Thursday, August 31, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? Former 6990 DG Roy Gonas!

Roy Gonas is a graduate of Indiana State University and Cumberland School of Law of Samford University, with additional studies in London and The Hague Academy of International Law. Roy started the in-state International Law seminar series for The Florida Bar.  He continues to practice, and is an arbitrator in domestic and international cases. And Roy, is receiving invitations each year from European universities to give lectures on International Commercial Arbitration and American Jurisprudence-being a visiting lecturer affords the opportunity to work with fine students and have some become friends. Additionally Roy is a Fulbright Specialist grantee-International Commercial Arbitration. 

RCSM - Roy, who are what brought you to Rotary?

Roy -  When I became active in the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, the president, who was also chairman of the board (now called chairman), Ron Robison, and the executive director (now called president) Col. Tom Chegin, USA ret.), invited me to join them for lunch at the Rotary Club of Coral Gables.  I knew nothing of Rotary.  The two gentlemen (no ladies then in Rotary) encouraged my continuing attendance. My interest grew, probably from seeing my dad as a legislator and jurist and my mother as very active in community service.  RCCG membership came in January 1979 and continued to June 1991.  I was a director in the club.  History took its course.  My classification became and remained International Law.  As far as I know, only Cleve Allen, Jim Barker and I were Chairmen/Presidents of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce (me in 1982-1983) and Rotary District Governors in D6990.  Much was learned from them and CG Mayor Bill Chapman.  (Bill, in early 1980's, expressed his desire to see part of Giralda become a promenade, as it just now has become.  His shared knowledge in municipal affairs became invaluable to me.)  I became a member of the Rotary Club of South Miami in June 1991 and was immediately put on its board as a presidential appointee.  Marty Rosen was my sponsor, mentor, adviser and friend, and still is.  Club presidency was 1995-1996.  In spring 1996 the club informed me it wanted to nominate me for district governor, I accepted and was selected by the district committee that summer.  By the time I served as DG, I had served the previous eleven district governors.  (And to think I joined RCSM to be in a smaller, more intimate club.)

RCSM - What is your favorite Rotary memory?

Roy Telling a favorite memory in Rotary is very difficult. My two sons being let out of school to attend a Rotary luncheon to receive their Paul Harris Fellows is certainly one.  Another is what our (not my!) leadership team with great Rotarians did during 1998-1999 in District 6990.  The district conference set substantial attendance records. It was also a record breaking year for fundraising.  (To say D6990 Rotarians are great is an understatement.) My founding the idea and chairing the committee for the 1991 Rotary district-wide Rotary Foundation dinner with 700 attendees from four counties and GBI comes to mind.  DG Fred Anderson arranged to have the RI president and TRF Chairman speak.  (The event ran on time.)  The size of the event is believed to have been in Rotary the largest of its kind in the United States. In addition to its size, the event was a fundraising base for the year and resulted in setting a new record. Founding the idea in Rotary of a student-led ethics initiative equally comes to mind.  ("Initiative" was the word given by students. because they said its conference should be every year.)  581 students from four counties and nearly 27 schools participated in April 1999.  (After 5 years of its success, and despite the initiative receiving accolades from RI presidents, D6990 terminated its support and any participation, but it remains in the Broward County School System as an annual event.)  The initiative was deemed the first of its kind in the country.  Any of these may be deemed a favorite. Being blessed with so many outstanding, supporting Rotarians, including the best Rotary club one could imagine for support while District Governor-the Rotary Club of South Miami-makes it too hard for me to give priority. But let me conclude #2 with this: My heart keeps going to the students.  My sons know it.  Fifteen or so years interviewing applicants at club and district levels for Rotary scholarships and the student-led ethics initiative bring happy memories.  (Otto Fuentes gave me my first Rotary assignment, and it was interviewing such applicants.  Today, some of those now former Rotary scholars are close friends.)

RCSM - What would you like to see Rotary do going forward?

RoyFor Rotary's future, I would like to see more done respecting and supporting our youth. Rotary does outstanding work feeding people, building for people, providing health services and educating people. Each enhances society. Letting our youth teach themselves and watching and learning from them in the student-led ethics initiative produces wonderful, direct benefits.  It allows reaching children's minds and offering them our respect.  Adult society needs to do more of it.  It still could be a place for Rotary's leadership.  A long-time educator, when talking about the student-led initiative told me "it is the adults who are the problem, not the students".  He is right.  I saw it and still see it.

The meaning of Rotary: the opportunity to serve.

Thank you Roy for your continued exemplary service!

edited by Jeff McNabb

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? Ellen Book's Story

This month's feature is Ellen Book, a past president of the Rotary Club of South Miami and who has been with the Miami Dade Public Library System for 30 years! Her work both as a South Miami Rotarian and as Miami Dade Public Library Branch Manager continues to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for everyone she meets!

RCSM, "Who or what brought you to Rotary?"

Ellen, "Past President Joanna Barusch asked me to speak to the club in January of 2000.  The trend was to have Library Branch Managers participate in community organizations.  I went from speaker, to guest, to member, to Secretary to President in five years. Joanna brought me, Rotary kept me."

RCSM, "What is your favorite Rotary memory?"

Ellen, "Not favorite, but most meaningful. 9/11/2001. That traumatic day is burnt into Americans' collective minds, but when I think back to that day our club meeting replaced fear with hope.  We hosted a Group Study Exchange team. Five professionals were visiting from South Africa. Each member gently spoke about the upheaval within their country and its survival. The blood that had been spilled, the injustice that had to be overcome, the tolerance and forgiveness which had to be learned gave a possibility that what was happening on that awful Tuesday might not lead to World War III."

RCSM, "What would you like to see our club do going forward?"

Ellen, "With seventeen years of membership, I've seen so many Rotarians participate in an array of good works.  Each put their own spin on how it should be accomplished. Ed Fischer, a beloved member who devoted decades to our club would impart wisdom nuggets at every meeting.  My favorite, clicks into how Rotarians think. "Whatever you share multiplies, and whatever you withhold, diminishes." Each year there has been fresh insight into where we should focus, yet we always maintain a shared vision to solve problems and impact our community. That continues to be our club's legacy."

Thank you Ellen for your service to our community!

