Assistant District Governor Grant Southwell introduced Brian Thompson, District Governor of 7070.  Brian often says that Rotary is one of the best things that ever happened to him.  Here's a little background on him -- born in Toronto and grew up in Don Mills. He received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto and became a Professional Engineer, working in the nuclear industry for Ontario Hydro. He was also a Commercial Pilot, working part-time as a flying instructor at Toronto Airways in Buttonville, Ontario.  Most of Brian's nuclear career was in Public Relations, based at Pickering. He was seconded for two years to serve the Canadian Nuclear Association in Ottawa as Director of Communications, working in Government and Media Relations, and finished his career with Ontario Power Generation at Darlington. For the past two decades he has also operated a video production company, primarily producing industrial and commercial movies for education, training and marketing. During more than three decades in Rotary, Brian has served in every avenue of service at the club level. He was one of the first in his club to visit Consuelo in the Dominican Republic to investigate opportunities to do “hands on” work. At the District level, Brian has served on the Foundation and Public Relations committees; he was District Chair of the Group Reps (now called Assistant District Governors), Chair of Youth Services (New Generations), and led a GSE Team to New Zealand. He is a member of the District Rotary at Work,Membership, and Long Range Planning Committees, and served as an Assistant District Governor for 4 years. In the community, Brian has had several leadership roles volunteering at his church, and has served on committees at local Chambers of Commerce, writing two Chamber policies on nuclear energy in the process. Brian enjoys photography, cinematography, classic movies and entertaining friends. Brian is married to Karen, who has had a varied and active nursing career. She claims she is retired from paid employment, but not retired from life.  She continues to work in the volunteer sector. Some of that work has involved collaboration with the Whitby Sunrise Rotary Club in Consuelo, in water and sanitation.Karen and Brian enjoy travelling, tennis, and relaxing at their chalet in Hidden Valley, Huntsville.  They have two grown children and five grandchildren in whom they delight.
Brian shared his first Rotary moment from 1983.  He had been in Rotary for three years and attended the International Convention that happened to be in Toronto, close to home.  During fellowship, Brian and his wife Karen met a couple from Australia and spent an enjoyable time speaking with them.  The next day, during opening remarks in front of 20,000 people the plenary speaker turned out to be the gentleman they had been speaking to the evening before.  Brian recognized the calibre of people that Rotary attracted and that cemented his commitment to Rotary for life.
Rotary does great work, locally and internationally, however, the struggle seems to be retaining members.  A firm was hired to research this issue and the message they presented was that Rotary was not communicating very well.  Rotary has leadership that others are looking for.  They have diversity in professions represented, business and community leaders from all walks of life.  If there is a problem, Rotary can solve it.  People are looking for that kind of leader with passion and persistence who see things to the end.  We need to tell others about Rotary.  We are all messengers.  Brian talked about the upcoming District 7070 Conference, October 24th - 26th in Toronto Shaken and Stirred.  There are 1,200,000 Rotarians in the world.  Since 1998 an additional 1,200,000 people have joined Rotary and yet we are still at 1,200,000.  The issue is not attracting members, the issue is keeping members.  That takes us to this year's Rotary International Theme LIGHT UP ROTARY. Many traditional Chinese values are reflected in Rotary: values of service and responsibility, of respect for
family and for others. Perhaps Confucius was the world’s first Rotarian, because even though he died 2,500 years before Rotary was founded, his ideas are very much Rotary ideas. And one of the things he said was:  “It is better to light up a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness”.
This one line sums up the way we in Rotary approach the problems of the world. There is so much difficulty. There are so many people who need help. Many people look at this and say, “There is nothing I can do.” So they do nothing and nothing changes. But this is not the Rotary way. The Rotary way is to light a candle. I light one candle, you light one candle and so do 1.2 million other Rotarians. Together we can do so much more than we could ever do alone. Together ,
we can light up the world.  Light Up Rotary is our theme for this year, but it is more than just a theme. It is how we in Rotary see the world and our role in it. We believe that no one should sit alone in the darkness. Instead, we can come together, all 1.2 million of us to Light Up Rotary.  That is our goal.  Brian Thompson left us with that challenge.