Amel Karboul as guest speaker at our club!

September 05, 2020

We have been honoured to have as guest speaker Amel Karboul. First woman in history to cover the role of Tunisia's Minister of Tourism and currently CEO of the Education Outcomes Fund. She has walked us through her amazing experience, sharing with us the ups and downs of being a leader of big social and political changes. 

President's Handover Meeting

June 28, 2020

On Monday 29th of June 2020, Rotary Club of Mayfair held its annual President's handover meeting. The club's past-President, Mr Raj Gupta, opened the meeting and welcomed the members and guests attending. Then the club's new President, Ms Barbara Pusca, took the stage and gave a moving speech to present herself and her program for the year ahead, 2020/2021.

Rotary Mayfair Hackathon - a runaway success!

January 25, 2020

We hosted our first ever hackathon in collaboration with Generating Genius at UCL's Institute of Education. Around 25 university students from various STEM degree courses participated. Thanks to the active involvement of all our members, the event was a great success. See participant feedback on our Projects page. Our District Governor, Tony Sharma, attended.

The meetings of 6/1 and 20/1 were devoted to preparing for the hackathon. The meeting of 3/2 was spent dissecting the hackathon and building a roadmap for future hackathons.

 

Click on picture for highlights.

A Random Walk from Physics to Finance

December 16, 2019

Our own Piotr, a legend in the world of Quantitative Finance, spoke about his life and times on Wall Street and in the City and his passion for poetry. A fitting end to a truly remarkable year for Rotary Mayfair! Click on the image for Piotr's presentation. 

The relevance of Big Tobacco in today's world

December 02, 2019

Mr. Gino Dizon, Global Head of Corporate Strategy at British American Tobacco talked about the relevance of Big Tobacco in today's world. He talked about the move away from paper to electronic and the various new initiatives at BAT to remain socially responsible. A lively Q&A followed in which Gino was asked about the changing demographics of BAT's customers, new products, BAT's stance re medical cannabis etc. An enjoyable evening was had by all!

From Goldman Sachs to pretzel bites

November 18, 2019

Annabel Noth, CFO, Indie Bay Snacks talked about her transition from an investment bank to a food startup. Looking to return to work after starting a family, the traditional banking roles appeared less appealing. So her eyes were open to the unexpected: a job advert in a food start-up, which looked too junior, but was worth a pitch to the founder.

A real love of food expressed, amongst others, through many cooking courses and the writing of her own food blog, meant that Annabel had been looking for a professional way into food.  That and her flair for operations and her desire to fix badly organised systems meant she had the passion to play a key partner role to the new start-up’s founder.

Indie Bay started as a vision to create a snack product in a distinct niche pitched to the anchor investor.  Annabel joined when this vision was to be turned into reality.  Over a short twelve months the product was developed and launched, a truly fast process and an excellent example of the importance of product development in order to start learning consumer lessons quickly.

The positioning is unique as a snack at the crossover of vegan, convenience and health, an “Indie” feel to communications and stance (incl. guerrilla marketing), and a careful distribution development through trend setting retailers.  “Snacks with Benefits” is re-enforced by a charitable angle of supporting healthy eating amongst kids.

The Gallery Model: Making the contemporary art scene swing

November 04, 2019

Jeremy Epstein is co-founder and director of Edel Assanti, a London based gallery founded in 2010. Edel Assanti represents contemporary and modern artists, whose practices engage with the social reality of the moment in which they live.  The gallery has presented more than seventy exhibitions since its inception. 

Jeremy gave us an insight into the business model and role of an art gallery.  He covered the structure of the market, including challenges faced by various segments in the gallery model.  He talked us through the development of his business from the pointof view of “start up business” with its ups and downs, its good luck and bad luck, and the unique, successful positioning he has carved out for his gallery.

