Friday, March 19, 2021

Program: Nisha Chandran - Up Close & Personal Introduction
Messages this week from our Club President, Tracey Curtis
          Toronto Symphony Orchestra      
Hello Rotarians. On this beautiful sunny day, our thoughts are already turning to Spring. There's lots of good feedback to celebrate about how well our district health unit is rolling out Covid vaccinations, and how many of our own members have already had their first shot. We're on the right path, even though we MUST keep our guard up. And of course, we MUST keep on supporting one another. Reach out! People are so glad when you do.
Rick's O Canada recording treat this week was Brampton native and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Alessia Cara performing the Canadian national anthem before the 2021 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month. Watch it here
Another treat at today's meeting was a locally produced video about Land Acknowledgements. Watch it here. It's very important for us to learn and understand. 
Many happy returns to:
Brett Reichert - March 25
Get in touch and tell Brett how much we miss seeing him at Rotary!
Congratulations on these Rotary anniversaries:
Gary Stewart - March 21, 1997 - 24 years!
Liz Sandals - March 22 - 2 years as a full member, plus almost 15 years as an honourary member!
Murray Taylor - March 24 - 21 years!  
Thank you for your service! We are grateful to you.
Other Announcements:
President Tracey provided feedback from the board meeting held on March 16, but first sincerely thanked all our directors and officers for their service, especially for giving up their personal time at the end of the day when many had already spent hours attending online Zoom business calls. Board highlights include the following:
  • Club membership dues for 2021-2022 will be reduced by at least $100 for members who pay by June 30. The reduction is possible because we have a surplus from this past Covid year of not meeting in person at the ICC, plus we're getting some surplus back from District 7080. Some of our surplus funds will be held in reserve in case we need to purchase technical equipment to continue with some Zoom benefits even when we are able to get back to in-person meetings.
  • Building a 5-Year Vision and Strategic Plan is being planned for our club, with help from the District. Our last strategic plan dates back to 2011. So far, 14 club members have already indicated interest in participating in this project, and ALL club members will be updated as the exercise proceeds.
  • A New 'Corporate Membership' Category has been researched by Roger Garriock and Andrew Johnson for introduction at our club. Thanks for the hard work on this, Roger and Andrew!
  • Our club will continue to donate 10% of our net proceeds from fundraising to Rotary International to support global programs such as polio eradication. This practice has been followed by many Rotary clubs for many years. Our club's annual total amount donated to RI this way will be reflected in the matching value of Paul Harris points allocated equally to our members. 
  • A $17,731 fundraising surplus is now available for allocation in this Rotary year, thanks to outstanding and unexpected fundraising success ... in spite of Covid! Club members and committees are invited to submit funding suggestions by March 31, 2021, for disbursement and use by June 30, 2021.
  • Our club's annual Budget Proposal Meeting will take place on Saturday, May 15, 2021 from 9am to 12 noon. Terrie Jarvis will be coordinating the arrangements once again. Committees should start getting their reports and their proposals ready to present at this meeting. Since it will be held on Zoom, ALL club members are encouraged to attend to learn about our club activities. Please bookmark the date and time in your calendars. Details will follow.  

Each session is online and runs from 7-9pm, on week nights until March 30. Your opinions matter so ALL members should aim to attend a session. Sign up online here, or email Terrie Jarvis. The annual Firesides are a great chance to get to know other Rotarians and feel more connected with our club. 

Noma Vales and the Fellowship Committee hope you will join our walk in the park (and a hike for those who wish to go further) on Sunday, March 21. Meet up in the parking lot by the Lawn Bowling Club on Gordon Street. The walk / hike starts at 1pm and will head west. The weather forecast is looking great for a lovely day!

Ben McCarl's fifth online Paint Night starts at 6pm on Sunday evening, March 21. Participants will be guided through painting this giraffe and invited to add their own artistic touches. REGISTER HERE. Invite friends and family, too. Gisella Gozzola is Ben's co-host, and Terrie Jarvis is supporting with promotion, registration and technical hosting. Donations to the IYSN. 

March 22 is World Water Day, a time to pause and reflect on what water means to people, its true value and how we can better protect this vital resource. 
  • Every day is World Water Day with Rotary International because at least 3,000 children die each day from unsafe water.
  • Right here in Guelph, water is a serious consideration because we have a finite groundwater supply. One study has indicated that Guelph could reach its max in 8-9 years' time based on current population and employment growth targets. Something to think about. 


