President's Message
John Mathers
member photo
What a Slate for this Next Year!
If you have not heard or read about the Rotary Club of San Francisco Board nominations at the luncheons or in the weekly newsletter, let me tell you that it is an impressive list of members. For the umpteenth time, I would like to note that the last few years with Club Presidents Laine Hendricks, Stephanie Schmautz and David Dye have been incredible. The new members, shepherded aboard by Dan Joraanstad, are powerful, committed and enthusiastic. Our Club is growing not just in numbers, but in the quality of people joining us. And the proposed Board is a perfect reflection. We have some old hands and some new faces. Let me give you a very brief synopsis of the group:
Nominees for President and President-elect:
  • Rhonda Poppen, President. Having the opportunity to work with Rhonda for a while, it is clear that she is committed and fabulously organized. At every turn, she takes the “can-do” attitude and leads with a smile. She has insight and a kind of class that warms every room she enters. We are lucky to have her as President next year.
  • Casey Blair, President-elect. Continuing the string of competence, Casey knows the Board, knows the Club, and is dedicated to growing the Club in both numbers and contribution to the community.
Existing Board Members – continuing in their positions for the next Rotary year:
  • Jim Bradley, Treasurer. Jim was Club President at a time when we were much larger and knows the ins and outs of the Board and its finances, providing us with a clear financial compass.
  • Luis Moran, Secretary. Luis has jumped into the position with gusto and is bringing his commitment to thoroughness to the job … with warmth and charm.
  • Elisabeth Whitney, Public Relations/Public Image. Elisabeth is taking thoughtful, concrete steps to build an ongoing strategy around our public relations and image, while addressing issues associated with current programs and events.
  • JT Forbus, Club Service. At the start and end of every meeting, JT is there providing direction and clarity no matter the issue. Our luncheons and our meetings have improved through his insight and support.
  • Lynn Luckow, Youth Service. Lynn, from the moment he came to the position, has worked with the committee to fine tune the Club’s focus on youth through an emphasis on leadership qualities and experience in all our youth programs.
Proposed new Board Members – nominated to join for the period 2018-20:
  • Carla Walter, Development. Carla has been involved in fundraising for educational purposes for years, but it is her interest in educating members about the value and purpose of development in all its forms that makes her a wonderful pick.
  • Dan Joraanstad, Membership. Dan has been making Membership a huge success for the past 18 months and has generously offered to continue to focus on building the Club with creative and competent people.
  • Kathryn McCall, Local Community Service. Kathryn has been finishing out the term as Local Community Service Chair and has thoughtfully pointed out that the position really requires time to strategically focus on the vulnerable people in San Francisco that the Club can help.
  • Sacha Shashi, International Service. Sacha, like Kathryn, has been filling in for the last part of a term and has voiced his willingness to take on the next few years in an effort to develop and implement a strategy that optimizes our Club’s international interests.
Of course, I am privileged to say that I will be on the Board next year as Immediate Past President. I cannot say enough about the dedication of these folks and the incredible intention they have to serve our community and our Club.
Please join us at the Holiday Party on December 12 when we vote on the 2018-19 Board. Your support for the Board members and for the Club is greatly appreciated.
November 26, 2017
December 05:
    Benjamin Lam

December 6:
    Casey Blair
    Joseph Fang
December 7:
    Eric Schmautz
December 11:
    James Chen
December 12:
    C. John Hoch
    Audrey McKeague
December 13:
    Sacha Shashi
December 16:
   Bernadette Lorda
   PJ Nusz
December 22:
   Sunny Singh
2008:  Emily Borland
2015:  Olia Pishchevskaya
2016:  Michelle Buckles
Interested in our speakers, but can't get to our meetings?
Videos of most of our luncheon speakers are available on our Club's YouTube channel.
November 2017 Highlights
Member pictureRotarian of the Month: Laine Hendricks (Public Relations; County of Marin) is the Rotarian of the Month for October. A successful club needs the active support of its members to accomplish its goals. While Laine has provided support consistently and in full measure over the years, it is important to recognize that all of this happens from a base of work and home in Marin. And over the past few months, work has been especially difficult as Laine has supported Northern California fire victims as part of her job with Marin County. Just as we at Rotary can count on Laine to support our efforts, so can anyone she works with or for. As the epitome of Service Above Self, we honor Laine as October 2017’s Rotarian of the Month!
Great speakers:
  • Diane Ehrensaft spoke to the Club on the evolution of gender models. Her work with parents and children has led to a number of important observations that can allow children to grow into their preferred model rather than be forced into cultural or stereotypical roles.
