old Worcester town.
It’s important to note the telling line that clearly points to the elite atmosphere of the club: “to mingle with those girls that I am proud to know” . Lines such as these hint that those Quota members were proud to be with women of a privileged class and who were symbols of status in the community. They were, in essence, the “cream of the crop” – the women who supposedly could wield the most power within the community to bring about change. Very few of the songs, if any, mention that they are a service club or service oriented.
Other Quota initiatives could be considered a “mentoring tool” for members. The Quotarian – a monthly magazine in its early days – extolled the femininity of members and contained features that reinforced the notion that professional women were indeed feminine – they could work AND fit the dominant notions of what a woman should be. Women like Wanda Frey Joiner and International President Catherine Olney, in addition to all Quotarians, were the exception in an era when women were expected to set their sights on marriage and keeping house. As professional women, their Quota club provided a supportive and nurturing refuge where they could sing songs, throw decorative parties and themed meetings, and give service to the community. Their club service gave them the license to meet – after all, women were supposed to be nurturing and help those in need. Therefore, Quota members were able to achieve their primary objective – enjoying the rewards that professional life had to offer –while still playing out the 1920’s dominant notions of “femininity” within their own club.
Many decades later, Australian Quotarians sang “The End of a Quota Day” to the tune of ‘End of a Perfect Day’ at the conclusion of all Quota conferences and gatherings, with the same feeling of “girls I am proud to know”.
Additionally, failing to mention “The Quota Collect” in the context of “mentoring tools” used by Quotarians would be to ignore what could be considered to be Quota’s “soul”. Quota’s bylaws have always described the organization’s policies as nonpartisan, nonsectarian and without racial discrimination; “The Quota Collect” speaks to all members regardless of country, race, or religion.
Quench in our hearts, O Lord, all fires of selfishness,
Unfold to us the joys of true friendship,
Open our minds to a better understanding of service,
Teach us the real meaning of sharing,
And help us to hold high those principles of Quota for which we stand.
Used by some clubs as an Invocation, by others as a Benediction, “The Quota Collect” was written by Miss B. Ethelda Mullen, a charter member of the Wilmington, Delaware club, in 1923. Her working life revolved around improving the welfare of children and women who needed a extra support in her community, and she received many awards and much recognition for this work. The collect was copyrighted by Quota International Inc. in 1942 and in 1951, Ethelda was named an Honorary Member of Quota International at the Quebec Convention in Canada.
Modern technology has enabled us to transfer a cassette tape recording made not long prior to her death in 1980 onto our current web site. The tape records a presentation to Ethelda Mullen at which she explained that she had written “The Quota Collect” one night after she had gone home from a Quota meeting. She wanted to put into words what her Quota membership meant to her and the tape concludes with her personal reciting of “The Quota Collect”.
September – Quota’s Service goes International
Dear Quota Members,
We loved hearing from those of you who shared your thoughts on Quota’s future via feedback from Regional Meeting small group discussions. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and suggestions. Your Board of Directors will reflect on the full feedback report at our December Board Meeting.
For now, what I can share with you from the feedback report is the depth of caring that came through for your local Quota club and the members with whom you serve. Also clear from the report is that the personal benefits you gain by belonging to your club are almost as important to you as the service you provide in your communities – friendship, fellowship, serving with like-minded members, the support you receive, and the good feelings you get from making a difference in your home town.
You also conveyed your concern about Quota’s future as an international organization, and your concern is well-founded. With the continuing loss of members the question becomes, “At what membership number is Quota International no longer a viable organization?” We will be reflecting upon this question and others at our December Board Meeting, as well as reviewing the strategic research now being conducted. We appreciate the many ideas and suggestions you made regarding Quota’s future direction, and it is clear that you are aware of the increasing financial restrictions facing our organization due to our membership losses. Some members even suggested creating separate Quota countries (in place of Quota International) in order to reduce the cost of Quota participation. You can trust that your Board of Directors takes seriously its mandate to study all issues and ideas surrounding Quota’s future structure.
Meanwhile, I’d like to respond to a few Regional Meeting feedback questions and suggestions that we can answer now.
- Why do we have a convention fee? The Advance Convention Fee helps offset the cost of Quota’s governance activities not only held at convention, but before and after related to the collection of proposed bylaws, implementing changes, and reporting changes to the membership. From time to time legal assistance is required related to the research of a potential bylaw change. The primary purpose of the biennial convention is governance and therefore Advance Convention Fees also help offset the cost of planning and implementing the meeting. Finally, the Advance Convention Fee funds a portion of the club voting delegate’s registration fee.
- Why don’t clubs pay a sliding scale amount for their Advance Convention Fee based on the number of members in a club? The reason is because every club in Quota holds one equal vote, so small clubs have a vote that is equal to large clubs.
