NEXT MEETING: May 1, 2015

Revolutionizing the Way the World Eats – One Coconut at a Time

Danielle Herrerias, Manager of People & Culture at Nutiva, will discuss Nutiva’s grass roots mission to revolutionize how the world eats with its pure, organic superfoods. In mid-2012, the company moved to Richmond. Responding to a rapidly expanding desire for nutrient-dense foods, Nutiva’s growth has more than tripled in the last 2-1/2 years. The company believes in sharing its success with its community donating 1% of sales to sustainable agriculture and other environmental causes. Nutiva has partnered with local organizations to plant fruit trees in Richmond schools and run a youth basketball camp. As part of the People & Culture team at Nutiva, Danielle has played a key role recruiting and onboarding new employees, developing a competitive benefits program, and training and developing employees.

Prior to Nutiva, Danielle was HR Manager for Real Goods Solar in San Rafael. She earned her A.B. from Stanford University in social sciences and a Masters in City Planning from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

MEETING OF April 24, 2015


President Stoney Stonework called the meeting to order at the Richmond Country Club and Tom Waller led the pledge of allegiance. Stoney asked for a moment of silence for freedom, peace, and justice on earth. Sid Chauvin provided this thought for the day: “Even duct tape cannot fix “stupid” but it can sure muffle the sound.”

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

  • Alan Baer introduced his guest, William Zeier, Executive Director of the El Sobrante Boys and Girls Club.
  • Jim Young introduced his guests, Kathe Kiehn and Heinz Lankford, both of whom have been deeply involved over the years with the Masquers Playhouse (the subject of this meeting’s speaker program).
  • Sid Chauvin introduced his guests, wife Zelpha and relative Merrilee Bass, who lives in Hawaii when not visiting here.

Special Events

  • New member Richard (Ric) Ambrose did his “Who am I?” Ric was born into an Italian family of eight kids near Pittsburg, PA. Being the only lefty in the family, Ric figured he wasn’t bound for the priesthood (hmm, not proper to do a sign of the cross with the left hand?). The family soon moved to nearby Ohio. Stoney wondered if the Ohio move enabled Ric to become a true-blue “Buckeye” fan but it seems the Oregon Ducks were later to claim that lifelong allegiance. Becoming an artist was Ric’s passion so at a young age he took a correspondence course through the Minneapolis Art Institute. Summer travels enabled him to volunteer at a major art center in Colorado. He went to college in Oregon (those Ducks), where he met his wife, who became an educator. Their two kids are also Oregon alums. Ric’s 30-year career as an art curator took him and his family to many places, including Charleston, WV, where a major art exhibit involved a collection valued at over $150 million. Ric and his family were called to the Bay Area a few years ago when his wife got a great job with the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley. And now Richmond benefits from having Ric as the Executive Director of the Richmond Art Center. Richmond Rotary also benefits from having Ric as a new member. Welcome aboard, Ric!
  • Jon Lawlis presented Jim Young with his “Paul Harris Plus Six” pin for having donated over the years more than $7,000 to the Rotary Foundation. Congratulations (and thank you), Jim!


  • Henry Moe announced that the Richmond Rotary Club will once again be delivering dinner for RotaCare volunteers on Tuesday evenings in May. At the time of the meeting, May 19 and 26 are still open for sign up. Check with Henry.
  • Jan Brown announced that the annual Teen Mom gift bag preparation will take place at the Richmond Rotary meeting on May 8. A very nice thank-you acknowledgment letter was received from Mary Sue Erickson from the Diablo Valley chapter of a women’s group that hand-makes the baby blankets that are used in the Teen Mom gift bags. Mary Sue said she and the other ladies are delighted to participate in the worthwhile project by making the blankets.


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


Masquers Playhouse: Gearing Up for the Next 60 Years

Stacey Street introduced David Cole, a 30-year book publisher and currently President of the Board of Directors for the award-winning Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, the Masquers Playhouse has been a model of a successful, independent community theater. With more than 100 members and no paid employees, volunteers build the sets, sew the costumes, sweep the floors, and work the box office – all the while producing five fully-staged plays a year, running a summer program for youth, producing concert-version musicals and providing live theater to Bay Area residents.

David talked about the challenges of operating a small live-theater operation in the Internet age where people have an overwhelming variety of entertainment choices. What keeps it all going (thank goodness) is the wonderfully simple fact that there are lots of people who want this choice among their options. There’s really something for everybody, whether it be a drama, comedy, or musical. According to David, the most popular Masquers play of all time was “The Full Monty”. Maybe it’s time for an encore?

In an effort to remain relevant and to give back to the community, the Masquers Playhouse three-week summer program for youth ages 9-14 is really special. Called “Stage One”, the program involves full immersion for the kids into all facets of live theater from writing plays to designing and building sets, doing make-up, running the lights, and building self-assurance and the ability to present oneself effectively.

David reminded us how important it is to involve youth in the visual and performing arts, not just STEM. (As a related quick aside, your Scribe offers this quote from Dana Gioia, then Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, who said in his commencement address eight years ago to Stanford graduates, “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.” It’s good to remember that beneficial innovation needed in all aspects of life depends on tapping into and releasing the imagination and creativity available in all people.)

We’re all encouraged to support the Masquers Playhouse by at least purchasing tickets to their live theater performances. But there are other ways to support the organization, too. Our own Alan Blavins built and painted sets used in the recent Masquers performance of the British comedy, “There Goes the Bride”.

Tom Waller, Rotating Scribe