Professional of the Month: Pat Jenkins, executive director, Rotary Club of Madison

0823 Editorcontent Prof Of The Month

What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?

I’ve been with the Rotary Club of Madison for over 40 years. The first 10 years, I was the executive assistant, and for the last 30 years I’ve been executive director. As executive director of the world’s 10th largest Rotary Club with over 400 members, including 200-plus Rotarians attending our luncheon each week, plus managing 40 committees, 25 fellowship groups, and distribution of grants and scholarships totaling over $850,000 per year, it’s very rewarding to be working with so many distinguished leaders in our community — our Rotary members — who volunteer their time and talent to make our club so successful. We are proud of our commitment to being inclusive and for making Madison such a great place to live. A challenging aspect of my job is that we have so much going on each week, so I work to maintain efficiency, stay organized, and deliver to our members and our community.

What has been the high point of your career so far?

Each year, our Madison Rotary Foundation provides four-year college scholarship assistance to over 100 students who are unable to afford the cost of college. Many are the first in their families to attend college. The donor funds that enable these scholarships have grown significantly since I started. I am so grateful to the donors who have established the funds, and it is so rewarding for me to work with recipients and see how we are changing lives with this gift of education.

Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?

I grew up on a dairy farm, and I would watch my dad make repairs to machinery. My siblings and I would sometimes help by handing him various tools he would ask for during the repair. I learned from it, and I will tinker with equipment that isn’t working and can help troubleshoot it or even repair some items that others might just toss out.

What are your guilty pleasures?

I’ve always enjoyed ice cream, especially Babcock ice cream. But, after a trip my family and I recently took to Italy, my newest guilty pleasure is gelato, which you could find on almost every street in Rome. There are so many wonderful flavors to choose from too.