The gallery focuses on work, which is highly current (the social reality of the moment).  As Jeremy put it: “Art often deals with issues in society before these hit the (social) media.”  To reinforce this the gallery not only organises shows of artist work, but also holds evenings involving discussion, or other art events to offer the public an opportunity of broader engagement with the subject matter or issues explored by artists in their work.

Club social

October 25, 2019

Our first social this year! We had brunch at Balans (High Street Kensington) before visiting the Design Musuem at Holland Park. A fascinating couple of hours exploring architecture, fashion, engineering and electronics design over the last century. Olivetti typewriters, space-age TV sets, sound systems from the 60s, sewing machines, dial-phones, we saw them all.. An interesting trip down memory lane! Thanks to Barbara and Salmen for organizing. We shall have more of these going forward!

District Governor's visit

October 13, 2019

We were honoured to have the DG of the London district, Tony Sharma, as our guest. Tony spoke at length of the key principles that distinguish Rotary at the international, national, district and club-level. We also inducted two new members, Christine Cantrell and Epitacio Miranda. Welcome!

Danish and British politics and bilateral relations

October 06, 2019

Our guest speaker, Mr Uffe Gron Sorensen, Counsellor in the political section of the Danish Embassy, spoke on Danish and British politics and bilateral relations.

In an informative and insightful talk, he spoke about the political and economic implications of Brexit from Denmark's and the EU's viewpoint.  A vibrant (and extended!) Q&A followed. Mr Sorensen was patient enough to answer all questions, even the provocative ones, thoroughly.  

Generating genius in STEM

September 29, 2019

Our guest speaker for the evening was Emmanuel Ayoola, a Director at Generating Genius, a non-profit organisation founded in 2004 and funded by a number of Universities including UCL, Leeds and St Anne’, Oxford. It’s creating a thriving and innovative STEM community - raising the next generation of talented leaders in STEM from underrepresented backgrounds, especially kids aged 14-18 from African Caribbean descent. He explained how there’s a shortfall of 65k STEM jobs in the UK and with their initiatives they are trying to close the gap.

Generating Genius is a team of ~ 20 (3 staff, 4 trustees, 15 long term volunteer). They have at least 2 events each month, running 3 programmes that typically last for 2 years, where activities range from tutoring, career exposure, networking with like-minded kids etc.: 1 “Junior Genius”, an academic enrichment programme introducing 14-16 year olds to the STEM industry, 2 “Uni Genius”, giving A-level students first hand experience of what the world of STEM is really like, ie. work experience and internship programmes and, 2 “Alumni Genius”, giving undergraduates a forum for job opportunities, volunteering and networking. They currently have an intake of about 50 students every year, 500+ kids in their alumni network and are collaborating with 30-40 partners (including Barclays, IP Group, and Tech UK) already for work experience placements.

In order to get the kids onboarded, they collaborate with a number of schools from where they get a lot of interest. The kids apply online and are then chosen according to their academic background and motivation.

Rotary Mayfair is currently exploring opportunities to collaborate with Generating Genius since supporting kids to thrive in STEM careers has been 

Moment of impact - recovering from disaster

September 15, 2019

The evening started with the induction of our newest member, Ms. Atanaska Donkova, an accountant by profession. A very warm welcome!. 

We were happy to welcome Rotarians from Russia and Romania at our event. 

​Our guest speaker for the evening was Mr. Fawaz Bitar, Head of the Upstream Executive Office, BP, who talked about "Moment of Impact - bouncing back from adversity". 

Fuzzy's life was turned on its head after being smacked down by a freak wave while surfing in Bali.  After losing all mobility and almost his life in the accident, he managed to hang on and with grit and determination and the help of a crack team of doctors and therapists, got back to "being able to run and swim". 

Of the many life lessons that Fuzzy shared with us, perhaps the most profound was: "you can't control events in your life, but you can control your response to them". A refusal to quit when down and the desire to help others the way he was helped is what makes Fuzzy the man he is today.
 

