Wilshire Rotary held its traditional leadership transition celebration last Saturday, honoring Joyce Kleifield, who served as President for an unprecedented two years, and officially passed the presidency to Janice Prior, who started her term July 1.
Kleifield took the reins as president during the pandemic determined to re-invigorate the legacy service club’s community philanthropic efforts that had been reduced during COVID. Looking back on her tenure, Kleifield is particularly proud of the growth and development of the Interact Club, a testament to the Rotary’s dedication to future leaders. From Operation School Bell to RYLA, from internships to Rotary Talks, from scholarships to supporting foster youth, the club’s initiatives have made a tangible impact on countless lives.
“We all joined Rotary for a reason, maybe for a number of reasons, but I would bet that the main one is because we wanted to be of service to our community – to help another in need,” Kleifield told the Buzz. “If you could, wouldn’t you help 100 in need? If you could, wouldn’t you help 1,000 in need? That is where Rotary comes in for me. I have never before been exposed to such a powerful force for good that has such a reach around the world! To be able to have an impact both locally and globally is huge.”
Kleifield, a familiar name among locals, has dedicated most of her adult life to improving her community. Before serving as president of the Wilshire Rotary Club, Kleifield was the Director of Development with the Alice G. Harrison Memorial Trust at LA High School. Before that she left an indelible mark on the lives of students and teachers and Angelenos throughout Los Angeles through her work at Fairfax High School.
“With Joyce’s long record of working hard to better our local community, it comes as no surprise that she served Wilshire Rotary in back-to back-terms, and that her input of energy and enthusiasm led to great things for our club. We continued our work in many avenues of service both locally and internationally, and I am very pleased that we have been able to really shine in an area that is a long-time passion of Joyce’s, namely that of youth and education,” said Amy Cuomo, Wilshire Rotary Club Service Director 2022-2023.
“Our high-school level Rotary club at Larchmont Charter, known as the Interact Club, is comprised of an incredibly active and dynamic membership. We have Joyce to thank for helping ignite that spark and we look forward to her helping start an additional club at LA High in the next Rotary year,” said Cuomo.
At her last meeting as Wilshire Rotary Club president, held at The Ebell of Los Angeles, where the Rotary has been meeting for decades, Kleifield focused on her particular passion – championing the youth inviting the Interact Club to present their Youth Showcase.
“Of the many things we have done over the past two years while I’ve been president, the one thing I am the most proud of is the growth and development of our Interact Club. I am so pleased to share all the things these future leaders have done and to be able to celebrate their accomplishments this year,” said Klefield.
“Joyce has been a tremendous support to me since I joined Wilshire Rotary two years ago,” said Caroline Stalley, 2022-2023 Youth Service Director, who lead the efforts to engage the high schoolers in Rotary community service projects. “She is always upbeat, ready to roll her sleeves up, and with a genuine empathy for everyone. She is an asset to any organization she serves. Bless you for your time and service Joyce!” Kleifield showed her appreciation for Stalley’s work on revitalizing the Interact Club by awarding her the Landis-Veatch award for Outstanding Board Member. She also honored Dan Hodgkiss with the Rotary’s Past President award for his service to the Rotary and generous underwriting of luncheons for Interact Club members and their faculty advisors.
Fellow Rotarians shared their thoughts on working with Kleifield of the past two years.
“Joyce jumped joyfully into the job of President of the Wilshire Rotary Club of Los Angeles. Her unwavering dedication, dynamic drive, and delightful demeanor dazzled doubly in her two years at the helm. Her compassion and creativity cultivates a community of changemakers charged with living a life of “Service Above Self.” said Christopher Cox, Past President Wilshire Rotary 2018-2019.
“During the pandemic, President Joyce demonstrated exceptional leadership. She led Wilshire Rotary with clear communication, adaptability, and proactively creating solutions to effectively move into the future.” said Angel Amezquita, Wilshire Rotary Co-Community Service Director 2022-2023.
“Wilshire Rotary was very lucky to have Joyce at the helm for two years, displaying a dedication that can’t be overstated. Impressively organized, she brought an upbeat, positive energy to every meeting at the Ebell and her love of Rotary was infectious. Navigating the club’s return to in-person meetings was a huge task and she completely succeeded in reintroducing all of us to Ebell meetings. We all owe her a great debt of gratitude!” said Rob Barnes, Wilshire Rotary Co-Director of Community Service 2022-2024, longtime WRC member and former past president.
“Joyce’s leadership and unwavering commitment to our organization have left an indelible mark on our hearts and the communities we serve. Throughout her tenure as President, her passion for Rotary’s core values and her ability to inspire others has been nothing short of extraordinary. With dedication and a clear vision, Joyce led our club to new heights, fostering an environment of collaboration and unity that propelled us forward. Her ability to listen, understand, and implement innovative ideas ensured that our club remained at the forefront of positive change within our community,” said Aaron Grate, 2022-2023 Wilshire Rotary Club Peace Director.
“Dedication, being of service, recruitment, a caring leader for Rotary is what comes to mind when I think of Joyce. She dedicated herself for two full years actually three years because she was prepping the year before, for our organization and I cannot thank her enough for being such a great president Joyce thank you so much from the bottom of my heart,”
said John Duerler, longtime Wilshire Rotary Club member and local realtor.
As she took the reins, incoming president Janice Prior, Wilshire Rotary President Elect 2023-2024, praised her predecessor.
“How wonderful to have people like Joyce in our club. She stepped up and did so for 2 years! Her creative thinking and ability to bridge zooms and in-person events enabled our club to stay vibrant despite some very tough times. I am grateful for her dedication and am so thankful for her. Joyce is a sweet soul and am proud to have her in our rotary family,” said Prior.