Friday, June 16, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean To You? Felipe Vidal's Story

Felipe Vidal, IT extraordinaire and our club President for the 2017-2018 Rotary Year, shares his thoughts on what Rotary means to him!

Felipe describes himself as a "geek through and through", he comes at everything from a technical perspective, like finding out how the bits and pieces work and is a "Big Sky" thinker. He also describes himself as a person who isn't super social, but sociable. Felipe has been happily married for the past 23 years and is a father to three daughters!

Felipe Vidal is, without a doubt, a man of boundless energy and imagination, the 2017-2018 Rotary year should be an exciting one with him at the helm!

RCSM, "Felipe, who or what brought you to Rotary?"

Felipe, "That's an easy one, it was Asaad Masoud, Sail Boat Captain, I had chartered his boat and we got to talking about computers, one day, after I fixed his computer, Asaad said, 'Come visit me at Rotary!' And he kept inviting me back and back, until I became a member, 6 months later."

RCSM, "What inspired you to join? What kept you coming back and back?"

Felipe, "Rotary's mission, that was the core thing, because there was a reason to BE in Rotary, not just being a part of a club. And, I just found the club to be full of incredibly nice, self effacing people, who were serious, but didn't take themselves too seriously.

And it was basically really the first time I got this sense of belonging somewhere, even though I was the youngest person at the time, and I felt odd, because it was not my norm. But, it got me out of an uncomfortable place of just not socializing as much as I should, with a bunch of people who made me feel at home and that's why I'm here 11 years later."

RCSM, "What is your favorite Rotary memory?"

Felipe, after a pause,"That one is kind of hard...then again..."

RCSM, "Too many memories to choose from?"

Felipe, "It's not just that, I have a kind of relativistic memory which basically means I don't recall things with accuracy. I tend to be prompted, I remember things when other things happen. It's part of the reason I got into photography, it helps me remember.

I don't know, I guess it's more a feeling. I certainly feel like the first time I went out on these homeless ventures, it was memorable because it was an eye opener. I also appreciate learning about the fact of the concept of humanizing people, where that engagement creates an opportunity for people to get out of their situation, but it's mostly a feeling.

It's being in a place where I see people, like Gabriel, ( Gabriel De Armas Jr. a Past President and a moving, inspirational speaker) where I sit here... I had one of the moments right now! I felt like I'm so bloody grateful just to associate with someone like that! This place is like my drug, let's put it that way, I can't name any specific instance where I injected myself with Rotary, but every time I do something with it, I like, 'Wow! showing up was so worthwhile!' Even when it doesn't go great, because I was there, I supported my friends and they supported me, that's just the way I feel about these things. I keep trying to think of something specific, I bet if I flip my photos I would be prompted!"

RCSM, "What would you like to see Rotary do going forward?"

Felipe, "Well for our club at least, I really like to see us get more engaged in our area of service mostly in the city of South Miami. I want us become so well known that all the merchants and the members of the local government will come to us whenever they want to solve a problem in the community. Where they say, 'We're working on this, but Rotary is going to help us make it happen!'

We're a long way from that, but I firmly believe, that's what it's going to make our club valuable in our community. And, it's going to create, then, the ability for us to project elsewhere to other countries because the network we build in conjunction with the officials, merchants and all of that stuff, will create leverage to do bigger things than we can do today. That's what I look forward to in the next three or four years, just to get us to that point and I think that will be a game changer! Want 50 people in this club? That's how it's going to happen!

When those merchants say, 'Who are those Rotary guys? They did this, that and whatever, I should go join them!' We want a nice mix, the common guy, the merchants and the government people really working together, so it's not elitist and, I think that kind of diversity is what really makes us kick butt!"

RCSM, "Thank you Felipe!"

Interview by Jeff McNabb

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Make Your Moments Matter! Gabriel De Armas Jr. on Senior Health Care!

June 6, 2017 - Our speaker for the day, couldn't have come at a better time as our previous speaker had a last minute cancellation! And so, Gabriel De Armas Jr., a club past president and current president of Home Instead Senior Care came to the rescue with what was undoubtedly the best lecture of this Rotary year!

Make Your Moments Matter!

Gabe started out his lecture with a scary statistic! Every 1 in 9 will, at some point, suffer from some form of mental impairment, some form of dementia and potentially, some form of Alzheimers! "We are all very fragile, things happen, we need to make our moments matter! We're only as good as our memories!" Gabe began.

Ways to Help!

Dementia can lead to confusion, then, disorientation and ultimately fear! The elderly can go quiet, withdraw from the world, sometimes sleeping 16-18 hours a day! As a caregiver one technique to use, while helping them to feel like they are more in control, is to present them with options. Never say, "Do this, or do that!"

Flavia Berti, our newest board Director, asked "So, how do you ask them to do things then?"

Gabe, "You give them two choices, A or B, always give them two choices!"

Memories and Music

Gabe continued noting that some memories, especially feelings, are always going to be there, these are just stored in another location, more like in the back of the mind, and, are just a little more difficult to access. However, each mind is wired differently, and it may take other varying kinds of prompts to bring those memories forward. For example, with a sports fan, you might ask them about baseball statistics, suddenly, with just a simple question, a withdrawn person, who may have been quiet and reserved, will light up, recalling astronomical numbers! 

Julia, our exchange student from Hungary working on her Masters in Music, shared her story of her Grandmother and how they were able to connect after considerable time. Gabe followed up noting Julia's remarkable sense of empathy and how she instinctively knew how to relate to her loved one through her own unique approach! 

Dr. Michael Newman observed, “Well, musicians actually have to be empathetic to be good, and Julia must be greatly empathetic because she’s a great musician!” 

There's no doubt, music itself is huge! One sure fire way to connect with a Jazz fan, even if they have lost the ability of speech, is to play a record and watch as they suddenly start moving to the grove and begin to dance!

Connections are still there!

The fact, as Gabe pointed out, some of us may lose a part of our mind as we grow older, but fond memories and feelings have no expiration date! It just takes time, empathy, patience and love, to reconnect, for our elderly loved ones are still with us here and now! We just have to find the intellectual key to unlock this emotional door! That key can be through music or, just the right question sparking the unforgettable!

