Salaam and hello fellow Rotarians! I am glad to report on what happened during our 25 February meeting.
With President Jennifer taking a well-earned vacation in the Dominican Republic, President Elect David Treadwell called us to order at 12:30 PM. After leading members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, he called on Laura Khor to provide words of inspiration. She noted that the Academy Awards broadcast aired on Sunday, 22 February as a celebration of story-telling. Among those lost in 2014 and memorialized during the broadcast was actor Robin Williams, one of the best story tellers ever who brought great humor and humanity to his performances. Laura opined that the most memorable stories and story tellers touch on the questions we ask about our words and deeds in the Rotary Four-way Test: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
President Elect David then requested that I introduce guests and Rotarians from other clubs joining us for lunch:
  • Jennifer Alleva and Julie Linney, Partner and Associate at Your Part-Time Controller, LLC, respectively—both invited by Eric Fraint;
  • William Blakely, Partner at Pulsinelli PC, Lisa McCurdy’s guest;
  • Raven Canty, sales representative at Reliable Churchill, invited by Kenneth Brown;
  • Diego Grajales, accompanying his father Guillermo;
  • Dushaw Hockett, Executive Director of SPACEs—Safe Places for the Advancement of Community and Equity—Nancy Riker’s guest;
  • Sterling Hoffman, Portrait Artist and CEO of Sterling Portraits, LLC, guest of Abrahem Helal;
  • Charlotte Lallement-Klaus, accompanying her father Past President David Klaus;
  • Gib Leonard, Founding Director of The Buy A Brick Foundation, invited by Sam Hancock;
  • Emile Loza de Sile, Founding Partner of the Technology Law Group, President Jennifer Hara’s guest;
  • Kyle Morford, Vice President of the DC Rotaract Club;
  • Marcus Soriano from the DC Rotaract Club; and
  • Ximena Uribe, President of International & Cultural Events, President Elect David Treadwell’s guest.
Although Sargent-at-Arms Buz Gorman had no members’ birthdays to announce this week, the University Club’s dining room could not have looked more festive. Shiny blue and red balloons filled the room, and on the buffet table were two scrumptious birthday cakes. The cause for celebration? The 110th birthday of Rotary International on 23 February! So President Elect David asked Past President Jim Freeman to recount the rich history of Rotary International. As Jim detailed, Rotary was created as the result of four businessmen meeting in a downtown Chicago office in 1905 at the invitation of lawyer Paul Harris. The young attorney’s quest for camaraderie eventually led to the establishment of an international organization with thousands of clubs worldwide. Throughout the evolution of Rotary International, what has united members of clubs from all corners of the globe is the performance of service which, as Jim proclaimed, is “the greatest joy of life!”
Returning to the podium, President Elect David, along with others, informed members of club news and upcoming events:
  • Board member Tony Cusack announced that our club would be engaged in a fund drive for the Rotary International Foundation during the next month. Hoping that members will give generously and become Paul Harris Fellows, Tony indicated that he will remind us of this campaign in the coming weeks. So please stay tuned and open those purse strings.
  • DC Rotaract Vice President Kyle Morford invited us to participate in training by Disaster Aid USA during the weekend of 7 and 8 March in Frederick, Maryland. He placed flyers on all the tables and said that he is available to answer any questions about this opportunity to receive training in disaster relief and humanitarian aid.
  • President Elect David reminded us that our new Fellowship Committee’s Co-chairs Ken Brown and Valentin Solis have planned a happy hour on Thursday, 26 February from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at the Jack Rose Dining Saloon on 2007 18th Street, NW. (Please note that this gathering has already taken place.)
  • Ed O’Brien is having foot surgery, as President Elect David explained, and will not be able to walk for the next twelve weeks. Gretchen Kearney has details on how to contact Ed to convey wishes for a strong and speedy recovery.
Michael Frohm, COO of Goodwill of Greater Washington—Promoting RISE
Past President Doris Margolis introduced our guest speaker Michael Frohm, Chief Operating Officer of Goodwill of Greater Washington. Mr. Frohm was kind enough to take the place of originally scheduled guest CEO Catherine Meloy who was called at the last minute to attend a DC Council meeting.
An engaging and gracious speaker, Mr. Frohm began his remarks by asking for a show of hands as he inquired how many of us have donated to and/or shopped at a Goodwill store. As an overwhelming majority of hands shot up, he recalled the history of Goodwill. Methodist minister Edgar Helms founded Goodwill Industries International in 1902 in Boston. Reverend Helms collected household goods and clothes in the city’s wealthier areas and then trained and hired poor people and immigrants to repair these used items. He then resold the items or gave them to the people who had repaired them. Thus, the philosophy of a hand up, not a hand outwas born. Goodwill now has 165 locations in the United States and operates in 14 countries.
As Mr. Frohm stated, the core mission of Goodwill is to provide job training and opportunities for individuals with disabilities and/or disadvantages, and Goodwill of Greater Washington fulfills this objective in the District of Columbia and 12 surrounding counties in Maryland and Northern Virginia. Over 2,000 people came through Goodwill of Greater Washington to pursue job opportunities in 2014. He offered examples of opportunities which Goodwill has facilitated through coaching and interventions with those the organization serves. Goodwill assisted in placing 200 employees, mostly from DC’s Wards 7 and 8, at the new Marriott Marquis Hotel to work in the hospitality and security sectors. Moreover, Goodwill has a contractual arrangement with the federal government called “Ability One” through which it provides job opportunities in the delivery of products and services. Seventy-five percent of the labor hours in janitorial services through Ability One are performed by individuals with profound disabilities (defined as a medically documented challenge that significantly impedes at least one specific life function). Goodwill itself employs many of those it serves as sales associates in its stores.
Mr. Frohm underscored Goodwill’s vision to create a community where its members can achieve their highest level of success. Consequently, the values which the organization seeks to promote are respect, integrity, service and excellence—abbreviated as “RISE.” Goodwill strives to operationalize these values as it empowers those with disabilities and disadvantages to rise to their fullest potential. Passionate about his work with Goodwill and the organization’s values, Mr. Frohm expressed personal and professional satisfaction in the knowledge that he makes a difference through his work every day and often hears the words “thank you” from those he serves. Concluding his remarks, Mr. Frohm asked us “to keep those donations coming” because they keep Goodwill going and, as he quipped, “there’s lots of nice stuff in this room that we could sell.”
Adjourned Until Next Week
President Elect David presented our “Trees for the Capital” certificate to Michael Frohm. Meanwhile, members anxiously clutched their raffle tickets purchased from Liz Perla, waiting to hear the lucky digits read aloud. When President Elect David announced those numbers, Paula Delo emerged from the back of the dining room to claim the small pot of $163. With the deck of cards down to a dozen and Rotarians cheering her on, Paula picked and flashed her choice to everyone. Amid rousing applause, Paula was stunned to see that she was holding the coveted ace of spades in her hand. She had won the grand prize of $2,514. Congratulations Paula!
Our appreciation goes to Johnny Allem, Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway for welcoming visitors at the Hospitality Table.
On 4 March, we will hear from guest speaker John Palguta, Vice President for Policy and Research at the Partnership for Public Service.
President Elect David adjourned the meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen—for Red Badge member Jennifer Galloway to pick up next week!