Posted by John Dean on Aug 05, 2019
President Casey Blair (Financial Services: Private Trading | Feis Options) opened the meeting by welcoming Jagpal Sran, President-elect of the Rotary Club of San Rafael Evening. She is visiting Rotary Clubs in the area in preparation for her upcoming term as president of her Club.
We also had several guests, including:
  • Hana Xu Wang (Financial Services: Advising | Wang Wealth Management) introduced her guest Sophie Sorimachi.
  • Lynn Luckow (Development | introduced Victoria Amba Zitrin and Jane Amon.
  • Deborah Wakefield (Elder Care and Senior Services | Concierge Senior Care and Family Support) introduced Liz Wilson.
  • Jianying Chen (Healthcare: Acupuncture | American Institute of Zhizhen Therapy and New Qigong) introduced his wife, Estela (they have been married almost three weeks!)
  • Ann Daugherty (Financial Services: Private Trading | IBN Financial Services) introduced two guests: Sue Robbins from Catholic Charities and Dana Thomas from UCSF.
  • Eric Schmautz (Banking: Management | Wells Fargo) introduced his daughter, Molly, who is already a Rotary veteran.
  • Migena Schroeder (Law: International | Albanian Eagle Security System (AESS)) introduced her guest Kerstin Jost.
Casey recapped several recent activities, including:
  • The first Young Rotarian “Meet Up” was held last week, with after-work cocktails and snacks. We hope this will become a quarterly event for our members under 40.
  • Last Saturday, July 20, Rotary District 5150 held its semi-annual Basic Potential Rotary Leaders Seminar. PRLS is the leadership training course for members who are planning to take on a leadership role. It offers a chance to develop speaking, leadership, organization, and other skills. Master PRLS consists of five separate modules taught in separate six-hour segments throughout the year. Our Club had five members at this initial session.
  • Rotaplast held its annual Bocce Tournament and BBQ last Sunday. Several of our members participated in this annual fundraiser. Rotaplast was founded by members of our Club over 25 years ago to perform cleft palate/cleft lip and burn repair surgeries throughout the world. Our Club, many other Rotary Clubs, and The Rotary Foundation are all contributors to Rotaplast.
President Casey noted that the busy summer continues with a number of great upcoming events and activities, including:
  • July 25: Twilight Golf at Harding Park. Tee time is 4:15 PM. A quick nine holes, followed by refreshments and fellowship. Plan ahead: upcoming dates are August 8 and August 22.
  • July 29: SPARK Food Truck Social. 6:00 PM at SPARK in Mission Bay. Select your food and a beverage from the food truck vendor of your choice, then join fellow Rotarians, prospective members, family, guests and pets around the fire pit to roast s’mores (s’mores courtesy of our Club).
  • July 30: Celebrate the newly-chartered San Francisco Rotaract Club, the only community-based Rotaract Club in the City. This new Club is co-sponsored by our Club and the Rotary Club of San Francisco Evening. The event will be held 6:00-8:00 PM at the Academy of Art Automobile Museum. Thanks to Michael Petricca (Education Management | Academy of Art) for arranging access to the Museum.
  • August 6: District 5150 will host a District Social at the San Rafael Pacifics game. The game will be at Albert Park in San Rafael. The Pacifics are a local professional baseball team that plays in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball.
  • August 14: New Member Welcome Event at the home of Deborah Wakefield. Enjoy a chance to meet and socialize with new members of our Club. All members (new and longer-term) and prospective members are invited.
  • August 25: Oakland A’s and Giants Baseball. Co-sponsored by several Bay Area Rotary Clubs. We will have a great pre-game BBQ with refreshments, then go into the stadium to watch the game from a block of reserved seats. A great opportunity to socialize with Rotarians from several nearby Clubs.
  • September 7: Mark your calendar for a Work Day at Rotary Meadow atop Mt. Sutro in San Francisco. Work begins at 9:00 AM. We will pull weeds, remove invasive species of plants, rake leaves, and do other tasks to beautify the meadow. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
  • September 12: Save the date! Our Club will sponsor a cocktail party to raise funds for the Youth Leadership Initiative, location TBD.
Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired), Vice President of the San Francisco Rotary Foundation, announced that the Foundation Board met last week to review local and international service grant applications. He indicated that the Board has finalized the grant awards, which this year total over $140,000. Dan presented a check for $10,000 to Rotaplast International, to be used for their upcoming surgical mission to Cebu, Philippines. Club members Donna-Lee Young Rubin (Medical Services | Rotaplast International) and Evelyn Abad (Medical Services | Rotaplast International) accepted the check on behalf of Rotaplast. Donna-Lee is Chief Executive Officer of Rotaplast. Evelyn will once again serve as Mission Director on the annual Cebu trip. Dan reminded everyone that Rotaplast started in our Club.