Thank you Gabe for your continued service to our community! 

by Jeff McNabb

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? Mari Chael's Story

Mari Chael is one of the more vivacious, engaging, personalities in our club! Her energy and enthusiasm for her community is endless and encouraging! She's an extremely versatile architect with designs that run the whole spectrum, from walkable communities, to civic buildings, to monuments, to small cottages, to affordable housing, and the list goes on.

Mari is also a big bike advocate. In fact, she is the founder of Bike SoMi and the current chair of the Green Mobility Network. GMN is a 305 grassroots organization that looks to further enable people to bike and walk safely, ultilizing a "greener" sense of mobility, by moving away from the pollution that comes from constantly driving cars to work. It is truly is a pleasure to see her in her element especially regarding bike advocacy, for she is, without a doubt, the STAR South Miami ambassador for switching from Automobile Mobility to Green Mobility!

One of Mari Chael's restoration projects!

Rotary Club of South Miami ( RCSM ) "Who or what brought you to Rotary?"

Mari, "I've known about Rotary most of my life, my husband was a Rotarian (Victor Doyle)  when our kids were little and so I was brought up in my adulthood with Rotary, seems like forever!

When I became an activist in South Miami, I thought I should join the Rotary Club because all of those people I've known for so many years who were out there doing good deeds for their community. And, by joining Rotary, this was really another means of tapping into a wonderful, positive group of people whose mission is improving our community and our world! So, anyway, my husband was a past President and after going to a Rotary convention, I was convinced that Rotary was like an extended family. And, to just to hear their stories, it's totally, totally inspirational!"

RCSM, "What is your favorite Rotary memory?"

Mari, "Oh? That is a trick question! I love everybody. in particular I love the ladies who selflessly put together the Arts Festival. I have to say, that of all of the Rotarians who are my favorites, I have a soft spot for Wendy (Wendy Lapidus) and Doreen (Doreen Reitnauer)."

RCSM "So, your favorite memory ties into the Arts Festival?"

Mari, "Well yeah! It's our major fundraiser and these ladies work year round to put it together both for our community and our foundation, and that kind of selfless giving, I really much admire!"

RCSM, "What would you like to see Rotary do going forward?"

Mari, "Well, I think the way we're going is good! I love the volunteer programs, I love the direction of editable foods, of helping the underserved in the community, like the homeless,  of boosting our sense of place, really everything we're doing is exactly the right thing!  I would like us to eventually grow organically and also have more participation in our volunteer, community events, and also, I would like to see us eventually reach 100% Rotary participation and I think that's doable! We still have a ways to go, but I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation!"

RCSM, "Thank you Mari!"

Mari, "Thank you! That was fun!"

Interview by Jeff McNabb

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rotary Lecture: Asha Loring, Food Deserts and Food Insecurity, Privilege, Poverty and Consumption

Our lecture for May 2, 2017 was given by Asha Loring, the Executive Director and Founder of the Health in the Hood project. Asha, began her lecture with the question, "Who knows what a food desert is?" Most didn't raise their hands... 

So, what are Food Deserts?

Asha continued. "I can't take credit for the concept, I actually grew up building vegetable gardens in food deserts, my Dad ( Dr. Marvin Dunn, renowned author and former FIU professor) was the "OG", or original gardener."However,  Asha continued, "Growing your own food, as we can see in history, isn't a novel nor a brand new concept."

Most people don’t know about these "food deserts". And yet, they do exist AND there are those people who are “food insecure”. One way to describe a “food desert “ is to break it down into three basic categories or zones, namely, A, B and C. 

These zones range from the easiest to the most difficult access to healthy food. Unfortunately, a "food insecurity" usually occurs within a “C” zone which means poorer families will have to resort to cheaper and far less healthier alternatives!  These "C" zone food deserts are where we see with these “Mom and “Pop” corner stores, these “glorified” gas stations, where choices like Chef Boryadee and or Beef Jerky, become, due to economic hardship, the only viable substitute to taking the bus to go to the nearest Publix. 

What causes Food Deserts?

The three main reasons these food deserts exist are due to a lack of finances, a lack of transportation and a lack of education. Our President Elect, Felipe Vidal, also added “lack of commercial interest” from the grocery store chains in these kinds of under-developed neighborhoods to that list. Felipe lives in a A to B food desert zone and described most of the food he sees in Publix as “crap”. 

“But, what we’re all about is #fooddesertnomore!” Asha followed up with her own unique hashtag.

Building a better Garden

What Health in the Hood does, is slightly different than Asha’s Dad’s original project, for they build these vibrant vegetable gardens in very specific dilapidated lots. These are those areas most in need and most capable of getting the best “bang for the buck” for that particular urban community! 

They do this by addressing those main concerns which lead to food desert depravity. Such as, this easier access to the food, where, with these urban gardens, the vegetables are right there near their own back door, then, through garden management, they create new jobs helping somewhat with financial stability and ultimately, where they provide a new healthier form of education for parents and kids in how not only to eat healthier, but also how to make this healthier lifestyle sustainable! Health in the Hood truly is a totally inclusive and comprehensive community led approach!

Privilege, Poverty and Consumption

Towards the end of Asha’s lecture, she gave the club this quick play on words. “Take these three words, Privilege, Poverty and Consumption, and try to put them into a sentence and how these thoughts can relate to the food injustice we see in these urban communities.” 

No one from the club was game...

Except... Asha’s mother, Andrea, who was up to the task, “Some people of “Privilege, don’t realize how much “Poverty” affects the “Consumption” of healthy food which causes a nation wide health crisis”. 

"And that, ladies and gentlemen, is an educator!" as Asha proudly beamed about her mother!

Frankly, Asha's mother, in that impromptu sentence, summed up the whole issue of food injustice and why projects such as Health in the Hood play such a vital role in rebuilding urban communities! For it will be through innovators like Asha, that perhaps, one day, #fooddesertsnomore will become a reality and not just a fancy hashtag! 

Thank you Asha Loring and thank you Health in the Hood!

by Jeff McNabb 

Monday, April 10, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? Mike Sutta's Rotary Story

Mike Sutta, is our past president for the 2015-2016 Rotary year, and he was given the Paul Harris Award by the club on February 14, 2017. Mike's commitment to community service, and to his family, is truly inspiring! Mike, who is the life of any party and takes the most entertaining selfies, is, also without a doubt, a perennial candidate for Rotarian of the Year!

