Shekhar Mehta of Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, RID 3291, is the selection of the Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International for 2021–22. He will be declared the president-nominee on Oct 1 if no challenging candidates have been suggested.
Mehta acknowledges that current membership trends are a challenge and says that membership development should be Rotary’s highest priority. He believes that focusing on regional plans, successfully transitioning Rotaractors into Rotary clubs, and increasing diversity and female members could yield a five per cent net growth in membership each year.
“A major brainstorming is needed to find effective solutions suited to different areas of the world,” he says, adding that regional ethos and culture have to be taken into account to find localised solutions, as “one size does not fit all.” He believes Rotary can extend to new geographical areas and countries.
As a strong proponent of Rotary’s strategic plan, Mehta says he will encourage clubs to use action plans and reinforce the core values of Rotary.
Mehta says Rotary needs to become more contemporary and adaptable by focusing on partnerships with governments and corporations, expanding partnerships with organisations that specialise in Rotary’s areas of focus, and investing in technology.
Mehta is chair of the Skyline Group, a real estate development company he founded. He is also a director of Operation Eyesight Universal (India), a Canada-based organisation.
He has been actively involved in disaster response and is a trustee of ShelterBox, UK. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he helped build nearly 500 homes for families affected by the disaster.
Mehta pioneered a programme that has performed more than 1,500 life-changing heart surgeries in South Asia. He is also the architect of the TEACH programme which promotes literacy throughout India and has reached thousands of schools.
A Rotary member since 1984, Mehta has served Rotary as director, member or chair of several committees, zone coordinator, training leader, member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, and district governor. He is also the chair of Rotary Foundation (India).
Mehta has received Rotary’s Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation’s Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Awards.
He and his wife, Rashi, are Major Donors and members of the Bequest Society.
The members of the Nominating Committee for the 2021–22 President of Rotary International are: Mikael Ahlberg, Ölands Södra, Sweden; Bernhard Baumgartner, Kitzbühel, Austria; Gerson Gonçalves, Londrina-Norte, Pr., Brazil; Serge Gouteyron, Valenciennes-Denain aérodrome, Nord, France; Mary Beth Growney Selene, Madison West Towne-Middleton, Wisconsin, USA; Allan O Jagger, Halifax, W Yorks., England; Masahiro Kuroda, Hachinohe South, Aomori, Japan; Hsiu-Ming (Frederick) Lin, Taipei Tungteh, Taiwan; Larry A Lunsford (secretary), Kansas City-Plaza, Missouri, USA; Anne L Matthews (chair), Columbia East, South Carolina, USA; Ekkehart Pandel, Bückeburg, Germany; P T Prabhakar, Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India; José Antonio Salazar Cruz, Bogotá Occidente, Cund., Colombia; M K Panduranga Setty, Bangaluru, Karnataka, India; Steven A Snyder, Auburn, California, USA; Yoshimasa Watanabe, Kojima, Okayama, Japan; and SangKoo Yun, Sae Hanyang, Seoul, Republic of Korea.
Picture by Rasheeda Bhagat