President's Message
John Mathers
member photo
What a Year!
At a recent meeting, my selected Quote for the Day was: “Hang out with good people, do good things, and always put the team first.” Over the past year I have been privileged to have the team leading me rather than the other way around. As some of you may or may not know, part of my agreement with the Nominating Committee in late 2016 was the codifying of the Presidents’ Council in our bylaws. This was completed at our Club Assembly in May 2017, but had already been instituted in January of the same year. Every Monday morning at 9 AM, we get on the phone together: two past presidents, the current president and two future presidents. The purpose of the Council is to oversee the practical functioning of the Club. So we review the next day’s meeting agenda and any issues – member, scheduling, service or administrative – that may further the success of the Club. This has been a primary cornerstone of our success over the past year.
Another cornerstone – bigger and more significant in its way – has been the focus and commitment of the Club’s Board of Directors. As a team, we have thought about where the Club is headed and how each area of service or administration can optimally support that direction. These planning sessions, in combination with our Annual Survey, have created consistency and honed our sense of the Club’s purpose and the actions we need to take to implement the vision. This may all sound rather lofty and remote, but it is extremely down to earth.
  • Last year it led to the enhanced Emergency Services Day that Rhonda Poppen so competently led and so many people contributed to.
  • It has led to a reorganization of the service areas so that each can focus more successfully on the interests of their committees. One example of this is the focus on “leadership” for Youth Services, which has dramatically increased campers at RYLA and participants in Interact clubs. Or the energy and focus coming from the Membership team where they are taking care of our members through Member Connect and bringing in new members through truly enjoyable evening events at Lynn Luckow’s office or Dan Joraanstad’s and Bob Hermann’s home. Or World Wide Rotary Day where, independently, some consul generals approached Sacha Shashi about wanting to be involved in any peace programs we may develop.
You might say that these are all one-offs or just normal activities, but I say they represent a powerful energy that is created by the team that represents the members of the Club. Thank you to David Dye, Rhonda, Casey Blair, Stephanie Schmautz, JT Forbus, Dan, Luis Moran, Jim Bradley, Kathryn McCall, Lynn, Sacha, Frank Yoke, and Elisabeth Whitney. Special thanks to Laine Hendricks, Scott Plakun and Dora Dye for their communications support during the year. It has been an honor to work with such a wonderful team and I know, having spent the year working with President Rhonda, that the coming year will continue to grow our dreams, our service work, and our Club.
June 24, 2018

July 2
   John Mount
July 4
   Evelyn Abad
   Olia Pishchevskaya
July 12
   Rosemary Welde
July 14
   Harold Hoogasian
   John Rigoli
July 16
   Wai-Ling Eng
   Esther Lerner
   Wendy Ross
July 25
   Gene Lee
July 30
   Dora Dye
1987: Kay Clarke
1988: Harold Hoogasian
2004: Robin Azevedo
2005: Warren Grawemeyer
    Audrey McKeague
2007: David Dye
2008: James Chen
2016: Kathryn McCall
2017: Annie Daugherty
   Kathleen Franks
June 2018 Highlights
Rotarian of the Month:The Rotary Club of San Francisco is built on the commitment and actions of our members. From the first time that Bill Poppen (Banking Management; MUFG Union Bank) jumped in to make a difference, he did so not in any way to stand out but to be sure that the job got done. Bill simply looked at what needed to be done and did what was necessary. As a result, he has quietly become an integral part of the success of the Club over the past year, contributing to every area, from Club Services to Membership and innumerable projects. For Bill’s thoughtful and consistent ownership of the success of our Club, we honor him as May’s Rotarian of the Month!
Great Luncheon Programs:
  • Joel Engardio: We live in a “shades of blue” political environment here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Joel made some sense of it while sharing the historical evolution since the founding of San Francisco. We enjoyed a whirlwind trip and great fun with this dedicated San Franciscan.
  • Amy Alkon, the advice Goddess, shared with the Club her study on how primordial culture impacts our decision making and how best to handle it. Amy is an energetic writer of an advice column syndicated in 70 papers around the country. Clearly, she has fun with the subject of human behavior, her own included, and shared her enthusiasm with the Club.
  • President-elect Nominee Casey Blair (Foreign Equity Trading; FEIS Options) led a memorable debunking of outgoing President John Mathers (Management Consulting; eVo Associates). Casey, dressed up as a young John, complete with mustache and 1970s-style long hair and sideburns (looking eerily like John in the photos shown in the presentation!) reviewed John's life beginning with his tender years. He also facilitated a spirited game of Jeopardy to which every answer (in the form of a question, of course) was "Who am I: John Mathers!?!?" from John himself at different ages played by Lynn Luckow (Development;, Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing; GRANTdog), and David Dye (Management Consulting; Retired). Gifts included a gift certificate to a restaurant in Rome, where John and his wife, Peggy, plan to vacation soon and a walking stick hand-made by David Dye. And John, who is about to be our newest past president, received a warm standing ovation from the crowd.
June 3, 2018: Heroes' Voices presented The Soldier's Journey, a fantastic revue of poetry and song led by our own Rick Harrell (Veterans Services; Heroes' Voices) to celebrate the winners of the second annual National Veterans Poetry Contest. The Rotary Club of San Francisco was the principal sponsor of the contest and this performance. Several members were on hand to help make the performance a success.
June 5, 2018: Go, Giants! This picture spoke of the fun our Club members and families had at the game despite the outcome. Thanks to Michael Strohl (Financial Management; Sagemark Consulting) for being a great fan and for making this outing possible.