This former mechanic with Brahman Honda, who moved on to work with PageNet Beeper, and then a staffing company, where he found jobs for people, (which, Mike described as very rewarding), eventually got involved, through a friend, with Merchant Services (credit card processing). Mike did very well in this industry until 2006 when he had to start over shortly after the Great Recession.

Now through SuperSwipe, Mike not only helps restaurants with their credit card processing, but also partners with non-profit organizations, such as RU Charitable whose goal is with helping other charitable organizations!

"I found out in life, at the end of the month, it really doesn't matter the size of your check, what matters, is what you have done to give back. " - Mike Sutta

RCSM, "What or who brought you to Rotary?"

Mike Sutta, "John Sorgie, who was involved in another networking group with me, (Profit Inc) invited me to this other group ( Rotary Club of South Miami), and treated me to lunch at Carrabbas. I didn't talk to many people that day, I did enjoy the speaker and the people there. I decided to come back a couple more weeks and then joined right away as the Arts Festival was coming up. "

RCSM, "Tell us about John Sorgie."

Mike, "John Sorgie was one of our past presidents, who was involved with the Christmas Parade in downtown South Miami, and he was the owner of Sunset Quick Print for many years, he passed away recently.

Because of John, and the people who were involved with the club then, is why I'm here now. This opportunity to get involved with the community, to get my hands dirty, especially with the Arts Festival, and really start to understand what this group is all about, and just to learn the meaning behind what we say at the end of each meeting, this four way test. That is what got me to come back again and again."

RCSM, "What's your favorite Rotary memory?"

Mike, "My favorite Rotary memory. In my first year in Rotary, I would always get to meetings early, because I wanted to meet and get to know the people of the club, especially those who have been with the club for awhile.

New Facebook Friends

One of those meetings I met Marcos, who was from Brazil who visited our club before his trip to Chicago. Marcos found our club through an online search, sat next to me, we traded business cards and I never saw him again after that meeting, but, we became Facebook friends. Through the next year and a half, we kept in touch texting about Rotary through Facebook. And, during my club presidency, I went to Brazil for the convention, and so, I contacted Marcos, through Facebook saying, "Hey, let's meet up!"


This convention was HUGE, talking about over 5,000 people, HUGE you could see it, especially when I checked the convention stage where, from this big screen monitor, you could see rows and rows of people, and I was basically in the last aisle. I had jumped over a pair of seats to work my way in to an open seat, and as soon as I sat down, guess who turns around, Marcos! It was like a reunion of old friends! This was the biggest Rotary connection I had ever made, and we really only met once! With Marcos, I was more comfortable, I felt un-scared, texting and emailing about the fundamentals and advice about Rotary, more so, than reaching out to someone here locally.

Rotary Camaraderie

And then, after we met in Brazil, Marcos took me everywhere, he introduced me to everyone in the convention, and I ended up delaying my flight back home by a day so I could go to a Rotary meeting in Brazil. When I went to one of their Rotary meetings, it was different than our lunch because they would drink before the meeting, and this was at a Brazilian Steakhouse with all you can eat steak! So... I had about 5 or 6 Scotches in hand before I even went to sit down because everyone bought me drinks! It was just this close camaraderie that impressed me and I also met the incoming president and we're still Facebook friends today. Although, the camaraderie we have here, is just exceptional!"

RCSM, "What would you like to see Rotary do going forward?"

Mike, "I would like to see the local professionals, who are my age and younger, contribute back to the community, in Rotary's whole theme. It's not hard, it's just time consuming. And, once you learn how to structure your schedule to allow Rotary into your life, then you dedicate that part of your time.

That's how I want to see our club develop, engaging our members with their talents and abilities because everyone comes to the table with something! Just being able to tap into those things they do naturally, they might go, and realize, 'Oh that wasn't too hard!' "

Thanks again for your service, your leadership and your Rotary enthusiasm Mike!

Interview by Jeff McNabb

Thursday, March 30, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? Flavia Berti's Rotary Story

Flavia Berti, president, co-owner and founder of  Equipaws Pet Services, is one of the more dynamic members of the Rotary Club of South Miami and her work with the South Miami Rotary Art Festival Committee, especially on the marketing end, but also through her committee leadership and brilliant ideas, has been instrumental in its continued success!

Flavia also has taken over planning and hosting of our Rotary socials, and the last two socials at TamboWorks and Lincoln's Beard Brewery would not have been possible without her! Flavia truly is one of the Rotary Club of South Miami's All-Stars!

RCSM ( Rotary Club of South Miami ) "Who introduced you to Rotary?"

Flavia, "Brett ( Brett Trembly, one of our past presidents) actually brought me into Rotary. He mentioned Rotary at a BNI meeting, and I was kinda over BNI at the time with it being so business oriented, so Brett first mentioned bringing me into the Arts Festival by having doggy hydration stations. And then, Brett told me what Rotary is about, being volunteered based, but also having a business side and I said, 'That is totally up my alley!' Because, that's how I grew up, our parents always used to do things for others like galas, and I was always helping my mother with others."

RCSM, "So, you were brought in by the Community Service aspect?"

Flavia, "Yes"

RCSM, "What is your Favorite Rotary memory?"

Flavia, "Well, I love the South Miami Rotary Arts Festivals, they are so much fun! I like everything that leads up to it, and I like the group that we work with, we have an awesome team!

RCSM, "Is there any Arts Festival that sticks out to you as being especially special?"

Flavia, "Well, I've only done two or three Arts Festivals, I have to check to be sure, I really can't pick one. I really like working the marketing side of this, involving the radio stations, and just trying to change things to help increase turnout, it's really a great festival and for a great cause! "

RCSM, "What would you like to see Rotary do? What would be your next great project?"

Flavia, "I would like to get together with the whole group and just see what everyone's interests are, and then pinpoint one. For example, Mari (Mari Chael, another club dynamo), would like to make our community more bike friendly. For me, it's more on the animal side, and I love working with Senior Citizens. It wouldn't have to be something I like, just something we can all work together on. One common project. I also love the "Best Buddies" program, and working with kids with disabilities."

Thank you so much Flavia for your continued service above self to Rotary and to our club!

