Monday, June 15, 2009

Professional Development - Scott Grande

Today on June 15th, Scott Grande visited our club. He is the current Assistant Vice President Branch Manager of Firstrust Bank here in Philadelphia.

Aside from getting a very detailed picture of Scott's professional development, he offered insight and tricks into our individual development such as how to approach switching career paths and naming common job interview mistakes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rotaract Receives Gundaker Grant

Yesterday night, Gundaker (District Rotary Committee) members voted yes on issuing RAC Philadelphia a $1000 grant towards our cause Adopt a Village.

Thank you to Nancy Magagna who helped Rotaract bring this cause to the Gundaker table.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rotary Spring Gala

Rotary hosted an annual gala this past Friday, May 29th at the Montrose Mansion in Villanova University. The below Rotaractors attended and supported the Philadelphia Rotary that night:

Asako Yoshino
Makoto Kuwabara
Stephen Iskrant
Maya Fridman

The evening was filled with good conversation with friends and family also attending the gala. We enjoyed a silent auction filled with many items such as Arden Theater tickets, autographed books and wine baskets. Frank Hollick also auctioned off his services to the highest bidder where he would work one day as a personal assistant.

There was a pleasant presentation dedicated to the outgoing Rotary President, John Wynn, who opened each meeting with a quote from John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. The audience was always asked to identify who said it!

Winding down the evening, guests enjoyed desserts and coffee amidst their uninterrupted conversation as the night culminated…

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Professional Development - Kirsty Halliday

Yesterday we enjoyed the presentation by Rotarian Kirsty Halliday from our sponsoring Rotary Club of Philadelphia.

Kirsty spoke on her personal career developmental and her international background. She was born in Germany, moved to Scotland with her family and throughout her life also moved to England and to the US, where she's currently residing.

Kirsty emphasized the importance of networking and not being afraid to speak out even if you're a little shy. In the end, you will not be left wondering what could have happened. It's important to seize each and every opportunity because it's rarely presented more than once.

Lastly, in an international world, Kirsty pointed out that you need to be mindful and sensative to cultural interpretations - What you may say to someone may be misinterpretated due different cultural rules or customs.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cherry Blossom Gala - April 23, 2009

Rotaract Club of Philadelphia hosted an annual benefit called the Cherry Blossom Gala on April 23, 2009. It was held at the Triumph Brewing Company in Old City, Philadelphia. This year we raised support for an international project called Adopt a Village (AAV)(

AAV is an international effort to raise a village out of poverty, which was started by a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California. This US-based Rotary Club partners up with a Rotary Club in an impoverished region of the world, who then selects, surveys, and contacts a local indigenous village. The US-based Rotary Club promotes and collects funding for a specific village. In 2008, at the height of its publicity, the founder presented the project on “Rotary International at the UN Day.”

Our club is partially sponsoring a village in Uganda, Africa, called Mbazzi. It is made up of approximately 1200 people. AAV will use our donations along with others to improve on three main components of the village’s life: Education, health and hunger. Those are the pillars of Adopt of Village - AAV believes that one cannot be achieved without the other two elements.

To raise funds for this project, we organized the Cherry Blossom Gala where our guests enjoyed wine and beer at the bar and display-style hors d'oeuvres. We decorated in spring fashion with sunny flower arrangements on tables. With the cooperation of international and local artists, we hung up paintings and photographs, which guests could bid on in the silent auction or purchase for the full price.
Aside from the silent auction tables that were crowded with beautiful artwork, we also had donated items from local businesses that submitted theater tickets, sports tickets, spa baskets, wine arrangement and others.

Halfway through the evening, we generated additional revenue by auctioning a date with one eligible bachelorette and bachelor. Rotaract Club of Philadelphia gave complimentary Philadelphia Museum of Art tickets to the highest two bidders.

The club made over $1,300 in profit that would benefit Adopt a Village.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Social at National Mechanics

On April 9th, fellow Rotaractors took it easy by meeting for happy hour at National Mechanics in Old City.

We celebrated the end of a good, hard-working week and toasted to fellow Rotaractor's grad school acceptance. Congratulations Thomas!

