International President Emilie Simon, Quota’s first International President from the Philippines.
Acceptance Speech, Washington, DC – July 2018
Good evening… Past International Presidents, Executive Director Barbara Schreiber, Past and Current Board of Directors, Past District Officers, Past and Current Regional Directors and Team, Past and Current Club Officers, Members, Friends and my dear Family!
I am truly humbled as I stand before you. My Quota journey was and continues to be a highlight of my life. I made a lot of friends, visited many countries and amassed fun and lovely memories to last me a lifetime. Your presence tonight warms my heart and I am deeply grateful for the support, guidance and sisterhood through the years.
Thank you for the trust you have bestowed upon me. I assure you of my dedication to serve Quota International.
This is also a joyful occasion for my home club, Quota Manila South, Region 18 and the Philippines to have yours truly as the first Filipino International President of Quota. Thank you for this honor!
My four years on the Board has given me the much-needed groundwork for the position of International President. I actively participated in the headway of our organization and will use this knowledge to continue moving forward.
The twice a year Board Meetings and numerous times a month Board conference calls have been remarkably valuable in keeping the Board members and the Executive Director in the loop. My attendance to several Regional Meetings as well as my volunteering to visit 2 regions and clubs at my own expense have brought me closer to the Quotarians. It has also allowed me to appreciate all the outstanding projects they have achieved as well as to identify their concerns.
About a hundred years ago in 1919, Wanda Frey Joiner founded a service club for women in Buffalo, New York on the unique idea of women “sharing both talent and responsibility.” Today that single club of 5 women has given birth to more than 500 clubs, in 14 countries.
It has struggled through thick and thin, from when women were disenfranchised in America, in the throes of two world wars and even before the League of Nations or the United Nations were born. Quota was the first of women’s clubs in the world.
Despite the insurmountable odds, the Quota members managed to do the impossible.
Our phenomenal Quotarians in 14 countries steadfastly continued to make a difference by focusing efforts on improving the lives of the deaf, hard of hearing as well as the disadvantaged women and children in the following areas: Health and Wellbeing, Educational Development and Workforce Development in various communities.
Seeing the world, the way it was and by little acts of courage and kindness, it has done its part to make the world a better place, to change it into what it could be. Quota International has become a quiet powerhouse for metamorphosis.
Soon to pass is our first hundred years. In this retrospect, what can we bring into our second century? What have we learned from so long, from that unique experience that has given worldwide significance to our advocacy?
We have, as is normal in human institutions, shared a lot of stumbles and missteps, of doubts and misgivings. Rather than merely “sweeping things under the rug”, let us meet our challenges head-on and develop a workable, effective and efficient game plan.
There have been very serious, if constant complaints from every quarter regarding proposed changes that must be made if we are to forge ahead. Others worry about dwindling memberships and a dearth in new numbers. The organization is aging and members, as well as clubs, are unable to create multi-generational membership. The bottom line of our financials is in the red. Overhead expenses remain constant while income lessens. Resource is limited to the collection of dues with lessening donations and these have brought us to a stand-still because other means to generate funds stare us in the face. There is paralysis in analysis and stupor before problem solving resulting in dismay, discouragement and even anger in the ranks.
We must put our house in order. We must learn to work together with faith and trust in our hearts. To rediscover working together, we must work together. When the output is less or equal to the sum of the inputs of the various individuals in the grouping, they are just a mere collection of individuals. But when the output of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual inputs in the aggrupation, then they are working together.
The reality of the world when we started was near insurmountable for women. The problems before us today are nothing compared to what Wanda Fray Joiner and her 4 friends faced.
Those words of hers in the ‘40s a few decades from start-up are a shining beacon as we enter a new age:
I quote: “I am grateful for all you have done to make our dream come true. The basis of happiness is the love of something outside self and rises superior to all conditions. I know now, as then, we will not fail in our devotion and service.”
We can do it! We are the original “mission impossible” team.
One significant aspect that I would like to improve on is our communication practices. Communications with the Regional Directors and Club Presidents. The monthly conference calls have been rather successful and can be enhanced, if 100% will participate. Other modes of communications are emails and Facebook posts. Most importantly is the awareness of our club members on updates from the Board and the Head Office. Once this communication stream becomes deficient, our advancement will backslide. Bottom line is – all Quotarians must be in the know of current updates.
I earnestly believe that paramount to the success of Quota International is every single one of us. We are the nobles for Quota to remain a powerful change agent.
We are on the right track as we adapt to quickly developing modern times. Education, communications, technology among others are fast moving.
While adversities in our lives sometimes prevail… especially when we experience dissatisfaction, pessimism or anxiety, we must confront them with faith, hope and love… and we will surpass all these. To quote Sir Winston Churchill… “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Herewith, my friends is the platform during my watch by which I will guide myself:
- Believe that we will surpass our trials
- Trust the influx of positive influences and generous patronage from our members
- Love all that our Quotarians do for our beloved organization
- Support Quota’s We Share Foundation and Wanda Frey Joiner through an appeal to augment donations
- Focus on Quota’s organizational service goals – Child Development, Health and Wellbeing and Workforce Development
- Value members / acknowledge their contributions
- Recruit members / organize new clubs
- Develop leaders within clubs by delegating duties
- Encourage more club fellowship activities to tighten friendship
- Adapt to changes and modern ways for a purpose
- Find ways of lowering overhead expenses like taxes and others
- Improve on communications
Before I conclude, I would like to acknowledge our notable Quotarians from Regions 18 and 19 (Philippines and Malaysia), who have assisted me extremely in many ways and they are… Past District 41 Governor and Charter President of Quota Manila South Marilou del Rosario, who incidentally is my good friend since Kindergarten and who introduced me to Quota 25 years ago, Charter District 41 Governor Nelly Ledesma, Past District 41 Governor and Charter President of Quota Parañaque Lynne Piad, who initiated the Convention committee for Regions 18 & 19, Region 19 Director Maricel Wong, who shipped the beautiful centerpieces on your tables, which incidentally are for sale, Past Region 18 Director Bernadette Galang, who organized the dance number for Region 18, Past District Secretary/Treasurer Dos Patag, Past President of Quota Manila Lou de Guzman, who helped me with my President’s theme and actively participated on the Convention committee Philippine side, Past President of Quota Mandaue Judy Castillo, who organized the dance number for Region 19, Past President of Quota Metro Cebu Jennifer Ngo-Sibi, who designed my President’s theme pin, Past and Current Regions 18 and 19 Directors and Team, Past President of Quota Manila South Colo Ventosa, President of Manila South Gina Boncan-Francisco, my fellow Manila South Quotarians and to all our Filipino and Malaysian Quotarians.
Incidentally, this is a significant occasion to see a huge delegation from Regions 18 and 19 (Philippines and Malaysia), which I believe is about equal to the number delegates from Australia and New Zealand.
I would also like to particularly thank my family here with me tonight… my only child, Henry, his wife, DinDin and my only grandchild, Gaby, who of course is the apple of my eye.
Last but not the least, thank you most sincerely to one and all because you are my actual strength and inspiration!
And so, with trepidation, but “sustained and soothed by an unfaltering trust,” I accept this charge to take the position of International President for the Quota years 2018-2020.
Quota International of Manila South
International President 2018-2020