Quota’s Valued Mentors

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 SuthersMarie 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

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. Carolyn Stubbs

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.

Mentoring Members

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. Miss B

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

July… Quota Goes Global

July ……. Quota goes Global

Following the first Quota convention held off of mainland North America, in Hawaii in 1975, and the election of Joan May, the first Australian to serve as International President, Quota gained maturity outside North America. As a result, rapid expansion in the South Pacific and Asia followed. Fiji became the fifth country to join Quota in 1975 with the charter of clubs in Nadi and Lautoka.

Joan 1975
Joan May



During a hectic period of club organization between 1976 and 1978, Joyce Fren, later to become Quota’s 1982-1984 President, became known as the “Mother of Quota’s International Image”. She was the driving force behind Quota’s extension to parts of the Pacific and Asia, having a hand in the survey and charter of 15 clubs in those two short years! This period took place after her term as South Pacific Area Director and before she was elected back onto the Board in 1980 as Second Vice President.

Quota Expands to the Philippines

Early in 1976, Executive Director Dora Lee Haynes spent part of a vacation in the Philippines. She realized the great potential for Quota clubs in this country, compiled a list of 555 possible prospective members and notified International President Joan May. Joyce Fren was authorized to begin extension in the Philippines and arrived in Manila on May 31, 1976, after having written to 55 contacts with details about Quota membership and service.

The first Philippine meeting was held in the Manila Hilton Hotel on June 7, with 29 women present, 12 of whom accepted membership. Frances Parsons, a staff member from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., was visiting to promote a greater understanding of the deaf and was the guest speaker at the organizational meeting on June 23. Twenty-one financial members were in attendance at that meeting where club officers were elected and the bylaws adopted. Rose Sobrepena, who had been very active in recruiting new members, became Charter President with Emilia Garcia and Carminda Bonoan as Club Secretaries. The charter was presented by International President Joan May on July 14, in the Turf Room at the Manila Polo Club – a most glamorous and beautiful function. (This writer was fortunate enough to be entertained by the Manila Club at this same location for my 50th birthday when I was International President!)  The club had already made a firm commitment to support Quota’s Hearing and Speech program and also became involved with S.A.I.D. (Southeast Asian Institute for the Deaf). Rose Sobrepena served two years as President and was followed by Elsie Familiaran, who had transferred to Manila from the Bacolod Club.

Joyce Fren was invited to a meeting of 18 interested ladies in Bacolod on June 11, 1976, and a charter date was set for June 23 – just two weeks later! Charter President Elsie Familiaran reported the event as fabulous with the local Governor as the VIP Guest and keynote speaker, despite being held in the midst of a typhoon! The ceremony was impressive despite having no charter, no pins, and using candlelight and roses as the charter trimmings.

Elsie Familiaran then took Joyce for a ferry ride to Iloilo, and after discussions with President Joan May, Iloilo Quota was chartered on August 8. Two ladies from the Bacolod Club spread the interest in Quota to Dumaguette and a Charter was presented to that club by South Pacific Area Director Vera Garland in January 1977. Meanwhile, Elsie Familiaran and Joyce Fren interviewed prospective members in Cebu, organized meetings, and then presented a charter to the Cebu Club on January 12, 1977, with Lygia Ibanez as the Charter President. Lygia remained a dedicated member until her death many years later.


Quota Roots Take Hold in India

Joyce Fren, officially known as “The South East Asia Organizer” also traveled to India and Sri Lanka in 1976. Quota’s Bombay club was chartered in September 1976 – the first in India, but others soon followed. Because annual dues were equivalent to one week’s salary in India, the Board of Directors was faced with a dilemma in regard to exchange rates and the remittance of foreign currency. The establishment of the Club-to Club Program (later renamed the Hand-in-Hand Program) five years later helped to resolve this financial situation.