Interview by Jeff McNabb

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rotary Lecture: 7 Tips for Flawless Social Branding! By Misty Buck Iglesias

March 28, 2017- was a perfect day with a perfect last lecturer to end this Women's History Month! Today's special guest was Misty Buck Iglesias, who is an innovative, pioneering, trailblazing, social media marketing guru!  Misty founded her company of Miss Ink LLC in 2008 (a landmark year signalling the dawn of all social media marketing), and thanks to Misty, we all walked away a bit more informed about effective social media marketing!

Jumping right in!

At the very beginning, Misty just informed her clients about My Space, as in 2008, there really wasn't much else available, but since that audacious start, like the social media platforms she informed us about, her knowledge, expertise and influence has grown exponentially! Wasting no time, Misty jumped right in with her "7 tips for Flawless Social Media"!

Tip #1

Claim your Name! Make sure to use a name that goes all the way through, use a name that applies across the board on multiple social media platforms! And, use a name where you can work with the branding such as @ symbols, which you will need to use all in one place. DON'T FREAK OUT if someone already has your handle! We live in an age of endless ideas and names, so BE CREATIVE, add an extra symbol or letter to that original name. Who knows? Maybe this slight change to the original name will work to your benefit!

Tip #2 

Brand Imaging - or in other words, connecting visually. For example, Misty's own logo uses a STAR and the color HOT PINK, the idea behind this imaging and color scheme is to be on the top of the mind of the potential client. To further make her point, Misty ran a slide of well known logos, such as the Nike and Rotary International logos, however, the biggest reaction from today's audience came when Brett Trembly's business logo was shown! "Pay me later," Misty reminded Brett.

Tip #3 

Let Them Meet Oz - Most of us can relate to the long winding yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz story, but most of us just don't have the time to read that whole story, hence in today's age, skip that road and let them meet Oz from the beginning! Get to the point, spell it out, be concise, think of this as your own time sensitive commercial. Start by picking the top 3 things you want to be associated with, but don't just do this brand as a copy and paste, do so in your own voice!

Tip #4 

Be Personal - People do business with people they like! Misty, for example, loves classic trucks! What are your passions? You don't need to tell your life story, just what interests you! These are other ways to connect ..."I like that person because they like..." People simply like to be around other like-minded people!

Tip #5 

Be Present - Needless to say, there are a bunch a social networks with more being created each year and the new "hot" platform changes frequently, there's no question there are social media FOTMs ( Flavor of the month)! Which one should you choose? Misty suggests pick one or two, but BE ACTIVE, get really good, build some expertise at those two before expanding, still, remember to BE THERE, BE PRESENT! Check on those networks, check the comments, and RESPOND back, not just with emojis, but with actual comments! Be engaged! Think of it going to a party, knocking on the door and suddenly there's no one there! Don't miss opportunities! It's called social networking for a reason!

Tip #6 

Study Influences, What are your hot topics? What is interesting to you? Who influences you? Look for those people who you may want to follow, and study what you are interested in! You can also Join social groups! This is yet another way to connect, another way to find the like-minded!

Tip #7

Be Human - Don't be afraid to speak your mind, but do use what you are comfortable with! Just don't go on rants all of the time! And, most of all, don't be afraid of who you are, give something, some subject for potential client to connect with and be inspired! Have funny anecdotes, share some experiences, show that you are human!

Thank you Misty for this informative lecture!

by Jeff McNabb

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Dynamism of Rotary

March 14, 2017 - This day of Fellowship was centered around the discussion about the purpose and the meaning of Rotary. Are we a business interest first organization or is service paramount? What is this engine behind the dynamism of Rotary? In changing evolving times, focuses for membership and recruitment lead to differing philosophies and frankly, no club can even exist without attracting new potential members. Ultimately, there is no doubting the original meaning of Rotary which was firmly established in 1910, specifically, to be of "service above self", still, one can come to service from differing initial premises.

An Email Conversation Develops Into a Discussion!

The principals of this discussion were two of our more distinguished members, namely, Dr. Michael Newman and Roy Gonas. Roy presented his coming to Rotary philosophy from the attitude of service first, leading to business relationships later, while Dr. Mike offered a different perspective as coming from an attitude of business interest leading to service later. The idea for this discussion was proposed by President Subrata Basu, based upon a long inter-club email conversation string originally titled "R2R and other Rotary ideas", began by myself. It should be noted, Subrata during this year actually has taken to heart initiating further Rotary education during our Fellowship weeks, and has been instrumental in getting these kinds of lectures and discussions started.

The Rotary Field at Murray Park!

Past president Michael Mills set the stage with his own Rotary Story while also adding in a bit of a "craft talk", in a sense, Mike combined the two approaches ( business and service) to be later discussed in more depth and detail. During Mike Mills' term as president, the Rotary Club of South Miami focused on community service projects centered in South Miami, in fact, it was during President Mills' term where we helped to install the lights for Murray Park's field, a project so impressive the field was named after our club and today and is still known as "The Rotary Field at Murray Park"! Mike also noted our newer members (including myself), while setting up very worthwhile service above self projects, have lost that South Miami focus, although, the current President, Subrata, has made considerable effort this year to refocus and to bring us back "home".

The Intersection between Commerce and Service!

Former District Governor, Roy Gonas, began the discussion by noting President Elect Felipe Vidal's follow up message to one of his responses in that email conversation string (needless to say, this was quite some conversation!). In Felipe's response, he backed up his case of a business first approach with a subject brought up at the recent PETS seminar (or the President Elect's Training Seminar) that topic being: Rotary, is "the intersection between Commerce and Service"! Felipe's Rotary philosophy dealt more with this continued and stronger emphasis on business networking. An idea where the "business first" approach can and will lead to a call to service later ( but, only for those who really want to do community service, those only joining Rotary for business interests, will naturally weed themselves out).

Service is Paramount!

"I'm going to get back to this later, however, remember this, Service above Self" Roy followed up, (and paraphrasing Roy's continuation) "Rotary began not as a business networking club, but more as a social club, an idea originated by its founder Paul Harris, a "lonely" young lawyer in 1905, where Harris and other young professionals would set up meetings in different offices, thereby rotating venues (although the name "Rotary" does not come from the office rotation idea, that's a myth), the key point, is that it worked! However, Rotary didn't officially change its focus, (and it did so rather dramatically) from being this social club to a service club until 1910. And, that switch to an emphasis on service first, this "service above self" attitude is what truly distinguishes us from other organizations. It is ultimately why Rotary, along with the privileged association of its remarkable members, those distinctions, these diversified classifications, those leaders made up of individuals defined by the very highest level of character, join in service as it is for service, for THAT is the heart and soul of Rotary, as service is paramount!

Business relationships develop naturally!

Mike Mills actually had a great response to this service first approach in his own answer, in that now famous or (is it infamous?) email conversation string. And I quote, "When business professionals and community leaders meet, my experience is that the business relationships and referrals come naturally."

 Not Tit for Tat!

Past president Dr. Michael Newman, followed up Roy with his response in regards to approaching Rotary this time from a business networking venture standpoint, although, Dr. Mike pointed out, "This is not a Tit for Tat, where Roy takes one side and I take the other". Dr. Mike began his Rotary lecture with his own Rotary story. Originally recruited in 1979, by a PR Marketing guy, first name of Buzz, Dr. Mike joined both the Rotary Club located in downtown Miami as well as the "Progress" club ( a BNI equivalent business networking club ). He was with the Progress club for 5 years and it did help him grow his practice. And, after about a year and a half of commuting to downtown Miami, Dr. Mike needed a new Rotary club that was closer, and so introduced by Jesse Cruz, Dr. Mike joined the Rotary Club of South Miami in 1980 and has been a member ever since.

The Dynamism of Rotary!

While Dr. Mike originally joined Rotary as a means to build his practice, over the years, he learned Rotary was more for service and not as much for business networking. In fact even recently when we've had visitors who, when introduced, almost gave commercials for their business it would be Dr. Mike who noted, publicly so, that while it's OK for professionals to come here, this is not a business networking club like a BNI. In fact to make his point, illustrating this dynamism of Rotary, Dr. Mike cited one of the avenues of Rotary service which is "Vocational service" a service that encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations. However, business AND service can be married with Rotary. One sure way (the ultimate way, noted by Dr. Mike) to build a business, is to build a rapport with the people who you want to build a rapport with, building upon these relationships with the people in your lives, and Rotary, being a service oriented organization, does just that! Dr. Mike went on further to note, all of us together are more than just friends we're a "Rotary family" and he would call upon nearly everyone of us if he needed a service.

This is an ongoing, continuing, and developing conversation, and a great one to have! For this discussion ultimately attempts to answer the pressing question all clubs must eventually ask, "How can our Rotary club grow?"

Thank you Mike Mills, Dr. Mike, Roy and especially Subrata for bringing up this topic!

by Jeff McNabb

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rotary Lecture: Greg Hamra, Climate Change, Carbon Tax and Negative Externality!

March 7, 2017 - Our lecture today was by Greg Hamra of the Miami Chapter of the Climate Change Lobby (CCL). The CCL is a bi-partisan organization taking up the good fight and saving the world through the implementation of Carbon Taxes. Climate Change isn't, nor should it be, a partisan issue because it affects everyone and simply does not differentiate between party lines. Frankly, we all breathe the same air, we all live on the same Earth. And, the CCL has something to offer for both sides of the aisle, as their plan can effectively reduce carbon emissions while also reducing some federal regulations.

Livable World

The CCL's motto: "Political Will for a Livable World!"
Political will does not originate with the politicians, it comes from the people! Mr. Hamra encouraged all in attendance to reach out to their government representative, because, as he stated, it works!

350 Parts Per Million

An admitted "frustrated" scientist ( not mad, he corrected, but frustrated ), Hamra talked extensively about the diabolical issue of rising Carbon Dioxide emissions, bringing up the example of which states the proverbial line in the environmental sand that we simply cannot cross in terms of Carbon Dioxide "was" 350 parts per million. Unfortunately, we exceeded that limit, in fact passing 400 parts per million a few years ago. Hamra goes on stating that 350 parts per million may now be an impossibility.

Still, worth to note is what James Hansen once said, ( Hansen is the scientist whose research was the very basis for the founding of ). “If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from to at most 350 ppm.”

Hamra, then stated we now have three options: Reduce ( our Carbon Dioxide emissions ), Adapt ( to an ever warming climate ) or Suffer!

Ocean  Acidification and  Negative Externality

The Climate Change Lobby's position is focused on reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions. As with increased Carbon Dioxide emissions, we also have increased Ocean Acidification, which is a reduction of the pH of the ocean over time. According to Hamra, this Ocean Acidification leads not just to Global Warming, but rather a "Global Weirding" and "Climate Chaos", which also has a direct negative impact on economic markets. 

The economic term used here was "negative externality" which occurs when a product or decision costs the society more than its private cost. Car pollution is an example of negative externality; as a driver of a car, you don't account for the costs of the air pollution created by the car but the society is paying for the costs of air pollution. Hamra's specific example was even more direct, as it's not only a market loss but also a food supply negative, such as the supply of Herring fish gradually being depleted due to Ocean Acidification. Herring fish are being overcome by Humboldt Squid; these giant squid thrive with ocean acidification and are directly competing with fishermen and resulting in a loss of revenue for the Fishermen and potentially a food shortage.

Gaining Traction

Fortunately the CCL is gaining traction, as their concept of letting our free market decide is attractive enough that they are making a difference, generating that political will, raising awareness enough that both conservatives and liberals are now standing firmly together, and hopefully through this unified effort, we can actualize Hansen's "impossible" dream and make this world a bit more livable! 

Thank you Greg Hamra for this thought provoking lecture!

Article by Jeff McNabb
(edited by Frankie Berti)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Valentine's Day Fellowship 2017!

February 14, 2017 - A full house on this day of special fellowship that just so happened to fall on this day of sweethearts, Valentine's Day

The board approved a thoughtful and yet, also sentimental luncheon deal which encouraged our members to bring their significant others or their friends. And, we were treated by more than just candy and roses, but by also getting to meet the current president of the South Miami Senior High-school interact Club, she was so inspiring as were the students ( one a fellow officer, the other a Teacher Advisor)!

Application of the 4-Way Test

Past President Mike Sutta's happy dollar story of successfully applying the 4-way test to both his personal and business life was my  personal happy dollar highlight, and this did not go unnoticed by the current Interact president, and how, she too, applies those same principles in her life.

Well Deserved!

Additionally, several well deserving members received their first Paul Harris, notably: Denny, Ernesto, Flavia, Lewis, Mike and Peter! VERY WELL DESERVED, YOU are our dynamos, our hurricanes!! I was also included. And, congrats again for adding to your Paul Harris contribution: Brett, Britt, Subrata, David, Marty, Mari, Wendy, Doreen and Ellen! And one future Rotarian in Roy’s grandson!

A beautiful lunch filled with beautiful insight, encouragement and promise! 

- by Jeff McNabb

What Does Rotary Mean to You - Subrata Basu, Rotary Club of South Miami President 2016-2017

 Subrata Basu, Rotary Club of South Miami, President 2016-2017

#1 Why did you join Rotary? 
My primary motivation to join Rotary or volunteer for any civic, professional or community organizations is to continue as well as to expand my commitment to public service. As a third generation in public service I have always believed that in-spite of our hard work and family influence, the community has a lot to do with who we are. Those of us who are fortunate have an obligation to “give back” to the community in whatever way we can to help make our communities better places to live, work, learn and grow for others. I believe the values that Rotary promotes, not only help improve people’s lives but through its worldwide network can build strong bonds between peoples of different cultures, religions and regions resulting in greater understanding, peace and harmony. 
#2 Your Favorite Rotary memory. 
I don’t normally hang on to any one “favorite” moment. To me it’s about learning from the experience of every moment and hopefully creating better memories in the future and to continue to learn.

#3 what would you like to see Rotary accomplish?

Help improve the lives of people around the world through Peace, understanding and mutual respect. 

Thank you for your service President Subrata! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alex Schreer, New Vision for Sunset Place

February 7, 2017 A packed American Legion house including two new visitors thanks to our social media efforts, and a fascinating lecture by Alex Schreer! Mr. Sheer oversees the branding and re-positioning of several projects including Shops at Sunset Place and CocoWalk.

A Changing Skyline Landscape
Times change, and community issues need to be addressed as well as marketing concerns. As one example regarding Sunset Place, sidewalks will be widened buffered by Oak Trees, promoting greener spaces that also offer enhanced safety for both pedestrians and bike riders. These modern designs further incorporate innovative Green Mobility concepts, while also expanding shopping space and easier consumer access. And, Alex's presentation artistically illustrated this changing skyline landscape which was both visionary and inspiring!

Always pain with change...
When answering a question about the expansion of the side walks and how this can cause an initial traffic dilemma, Alex responded, "There's always pain with change, but we do this for success!" And, with former Rotarian, Victor Brandon Dover, Rotarian Mari Chael's loving husband, leading up these new innovative designs, the future looks bright, not only for Sunset Place, but also for the city of South Miami!

by Jeff McNabb

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016-2017 Rotary Youth Leadership Award Recipient - Rafael Gonzalez!

The 2016-2017 Rotary Youth Leadership Award Recipient, is our very own South Miami Senior High School Student and Interact Club Vice President, Rafael Gonzalez!

Here's a brief interview between this fascinating driven young man and the RYLA nominating Committee!

RYLA Committee, "What is your present role as a leader in your community?"

Rafael, "I'm assisting interning for the 27th Congressional District under Ileana Ros-Lehtinen"

RYLA Committee, "Would you classify yourself as a passive or dominate active leader? Please give examples."

Rafael, "I listen for different strategies for Projects and how to influence the expansion of donations around Miami Dade County"

RYLA Committee, "What do you believe are the qualities that a leader must have?"

Rafael, "As a leader, to be assertive, present humility and the desire to please with the decision at hand within my reach."

RYLA Committee, "Please briefly explain why you believe that this leadership conference will help you as a leader."

Rafael, "As a leader, we must be humbled to show our ethos. I wish to expand my knowledge and be a more qualified leader."

RYLA, "Where did you hear about the RYLA program?"

Rafael, "Robert H. Kelly, the RYLA Chairman for the Rotary Club of South Miami."

Congrats Rafael! And, thank you Bob Kelly for your service and in bringing this bright young man to the attention of the RYLA nominating committee!

source: Robert H. Kelly, RYLA Chairman

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Historic Lecture - Dr. Gregory Bush, Author, Historian

A Historic Lecture

January 24, 2017 - Our Speaker for today was Dr. Gregory Bush, author, historian, professor, and the director of the Institute for Public History at the University of Miami. Dr. Bush's lecture further illustrated Miami's rich history and how our public spaces played an intrical part in South Florida's Civic Rights history.

Nature Links

Dr. Bush began by describing his program which helps students with intellectual disabilities namely, "Nature Links". There isn't much to do in Miami Dade Country for students with intellectual disabilities out of the high-school program. Dr. Bush''s  program helps keeps them active, teaching them various skills ranging from planting to cooking. Additionally, Rotarian Mari Chael is the Vice President of this program (wonders never cease with Mari!). You can find a Nature Links project in various locations ranging from Coral Gables to Palmetto Bay.

Land Over Time

Then Dr. Bush switched to the main topic of the day which is creating spaces that last, focusing on the needs of all instead of just a few. Currently, it's confusing to even know who owns which parcel of land, what's public and what's private. And further exacerbating the issue is the fact unfortunately most of us in Miami just don't have a solid concept of our history. Dr. Bush gave us a brief synopsis of its history beginning with briefly describing the first Civil Rights assembly which was right here in May of 1945.

This educational summary was only limited by time constraints, still much was discussed and much reviewed. Such as the fascinating history of Virginia Key and its ongoing, but promising, preservation struggles. The Civil Rights history ( much of this unknown to Miami Natives) and how much of this history was preserved by the prominent women ( not so much the men) of that movement. The worry of old landmarks giving way to private industry, the extravagant parking costs just for access for public beaches, essentially pushing people away. And the concern, just how much this land of ours has changed over time, and what we can do to learn more. Thank you Dr. Bush!

Thank you Dr. Bush!

Article by Jeff McNabb

Mid Year Review - How are we doing?

True Fellowship and why did You Join Rotary?

