My September Letter is a little delayed because I wanted to be able to share about the Rotary Zone Conference/Institute.
 
As some you know, our club in partnership with RAGAS was asked to coordinate both a Plenary session and a breakout session focused on what Rotary can do to End Human Trafficking at the Rotary Zone 25B and 29 Zone Institute.  For those of you who are not familiar with the Rotary International organizational structure, Zones are regional areas that are represented by our Rotary Board of Directors.  The Zone 29 covers by the Central U.S. region (North Dakota to Western Wisconsin and all the way down to the Mexican Border).  Because our club is sponsored by a District located in Minnesota, we are included in Zone 29.  The Zone Institute is designed as a training for District Governors, District Governor-Elects and District Governor-Nominees.
 
Michelle Seets, Dave McCleary and I have spent several months pulling together impactful presentations and incredible speakers who joined the panels of presenters. Despite of several challenges including last minute changes to speakers and Dave unable to join us in Houston, both the plenary session and the afternoon breakout session made a significant impact to the almost 1,000 people in attendance with incredibly powerful presentations and dialogue from the speakers. 
 
The morning speakers included:
Susan Coppedge- Former Ambassador At Large.  US Department of State-Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Donovan Palmer- Chief Strategy Officer:  Hope for Justice
Ashley Bryant-Co-Founder and CEO: 3Strands Global Foundation
Rachel Fisher-Survivor Leader with a B.S. in Nursing specializing in ER and Forensics
 
We were also privileged to have Minal Davis, Director of the Houston Mayor’s Office of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence welcome the Institute attendees and issue a Proclamation declaring September 11 at Rotary Day to End Human Trafficking.
 
The afternoon speakers/panelists included:
Ashley Bryant-Explaining the Rotary Global Grant awarded to fund prevention education
Minal Davis-Providing a summary of the many initiatives and policies that have been created in Houston to combat human trafficking
Nicole Perry- Trial Lawyer and partner at Jones Day Law Firm, describing the initiatives that this large law firm is supporting in leading over 20 pro bono initiatives and partnering with the City of Houston.
Rick Naylor- yes our very own Rick also had the opportunity to highlight the program that his organization has created for high school students.
 
It was so humbling to join these amazing leaders and to begin what I hope will be strong partnerships going forward. 
 
Thank you to Dave for his partnership AND for securing the speakers.  Thanks to Michelle for all the hard work she did to organize the day, keep everyone updated and make sure that we could present a powerful presentation to represent our club and RAGAS.
 
This day was clearly a great example of what we can do to end Human Trafficking when we join in partnership with others!