An excerpt from the speech announcing Sydney City Rotaract’s Paul Harris Fellows last week:

The Paul Harris Fellow is named after the founder of Rotary International and is awarded in appreciation of a contribution of $1000 to the humanitarian and educational programs of The Rotary Foundation.

Bec Weragoda’s PHF is being awarded by Rotaract District 9675 on the back of money we raised for the Rotary Foundation back at the 2012 Harbour Cruise.

Since she was a little 17 year old, Rotary has been in her blood. A bit of a science nerd, [Bec] was whisked away to the National Youth Science Forum in Canberra in 2006, and was then selected to represent Australia on a trip to Africa in the middle of year 12. She even got up close and personal with her favourite animal – the elephant.

Following NYSF, she attended RYLA – much like NYSF, it was an inspirational and life changing experience. She was selected to be a staff member the following year, and quickly became the Seminar Director at RYLA 9690, a position she held for several years. RYLA became a huge passion for this person; she overhauled the program and ensured it continued to be an amazing experience for all that attended.

I think most of you know who I’m talking about.

Bec was as charter member of Western Sydney Rotaract, and as you know, later became heavily involved at Sydney City Rotaract. As Professional Development Director, she pioneered the GetAhead 2014 program aimed at helping young professionals get ahead in their careers – we had over 100 attendees and are looking to roll this program out in other cities. Bec came to the board with a radical idea a couple of years back – “if Rotary clubs sponsor attendees to RYLA, why can’t Sydney City Rotaract”. So we did, and have sent a couple of members to RYLA.

As President, Bec has overseen great events and initiatives as you’ve heard from her, such as our famous Happy Coins, the Bus Party, our ARV partnership, Sydney City Superstar, and Kiva, and has taken the club forward significantly. She has been a truly inspirational leader over the last twelve months and is extremely dedicated to Rotaract.

Bec had her self described Rotary Moment at the Rotary International Convention in Sydney last year. As she has expressed, it wasn’t until the Rotaract Preconvention, House of Friendship and RI Convention did she appreciate the scale, impact, network, and community that is Rotary International.

Bec was involved in the inaugural Interact conference last year, and has been a speaker at numerous Rotaract and Rotary events including Rotaract Australia training.

Over the next 12 months, Bec takes on the role of 9675 MUNA chair, as well as District Rotaract Representative. I know she has big plans, and has already effectively engaged each of the Rotaract Clubs, and many Rotarians in the District.