Vol. 108, No. 23, December 5, 2023

Next Meeting:

 When:  December 8, 2023 at Noon
 Where:  Lansing Community College, Michigan Room 
 Address:  600 N. Grand Ave., Park in Gannon Ramp
 Speaker:  Samantha Harkins, CEO of Hundred Place Consulting
 Topic:   "Lansing: Be Our Neighbor"
 Chair of the Day:   Lolo Robison
 Editarian:  Ben Rathbun
 Chair of the Month:  Lolo Robison
 Greeter:  Judi Harris
Biography for Samantha Harkins
Samantha Harkins is the CEO/Founder of Hundred Place Consulting. Her work focuses on building communities and supporting community organizations. Samantha has more than two decades of experience in public policy, advocacy, strategic planning, and relationship management with a large focus on local government. Her love of communities started in her hometown of Hundred, West Virginia (current population 248). She has a J.D. and B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia University (Go Mountaineers!)
Her career in community building began after law school when she served as the Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia. Several years later she moved to Michigan to work in local government policy in the Michigan House of Representatives. She left there to be the Director of Government Relations at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce. She then spent 8½ years at the Michigan Municipal League where she served as a staff lobbyist for four years before being promoted to the Director of State Affairs, leading the lobbying effort. She was ranked the state’s #2 lobbyist in 2011 and was named as a person to watch in politics by Crain’s Detroit Business in 2014. She was further promoted to the President of the MML Foundation. She then transitioned to the private sector as Vice President of Government Relations for Munetrix before being named Deputy Mayor in the City of Lansing. While at the City she participated in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and completed the Driving Government Performance Course through the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education program. She was a board member of Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL). In late 2020 she launched Hundred Place Consulting. She’s worked with clients who focus on community development including the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy, the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, the City of Flint, Engaging Local Government Leaders and the Michigan Municipal Services Authority.
She lives in downtown Lansing with her husband and son, and is an avid reader and runner.
David O'Leary's Address
David O'Leary has moved to Red Cedar Lodge last Friday, it is a trial basis for the winter.  He would love to hear from his Rotary friends, his address is:
Red Cedar Lodge
210 Dori Lane
Apartment 415
Lansing, MI  48912
New Member Orientation
If you are sporting a new red badge and have not participated in a New Member Orientation, please include this date on your calendar.  Michelle Reynaert will be chairing this orientation before our Rotary meeting this Friday, December 8th at 11:00 a.m.   Everything you ever needed to know about Rotary!
New Member Proposed

The following proposed member has emailed their application to the office.  If anyone has a comment on this proposed member please forward it in writing within ten days to the Rotary office.  Thank you,

