PETS Speaker Bios

Valarie Wafer          

Rotary International Director 2020-22
Rotary Club of Collingwood South Georgian Bay

Bio

Valarie had a 27 year career as a restaurant owner 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, especially in the area of employment.

Valarie was governor of District 7070, which covers the greater Toronto area, in 2013/14. Now residing in Collingwood, her home club is the Rotary Club of Collingwood South Georgian Bay, District 7010. Valarie has continued to serve Rotary in a number of international roles. She is an international trainer, a member of the international convention committee, representative of the Rotary International President, and most recently has been elected to serve on the board of Rotary International 2020-2022

During Valarie’s tenure as a Rotarian she has participated and led many initiatives including a recent mission to Kosovo with Gift of Life International. She has also served as 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.

Valarie, and her husband of 33 years, Mark are Paul Harris Fellows, Bequest Society members and Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation.

Brenda M. Cressey          

Foundation Trustee 2017-21
Rotary Club of Paso Robles, CA

Bio

Brenda joined Rotary in 1989 and is currently a proud member of the Rotary Club of Paso Robles, CA. USA in District 5240. She is retired as the CEO of Office Support Systems, a telecommunications business in Maine.

Brenda served in several key roles for Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation over the years including District Governor in 2001-02, a Regional Membership and Foundation Coordinator, an Endowment Major Gift Advisor. In 2018-19 she was honored to serve as the first female Vice Chair and later Chair of The Rotary Foundation. She will continue her term as Trustee through 2021.

Most of Brenda’s assignments have focused on successful Fund Development for The Rotary Foundation, specifically in the areas of Peace and Polio Eradication. However, she shares the importance of supporting the Annual Fund, Endowments and Major Gifts. She has enjoyed witnessing several successful outcomes with Clubs and Districts with their own Rotary Foundation fundraising efforts as well as the full engagement of many passionate Rotarians who successfully implement foundation projects in each of the six Areas of Focus.

Her passion is and has always been to see the end of Polio and is her mission and the very reason she joined Rotary. Having participated in several Rotary humanitarian projects around the world, she is a proud Rotary Foundation Alumnus. Brenda has seen and experienced, first-hand, how our gifts to the Rotary Foundation greatly impact the lives of others and will someday bring peace and understanding around the world.

She and her husband Dick are members of the prestigious Arch Klumph Society, Major Donors, members of the Paul Harris and new Legacy Societies and have established the Brenda and Richard Cressey Endowment for Peace.

She is the recipient of the RI “Service Above Self Award” and The Rotary Foundation’s “Citation for Meritorious Service,” and the Foundations highest recognition, The Distinguished Service Award.

Brenda resides in Templeton, California, USA with her husband Richard, who is retired from a long career as a Vice President in manufacturing. They both enjoy spending good times with their three grandchildren and family.

Jeffry Cadorette          

RI Director 2018-20
Rotary Club of Media, PA

Bio

Jeffry Cadorette, Rotary International Director (RID 2018-20) retired from healthcare in 1999 after a 25-year career as a physical therapist. He had been President and CEO of Physical Therapy Associates of Delaware County in Pennsylvania until merging his practice with Riddle Memorial Hospital to form the Riddle Rehabilitation Institute and Riddle Sports Medicine. He now serves as Associate Broker and Executive Vice President at Media Real Estate Company where he is active in all phases of commercial real estate sales and leasing, tenant representation and new project development.

He received a bachelor’s Degree in Science and a Master’s Degree in Education from Springfield College and a post graduate degree in physical therapy from the University of Pennsylvania.

He is a past Trustee on the Springfield College Board of Trustees and is a member of and Past Co-president of the Springfield College Philadelphia/Wilmington Alumni Association.

He served on the Board of Directors of the Rocky Run YMCA for 14 years, 4 as Chair of that Board. He was Honorary Chair of their Phase 11 and Phase 111 Capital Campaigns for Rocky Run.  He is a past Board member of the Philadelphia Freedom Valley Y where he was Chair of its Branch Operations Committee.

