October - "Then and Now"

The following article is the last in Quota’s 2018-2019 Centennial Series written in celebration of Quota’s 100th Birthday. Thanks go to Past International Beris Pritchard, author of the series, for sharing Quota’s history in her fascinating articles these past 12 months.

“Then and Now”

Time simply does not stand still. The world of February 2019 is a very different place from the world of February 1919.

Our pages of history share highlights of the achievements of Quota International, Inc., but it is the changes around us which have affected the on-going future of the organization. In 1920, the officers of Quota Club International were faced with the problems of a rapidly growing membership and the formation of clubs at an astonishing rate; there were many decisions to be made! In 2020, the officers of Quota International are now faced with the problems of a declining membership and the loss of clubs and there are again, many decisions to be made.

Headquarters Then and Now

In 1928 President Calvin Coolidge invited Quota Club International to establish its headquarters in Washington D.C., and with $1,700 pledged at the Quota Convention in Davenport, Iowa, an office was opened at 812 17th St. NW, Washington, D.C. Although the address has changed from time to time since then, it has remained in Washington through the duration of the century. A very advantageous bonus of headquartering in D.C. was the powerful relationship developed with Gallaudet University, the only university in the world dedicated to deaf students. Then, in 1988, Quota’s Executive Director, Kathleen Thomas (Treiber), was appointed Chairman of the United States Council for Better Hearing & Speech Month Steering Committee. This marked recognition of Quota’s leadership by the 21 organizations represented by the Council, including Gallaudet University, The National Captioning Institute, and the House Ear Institute, among others. An additional bonus was the close proximity to lobby groups in the national capital city as well as the opportunity for Quota’s Deputy Executive Director to represent Quota International on the Executive Committee of the United Nations Association of the United States from 2008 to 2012, which strengthened service potential for clubs in the United States.

Memorabilia Then and Now

From 1931 to 1932, bi-centenary celebrations were held throughout the United States to celebrate the birth of George Washington, the country’s first president. Quota’s part in this celebration was distinctly feminine – reproducing the Martha Washington State plate and spoon. Although reproductions of historical icons were frowned upon, the plate was achieved and was in high demand. President Catherine Olney had the honour of presenting one of each of these reproductions to Mrs. Herbert Hoover, the wife of the President at the time; to the Smithsonian Institution; and to the Governors of Virginia and New Hampshire. Two of these plates are still in the memorabilia held at the International Office. In recent years, souvenirs commemorating special occasions have typically come in the form of t-shirts, mugs, and pins.

The Quotarian – Then and Now

The Quotarian magazine was first published in July 1919, but at the first convention, its publication was suspended due to a lack of funds. However, when it was re-established in the years thereafter, and published monthly, it quickly cemented its importance as a communication tool for the rapidly growing organization. In 1935, a “President’s Page” was included and during the period of 1943 – 1945, when conventions were not held, it kept the members informed through the inclusion of reports and war activities. The 1960 December issue carried an article that featured Past International President Edith Glaze. The tribute was made because Edith had just completed the organization of another club – her fiftieth! No other Quotarian could claim any finer service to Quota and no Quotarian since has broken that record!

The copy changed over the years as the method of production improved, but improvements involved an increase in production cost, and as the organization moved into new countries, the cost of distribution also increased. At the turn of the century, The Quotarian became an annual production, produced as a full color, high-quality magazine. As a result, it won prestigious national and international awards for being a high caliber magazine produced by a not-for-profit organization. (It should be noted those editions were produced by the Deputy Executive Director, now our current Executive Director, Nancy Fitzpatrick.) The final copy was produced in 2015, with its demise again due to the high cost of publishing and mailing to individual members in 14 countries. All Quotarian magazines published since 2000 are now available for viewing on Quota’s Web site and are well worth a browse. These publications highlight the activities and achievements of Quota International and our clubs over the last two decades.

Quota’s Structure – Then and Now

Originally, Quota was organized only on an international and local level. However, it grew so large that at the Swampscott Convention in 1933, the decision was made to create districts with a District Governor to preside over each one. Meetings were held in areas for the purpose of creating districts and the districts were numbered in accordance with the order in which meetings were held. Districts of large geographic size were later sub-divided into new districts by the International Board of Directors, or at the request of the clubs themselves. Then, per the recommendation made by the General Secretary to create a school for District Governors, at the 1944 convention in Niagara Falls, Ontario, it was decided to hold a Governors’ Seminar on a small scale. The Governors nearby, were invited to spend a weekend in New York as the guests of Quota International for a test seminar. Districts were financially responsible for up to $20.00 of travelling expenses. The event was so successful that it was recommended that Governors’ Seminars be established as part of Quota Club International’s contribution to the Governors in their work with the clubs. In 1946, Quota invested in two seminars – one in the Western United States, in Denver, Colorado, and the other in the Eastern United States, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Many years later, two seminars were still held, but one catered to the Governors in North America, held in Washington, D.C., and the other catered to those in the South Pacific Area, held in Sydney. However, due to a loss of clubs and a lack of funds in the ninth decade, a structural change was made from districts to regions, from District Governors to Regional Directors, and from a seminar training to a convention training.

Many times in the early years board members attended district conferences, but 1961 was the first year that the board members were officially assigned to attend each meeting for the purpose of sharing clearly defined message from the President to the conference concerning matters vital to Quota for the year. This personal representation has continued to the current day – perhaps an electronic presentation will replace a live person in the future?

Technology – Then and Now

It was with great excitement in 1954, that a Cardineer file and bookkeeping machine was installed at the Quota office; this equipment kept the records that are now managed by an electronic database. All files and equipment in the office largely remained manually managed and time-consuming to update until the nineteen eighties, when Executive Director Kathleen Thomas (Treiber) brought the office management and equipment into the electronic age. As we head into the next century, Quota’s Web site is now inviting, simple to navigate and easy to use. Our communication is fast and friendly for all members who are “connected” to electronic facilities, now allowing international staff and members “real-time” conversation and connection.

1919 offered women new opportunities in professional and managerial work roles following the First World War in their towns. This brought with it the invaluable opportunity for friendships outside their home as well as the opportunity to nurture those in the community who needed extra support.

2019 offers women in professional and executive roles the opportunity to work on a national or global stage – travel has become a major component of many executive working situations. Has this evolution affected our Organization – I’m sure most would agree that the answer is, emphatically, “Yes!” We can now only wonder what the next century holds for Quota International!