Updated: Jul 2
"It's very challenging to take on another leadership role these days. To be a parent and an entrepreneur during this difficult time, is already more than enough to handle. However, it is during critical times that leaders are called to be leaders, and while it is easy to paddle on a calm sea, it is more meaningful to lead your people through the storm. Service knows no crisis." - Edwin To
July 01 is the start of a new Rotary year and Rotarians from around the world welcome with enthusiasm the new Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta. Also taking on the helm of leadership within the Rotary global network are 500 incoming District Governors, 35,000 incoming local Presidents and over 100,000 Rotary officers.
District 3850 welcomes new Governor
This year, the islands of Western Mindanao, Panay and Negros Occidental, which comprise District 3850, will be led by the unassuming and successful entrepreneur from Zamboanga City, Edwin To.
New District Governor Edwin To is known in his native Zamboanga City for his involvement in both civic and business sectors.
A graduate of Business Management degree from the De La Salle University, he manages the family-owned Budgetwise Supermarket, a fast-growing retail enterprise in western Mindanao, and sits in the board of Ciudad Medical Zamboanga.
He also served as private sector representative in the Board of Regent of Western Mindanao State University and was the president of the Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Foundation Inc., the official business organization in Zamboanga and an affiliate of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Gov. Edwin is also a fellow of the Mindanao Bridging Leadership Program, a leadership formation fellowship program of the Asian Institute of Management – TeaM Energy Center for Bridging Leadership. The overall objective of the MBLP is to build a cadre of Bridging Leaders in Muslim Mindanao, who can effectively address issues like peace, education, health, land conflicts, poverty, and poor local governance, among others.
He likewise completed the 11-module master’s degree in Strategic Business and Economic program in University of Asia and the Pacific in 2015. In May 2016, Gov. Edwin was selected to represent the Philippines for the Eisenhower Fellowship Spring Global Program in the United States for a seven-week intensive professional exploration, interaction and exchange. Gov. Edwin was inducted into the Rotary Club of Zamboanga City in 2006 and served as its president for Rotary year 2009-2010 when he was awarded the Presidential Citation by Rotary International President John Kenny.
Since then, he held several district positions as Public Image Chair (RY 2010-2012), Assistant Governor (RY 2012-13), Mindanao Coordinator (RY 2013-2014), District Convention Chair (RY 2015-2016) and RYLA Chair (RY 2017-2018)
Gov. Edwin is a Permanent Fund and Major Donor to the Rotary Foundation. He is married to Mary Ann, a pediatrician and blessed with four children - David Sean, 16; Carl Alexander, 13; Margaret Ann, 11 and Edward Geoffrey, 10.
Serve to change lives, this year's rallying call
Challenging the district's over 1,500 committed members, the new Governor calls for everyone to continue working incessantly. "Together we can. Together we will", says To.
"This year’s Rotary theme, “Serve to Change Lives,” cannot be overemphasized. We continue to face the biggest challenge in our lifetime – the COVID-19 pandemic. We do not have to look far to see the sufferings it has brought and continues to bring. As we welcome the New Rotary Year, let us renew our vow, and scale the heights of what it means to be Rotarians. Let us serve as we’ve never served before, not just to make a difference in other people’s lives, but also our own."
Highlighting the importance of continuity of initiatives, District Governor To honors the efforts of his predecessors and commits to continue finding ways to lead efficiently and effectively by improving the communication channels, providing more engagement opportunities and offering platforms to empower Rotary clubs to be more and do more for the communities they serve.
"As your District Governor, I made several promises as well. One of these is to revitalize communication in our district, expand our horizon to reach more people, and provide a platform that will increase opportunities for partnerships, all in the name of service."
Leading to his assumption of the new role, he commissioned the service of business solutions company Splice Business Solutions Co.Ltd. to design a communication strategy and implement digital transformation initiatives, aligned to the goals and objectives of this year's leadership.
The district's new website showcases the inspiring stories from their communities and provides opportunity for anyone to get involved by donating to club projects or by joining Rotary events and community outreaches. On Facebook, community members are growing in number and are actively engaging on published contents and sharing them as well to their respective networks.
"This website and the social media page we created will be a game-changer for our district. I urge you all to keep this vibrant by sharing your Rotary stories."
"To inspire, to connect and to engage, these are the goals", To stressed.
Governor Edwin To said that although he understands the big responsibility of the office and the high expectation placed on the role, he is excited and more than ready to start the job. He is set to be formally inducted today, July 02 at 5pm, live on the district's social media platforms.
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe. They provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. The organization envisions to see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.