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  • Writer's pictureRidgewood Rotary

Barbara Sacks on the Rotary Way

Barbara Sacks

Barbara Sacks has been affiliated with Rotary since 1989. As she relocated or changed jobs, she joined Rotary clubs more conveniently located so she could continue to fully participate. Soon after joining the Fair Lawn Rotary Club in 1998, she began doing “make-up” meetings once a month at the Ridgewood AM Rotary Club since 2000 because it was where she lived. Several Ridgewood Rotary members urged her to switch clubs and become a full-time member in Ridgewood, so when she changed jobs several years later, she decided to make the switch. By then, she already knew everyone in the club.

Barbara said, “One of the great things about Rotary is that there is often a club near where you live or work, so you can join or even do your make-up meetings there, which is a great way to meet people.” She attended Rotary Club meetings around the U.S. and in other countries when she traveled, so she met a lot of local business and professional friends that way. She said, “Rotary is such a small world that when I attended the Rotary International Convention in Toronto in 2018 with Rotarians from around the world, I just happened to sit randomly at a luncheon table with a successful businesswoman from the Lahore, Pakistan Rotary Club. It turned out she knew and was inspired by one of my relatives who had been her professor and mentor. Rotary might truly be the ‘6 degrees of separation’ organization in the world because it brings so many of us like-minded people together.”

Barbara traveled for business and pleasure to many places including 42 of the 50 states, and 34 countries around the world in all 4 hemispheres of the globe. She said, “On some of my trips to Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Europe many times, South America, Canada and elsewhere, I’ve been joined by my family. Travel is so educational, especially for the kids.”

She said, “we raised our kids in New Jersey, where they received an excellent education which well-prepared them for higher education later in life at selective universities. We should never underestimate the value and quality of a New Jersey public school education.”

For the last 16 years, Barbara has been the CEO of an organization that does Applied Research under the auspices of a world class university. Prior to the pandemic, Barbara explained that “I’ve been fortunate to be a speaker at Rotary Clubs where I work in New York and hope to be a speaker again post-COVID. That’s another way to meet great people through Rotary.”

Among the things of which Barbara said she is most proud are “other than my kids, I’m most proud of the people I’ve mentored over my career. Over the years, I have always mentored others because I knew that people mentored me and that’s how people learn and advance. I’m proud of my many mentees. We do owe it to others to help them stand on our shoulders. That’s how we all progress and succeed. And that’s the Rotary way.”

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