  • Sandee Blechman provided insight into the needs for early childhood education and child care in our society today. With special emphasis on our issues in San Francisco, Sandee pointed out how helping families challenged with child care costs will reduce their monthly costs and keep families from moving out of the City to more affordable locations.
Halloween Luncheon: The Great Pumpkin visited the Club and predicted the past and future. We learned about how things will change and remain the same. It was inspiring! Many members and friends participated in the costume contest.
And the winners are:
Funniest Costume:
Emily Borland (Architecture; Emily Borland Specifications) and her parents as Gru and Minions
Scariest Costume:
Stephanie Schmautz (Retirement Living; The Carlisle) and daughters
Best Costume:
David Dye (Management Consulting; Retired) with his great HG Wells impersonation
Thanksgiving Luncheon at the Arc: Once again, we had a great time providing a festive lunch to hundreds of very appreciative clients of the Arc. 
November 2017 Membership Corner
Our Club continues to grow robustly. The trend currently is to bring in two new members each month. Be sure and greet people; make them feel at home. That applies to new and long-term members as well. As the Club grows and changes, it is important to be intentional in your outreach to those around you. You might like to know: applications for membership are reviewed at the monthly Board meeting. And the following month, on the second Tuesday, we induct new members.
In November we had the pleasure of inducting Lily Muldoon and Connor Krone. Both are wonderful new additions of youth and talent. 
Member pictureLily, for example, has lived in San Francisco for the last 8 years and works as an Emergency Room physician. She has extensive connections throughout healthcare in San Francisco and can help build our efforts in responding to the disparities of health care in our population. Lily has been systematically visiting Rotary Clubs in the San Francisco Bay Area and decided on a Club that is at “the center of my community…I am impressed by the Club’s movers and shakers and its innovation and motivation.” Lily has a strong connection to the Rotary Club of Mfangano Mbita in Kenya. She set up an emergency medical system for the island populations in Lake Victoria. She also worked with community leaders to charter a new Rotary Club, the first club in Homa Bay County. She continues to mentor the club and is participating in sustainable health programs in East Africa. The Rotary Club of Bahari-Mombasa in Kenya, where she was a member from 2008-2009, honored Lily with a Paul Harris Fellowship. The Rotary Club of Denver Tech Center recognized Lily as Rotarian of the Year in 2009. Lily has degrees from Pomona State, Harvard, and UCSF, where she achieved her MD. Lily plays soccer and is a competitive long distance runner. And she likes to cook!
For Connor Krone, our Club’s involvement in education and the preparation of children across San Member pictureFrancisco to enter college is a “dear” personal issue. Connor also appreciates our Club’s support of Interact programs, the Boy Scouts, and RYLA. He has already joined the Club’s Youth Services Committee. His career is focused on how to help kids do better in college. He’s been a high school teacher, a program manager for an entrepreneurship education organization, and founder of a financial education organization called Student Investment Lab. Connor’s mentor is Lynn Luckow, our VP of Youth Services and a logical alignment with the Club’s educational projects. In addition to youth education, Connor values what he describes as, “Gaining a group of colleagues and friends who believe in the value of Service Above Self.’’ Connor has degrees from American University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. Connor grew up in San Francisco and now lives in Walnut Creek. He’s passionate about running marathons.
The excitement is building as the end of the year approaches. The Membership Contest, which offers a prize of a week’s stay in Harold Hoogasian's house on the Big Island, is hotly contested. Four members have each brought in one new member so far this year. Will any of them have a second member join in December? This stellar group includes: Joseph Fang, Anita Stangl, Lynn Luckow, and Rick Harrell. Thanks to these sponsors in helping us move the Club into the future. The last induction of the year is at the Holiday Party on December 12. Will we have a four-way? Or will another new member be brought into the Club, tipping the balance? Good luck!!!!!
Like Karen Blixen (who wrote Out of Africa under the pseudonym Isak Dinesen), Elisabeth Whitney “had a farm in Africa" — well, actually, her parents had a farm in Kenya, where Elisabeth was born. Her father, who had grown up with guns and hunting, talked her mother into settling in Kenya, her favorite stop on their honeymoon, where he apprenticed as a big game hunter. But, after shooting an elephant, he decided that was not for him and became a pilot flying tourists to safari camps. Then, after “accidentally” bidding on 50 head of cattle, he bought land and became a rancher.
