Posted by Carrie Condran LaBriola
Past District Governor Donna-Lee Young Rubin doesn’t want to talk much about her life and career. Rather, she wants to focus on her passion for Rotary.

A native of Boston, Donna-Lee served as Governor of District 7930, which extends along the Eastern seaboard from Boston to Salem, NH, in 2001-02, the same year that Club member Peter Lagarias was Governor of District 5150.

Donna-Lee worked as a hospital administrator in Massachusetts for many years, then built on her avocation of collecting antiques and fine arts to open a gallery, which she ran in Andover, MA, for 15 years. After the death of her husband, Vince, a surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Donna-Lee moved west three years ago to become executive director, now CEO, of Rotaplast, which she had served as a board member and mission director. Under her leadership, Rotaplast has received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator for two consecutive years, the highest rating for nonprofits.

Donna-Lee says her proudest accomplishment as a hospital administrator was founding a women’s health center, which is still in operation. She is also very proud of all that she has accomplished in the Rotary world.

As District Governor, Donna-Lee chartered four new Clubs; started four Rotaract clubs in Boston, where there had been none; chartered 17 Interact clubs; had the highest Rotary Foundation giving in four zones; and increased membership in the District by 400, the highest in the world, for which she received an award at the RI convention in Barcelona in 2002. She also was named one of four Most Distinguished Governors, and the only woman, by RI President Richard A. King, for which she received a globe with each country set in semi-precious stones.
Following her year as District Governor, Donna-Lee held two positions, one in foundation giving and one in membership, for Zone 31-32, which comprises eastern Canada, the northeastern United States, New York and Bermuda. She also held two positions for TRF – Rotary Foundation Communique, through which she wrote things for TRF in multiple zones; and Foundation Coordinator for Zone 31, through which she set up TRF workshops and seminars in all the districts in the zone. In addition, she was a member of the faculty of the Rotary Leadership Institute and facilitator and trainer for multi-district PETS for several years.

“I love to teach!” she says. “I’m very enthusiastic about Rotary!”

For all these and many other accomplishments, Donna-Lee was awarded Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award and Four Avenues of Service Award. She is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and a TRF major donor and benefactor. Her son, Eric, and 95-year-old mother, who live in Florida, are both Paul Harris Fellows, as was her late husband, who also was a TRF major donor.

Donna-Lee has attended 15 Rotary International Conventions and has been a keynote speaker internationally about TRF, membership, and Rotaplast at RI conventions, district conferences and zone meetings. She was a representative for RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe in 2003-04, speaking at district conferences in Canada and the US.
During her years in the Rotary Club of Andover, MA, which she joined in 1990, Donna-Lee had perfect attendance. But, “upon coming to San Francisco to lead and grow Rotaplast into the future, I have had to curtail my Rotary work. I hope that will change in the future.” Because she travels so much for Rotaplast, she hasn’t been able to attend the weekly meetings as much as she would like. “If I’m in town, I’m there.”

Donna-Lee writes poetry and is an artist in watercolors and oils. She owned a sailboat that she sailed up and down the East Coast and says she is an “avid golfer” and hopes to be able to join the Twilight Golf group soon.