When Laurie Delano joined Rotary in 2011, her membership was primarily about attending meetings.

But when she retired as the chief financial officer and vice president of finance for Empire District Electric Co. in 2017, she saw the opportunity to use her experience and expertise to play a larger role within the organization.

“I noted in the Rotarian magazine last summer that Rotary International had openings for their audit and finance committee, so I applied,” Delano says. “I was honored to be chosen to serve on the finance committee.”

Delano, who graduated from Missouri Southern in 1977 with a degree in accounting, began her three-year term on the board on July 1. She joins an eight-member committee that includes representatives from the United States, Germany, England, Australia and the Philippines.

The committee advises the Rotary International Board on finances, budgets, investment policy and sustainability measures. Despite the great distance between members, she

says meetings can take place online as well as face to face a few times a year at the Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, Ill.

It’s a position that is definitely in her wheelhouse. Delano worked for Empire for 24 years, and her four decades of professional experience in accounting and finances include positions with TAMKO Building Products and Lozier Corporation.

Rotary is dedicated to the idea of “service above self.” But it’s an ideal that Delano took to heart long before becoming a member.

She serves on the Crowder College Foundation Board, as a member of the Lafayette House Endowment Committee, the American Institute of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants. She has also served as treasurer for the United Way and Lafayette House.

“It’s always just been in my blood, I guess,” Delano says of her drive to be of service. “My parents were always involved, especially my mother. They volunteered with 4H when we were growing up and at school activities, and my mother worked with the American Cancer Society.

“I’ve always enjoyed it. I feel like it’s my way of giving back to the community.”

She and her husband, Gene (a 1982 graduate of MSSU), live in Joplin.