Keynote Speakers

Vicki Puliz
RI Director Elect, Zones 26-27

General Session: Friday - Lunch
Aide: DG Marta Knight
Area of Focus: Saving Mothers & Children
DGE: Diane Ventura-Goodyear, D5500

Vicki Puliz joined the Rotary Club of Sparks, Nevada in 1992 as the first female member of the club. Vicki became club president in 2004-2005, and continued a journey of Rotary service in numerous club, district and zone positions and projects.

At the district level, Vicki served as camp director for Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, co-founder of an eighth-grade leadership program, District Trainer and Governor in 2013-14.

At the zone level, Vicki recently completed a three-year term as Rotary Public Image Coordinator. She is currently the GETS Chair, Education Chair for Far West PETS, and an International Assembly Training Leader.

On December 1, 2019, Vicki officially became the Rotary International Director Nominee for 2012-2023, for Zones 26 & 27.

Vicki enjoyed a successful career as an owner of a commercial electrical contracting firm in Northern Nevada. She is a graduate of the University of Utah with a Marketing degree and Masters of Business Administration.

Vicki and her husband Tim live in Reno, Nevada, at the base of the mountains near beautiful Lake Tahoe. They are blessed with a blended family of seven children, nine grandchildren, and three Rotary exchange daughters. Both are active in the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians—Tim is the pilot—and are Major Donors to our Rotary Foundation.
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Brenda Cressey
The Rotary Foundation Trustee – 2017-2021

General Session: Friday - Dinner
Aide: DG Melanie Rice
Area of Focus: Promoting Peace
DGE: Gianna Richards, D5320

Brenda joined Rotary in 1989 and is currently a proud member of the Rotary Club of Paso Robles, CA. USA in District 5240. She is retired as the CEO of Office Support Systems, a telecommunications business in Maine.

Brenda served in several key roles for Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation over the years including District Governor in 2001-02, a Regional Membership and Foundation Coordinator, an Endowment Major Gift Advisor. In 2018-19 she was honored to serve as the first female Vice Chair and later Chair of The Rotary Foundation. She will continue her term as Trustee through 2021.

Most of Brenda’s assignments have focused on successful Fund Development for The Rotary Foundation, specifically in the areas of Peace and Polio Eradication. However, she shares the importance of supporting the Annual Fund, Endowments and Major Gifts. She has enjoyed witnessing several successful outcomes with Clubs and Districts with their own Rotary Foundation fundraising efforts as well as the full engagement of many passionate Rotarians who successfully implement foundation projects in each of the six Areas of Focus.

Her passion is and has always been to see the end of Polio and is her mission and the very reason she joined Rotary. Having participated in several Rotary humanitarian projects around the world, she is a proud Rotary Foundation Alumnus. Brenda has seen and experienced, first-hand, how our gifts to the Rotary Foundation greatly impact the lives of others and will someday bring peace and understanding around the world.

She and her husband Dick are members of the prestigious Arch Klumph Society, Major Donors, members of the Paul Harris and new Legacy Societies and have established the Brenda and Richard Cressey Endowment for Peace.

She is the recipient of the RI “Service Above Self Award” and The Rotary Foundation’s “Citation for Meritorious Service,” and the Foundations highest recognition, The Distinguished Service Award.

Brenda resides in Templeton, California, USA with her husband Richard, who is retired from a long career as a Vice President in manufacturing. They both enjoy spending good times with their three grandchildren and family.
Learn More About Brenda
Craig Needham
Polio and Its Effect on Families

General Session: Saturday - Breakfast
Aide: DG Marc Aarons
Area of Focus: Growing Local Economies
DGE: Deborah Linden, D5240

Craig Needham is a founding partner with the firm Needham Kepner & Fish LLP. Born in Palo Alto, Craig graduated from Bellarmine College Prep, Santa Clara University, and Hastings College of the Law. After serving in the military, he worked for a plaintiff’s trial law firm in San Francisco for three years, before starting his own firm there, eventually moving his practice to San Jose.

Along the way, he has gathered numerous honors including induction into the American Board of Trial Advocates and being named Lawyer of the Year by an impressive number of organizations. He has been active in, and has often led, trial lawyers associations. He also has an active mediation practice.

Craig has shared his knowledge of the law in the classrooms at Hastings, Stanford, Golden Gate, USF, Santa Clara, and Lincoln Law Schools; and in lecture halls for continuing education programs all around the state.

