Amazing Program

Kurt Fearnley (AO)

Kurt Fearnley (AO)

Officer of the Order of Australia, Paralympic gold medalist

Kurt is one of Australia’s most successful and respected athletes and advocates. His achievements as a Paralympic athlete, service to people with disability, and fundraising efforts when it comes to Indigenous athletics and charitable organisations earned him an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2018.

In the same year he was named as NSW Australian of the Year and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Griffith University.

Ian Riseley

Ian Riseley

Past Rotary International President

In 2017-2018, lan Riseley was the President of Rotary International. This was the fifth time in 112 years of existence that the Rotary International had an Australian President.

lan Riseley’s honors include the AusAID Peacebuilder Award from the Australian government in recognition of his work in East Timor, the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Australian community, the Distinguished Service Award and the Regional Service Award for a Polio-Free World from The Rotary Foundation.

A Rotarian since 1978, lan Riseley has served as treasurer, director, Foundation trustee, and member and chair of numerous Rl and Foundation committees.

lan and his wife, Juliet, a past district governor, are Major Donors and Bequest Society members of The Rotary Foundation.

Gregory Ross

Gregory Ross

(Past Chair Australian Rotary Health)

A professional actor since graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1967, Greg celebrated 53 years in Actors Equity last year.

In hundreds of TV appearances, he is best known for playing cop Tony Benjamin on Cop Shop, Australia’s most popular drama in the late 70’s, early 80’s. On the musical stage, Greg starred as Judas in the original Sydney production of Godspell, as Capt von Trapp in The Sound of Music, opposite Lisa McCune, and as Javert in Les Miserables. More recently, he has conducted 1,200 funerals as a celebrant.

A Rotarian for 44 years, Greg has served as a literacy volunteer in Thailand for The Rotary Foundation, helped build an eye clinic as a RAWCS volunteer in Vanuatu and has MC-ed many corporate functions and Rotary conferences, including the RI Conventions in Taipei and Melbourne, and at the International Assembly in the US.

Greg was District 9800 Governor nearly 30 years ago, in 1991/92, sharing the year with his wife Carole and three children, Simon, Arna and Sophie. They hosted many Youth Exchange students. Greg’s highlight as DG was his hands-on project called Paint Your Heart Out Melbourne, in which Rotarians and members of the public painted 120 houses of elderly, needy people on the one day. This became Paint Your Heart Out Australia and, in the following three years, over 1,500 homes and community sites were painted nationally.

From 2013 – 2020, Greg served as a Director of Australian Rotary Health, including three years as Chairman. To generate greater awareness of and donations for mental health research, he introduced the Lift the Lid on Mental Illness campaign, now supported by Rotary clubs around Australia.

Greg is delighted to return to Gladstone, the place where he first served as RI President’s Special Representative, at DG Len Sutherland’s Conference in 1993.

Evan Burrell

Evan Burrell

(Digital Media Consultant )

As a digital media consultant in the not for profit community volunteer sector, Evan has expanded his skills to educating local professionals, businesses and community groups across Australia and around the world to focus on the practical use of social media and how to develop it to brand and market their stories.

Evan is an accomplished public speaker, emcee, trainer, social media advocate and hardworking volunteer with over 20 years of volunteer experience with Rotary International. You may recognize Evan best as a service minded superhero. You see, for Evan, it’s easy to be a Rotary hero because
as, he sees it, all Rotarians are superheroes and we all need to promote the heroic acts we do in the community and around the world.

In whatever way, Evan is proving that Rotary isn’t all business. His message is “Let’s have fun in Rotary,” and with that message he’s engaged in telling Rotary’s digital story.

Mark Balla

Mark Balla

(aka The Toilet Warrior)

Mark is the President of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central in District 9810 in Australia and Vice Chair of the WASH Rotary Action Group (formerly known as WASRAG). 

He was introduced to Rotary around seven years ago by a business colleague in Nasik, India. He joined his club around four months later in March 2014 bringing a small but significant project with him. Mark will tell us about this project and others that have developed since. 

In the five and a half years since joining Rotary, Mark has attended and spoken at Rotary International Conventions in Brazil, South Korea, Canada and Germany. He has also presented at 10 Rotary District Conferences in Australia, the USA and India. 

 During his presentation, Mark will introduce us to the work that drew him to Rotary. He would like us to know that his club has many other wonderful projects including Operation Cleft – a project which provides surgery to children born in Bangladesh with cleft lips and cleft palates. In the 14 years since Operation Cleft was founded, more than 14,000 children have received surgical intervention thanks to Mark’s club. 

