Category Archives: Speakers

Distinguished Rotary Speaker July 11, 2017

Ellen Pielstick Craig.  is an elementary school teacher, a fitness instructor, wife, a mother of two and a kidney donor. She was born in Aspen Colorado. Her family moved from Aspen to Claremont, California when she was in junior high school. She received her BA in Public Relations from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA and  her California Teaching Credential from Cal State Northridge.  She has been an elementary school teacher in Burbank, CA for 14 years.  She has two kids ages 8 and 11.  Both of her children are part of the Spanish dual immersion program in Monrovia.  In the fall her daughter will be a third grader at Monroe Elementary and her son will be a sixth grader at Clifton Middle School. In addition to teaching elementary school, Ellen is a certified TRX Suspension training instructor and a certified Rock Steady Boxing instructor at Kaizen Martial Arts and Fitness here in Monrovia. In April of 2016 ,along with Jody Hould, Ellen traveled to Indianapolis where they attended a three day training at Rock Steady Boxing Headquarters.  Rock Steady Boxing is a non contact boxing program for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Rock Steady has become a tremendous part of her life.  The changes that she has witnessed have forever changed her attitude about ability and how much one can truly accomplish when motivated.
Rocksteady boxing classes are taught by certified personal trainers and coaches, they include an exercise program that attacks Parkinson’s at its vulnerable neurological points. While focusing on overall fitness, strength training, reaction time and balance, workouts include: ring work, focus mitts, heavy bags, speed bags, double-ended bags, jump rope, core work, calisthenics and circuit weight training. No boxing  experience is necessary and people of all ages are invited to participate. Boxers, both male and female range in age from mid-30s to early 90s.

Distinguished Speaker: Roger Schulte, Past District Governor

Every three years, Rotary International holds its Council on Legislation. This is our legislative body which enacts changes to the way Rotary functions. Each district in the Rotary world selects one representative to serve on the council. This past April PDG Roger Schulte was selected to serve as our district representative.

Roger has been a member of the Rotary Club of Upland since 1978 and was president in 1984-85. He has chaired numerous district committees including RYLA, Teen Leadership Camp, Interact Symposium, and the Rotary Foundation Dinner. He served as our district governor in 2010-11. He is currently the chair of the District Rotary Foundation Scholarship Committee and the Rotaplast Committee.

He is a retired middle school principal. He and his wife, Paulette, have traveled internationally on Rotary projects related to the delivery of wheel chairs, the eradication of polio, and the repair of cleft lips and palates through Rotaplast. They are both multiple Paul Harris Fellows and Bequest Society members.

Distinguished Speaker – Dr. Felix Villanueva

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to present Rev. Dr. Felix C. Villanueva as our speaker on Tuesday, August 2nd at our regular club meeting.  He is the Conference Minister for United Church of Christ in Southern California and Nevada. Prior to his present position, Felix served in the U.S. Navy as Chaplain and retired as a senior officer after 21 years. He has also served as a local church pastor and as hospice chaplain.

Dr. Villanueva possesses expertise in navigating the intricacies and challenges of working in an executive position while providing pastoral care to the organization. He is also an expert in conflict management and organizational development. As Conference Minister of the most culturally diverse conference in the United Church of Christ, Felix can easily manage the nuances different cultures bring while providing an objective perspective. Finally, Dr. Villanueva has over 2,000 hours of supervised group coaching.

Felix holds a Bachelor’s in Biology Degree from the University of Puerto Rico; a Masters in Divinity from the Evangelical Seminary of Puerto Rico; a Masters in Pastoral Counseling from Princeton Theological Seminary; and, a Doctor of Education from the School of Business at Argosy University in Los Angeles.

Distinguished Speaker-Steve Garrett

The Monrovia Rotary Club will welcome Steve Garrett, a Rotarian’s Rotarian, on July 5th.  Our speaker was President of the San Marino Rotary Club in 1983 & District Governor of D5300 in 1994-1995. 

His extensive Rotary Resume includes RYLA chairman, District Newsletter Editor, District Conference Chairman, District Budget Committee Chairman, District Foundation Chair, PETS Instructor for 11 years, Governor Elect training instructor, Rotary Rose Float Chairman and so much more.

He has represented past RI presidents Devlyn, Rattakul, Estess, and Boyd at district conferences around the country.

He was instrumental in the founding of the Sierra Madre Rotary Club in 1997 and most recently installed that clubs 2016-2017 leadership team.

Distinguished Speaker: Nolan Shaheed

Nolan Shaheed is a modern Renaissance Man;  he is a successful jazz musician, who has performed with so many greats, a world class athlete who holds several world records in long distance running a motivational speaker and the long distance track coach at Monrovia High School.

It was the Club’s pleasure to hear him speak at a recent meeting. He gave an inspiring talk about the difference between great and good and what it takes to get there.

Nolan Shaheed

 Nolan was musical director for Marvin Gaye, lead trumpet with Count Basie and has an extensive resume of other acts he has worked with including: Natalie ColeStevie WonderDiana RossPhil CollinsAnita Baker,[3] Carole KingTom WaitsJohn HandyDavid ByrneRaymond Harry BrownFreddie Hubbard and Niki Nana.[9][10]

Distinguished Speaker: Zanaida Robles-SGV Choral Company

The Monrovia Rotary Club was pleased to have Zanaida Robles as its guest speaker yesterday, March 1.  She was here to speak about her passion, the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company, of which she is the artistic director.