Environment friendly insect-control

September 01, 2019

The evening started with the inductions of our newest members, Mr. Frederick Harker-Mortlock and Dr Mario Carandente. A very warm welcome to them both!

Our guest speaker for the evening was Glen Slade, founder and CEO of BigSIS, involved in environment-friendly insect control.  

 

BigSIS has reinvented the sterile insect technique (SIT) and made it commercially viable for most pests.  What does this mean?  By letting sterile male insects mate with females the reproduction rate is cut.  This reduces insect populations without using chemicals.

 

BigSIS has renovated this technique in three ways: instead of breeding insect populations in groups and then having to separate the males and females, BigSIS deploys a technique of breeding insects in single isolation cells, which makes the identification and separation of sexes easier.  Secondly, it irradiates just the genitals and not the whole animal, allowing more of the population to survive radiation treatment.  Finally, by handling individual animals rather than population groups, robots can be deployed in the handling, thus facilitating scaling up of the process as well as the deployment of AI driven identification of the sexes.

 

Bringing an innovation to market requires buyers to be convinced not just of the technical viability, but also of the financial benefits. BigSIS has addressed both technical and the commercial aspects and is well on its way to success.  Glen is well placed given his educational background of Cambridge and INSEAD and his previous experience in the agro-chemical world and in an “old style” SIT business.  What an opportunity this presents to potential investors!

Projects Night

August 11, 2019

We discussed the 2 projects for 2019-20: STEM and RMApp. Click on the photo for slides. We also inducted Mr. Kamil Dada (featured) to the fold.

Serata italiana

July 28, 2019

Our very own Gaspare Fiocca and Mario Carandente regaled us with their life stories at the “Serata Italiana” on 29/7. 

Gaspare, who is an Operations and Strategy Manager at Clariter,  showed us a film on how Marsala wine is made in his family’s cantina in Sicily and followed it up with a presentation on the origins of Marsala. 

Mario who is a Product Development Manager at McLaren automotive, showed us a film on McLaren’s production and tech centre at Woking. We got several glimpses of the “Speedtail”, the lightweight SUV he helped create as well as the limited-production McLaren Senna. 

The evening was capped off by the Rotary toast with Marsala wine.

Feeding the homeless in Soho

July 14, 2019

Mrs Lucy McGuinness from Open House, Soho spoke about their initiatives with the homeless in and around Soho. We had 18 attendees at our sparkling new venue, The Cavendish on Jermyn Street.

Open House is part of St Patrick’s church in Soho Square. The homeless and the precarious around Soho are invited to a home-cooked dinner every Tuesday and Thursday - except for the summer months when sandwiches and cookies are handed out in the square garden. Unlike other soup kitchens, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming where volunteers from all backgrounds (“CEOs to window cleaners”) serve dinner, dessert and coffee to the guests and sometimes dine with them. Night shelter is offered to the severely destitute and an SOS prayer-line run throughout the evening and night.

Several Rotary and Rotaract clubs in central London volunteer at Open House. Rotary Mayfair has sent volunteers for the last two years and occasionally provided used clothing. We hope to be able to continue the good work!

Handover nite

June 30, 2019

Handover from PP Nikhil Vadgama to Raj Gupta. Well-attended event (30 guests), our last at the Washington. Several familiar and new faces. 3 district attendees: David Palmer, Dick Nathan and Helen  Antoniou. Great speech on water management by our own Nigel Heeler, Founder and Director at WaterReach.

Club Assembly

June 02, 2019

Incoming President Raj Gupta outlined his plans for the club for upcoming 2019-2020 Rotary year. One can view his presentation by clicking on the image on the left/above.

How Software Disrupted Trading

May 12, 2019

Rotarian Koray Alkan presented on the topic of "How Software Disrupted Trading". A copy of his presentation is available on the image on the left/above.

