Hello fellow Rotarians! I am happy to tell you what transpired during our meeting on 13 May 2015.
President Jennifer Hara called us to order at 12:30 PM, leading members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. She invited Bill Dent to offer words of inspiration. He spoke about the joy and inspiration he derives from diverse activities—enjoying music as a choir member, working with nature, appreciating the fine arts and meditating. Suggesting that all of us take a few moments every day to be alone with our own thoughts and feelings, Bill highly recommended meditation.
At President Jennifer’s request, I introduced guests and Rotarians from other clubs joining us for lunch:
  • Shoichiro Asada and Hiroko Sato, Executive Vice President and Director of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd, respectively—guests of Nobutoshi Hanai;
  • Mary Begier, visiting from Hawaii’s Rotary Club of Hilo Bay where she works in real estate;
  • Stephanie Benefield, President of Benefield Ltd, guest of Natalie Korytnyk Forrester;
  • Mae Bradshaw, an attorney visiting from New Hampshire’s Exeter Rotary Club;
  • Dr. Burton, a physician visiting from New Hampshire’s Dibble Rotary Club;
  • Kathy Coyle, a retired internet consultant visiting from California’s Livermore Rotary Club;
  • Marilyn Cruz and Marcus Soriano, President and Professional Development Chair of the DC Rotaract Club, respectively;
  • Joao Carlos De Angelo, Ana Costa Gomes and Maria das Graças Gomes de Souza—all visiting from Brazil and guests of David Klaus;
  • Gilda Furbert, visiting from Bermuda’s Rotary Club of Pembroke where she works in government services;
  • Alicia and Kimberly Harris, both students at Howard University and guests of Gilda Furbert;
  • Randy Lasley, visiting from the Rotary Club of Addison, Texas where he works in banking;
  • Gib Leonard, Founder and President of the Buy A Brick Foundation, guest of Sam Hancock;
  • Kraig Peel, Financial Advisor at Morgan Stanley, guest of Andrew Clark;
  • Alicia Rule, guest of Abrahem Helal.
  • Tong Sheng, student at the Osgoode Center, guest of Shelly Williams;
  • Navin Valliappan, President of Washington, DC’s Federal City Rotary Club; and
  • Gisela Vergera, Advisor to the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States, guest of Clara Montanez.
Sargent-at-Arms Buz Gorman congratulated Rotarians blowing out birthday candles this week:
  • Doris Margolis on 10 May – Joining our club in 1998 with her husband Past President Larry Margolis’ sponsorship, Doris’ classification is journalism-editorial services. Doris served as Club President during the 2004-2005 Rotary year.
  • David Treadwell on 10 May – Sponsored by Will Rose when he became a member of our club in 2003, President Elect David’s classification is religious organizations-Central Union Mission. 
  • David Klaus on 11 May – Joining our club in 1997, Past President David was sponsored by David Hamod. His classification is international development-human resources.
  • Sheldon Ray on 12 May – Sponsored by E.J. Delaune when he became a member of our club in 1991, Sheldon’s classification is investment-equities. Prior to joining our club, Sheldon belonged to the Hong Kong South Rotary Club. 
  • Jennifer Galloway on 13 May – Joining our club just over a year ago with Lisa McCurdy’s sponsorship, Jennifer’s classification is consulting-fundraising. 
  • Greg Scarlatoiu on 15 May – Sponsored by Rob Warne when he joined our club in 2011, Greg’s classification is non-profit-human rights. Greg is traveling internationally for the next several months; so we wish him a happy birthday from afar. 
  • Christian Lungarotti on 16 May – Becoming a member last July with Erminia Scarcella’s sponsorship, Christian’s classification is diplomatic service-Italy. 
President Jennifer returned to the podium, along with selected members, to share news of upcoming events and club business:
  • For those interested in the September trip to Rome, spaces remain available. Please talk to Erminia Scarcella for details.
  • Tony Cusack reiterated the need to support the Rotary International Foundation, stressing that our club is seeking 100-percent participation from members in the drive for contributions during President Jennifer’s year in office.
  • President Jennifer thanked Rotarians who attended last weekend’s District Conference in Frederick, Maryland. Our club was one of nine in District 7620 to receive a Presidential Citation from RI President Gary C.K. Huang due to everyone’s efforts in recruiting new members, supporting the RI Foundation and establishing a new Interact Club with Abrahem Helal’s nieces. President Jennifer noted that our club will also receive a Silver Citation at the District Installation Ceremony on 27 June —though we will not be at this occasion which falls on the same date as our Changing of the Guards.