June 12, 2018: Stuffing diaper bags for the Homeless Prenatal Program is an excellent Club service project. Thanks to Emily Borland-Wong (Architecture; Emily Borland Specifications) for leading this effort and to Harold Hoogasian (Florist-Retail; Hoogasian Flowers) for hosting the event.
June 14, 2018: Two days later, the stuffed diaper bags were presented to expectant mothers at the Homeless Prenatal Program during a baby shower. Representing the Club at the AM shower was Dora Dye (Education; City College of San Francisco); at the PM shower were Anne and Warren Grawemeyer (Soft Drink Manufacturing; Retired), Susan Dean (Nursing (retired); UCSF) and John Dean (Law; UC Hastings College of the Law).
June 14, 2018: We celebrated the Rotary year of John Mathers at Il Fornaio.
June 18, 2018: Bill and Rhonda Poppen cooked and served tacos at the Dinner Club at The ARC, another excellent Club service project.
June 2018 Membership Corner
New Members
2017-18 ended with a diverse quartet of new members joining the Club on June 12. The four excellent, new folks include Stewart “Skip” Brewster, Carol Ede, Gary Keener and Ryan Overton.
Skip has an extensive resume which includes AARP (where he is a District Liaison), the Peace Corps and various civic projects involving tutoring and mentoring youth. In Skip’s work life, he has logged 41 years in the insurance industry as a broker with Liberty Mutual and other companies. Skip wants to “help people help themselves. Sustainability of a project is important.” He and his wife of 38 years, Donna, have an adult son and daughter.
Carol Ede is deeply connected in the social fabric of San Francisco through Calvary Presbyterian, the San Francisco Garden Club, the Metropolitan Club, and her enjoyment of gathering people to her home where she has resided for more than 50 years. She has held various offices in the choir, in the Garden Club and the Metropolitan Club. Carol has two adult children. She looks forward to contributing to social events and helping with fundraising.
Gary Keener has been a resident of San Francisco since 2013. He is a teleworker employed by Swiss Re in the re-insurance industry. Gary had first visited the Rotary Club of San Francisco in 2016 but was much involved in the Rotary Club of San Francisco — Castro, which successfully launched in March of this year. Their President has sent a message of congratulations to our President in praise of Gary’s abilities to meet people, organize events and generally make things happen. Gary is active in the San Francisco Black Tie Club, the Breakfast Club, STRUT, and Larkin Street Youth Services among others. Gary is married to Jefferson McCarley.
Ryan Overton was raised in Berkeley and is currently living in Oakland. While his office with Merrill Lynch is in Oakland, he spends much of his time in San Francisco. Ryan is active in the Korean community including the Association for Korean Adoptees in San Francisco, the Korean American Professional Society, the Korean American Community Foundation and others. His greatest passion is being able to “help people reach their dreams and goals.” He is interested in joining the Community Services committee.
Membership Contest
The Big Island is calling! Once again, we have a large group of members who have all brought in one new member including: Annie Daugherty, David Widerman, Lynn Luckow, Carla Walter, Susan Dean, Anita Stangl, Chris Davies and Clif Thomas. Stay tuned – we will have a drawing for the winner of the condo in Kona, generously supplied by Harold Hoogasian at the July 10, 2018 meeting. And BIG THANKS to those members who have been bringing new people in to experience the service and enjoyment of Rotary.
Rotary Twilight Golf: June 28, 2018
Join The Rotary Club of San Francisco for a friendly round of golf and a chance to win our coveted Golf Trophy! Points are based on participation, not necessarily golf score, so all skill levels are welcome! Fellowship follows every outing. Tee time is 4:15.
No Meeting on July 3, 2018
In honor of the Independence Day holiday, there is no Rotary Luncheon on July 3.
ROTARY LUNCHEON July 10, 2018: Rhonda Poppen and Rotary’s Inspiration to Others
In the first meeting of our Club’s 2018-2019 year, incoming Club President Rhonda Poppen will present information regarding Rotary’s plans to be an inspiration to others and what it means for our Club. Come and celebrate the launch of a new Rotary year and welcome our new president.
SERVICE OPPORTUNITY - Project Homeless Connect: July 11, 2018
Help Project Homeless Connect provide comprehensive services to hundreds of homeless people at their 71st Community Day of Service in the Bayview. Deadline for registration is July 2.
Rotary Twilight Golf: July 12, 2018
Join The Rotary Club of San Francisco for a friendly round of golf and a chance to win our coveted Golf Trophy! Points are based on participation, not necessarily golf score, so all skill levels are welcome! Fellowship follows every outing. Tee time is 4:15.
DISTRICT SEMINAR July 14, 2018: Membership Engagement & Retention
This  District 5150 Learning & Leadership Development Opportunity is intended for Club leaders who work to engage and retain members.
ROTARY LUNCHEON July 17, 2018: Bebo White, Cryptocurrency and Social Change
Hidden behind most of the noise heard about the cryptocurrency/Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies are the possibilities that they hold to improve the lives of underserved, disenfranchised, and victimized communities. Rather than focusing on the technologies, Bebo (a new member of our Club) will explain cases of how they can be used to effect social change. 
PRLS Training: July 21, 2018
Our district offers this series of training classes for potential Rotary leaders. Basic PRLS covers the fundamentals and is a prerequisite for all advanced PRLS training. 
ROTARY LUNCHEON July 24, 2018: District Governor Jayne Hulbert
District Governor Jayne Hulbert, a member of the Rotary Club of Marin Evening, will talk about how this year's Rotary international theme, Be the Inspiration, impacts our District and our Club. DG Jayne's presentation is sure to be informative, inspiring, and fun.