We will all miss seeing Secretary Haleh Vaziri at the head table, hearing her welcome visitors, and reading her Meetings in Review. In this new Rotary year she serves as a board member and in a number of other significant roles (including production of the monthly newsletter for prospective members), and I get to serve as secretary. So, let me get started with a review of what happened at our lunch meeting of July 1, the first day of David Treadwell’s year as club president.
 
Starting right at 12:30, President David reminded us to pull out and turn off our cell phones; led the Pledge of Allegiance; and introduced Michael Harper to provide the Words of Inspiration. 
 
As a child, Michael faced a new challenge, like the dinosaur named Bowser in Mario Brothers, each time he reached a new video game level. He was excited to take on the next level, because he knew that once he overcame the challenge, there was a whole new world waiting on the other side. Today, as he goes through life’s stages, and in his business, he knows he still, repeatedly, has to beat Bowser. Michael reminded us to keep life’s obstacles in perspective and to remind ourselves that the challenges we face may simply represent the end to a series of accomplishments and the beginning of something new, and that success may be near. 
 
Secretary Mike Carmichael (yours truly) introduced guests and visiting Rotarians:
Name
Host or Home Rotary Club
Work
Novin Afrouz
Chevy Chase/Bethesda, MD
Concert Pianist and Poet
Herbert Barnard
Paula Delo
Retired
Christine Bedoret
Clara Montanez
Waltz Dancer
China Dickerson                
Alicia Rule
Attorney
Robert Doubek,
Clara Montanez
Author
Scott Love
Andy Cook
President, Attorney Search Group
MacKenzie Moritz
Jennifer Hara
Associate Director, Aspen Institute
Ruxanda Renita
DC Rotaract
Habitat for Humanity
Marcus Soriano
DC Rotaract
Contracts Administrator , Chenega
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough recognized Rotarians celebrating birthdays this week:
  • Valentin Solis - June 28. Valentin joined our club in 2014, sponsored by Clara Montanez. His classification is Finance: Advisor.
  • Paula Delo - June 29. Paula was sponsored by Doris Margolis when she joined our club in 1998. Her classification is Journalism: Publications.
  • Andy Cook - June 30. Past President Andy Cook (2005-2006) joined our club in 1998. His classification is Law: Government Contracts, and he was sponsored by Peter Kennedy.
  • Stefan Alber - July 2. Stefan was sponsored by PP David Klaus when he joined in 2011. His classification is International Development: Operations.
  • Donald Hense - July 4. Donald joined our club in 2013, sponsored by Kathy Ward. His classification is Education: Charter Schools.
  • Dayna Neef - July 4. New member Dayna was sponsored by Sheldon Ray. She has transferred from the Saginaw, Michigan Rotary Club. Her classification is Financial Advisor.
Laura Khor presented her New Member Talk. She joked about things she learned from twice being in the Miss Montana pageant. Then she turned serious and personal. Both of her parents taught her, through word and example, the importance of religious faith. Her father’s first wife was killed in a hijacking. The pain of his experience influenced her career choice and field of study in counter-terrorism, which led to a PhD. Her mother always encouraged her to be “more” through community service, even when others treated her as “less.” Being multiracial, she faced those who would treat her as “less,” but she knew to be “more.” She sees Rotary as reinforcing the message of everyone being “more,” and feels strongly at home in Rotary.
 
Past-President Jennifer then continued the award presentations she began on June 24. Assisted by Haleh Vaziri and Michael Harper, she presented awards to those 2014-2015 committee chairs, board members and project leaders who were not at the last meeting: Johnny Allem, for tutoring students at Washington, DC’s Stanton Elementary School and serving on the Hospitality Committee; Tony Cusack, for serving on the Board of Directors and leading our contributions drive for the Rotary International Foundation; and Past President Shaun English, for chairing the Stanton Tutoring and Walter Reed Bingo Committees.  Then she made the long-awaited announcement of the Rotarian of the Year for 2014-2015: Nancy Riker.
 
President David asked Jennifer to present Red Badges to new members who were recruited in her year. Recipients were Bala Murthy, Alicia Rule, and Marilyn Cruz (outgoing president of the DC Rotaract club).
 
President David then led his first Club Assembly, focusing on the coming Rotary year. He provided thanks to many, spoke of his preparation for his presidency, identified things he wants to stress during the year and his goals, and ran through a list of officers, directors, and committees, commenting on the work of many of the committees. He noted Past President Howard Davis’ Centennial Project, our Habitat for Humanity House has been completed and is a great success.
 