A cycling enthusiast, Craig’s biking adventures have included a 4,200-mile ride across North America, a trek through the French and Italian Alps, and a 2,500-mile ride from El Paso, Texas to Jasper, Alberta, Canada; raising money in each for the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation. He also has completed 12 marathons and over 40 triathlons, five of which have been “iron-man,” and has participated in 50 consecutive Bay to Breakers in San Francisco.

Craig and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 51 years; they have three children and six grandchildren.

Craig has spoken to numerous Rotary Clubs to thank the organization for its tremendous efforts to rid the world of polio. The mission is personal for Craig, as he shares the amazing and inspirational story of his mother, Jane Boyle Needham, who was diagnosed with polio at the age of 29 and who lived in an iron lung for 13 years.
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DG Marta Knight

General Session:  Friday - Lunch

Marta has been a member of Chula Vista Sunrise Rotary for the past 16 years where she held many offices and Chair positions, including Cub President.

She has served Rotary District 5340 in many roles, including GSE, Group Study Exchange Leader to Ecuador, International Service Chair, Grants Sub Committee Chair, and Assistant Governor. She has volunteered for Thousand Smiles clinics and is an active member of District Committees, including Friends of Ecuador, Micro Credit, Pathways to Peace, and Finance Committee.

Marta is serving as District Governor for the 2019-2020 Rotary year.

Marta was born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. She is a 3rd generation Rotarian with her Grandfather being a founding member of the Rotary Club of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico. Her Father was a member of the Tijuana Rotary for 47 years. Marta is proud to follow in his footsteps as he was District 4100 Governor twice.

Marta retired from her 30 year career as a Mortgage Loan Officer. She helped many families achieve the Dream of Homeownership. This included non-English speaking families as she is Bilingual, Biliterate and Bicultural in Spanish. She served as President of the San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Marta is married to Bill Knight. They have 4 children and 2 grandchildren.

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DG Melanie Rice

General Session: Friday - Dinner

Melanie Rice earned a BA in English and an MS in School Administration from CSUF. In 1985 she left Rialto Jr High as the Principal and began a career as a State Farm Insurance Agent opening her own office in Norco, CA. Tom Chapman invited her to join Rotary in 1987 but when the day came to bring her to the meeting; she was asked not to attend. She served as a Board member of Inlanders for Olive Crest, a Foster Family Agency, and also as a Board member for Alannah Foster Family Agency until 2010. Currently, she is a Board member for Plan-It Life, a residential treatment center.

In 2002 she was again invited to join Rotary and was President of the Rotary Club of Norco 2005-2006. Her District positions include the District Four Way Test Speech Chair, Assistant Governor 2011-2014, Vocational Chair 2014-2015 and District Secretary 2015-17. She has served on every District Conference since 2013 and District Gala since 2015. She is a Board member for the Oduworo Village Project which began as a Global Grant in 2007 funding water wells and is currently educating 28 students in the Village. The commitment is to support these students until they graduate or drop out of the program. The Rotary Club of Corona asked her to join their club in 2013. She currently severs on the Advisory Committee for the 2019 Rotary Rose Parade Float. In 2014 she chaired a committee which collected and distributed over 2000 pairs of jeans to the Galilee Center in Mecca, CA; an orphanage in Tijuana Mexico and a High School in the Inland Empire.

Her and her husband, Larry, live in Corona CA. He is a member of the Lake Elsinore Rotary and both also serves as RYLA staff members.
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DG Marc Aarons

General Session: Saturday - Breakfast

Coming Soon
Learn More About Marc
LaShonda Delivuk
ARPIC, Zone 33

General Session: Saturday - Lunch
Aide: DG Luanne Arrendondo
Area of Focus: Fighting Disease
DGE: Steve Weitzen, D5340

LaShonda Delivuk is a Corporate Film Producer and serial entrepreneur from Dinwiddie, VA who has successfully launched five organizations since the age of 18. Her first brand, Transformation Theatre Company, raised over $25k for charity with three theatrical productions during her freshman and sophomore year of college. In 2017, she received the "Millennials on the Move" award from Lynchburg Business Magazine and in 2018, LaShonda was recognized nationally by Honeybook, Rising Tide Society, Peerspace & Gusto as one of the 20 on the Rise Image Makers for her African American stock photo company Eye for Ebony. LaShonda has also been nominated for the prestigious ATHENA award and Best Civic Leader by Lynchburg Living Magazine.