Club AGM

March 31, 2019

A copy of the AGM presentation is available on the picture on the left. Several District Officers were in attendance. In general, they were very impressed with how we had been running our young club and that we were implementing good practices that had been abandoned by other clubs. Our flagship project with the Big Kid Foundation is very much in line with Rotary's theme of "Be the inspiration" and focusing on Rotarian's utilising their skills and giving up their time for voluntary service. Finally, all amendments to the constitution were passed at the meeting. A copy of the full minutes of the AGM is available under the Meeting Agendas part of our website (this is a private members area).

John Purkiss

March 18, 2019

Mr John Purkiss, Executive Search Consultant, author and personal branding expert gave a presentation on his new book "Letting Go". You can find out more about him here. The presentation he gave is accessible here and by clicking on the photo to the left.

Nurses In Nepal: Ganga Rayamajhi Visit

December 10, 2018

We learnt about the Hope Centre in Nepal in 2017, and we were lucky to be visited by the Hope Centre Manager Ms Ganga Rayamajhi who was is in the UK fundraising for the centre and to give us an update about Amrit. You can see her presentation on the photo link. You can also contribute to her fundraising appeal here.

Rang De

October 14, 2018

We were visited by Rang De who told us more about their crowdfunding platform for rural entrepreneurs and microfinance in India. If you are interested in their presentation please click on their logo on the left/above.

Improving Surgical Care in Cambodia

August 19, 2018

Dr Elliot Brender presented to us about his surgical work in Cambodia. He is seeking funding from Rotary to establish a rotating international surgical residency program. You can see his presentation by clicking on the picture on the left (please note there is very graphic medical imagery in the presentation).

Club Assembly

May 20, 2018

Incoming President Nikhil Vadgama outlined his plans for the Rotary Year 2018 - 2019. His presentation is available to view by clicking on the image on the left/above.

The Microlife CRADLE VSA

March 11, 2018

Prof Andrew Shennan visited us to talk about the Cradle device and the work they are doing to improve maternal care and reduce maternal deaths in Africa and India. The Cradle is a low-cost and accurate blood pressure device. You can find out more about the device by clicking on the picture on the left.

Designability

January 29, 2018

Professor Nigel Harris visited the club to talk about the work Designability is doing using technology to enhance the lives of people with health problems and disabilities. He also showed their Wizzybug product designed for children aged 14 months to 5 years to aid mobility. You can see Professor Harris's presentation by clicking on the picture on the left.

Nurses In Nepal

December 04, 2017

Rotarian Anna Penrose visited telling us of her fundraising for a young disabled person (Amrit) in Nepal, who wishes to become a community nurse. The presentation she gave is available if you click the image on the left

 

You can find out more about her project through the following links:

Robert Eddison

November 26, 2017

Robert Eddison, well-respected Journalist who has written for the Sunday Times, Daily Express, Independent, Observer, Spectator, Daily Telegraph and New Statesman visited us and talked about his new Book Wisdom and Wordplay.

Lovatt Foundation

October 22, 2017

Ahead of our Charity Art Exhibition to raise funds for the Lovatt Foundation, Fiona told the club about her story and the work she is doing in Nigeria. 

The BigKid Foundation

September 24, 2017

The BigKid Foundation visited and told us about the wonderful things they are doing and gave us a glimpse into the passion with which they pursue the goal of trying to change the life of underprivileged kids and improve their communities.

Baron Davies

June 11, 2017

Evan Mervyn Davies, Baron Davies of Abersoch, CBE, former Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Small Business and former Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank visited us to talk about his experiences in business and charity.

Musuem of Happiness

May 07, 2017

Shamash Alidina from the Museum of Happiness visited to tell us more about their initiative spreading more happiness in the world and their crowdfunding campaign.

Lord Mayor of Westminster

April 09, 2017

The Lord Mayor of Westminster visited our club and regaled us with many interesting stories and informed us about some of the community projects Westminster Council are engaged in and how we as a club could help out in these initiatives.

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