The San Gabriel Valley Choral Company (SGVCC) was founded by Dr. Thomas M. Miyake in September 1995 to provide local singers the opportunity to “stretch their minds and vocal chords.” The ensemble is comprised of singers from the San Gabriel Valley, the Inland Empire and other local communities. Their repertoire has included music from the Renaissance period to works of the late 20th century. Along with more traditional selections, music performed has included avant-garde, jazz, a Broadway musical review, and staged productions.

Zanaida is a singer, conductor, composer, and music instructor born, raised, and educated in Southern California. She is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions including the USC Scholar’s Symposium Fellowship, the Young Musicians Foundation Gladys Turk scholarship, the USC Choral Department Scholarship, the USC Black Alumni Association scholarship, two L.A. Artist of the Future awards, the NFAA Young Arts level one award in classical voice, two Charles “Dolo” Coker Jazz Awards, the KCET Emerging Young Artist Grand Prize, the Cal State Long Beach 4-year Dean’s Scholarship for Distinction in the Arts, and the NAACP ACT-SO national gold medal for music composition. She holds a Doctor of Music Arts degree from the USC Thornton School of Music, a Master of Music degree from CSU Northridge, and a Bachelor of Music degree from CSU Long Beach.

Distinguished Speaker: Richard Ashworth, CitizensTrust

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to present Mr. Richard Ashworth as its guest speaker on Tuesday February 1.  Mr. Ashworth holds the position of Vice President, Private Client Advisor at CitizensTrust.

Mr. Ashworth earned his BS degree in Business Administration from East Carolina University at Greenville, NC.  Over the past 17 years Rich has worked at Wells Fargo Securities in various positions focusing on fixed income and broader investment sales throughout Arizona, California and Nevada.  Prior to that, Rich was with Kidder Peabody & Co. and First Interstate Bank for five years and six years respectively.  He has worked actively with clients spanning individual wealth management, municipalities, water districts and corporate market segments.  He has the sales experience, proven performance and depth of investment knowledge to address the needs of those broad groups in a superior manner.

Distinguished Speaker: Nic Fetter/Samuelson & Fetter

The Monrovia Rotary Club will welcome Nic Fetter on January 26th at its regular club meeting.  

As the Director of Marketing, Nic oversees the leasing of the company’s office portfolio, as well as being intimately involved in the planning of new developments in the San Gabriel Valley. He will bring the club up to date on developments at Station Square.

Nic graduated from Willamette University with a BA in Politics in 2003, and received a Graduate Certificate from Portland State University in Real Estate Development in 2006. After graduation in 2003, he worked for DDRM on a five-star hotel project in Park City, UT, and spent two years in the customer service department of WebMD while attending graduate school.

Nic recently co-chaired the 2012 For the Love of Youth Gala benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of the Foothills. He also served three years as a board member for the Levitt Pavilion Pasadena organization, and is a member of the Urban Land Institute. Nic currently resides in Pasadena with his wife and three dogs.

Distinguished Speaker: Sandy Burud, Ph.D.

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to announce that Sandy Burud, Ph.D. will be the featured speaker at the regular meeting of the club on Tuesday, January 19th at noon.

Sandy  is the Co-Project Director of the Monrovia Legacy Project. She is a writer and certified graphic designer who recently turned her talents to researching and documenting personal histories. Last year she produced a series of family history books for Betty Sandford, helped her write a memoir of her 88 years in Monrovia, and organized her life’s worth of papers.  Prior to that Dr. Burud was a researcher, writer and project manager.  She is a former Visiting Scholar at Claremont Graduate University’s Schools of Management and of Educational Studies. She has co-authored two noteworthy books – the Human Resource Academy’s ‘Outstanding Book of the Year 2004’ — and in 1984 the first book on employer-supported child care, which sparked that trend. Following the early book, she established a boutique consulting practice that designed and/or operated work-site child care facilities for Disney, Universal, Mattel, Apple, PG&E and others. She was later Chief Strategy Officer for a company that produced flexible work software and lead projects for the Dept. of Defense, Procter & Gamble, American Express, and John Deere.  She has received grants from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, David & Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Women’s Bureau.  She is Past President of the Alliance for Work-Life Professionals, a professional association for the work-life balance field. She has lived in Monrovia for twenty years and followed Monrovia’s evolution closely since her uncle, Bob Wilcox, was Executive Manager of Monrovia’s Chamber of Commerce in the early 1970’s. She holds an M.A. from Pacific Oaks College in Human Development and a Ph.D. in Education from Claremont Graduate University, where she serves on the Board of Visitors.

Distinguished Speaker: Katherine Thorossian, Ed.D., Supt. of Schools MUSD

The Monrovia Rotary Club is pleased to welcome Dr. Katherine Thorossian to speak to the club on Tuesday, January 12th at noon.

Dr. Thorossian is the Superintendent of Schools in the Monrovia Unified School District.   Her 30 years of experience in education includes serving as Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in the Glendale Unified School District;

Principal of Glendale High School;  and  Grade Level Coordinator, then Assistant Principal of Diamond Bar High School.

Dr. Thorossian began her career as a high school English teacher in Diamond Bar.  She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from the University California at Los Angeles, her teaching credential and Masters of Science Degree in Counseling with an Option in Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and her Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Southern California where she researched factors aggravating or mitigating the achievement gap. 

The Monrovia Rotary Club welcomes guest to its meetings. The lunch cost is $16.00 and there is an e-mail link to RSVP on the right column of the club website: