Hello fellow Rotarians! I am glad to share the minutes of our 30 July gathering.

President Jennifer Hara called the meeting to order at 12:30 PM, again reminding Rotarians to arrive on time while several entered the University Club’s dining room. After leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance, she invited Nobutoshi Hanai to deliver words of inspiration. He read from Inazo Nitobe’s book Bushido: The Soul of Japan published in1900. “Bushido,” translates as “the military-knight’s ways.” Essential elements of this Samurai ethical code are justice and courage, universally valued virtues.


Next, President Jennifer asked me to announce guests and visiting Rotarians from other clubs. We welcomed:

  • Joshua Grier, wholesale analyst at Suntrust Bank and Deraux Branch’s guest;                                                                                                                            
  • Delores Reddy, guest of serial raffle winner Ken Kimbrough;
  • Charlotte A. Lallement-Klaus, cosmetologist and David Klaus’s lovely daughter;
  • Sharon Pugh, joining her husband Jay for lunch; and
  • Dashka Altangerel, with a banner from her home Rotary Club of Ulaanbaator in Mongolia where she is a sales team leader for the mining project Oyu Tolgoi.

President Elect David Treadwell reprised his role as Sergeant-at-Arms in Buz Gorman’s absence, congratulating Rotarians celebrating birthdays:

  • Kathy Bailey on 30 July – an attorney and member since May sponsored by Kathy Ward;
  • Umberto Viviano on 30 July – in Italy’s diplomatic corps and a member since 2010 sponsored by Marco Stilli;
  • Christopher Teras on 1 August – a practitioner of international law and member since 1998 sponsored by Max Salas;
  • Oscar Bartoli on 2 August – a journalist and member since 1995 sponsored by Maurizio De Pellegrini; and
  • Mike Carmichael on 2 August – a consultant in the fields of management and human resources and member since 2013 sponsored by Haleh Vaziri.

Back at the microphone, President Jennifer advised members of upcoming events:

  • The Annapolis Rotary Club Crab Feast is on Friday, 1 August. Tickets are available online at $65. Kenneth Brown is coordinating car pools. (Please note that this event has taken place.)
  • Movie Night will feature A Most Wanted Man on Thursday, 14 August at the Landmark E Street Cinema. Please meet Ed O’Brien in the lobby at 6:30 PM to buy tickets; the film, starring Rachel McAdams and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in his last-ever role, starts at 7:00.
  • End Polio Night at Nationals Park is on Saturday, 16 August. Please contact Lisa McCurdy for information or sign up online for a ticket at $40 to include a $10 food voucher.

President Jennifer declared the launch of the “Not-So-New Member Talk”—originally proposed by Past President Shaun English—which will allow long standing Rotarians to re-introduce themselves to everyone. Inaugurating this initiative, club board member Ross Grantham quipped, “The word ‘volunteer’ means you don’t say ‘no’ to your president.” Ross recounted a life begun on 3 September 1938 in Masterton, New Zealand filled with family, professional adventures and travel. Because education was not a priority during his youth, he left high school at 15 for three years of compulsory military training. He is thus especially proud to be father to three college-educated adults enjoying career success. Ross has held leadership positions in corporations based in New Zealand, Australia and Canada—including one selling hair care products! He has been a leader in New Zealand’s non-profit sector as well. A longtime Rotarian, Ross has belonged to clubs in Wellington, New Zealand; Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Washington, DC. Lauding Rotarians’ “talent, energy and empathy,” Ross concluded that he “is lucky to be a member” of our club. Rousing applause followed as DC Rotarians likewise feel lucky to call Ross one of their own.

Returning to the podium, President Jennifer continued with announcements, remarking with sadness that Kathy Ward was joining us for the last time. As President Jennifer praised her contributions to our club, Kathy waved and blew kisses to everyone. On a happier note, President Jennifer explained that she would travel to North Carolina for the Raleigh Rotary Club’s centennial celebration on Friday, 1 August. To mark the occasion, Rotary Foundation President Howard Davis, also heading to North Carolina, arranged for our club to contribute $1,000 to the Raleigh Club’s dental clinic project. (Please note that this event has taken place.)

