Posted by Betsy Koefoed on Jul 12, 2022
In 2009 when Past District Governor Bill Koefoed was being queried, he immediately went to his decades-long profession as owner of the Dale Carnegie Franchise in the San Francisco Bay Area to tell them that he wanted to bring a superior quality of leadership training to the Rotarians in Rotary District 5150. When he was subsequently selected as the District Governor for 2010-2011, he asked his Rotarian wife and long-time business partner, Betsy, to take the reins on this promise and bring it to fruition into District 5150.
After considerable research into Rotary-based trainings, it was determined that Potential Rotary Leaders Seminars (PRLS), as developed in Rotary District 5240, had the “bones” of the training they wanted to bring to 5150. Wanting to experience the training at its source, Betsy, Michael Ford, and Bob Pope (initially chosen faculty members) drove down to Santa Maria, CA once a month to actually take the PRLS training in District 5240. Having themselves then graduated from PRLS, Betsy, as the designated 5150 PRLS Founder and Director, set up a faculty training program and the date for the first Basic PRLS class - May 1, 2010. The class was held at the Dale Carnegie Headquarters (at the time) in San Mateo and was sold out. Thirty excited Rotarians gathered that Saturday morning to experience the training that would become the hallmark of District 5150. The faculty conducted three Basic PRLS classes in 2010 followed by the establishment of the five Master PRLS class series in 2011. 
Enthusiasm was fierce for the classes, and for the first several years, there were three Basic PRLS classes as well as two full series of Master PRLS classes each Rotary year. The original faculty were Betsy and Bill Koefoed, Michael Ford, Linda Grant, Dave Bertini, Pete Nannarone, Eric Shapira, and Bob Pope. Several other PRLS trainers have come and gone over the last ten years. The core group of the PRLS faculty now are Founder Betsy Koefoed, Curriculum Designer Michael Ford, Linda Grant, and Dave Bertini. Michael has completed his Ph.D. in Language and Learning in Practice and revamped the leadership-based classes to have pinpoint relevance for Rotarians. His phrasing in the class is “taking this back to Rotary”. Betsy (and Bill previously) took their Dale Carnegie background to shape the core fundamentals of effective public speaking training throughout, but focusing on Master PRLS 1 - Extemporaneous Public Speaking and Master PRLS 2 - Planned Public Speaking. All of the curriculum comes together for the Master PRLS graduating session called Project Management. The teamwork and innovation from this session often go forward through participant enthusiasm into the Rotary Clubs (taking it directly back to Rotary) as amazing projects in their communities.
Starting with the core topics in Basic PRLS: Fundamentals of Leadership; Leading a Meeting, Rotary, Your Club and You; Effective Communication; and Public Speaking Essentials, and then expanding specifics through the five Master PRLS classes:  Master PRLS 1 - Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Master PRLS 2 - Planned Public Speaking, Master PRLS 3 - Effective Facilitation for Leaders, Master PRLS 4 - Strategic Rotary Leadership, culminating with Master PRLS 5 - Project Management and graduation, PRLS indeed offers a comprehensive leadership program. 
To date, District 5150 has 600 graduates from the Basic PRLS class and 125 graduates from the entire Master PRLS series. Since its inception in 2010, 16 of 18 District Governors have graduated from Master PRLS. The goal that PDG Bill Koefoed had for setting in place a superior quality of leadership training and getting it out to the Rotarians (Rotaractors, and Interactors too) has been realized and been sustained for more than a decade. Those who have taken the PRLS training spread the word to others, and the enthusiasm is still spreading. In true Rotarian fashion, the training is not only dedicated to Rotary but has a steep foundation for leadership in the “real world” as well. A win/win for all.
Thank you again and again, PDG Bill Koefoed, (and Betsy too)! You have indeed left a legacy for Rotarians in District 5150 to be better Rotarians, leaders, and world citizens.
2012 Master PRLS 5 class
Editorial Note by Dora Dye: As a graduate of this program, I can say that the skills I learned have helped me in my career, my work in Rotary, and my interactions with others. The first course starts on July 23, 2022. Registration information is here.
2020 Master PRLS 1 class (photo taken just before the pandemic shutdown)