Speaker Date Topic
Emily Esfahani Smith Sep 27, 2017
The Power of Meaning
The Power of Meaning

A journalist and writer, Ms. Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, in which she identifies “four pillars of meaning”—belonging, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence. She was inspired to write this book at least in part by her parents who ran a Sufi meeting house out of their Montreal home when she was a child. Growing up surrounded by people who believed in Sufism—the mystical interpretation of Islam, practiced loving kindness and service to all, and whose lives were so rich with meaning left an impression on her. Ms. Esfahani Smith draws on psychology, philosophy, literature, and her own reporting to consider the human experience. Her articles “There’s More to Life than Being Happy” and “Masters of Love,” originally published in The Atlantic, have been read over 30 million times. She is a columnist for The New Criterion and an editor at the Stanford University’s Hoover Institution where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles Project. A collaboration between the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University, the Circles bring people together to enjoy deep, meaningful conversations about what it means to live well. Ms. Esfahani Smith is an instructor in positive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Master’s degree. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband. 

Bob Cusack, Managing Editor, The Hill Oct 04, 2017
Politics during the Trump Era
Politics during the Trump Era

Bob Cusack has been reporting on policy and politics in the nation’s capital since 1995. He joined The Hill as Business and Lobbying editor in 2003 and became the newspaper’s managing editor a year later. Mr. Cusack has won five awards from the National Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists for investigative articles on a range of issues, including national security, healthcare and 2008 presidential politics surrounding Hurricane Katrina. He regularly appears on MSNBC, Fox, ABC and CNN as a political analyst. Before joining The Hill, Cusack was a chief editor at Inside Washington Publishers. He is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and has appeared in commercials, television shows and feature films. A native of New York City, Mr. Cusack received his Bachelor's degree in journalism from Loyola College in Maryland. 

Kenneth Feinberg Oct 11, 2017
Putting a Price on Life
Putting a Price on Life

Kenneth Feinberg is an attorney who specializes in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. He founded his own law firm, The Feinberg Group, in Washington, DC. He is widely known for his work in deciding who gets what for losses suffered in high profile catastrophes, accidents and terrorism. He has disbursed billions of dollars for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the Virginia Tech Shooting Disaster Foundation, the BP oil spill, the Sandy Hook School shooting, the Sandusky Penn State victims' fund, the VW Emissions scandal and the Archdiocese of New York Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. Much of his work is pro bono. Mr. Feinberg holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a law degree from the New York University School of Law.

Khari Brown Oct 18, 2017
Mentoring to College and Career
Mentoring to College and Career

Khari Brown has served as the Executive Director at Capital Partners for Education (CPE) since 2001 and in November 2015 was renamed as its Chief Executive Officer. Beginning as its only employee, he has built CPE from a niche program that reached only 100 students and mentors per year to a burgeoning organization with multiple program lines that is currently serving more than 700 students and mentors, growing more than 30 percent annually since 2012. By developing CPE’s program offerings to make it the DC region’s most holistic and comprehensive mentoring program, CPE has been remarkably successful in helping its students overcome the barriers that limit most low-income students. Under Mr. Brown’s leadership, CPE has seen 97 percent of its graduates enroll in college and nearly 75 percent complete college on time. He received both a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a Master’s degree in Education from Tufts University. A two-time captain of the Tufts basketball team, he played professional basketball in Helsinki, Finland upon graduating from college. After his playing career ended in 1995, Mr. Brown spent six years coaching high school and college basketball in the Boston area. He also owned and operated a fitness and sports performance business serving individual clients and offering clinics and camps for high school and college athletes. Mr. Brown’s involvement working with urban teens through his various coaching experiences led him to pursue a career in expanding educational opportunities for low-income youth. He and his wife are the proud parents of two children who attend DC Public Schools.

Julie Kirkwood Oct 25, 2017
DC Urban Greens—Feeding Bodies, Nourishing Minds
DC Urban Greens—Feeding Bodies, Nourishing Minds

Ms. Kirkwood is the Founder of DC UrbanGreens, Inc. A Civil Engineering graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, she pursued a career in the world of commercial construction for 15 years before she chose to shift her focus to local food security. Julie is a firm believer that community-based food systems can reduce the impact of DC’s food deserts. As a mother of two sons, Ms. Kirkwood’s passion resonates at home. She witnesses behavioral differences in her children when they consume processed foods versus whole foods. She strongly believes that the glycemic response to processed foods causes crashes in blood sugar levels, resulting in emotional and physical fatigue. This fatigue negatively affects both behavior and focus, inhibiting a child’s ability to succeed at home or at school. DC UrbanGreens was born from the concept that access to healthy, whole foods will have a positive impact on a child’s ability to grow and learn. This is her belief—​and bringing a solution to this challenge is Julie’s passion.

