Nellie Tayloe Ross – The First U.S. Female Governor

Nellie Tayloe Ross

Nellie Tayloe Ross (American Heritage Center)

On this date (Jan 5th) in 1925 Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first female governor in the United States when she was sworn in as the 14th governor of Wyoming. She handily won a special election to finish out the remaining term of her predecessor, who happened to be her husband, who passed away from complications with an appendectomy just 1.5 years into his elected term.

Her platform of tax cuts, government assistance for poor farmers, banking reform, and laws protecting children, women workers, and miners and the strengthening of prohibition laws were in lockstep with her late husbands.

Women had only had the vote nationwide for just over 4 years when Ross became governor.

Her strong support of the prohibition laws likely led to defeat in her bid for reelection in 1926. She served as governor from 1925 – 1927.

In 1928 she was a strong supporter and campaigner for Al Smith‘s presidential bid. Despite their diametrically opposed views on prohibition, Ross received 31 votes from ten states for vice president on the first ballot at the 1928 Democratic National Convention. She is believed to have been the first female given serious consideration for the position of Vice President of the United States, although Joseph Smith from Arkansas ultimately received the nomination.

When Smith lost to Herbert Hoover, Ross was offered the  job of director of the Women’s Division of the National Democratic Committee, which she accepted and moved to Washington D.C..

Nellie Tayloe Ross on her Mint medal designed by Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock

Nellie Tayloe Ross on her Mint medal designed by Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock

Ross was appointed director of the U.S. Mint by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 making her one of the first women to hold a federal post of that importance. During her 20-year term the mint introduced the Roosevelt dime, the Jefferson nickel, and the steel penny, the latter an emergency measure during World War II.

Roosevelt appointed her to (3) five-year terms in the job, and President Harry Truman appointed her to a fourth term, a role which she served in until her retirement 1953.

After  retirement,  she made a number of profitable real estate investments, contributed to a number of magazines, traveled extensively and spent time with her children and grandchildren.

Governor Nellie Tayloe Ross lived to the age of 101 (11/29/1876 – 12/19/1977), she passed away in Washington D.C.

Footnote: Ross had the distinction of becoming the first woman governor by a small margin; Miriam Ferguson was inaugurated governor of Texas just 16 days later.


Paul Mangels to become District Governor in 2017-18

MANGELSThe District 7980 Nominating Committee has nominated Paul Mangels of the Milford Rotary Club to be District Governor in 2017-18.

The nomination challenge period has expired and not a single objection was made; thus confirming Paul’s nomination.

Paul has been a member of the Rotary Club of Milford since 1998, serving as President in 2006-2007. He served as Assistant Governor from 2007-2010, Club Vision organizer and chair, Beacon editor, and has just begun a term as Permanent Fund chair for the District. He has been received several awards at the club level, the Norm Parsells award and the Don Adams award. He is a Rotary Foundation Major Donor and Paul Harris Society member.

Paul was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1959. Five years after receiving a degree in Finance from the University of Connecticut, he opened his first business, Connecticut Engravers, in Bridgeport in 1986. In 2002 he opened H Mangels Confectioner and has been managing both businesses since that time. A member of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Milford, he has served in various leadership positions and has just completed a three-year term as Senior Warden. Paul resides in Milford with his wife, Marcy, and they have a son, Jeffrey, who resides in Arlington, Virginia.

DG PinPaul has joined the Governor Track Team with the title of District Governor Nominee Designee (DGND) as he begins his DG training. The Governor Track Team consists of Mukund Nori (DG), Gerry Tom (DGE), Chris Johnson (DGN) and now Paul Mangels (DGND).

Feel free to congratulate Paul by sending him a message via email @

The Rotary Leadership Wheel keeps on Turning

Rotary WheelRotary International is the ultimate example of how tight term limits can and do work. The vast majority of Rotary leaders, which are unpaid volunteers from all over the world, serve just 1 year at the helm and then hand over the leadership reigns  to their successor.

Every July 1st all of the top leadership at all significant levels (Clubs, Districts and International) changes over; everyone of the 34,000 Rotary Clubs gets a new President, everyone of the 535 +/- Districts gets a new District Governor and Rotary International gets a New President.

This 1-and-done approach keeps our organization fresh with new ideas, new focus and new energy while preventing anything that resembles the entrenched interests that career politicians often bring to the table in most political systems. Future leaders are nominated by their peers. There are no elections, no campaigning, no fundraising of donors, no quid pro quo just good Rotarians trying to make their communities and the world a better place for everyone.