Dan then “switched hats” and assumed his role as VP of Membership. He thanked Harold Hoogasian (Retail: Florist | Hoogasian Flowers) for his many years of service to our Club. In particular, Dan thanked Harold for donating a week at his family’s condo on the Big Island in Hawaii, which is awarded to the Club member who recruits the most new members. The most recent winner is Pam Hudson (Healthcare: Management | University of California, San Francisco). In addition to a week at the condo, Pam received a pound of Kona coffee from Harold’s coffee farm.
President Casey conducted a contest to guess the Mystery Member. This member:
  • Traveled to over fifty countries.
  • Majored in statistics and applied mathematics in college.
  • Has attended 18 Rotary International conventions.
Donna-Lee Young Rubin guessed correctly: Eric Schmautz! Donna-Lee received a gift card and a pound of Harold’s Kona coffee. Casey noted that Eric is a longtime Rotarian who has served in a variety of positions in the Club, at the District, and with Rotary International. Casey added that Eric is “Rotary Royalty”.
Those making donations included:
  • Jianying Chen celebrated his recent successes with skin cream products and anti-aging products.
  • John Mathers (Management Consulting | eVo Associates) celebrated his recent fishing trip to Eureka with his grandchildren. The grandkids all caught “substantial” fish, but he caught a “barely legal” rock fish.
  • Christopher Davies (Real Estate: Property Management | Self-employed) donated because, after briefly conversing at his table today, he came to realize that he was seated next to his college roommate’s sister. They had not seen each other in many years and it was great to catch up.
  • Lynn Luckow donated in gratitude to the San Francisco Rotary Foundation for its tremendous support of the Youth Leadership Initiative.
President Casey announced that Anita Stangl (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles) is resting at home, where she is continuing her recovery from successful knee replacement surgery.
John Mathers announced that Greg Gutting (Nonprofit Management | The Salvation Army) will not be at meetings for the next month or so as he is in St. Louis attending to his mother, who fell and broke both arms.
Our speaker today is Azar Asadi Shahmirzadi from the Buck Institute. Born in Iran, Azar received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 2011. She came to the United States in 2014 to pursue her interest to research the aging process. She is a now graduate student working toward a PhD in the biology of aging at the University of Southern California, the world’s first and only doctoral program devoted exclusively to the study of aging.
The Buck Institute is the largest independent scientific institution in the Bay Area and brings together experts from many disciplines to study the aging process and to devise ways to help people live better and longer.
As Azar noted, “There are two very distinct facets of aging: lifespan (how long we live) and healthspan (quality of life). ” With an annual budget over $41 million (primarily from the National Institutes of Health and private donations), the Buck Institute is tackling aging through multiple avenues. Buck researchers are looking at:
  • Age-related molecular degeneration and how to slow it.
  • Genetic analysis.
  • Age-related cancer prevention.
  • Stem cell interventions to slow aging.
  • Pharmacological interventions to slow the aging process by addressing various hormones and proteins whose production declines as we age.
Azar added that the average age of the world population is increasing. “Age is the number one risk factor for chronic diseases,“ she noted. As we live longer due to better nutrition and improved health care, are we healthy? Are we able to function and enjoy life?
Azar’s research is heavily focused on pharmacological interventions. Her team’s experiments have been promising on mice. They have succeeded in altering molecules related to aging by injecting the mice with proteins and other chemicals which occur naturally in all animals (including humans). Targeting the supplementation of the body’s own chemicals may soon offer the ability to improve health by delaying the onset of age-related diseases.
Azar ended by stating that science has clearly identified steps we can all take, right now, to delay aging. “Two interventions can significantly extend the lifespan and improve the healthspan: increased exercise and reduced calorie intake.” Other lifestyle changes can also help, including setting a consistent sleep routine and taking vitamin supplements.
 John Mathers added that the Buck Institute offers free public tours on Thursdays, with advance reservations required. It is a chance to see the cutting-edge research on aging underway in our own backyard.
President Casey presented Azar with a certificate indicating that 100 children were vaccinated against polio in her name.
The door prize winner was John Dean (Education: Law | Dean Dispute Resolution), who received a bottle of Hamburg honey. In addition, Gary Dales (Accounting | Fly Leasing) offered two free tickets to the Giants game Tuesday evening. Sunny Singh (Financial Services: Advising | Wedbush securities) was the lucky recipient of those tickets.
Photos by Christopher Wiseman (Event Planning | Glaucoma Research Foundation)
Edited by Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group)