He Profits Most Who Serves Best

by Marcia Gaedcke

This article is not about the Chamber of Commerce, per se. But it is very much about our business community and their incredible talent, professionalism, compassion and passion.

I was recently selected to lead a team of young professionals, aged 25 to 40, to France in May 2012 as part of a Group Study Exchange program for Rotary District 6930. For anyone not familiar with Rotary International (rotary.org), it is the world’s largest service organization, comprised of businessmen and women all over the world, united under the same belief that when we give to our fellow man, we ultimately receive much greater in return.

I am honored to be a Rotarian myself, and humbled to be chosen to represent District 6930, which stretches from Titusville all the way to Boca Raton. First of all, I am grateful to the Board of Directors at the Titusville Chamber that immediately gave me the green light to apply for this opportunity even though it means I’ll be away for a good deal of time and working from now until then to get our team ready for this trip. Second, I am overwhelmed at the incredible talent that exists in our community and the generous, giving spirit of our businesses.

I am beyond excited to report that the four team members for this exchange are ALL from Brevard County. That’s not because the only people that applied were from this county; it’s because out of the incredibly talented group of applicants that we had to choose from, ultimately four of our Brevard young professionals were at the top of that list. The pool of applicants was very diverse, both in profession and in geographic representation. The process of making a final decision on team members was at times excruciating because we had such great applicants. Any one of the applicants would have made good team members and been great ambassadors.

It is my pleasure to be working with the following people and to be traveling to France with them to represent our country, state, Rotary district and the Space Coast:

  • Alecia Blattler, Resource Development Manager, United Way of Brevard
  • Casey Cook, Human Performance Technologist, General Dynamics
  • Gracie Heim, Attorney, Charles E. Heim, Jr., PA
  • Walker Peek, Systems Engineer, Craig Technical Consulting

The first thing that might be running through your mind is, “Wow, a month long vacation in Southern France,” but rest assured that this is not necessarily the case. Think of this experience as a 30-day long trade show, where you are expected to be “on your game” all the time; where you are living with strangers and changing houses and communities every 3-4 days; where you are giving a presentation to a group of professionals in a foreign language every day, sometimes twice a day. It will not be a walk in the park.

The concept is to engage in these exchanges to share ideas. Not only to experience different cultures to gain a better understanding of one another, but also to share professional expertise, and compare business practices to find similarities and differences and ways to improve our individual methods of accomplishing the business at hand. In the interviews with these candidates, many of them remarked about how technology has erased borders, and about how the world is a much smaller place than it was a decade ago.

We are a global economy; what happens here affects people all over the world, and vice versa. This team has the opportunity to immerse themselves in another economy, political structure, and culture to find common ground. And they have the opportunity to represent the best of the State of Florida and the United States. They are ambassadors for every American to these small towns in Southern France, and they represent you and your business as a sample of the American economy. I can assure you that they don’t take that responsibility lightly.

I also want to thank the applicants that ultimately were not selected. Their talent and accomplishments were award-winning and I encourage them to apply again, and keep reaching for opportunities to learn, grow and share their gifts.

From Rotary International and specifically District 6930, I extend a warm, public thank you to the businesses that this team represents. You have to make the commitment to serving the global community and be willing to let these people learn and share. Your generosity is certainly not unrecognized, and it is a privilege to be in a corporate community that recognizes and places a high value on social responsibility and continuing education.

Marcia Gaedcke is the president of the Titusville Area Chamber of Commerce.