Barrett Bogue, Student Veterans for America Nov 01, 2017
Supporting Veterans through Higher Education
Supporting Veterans through Higher Education

The Vice President for Public Relations and Chapter Engagement at Student Veterans of America, Mr. Bogue is the nation's leading voice in supporting America's veterans through higher education. For nearly a decade, he executed public campaigns promoting the largest expansion of education benefits for veterans since World War II. He helped implement and advertise the Post-9/11 GI Bill, now the most widely used VA education benefit, during his tenure with the Department of Veterans Affairs. He enjoys telling stories that compel action and helping others reach their potential. A former Marine and Presidential Management Fellow. Mr. Bogue lives with his wife and daughter in Burke, Virginia. 

Ryan Brown Nov 08, 2017
Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette
Artistic Director of Opera Lafayette

Mr. Brown is the founder, conductor and artistic director of Opera Lafayette. Through his work with Opera Lafayette, he has gained an international reputation for his interpretations of French opera and for his role in the revival of significant works from 18th and 19th centuries. His repertoire and discography of over ten recordings for Naxos include operas by well-known 18th-century composers (Gluck and Rameau) as well as rediscoveries of their contemporaries (Sacchini and Rebel/Francœur), works which exemplify traditions established in the 17th century (Lully and Charpentier), and those which point the way toward the music of the 19th century (Monsigny and Grétry). He was most recently and widely lauded for the modern premiere and recording of Félicien David’s 1862 Lalla Roukh, a seminal work of musical orientalism. Mr. Brown’s frequent performances of Italian works by Haydn, Mozart, Paisiello and Cimarosa have also met with great acclaim. He was raised in a musical family in California and performed extensively as a violinist and chamber musician before turning his attentions to conducting. His teachers included Dorothy DeLay and Gustav Meier. In 2014, Mr. Brown returned to the Opéra Royal in Versailles, leading Opera Lafayette in Philidor’s Les Femmes Vengées and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte. In 2015, he conducted Vivaldi’s Cantone in Utica at the Glimmerglass Festival. Mr. Brown is a recipient of La Médaille d’Or du Rayonnement Culturel from La Renaissance Française.  

Andrew Baum Nov 15, 2017
District 7620 Rotary International Foundation Chair
District 7620 Rotary International Foundation Chair

Beginning his Rotary Career in June 1993, Mr. Baum and several others in the Frederick community formed the Carroll Creek Rotary Club. He served as the club’s third President in 1995. In 1997, then Governor Ken Shook appointed him as the Area Representative. His third year as Senior Representative led to his selection as District Governor for 2001-02. A member of the “Regal Eagles," 2001 proved to be a year full of challenges and triumphs. The culmination was the District Conference in Rocky Gap. Looking for more to do, Andy was aide to the President’s Representative in 2003, Foundation Chair in 2004, and Chair for on to Chicago in 2005. Governor Pat Kasuda appointed him Grant’s Chair in 2006, a position he held for three years. In 2008, Mr. Baum accepted the position of District Trainer for Betty Lewis and also chaired her Bermuda Conference. Another stint as Grant’s Chair, a couple years as Interact Chair, and District Trainer again rounds out his twenty plus years as a Rotarian. He has been recognized by the District with a “Service above Self” award and by The Rotary Foundation with the “Citation for Meritorious Service.” In 2017, Andy was recognized by the Foundation with the Distinguished Service Award.  He currently is in his third year as the District Rotary Foundation Chair. Andy and his wife Leigh will be celebrating 38 years of marriage this year. They have two children, Chris and Matt.

Clint Sanchez, Executive Director, The First Tee Nov 22, 2017
Playing Golf, Learning Life Skills
Playing Golf, Learning Life Skills

Mr. Sanchez joined the First Tee of Greater Washington, DC as its Executive Director in October 2012 and has been around the game of golf most of his life. He grew up in Gaithersburg, Maryland playing at Montgomery Village Golf Club. In 1998, Clint graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida with a degree in Sport Management. He has worked in and around Washington, DC since 2001 and has been working in youth development since 2007. The First Tee was created in 1997 to provide young people of all ethnic and economic backgrounds an opportunity to develop, through golf and character education, life-enhancing values such as honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. By engaging young people in a combination of life skills, leadership and golf activities, they also are exposed to positive traits that will help them achieve success in life. 

