"My Rotary journey started when I was born, as I grew up the daughter of a Rotarian. My father was part of the movement to get women into Rotary in the 1980s so I guess I really do owe him for my involvement and love of the organization". This is how Jennifer began her Member Moment, telling the fellow Rotarians about her fascinating life story. Read the full story!
Member Moment Jennifer Hara
My Rotary journey started when I was born, as I grew up the daughter of a Rotarian. My father was part of the movement to get women into Rotary in the 1980s so I guess I really do owe him for my involvement and love of the organization. The other thing that hooked me to the Rotary wheel was when I was 17 I spent a year abroad as a Rotary Youth Exchange student in Alicante, Spain – an experience that changed my life. Upon my return to Seattle I attended Seattle University and majored in Spanish and International Politics. I then spent two years working for a Mexican American immigration attorney in downtown Seattle Deciding that the legal profession was not form me, I decided to apply for graduate school on the east coast. In August of 1997, I left Seattle for Washington DC to start a two year program at the George Washington University’s Elliott School for International Affairs.
After graduating with a Masters in International Economics, I landed a position at a boutique, family-owned international project financing advisory consulting firm focused on the energy and infrastructure project development and financing. When I went home to Seattle for the holidays that year, I couldn’t tell any of my friends and family what my job was as I didn’t yet understand project finance. I stayed with the firm for sixteen and half years, leaving in April 2016 to start at Tetra Tech’s Institute for Public-Private Partnerships, where I worked with foreign government officials who came to our training center to learn about project finance and public private partnerships. I also had the opportunity to travel to Africa half a dozen times and completely fell in love with Kenya. I was furloughed during the pandemic and found a new job rather quickly – timing is everything. In July 2020, I joined Access Intelligence, which is a media and event planning company headquartered in Rockville, as the Brand Director for P3C Media. I am leading the program development for seven public-private partnership (P3) and project delivery conferences focused on various sectors. I am also responsible for the strategic planning and client relationships for the group, as well as providing P3 expertise. Going to back to in person events in the ongoing pandemic has been an interesting experience to say the least.
I joined the Rotary Club of Washington DC in June 2005. Yukio Tada was my sponsor and a business colleague. Yukio is the conduit of our sister/capital city partnership with the Rotary Club of Tokyo. At the beginning of my Rotary membership, I had what a past president called ‘balloon arm’, meaning I volunteered for everything. I got involved. I got to know the Club, the membership, the history, the projects, the many, many layers of what is Rotary. I have been actively involved in the past annual fundraiser for the Club’s international service projects, the Community Service Grants committee, and the Meeting in Review (which I wrote for two years), and I chaired the Club’s Global Grant Scholarship committee. I also acted as the liaison for the Rotaract Club, have served on the Rotary Board of Directors and was Secretary from 2010-2012. During the 2014-2015 Rotary year, I had the honor of serving as the Club’s President – the fourth woman to do so. For the District, I was Area/Assistant Governor from 2015-2018 and I am currently the Global Grant Scholarship Committee Chair.
Personally, my husband Chris and I have been married for 18 years and together for 21. We live in DC and just moved into a condo on the Walter Reed campus after downsizing from 20 years of living in a 100 year old three bedroom row house. We have a five year old English Bulldog named Charlie, our third English Bulldog and by far the most spoiled, and we are so happy to be in our new home. Some of you may know Chris and know that he was in a motorcycle accident in October 2010. This accident obviously changed our lives but I am just happy he is still alive. This Rotary family was a huge part of my support system when that happened and I am forever thankful for my membership and my involvement in this amazing organization. Thank you and happy holidays!