Kitchener Rotary


February 8, 2022

Meeting Recording

A recording of Today’s Meeting can be found here.

President's Comments

President Adrian welcomed members of both our club and the Rotary Club of Grand River and guests to this special 100th Anniversary event meeting celebrating Women in Rotary. 

Visiting Rotarians

  • Valarie Wafer, Collingwood South Georgian Bay, Past DG, Rotary International Director 2020-22, Rotary International Vice President 2021-2022, Chair Rotary International Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force and guest speaker.
  • Kathi Smith, Kitchener Grand River and guest speaker
  • Brenda Halloran, Waterloo and DG Nominee
  • Mike Lawrie, Cambridge Sunrise and Past DG
  • Sandhya Maini, Burlington North and DG Elect
  • Many other Rotarian visitors from Kitchener Waterloo and D7080. 


  • Kitchener Mayor, Berry Vrbanovic
  • Linda Kenney, CEO, KidsAbility
  • Lisa Talbot, Executive Director, KidsAbility Foundation
  • Bardish Chagger, MP, Waterloo
  • Many other guests from the Kitchener Waterloo community

Club Announcements

Week 12 of Catch the Ace saw Moira T. as our lucky winner. She picked card #35, revealing the 9 of Spades and won the weekly prize of $265.  Moira T. is from KW and heard about Catch the Ace through Rotary.  Tell your friends so they can also have a chance to play and win. 
Still no Ace of Spades so there is still time to get your tickets for the next weekly draw on Thursday February 10th and maybe have a little extra cash to splurge on Valentines Day.


Program Highlights

Our program today was a special Women in Rotary event presented in partnership with the Kitchener Grand River club.  Being the first Rotary club in Ontario to induct women into Rotary is one of the many highlights of our 100 years as a Rotary club.
Kathi Smith is a 33 year member of Rotary, first with Kitchener and then with Kitchener Grand River.  She retired from teaching in the School of Business at Conestoga College two years ago.  She has been a trustee with the Waterloo Region District School Board since 2000 and has served on various committees including the Audit Committee.  She has worked with a variety of local organizations and committees to support diversity in the school system.  She is a member of the Rotary Five-Club Rotary Peace Park committee.  In addition to being the first female member of Rotary in our region (and the province) she was also the first female president of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce.  Kathi is married to Ray Teed, a retired secondary school principal.
Kathi spoke about her experience being the first female inducted into Rotary in Ontario, (along with Pat Tallman) on February 7, 1989.  It was not without its challenges as the issue of women in Rotary generally was still a hot topic being debated by many clubs around the world and the induction of Kathi and Pat received considerable media coverage.  It was a slow process for the ladies to really feel comfortable in Rotary.  Some Rotarians were unwelcoming, some close to hostile but, over time, most were welcoming and helped Kathi find a place in Rotary and make significant contributions over the years.  She attended the district conference in her first year to the surprise of many, the disapproval of a few but the applause of most of the other attendees.  She became active on many committees but continued to meet resistance when trying to work beyond the club.  Her initial attempts to lead a Group Study Exchange were denied primarily because she was female and was told that she would not be able to handle the demands of the role.  However, with her tact and tenacity, she persisted, and led a very successful Exchange Group to Japan, and has stayed in contact with the other team members over the years.  Her advice to anyone, male, female, younger than average, from a minority group, from wherever, perhaps hesitant to join Rotary is simple – step up, get involved!
Valarie K. Wafer
Rotary International Director 2020-22, Rotary Vice President 2021-2022
Valarie Wafer joined Rotary in 2005 in order to fuel her passion for making an impact that matters.  Valarie was District Governor of RI district 7070 covering the Greater Toronto Area in 2013/14.  Currently her home club is the Rotary Club of Collingwood South Georgian Bay, RI district 7010.  But having just moved back to Burlington where she grew up, Valarie will be joining D7080 on July 1, 2022
Valarie’s journey as a Rotarian has involved a number of international roles.  She is an International Trainer, a member of the Host Organizing Committee for the Toronto 2018 Rotary International Convention.  She has represented Rotary International Presidents in the Us, Norway and Nigeria.  Currently she is an elected member of the Rotary International Board of Directors for 2020-2022.
During Valarie’s tenure as a Rotarian she has engaged in and led many initiatives including a mission to Kosovo with Gift of Life International.  She was the Vocational Training Team leader to Australia in 2010 focusing on youth mental health, a National Immunization Day in India in 2012, and has travelled to Kenya and Tanzania to audit long-term Rotary Foundation grant activity.
In her non-Rotary life, Valarie had a 27-year career as the owner of 14 restaurants in Toronto. The brand, Tim Hortons, is the most recognized and iconic franchise in Canada.  The Wafer’s operation was best known for its inclusive hiring practices and accessibility.  Valarie, and her husband of 35 years, Mark, are Paul Harris Fellows, Bequest Society members and Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation.
Valarie is the chair of the Rotary International Global DEI Task Force, and brings a strong background of learned and lived experience to this important topic.  Valarie spoke about the work of DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Task Force and how important these ideas are for the future of Rotary.  One of the first steps the task force took was a comprehensive survey of the current membership.  There was a very good response to the survey from which eight key concepts developed.  Valarie highlighted four of these.
First, there is overwhelming member support for Rotary to me more inclusive across the world.  It is seen as the right thing to do, consistent with the Four Way Test, and critical to Rotary remaining relevant in the future.
There are significant differences across the world as to current state of DEI in Rotary clubs and the challenges to move forward.
There is a need for the education of members as to what DEI does and can mean, how to recognize barriers and how to move forward.
The current model for advancing to leadership roles in Rotary at all levels, which is based primarily on tenure of service, is outdated and can be a detriment to a greater diversity, equity and inclusion and needs to be modified to be a more skills based process.
The Task Force has developed a three-year plan to help clubs address the issues of diversity, equity and inclusion and will be publishing the plan in the near future.
Valarie concluded by emphasising that we all have a critical role in the advancement of DEI in our clubs:
  • Be a champion, speak out
  • Invite speakers to present to the club on DEI topics
  • Encoui8rage individuals from underrepresented groups to take on key leadership roles in Rotary.

Closing Remarks & Reminders

President Adrian reminded Members of the up coming meeting on 
Feb 14, a Noon Zoom featuring Ed Fowler speaking about Youth and the Club Exchange Program. 
Feb 08, 2022 7:45 AM
ZOOM BREAKFAST - Celebrating Women in Rotary
Feb 14, 2022 12:00 PM
ZOOM NOON - Youth & Club Exchange History
Feb 21, 2022
Committee Meetings to be Scheduled by Committee Chairs
Feb 28, 2022 7:00 PM
ZOOM NOON - Speaker Series - Lessons from Indigenous political activism in the 20th century
View entire list
Birthdays & Membership Anniversaries
Member Birthdays
Neil Swayze
February 1
Lew Ford
February 5
JB Moore
February 8
Ailton Dias Santana
February 14
Cameron Yule
February 19
Josh Bedard
February 23
Wayne Boehler
February 28
Join Date
Lew Ford
February 1, 1991
31 years
Laura Mae Lindo
February 10, 2020
2 years