The Westport Rotary Club formally inaugurated Lyla Steenburgen as president for the 2021-22 year at its annual Pass-the-Gavel Lobster Bake, held June 25 at the Ned Dimes Marina, at Saugatuck Beach in Westport.

Lyla Steenbergen of Easton is replacing outgoing Westport Rotary Club president, Leslie Roberts.

Lyla currently works as Gift Advancement Officer at Bridgeport Hospital Foundation/Yale New Haven Health. Growing up with exposure to different cultures including family home exchanges and a student exchange, Lyla developed a passion for diverse cultures and for giving back. She later worked public relations at Burson-Marsteller and for many years as a marketing executive at The Hertz Corporation in New York City. Her career in development began with capital campaigns at the Westport Country Playhouse and St. Vincent’s Medical Center. 

Lyla graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she conducted independent research of indigenous peoples and lived in the Amazon Basin in Peru. Upon graduation, she was named a Baker Scholar and earned a master’s degree in business administration from New York University Stern School of Business. Lyla and her husband, Dr. Peter Steenbergen, (retired), reside in Easton. Her daughter, son-in-law, and two young grandchildren reside in Woodbridge. 

“During the pandemic, a lot has been written about happiness and how to find fulfilment in life,” said Lyla. “Experts all say that it comes from connecting, belonging, being a part of something bigger than yourself, and engaging with and helping others — that’s Rotary. Rotary gives us the opportunity to render some service to the world in return for living in it. We are healthier and better citizens because of it. I think Rotary is just what many people are yearning for.”

The Westport Rotary Club is an organization of men and women representing a cross-section of local business and professional leaders who work as volunteers on a variety of local and international projects to improve the quality of life in their home and world communities.

The Westport Rotary Club meets weekly on Tuesdays (except the last Tuesday of the month) from noon to 1:30 p.m. at Branson Hall, Christ & Holy Trinity Church and on Zoom. Guests are welcome to attend luncheons, and membership inquiries are welcome. Interested individuals may contact Westport Rotary Club Membership Chair Fides Ostbye at

Photo at top: Outgoing Westport Rotary Club president Leslie Roberts (left) passes the gavel to incoming president Lyla Steenbergen on June 25 at the club’s annual passing the gavel lobster bake at the clubhouse at the Ned Dimes Marina at Compo Beach. Steenbergen will lead the club for the 2021-2022 one-year term. — Dave Matlow Photo

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