DR Kerry Reid-Searl

DR Kerry Reid-Searl

(PhD, RN, RM, MClin Ed, MRCNA, FCN)

Dr Kerry Reid Searl is an Adjunct Professor at CQUniversity and a Remote and Rural Nurse Educator for Qld Health. Kerry was involved in undergraduate nursing education at CQUniversity for 30 years. Kerry has extensive teaching experience and has developed two simulation techniques termed Mask Ed and Pup Ed. These innovative teaching techniques focus on patient centred care and allow learners to experience humanistic and realistic simulation experiences in the most innovative way.  The techniques are now used across the world.

Kerry has been the recipient of numerous teaching awards. Some of these include the CQUniversity Vice Chancellors Teaching Award in 2008 and 2010, a Faculty of Science Engineering and Health teaching award in 2008 and 2010, an Australian Learning and Teaching Citation for her outstanding contribution to student learning in 2008 and 2012, was named Pearson/Australian Nurse Teacher Society- Nurse Teacher of the Year in 2009 and in 2012 was awarded and Australian University Teaching Excellence Award. In 2013 Kerry received the Simulation Australia Achievement Award. She has received 4 CQUniversity Opal awards for innovation and research. In 2019 she was awarded a member of the order of Australia for her contribution to nursing education.

Kerry is well published in international journals for her work.  She has delivered an extensive number of key note and or invited speaker presentations globally and has been the principal author, as well co-author, of several nursing texts books. Kerry’s ,sot recent innovation is the Poop it Kit.  

Jordan Fallon

Jordan Fallon

(Past President Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri)

Seeking an opportunity to make a positive contribution to his community, Jordan Fallon joined the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri NSW District 9670 at the age of 18. Inspired by the Club’s resolve to improve the life opportunities of the less fortunate, Jordan quickly immersed himself in Club projects and activities focused on building a more cohesive and equitable society, including programs designed to assist vulnerable Indigenous students.

Jordan’s education on the power and significance of Rotary drew him to Club leadership roles within his first 12 months, including a stint as Assistant Secretary. As Jordan continued his active participation in the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri, he began to recognise the incredible power of Rotary’s projects, and their ability to offer hope and a sense of happiness to those in need – both locally and internationally. This had a profound impact on Jordan’s perception of his community, and his role in it. 

Empowered by the work of Rotary, Jordan was inducted as President of the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri at the age of 20 – the youngest in its history. With an interest and focus on youth issues, Jordan worked with his Club to develop a President’s Project to confront the stigma and ignorance surrounding youth mental illness in the Kurri Kurri community.

Over the following 12 months, Jordan worked with Rotarians and community members to design a program of activities and forums that equipped parents, teachers, peers and friends with the skills to identify if a young person in their life may be experiencing a mental health illness.

The project was a significant success in the Kurri Kurri community, with parents and young people alike reaching out to local service providers to seek treatment or assistance for a mental health illness.

Since his Presidency, Jordan has remained an active member of the Rotary Club of Kurri Kurri and has been heavily involved in the activities and projects at a District level.

PDG Monica Saville

PDG Monica Saville

(OAM)

For over 27 years Monica Saville has enjoyed the stimulation and challenges of her extensive involvement with Rotary International.

She has held many positions at Club, District and International level and has travelled widely throughout the world, participating in Rotary programs, attending Rotary Conventions, speaking at Rotary Conventions and Rotary Conferences and meeting with Rotarians in over 40 countries.

Monica was Governor of District 9680 in Sydney in 2007-8 and has held Zone Rotary Foundation positions working in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands since 2009. She represented her District at the 2013 Council on Legislation, and was a Director on the Host Organising Committee for the highly successful Rotary International Convention held in Sydney in 2014.

Monica was also a member of the 6-person RI Committee planning the future direction of Rotary’s prestigious Peace Scholarship program in 6 universities throughout the world.

Her most recent positions were the Endowment / Major Gifts Adviser for SE Australia, NZ and the Pacific Islands, and Trustee and Treasurer of The Australian Rotary Foundation Trust.

As a Polio survivor Monica is passionate about Rotary’s most significant project – the eradication of Polio from our world.

Monica is a former Senior Education Officer and School Principal, she has an Honours degree in Science and a Master of Arts degree in Education.

Monica is a Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation and a member of the Bequest Society.

In January 2016 Monica was recognised by the Australian Government with a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for her “services to the community through Rotary”.

Vic Grosjean

Vic Grosjean

(Chartered Engineer, Oceanographer)

In 2019, Vic was named as one of “Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers” by Engineers Australia CEO, Peter McIntyre.

In 2018, at the United National in Nairobi, Kenya Vic Grosjean “One of Six, Young Innovators” was selected by Barry Rassin, President of Rotary International,  to showcase his work as “Rotary’s People of Action”.