Before delivering her first club assembly presentation, President Jennifer called on Past President Shaun English to give out the remaining awards to Rotarians for service during his term. Awardees Peggy Garrett and Stefan Alber-Glanstaetten were not in attendance, and Donnie Shaw was thought to be absent until he arrived late. Ross Grantham and Jennifer Hara were present to receive their honors. From one president to another, Shaun’s award to Jennifer was wine glasses marked with the Rotary name. “So you don’t forget why you’re drinking,” Shaun said with an empathetic chuckle.

President Jennifer’s First Club Assembly, District Governor Bill Fine’s Visit

Turning to her PowerPoint presentation—now posted on our website—President Jennifer detailed the Washington, DC Rotary Club’s structure, projects and priorities for her term. Among her most interesting and significant points:

  • President Jennifer highlighted the opportunities afforded to our club by our location in the nation’s capital. Exemplified by Gary Huang’s visit to the area for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) on Sunday, 3 August, our club has arranged for the Rotary International President to receive a guided tour on Saturday, 2 August of the Habitat for Humanity house we are building in Ivy City. With Ken Kimbrough to host the tour, President Jennifer called for volunteers to join him in welcoming Mr. Huang; she and Howard Davis will write a piece about this event (which has taken place) for the Rotarian magazine.
  • Along with the other DC-based clubs, we will host a “Rotary Day”—a community event featuring booths and showcasing our collaboration with other charitable and service organizations. Meant to attract publicity and new members, the timing for Rotary Day has not yet been determined, but Lisa McCurdy, David Treadwell and Ross Grantham are already working on plans for this first-ever event which, as President Jennifer stressed, will require “all hands on deck.”
  • Planning is also underway for a signature fund raiser to take place in fall 2015 during David Treadwell’s presidency. Lisa McCurdy is soliciting suggestions for the fund raiser’s theme. Most likely a gala dinner with a silent auction at a premier location, this event should put our club back on the DC social calendar.

As President Jennifer ended her presentation, she encouraged Rotarians to “get involved” and then introduced our guest speaker, District Governor Bill Fine. Remembering his family’s legacy, Mr. Fine wants to dedicate his service in the governor’s position to his father, a Rotarian for over 35 years. Calling our club “the mountain top of District 7620,” he thanked us for our community and international good works, referring to several of our projects by name.

Mr. Fine elaborated on the origins of this year’s theme “Light up Rotary.” According to Rotary International President Gary Huang, Confucius was a Rotarian long before the club existed, proclaiming “It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” As we “light up” our communities and the world with service, the Governor requested that we “look within” to ask ourselves why we joined the Rotary Club, why we have stayed and what we wish to achieve.

Looking ahead, Mr. Fine is excited about the annual conference for District 7620; scheduled for 7 to 9 May 2015, the meeting will be in Frederick, Maryland and will be “financially friendly” to new members. The conference will be an opportunity to learn more about service—from the End Polio Campaign to natural disaster relief efforts to small neighborhood projects—while having fun.

Describing various successful projects implemented by clubs in District 7620, Mr. Fine closed with his firm belief that Rotarians can do even more to help the world because “they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Adjourned Until Next Week

After President Jennifer presented Bill Fine our “Trees for the Capital” certificate, members learned who purchased the winning raffle ticket from Kathy Bailey. When the numbers were called, Andy Cook did a victory dance from his chair to the podium to claim the small pot of $39. Even after the ace of spades eluded Andy, he continued to dance. The large pot of $649 will keep growing.

Thank you to Greeter Marta Pentassuglia and to Stu Shalloway and Balraj Gupta for welcoming visitors at the Hospitality Table.

On 6 August, Rotarians will hear from guest speaker Ashley Hager, Founder and Project Director of Nepal Teacher Training Innovations.

President Jennifer adjourned the meeting at 1:30 PM … And then I put down my pen—until next week!