The meeting was called to order at 12:30 PM by President Jennifer Hara who led members in the Pledge of Allegiance. Words of inspiration were offered by Liz Perla who recounted Soren Kierkegaard’s “Parable of Ducks.” In a town where only ducks live, they choose to waddle rather than use their wings to fly. We have all been given gifts, abilities, untapped potential, intelligence, energy, passion and dreams so that we can live EXTRAORDINARY lives. So don’t forget to spread your wings and fly; choose to fly and make a difference.


Secretary Haleh Vaziri introduced the following guests and visitors:

  • Martin and Morayma Bak, CEO of Microprobes for Life Science and President of Rainbow of Hope for Bolivia's Street Children, respectively—invited by Abrahem Helal;

  • Austin R. Cooper, President of Cooper Strategic Affairs, Lisa McCurdy's guest;

  • Matthew Ford, invited by Past President David Klaus;

  • Shadia Garcia, LLM student at Georgetown University, President Jennifer Hara's guest;

  • Diego Grajales, guest of his father Guillermo;

  • Sterling Hoffman, Portrait Artist and CEO of Sterling Portraits, LLC;

  • Levi Leatherberry of the DC Rotaract Club

  • Gib Leonard, Founding Director of The Buy A Brick Foundation, invited by Sam Hancock;

  • Bernardo Lopes da Costa from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Clara Montanez's guest;

  • Troy Massey, Business Manager at Pulcra Chemicals, LLC, invited by Sam Hancock;

  • David Pearce, Business Development Manager at Skintex MR3, also Sam Hancock's guest;

  • Alejandro Pérez, CEO of IDEL USA, LLC (Innovación y Desarrollo Local), accompanying Valentin Solis;

  • Rynthia Rost, Vice President of GEICO, Past President Doris Margolis' guest;

  • Marcus Soriano, Professional Development Chair of the DC Rotaract Club;

  • Ximena Uribe, President of International & Cultural Events, also invited by Past President David Klaus;

  • Bakari Ward, Student at the Field School and Intern at the YMCA, Donnie Shaw's guest; and

  • Christian Wistehuff, Executive Director of The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women, invited by Christine Warnke.

Sargent-at-Arms Buz Gorman announced the birthdays of:

  • Johnny Allem on 1 March – Joining our club in February 2014, sponsored by Asif Bhally, Johnny works in the field of outpatient addiction treatment.

  • Jessica Stewart on 4 March – A member of our club since 2012, sponsored by Peg Schoen, Jessica’s classification is government service-international health.

  • Christa McClure on 5 March – Sponsored by Clara Montanez when she joined our club in 2006, Christa’s classification is law-transatlantic legal and management services.


President Jennifer made the following announcements:

  • The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington is hosting a Donor and Volunteer Appreciation event on Saturday, 14 March at 10:30 AM.  Please see Gretchen Kearney for details. 

  • There will be no Happy Hour at the University Club tomorrow night—Thursday, 5 March —due to impending inclement weather.

  • There is a Rotary Day planning meeting scheduled for Saturday, 7 March at President Jennifer Hara’s office; please see her for details of time and place. Rotary Day will be on Saturday, 25 April at Farragut Square.

Club Ombudsman Ken Kimbrough delivered a Not-So-New-Member Talk, providing an overview of his storied career from his Oklahoma roots to work in an oil field to a second career in real estate development which lead him to a post in the Clinton Administration. Now retired, Ken explained that he has a “bucket list” which has included extensive domestic and international travel as well as giving back to his community. Ken is a Paul Harris Fellow +8! 

Mike Carmichael introduced this week’s speaker—John Palguta, Vice President for Policy at the Partnership for Public Service, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to meeting the workforce needs of government by inspiring a new generation to serve and to transform the government workplace. John has responsibility for a comprehensive program of review and analyses of the human resource management issues in the federal government. John was also instrumental in setting up the Partnership’s Best Places to Work rankings initiative first issued in 2003 and has been involved ever since. He also manages the Partnership’s Federal Human Capital Collaborative, a consortium of 33 federal departments and agencies of which the National Science Foundation is a member. 

John started his comments with the Partnership’s belief that an effective government is based on the good people we hire. The Partnership’s job is to recruit, retain and train the next generation of public servants and government leaders. He highlighted the Partnership’s main goals which include efforts to: “inspire and hire” qualified individuals, compile the “Best Places to Work List,” “modernize management systems and create networks of support within government.” As John stressed, not only is the current total number of government employees, 2.1 million, the same as it was in 1968, but the management and pay scales are based on a structure dating to the late 1940s.  This situation needs to change. Additionally, the Partnership highlights annually extraordinary government employees for their work with the “Service to America Medals” which are given to eight recipients. A brief but lively question-and-answer period followed Mr. Palguta’s remarks.

Raffle tickets were sold by Jennifer Paquette Galloway. The small pot, valued at $37, was won by Secretary Haleh Vaziri. The large pot of $263 will continue to grow.

The meeting was supported by Johnny Allem, Balraj Gupta and Stu Shalloway who welcomed guests at the Hospitality Table.

At our next meeting on Wednesday, 11 March, the DC Rotaract Club will preside in celebration of National Rotaract Week.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 PM.