He thanked Past President Jennifer Hara, our Executive Director Gretchen Kearney (not present), Past District Governor Larry Margolis, and a long list of former club presidents who had helped him. He was particularly thankful for guidance over the years from his Rotary mentor, the late Carl Gell.
President David told of the intensive and extensive training he received over the past year from Rotary, in preparation for his presidency, and particularly appreciated the club’s sending him to the Rotary International conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After all the training and advice, he said he was glad to get started.
Among the things he wants to stress this year are the Rotary values of fellowship and integrity. We also need to stress the club’s diversity. More specifically, President David presented these 2015-2016 goals:
  • New Strategic Plan. The importance is in the process, and the continuity it can provide.
  • Focus on existing projects and see them through. Last year he, and Past President Jennifer, agreed on projects that should be multi-year. We will continue with those. Our new activities are the Duck Derby, for which we laid groundwork last year, and a topic emphasis on human trafficking.
  • Net Membership Growth. There is attrition throughout RI. Our club has 167 members and typically will lose 25 or so in a year through natural causes. We need to replace them with full-paying regular members. Although we love all our members, financially we need more who are not under the Rule of 35 (reduced costs and pay-as-you-go meals for those under age 35, up to 10% of membership) or the Rule of 85 (age + years in Rotary add to 85 or more, permitting pay-as-you-go for meals). Both of those groups are exempt from attendance requirements. Abe Helal and Monica Smith have done a great job co-chairing the Membership Committee, but everyone is on the Membership Committee, not just the listed committee members. We all have a product—a good product--we need to sell. 
  • More professional use of Executive Director Gretchen Kearney. She is trained and talented in marketing and other higher-level skills. We need to use her for membership promotion and other purposes and relieve her from some of her clerical tasks.
  • End the year in the black. The year just ending will be a bit in the red. That is not a big problem.  Rotary Day was a success in promoting Rotary, but was expensive. 
  • Cross the million-dollar threshold in Rotary Foundation giving. Our total giving over the years has almost reached that level; we need to get there this year.
  • Bring back singing once a month. These would be patriotic songs, being an alternative form of Words of Inspiration. David Klaus will lead that. 
  • Learn Rotary History. Every fifth Wednesday Jim Freeman will present us with a bit of Rotary history.
  • Continue encouraging diversity. We have more diversity than most clubs, but could do better, particularly with women. To make his point about our current diversity, he asked those who were born outside the U.S. to stand, and twenty did. Then he asked those to remain standing and asked those who could fluently speak a language other than English to stand; more than twenty more stood. He noted that our club membership is about 30% women, but could be better.
  • More minorities in the Rotary leadership pipeline. As a white, Anglo-Saxon, protestant male, President David is a minority in his workplace. That made it even stranger when he went to last year’s large-club conference, and saw only one club president was black. We need to challenge and encourage minorities and women in moving up in our leadership and in RI.
  • Collect on our bills. Some members forget the four-way test and make it difficult for the rest of us by being late in their payments.  Pay up, everybody!
  • Get more people involved in activities. A member can sit at a table and do nothing more than watch and learn, but we are about more than that; we are about service. To do that right, Rotary takes time and commitment, particularly in the work of committees and leadership, but the more we put in, the more we get out.
The DC Rotary Club Leadership for 2015-2016
President David reviewed the club’s leadership team for 2015-2016.  Some of the committee leadership decisions are not yet finalized, but for the most part there will be continuity there. In addition to recognizing club leadership, he also recognized Larry Margolis as head of the Rotary Foundation of Washington, DC, and asked members of that organization’s board to stand.
The leaders of the DC Rotary Club for 2015-2016, subject to some updates, are:
           President:  David Treadwell
Immediate Past President: Jennifer Hara
President-Elect (2016-2017):  Ross Grantham
Secretary:  Mike Carmichael
Treasurer: Gene Massey
Sergeant-at-Arms: Ken Kimbrough
Ombudsman: Steve Adkins
Directors:  Abrahem Helal, Peg Schoen, Nancy Riker, Tony Cusack, Donnie Shaw, Monica Smith, Lynn Holec, Hal Vaughn, Haleh Vaziri
Executive Director: Gretchen Kearney
Committees—with chairs:
Strategic Plan – TBD
Signature Fundraising Committee (including Duck Derby) – Lisa McCurdy
Classifications Committee – Pat Kavanaugh
Membership Development Committee – Abrahem Helal and Monica Smith
Greeters Committee – Buz Gorman
Hospitality Committee – Balraj Gupta and Stuart Shalloway
Program Committee – Clara Montanez and Steve Liston
Weekly Raffle Committee – Stuart Shalloway
Health and Welfare Committee – Monica Boner
New Membership Orientation Committee – Abrahem Helal
New Member and Not-So-New Member Talks Committee – Buz Gorman
Inspiration Committee – Russ Savage    
Fellowship Committee – Kenneth Brown and Valentin Solis 
Public Relations Committee – Raven Canty
Club History and Archiving Committee – Monica Smith and Jim Freeman
DC Public Schools Beautification Day Committee – Tim Hurd
Stanton School Tutoring Committee – Shaun English
iPad Math Tutoring – Michael Harper
Dictionary Project Committee – Nancy Riker and Terrance Lovelady
Career Fair Committee – Donnie Shaw and Michael Harper   
Interact Club of Washington, DC – Liaison Abrahem Helal   
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) – William Dent
Rotaract Club of Washington, DC – Liaisons Glynis Long, Lisa Cohen, and Jennifer Hara
Peter Gilsey Trees for the Capital Committee – William Dent and Sam Hancock
Community Service Grants Committee – Lynn Holec
Grate Patrol Committee – John Jackson
Walter Reed Bingo Committee – Shaun English
Embassy Relations Committee – Irene Koerner and Marjorie Scott
International Service Committee – Ross Grantham and Brendon McGinnis
Sister Cities/Capital Cities Committee – David Klaus and May Gwinn
Rotary Scholarships Committee – Octavian Ionici
Rotary Youth Exchange Committee – Jennifer Hara
 
President David received the raffle bucket from Raven Canty. Tony Cusak’s number was drawn and he received the $48 small pot, but failed to draw the Ace of Spades, so the large pot will grow beyond its current $1,148.
 
Having reserved some time at the end of the meeting for this purpose, President David asked the chairs of several committees to stand if they are currently seeking committee members. The committee with the greatest need seemed to be the Duck Derby fundraiser, headed by Lisa McCurdy. Each of the standing chairs briefly described needs, and President David asked members to talk with those chairs after the meeting. 
 
Closing out the meeting, President David acknowledged Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for managing the hospitality desk, Raven Canty for the Raffle, and Secretary Mike Carmichael for doing the Meeting in Review. He reminded members that next week’s speaker will be Irvin Scott from the Gates Foundation (and David’s golf partner).
 
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.