When Elisabeth was 15, her parents, both American, decided to move back to the United States for their three daughters’ educations, settling in Texas. Elisabeth studied geology at the University of the South in Sewanee, TN, then returned to Texas to work as a flight paramedic for the Galveston 911 Emergency Service, serving oil workers on rigs in the Gulf.
In 2000, Elisabeth moved to Australia to earn a master’s in public health and tropical medicine at James Cook University in Queensland, where she enrolled in medical school, then dropped out and moved to California with her son in 2006 after a divorce. After earning a master’s in nonprofit management and administration at USF, Elisabeth worked for a small company in disaster preparedness and started her own jewelry business. Calling herself “a serial entrepreneur,” she shut down the jewelry business during the economic downturn (“No one was buying jewelry.”), and, in 2013, started her own consulting business in disaster preparedness and business continuity for nonprofit organizations.
Last year, Elisabeth became CEO of Rotacare Bay Area, Inc., a nonprofit organization that runs 12 primary care clinics, each started by a Rotary Club, that provide health care for people without health insurance. That was her impetus to join Rotary. She left Rotacare and shut down the consulting business to focus on a doctorate in business administration for health care facilities through the online Northcentral University, which she has almost completed.
“I love Rotary, mostly for the networking, but also for the friends I’ve made,” she says. “I love the notion of Service Above Self.”
Elisabeth looked at several Rotary clubs in the Bay Area, but joined the Rotary Club of San Francisco last year because of its “tremendous history” – second oldest Rotary Club in the world, instrumental in the founding of the United Nations, supportive of women in Rotary. “It’s a great feeling to be a member of this tremendous Club that has been part of so many magnificent things ... That’s phenomenal!”
Elisabeth, who lives in San Francisco with her son, Rowan, is mentoring new member Dr. Lily Muldoon, and is a member of the International and Youth Services Committees. She also serves on the Board as Chair of the Communications Committee, which helps to promote Club events in Grindings, on the website and through social media, including Facebook and LinkedIn.
In addition, the committee is focusing on three projects – rolling out a new banner; putting together a January 16 luncheon honoring members who have been part of the Club for more than 25 years; and surveying members of two to three years about why they stay in the Club, with an eye to messaging that can promote the Club in the Bay Area.
Elisabeth says, “We do a tremendous amount, and I’m very proud of each and every member of the committee.”  
Cable Car Caroling with the Institute on Aging: December 2, 2017
Cable Car Caroling is the Institute on Aging’s annual special event that brings holiday cheer through traditional carols and other holiday songs to isolated seniors across San Francisco at assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities and individual homes. Last year, over 500 guests traveled on motorized cable cars visiting over 1,000 seniors. Two cable cars are available for Rotarians to enjoy and participate in the festivities.
ROTARY LUNCHEON December 5, 2017: Sheriff Vicki Hennessy
Elected Sheriff in 2015, Vicki Hennessy has served in every division of the Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Hennessy will talk about San Francisco’s sanctuary city status and the impact of this status on the San Francisco county jail and the Sheriff’s Department.
Diaper Assembly for Homeless Prenatal Program: December 6, 2017
Come out for a SPECIAL baby bag assembly party at Homeless Prenatal Program.  Help us to assemble the baby bags, take a tour of the HPP facility, and enjoy some light refreshments. 
Salvation Army Bell Ringing December 8, 2017
Join your fellow Rotarians and some of San Francisco's finest celebrities -- media personalities, bell ringing champs, costumed characters, local bands and much more -- as you ring bells, spread holiday cheer, and raise awareness for The Salvation Army at the 37th annual Celebrity Bell Ringing event. The bell ringing is on December 8, but the deadline to register is December 1, 2017.
All members are encouraged to attend the Annual Holiday Party at the Westin Saint Francis, the most festive and fun-filled luncheon of the year. Bring your family, friends, and business associates to celebrate with us! It's important for members to attend so we have a quorum for the brief Annual Meeting, where we will elect new Board members and our 2019-2020 Club President. Buy tickets before the price goes up on December 1. Tables and sponsorship options are available through November 30.
Baby Showers for Homeless Prenatal Program: December 14, 2017
Join us at one or both of the Baby Showers at the Homeless Prenatal Program where we will give expectant mothers diaper bags filled with supplies. The party for Spanish speakers starts at 10:30 AM; the party for English speakers starts at 1:00 PM.
Dinner Club at The Arc: December 20, 2017
Enjoy the opportunity to make dinner and share it with new friends at The Arc. Rotarians are invited to join the fun at one dinner a month: come once, or make it a regular commitment! Open to family and friends who are over 18.