Joycce Fren presenting

An inaugural meeting was also held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on September 8, 1976, with 15 prospective members present. Following the election of a Protem Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, the club started to organize its service work. Top priority was given to providing for the education of deaf children. However, it was not until January 27, 1978, that the charter party was held with 25 members initiated at the Sapphire Hotel – a glittering affair with the room decorated in traditional Celonese style and a government film crew sent to record the entire function. This club was extremely active but, unfortunately, had to disband when curfews were implemented during the civil unrest in 1989. Also in 1978, a meeting was also held by Joyce in Bangalore, India, on January 17 wherein was planned the charter of the Madras Club on February 5. However, this did not happen at that time.

Joyce returned to India for a meeting in Madras on June 17, 1977. Fourteen prospective members decided on their first project and set a charter date for September 2. In Bangalore, 14 ladies received the “Quota story” enthusiastically at a meeting on June 25 and were keen to establish a club. It was decided to attempt completion by the end of August. Potential service projects decided upon included support of a senior citizens’ day center and the provision of a workshop for developmentally disabled people.

During this trip, Joyce also went back to Bombay (now Mumbai) and visited Bandra, but it was a difficult time to be in India – hot and wet during the monsoonal season thus resulting in poor attendance by prospective members. It was decided that the ladies in Bandra should join the Bombay city club. Additionally, the payment of dues continued to be a challenge due to government restrictions.

Positive results were achieved in New Delhi from meetings held on June 21 and 22, 1977. The offer of an acting chairman came immediately as well as offers of assistance from the President of the National Council of Women, Mr. G. C. Mathur, a Government Official; Mr. Ghat and Dr. Kandy, from the All Institute of the Deaf; and from a Rotary Past President, Mr. K. Kripalani, whose wife Rekha is still an active charter member of the New Delhi club. More meetings were held after Joyce left, and the Quota Club of New Delhi received its charter on March 3, 1978, with Deep Dugal as the Charter President. Deep remained a strong leadership presence in the club until her death in 2004. A charter was presented to Quota International of Sainik Farm in February 2000 by this writer and to Quota International of DLF City in December 2000 by President Dolores Brosky. Unfortunately, by this time, the clubs in Bombay, Bangalore, and Madras had dissolved. Quota also had a presence for a short time in Calcutta (now Kolkata), with a club organized there by the New Delhi club.

Quota’s Asian Presence Expands Again

Past President Joan May presented a charter to Quota International of Singapore on March 2, 1980, at a glittering function attended by 186 overseas visitors. However, this number was far surpassed when Singapore hosted Quota’s 72nd Annual Convention in 1993 – the first to be held in Asia. Canadian Ilse Mitchell was elected International President and returned to Asia in January 1994 to present a charter to Quota International of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, a club organized by Dixie Tan, Singapore club’s charter president.

Quota Takes Hold in the Caribbean and Europe

Meanwhile, there was also plenty of organizational activity occurring on the Atlantic Ocean. Quota International of Curacao was the first club to be chartered in the Caribbean on August 15, 1987, followed closely by Quota International of Aruba on September 16, with the charter presented by International President Janet Popyach. Through their connections in the Netherlands, it didn’t take long for these clubs to introduce Quota International to Europe, with the first club being chartered in Rotterdam on April 23, 1994. Clubs in Zeist, Zutphen, and Amsterdam followed. March 14, 1997, brought the creation of Quota International of Suriname, which has been an active participant in the Hand-in-Hand World Service program since its inception. Finally, since 2000, Quota has also spread in the Caribbean to the islands of Sint Eustatius (in 2008) and Trinidad-Tobago (2018).

Janet Popavich
Janet Popyach

The Board’s decision in 1980 to establish Quota’s own Club-to-Club Program, now known as our World Service Hand-in-Hand Program, has provided the link necessary to make Quota International truly global through our clubs’ collaborative efforts in running local service programs in developing countries – some clubs giving funds and others giving time and hands-on service on location. Additionally, tour groups, which started in the 1950’s between the U.S.A. and Australia, have more recently offered members the opportunity to visit Quota countries across the globe to experience Quota fellowship and service on a global level.


August ……. Quota’s valued Mentors

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