Everyone is very excited for the Cherry Blossom Gala next week.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 23rd Professional Development

Ms. Sandy Goldberg gave a speech on March 23rd for the Rotaract Professional Development Meeting. Sandy works in the physical therapy industry and operates a personal training and physical therapy business. In addition, she has a consulting business where she is an expert in her field and testifies in court for therapists being sued.

In her presentation, she talked about why she decided to run her business and how she has dealt with different obstacles. Also, she talked about physical therapy, which is her specialty, and how
she has worked for clients in Denmark, Britain, and the United States. In addition, she gave advice to the audience who was interested in starting a new business.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Rotaract Week

As a part of the Rotaract Week requirements, Maya Fridman presented to the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, our sponsoring club, on March 12th.

Planning developments on our Cherry Blossom Gala were discussed and Rotarians were eager to see the details of this event. All information is stored on our website under "Cherry Blossom Gala" on the left-side navigation bar. URL:

In addition, Sandra Goldberg was revealed as the professional development speaker for March 23rd. Sandra will present on her Physical Therapy business and other information on running her own company.

Lastly, Rotaract has another opportunity to participate in a grand international project with the Mianyang Normal University. Thomas Dixon, heading up this effort, is in the process of writing on invitation letter to the University's Dean to invite him and several of his students to Philadelphia to talk about their hardship after experiencing the 2008 earthquake that killed 20,000 people in the province. Rotaract will partner with the Mianyang Normal University to raise awareness on this natural disaster and provide reference books to their school's library.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Art After 5 with Rotaract

On February 27th, fellow Rotaractors attended the Art After 5 social & music event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia Rotaract was joined by a member from the Main Line Rotaract club & a Philadelphia Rotarian.

In the main atrium, we sipped our drinks and enjoyed the music of Neil Leonard. He is 'known for his unique approach to composition and improvisation. His ensemble has featured Robin Eubanks and Uri Caine, among others, and his collaborative works with visual artist María Magdalena Campos-Pons were exhibited at the 49th Venice Biennial' (Philadelphia Museum of Art website).

All attendees received complimentary admission to the museum arranged by a fellow Rotaractor.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Guest Speaker Elizabeth Moser Discusses Heath Insurance Industry

Elizabeth Moser is a current employee of Aetna, health insurance company. We were happy to have her come and speak to our group on health insurance. She described there are two categories of employer health plans. One plan was geared for small businesses which pay a premium to the insurance company; the other plan, geared more to larger employers, is called a stop loss plan in which the employer would cover all claims up to a specific maximum, and the insurance would cover all expenses in excess of that amount.

With the new administration is office in 2009, we discussed some of the changes that are planned to restructure health insurance industry.

All throughout this presentation, Elizabeth responded to our specific questions based on our personal experiences with health insurance.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rotaract Leadership Institute (RLI) 2009

On Saturday, we attended the second annual Rotaract Leadership Institute. Over a dozen Rotaract clubs and representatives from sponsoring Rotary clubs were in attendance from our district and Washington DC. Nearly 80 people registered and attended this year. All in attendance were treated to leadership training, a sharing of ideas, teambuilding exercises, and updates of events occurring in the district and in Rotary world-wide.

During RLI, Rotaractors mentored several students identified as potential leaders from the Meade School in Philadelphia. The students "shadowed" the Rotaractors through a portion of the day and got to spend time and experience how leadership could be used to help others. Our student was Kahlida, pictured below with Thomas Dixon and Maya Fridman.

After the conclusion of the institute, Rotaractors and Rotarians headed to World Cafe Live for drinks, food, and friendly conversation. It was a fun day indeed!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rotaract Club of Philadelphia blog is launched!

Below are all the entries previously posted on our "News and Events" section of

On January 17 we assisted the Pegasus Riding Academy. Bess, Katherine, Suzanne, and Maya helped lead the horses, spot riders, groom and feed the animals and clean the stable. Pegasus is the only fully certified, medically approved, riding therapy program in Philadelphia.


