2022-2023 Speaker Program – coming soon

Schedule for General Meetings 
4th Tuesday of the month

Our General Meetings will be held in person at Water St Church.

Water St Church,

287 Water Street, 

Guelph, ON  

Contact us for more information



7:00 – 7:40 pm
Business Meeting
7:40 – 8:00 pm

8:00 – 9:15 pm
Speaker and Wrap-Up

Upcoming Speakers: 




Previous Speakers

2021-22 Speakers

September 28, 2021

Cyndy Moffat Forsyth, Chair Guelph Community Foundation

“Youth Mental Wellness: One of the Options”

Cyndy has been the Director of the Integrated Youth Services Network since July 2020. This network, led by the Rotary Club of Guelph, hopes to bring an integrated youth services model to Guelph and Wellington County in which youth aged 12 – 26 are at the centre of available services and have equal access to a continuum of services. Their vision is to build a system to better meet the needs of youth in our community. Prior to this appointment, Cyndy was the Chief Development Officer at Homewood Research Institute. She is passionate about improving youth mental health.

October 26, 2021

Jasmin Habib, Dept. of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Why Understanding Trump’s Supporters Still Matters.”

It’s been several years since our eyes first trained on the Trump campaign which seemingly came out of nowhere and first took on the Republican and later the Democratic Party to win the White House. Soon thereafter, news of Brexit hit and in early 2019, Israeli populism outflanked left, right and centre parties to victory.  This presentation will share stories and experiences from the field — both Israel and the United States — that can help us not only to understand some of the “what’s happened” but also allow us to consider how political strategies and mediated politics easily shift our attention away from the meaningful to the superficial.

Monday November 22, 2021 Robyn Doolittle, The Globe and Mail

Question and Answer via Zoom with Robyn about “Had It Coming”

Robyn Doolittle is member of The Globe and Mail’s investigative team and is a two-time winner of Canada’s Michener Award. Since coming to The Globe in 2014, she has probed suspicious business contracts, political corruption and Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her “Unfounded” investigation, which explored the ways that Canadian police services handle sexual assault cases, prompted a national overhaul of policy, training and practices around sexual violence. That series was awarded a National Newspaper Award for investigative journalism among other honours, including two awards at the international Online Journalism Awards. Her latest book, “Had It Coming – What’s Fair In The Age of #MeToo?” was shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction. Doolittle was named Journalist of the Year in 2017.

Tuesday January 25, 2022

Dr. Melanie Wills, Director, G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab, University of GuelphLyme disease

Melanie is the Inaugural Director of the Research Lab, which she developed from the ground up. The research lab has a mandate to improve diagnostic testing and treatment of Lyme disease. Prior to this, Melanie co-founded the Canadian Lyme Science Alliance in 2014 as a platform through which academics and clinicians promoted rigorous scientific study, thoughtful dialogue, and ethical stewardship of tick-borne illness. Melanie has also fostered innovation in the classroom, and developed a first-year University course on science communication. Her leadership and scholarly achievements have been recognized with several awards, including the Governor General’s Academic Medal.

Tuesday February 22, 2022

Joan Hug Valeriote – Modern Day Logging with Horses

Joan is a film-maker, a certified Studio Teacher in the film industry and a professional quilt artist and quilting teacher. Joan has produced and directed independent documentary films, including Swiss Carnival in 1981 that was broadcast on TVO and CBC. In 2007, Joan and her husband took up residence in the house her parents had built on the Paris-Galt Moraine which included 80 acres of swamp, bush and a Christmas tree plantation. In 2011, the front section of the bush was logged for hardwood. Due to the steepness of the terrain and to minimize impact on the land, Greg Parker and his team of Belgian horses were hired to bring out the logs ans Joan decided to document their work on video.  With minimal narration and music composed and performed by Wendi Hunter and Neil Sharp, this documentary evokes times past. We will view the film and Joan will be present to answer questions about the film and horse logging and will be joined by Greg Parker, the teamster.


Tuesday March 22, 2022

Kim Anderson and Rene Meshake

Injichaag: Storytelling and the Soul of an Indigenous Artist

Anishinaabe Elder and artist Rene Meshake will share stories related to his recently launched book Injichaag: My Soul in Story (University of Manitoba Press, 2019). This work was done in collaboration with Metis scholar Kim Anderson, who will speak about the process of working with story and in particular how Meshake’s story fits in the context of a larger narrative of Indigenous peoples in Canada throughout the twentieth century. The two will perform and read from their collaborative work, which includes history, story, poetry and Anishinaabe (Ojibway) word bundles. Rene is an Anishinaabe Elder, storyteller, visual and performing artist, award-winning author, flute player, multimedia artist and a Recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Kim is a Metis writer and educator, working as an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. Dr. Anderson holds a PhD in history and is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Relationships. 

Tuesday April 26, 2022

Susan Ratcliffe, board member, Yorklands Green Hub

Their Past, Our Future –
A New Life for the Reformatory Lands

Yorklands Green Hub aims to create for Ontario’s public domain a self-sustaining education, demonstration, and research hub at the former Ontario Reformatory site in Guelph, Ontario. It will bring together businesses, organizations, and people of all ages and interests – to learn, work, share and innovate, with the common purpose of being engaged stewards of our land, food, water, cultural heritage and our overall wellbeing.

