2021 Speakers

Shekhar Mehta

Shekhar Mehta

RI President-elect

Shekhar Mehta is only the 4th Indian in 115 years to be nominated as the President of Rotary International for the year 2021-22. Shekhar Mehta was born in 1959 in Kolkata India. A keen academician, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College, and has the unique combination of Masters in Commerce, a qualified Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant and Company Secretary.
He heads the Skyline Group engaged in Real Estate Development in different parts of India, including the largest group housing in the state of Rajasthan.
He is member of many professional, cultural and charitable organizations.
He has served as trustee of Shelter Box (UK) and the Operation Eyesight India, a Canada based organization.
Shekhar Mehta joined Rotary in 1985 and is a member of Rotary Calcutta Mahanagar.
He served as District Governor in 1999-2000 and was elevated to the Board of Directors of Rotary International for 2011-2013.
He has been Chairman of: 
Joint Partnership Committee of Rotary International
Strategic Planning Committee of Rotary International
Rotary India Literacy Mission.
Rotary Foundation India.
Rotary India Centennial Celebrations.
Rotary India Humanity Foundation.
He served as Director on the Board of Rotary International from 2011 to 2013.
While serving as Rotary International Director, he helped Rotary add 2 countries to its fold – Bhutan & Maldives.
Keenly dedicated to service, Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India & South Asia. Some significant initiatives are:
Constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman & Nicobar Islands; Starting the Shelter Kit program in India which has served about 20 disasters distributing more than 15,000 Shelter Kits helping about 75,000 disaster victims; He started saving little hearts a pediatric Heart Surgery Program – through this he has got done more than 2,500 heart surgeries for children from across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal & African Countries. He also facilitated for the program to now become a National Program; Conceptualizing nationwide T-E-A-C-H a literacy program in India having reached out to more than 50,000 Schools and 15 million children. T-E-A-C-H is a holistic program on literacy. Rotary is working on the T-E-A-C-H Program with the Central Government and many State Governments. The Program has been replicated in Nepal & Pakistan; He has helped take the E-learning Program to millions of children through the television channels of Government of India. He is the architect of the Rotary Total Literacy Program of India; He has been Instrumental in setting up more than 15 Eye Hospitals across India serving nearly 50,000 eye operations each year; He started a scholarship program called UDAAN for marginalized children. Over last 10 years 1,000 scholarships have been given by his club; Responding to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s national call – He has helped set up 6000 rural toilets benefitting 30,000 people; Shekhar Mehta is spearheading an India-wide projects in collaboration with the Government of India, in the areas of Water, Sanitation, Literacy, Healthcare, Environment and Disaster Management. The result of these programs he professes will be “Rotary’s Role in Nation Building in India”. The Prime Minister of India and various cabinet Ministers have applauded these mega initiatives of Rotary in India.
Shekhar Mehta is a motivational speaker. He has spoken at hundreds of events nationally and internationally. His motivation skills are par excellence which has helped raise millions of dollars for The Rotary Foundation. Shekhar Mehta is recipient of the highest awards of Rotary International & The Rotary Foundation,
(i) “Service Above Self Award”
(ii) “The Meritorious Service Award”
(iii) “The Distinguished Service Award”.
He will serve as the world leader of 1.2 million Rotarians in 200 countries and geographical areas in the year 2021-2022.
Shekhar Mehta is married to Rashi Mehta. She is a social worker and is a stage artist having performed in socially relevant plays across India.
They have a son Chiraag married to Geeta, a daughter Geeta and a grandson Veer.
His guiding mantra in life is “Service is the rent that we pay for the space we occupy on this earth”.

Dr. CJ Huff

Dr. CJ Huff

Leading in Crisis

Dr. C.J. Huff is an educator with over 20 years of experience as a classroom teacher, principal and superintendent. On May 22, 2011, Dr. Huff was superintendent when the costliest tornado in U.S. history hit Joplin, Missouri, with 200 mph winds devastating the community and destroying or damaging 10 of the 19 schools in his district. Dr. Huff successfully led his district of 1,100 employees and 7,700 students through recovery efforts, and since his retirement, has continued to support schools dealing with natural and man-made disasters and consulted with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rebecca Silber

Rebecca Silber

Rotary International Annual Giving Officer

Rebecca Silber serves as the Annual Giving Officer for Zones 30 and 31. She has over a decade of development experience and has worked as a fundraiser, volunteer manager and donor event planner for nonprofits large and small in both Chicago, Illinois and Gainesville, Florida where she attended The University of Florida. Rebecca cares deeply about connecting donors and volunteers to the causes they are most passionate about and feels a calling towards her fundraising work as a way to leave a positive impact on the world around her.

