Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on May 20, 2019; Today we welcomed Iris Hammel, Executive Director of Regional Innovation and Startup Education. Iris is a creative problem solver and lifelong learner with a passion for helping others to unleash their potential through connecting people, resources and ideas. Iris’s unique background consists of over ten years of both business and education. This experience includes being a co-founder of Connected Classrooms and TeachMe3D.org as well as starting an entrepreneurial middle school. Iris wants to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs to make a lasting impact on our community.

President Peter Norton opened the meeting and introduced Terri Rickel who shared a moving video, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Four Way Test.

Guests were introduced and included visiting Rotarians: Doug Grant (Wawasee) and Aaron Bradford (South Bend). Guests of Rotarians included: Claudia Stohler and Chris Risse (Don Stohler), Pamela McGregor (James Davis), David DeMarow (Tom Shoff), Janet Evanega (Jim Rieckhoff), Austin and Skyler Canniff (Brad Canniff), Steve Thalheimer (Jim Story), and Adam Trisler (Nick Corpe). We also welcomed high school students Abigail Tyler, Jaycee Rossi and Nevaeh Prater. We hope you can all join us again some other time!

Today featured a New Member Induction by Aileac Deegan: Please help us welcome Steve Thalheimer, Superintendent of Elkhart Community Schools, to the Elkhart Rotary Club.

Announcements for May 20:

  • Tony Warning announced the next round of sponsorships are available for the Elkhart Rotary Club Placemat; the placemat is a fundraiser supporting our Interact Club's activities including their annual service trip to Costa Rica, where they support a local library, a partnership project of the Elkhart Rotary Club.
  • Sergeant's Captain Dave Dygert is looking for new Sergeants for the 2019-2020 year beginning in July. Interested in helping the club raise funds that Elkhart Rotary gives back to the community in the form of grants?.. Call Dave.
  • Susan Ginther announced that plans are underway for a Club outing to a South Bend Cubs game in the near future.. stay-tuned for more info.
  • Terri Rickel proposed that club members help support the Concord Rotary Club's fundraising efforts to purchase a Well-Drilling Truck for their international project - - an attempt to raise $31,000. $10 from each Elkhart Rotary Club member would add $1500 to those efforts; bring your cash or check book next week to help support. Contact Terri for specifics if you'd like to contribute more or add to the envelope on the table.
This week's Elkhart Rotary Grant recipient is Lacasa Elkhart, represented by Pam McGregor, who thanked the club for its grant support. Elkhart Rotary Club's grant will fund 100+ students ages 10-18 years old for a six-week Summer Academy. Another example of the good work being done in the community helped in part by our Club!
Today's Sergeant was Stan Cohen, who provided an entertaining session of FUNdraising as Rotary fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund. In the spring more than $10,000 is distributed as grants to not for profit organizations around our county. As a reminder that we do not meet on Memorial Day Monday, Stan provided a session of Memorial Day trivia and interesting facts. Thanks, All, for your contributions!
Dean Bergeman introduced today's speaker Iris Hammel, Executive Director of Regional Innovation and Startup Education (RISE). Iris provided some brief background about RISE, including their programming. RISE creates programming to proactively and positively impact the regional entrepreneurial ecosystem. We currently operate through the high school program, Startup Moxie, the collegiate program Applied Entrepreneurship Program, and the collegiate community, UpStart. We are also strategically partnering with the IT sector to develop certification and internship opportunities for students. Our outcomes come directly from the success of our students.
  • Are they creating viable businesses that have an impact on the community?
  • Are there internship opportunities for our students at local companies?
  • Do they have resources in the community that they can turn to for advice and future job opportunities?
  • Are our students getting involved on their own in the community?

All of these will impact the main goals of developing students who are entrepreneurs of their own lives and who create an impact in the workforce retention of the area and to continue to fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region.

Iris then introduced Startup Moxie Program Coordinator Lizzie Sheets, who talked about this exciting new program. Startup Moxie encourages program participants to act first, using the tools at hand, pivot their perspective, and continue to build on what they learn. Startup Moxie is built around embracing failures, whether it’s proving a business concept or discovering more about oneself.
Startup Moxie practices empathy, creation, experimentation, play, and reflection to better develop entrepreneurial thinking around all activities in participants lives. We ask the question of “How might we…?” to encourage new approaches and angles to everyday challenges and experiences.

Students get the opportunity to hear from the leaders in our community about their business ventures, life experiences, and their perspective on the South Bend Elkhart region.

To learn more about these programs or to get involved, visit their respective websites:

About Rotary:
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, roadside trash collection, and are the originators and sustainers of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit elkhartrotary.org or email elkhartnoonrotary@gmail.com. Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Programs:
  • June 3: Scott Ford - Associate Vice President for Economic Development
  • June 10: Lisa Guedea Carreño - Director at Elkhart Public Library
  • June 17: Deb Alwine - Southgate Crossing
  • June 24: Lisa Koop - Associate Director of Legal Services, National Immigrant Justice Center
Join us for our next meeting:
All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds a dinner meeting (no presenter) at the same location.