Tuesday May 24 – AGM & Banquet

8:00 pm Kathie Remley and Aaron Farrell, Forgotten People Connection Charity

Forgotten People Connection Charity is a hands-on group of Guelphites who donate their time and skills in Kenya, Uganda and Mexico to build schools, women’s shelters and cottage industries with their free labour and any donated money they manage to collect. They use local workers, teaching them skills and local supplies to help stimulate the local economy.  Although the principles who started this charity are Allen Remley, Kathie Remley and Aaron Farrell, many others have joined their charitable endeavours.

Kathie Remley has been instrumental in setting up a program to teach women how to sew using treadle sewing machines. For these women, who lack an education and a marketable skill set, this has enabled them to sew for their family and earn a living sewing for others. 


2020-21 Speakers

October 27, 2020

Ian Evans, Adventure traveller

“LUNATIC – Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

Ian has embraced adventure all his life – from scaling the shed roof at age 3 to skiing to the South Pole at age 58.   He has also climbed 5 of the “7 Summits“, cycled 5,000 kms solo and unsupported across Australia (twice), around the coastline of Iceland and to the Arctic Ocean and run 10 marathons. Ian is a passionate speaker who shares the lessons learned from his adventures with his audiences.

January 26, 2021

Jeff Hollingsworth, Program Manager, Homewood Health Centre

“Mental Health Services in the Community”

Jeff has worked in the field of mental health for more than 17 years in a variety of different programs with people aged 12 to 90.  Over this time he has worked as a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Liasion Nurse, a charge nurse on the Acute Crisis floor, Program and clinical care manager and most recently on the Community based ACTT mental health team.  A majority of his experience has come from working at the Homewood Health Center.

February 23, 2021

Douglas Gibson, Editor, publisher and writer

“Great Canadian Writers”

Doug was born in Scotland, moved to Canada in 1967 and is best known as the former president and publisher of McClelland and Stewart. In 1974 he became editorial director of Macmillan of Canada and became publisher in 1979. While at MacMillan, he negotiated Mavis Gallant’s first Canadian publishing deal and established relationships with Robertson Davies, Bruce Hutchison, Jack Hodgins, Alice Munro and Morley Callaghan. He also contributed film reviews to CBC Radio’s Sunday Morning and contributed to The Globe and Mail, the National Post, Books in Canada, Toronto Life and Maclean’s. He moved to McClelland and Stewart in 1986, became publisher of the company in 1988 and president in 2000, before retiring in 2008.  In 2011, Stories About Storytellers, Gibson’s long-awaited memoir, was published. His second book, Across Canada by Story, a continuation of his experiences working in the publishing industry, was published in 2015. Both were turned into stage shows. To celebrate Canada’s Sesquicentennial, he created a new stage show entitled “150 Years of Great Canadian Storytellers 1867 – 2017” which celebrated the greatest storytellers since Confederation; english, french and indigenous.

March 23, 2021

Nicky Carswell, Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo

Human Trafficking”

Nicky is the Coordinator of the Anti-Human Trafficking Program at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region. This program provides flexible and unique wrap-around supports to those at significant risk of experiencing or have experienced sexual exploitation and sex trafficking within the region. It represents a piece of the Ontario Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking and it has recently been recognized for serving over 140 unique individuals and was granted annual funding. Nicky is passionate about her role and spends her time addressing service gaps and advocating for our community’s most vulnerable people.

April 27, 2021

Peter Sweeney,  CEO YMCA of Three Rivers

The Y and Wellness in Guelph

Peter Sweeney is currently the CEO of the YMCA of Three Rivers, Canada’s newest Y, following the October ’20 amalgamation of the YMCA/YWCA of Guelph, the YMCA of Stratford-Perth, and the YMCAs of Cambridge & Kitchener-Waterloo, where he had been CEO since September 2016. Previously, Peter served as the President of the St. Mary’s General Hospital Foundation from 2004-2016. In 2010, he was also named President of the St. Joseph’s Health System International Outreach Program where he managed global health projects in Uganda, Haiti, and Guyana. Peter was named as one of the Waterloo Record’s inaugural 40-under-40 and was recently awarded a Paul Harris Fellow by his local Rotary Club. He and his wife Krista have three children and live in downtown Kitchener.   

May 25, 2021 

Annual General Meeting 

Anne-Marie Zajdlik, Founder, Bracelet of Hope

“A tale of two pandemics and why humankind is clever enough to defeat both”

Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik is a family physician and regional HIV specialist. She is the founder and Medical Director of the Masai Centre for Local, Regional and Global Health, a provincially funded HIV/AIDS clinic in Guelph, Ontario. In 2010, Dr. Zajdlik, opened Masai’s satellite clinic in Waterloo. The clinics now provide care to 700 HIV positive patients in Guelph-Wellington, Grey Bruce, and Waterloo Region. In March of 2019, Dr. Zajdlik founded Hope Clinic, the new Center for Excellence in HIV Treatment in the region.
Dr. Zajdlik is the founder of Bracelet of Hope, a charitable community-based organization that raises awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa and funds for HIV/AIDS relief in Lesotho, Africa. She is a previous board member of the Ontario Hospital Association’s OHAfrica project and member of the OHAfrica Canadian Medical Team that helped open the first HIV/AIDS clinic in Lesotho in 2004.