MEET OUR SPEAKERS

The conference committee has been working hard to book engaging and inspiring speakers for the weekend. Learn more about who you will be hearing from with their bios below.
Be sure to plan on joining us to hear them live and in person!

Dean Rohrs

A highlight of conference weekend will be hearing from an amazing story teller and Rotarian, Dean Rohrs. 
 

Dean, her husband Rhino and their 3 children emigrated to Canada from South Africa 32 years ago. On arriving in Vancouver both Dean and Rhino joined the Rotary Club of West Vancouver and at present are members of the Rotary Club of Langley Central in District 5050. Dean has had a varied career from the early days of being an Operating Room Nurse on Professor Christiaan Barnard’s first heart transplant team to running a Nursery School in Malawi. Together with Rhino they now owner manage a company that is involved in soil stabilization during road construction.

Dean has served on District and Zone committees; which include: Regional Rotary Coordinator and Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator, Pacific Northwest PETS Chair, District Governor in 2007/2008 and Rotary International Director 2016-2018, Rotary International Vice- President 2017-2018.

However, her best experience is leading teams of Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors to Africa and seeing how this volunteer experience changes their lives.

Ramesh Ferris

Ramesh is a polio survivor who resides in Whitehorse, Yukon
Canada. He has a Bachelor degree in social work, and is the past
president of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse Rendezvous.
Ramesh is a major donor of the Rotary Foundation, and a Paul Harris Fellow.
He is Rotary District 5370’s District Governor Nominee and 1
of 3 End Polio Now Coordinator for Rotary International’s Zone 28 (Western Canada a part of the USA). In 2008 Ramesh hand-cycled 7140kms from Victoria, BC to Cape Spear, NL in a program he called Cycle to Walk for polio eradication (Rotary Polio Plus), education, and rehabilitation. The campaign resulted
in thousands of dollars being donated to Rotary Polio Plus.
Over the past 15 years Ramesh has volunteered in partnership with Rotary International, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Citizen, and the World Health Organization to promote our shared global goal of ending polio.
He has shared Rotary’s End Polio message with countless heads of state, many world leaders, and celebrities around the world including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and The Late Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He has spoken to delegates at the United Nations in New York City and
to many Rotarians at various Rotary International Conventions, Zone Institutes and District Conferences around the world.
Ramesh has provided the polio vaccine to children in Karachi Pakistan, Kabul, Afghanistan, and in his birth country of India.
He is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee award and the Yukon Commissioner’s award for volunteer public service.

Chris Etienne

Chris first joined Rotary in 1990 and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Petoskey since 1991. She served as club president in 1997-98. Chris has served Rotary District 6290 in many capacities including Assistant Governor, Membership Chair, District Trainer, Nominating Committee Chair, and Finance Chair. Chris served as District Governor in 2007-2008. She is currently District Rotary Foundation Chair and served on the Great Lakes Multi-District PETS Committee from 2003-2011. Chris was a trainer at the Zone 28-29 Institute in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and served as a Rotary Coordinator for Zone 29. She was assistant training coordinator for the Zone Institute in 2010 and was lead training coordinator for the Zone Institute in 2011 and 2012.
She was chair of the Zone Institute in 2013. Chris served Rotary International as a training leader at the International Assembly in San Diego in 2009 and 2010 and has served as President's Representative each of the last four years. She also served on the Rotary International Membership Development and Retention Committee in 2011-12 and is served on the 2015 RI Convention Promotion Committee in Sao Paulo, Brazil. 
Chris is Director of Leasing for the Village at Bay Harbor as well as Community Relations Director for Bay Harbor, a resort development located on the shores of Lake Michigan. She is also Associate Broker for Harbor Sotheby's International Realty located in Bay Harbor. She has served her community as a board member and volunteer for several organizations including Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, Petoskey Rotary Club Charities Inc., Bay Harbor Foundation, Hospice of Little Traverse Bay, Northwest Michigan Industrial Association and Women's Resource Center. Chris was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder in 2011 to serve on the Michigan Women's Commission and was appointed vice chair in 2012. Chris received the Athena Award in 2007 and the Emmet Association of Realtors Realtor of the Year award in 2014.
​Chris has been married to Dennis Lindeman since 1995. They are Major Donors of The Rotary Foundation and members of the Bequest Society. They participated in an NID for polio eradication in Uttar Pradesh, India in 2004. They have hosted eight Group Study Exchange Team members. Chris is also the recipient of The Rotary Foundation's Citation for Meritorious Service.

Our RI Rep: Vicki Puliz

Joining Sparks Rotary in 1992 as the first female member of the club, Vicki enjoyed the association with business and community leaders and making a positive difference in the community. 
Vicki served as president of Sparks Rotary in 2004-2005. Completing her year as club president, she became involved in the District 5180/5190 RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) program, serving as camp co-director for RYLA in 2006, the inaugural year at Grizzly Creek Ranch.  In addition to the RYLA program, Vicki also became involved in the District Rotary Youth Exchange program as daughter, Kate, prepared for a year abroad in Chile in 2007.
Vicki served as District Chair for Youth Services/New Generations Service from 2009 through 2012, working with programs in our District for people under the age of 30, including Rotaract, RYLA, Interact and RYE, with a special focus on youth protection and ethics, and also worked to help create and build the successful Rotary Eighth Grade Leadership program.
Vicki and her husband Tim are blessed with a blended family of 7 children and 6 grandchildren.  Two of their children, Amy Jordan of Camarillo, California and Ryan Puliz of Reno, Nevada, are Rotarians.
Additional members of the family are three Rotary exchange daughters:  Camila Rubino of Araraquara, Brazil; Andrea Aviles Ibarra of Yucatan, Mexico; and Bernardita Reyes of Santiago, Chile.
Vicki and Tim participated in a National Immunization Day for Polio in northern India in 2009, and RYLA for District 9100 in Benin, Africa in 2011.
Vicki is a member of the Paul Harris Society since 2005 and Tim and Vicki are Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation.

Bill Hayes

Drawing on nearly 40 years’ experience as a licensed clinical social worker and therapist, will present an overview of common mental health problems, and share practical tips for maintaining personal resilience. A member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness since 2017, he heads its Delaware and Otsego affiliate.  Bill is a member of the Cooperstown Rotary club.  He was instrumental in the creation of the district's mental health resource guide.

Jesse Katen

 
Jesse has twice served as President of The Rotary Club of Binghamton (Noon), during both the 17-18 and 23-24 Rotary years. During his first presidency, the club received a Presidential Citation. He is the owner of The Jesse Katen School of Dance in Windsor, NY, which is now celebrating its 20th anniversary. He has taught in the English Department at SUNY Broome for 10 years, where he was awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2019. He also works as a professional coach, consultant, and corporate trainer, specializing in subjective topics such as leadership. creativity, and communication.