Currently, LaShonda serves an Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 33 and the Area 5 Foundation Advocate for District 7570. She has sponsored numerous members to her club and served as a General Session speaker at the 2019 Rotary International Assembly in San Diego. LaShonda is a Rotary Leadership Institute graduate, Immediate Past President of the Rotary Club of Lynchburg-Morning, a Paul Harris Fellow +4 and a Paul Harris Society member since the age of 27. In 2018, LaShonda was awarded the Douglas A. Newton Excellence in Communications & the 110% Award for her Public Image efforts during the 2017-2018 Rotary year. Her thoughts on membership were also featured in the August 2018 issue of The Rotarian magazine. She is happily married to Josh, her business partner & husband of seven years and currently resides in Forest, VA.
Learn More About LaShonda
Holger Knaack
RI President, 2020-2021

General Session: Saturday - Dinner
Aide: DG Melody St. John
Area of Focus: Supporting Education
DGEs: Greg Jones, D5300 & Barry Valdez, D5330

Holger Knaack holds a degree in business administration from the University of Applied Sciences Kiel. Since 1995, Holger has been CEO of the real estate company Knaack KG. Previously, he was a partner and general manager of bakery Knaack Enterprises, a 125-year old family business.

Holger is chairman and founder of Karl-Adam-Stiftung (Karl Adam Foundation). He served for six years as chairman of Rotary Jugenddienst Deutschland e.V. (Rotary Youth Exchange Germany). He is a founding member of the “Studentenhilfe Viadrina e.V.,” and the Foundation “Der Rotarier.”

In his community, Holger is a founding member of the Civic Foundation of the City of Ratzeburg and served as president of the Golf-Club Gut Grambek for several years.

A Rotarian since 1991, Holger is a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln. He was treasurer of RI and was a member of the Executive Committee of the Board.

Holger has served RI as president’s representative, Council on Legislation representative, resource group zone coordinator, GETS trainer and RI training leader. He has been a member and chair of numerous RI committees.

Currently, Holger is Moderator of the 2019 Rotary International Assembly, Endowment/Major Gifts Adviser and Co-Chair of the 2019 Hamburg Convention HOC.

Holger is a Major Donor to The Rotary Foundation, a member of the Paul-Harris Society and the Bequest Society. Married to Susanne for 42 years, the couple has hosted more than 40 Rotary Youth Exchange students. In his leisure time, Holger enjoys sailing and playing golf.

Treasurer, Rotary International, 2014-15
Director, Rotary International, 2013-14

Learn More About Holger
Johrita Solari
RI Director, Zones 26-27

General Session: Sunday - Brunch
Aide: DG Ellie Patterson
Area of Focus: Supporting Education
DGE: Bette Hall, D5280

Johrita became a Rotarian in 1993 and is currently a proud member of the Rotary Club of Anaheim, California.  She served as District Governor for District 5320 in 2010-11 and has been selected to serve as the Rotary International Director for Zones 25/26 for the years 2019-21.

As District Governor, Johrita held the first District 5320 Million Dollar dinner for The Rotary Foundation. Under Johrita’s leadership District 5320 became the second district in the world to become a 100% Paul Harris Club District.

Johrita is the co-founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Solari Enterprises, Inc., a full-service property management company employing 300 team members specializing in the management of more than $1B of affordable multifamily housing. She works together with her husband and daughters to create a working environment where a high level of ethics and integrity is maintained.

Rotary plays an important role in the Solaris’ lives. Johrita, her husband Bruce, and their two daughters, Gianna and Tressa, are all past club presidents and active supporters of The Rotary Foundation. Johrita’s son-in-law, Reece is a Paul Harris Fellow and active supporter of all things Rotary.

Johrita and Bruce are Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors, members of the “White Hat Society” and the Arch Klumph Society.

