Conference History

LEAD North America, formerly RYLA North America was founded by Navin Valliappan, former Interactor, former Rotaractor and now Rotarian. The conference project idea was born after the first Zone Rotaract Conference in Washington, DC, in August 2008. After having been involved with RYLA since high school and having attended 6 Rotary Conventions and more than a dozen regional and District Conferences, he thought why not have a leadership conference using the RYLA model for Rotaractors. He felt the need of having a RYLA leadership conference for Rotaractors in North America. 

With the support and guidance of Judy Cappuccilli, Past President of Rotary Club of Prince George’s County, and Bette Lewis, Past District Governor, groundwork for the first RYLA North America Conference started in September 2008. 

RYLA North America conference program uses elements from the Rotaract Pre-Convention, International RYLA, and former USCC Regional Rotaract Conference for North America.

The first RYLA Board was formed with Navin’s Rotaract and Rotary friends from the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Currently, the RYLA Board has members from throughout the U.S. and around the world.

The Inaugural Conference in July 2009 was attended by delegates from eight countries. Over the last ten years, the conference has attracted delegates from around the world.

Although the conference program has continued to evolve over the years, the RYLA model still remains and continues to attract interest from Rotaractors, RYLArians, and Rotarians from around the world. 

Go LEAD North America!