Kirsty Halliday
GSE alum from Scotland a Philadelphia Rotarian

Kirsty Halliday, a grand-daughter and niece of three Rotarians in Scotland, successfully participated in a Group Study Exchange program in 2001, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Queen's Park, Scotland in District 1230, visiting Namibia and the Western Province of South Africa.

A team of four women, accompanied a 64-year-old male Rotarian, embarked upon a four week vocational and cultural exchange ,the team’s first visit to Africa. Team members rode an ostrich, stroked a cheetah, climbed Table Mountain, sled down sand dunes, and visited a game reserve as well as a taxidermist!

They ate plenty of game meat at numerous South African braii’s (bbq) and tasted many South African wines like KWV’s Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, while visiting vineyards in Stellenbosch. Vocational visits for Kirsty, an environmental manager, included a visit to Kirstenbosch Garden’s Educational Department; a day with Emergency Services testing fire retardation methods on the slopes of Table Mountain; as well as a day with a Rotarian who had single-handedly prevented residential development that would most definitely have harmed a world recognized flamingo migration wetlands. In the summer of 2009, Kirsty returned to South Africa, and met up with previous hosts and the 2001 PDG Peter Hugo.

Kirsty is from Edinburgh, Scotland but has been living in Philadelphia for six years, successfully gaining her green card in seven months. Until recently, she was working as the director of environmental programs and then the community relations manager at SCA Americas, a global paper and hygiene products company with its American headquarters in the Cira Center in Philadelphia. Kirsty is seeking her next career move which will hopefully allow her to follow her philanthropic activities while educating others about savings they can make in their lives, based on wise environmental choices.

Kirsty was recruited to the Philadelphia MS150 Bike Team in November 2006, riding again in 2007, raising a total of $1,500. In March 2008, realizing that she truly had the finances, the time and the heartfelt desire to join Rotary, Kirsty joined the Rotary Club of Philadelphia.

` Two years later, as Philadelphia Rotarians, she is Club director, Club Membership Committee chair and District Alumni Sub-Committee chair. Kirsty has actively participated in RLI Training Parts I and II, spoken at Zone Conference and on various Membership and Alumni panels. She attended the Rotary Alumni Celebration at the 2008 RI Convention in Los Angeles. This year, Kirsty attended the District 7450 Conference on the Royal Caribbean cruise to Bermuda, overseeing the inbound GSE team from Greece while onboard.

She enjoyed supporting fellow Scot and RI President John Kenny at the RI Convention in Montreal and meeting many more Rotarians from around the world. She said one memorable conversation was with a Rotarian from California, who said “I was born to be a Rotarian, but nobody told me about Rotary until four years ago. I became a Paul Harris member on my first day as a Rotarian!”

Kirsty believes that all new Rotarians should make a concerted effort to attend an International Convention within their first five years of membership, to see how they themselves and their clubs fit into the bigger picture of Rotary and to gain the insights and inspiration from the Convention program.

Kirsty enjoys traveling and really likes the opportunity to make up meetings while on the move; most recently attending meetings in Cozumel, Mexico, Seattle, WA and Great Britain. While in Montreal, Kirsty registered for the 2011 New Orleans Convention and joined the Rotary International Travel and Hosting Fellowship.

Having given 12 orientations to prospective members and helped to promote Rotary through the Chamber of Commerce, Kirsty has made many great friends with people in fields of business she would unlikely have had reason to have come into contact with previously and while all of Kirsty’s immediate family relatives reside in England, Scotland & New Zealand, she truly sees Rotary as her other family!