John Hannes ’06 claims that his theater training has enhanced his career with Rotary International by teaching him how to draw people out in conversations. John embodies the legacy of our founder Father Samuel Mazzuchelli, and has “set out to where the work is great and difficult.”

This article appeared in The Magazine of Dominican University (April 2020)

Bringing a Dominican Worldview to Universal Challenges
Dominican alumnae/i are extending the values they learned as undergraduates to a global stage.

John Hannes ’06 has leveraged many aspects of his education as a theater major in his current role as a senior officer at Rotary International, the service organization with more than 1.2 million business and professional leaders providing humanitarian service to advance goodwill and peace around the world. He is part of a team that provides policy and procedural support to Rotary districts and clubs throughout the United States, Canada and South America. 

When he arrived at Dominican in 2002, Hannes found an immediate home in the performing arts center. He credits his theater professors Krista Hansen and Bill Jenkins for instilling in him the willingness and ability to explore all aspects of the human condition. He also fondly recalls the rigorous music theory and history courses taught by Professor Emerita Sr. Baptist Stohrer, OP, as well as the emphasis on the importance of good diction and enunciation-and the career recommendations-of his faculty adviser, Germaine Goetz-Sota, professor of theater.

Hannes served in the Student Government Association and on the Campus Activities Board, participated in student leadership and development programs, and shepherded new students into their Dominican home as a student ambassador and as one of the first residence assistants in the newly opened Centennial Hall, since renamed in honor of Sister Jean Murray. 

Hannes claims that his theater training has enhanced his career with Rotary International by teaching him how to draw people out in conversations. He recalls his many hours rehearsing for the plays and musicals in which he was cast as a student. “It wasn’t about memorizing a part,” he recalls. “It was about taking the time to understand motivations. It was a conversation and an exploration.”

The 2008 recession curtailed Hannes’ work in theater and he welcomed a career transition to his role at Rotary. His duties have expanded significantly through the years. At international conventions in Toronto, Hamburg and Honolulu, he has served as the on-air host for daily TV reports, during which his theater skills kick in as he interviews presenters and officers.

“My theater background consistently spurs me to say ‘yes’ to new situations,” he said. This training comes in handy as Hannes travels throughout North and South America on behalf of Rotary International.