He has been named Volunteer of the Year twice by both Rocky Run Y and Springfield College.

He served for 9 years on the Board of Trustees at Tyler Arboretum and was President of that Board for 3 years.

He is currently Advisor to the Building Committee of the Providence Animal Center (formerly the Delaware County SPCA) and also sits on their capital campaign steering committee.

He has received the Benefit Auction Specialist designation from the National Auctioneers Association, one of 350 auctioneers in North America to have received that designation, helping dozens of charities to raise millions of dollars over the past 20 years.

A Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Media, PA since 1977, Jeff served as Governor of District 7450 in 1998-1999. In September of 2016 he was the selection of the Zones 24/32 Nominating Committee for Director to serve on the Rotary International Board of Directors in 2018-2020.

Active in international service projects, he traveled to South America as part of a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant project to set up a Village Bank in Lima, Peru. Operating on the principles of micro-credit, it was a joint project of the Rotary Club of Media and the Rotary Club of El Rimac in Lima.

In October, 1999, he spent 8 days in Madagascar participating in a polio NID which was the culmination of The Philadelphia Challenge, a fundraising effort he initiated during his year as Governor. He accompanied a team of 27 who made the trip from District 7450. The Philadelphia Challenge raised record dollars for The Rotary Foundation and allowed District 7450 to lead Zones 31 & 32 in every category of giving to The Rotary Foundation in 1998-99. In December of 2003 he travelled to Yaroslavl, Russia to assist in fund development initiatives for their YMCA. In 2013 he travelled to Uganda to view the substantially completed Global Grant Project to the benefit of Brain Tree Primary School which was completed in cooperation with the Rotary Clubs of Media, Elkton, Maryland, and Kampala North in Uganda.

He is a past Rotary Foundation Alumni Coordinator for Zone 32 and the past General Coordinator worldwide of Rotary Foundation Alumni Coordinators.

He was a delegate to the Rotary International 2004 and 2007 Council on Legislation in Chicago.

In January, 2010 he was one of forty International Training Leaders selected globally to serve at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego. He was reappointed to that position in 2011.

He facilitated the training at the Governor-elect Training Seminar for Zone 32 at the Rotary Institute in London, Ontario in 2010 and the Rotary Institute in Boston, MA in 2011.

In 2014 he facilitated the training for the Governors-nominee at the Zones 24 & 32 Rotary Institute in Toronto, Canada.

He was Co-Chair of the Pre-Institute Training at the 2016 Institute in Winnipeg, Canada.

In January 2015 he was appointed as one of two Seminar Leaders worldwide at the International Assembly in San Diego. Seminar Leaders are tasked with training, coaching, and motivating the 40 International Training Leaders who in turn train the 547 incoming District Governors for the upcoming Rotary year. He was reappointed to that position for the 2016 International Assembly.

He has represented the President of Rotary International at District Conferences across the country and in Canada and has been the keynote and motivational speaker at numerous district conferences, Rotary Foundation dinners, Rotary workshops, and seminars around North America.

He is a Rotary Foundation Benefactor, a charter member of the District 7450 Paul Harris Society, a Rotary Foundation Major Donor and a multiple Guy Gundaker Fellow of District 7450’s Gundaker Foundation.

He is a recipient of: The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Small Business Person of the Year Award The Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Association Humanitarian Award The Springfield College Distinguished Alumni Award The Rose Tree Media School District Service Award The Rotary International PolioPlus Partners Leadership Award The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service The Media Theatre, Walter M. Strine Advocacy of the Arts Award Boy Scouts of America, Cradle of Liberty Council, Good Scout Award.

He is a recipient of the Rotary International Service Above Self Award, Rotary International’s highest honor for individual Rotarians and a recipient of The Rotary Foundation Distinguished Service Award, the Foundation’s highest distinction.