Working at The Rotary Foundation has fulfilled a career dream of working for an organization that is not only well respected but is also known the internationally for its commitment to making the world a better place through Service Above Self.

Rebecca feels strongly about building bridges between Rotarians and The Foundation so they can experience a deep sense of fulfilment and accomplishment through their generosity and service.

Floyd Lancia

Floyd Lancia

Rotary International Director 2019-21

Floyd Lancia was invited to join Rotary while serving as Superintendent of Schools in Van Buren, Maine. While a member of the Van Buren Rotary Club he served in various positions including club president.

With a career change, and a move to Fort Wayne, Indiana, he was invited to join the Anthony Wayne Rotary Club. While a member, Floyd served on the board, committees and as president.

At the district level Floyd served in various capacities as well as District Governor in 2009-10. In his continued district level service, he continues to serve on numerous boards and committees.

At the Zone 30 level Floyd has served as Assistant Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator, Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator, Endowment Major Gift Advisor, governor trainer for three institutes and on three institute executive committees as well as training leader at two International Assemblies. Floyd is now serving as Endowment Major Gift Advisor and will assume the role of Rotary International Director for zones 30-31 on July 1, 2019. Floyd is the recipient of Rotary International Service Above Self Award, the Rotary Foundation’s Meritorious Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award.

At the International level Floyd attended eight international conventions. He spearheaded Matching Grants for water projects in Mexico, eye surgical equipment in Nicaragua, nursing home equipment, childcare equipment, a bloodmobile, cleft palate surgical equipment in Brazil, school equipment in India, and library material in Kenya. His visits to Sierra Leone for water well dedications and the Polio National Immunization Day in India are two of the six international missions that were most moving.

Floyd and his wife Betty Lou have three grown children and six grandchildren and serve the community by supporting various non-profit organizations and share the passion of the work being done through The Rotary Foundation by being Arch Klumph and Bequest Society Members.

Ed Hardesty

Ed Hardesty

Mid-America PETS Trainer

Ed Hardesty is a Rotarian who definitely knows the meaning of “Service Above Self.”  His Rotary journey started in Alexandria, Louisiana, but he got smart and moved to Tulsa and joined the Southeast club in 1996.   He served as our District Governor in 2005-06.   At the District level, he’s also served as the Foundation Chair, Paul Harris Society Chair and District Trainer.  He was the Chair of Mid America PETS in 2009 and also served as the Chair of the Board of Directors. He represented our District as our delegate to the 2013 and 2016 Councils on Legislation.  Ed has been very involved at the Zone 31, Heart of America, including playing a major role in the Institutes in Tulsa, Nashville, St. Louis, Baton Rouge, Kansas City, Cincinnati and as General Chair for the Springfield, IL Institute and Speaker Coordinator in Montgomery, AL and was Rotary Coordinator for 3 years, serving 14 districts!

  He didn’t stop at the Zone level.   He was honored to be selected to serve as a training leader at the 2013 and 2015 International Assemblies in San Diego, where incoming District Governors from all the world are trained.   He was on the promotion committee for the International Convention in Sao Paulo and 7 Rotary International Presidents selected him to represent them at District Conferences around the country.  

Rotary isn’t the only focus in Ed’s life.   He’s a total canine lover and besides being an obedience and agility class teacher, he has pups of his own who are award winners.

Ed is a graduate of Texas Tech, (which we will forgive him for) and retired from the Social Security Administration, as General Manager, where he worked for 38 years.  He and his lovely wife, Jeanette, an interior designer, have been married for 47 years and are members of the Bequest Society and Level 2 Major donors. Their 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren, which are their pride and joy, are all Paul Harris Fellows.