On January 12 the Rotaract Club of Philadelphia went Ice Skating at the Blue Cross River Rink at Penn's Landing!
On Monday January 5 2008, Jane Williams, District Rotaract Chair and member of the Ardmore Rotary club, spoke to us about the Rotary Group Study Exchange (GSE) program. GSE is a yearly program in which two Rotary districts exchange a group of about 4 people to experience each others culture to foster international understanding. Each group is immersed in the hosting district’s culture, history, and vocations for one month. Non-rotarians and Rotaractors 25-40 who have worked in their profession for at least 2 years are eligible to apply. All costs and expenses are paid for by the program. Jane also spoke about the GSE to Italy she led in May 2008. This year, District 7450 will be exchanging with a District in the Philippines and next year with a District in Greece.
For more information on Group Study Exchange, please visit
For a day-by-day summary of the 2008 Italy GSE, please visit
On December 4th, 2008, the Rotaract Club hosted a happy hour fundraiser at the Public House to help support the Children's Aid Society. With
the purchase of a $5 donation bracelet, attendees were able to get drinks at a discounted price. All proceeds from the bracelets were used to
help "Santa" buy Christmas presents for children in need. Many Rotaractors and their friends joined the fundraiser festivities and through
their happy hour merriment, they were able to make this an extra merry holiday for one of the children at the Children's Aid Society. Some of
the presents purchased for the 7 year old child included a hat, coat, gloves, bratz dolls, activity books, and stocking stuffers.
On November 18, 2008, the Rotaract Club of Philadelphia donated Webster’s Dictionaries and World Atlases to two classrooms at the Morrison Andrew J School. Through the support of a fellow Rotaractor, Trey Smith, we chose a third grade class and a seventh grade to receive the books.

First, we went to Mr. Trey Smith's 7th grade class. We distributed the
Atlases and Dictionaries to the students. The student were very
delighted with their new gifts. The first thing we did was have them
put their names into the books. The principal of the school was also
there watching us and the students. Then Maya asked them geography
questions by using their new Atlases. A prize was given to the
students who gave the correct answer first. We then did the same for
one question using the Dictionaries. Next we gave a prize to the
winner of the 12 Country Calendar Project of a drawing supplies. After
that we presented the class with the globe that was provided by us, as
well as, the book for Mr. Smith. Lastly, we took pictures of the class
by our Rotaract banner.

Next we went to Ms. Wanda Sago's third grade class. First we
distributed the Atlases to the students and also played a little game
with prizes to the students who first answered the questions
correctly. Then we gave out the Dictionaries and also asked questions
to the students using them. After that we presented the class with the
globe; the students were very excited about this because recently the
globe in their classroom had been broken. Finally, we gave the Ms.
Sago a copy of a book of classic short stories. She and the class were
very happy about this gift because everyday Ms. Sago reads them a
short story.

The funds for this donation originated from our Literacy Fundraiser held in April 2008 with the cooperation of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia.

In attendance: Matt Tritton, Maya Fridman, Jennifer Shields, and Ellen
Williams (Rotary)
On November 17, Makoto Kuwabara, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar from Japan spoke to the Rotaract Club of Philadelphia. Makoto is from Yokohama, a city near to Tokyo. After earning his Bachelor's degree in Education, he taught English for five years in a Japanese high school. Currently, he is studying in the TESOL program at the University of Pennsylvania. He particularly focuses on “learning strategies” for second language acquisition. Makoto spoke about the process to make his decision to study in the US, and the current strategies and challenges of second language learning in the US and Japan.
Rotary International at the UN
“Rotary's relationship with the United Nations dates back to 1945 when some 49 Rotary members acted as delegates, advisors and consultants at the United Nations Charter Conference. Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status possible with the United Nations as a non-governmental organization” (

On November 8, 2008, Rotary International hosted panel discussions on a variety of issues including hunger, polio eradication, and clean water at the UN Headquarters in New York City. The event was attended by 1600 Rotarians and Rotarators and 900 Youth Interact members. The Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, the President of Rotary International and UNICEF Special Advisor were also present at the event to speak.

This event is held annually at the UN. If you’re interested in more information, please go to
The School District of Philadelphia (the nation's seventh largest) educates 196,308 students in 273 buildings. On October 18, Rotary and Rotaract Clubs in District 7450 formed a team to join thousands of other volunteers and rolled up their sleeves to improve the city's public schools by painting classrooms, restoring playgrounds, and creating green spaces. Philadelphia Cares Day is a marathon day of service that gives children attractive and more functional learning places. The Rotaract Club worked with the children at Laura Waring Wheeler Elementary to help make their aging school a more beautiful place to learn and play.
On Monday, October 13, Ambassadorial Scholar Elizabeth Leimbacher spoke to us the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship Program and her studies at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. She is currently enrolled in an LLM program at the university and hopes to become a lawyer in United States or France. Before she came to US, she studied Political Sciences at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Paris as an undergraduate and Law at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques and the Université de Paris 2.
On September 8th, 2008, the Rotaract Club attended an improvisational comedy show at the Adrienne Mainstage theater during Philadelphia's annual Fringe Festival. The Fringe Festival is an annual week-long event that hosts bold, innovative, live performance from Philadelphia and around the world. At the event, Rotaractors were able to watch an exciting and unique long-form comedy troupe, called "Illegal Refill."
July 14 - Professional Development Meeting
Paul Zlotolow led a discussion-based presentation on personal development. This hour-long session gave us a quick look at what we want out of life. We accomplished this by completing a few creative exercises that enabled us to compare our current lives to our future goals and describe what we may need to do in order to reach our goals.

July 26 - Social Meeting
Trey Smith threw a fantastic BBQ at his home in the Art Museum area. It was the perfect way to spend a summer evening.
On Monday, June 2, Bob Snow spoke to us about the Architectural profession and the current project he is working on--an effort to convert the historic Robert Morris building at 1701 Arch Street into a boutique hotel. Bob has been a practicing Architect for nearly thirty years. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of PA in both the Design of the Environment and the History of Art and went on to earn a Master's Degree in Architecture from the University of California at Berkeley.
L to R: Maya Fridman, Bob Snow, Brian Shaffer, Naseem Baksh, Matthew Tritton
On Monday, May 19, 2008, we had a planning meeting. In attendance: Brian Shaffer, Maya Fridman, Trey Smith, Jennifer Shields, Naseem Baksh, Megan Scelfo, Bess Werner, Michael Cecire and Billy Handy. Welcome to our new members, Michael, Naseem and Billy! We discussed directions for community service, the Calendar Project, an International Exchange program with San Paolo, Brazil, club t-shirts and dues, upcoming speakers and the summer calendar.
On Wednesday, April 23, the Philadelphia Rotary and Rotaract Clubs threw a joint fundraiser, the “Read and Succeed” Literacy Benefit. Held in the Pyramid Club and attended by over 70 people, this event was a smashing success. Thanks to Kristina Harshany of the Rotary Club for her hard work.
L to R: SiNae Pitts, Alisa Maiese, Asako Yoshino, Trey Smith, Jennifer Shields, Jennifer Greenberg, Barbara Steele.
On Monday, April 7, we had a productive planning meeting where we made final preparations for our April 23 “Read and Succeed” Literacy Benefit. Maya discussed her conversation with a Rotaractor from San Paolo, Brazil and we all agreed that an exchange program would be wonderful. Maya also presented the details for the Business Card Exchange networking event at the Wood Turning Center on May 7.
In attendance: Jennifer Shields, Matthew Tritton, Vicky Doan-Nguyen, Maya Fridman, Trey Smith, Megan Scelfo, Megan Folz, Bess Werner. Welcome to new members Megan Folz and Bess Werner!
On Friday, March 28, we met for dinner and drinks at Moriarty’s Pub. There were several new members and we had a wonderful time getting to know each other.
L to R: Matthew Tritton, Sandy Lu, Sarah Kuhn, Maya Fridman, Megan Scelfo, Trey Smith. (Not pictured: Jennifer Shields, Annie Winter)
On Monday, March 10, Joe Batory, former superintendent of schools in the Upper Darby School District and current associate of Educational Enterprises, LLC, spoke about education and our upcoming literacy fundraiser with the Rotary Club in April.
L to R: Joe Batory, Vicky Doan-Nguyen, ?, Megan Scelfo, Danielle Rothberg, Trey Smith, Frank Hoffman, Brian, Shaffer, Andrea Young, Ira Parmar. (Not pictured: Sinae Pitts)
On Monday, February 25, we had another productive planning meeting. In attendance were Jennifer Shields, Matthew Tritton, Maya Fridman, Vicky Doan-Nguyen, Trey Smith, Megan Scelfo, Brian Shaffer, Jacopo Carmassi, Julia Mitchell, Ira Parmar. Welcome to our new members, Trey, Meghan, Julia and Ira! We continued planning for our April fundraiser with the Rotary Club. Since Trey and Meghan work for Teach For America in Philadelphia, we decided to support their classrooms with some of the proceeds from our fundraiser. We also discussed future professional development speakers and social events.
On Monday, February 18, Rotarians Joe and Joan Batory threw a “Taste of Philly” party for Rotarians and Rotaractors. We bid farewell to Jacopo Carmassi, who has been the life of every Rotaract Party and one of its most cheerful members. We wish him luck and hope he comes back from Pisa very soon!