Aaron Beverly          

Toastmaster Champion
Keynote Speaker

Bio

In August 2019, Aaron Beverly emerged as the winner of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, an annual public speaking competition that includes over 30,000 competitors worldwide. Performing the speech entitled “An Unbelievable Story,” Aaron provided a humorous take on the heavy subject of race and the importance of “acceptance despite difference.” That speech won him the prestigious title of World Champion of Public Speaking.

An accomplished speaker prior to the 2019 championship, Aaron also earned 2nd place in the International Speech Contest in 2016. Giving a speech that has come to be known simply as the “57-Word Title Speech,” Aaron spoke about the power of using a few words in world that believes “more is better.” Beverly is also, a five-time speech contest semifinalist, and a Moth Story Slam winner.

Oddly enough, Aaron considers himself to be “one of the most introverted people you can meet.” Public speaking and storytelling were extroverted activities he never thought he’d pursue. However, with hard work, dedication and a team of invaluable supporters, Aaron has become proficient in both skills and has learned to balance his innate introversion with flashes of extroversion.

Storytelling and public speaking have not only led Aaron to engage audiences at Fortune 100 companies such as Vanguard, J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo; notable Universities such as Temple, Drexel and the University of Pennsylvania; but they have also allowed Aaron to travel to countries around the world including: Taiwan, Malaysia, India, and the extremely foreign land known as Canada.

Aaron is living proof, that the art communication can have a profoundly positive effect on the advancement of your professional career and the fulfilment of your life.

Una Martone

PDG District 7390
Rotary Club of Harrisburg

Bio

In 2007, Una Martone joined Leadership Harrisburg Area as President and CEO. In addition to program development and delivery, Una is responsible for executing LHA’s strategic vision; building and cultivating partnerships; increasing resources; and overseeing all organizational operations. During Una’s tenure, enrollment in all LHA programs has increased, doubled in some cases. A highlight of Una’s role with LHA is the development of Beyond Leadership, a servant leadership curriculum launched in 2015 and presented to hundreds of people since then. Una has elevated Leadership Harrisburg Area’s profile to the extent of reaching over 2,000 people each year through programs, services, and activities.

As an active member of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg since 2006, Una served on the Board of Directors from 2009 to 2015. Una was 2012/13 President of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg and was 2013/14 President of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg Foundation. Through several unique fundraisers, Una has raised thousands of dollars for club projects. In 2015, Una was elected as District Governor for the Rotary District 7390 which serves 7 Central PA Counties, 43 clubs and nearly 2,400 members. At a District Level, Una has served as a Membership Coordinator, Assistant Governor, District Conference Committee Member & Chair, Foundation Dinner Chair, and Grants Committee Member & Chair. Una recently planned the District’s annual training assembly and planned and facilitated training for all incoming Rotary Club Presidents. Una’s term as District Governor was fulfilled from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. During her term, Una was one of 103 women, in the entire world, elected to this position. Through a brand new initiative, Pints for Polio, Una was able to leverage $27,000 toward the worldwide eradication of polio.

In addition, Una serves on the marketing committee of Hospice of Central PA. She serves as an Advisory Board Member for Messiah College’s Graduate Studies program. She represents Leadership Harrisburg Area on the Board of Directors for the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and formerly served the American Heart Association; the Association of Fundraising Professionals; Catholic Charities; and Communities in Schools of PA.

Una earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Central Florida and earned the CFRE distinction, Certified Fund Raising Executive, for a history of successful fund raising. She graduated from Leadership Harrisburg Area’s Community Leadership Series Class of 2007. Una has completed the 3-part Rotary Leadership Institute as well as graduate courses in Diversity, Engaging Volunteers, Ethics, and Public Speaking. She is certified in Organizational Development from the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and recently became certified as an Interpersonal Skills Trainer for The Color Code ~ which is now offered through Leadership Harrisburg Area.