They currently live in Villa Park, California U.S.A.
Learn More About Johrita
DG Luanne Arrendondo

General Session: Saturday - Lunch

A fourth-generation Rotarian, 2019-2020 District 5300 Governor, Luanne “Lu” Arredondo was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, raised on the family ranch in Corrales, New Mexico, and grew up the youngest daughter of 11 children. Luanne relocated to Southern California in 1989 where she would eventually meet and marry hubby Moises (aka “Moe”). Luanne graduated summa cum laude with a double Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and biology from the University of New Mexico and magna cum laude with a double MBA in Finance/Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles, specializing in change management. After 15 years of working at the executive level with Fortune 50 organizations, Luanne opened LA Business Consultants, LLC in 2005, growing it from a small one-person office into an international film, finance, and change management organization.

Luanne belongs to several organizations in her local community, including service as a former commissioner on the Community and Senior Services Commission. Luanne joined Rotary in March 2010 to continue the legacy of Rotary service in her family. Serving as a two-term president, Luanne has served in several posts at both the club and District level. Positions within her club have included public relations, website administration, Treasurer, club secretary, Interact liaison, and member of the board of directors. At the District level she served as PR chair, international projects co-chair, district conference chair, assistant governor, community outreach chair, peace conference administrator, and trainer. Luanne has 3 children - Josh (33), Zack
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DG Melody St. John

General Session: Saturday - Dinner

Melody St. John has been involved with Rotary throughout her entire life, from her days as the daughter of a Rotarian in South Dakota when women were not accepted as members. Today she utilizes her passion for youth programs and has been involved with Rotary Youth Exchange for over 25 years. She and her husband Paul have hosted over 22 students in their home from around the world. A member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Hollywood, St. John is involved in a number of Rotary District 5280 initiatives.

Beyond the District, she is the Chairman of the multi-state high school Rotary Youth Exchange program (SCANEX) and works with over 100 students each year, placing them in the best situations here in the U.S. and abroad. She and her husband, Rotarian Paul St. John (LA5), are co-founders of the Rotary USA Train Tour and taken as of this summer over 1,000 exchange students on a month long train tour around the United States.

In her professional life, St. John’s founded Video Tape Library, a stock footage image library, in 1984. The library has over a million images compiled from over 250 cameramen form around the world. Fun fact: Her library was used in beta testing for a fledgling website called “YouTube.”

Melody’s Rotary C.V.

2018-19 Presenter at Rotary International pre-convention for Youth

2012-18 Board member of NAYEN (North America, Canada and Mexico)

2010-19 Counselor at RYLA

2010-16 Co-chair of Angel City Celebration

2016-17 Co-chair for District Humanitarian Trip to Merida Mexico

2016-17 Chair of 321 Go to End Polio

2010-17 Youth Service Chair for Rotary Club of Hollywood

2015-16 SAG Community Service

2014-15 Chief of Staff to District Governor Elsa Gillham

2012-13 District Interact co-Advisor

2010-11 President Rotary Club of Hollywood
Learn More About Melody
DG Ellie Patterson

General Session: Sunday - Brunch

Ellie Patterson is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Tucson, Arizona’s largest Rotary club. She joined Rotary in June of 2010 and immediately became an active member, serving as Club Secretary for three years. At the District level, Ellie served as Global Grants Subcommittee Chair for three years, was a PETS facilitator for one year and was Co-Chair of the Ride To End Polio in El Tour de Tucson for one year. Ellie is a Bequest Society Member at Level 7, a Major Donor, a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and Paul Harris Society Member. She is a past committee member of the RI Major Gifts Initiative for the Rotary Peace Centers and is a graduate of the Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy.

Ellie is a former Co-Owner of The Temp Connection, a locally-owned and managed staffing service that she and her business partner started 26 years ago. Their company has been ranked as one of the top women-owned businesses in Tucson the last several years and the partners are well known for their commitment and involvement in the local community. Ellie and her husband, Tom, have three children, six grandchildren and a brand new great granddaughter. After teaching high school in Idaho for several years and working as a guidance counselor, Ellie ended up biking with two friends from Canada to Mexico and shortly thereafter settled in Tucson in the early 80’s. Continuing to be an avid cyclist, Ellie is a strong supporter of the Ride To End Polio and welcomes all Rotarians and friends to participate at any level in this popular fundraising event which to date has generated almost 60 million dollars for PolioPlus which includes the Gates Foundation match.

As governor in 2019-2020, Ellie’s goal is to help all clubs “Grow Rotary” by embracing change and enhancing the club experience. She uses her car instead of her bike when traveling for her club visits!
Learn More About Ellie