Oakland Rotary News

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Call To Order - President Dudley Thompson

President Dudley Thompson called the 5,387th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland to order at 12:30 p.m.

Thought For The Day - Cathy Jackson-Gent 

Cathy Jackson-Gent announced the word for the day is “Reset”. She said reset is very important and it is time to refresh. Her thought: time is like a flashlight to see where you want to be.

New Member Inductions – Bill Purcell, Etan Fraser & Cynder Niemala

Past President John Protopappas introduced Bill Purcell, who has been in Oakland real estate brokerage for over 50 years. John shared two interesting facts: 1) earlier in his career, Bill financed many project—from teamsters to Las Vegas, and 2) he has spent many years around horses, as a thoroughbred owner and rider.

President Elect-Elect Tom Limon introduced Etan Fraser, whom he cited as the most interesting man in the world. He shared two interesting facts: 1) Etan has traveled in 51 countries and is interested in the work of Rotary International, and 2) he is a one-time musician and recovering lawyer.

Mark Miller introduced Cynder Niemala, an author and executive coach.  Interesting facts about Cynder are 1) she has lived all over the world – in 100 countries and has worked in Saudi Arabia, and 2) she is an avid hiker and biker and interested in the environment.

Pres. Dudley welcomed all three, described the items they will receive once we are in the ballroom again, including membership pin, badge, and copy of the membership directory, plus promised them the traditional rousing standing ovation from their fellow Rotarians once we are in person again.  Welcome Bill, Etan and Cynder!


President Dudley announced that the May 19th and 26th Civic Thursday meetings will be zoom-only meetings. We will be back in the Ballroom starting June 5th for hybrid meetings.

Oakland A’s Games – Tom Limon asked Rotarians to come to two Oakland A’s games for which Oakland Rotary has the private Gold Road Landing section in the ballpark. Sunday, June 5 and Sunday August 28th there will be tailgate parties at 11 am in a special area at the bottom of the BART Ramp. The June 5th tailgate will feature resident mixologist, Dudley Thompson. On August 28th there will be a Paella cookoff between Oakland and the San Leandro Rotary Club. Buy tickets on the Club Calendar website.

Speakers for 2022-2023 – Incoming Committee Chair Ruth Stroup invited Rotarians to join the Speakers Committee which is starting planning now for programs beginning in July. She also invited us to suggest fabulous speakers for the coming year. Email her at ruth@stroupins.com.

The Rotary Foundation Campaign for 2022 -- Joe Goralka, Co-Chair of The Rotary Foundation Committee shared some great news. Out of the 46,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide, Oakland #3 is 11th in its donations to TRF. We donated a total of $161,218. Our member participation is just under 70%, compared to the average which is 30% of club members. He gave a shout-out to the committee members, committee co-chair Leeann Alameda, the many new Paul Harris Fellows and those members who made leadership gifts, all of which contributed to our success.

Program for the Day – Peter Gamez, in conversation with John Albrecht  

President Dudley introduced Peter Gamez, President & CEO of Visit Oakland and John Albrecht, Vice President of Marketing at Oakland International Airport.

John reported that new concessions are opening at the airport, including Oaklandish, Peets Coffee and Subway.  More are coming in the months ahead. While the public is getting back to more travel, post-Covid, some of the airlines are still dealing with pilot shortages and having to cancel some flights.

Peter reported that with university graduations, small conventions and some international travel, Oakland is beginning to see people to come to the city for activities. He commented that during the pandemic, some hotels, in Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area, took advantage of the time to do renovations. Visit Oakland is now focusing on rebuilding the current staff team and filling key positions. They are also working on marketing strategies to attract people. One such program was Restaurant Week which took place in March


President Dudley thanked everyone for participating and adjourned the meeting at 1:30 p.m. reminding everyone to Serve to Change Lives and don’t keep Rotary a Secret.

Next Meeting, May 26 – George Geary – Made in California

Robert Kidd announced our speaker on May 19th is food historian and chef George Geary. He will talk about the impact California has had on the fast-food industry. Ever been to a McDonalds, A&W Root Beer, See’s Candies, Peets, Foster’s Freeze, or IHOP to name a few? They all started in California. Be sure to join in and hear more. The meeting is a zoom-only meeting.

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