John Gray Nov 29, 2017
Director, National Museum of American History
Director, National Museum of American History

With a background in banking, small business and museums, Mr. Gray brings deep experience and a unique vision for unlocking the transformational power of history museums. Director Gray is leading the physical and programmatic reinvention the National Museum of American History. The museum is pairing its unparalleled collection of national treasures with a thematic focus around fundamental American ideals and ideas to share the value of history to visitors’ daily lives and inspiring a more humane future for the nation. Under his leadership, the museum is boldly re-imagining its three-floor, 120,000 square-foot West Wing. The first floor recently opened devoted to the themes of innovation and American enterprise. The second floor will present the ideas of democracy and the peopling of America, and the third floor will explore America’s democratic identity and culture. As steward of our nation’s national collection of more than three million artifacts and documents, including the iconic Star-Spangled Banner, the Greensboro lunch Counter, Lincoln’s top hat, Dizzy Gillespie’s trumpet and Dorothy’s ruby slippers, Mr. Gray intends to use these objects to tell an inclusive, respectful, instructive and compassionate story of all the peoples of America. Prior to becoming the museum’s ninth director, he was founding president of the Autry National Center of the American West, a successful merging of three cultural organizations: the Autry, Colorado’s Women of the West Museum in Denver and Los Angeles’ oldest museum, the Southwest Museum of the American Indian. Commercial banking was the foundation of Gray’s previous career. He served as executive vice president of First Interstate Bank of California in Los Angeles from 1987 until 1996. Mr. Gray has a bachelor’s degree from C.W. Post College at Long Island University and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. He serves on the board of St. John’s College in Annapolis and Santa Fe, where he continues to study the Great Books, and received an honorary degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles. 

W. Gregory Wims Dec 06, 2017
Rotary District 7620 Governor
Rotary District 7620 Governor

Governor of Rotary District 7620, Mr. Wims is a sixth generation Marylander with 49 years of volunteer service to the community. He has served on many nonprofit boards: the University of Maryland Dental School, Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery College, the YMCA, the Kennedy Center and the Boys and Girls Club, just to name a few. He presently serves on the Congressional Bank Board in the Metro Washington DC area. He founded the Victims’ Rights Foundation 21 years ago to help victims of violent crime. Greg is a Paul Harris fellow and a Paul Harris Society member. He is a member and Past President of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club. He is married to Michelle and has three children and two grandkids. 

 

LeeAnn Dance Dec 13, 2017
"My Dear Children," a Documentary about Eastern Europe's Anti-Jewish Pogroms
"My Dear Children," a Documentary about Eastern Europe's Anti-Jewish Pogroms

Ms. Dance is an award-winning investigative and documentary television producer. Video production and broadcast journalism have been her passions for over 20 years, ever since receiving her Master's in Journalism from Columbia University. She has produced everything from groundbreaking news stories for CNN to promotional videos for non-profit organizations, and an internet radio show for individuals relaunching their careers. Her journalism background has given her the ability to distill a large amount of material and hone in on what is true and important. She pinpoints the real message that needs to be conveyed, creating a human story that moves and inspires audiences. Ms. Dance is currently co-directing and co-producing (with Cliff Hackel) My Dear Children, a first-ever documentary about the anti-Jewish pogroms of Eastern Europe as told in the firsthand account of a survivor. Feiga Shami's story offers a window into this forgotten history and the daring rescue mission that saved two of her children, changing the family forever. Ms. Dance's film gives voice to thousands of forgotten victims, recounting a story shared by Jews around the world.

 

Michael Bobbit Dec 20, 2017
Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre
Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre

Artistic Director of Adventure Theatre, Mr. Bobbitt has directed, choreographed and performed at theatres in the DC area—among them, the Arena Stage, Ford’s Theatre Society, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, the Roundhouse Theatre, The Music Center at Strathmore, The Kennedy Center, The Helen Hayes Awards and the Washington National Opera. He studied creative writing and music at Susquehanna University and theater and dance at The Washington Ballet, The Dance Theatre of Harlem, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (Cap 21). A member of the Dramatist Guild of America and the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, his writing has been accepted in the 2006 NYC International Fringe Festival and The New York Musical Theatre Festival. He has received grants from the National Alliance for Musical Theatre's Producer-Writer Initiative, The Creative Projects Grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland State Arts Council and the Puffin Foundation. His musical Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds appeared at the New Victory Theatre in New York City. He has taught theater and dance at George Washington University, Catholic University, Montgomery College, Howard University and the Washington Ballet. Michael is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery, the Coaching Initiative for Non Profit Leaders of Color-National Training Laboratories & Mosaica and Harvard Business School’s Social Enterprise Initiative-Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management. In 2010, Michael received the County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Emerging Leader Award, and in October 2015, the 2015 EXCEL Leadership Award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.