  • Membership Committee Chair Abrahem Helal gave us an update on recruitment, reporting progress, particularly with regard to the “rule of 35.” In fact, a few under-35 members represented our club at the District Conference. Abe and Co-chair Monica Smith will begin looking for Rotarians interested in chairing their committee. Having led recruitment efforts for the last three years, Abe understands that whoever takes the baton will need training; he recommended this role as a “great way to get to know every single member of our club.”
  • Bill Dent recognized Rotarians who came to the tree planting ceremony at Farragut Square immediately before lunch. He invited guest Robin Nixon, Chief of Partnerships at the National Park Service to the podium; she thanked members for the Peter Gilsey Trees for the Capital Program, emphasizing the beauty brought to Washington, DC by “greening” urban park spaces like Farragut Square.
  • President Jennifer and Bill Dent explained that Past President Susan Neely created a scholarship in Peter Gilsey’s name upon his passing; they introduced this year’s recipient of the award, Rotaractor Javier Alejandro. Originally from Guatemala, Javier gratefully accepted a $5,000 check, indicating that he will attend Northern Virginia Community College to study human resources management and aspires to work on the integration of Hispanic students in the Fairfax public school system.
  • President Jennifer announced that the Federal City Club will host the next Red Line Happy Hour on Wednesday, 20 May at 6:30 PM. This gathering at La Tosca on 722 7th Street, NW will allow Rotarians from clubs located along Metro’s Red Line to get to know one another.
  • President Jennifer informed us that John Jackson still needs volunteers for this month’s Grate Patrol on Friday, 15 May and Tuesday, 19 May.
Dr. Sachiko Kuno—A Japanese Woman’s Journey as Entrepreneur and Innovator
Nobutoshi Hanai introduced guest speaker Dr. Sachiko Kuno, whose career and contributions to the community he greatly admires. Declaring that she was “thrilled and honored” to share her story, Dr. Kuno divided her life into eight chapters according to location:
  • Yamiguchi, 1954 – Where Dr. Kuno was born, nine years after World War II, to parents who strongly encouraged her to pursue her education.
  • Kyoto, 1973 – Where she earned her Ph.D. in biochemical engineering as one of six women among 2,000 students at Kyoto University.
  • Munich, 1981 – Where she pursued her post-doctoral research at the Technical University after receiving advice from a mentor to study in an environment where she would find more women in higher education.
  • New York, 1985 – Where she collaborated in developing an anti-HIV treatment that did not receive clinical approval, prompting a turn in her career path to the role of entrepreneur.
  • Osaka and Tokyo, 1988 – Where she joined partner Dr. Ryuji Ueno and established R-Tech Ueno Ltd. to commercialize prostones, a class of functional fatty acids whose therapeutic potential led to more than 650 international patents and the launch of Rescula® eye drops, to treat glaucoma.
  • Bethesda, Maryland, 1996 – Where she and Dr. Ueno founded Sucampo Pharmaceuticals Inc., receiving approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for AMITIZA® (lubiprostone) to treat chronic idiopathic constipation in adults, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and opioid-induced constipation in adults with chronic non-cancer pain.
  • Bethesda, Maryland, 2012 -  Where she, Dr. Ueno and Dr. Wataru Akahata co-founded VLP Therapeutics LLC to investigate the potential of virus-like particles in developing vaccinations and treatments for autoimmune diseases and cancer among other illnesses.
  • Washington, DC, 2012 – Where she and Dr. Ueno purchased two iconic properties, Everymay and the Halcyon House, using these sites to host the programs of their S & R Foundation, created in 2000.
Dr. Kuno devoted much of her presentation to describing the S & R Foundation’s mission and accomplishments in supporting individuals with great potential and high aspirations in the arts, sciences and social entrepreneurship. Bringing such individuals together for in-residence and award programs run out of Evermay and the Halcyon House, she seeks to “incubate” and nurture innovation, promote solutions to social problems and advance international cultural collaboration. Closing her remarks, Dr. Kuno encouraged everyone to explore the cultural events and other programs hosted by the S & R Foundation, leaving brochures on the dining tables and staying after our meeting adjourned to answer Rotarians’ questions.
Adjourned Until Next Week
President Jennifer awarded our “Trees for the Capital” certificate to Dr. Sachiko Kuno. In the meantime, Rotarians awaited news of the raffle drawing. When the lucky numbers were read, Frank Reaves discovered that he had bought the winning ticket from Davis Kennedy. Frank claimed the small pot of $62, but he did not choose the ace of spades from our deck of cards. So the grand prize of $787 is on the rise.
We thank Greeter Terrance Lovelady as well as Johnny Allem, Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for manning the Hospitality Table.
On 20 May, we have invited guest speaker Kathy Gorman, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Patient Care at Children’s National Hospital.
President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen—until next week!