Sara Pattison, former event planner with a background in data management and congressional support, has been named executive director of the 112-year-old Rotary Club of Cincinnati.
Pattison, of Oakley, will oversee and coordinate activities for the club’s more than 300 business and community leaders who make up the service and networking organization, one of the largest Rotary clubs in the nation.
“I’m excited to work with these amazing people who are so committed to making a difference in the community,” said Pattison. “They don’t only talk about it, they do it. They make things happen.”
As executive director, Pattison will be the point person for much of that impact.
Rotary is a professional service and networking organization bringing business professionals and community leaders together to benefit the community. Weekly meetings host local and national speakers. Programs include professional development and a focus on serving children with disabilities.
Rotary Club of Cincinnati president Melinda Kelly called Pattison “a great fit for the Rotary.”
“She’s a sharp lady. She’s energetic. She’s creative. She loves the city of Cincinnati and is passionate about our club,” said Kelly, of Mason.
Pattison brings a breadth of experience to her new position, including a stint as operations coordinator for the U.S. Department of the Treasury, political savvy as former deputy district director for local Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, and client relations and sales experience for data management and software design companies. Six years ago, she launched her own event planning business – The Perfect Party Planner – with events ranging from fund raisers to weddings to conferences.
On accepting the Rotary position, Pattison closed her events business.
“I’ll still be planning events, but they’ll be Rotary events,” she said.
Jim Yunker, Rotary member whose Yunker Group conducted the executive director search, called Pattison “the full package.”
“She has high energy, ethics, management and people skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. Because of some of her past experience in politics she is very diplomatic. I think she will have a great rapport with our members,” said Yunker of Anderson Township.
Pattison follows Linda Muth of Union Township, who was executive director for 10 years before retiring on Jan 4.
“The executive director has to be the ringleader,” Muth said. “You need to be the idea person. Then you break it down into manageable pieces. You can’t do it by yourself, it takes the club members to make it happen. The Rotary members really live the club motto of ‘Service Above Self.’”
The executive director reports to the Rotary’s 14-person board of directors and works closely with the club president and the president of the Rotary Club of Cincinnati Foundation, which is the club’s philanthropic arm. Club officers change annually, but the executive director is the constant – facilitating everything from office work and weekly meetings to community impact and representing the club in national and international Rotary affairs.
Pattison is a Cincinnati native who received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University. She and her husband, Cory, have two children. Pattison said the Rotary brings together her passion for Cincinnati and her drive to serve the community.
“I’m so honored to be part of this organization,” she said. “This is an opportunity to give back to the community I love with people who always go above and beyond to help Cincinnati.”