Posted by Peggy Richardson on Mar 27, 2019

Speaker Notes March 22

Dave Hammond introduced Dawn and John Hankins, our newest Rotarians, who gave their joint classification talk.

Dawn is a Feng Shui expert and published Author, and a skin care specialist. John is now working in business development for the MIBI (Mid-Island Business Initiative) group, as well as in commercial real estate here in Nanaimo

Dawn and John are adventurous couple who have lived in their native England, as well as Calgary and the Nanaimo area. With three daughters and two grandchildren, they seem to always be on the lookout for the latest challenge! We’re grateful to Dave Hammond for introducing them to Rotary.

John spent a large chunk of his career working for Nortel. His enthusiasm for working with people is evident! (That should make him a great Rotarian!) He’s originally from the part of the UK near the spiritual home of England, Glastonbury. What a beautiful place, the “home” of King Arthur and the holy grail legends, the chalice well, as well as Joseph of Aramathea. (Yup - he proved it - he showed a young pic of himself,with hair!)

Meanwhile, Dawn is from the area of Northampton, in the East Midlands. This is the same area where Princess Diana was from, and where Cromwell is reputed to have hatched his famous anti-monarchy plots! It’s wonderful to hear them talk with such pride about where they are from.

Dawn started out as an office junior in a law firm, and worked her way up to a court clerk’s position, where she even worked for Queen’s council in open court. She took a break when they had their three daughters, and was a stay-at-home mom for a number of years, which was a challenge with 3 daughters! Meanwhile, the family moved to Somerset, where John took his MBA at Bath University.


When they left the UK in 2000, they made a major leap of faith! But clearly it has paid off, as they first settled in Calgary, which is where Dawn first became interested in Feng Shui (pronounced “fang shway”). She took a starter course there, and in 30 minutes, knew she was hooked for life. After a time, her teacher and mentor stepped down, and asked Dawn to take over the course, suggesting that by that time, because of her enthusiasm, Dawn probably knew more about the subject than she did, anyway! Dawn decided to take the reins, and loved teaching.

She needed a mentor, and was thrilled when the Grandmaster Holiness Professor Lin Yum offered a workshop in the Calgary area. She told him about her work, and he offered to write the introduction for her book. Eventually, a series of events culminated in her being offered a TV show, and there are still 17 episodes available on YouTube, called “Feng Shui with Dawn Hankins”.

Then John was offered the role of manager of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation (NEDC), so they moved to the island on January 2nd 2016 to experience their next chapter. And we’re so glad they did!

The Hankins LOVE Nanaimo, partly because it has a similar climate and reminds them of home in the UK. Dawn's business is Rodan+Fields Independent Consultant with skincare, because she believes if you feel good on the inside, you look good on the outside! It obviously plays to her strengths, as it gives her a great opportunity to work with new people, in a way that’s still strongly aligned with the core values of Feng Shui.

Back to John, who as a youth spend time at the National Youth Theatre. As he got older, he, left Somerset and went to the University of South Wales for his first degree. He enjoyed a fun early career, and ended up working for a large animal feeds company for over 12 years. It was when “mad cow” disease hit the agricultural industry that his company broke up, and caused a series of events that ended up with the opportunity to move abroad. In their typical adventure-loving style, they took it as an opportunity for a fantastic new journey. They wanted to go to Canada from the start, and overcame a couple of stumbling blocks to get here.

Everything happens for a reason, as they say, and John had fun working for Nortel and then Calgary Economic Development, and even a major project with Richard Branson regarding climate change prevention, before eventually coming to Vancouver Island. Now with MIBI, they have raised over $60k to do a promo campaign for mid-Vancouver Island, with no government funding! Their core mission is all about raising the profile of Nanaimo, and attracting new business, residents, and investors to the area.

The Hankins wanted to join Rotary to do something together and make a difference. I’m sure they’ve found the right place.