Rebecca Tanaka

Rebecca Tanaka

Planned Giving Officer

Rebecca brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to The Rotary Foundation Planned Giving Team. As the Planned Giving Officer for Zones 25, 30, and 31, she is responsible for cultivating and administering life income and estate gifts. Before joining TRF, she developed Planned Giving programs for two human service organizations, conducted executive and team training for large US corporations, and taught at universities in the United States, Finland, and Japan where she published three textbooks and 25 journal articles relating to intercultural communication and adult learning. She also worked with the Washington Public Ports Association on legislative issues in Washington State and Washington, D.C.

Rebecca holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from Western Washington University where she received the Outstanding Political Science Graduate Award and served as President of the local chapter of the Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society. She is certified by Woodring College of Education in adult education and by Oxford University Press in teaching Japanese students. 

Her interest in Rotary began when she received a scholarship from the Rotary Club of Beaumont, Texas. Since then, she has developed a keen interest in Rotary’s newest area of focus to support the environment, and she is a charter member of and serves as Secretary of the NE Chicagoland Passport Rotary Club. In her free time, she enjoys travelling, snorkeling, hiking, and dog training.

Celeste Herbert

Celeste Herbert

Major Gifts Officer

As a Major Gifts Officer for one of the world’s most respected humanitarian organizations, Celeste Herbert works professionally with volunteer Rotarians, helping to turn their passionate service and philanthropic support into activities that address the world’s most pressing needs. A Rotarian herself, Celeste comes to The Rotary Foundation with twenty years of experience in nonprofit advancement, both as a consultant and as a fulltime director of development for schools, museums and other nonprofits. A native New Orleanian, Celeste’s professional experiences have included board development, capital expansions, multichannel campaigns, grants management and impactful special events, including two Million Dollar Dinners that successfully doubled their initial Rotary Foundation goals. In her world of nonprofit advancement, no two days are ever the same, which adds to the joy of unpredictability that comes with raising her 17-year-old daughter, Charlotte Grace.

Brian Rega

Brian Rega

Emcee

Brian Rega (REE-guh) is a member and Past-President of the Rotary Club of Jonesboro, Arkansas, established in 1919. He proudly serves Rotary District 6150 as District Trainer under Governor Mike Bennage.   Brian trained under Ed Hardesty to become a PETS Facilitator, and is a member of the District Visioning Team.  He holds a bachelor degree in communications from Arkansas State University-Jonesboro, and is a certified facilitator. Brian is a member of the Paul Harris Society, and is currently PH+3.  His Rotary classification is Healthcare: Assisted Living Administration. 

John D. Williams

John D. Williams

Convener

After graduation from the University of Arkansas, BSBA, 1971, John has enjoyed a SO-Year career in the Life Insurance Business with Eichler Williams Insurance; current member, Million Dollar Round Table, 35 Years; been a Chartered life Underwriter since 1975 and in  1985 served as President of the Arkansas State Association of Insurance and Financial Services Professionals (NAIFA). Securities are offered through St Bernard Financial Services.

In 1992 and again in 2010, John received the Award of Excell ence, the highest award given annually by the State Association of NAIFA to the outstanding Life Insurance Agent in Arkansas.

Joined Rotary Club of Northside Fayetteville in 1973, District Governor 2012-2013, Assistant Rotary Coordinator Zone 31 for 3-Years, Multiple Paul Harris Fellow; member Paul Harris Society, Bequest Society and a Major Donor. He currently serves as General Chair for District 6110 Grants, the District Foundation Banquet and the General Chair for the 2021 MAPETS Steering Committee. Serves as a Delegate to the 2019 and again for the 2022 Council on Legislation.

In 1999 after 28-Years of service, John retired as a lieutenant Colonel, Field Artillery, US Army.

Hobbies include: Music, Travel, watching old Movies and Golf.

Connie and John have been married 47-Years, 2-daughters, Whitney and Sarah, and 5- grandchildren .

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Upcoming Events

Clone-2021 VIRTUAL Mid-America PETS
March 24th 2022
More info

Shekhar Mehta 2021-2022 Presidential Theme

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