A lot of wonderful resources are available online to learn more about Rotary on your own schedule. Check the list of modules here
Also, mark your calendar for our District Virtual Conference on May 29, 2021 from 9am to 12:30pm. Details are here


If you're happy and you know it, contribute your Happy Bucks on our club's GiveSome pages here. There are four topics to donate to.
  • Nisha Chandran and her husband Arj are celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary.
  • Helmuth Slisarenko recalled a St. Patrick's Day "Limerick Face Off" contest at our club some 17-18 years ago, which Murray Taylor won. Murray promptly retrieved that winning rhyme and repeated it for us! Helmuth also recalls Paul Truex serving green beer to contestants at that time. Great memories!
  • Joanne McAuley raised the stakes with another joke. You had to be there to hear her tell it.
  • Jennifer Dunsmoor is very proud of her employer, Bisson Dentistry, for their community service. On Friday, May 14, this dental practice will once again offer a full day of FREE SERVICE to adults 18 or older in need of treatment, from 8am to 3pm. 
  • Faz Ashkar noted that the first day of spring (March 20) also marks the beginning of Nowruz ... New Year in the Iranian and Persian calendar, a celebration that continues with traditional activities for 13 days. For thousands of years, Nowruz has been a time to embrace new beginnings by closing old chapters, and to be optimistic for what the future has in store. Thank you, Faz, for explaining this celebration to us. "Norouzetan Pirouz!" 
  • Andrew Johnson gave a shout-out to the other Rotarian golfers. Driving ranges will open soon and it is time to start focusing on fitness. Andrew is keen to get out there!
  • President Tracey congratulated Paul and Jean Truex on their 62nd wedding anniversary! Warm congratulations from us ALL! 
Program this week - March 19, 2021:
Getting to know Nisha Chandran, Up Close & Personal
Nisha joined our Rotary Club of Guelph in May 2020 and is among the group of newer members who have yet to attend a club meeting in person - something both she and we are looking forward to.
Today, Nisha uses her Ph.D. in Life Sciences (Health Economics) as a health outcomes scientist at the global pharmaceutical company, Glaxo Smith Kline, and she is very proud about her contribution to forming evidence-based health economic assessments.  
She told her personal life story (from 1986 until now) in "Three Epochs" covering significant chapters of her life in Jamaica, India and Canada.
She was born in Jamaica where her dad was employed for some years by the UN as a surgeon. They later moved to India where she did her schooling. She describes her education experience as being "privileged". 
Becoming a doctor or engineer was a very strong expectation that she and others in her family grew up with. In fact, she says, unless you grew up in her culture, it would be hard to imagine the immense pressure and intensity of the academic competition. The grand prize was to achieve an esteemed qualification and title, no matter what. In her extended family of 53 member, 24 are doctors! But a difficult choice lay ahead for her personally.
Once she got exposed to real-life human suffering in the medical field, her empathy kicked into overdrive and she simply could not separate her emotions from the struggles of her patients, to the point that she felt the emotional burden of it as a physical manifestation, bringing her down and changing who she was. "You'll get over it," others reassured her, but she reached a point of self-realization that being a frontline doctor was simply not for her. With her mom's understanding and support, she pulled back and decided on a different path ... still using her medical training and academics, but in the  research field instead. She says her dad was livid when she dropped out of medical school, but her amazing mom said "They'll get over it," and they did. Today, her family is very proud of her successful career path and Nisha feels like she is doing what she was meant to do.
Her courage and strength in facing up to challenges and pressure speaks highly of Nisha. She says she now reflects that the big expectation in her youth was to achieve a coveted degree and title, with little preparation or thought about life after graduation. She has no regrets about making the career change that was right for her.
About two and half years ago, she and her husband Arjun Jayaram arrived in Canada (by way of a spell in Dubai). They already had many young relatives in both Canada and the States and they have happily settled into Guelph like home. 
During her student years, she was instrumental in helping to establish a "Baby Box" program, helping very poor women.
When not working, we've heard that Nisha's passion is cycling, and we didn't even have time to get into that. 
Mahmud Hassain thanked Nisha for being such an animated and articulate story teller while sharing her life story, picking up on her emphasis of the words "Empathy, Audacity and Tenacity" that describe her. We greatly look forward to witnessing the coming "Epochs" in this talented Rotarian's life!
Upcoming programs 
Check our home page for upcoming speakers at our own club and also at other Rotary events. There are some wonderful talks ahead. Invite friends! 
  • Friday, March 26 at 12:15pm - RCOG: A Fellowship Meeting. President Tracey will have some activities for us to share.
Bulletin Editor
Terrie Jarvis
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