- Please bring back the Sister Club Program. For those of you who may not know, the Sister Club program was an initiative that matched two clubs from different geographical regions together – to share communications and ideas and to perhaps even meet in person at a meeting or convention. The program promoted connection and friendship between and among clubs around the world. We would be happy to bring this program back and any clubs that which wish to participate should please let us know by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make matches. We will send out future communications soliciting potential interest in this program, too.
- How can we attract younger people to our club? First your club needs to ensure that it would offer a welcoming culture to younger members. Sometimes clubs do better with attracting new members who seek the experience that a particular club offers to its existing members. However, the JQ Program can be an excellent way to start grooming both young people and your club members for a multi-generational experience. QI of Beenleigh in Australia has been particularly successful in enjoying the full membership of younger members who started as JQs. The JQ program is both a service initiative and a membership recruitment tool!
Hand-in-Hand World Service
- Why did we not reduce the number of approved Hand-in-Hand projects this fiscal year since this has been a fiscally challenging year for Quota? The reason is because Quota International and the We Share Foundation will not be subsidizing any donations to any Hand-in-Hand projects this year. Projects will only receive donations that come in from our members, clubs, and others who wish to support the program. We are expecting donations that have already come and as well as those that will come in later this year to exceed the $2,000 we set as a donation goal for each project. This program will be reviewed on a yearly basis for changes, improvements, or even its continuation.
- Please put updated Hand-in-Hand information online. Updated information on Quota’s Hand-in-Hand program is already available on our Quota Web site. Information includes the most recent projects approved for participation this year. And we make it possible for those of you who wish to donate to do so online.
- Not all Quota members have Internet, but they want to hear from their organization. While we know there are still a limited number of members who do not regularly use Internet, Quota International is a volunteer organization. We know that you, our wonderful members, can be counted on to print and share important communications with those who are not Web connected. Technology is not the future of organizations…. It’s the present. The cost to print and mail communications to members around the world, even one per year, is prohibitive.
- Our Web site is difficult to use. We want a better user-friendly site. You’re in luck. Work is almost complete on a brand new Web site that will not only save Quota money but will be easy to navigate and use.
- Please bring back an online Quota store. Done! Our new Web site will contain an online store where you can order jewelry and club supplies. As soon as our new site goes live, you no longer need to e-mail your orders to us.
- Please publish board meeting minutes. The President provides an in-depth written report in the first President’s Message following major board meetings. Here is the report published following the December 2018 Board Meeting: December 2018 President’s Message
- Please improve communications overall. After the staff management change occurred in September 2018, Quota has made a consistent effort in returning to a regular communications schedule. We now provide monthly President’s Messages, Quota Quick Updates, and Leadership e-Alerts (which go to club and regional leaders), and we strive for weekly postings on our Team Quota blog. In addition we are about to launch a new Web site which will contain the Quota Express – one-stop shopping for all Quota communications. In addition, Quota International communicates almost daily on our Quota International Facebook page and on Instagram.
- I’m not getting Quota’s e-communications. Help! All you need to do is send email@example.com your e-mail address and you will receive our member e-communications. If you think you already signed up, check your spam folder. Note that our new Web site will contain an archive of all Quota Quick Updates and President’s Messages. You don’t have to miss an issue.
- Please bring back Quota Leadership Calls. You will be happy to know that Leadership calls were resumed earlier this year and our next set of calls will be held in September. Leaders will receive details in the next Leadership e-Alert.
- Please make Quota known better. We would love to, but we need your help. Quota International is a grassroots membership organization. Members join at the local level. The more promotion you get in your community and the surrounding areas, the better known Quota will become known in your geographical area. When that happens, that will interest potential new members in your Quota club or a new club you may choose to organize in a different town or community. Technology is everyone’s friend because now local club news becomes international when news articles are published in your local community. Most news outlets now publish on the Internet. Google Alerts will bring your news to the computers of members in other regions and countries. But we’re doing our part, too! We’re using free social media tools to promote and share local and international news including Instagram and Facebook. And we are almost ready to launch our new Web site, which will convey a fresh, new, and vital image of Quota service in action.
- We need a Quota International tag line. We have one: We Change Lives. You will see this tag line prominently displayed on our new Web site and we plan to use it more and more in our communications and materials.
- Quota’s logo changes too often. Quota’s last logo change occurred in 2011. There have been no changes since then.
In closing, what is most clear from the results of your Regional Meeting feedback is that you experience Quota primarily on the local level. Your Board of Directors is committed to protecting that experience to the best of our ability. Thank you for the many ways you make a difference in the lives of those you serve and those with whom you serve.