Vic holds a formal qualification in Mechatronics Engineering and Environmental Monitoring. As a leader and community educator, he strives for projects to reduce water pollution on a global scale and make a long-term difference for humanity.

His career focus is to build collaboration between organizations in order to advance Engineering and preserve the Environment with the ultimate goal of Saving our Oceans.

Volunteering Engagements

Holding a leading role in the Community, Vic is involved with many groups advancing Engineering and Environment protection.

  1. Advancing the engineering profession: –

Member of the certification working group for the Institute of Engineering and Scientific of France (IESF).

Corresponding Member on the National Committee for Mechatronics (NCMech) with Engineers Australia (EA)

Chair of the Institute of Engineering and Technology Young Professionals Section (IET-YPS) in Victoria.

Victorian representative for Australian and New-Zealand Young Professional Forum.  International Relations with Yncréa Alumni (28,000+ Engineers).

Former Head of International Relations (8,000+ Engineers) with Higher Institute for Electronics and Digital Training Alumni Association (AI ISEN).

Event Coordinator & Board Member at the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems (AAUS).

Active member of the Project Management Institute – Melbourne Chapter (PMI).

Fresh Advisors Board Member for Electrocomponents (FAB-LAB).

  1. Protecting the environment:

Board Member of Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (ESRAG). – Sustainability-Expert for the Host Organization Committee Rotary International Convention (HOC RICON 2023).

Community animator for Ocean Innovators weekly portraits supporting ocean protection and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Clean-up organizer with Clean Up Australia.

Environmental Representative and Former President of Melbourne City Rotaract Club.

  1. Helping the community – Supporting of Rotary International (RI) values – Protecting Endangered Children – PURE association
David Abbey

David Abbey

(Rotarian)

David is a Rotarian of more than thirty years having been a member and Past President of the Rotary Club of Echuca, a member and board member of the Rotary Club of Shepparton Central and since returning to Melbourne, a member and the current President of the Rotary Club of Essendon.

After growing up in Melbourne and gaining his law degree, David moved to Echuca on the Murray River to work as a lawyer for a ‘couple of years’ to gain some experience with the intention of returning to Melbourne to practise. The ‘couple of years’ turned into nearly forty years of living, raising a family and practising law in regional Victoria. David and his wife Cindy have now both retired and spend their time between Yarraville in the inner west of Melbourne, close to their two grandchildren, and Fairhaven on the Surfcoast of Victoria.

For more than a decade David has been the chair of the Royce and Jean Abbey Vocational Scholarship Committee and a member of the Royce Abbey Awards Committee.

David is currently a member of the D9800 Foundation Committee.

 

Ben Clark

Ben Clark

(The Ten Tenors)

A Music theatre graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts, Bens big break came back in 2008 when he became a member of Australian international touring group ‘The Ten Tenors’ – for the next 6 years, he performed in every corner of the globe and on some of the biggest stages. 

After taking some time away from the road Ben came home to Melbourne where he began working with Opera Australia (The Magic Flute) and Victorian Opera on the Helpmann Awards nominates production of ‘Sweeney Todd’. 

After the birth of his two beautiful kids – Ivy & Owen, Ben still had a hunger to strive for more in the music industry and decided to take a leap of and audition for Season 7 of Channel 9 hit show ‘The Voice’. 

Affectionately known as ‘Opera Dad’ on the Show, Ben stuck to his classical roots, singing some of the worlds most well lived ballads. Narrowly missing out on a grand final spot, Ben ended up finishing 5th overall. 

Ben has since forged a path into becoming one of Melbournes most versatile and in demand artists. He has performed The Australian National Anthem for the Boxing Day Test on the hallowed MCG in 2019. He has also performed the National Anthem for The Wallabies Rugby Team, The Boomers Basketball Team, Melbourne Victory Soccer Team as well as The Cadel Evans Road Race. 

After a Hectic and different 2020, Ben is delighted to be back under the bright lights and singing the high notes for events such as The Rotary District Conference again!

Marina Passalaris

Marina Passalaris

(Beautiful Minds)

Beautiful Minds is Australia’s leading provider of mental fitness and life skills education. The company’s mission focuses on calculated preemptive strikes on the conditions that lead to children transitioning from overwhelm to PTSD and trauma. 

Beautiful Minds was founded 17 years ago by entrepreneur, author and presenter, Marina Passalaris. Marina is regularly in the media sharing her expert views in the youth and parenting space. In 2018, she was nominated for Australian Of the Year. In 2017, Beautiful Minds won the Westpac Bank 200 Business of Tomorrow award, awarded to the top 200 companies in Australia.

In 2019, the company educated 1.5 million youth through their school programs.