The next president of the Longmont Rotary Club is hoping her background encourages all types of people to get involved in the humanitarian organization.
Wein-Pin Yeh will be inducted as president on Tuesday, making her the first female minority and immigrant president of the 103-year-old Rotary Club.
Yeh came to the United States from Taiwan as a transfer student in college where she met her husband, who also happened to be from Taiwan. The two decided to stay in America and moved to Longmont 19 years ago.
Yeh worked for a long time as a consultant in the private sector for Fortune 500 companies. In 2012, she helped to start a nonprofit with a goal of bringing a Zen meditation center to the area so everyone could enjoy the benefits of meditation.
Her friend, who is also from Taiwan, invited Yeh to a meeting of the Longmont Rotary Club, but Yeh’s hands were full with raising her children, working her job and building the nonprofit. In 2017, Yeh left the private sector to focus on her nonprofit, Rocky Mountain Bodhi Tree, and that’s when she saw her freetime open up.
Rotary instantly clicked for Yeh, who loves the Four-Way Test that Rotary uses to guide decisions. It centers truth, fairness, goodwill and benefiting everyone.
That like-mindedness is what made Yeh so engaged in the Rotary, despite the fact that a minority immigrant woman might not be what people tend to associate with Rotary club members.
“I have to confess when I first entered the room, I went, ‘Wow, no one looks like me’ — except for my friend, right?” she recalled. “… At the time, it’s an old white guys’ club and I’m not so sure. But people came to me, greeted me, very friendly. I felt the warmth right away. Even though they don’t look like me and they speak another language — because English is not my native tongue — but these people want to do the same thing. That’s how we united.”
That fellowship is an important part of Rotary and something Yeh wants to focus on during her year as president. She said her goal is to make sure everyone has access to the program, since more people means more work can get done together.
“It’s a divided community, nation and world right now,” she said. “I think the community needs us more than ever. We need to do our best to bring the community together, nation together and the world together. We won’t be able to resolve everything, but at least we need to be able to do one thing at a time, take one step at a time. I think it’s important for everyone to get involved with any kind of service organization.”
Yeh hopes to bring comfort and care not only to the Rotary members, but to neighbors, community members and the world at large. She wants to increase the club’s impact and expand its reach, something she thinks will be benefited by someone like her leading the way.
“I think me being the president will hopefully help people think, ‘Oh, she’s not a grandpa or a dad. She’s not white; she’s not that old.’ If she can be the president of the club, maybe I can go to a meeting or two,” Yeh said.