Paddy Rooney

2019-20 District Governor
Rotary District 7390

Bio

The Reverend Patrick J. Rooney STS retired in February of 2012 having served as the Senior Pastor of historic Christ Lutheran Church (1733) in York, PA. Prior to going to York he had served in Dillsburg and before becoming a Lutheran he was a member of a Roman Catholic religious order for 10 years. He has worked extensively in the human services field including serving as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Welfare and as President and CEO of a large non-profit entity serving the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled. For almost five years, he also served as the interim Executive Director for two local ecumenical agencies.

In his retirement, Pastor Rooney is an active member of the Rotary Club of York (the 27th largest club in the world) where he served as President in 2016-17. In 2013, he served as Team Leader for the GVSE team to Argentina. He served on the District Conference committee in 2015-16 and was the conference committee chair for 2016-17. He serves on a number of the District committees. He completed all three levels of RLI and now serves as RLI faculty and as faculty at MA PETS. Paddy is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and a member of the Paul Harris Society. He has received the York Club’s President’s Certificate of Appreciation for Service Above Self and the Avenues of Service Citation. Currently District Governor elect, he will serve as District Governor for District 7390 in 2019-20

He has served on a number of community boards in the City of York and has also served on the Candidacy Committee for the Lower Susquehanna Synod as well as the Ecumenical Affairs committee and the Worship Committee. He is the author of a number of published sermons for three different groups including 10 published by CSS under the title “The Perfect Sacrifice.”

Pastor Rooney is a founding member of the Society of the Holy Trinity, a Lutheran Order and Ministerium, which now numbers almost 300 pastors in the United States and Canada. He has served as Dean, General Secretary and in September of 2015 was elected Senior (General Superior) of the Society. He has taught widely across the US and Canada at all 23 of the Society chapters.

Pastor Rooney is a native of England and completed his undergraduate studies at St. Mary’s College, London; studied philosophy at Catholic University of America; has a Master’s degree in Counseling from Shippensburg University and completed his Lutheran studies at Gettysburg Seminary. He has been married to Sally for 39 years and they have two grown children and one grandchild.

John Hannes          

Senior Officer
RI Club and District Support, The Americas

Bio

John Hannes is a Senior Officer with Club and District Support, Americas, representing Rotarians in 39 Districts throughout the United States. He and his team members provide personalized service, training, and regional guidance on Rotary’s Resources and Services, Administrative Procedures, Board Policy and Rotary Constitutional Documents, and Navigating www.MyRotary.org and Conducting Business Online.

John graduated from Dominican University (River Forest, IL) with a BA in Theatre Arts and lives in Evanston, IL. He has been on staff with Rotary since November 2010, is a Paul Harris Fellow +2, and current Secretary of the Rotary Club of Chicago Lakeview, Illinois, USA where has held a variety of positions including Club President (2013-14). You can also catch John as the host of the Convention Minute updates found on www.RIConvention.org and Rotary’s social media channels.

Baird Thompson

2019 Winner District 7390
4 Way Test Speech Contest

Bio

My name is Baird Thompson. I was born and raised in Lancaster Pennsylvania. Recently, I graduated from Manheim Township High School (Class of 2019) where I took part as the Executive Ditector of the Blue Streak News, Tech Committee Head for MTHS Mini-THON, Chorus President, a member of the Concert Choir, the Tenor Section Leader for the MT Troubadours, a featured actor in Multiple Theater Productions, Astronomy Club President, Planetarium Director and Executive Producer, A public speaking enthusiast and competitor, and a Football Team Manager.

I now study Graphic Communication and Printing Technologies at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, where I Direct and Produce the Bulldog News and created an Astronomy Club. I own my own business called BET Creative Media, LLC. in which I provide Videography, Photography, Graphic Design, and Web Design services to those in the local community. My future plans are to continue my education after Thaddeus Stevens and achieve a B.S. and Education. My hope is to teach others and learning from them while growing my business to reach more people and to help them spread whatever message they have to share in a creative way.

To keep up with me, you can follow my business on Instagram @betcreativemedia or on my website at betcreativemedia.com. Personally, you can keep up with me on Instagram @howtobaird.

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