L to R: Joe Batory, Joan Batory and Jacopo Carmassi
On Saturday, February 9, we participated in the 1st Annual Rotaract Leadership Institute at the historic Boy Scout Headquarters. It was a day filled with learning, fun and networking. 56 current and future Rotaractors from our district and 3 neighboring districts, as well as 29 Rotarians and advisors, came together to learn about Rotary and get new ideas for our clubs. Afterwards, we headed over to Rae for a swanky hour arranged by Maya Fridman.

L to R: Brian Shaffer, Frank Hoffman, Jennifer Shields, Maya Fridman, Andres Cevallos and Jacopo Carmassi.
On Monday, January 28, we had a Professional Development meeting. Newell Anderson, Vice President and Financial Consultant at RBC Dain, spoke about strategies for recruiting and
maintaining club members and techniques for corporate sponsorship and fundraising. Thank you to Newell for his insightful ideas and encouragement!

On Monday, January 14, we had an extremely productive planning meeting where we laid the foundation for a large joint fundraiser with the Rotary Club to be held in April to support literacy in Philadelphia. In attendance were Jennifer Shields, Maya Fridman, Andrea Young, Greg Maiche, Brian Shaffer, Matt Tritton, Jacopo Carmassi, Vicky Doan-Nguyen and
Jane Williams. Welcome to new members Andrea, Greg and Vicky!
On Tuesday, December 18, we heard from John Washington about his trip to Argentina on a Group Study Exchange which convinced him to join Rotary. He impressed us with his dedication to helping provide much needed equipment to fire departments in northern Argentina. He has helped raise around $25,000, including around $15,000 from Rotary. We loved learning about their culture and seeing the llama wool vest and hand-woven blanket he brought to show us.

L to R: Asako Yoshino, Jacopo Carmassi, John Washington, Valerie Adams and Jennifer Shields
On Friday, November 16, we threw a fundraiser party at Raven Lounge. We raised $150 for the San Diego Foundation, a relief organization that helps victims of the California wildfires. This organization was recommended by Rotary District 5340 of Southern California. We also gained a new member, Alisa Maiese, who attended our next meeting.

L to R: Jeffrey Millman, Jennifer Shields and Jacopo Carmassi
On Tuesday, November 6, we heard from Otto Wollin of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in Philadelphia, who talked about getting support from local businesses for fundraisers.

L to R: Asako Yoshino, Otto Wollin, Brian Shaffer, Jennifer Shields and Jacopo Carmassi
On Saturday, November 3, Rotarians and Rotaractors traveled to the UN in NYC for "Rotary International Day at the United Nations." There were presentations and panel discussions about health, hunger, water and literacy by representatives of NGOs and Rotary International.

On Tuesday, August 28, we threw a gala fundraiser for GO Give an Opportunity, a non-profit in Philadelphia that promotes education among Argentinean students of high academic performance and low economic resources. We donated $300 to support this worthy program.

The Main Line Rotaract club supporting the Philadelphia Rotaract club