January 10, 2017 - Today was a fellowship meeting in the truest sense, attendance continues to be solid and we all shared what brought us to Rotary. Generally, community service opportunity was a part of each answer, some were influenced and recruited by other Rotarians, a few others recruited through a Rotarian family legacy.

Mid Year Review - How are we doing?

The second half of the meeting was the first half of the year in review, and most goals set at the beginning of the year are being addressed! Still, there is room for improvement, and the strive to be better and to do more should always be a part of our collected drive. However, Rotarian Bob Kelly noted, to paraphrase his high-school basketball coach, that through trying and honest effort, we are in fact, achieving!

President Subrata's mid-year presentation was expertly prepared with illustrations and outlined what we have done so far. Some discussion took place mostly on what to run as fundraisers for our club, possibly setting up new club traditions. Rotarian Mari Chael, had an excellent idea about a community bike ride and a garage sale ( maybe a couple of garage sales).

Continued Club Enthusiasm!

Even though there wasn't a speaker today, the discussion today was effective and everyone participated, this just goes to show the kind of infectious enthusiasm we have as Rotary Club of South Miamians!

Article by Jeff McNabb

A Special Kind of Leadership - Dr.Jeffrey Hodgson of the New World School of the Arts

A Special Kind of Leadership

January 3, 2017 - Our speaker today was Dr.Jeffrey Hodgson of the New World School of the Arts, Lee Michael Morrison, our former distinguished speaker chair and fellow Rotarian, introduced Dr. Hodgson who was influential in Lee’s life as a former artistic director of NWSA’s Wind Symphony program.

To paraphrase Lee’s introduction, Dr. Hodgson is one of those special kind of leaders who works behind the scenes, always encouraging, always patting those he supports on the back, and always taking a back seat so his students and staff can take the spotlight.

Rotary Scholarship

Dr. Hodgson, an accomplished pianist himself, began the lecture introducing Daniel Ochoa, the Rotary Scholarship Recipient, who is a freshman in the visual arts program, specializing in graphic art design.

Daniel, a well rounded artist and a Miami native, had the highest marks in visual design for NWSA, and is currently involved in the WARP program which is an intensive study that meets for 10 hours per week.

Educational Partnership 

The NWSA isn’t just a high school program promoting and helping to produce music, theater, dance and visual arts talents, but also works closely with Miami Dade College and the University of Florida as a 4 year college program.

In fact, one of the benefits of the NWSA is being on a college campus studying with college faculty. And, those in the high school program earn 24 credits towards their college degree. Additionally, there is a 100% graduation rate, and in 2015, a $24.6 million scholarship was awarded to 115 of NWSA’s graduates.

ROI of Arts Degrees

NWSA will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, an accomplishment that is rare in Miami. It’s programs like the NWSA that continues to enlighten us about the Return on Investment with Arts degrees, which is a needed, vital resource, equivalent of Law, and Medical degrees.

The study of the Arts expands the mind, enriches communities, laying down the foundation of lasting legacies often defining cultures and international societies, visually, as well as musically.

Thank you Dr. Jeffrey Hodgson and congratulations on the NWSA's 30 year anniversary!

Article by Jeff McNabb

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rotary Club of South Miami Officer of the Quarter – December, 2016 OFFICER ARYO REZAIE

January 24, 2017 – South Miami, Florida

For the 2016-17 Rotary year, Rotary Club of South Miami President Subrata Basu and the club’s Board re-instituted the Police Officer of the Quarter Award to recognize the outstanding work of South Miami’s finest.

The award for the 4th Quarter, 2016, is being awarded to Officer Aryo Rezaie.

On December 25th, South Miami officers were dispatched to a violent confrontation involving a knife occurring at a residence.

The family’s housekeeper, upon arrival for the day, had been terminated and asked to leave the residence by the woman who employed her. The husband was asleep in the bedroom.

Moments later, the housekeeper entered the residence, woke up the husband and forced him out of the house. She then grabbed a large kitchen knife and held him at knife-point outside of the house. With the wife and son present, she said she was going to kill the husband. He was able to break free and the family ran inside a neighbor’s house for safety and to call 911. The attacker, meanwhile, was banging on the glass door with the knife, attempting to gain entry.

Upon arrival of Officer Rezaie and other officers, the housekeeper approached them, still carrying the knife. With officers giving loud verbal commands to drop the knife, she continued toward them.

Officers are trained to react to a potentially fatal attack to stop the threat against themselves or the public. For attacks with edged weapons, including knives, the “21 foot rule” has historically been accepted as the minimum reasonable distance officers have to defend themselves. Recent training leans toward a “situational response” rather than a fixed distance. Newer principles recommend or encourage officers to use all available resources and options to avoid the use of deadly force.

In this incident, the housekeeper got to within 15 feet of the officers while still disobeying their clear commands to drop the knife. At that moment, Officer Rezaie deployed his Taser, causing the subject to drop the knife and fall to the ground. Officers were then able to take her into custody without injury or further trouble.

For this particular incident, Officer Rezaie’s performance and critical decision making proved the recent trend toward “situational response” is valid. Sound judgment, attention to training, instincts and common sense by Officer Rezaie resulted in the best outcome in this situation.

 source: City of South Miami Police Department

Friday, January 13, 2017

What Does Rotary Mean to You? A continuing Rotary Club of South Miami series...

2016-2017 Rotary Club of South Miami's Secretary David Jacobs' Rotary Story

I joined Rotary in November of 1996 (I can’t believe it’s been over 20 years!), sponsored by Bill Krueger. When Bill invited me to join and brought me to my first meeting, he said an organization like Rotary was “good for a young man like you.” He was so right! I was immediately swept up in the whirl and excitement of community, national and international service projects happening in our club at the time. One of my first memories in our club was a project where we refurbished a school bus and shipped the bus to a school in Central America.
My favorite Rotary memories are selling sodas at the Art Festival Coke booth near the food court with my daughters Kat and Kris. Those experiences in community service through our Club, and seeing Club members giving generously of their time and talent in service, inspired them both to pursue careers of service. Kat is a PhD student in Social Work at FSU, and Kris is the daytime operations manager at the Kearny Center in Tallahassee, the facility serving clients experiencing homelessness in Leon County.
I would like to see our club engaged in the city of South Miami, and for us to continue our active hands on community service.

Thank you DJ!