  • Denise Donahue, Account Service Director with Redhead Creative Consultancy, sponsored by Michelle Reynaert
Editarian Report for December 1, 2023
Happy Friday, Rotarians! Our meeting commenced with a profound reflection by Lolo Robinson, shedding light on the challenges faced by wrongfully convicted individuals. Lolo's words resonated deeply, particularly in reference to communities of color where individuals confront numerous hurdles within the legal system. Our reflection sent energy hoping that they are exonerated.
Mark Hooper treated us to a soulful rendition of "God Bless America" with his impressive vocal prowess, setting an inspiring tone for the meeting. Oh wait, that was the entire club. I was just sitting near Mark.
I’ll get the self-serving part out of the way. Two days after my father, Paul, passed, my stunning wife and I started a Foundation. The For Good Foundation. We are having a Pre-NYE Gala at the AC Hotel on 12/30. We are partnering with Lansing SAVE to receive 50% of the proceeds from the evening. Hope to see you all there! Check us out and get your tickets at forgoodgiving.com.
I’m your Editarian again this week. I wonder if you’ll get another reminder to make sure you party that night with Courtney Millbrook. Time will tell.
Back to regularly scheduled business.
Our Friday was enriched by several guests, including Martin Ruiz, a retiree from the State of Michigan, Isaac Schultz from Mercantile Bank, Ernscie Augustin, an esteemed estate planning attorney, and Denise Donahue, who was on her fourth visit. Additionally, Ginger Koster, the Development Director with the Boy Scouts, and Ted Larkin, an attorney, contributed to the sea of guests. Evan Winters, the CEO of Able Eyes and Able U, an accessibility guru, was also in attendance.
Steve Robinson took the floor for announcements, highlighting an upcoming event where LCC would be transformed for free professional portraits, courtesy of Help Portrait. This marks the third consecutive year for this meaningful initiative, taking place Saturday between 10 AM and 2 PM. His energy was palpable. It got everyone else excited. But don’t forget – he made sure to acknowledge the infamous Patrick.
Chris Holman attempted to inject humor into the meeting as he acknowledged December birthdays, reminding us that he is not one to grace us with his portrait. Patrick, our tech guru, received another well-deserved shoutout for consistently saving the day, accompanied by a Queen Elizabeth wave that elicited laughter from the room.
The birthday question of the month prompted members to share the intro song they'd choose for themselves each time they entered a room. I hadn’t heard of most of these songs until they were listed by name. Ah, to be 31. Barbara Lezotte had a Bruno Mars song I’d heard. She also has a poster of Bruno Mars in her locker at the Y. Happy Birthday as well to John Persons, Linda Sarnelle, and John Pence.
Moving on to formal club business, the nominating committee presented names for board suggestions. The slate, including Jason Brunette, Sara Garcia, and Heidi McNaughtin, received unanimous consent. In leadership roles, Joel Hoffman is set to become the new secretary, and Chris Swope will assume the position of President Elect. Well-deserved shoutout this time goes to John Cauley, who is retiring as Secretary. Thank you for your many years of service, John!
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee meeting is scheduled for next week, immediately following our typical meeting time. The club also welcomed new red badges for Kayla Parks, sponsored by Judi Harris, and Geoff Zaleski, sponsored by Chris Nugent.
The highlight of the meeting was the guest speaker, Takura Nyamfukudza. Lolo Robison introduced Takura. What an impressive bio. Not gonna lie. I stepped out momentarily during the introduction to get a plate of lasagna. Shout out to the service team at LCC!
In a candid address, Takura dispelled misconceptions about criminal defense attorneys, emphasizing the profound impact they have on families and democracy. He shared staggering statistics on exonerations and the costs of incarceration, advocating for improvements in police procedures, courtrooms, and legislative accountability.
Takura reminded us that all attorneys are not the same. Make sure to find a criminal defense attorney with relevant experience. He is not only defending the person named in a suit. He is defending their family. Loved ones. Friends. Neighbors. That is what he defends. Democracy. That is why he calls himself a constitutional lawyer.
He addressed the misconception that defending someone equates to condoning their behavior. Takura eloquently argued that individuals should not be judged solely by the best or worst thing they've been accused of. He shared eye-opening statistics, revealing that since 1989, there have been 3,423 exonerations, resulting in over 32,250 years lost and an annual cost of $44,528 per inmate to lock someone up.
According to the Department of Justice, 95% of those in the prison system eventually get released, underscoring the importance of supporting education within the corrections system.
Takura concluded his talk by outlining ways to make the legal system better, addressing issues in police procedures, courtrooms, and the need for legislative accountability. His call to action included encouraging community members not to dodge jury service.
The Rotary Club left inspired, pondering the profound implications of the criminal justice system and the urgent need for positive change. Samantha Harkins is up next week! She is the CEO of Hundred Place and her topic will be Lansing: Be our Neighbor.
Email for Ben Rathbun:  ben@rathbunagency.com
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UM Health-West & Sparrow Health System
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View entire list
Rotary Club of Lansing
P. O. Box 13156
Lansing, MI   48901-3156
Meeting Responsibilities
Chair of the Day
Robison, Lolo
Harris, Judi
December Birthday Chair
Watkins, Scott
Chair of the Month
Robison, Lolo
Rathbun, Benjamin