Speaker Date Topic
Patti Pokorchak Jul 27, 2017
The Accidental Farmer

Patti Pokorchak, MBA 

Patti Pokorchak is an award winning sales and marketing executive, with 30 plus years of experience at IBM, Siemens, and many start-up companies. She has been self-employed since 1992 and helped start and run a 7-figure 20 employee software company for 10 years before opening a thriving garden centre and hobby farm. 

Patti says “If I can be a farmer, then you can be anything you want to be — as long as you have some sales and marketing skills that is!”  She loves to turn your passion into profit with her proven practical advice.

Michael McQueen Aug 03, 2017
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Nevine Yassa Aug 31, 2017
Rising out of the Ashes

Nevine Yassa Biography


My first involvement with Rotary was through Rotaract as I was a member of  the Rotaract of Heliopolis, in Cairo, Egypt and translated the Rotaract Constitution from English to Arabic.  It was published and distributed in the middle East in 1983.

I then joined the Rotary Club of Scarborough  in 1999.  My passion was international committees and was involved in various Global Grants between RCScarborough and various districts around the world  ex Canada and Ethiopia; Canada and Sudan; Canada and Egypt.

I have a degree in English Literature from the University of Alexandria, Egypt.  I also obtained a degree in simultaneous translation from The American University in Cairo.  My work experience was mainly in fashion working  as a fashion coordinator with the Wool House which gave me extensive opportunities of travelling around the world attending fashion shows and coming back to share the knowledge with the Egyptian private and public sectors in Egypt.  I then diverted to Education.

 I went to Queens University for a third degree which was a Bachelor degree  in Education and then started my Masters in Education.  As my husband had to pursue a  fellowship in Northern Ontario for his studies, I opted on completing my Masters degree at Lakehead University rather than continuing part time at Queens University.  I was  then accepted to do my PhD at OISE and published a paper in 1999  in Research in Drama Education in preparation to pursue a career at the University level.  However, due to family reasons I deferred the proposal of a doctorate for a year, and then decided to teach at the school level.

I teach French and still pursue my passion for fashion  and Rotary.

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Raj Phalpher Oct 05, 2017
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 One of the few people actually born & raised in Toronto, John headed out of town for a business school degree at the University of Western Ontario in London. 

After a short time with Bell Canada, John joined his father in the logistics business, and finally retired from Howell Logistics after 33 years. 


John's support system includes his wife Monica, since 1967. Their children are Jennifer, an Occupational Therapist, Nancy, a freelance journalist, and Brian an executive at CP24 television. Monica & John find time to belong to book club, play at golf, and travel.


John joined the Rotary Club of Toronto in 1977, with special interest in Youth Services, and was a director, before becoming President in 1995, 20 years after his father served in the same position.

In 1986 Past District Governor Jeff Mark started John on his District involvement by dragging him to a District Youth Exchange committee meeting, starting 3 years of service on that committee. 

Monica & John got a lot out of Rotary travel. They visited Brittany and Brazil on District Fellowship exchanges, and Scotland on a Rotary Golf Exchange. Hosting exchangers and Ambassadorial Scholars keep them connected with the world.

John served as an Assistant District Governor and District Governor in District 7070 for 2001-2002