Larry Potter
Larry Potter is the insurance and risk management chair of District 5340. Larry is also a past president of the Downtown Breakfast Club. Larry is also openly gay. And, this is where our story begins.
Larry was born in Branson, Missouri, the middle brother of three brothers. His father was a Pentecostal Pastor, which made Larry a PK (preacher’s kid). His mother was the church treasurer.
At age 10, the family moved to Waterford, Ireland where Larry’s father chased his dream to live in Ireland and have a congregation. An interesting fact - Waterford Crystal was originally manufactured in Waterford, Ireland, in 1783. Unfortunately, the crystal is no longer manufactured in Waterford, but in Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Germany.
Larry's father's congregation grew in no small part because Larry and his brothers, with their musical talents, drew people to the church. Larry played guitar and piano and was quite popular with the congregation. Besides his musical talent, he and his brothers were home schooled by their parents.
At age 16, Larry came to San Diego for his brother’s wedding. Once in San Diego, he stayed with his brother in Rancho Bernardo. As he came of college age, Larry enrolled in Cal State San Marcos. His interest was electrical engineering.
During this time, Larry had a water delivery service, delivering tons of water every day to homes and businesses.  Although he made a nice living with this business, a friend highly recommended he enter the insurance business. He found his way to the commercial lines of insuring businesses.
He relocated to Murrieta and joined an insurance agency, eventually becoming a partner in the business. One of the agents in the firm told him he should join the Murrieta Rotary club.  He gave the club a try and really enjoyed the club. He became the youngest member by far. One of the things that sealed the deal with his life-long love of Rotary, was going to India on a micro-credit project to help women start their own business.
After a big push in the District, only Larry and the District Governor went on the trip to India. This was at the time the movie Harry Potter was just released to movie theaters.  Larry flew out of LAX on a 747. The ticket agent at the gate saw Larry’s passport and figured he must be related to Harry Potter. Upon this discovery, the airline upgraded Larry to first class in the upper deck with seat 1A. Not a bad magical slight-of-hand at no cost to Larry.
The trip to India became Larry’s Rotary "aha" moment. The trip was supposed to be about promoting micro credits for women’s businesses. Once in India, that mission changed to digging water wells. This became the beginning of four trips in four years to India to build 65 water wells that improved the lives of many because of safe and plentiful water.
Upon returning Murrieta, Larry was considered to become the youngest president of the Murrieta Rotary club. The past presidents convened to consider who would become the next president. One of the past presidents raised an objection to Larry because Larry was gay. His rationale was that it would not look good for the face of the club to be gay. The other presidents shot down this objection and voted Larry in as president. Larry did not know about this process until later after his presidency. The one who objected approached Larry and told him how wrong he had been.
It wasn’t all that long after this experience that Larry relocated to San Diego to start his own insurance agency. Moving to San Diego provided Larry with more than a new beginning and experiences. He met his partner Will and he found his way to the Downtown Breakfast club.
It didn’t take Larry long to become president of this large Rotary club in 2017. Among other things, Larry brought his musical talents to the meetings. He would start the meetings with a song and an occasional dance. This has continued as the custom for Downtown Breakfast. The meetings he led were lively and full of fun. The epitome of a model Rotary club. And, by the way, Larry became the Rotarian of the Year in the 2017-2018 Rotary year.
Our conversation turned to being an openly gay man in Rotary and what can we, as a District and clubs, do to welcome the LGBTQ community into Rotary.
Larry has always found much support and love from his club. They have been welcoming to him and Will. He believes in diversity within a club and is not interested in being a part of a club with only LBGTQ members.

Larry wants clubs to create an atmosphere where all people are welcome and made to feel welcome. The club culture should reflect this value and attitude.
Larry’s philosophy and outlook is something we should consider as we strive to grow our clubs - not only in number, but in diversity and inclusiveness.