Behind this great leadership shift each year are well orchestrated training and development efforts designed to prepare incoming leaders for their 1 year leadership role.

Incoming District Governors begin their training journey several years prior to taking office. Their training journey has them attending Zone Institute twice; once while they are a District Governor Nominee (2 years out) and a District Governor Elect (1 year out) and then attending the International Assembly as well as the International Convention.

The Governor Elect Training Seminar (GETS) is being held in Toronto this week where District Governor Elect (DGE) Geraldine “Gerry” Tom is attending GETS training and District Governor Nominee (DGN) Christopher “Chris” Johnson is attending Nominee training.

DGE Gerry Tom

DGN Chris Johnson

DGN Chris Johnson










DG Training Progression

Incoming Presidents (Presidents-Elect) typically start their formal training in January by attending various leadership events, followed by PETS, District Assembly, District Conference and then their Installation/Induction.

The Path to Presidency

This year our district has funded 4 Rotarians from our district to attend The Future District Leaders seminar in Toronto.

Best of luck to all of the Future Leaders attending training at Zone Institute this week in Toronto.



RYLA Planning Meeting in Stratford Today

20140517-123800.jpgAbout 15 young facilitators from Youth Services came together today at the Homewood Suites in Stratford today to plan for the upcoming RYLA event which will take place at the end if this month at Camp Hazen in Chester. RYLA participants will sleep in cabins, engage in team exercises, enjoy a bonfire, make new lifetime friends, grow,  learn a considerable amount about inequities in society and presented team projects.

20140517-123819.jpgRotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a leadership development program run by our district. While participants can be any age, our typically events focus on High School students. RYLA events are typically 3 days long and include presentations, activities, and workshops that cover a variety of topics, including:

  • Leadership fundamentals and ethics
  • Communication skills
  • Problem solving and conflict management
  • Community and global citizenship

More information on the RYLA program can be obtained by <clicking here>


District 7980 Significant Club Achievement Awards Receive Major Overhaul

Sample Club Achievment Recognition

Sample Club Achievment Recognition

Now for something completely different…..Rotary Clubs will be recognized for the goals that they achieve and the amazing things that they do WITHOUT having to self-nominate themselves.

It’s 2014 and the District 7980 Leadership Team has come up with a progressive streamlined process that is aligned with the 4-Way test for recognizing the good works done by our Rotary Clubs.

In the past our Clubs had to submit 3 page proposals (self-nominations) in each Avenue of Service to be considered for awards. The process was so burdensome and subjective that only about 15% of our Clubs participated on a regular basis.

Now the playing field has been leveled as all Clubs, regardless of the number of members that they have or the depth of their pockets, have exactly the same opportunity to receive public recognition as long as they have met or exceeded their stated goals.

How it works: 

Each of our 61 Rotary Clubs will be evaluated by their Assistant Governors (AG) to determine if their Clubs have met or exceeded their goals in the Avenues of Service and The Rotary Foundation since July 1, 2013. AG’s will review all Club data points available to them on their Clubs such as:

  • The DG’s Blog postings
  • The Mid-year Survey that the President’s took
  • Reports from Rotary International
  • Club generated public relations such as newsletters, social media, websites and publicity received
  • One-on-one meetings with their Club Presidents
AG’s must submit via email by 3/15/14

AG’s must submit via email by 3/15/14

AG’s will then submit the goals and a photo (or two) for each of their qualifying Clubs to the District Governor no later than March 15th. 

Qualifying Clubs will be recognized in a very public way in front of record crowds during the District Conference and District Assembly in Groton, CT May 2-4th.

But wait there is more…..

These recognitions will be similar in format to the sample at the top of the page and will be featured as posters (2.5′ x 3.5′) in the House of Friendship during the District Conference and via video throughout the entire Conference. Club representatives attending the Conference will be presented with the poster-sized recognition to bring back to their Club at the conclusion of the Conference.

And as if that weren’t enough, still more….

Qualifying Clubs will receive electronic versions of these recognitions which are suitable for framing (8.5″ x 11″) and displaying in prominent places; a very nice perk for the all of the Rotarians who make success possible.

Could there possibly be more? Absolutely…..

Qualifying Clubs will also receive electronic versions of their recognitions which can be posted on their websites, Facebook pages or in any digital venue.

Screenshot 2014-02-05 15.28.48