Posted by Pat Gallagher on Oct 04, 2019
President Casey Blair (Financial Services: Private Trading | Feis Options) began the meeting by welcoming a visiting Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Palo Alto University, who is checking which Rotary Clubs in San Francisco are potential fits for his son.
Michael Petricca (Education Management | Academy of Art) introduced his guest, Elisa Stephens, president of the Academy of Art University, who will be our speaker on October 22. Eric Schmautz (Banking: Management | Wells Fargo) introduced Monika Agarwal from Bank of America. Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired) introduced his friends Tim Allen and Ed Shenkan. Marti Sullivan (Development | The Arc San Francisco) introduced several members of the staff from The Arc. Anita Stangl (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles) introduced a guest from Alliance for Smiles.
Tim Hornbecker (Nonprofit Management | Retired), president of our San Francisco Rotary Foundation, presented a $12,500 grant to The Arc for programs including our Club’s monthly participation in the Dinner Club (the next dinner is October 21) and the Thanksgiving meal we provide (November 26 this year). The check was accepted by Marti Sullivan; Lance Scott, The Arc's Director of Friends Like Me; Jacy Cohen, The Arc's Director of Strategic Partnerships; and Steven Straus, The Arc Friends Dinner Club Participant. Marti announced that all Club members are invited to attend The Arc Breakfast, an annual fundraiser to be held at the Julia Morgan ballroom on October 17. You can register here or by contacting Marti.
President Casey congratulated RotaCare for a successful fundraiser. Bob Hermann (Information Technology: Administration | Retired) noted that 17 Rotary Clubs were represented at the event, including a good-sized contingent from our Club. RotaCare provides medical services for those in need.
Casey named Gary “Buck” Dales (Accounting | Fly Leasing) as Rotarian of the Month for October, thanking him for a great start as Club Treasurer. In just a few months, Buck has reorganized the Club’s books to make them easier to understand and more easily accessible by Board members.
Those participating in 20 Seconds for $20 included:
  • Immediate Past President Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing | GRANTdog), celebrated 10 years of success in her grant writing business.
  • Past President Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group), recognized that he and Fire Chief Nicholson are both graduates of Colgate University, proving that a good-quality liberal arts education is a strong foundation for any career path.
  • Alison Healy (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles) announced the successful completion of their recent mission to Guatemala. She reported that, in addition to their usual surgeries to repair cleft lips and cleft palates in children, they were able to remove some fatty tumors from an adult woman who was so thankful that she insisted on giving them the $36 she had saved up over several years to pay for this surgery.
  • Jianying “James” Chen (Healthcare: Acupuncture | American Institute of Zhizhen Therapy and New Qigong) announced that he has sold his apartment in Shanghai and discussed current conditions in Hong Kong.
  • Ann Daugherty (Financial Services: Private Trading | IBN Financial Services) told us that she has just become a great aunt.
  • PDG Eric Schmautz announced that today was the 20th anniversary of his employment with Wells Fargo. Alan Herzog (Financial Services: Advising | Wells Fargo Advisors) challenged Eric into raising his donation by giving his own.
Today’s speaker was San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine “Neen” Nicholson. She became Chief on May 6, 2019 after 24 years with the Fire Department, primarily in operations. She grew up in New York where she lived across the street from a fire house, never suspecting that a woman could be a firefighter. But here she is! She pointed out that the San Francisco Fire Department is seen by other fire departments around the country as a model of diversity and how to achieve it.
The Fire Department responds to more than 140,000 medical calls annually, often serving people with “unknown addresses”, i.e. homeless people. The large surge in the number of homeless people in San Francisco, and especially of people with behavioral health issues, is putting increasing strain on the system as a whole: The Fire Department is responding to more and more calls, and emergency rooms are treating more and more people. Increased traffic means it takes longer for ambulances to get where they need to go. The Department is looking at creative solutions, including how to use Community Paramedicine to address people on the street and older people at home alone.
Being a firefighter increases the odds of getting cancer. Chief Nicholson, herself a cancer survivor, works with the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation, which provides proactive support to firefighters.
The Department is constantly preparing for disasters. The earthquake that we all know is coming is likely to spark 50 or more ignition spots. The Department is also prepared to deal with more recently-developed threats like terrorism and mass shootings.

Chief Nicholson urged us to get involved with NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams) so we can be more prepared to survive any disaster.
President Casey presented our speaker with a certificate acknowledging that 100 children were inoculated against Polio in recognition of her talk at the Club today. She said she was honored to receive it.
Photos by Tricia Tran
Edited by Scott Plakun