- About Rotary
- Get Involved
- Our Causes
- News & Media
togetherTalks is a series of virtual conversation talks with thought leaders across the globe from the worlds of business, humanitarian interest and more.
Together we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change: across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.”
Viewers of togetherTalks were able to tune in at home, on the move or at a virtual club meeting where members could invite guests to engage in discussion with them on these thought-provoking topics. Each event ends with three key takeaways that aimed to inspire to take positive action.
Each 40-minute session includes:
With each session now available on demand both on this page and on our YouTube channel, we invite you to invite others to join us in these conversations and learn of ways that we can collectively enhance our ability to make a difference and be #bettertogether.
Join Leaders | Exchange ideas | Take Action
Captain Sir Tom Moore & Hannah Ingram-Moore - An Inspiration to a Nation
The late Captain Sir Tom Moore inspired a nation in the darkest depths of COVID-19 by walking 100 laps of his garden and raising £32 million for NHS Charities Together. Here, Captain Tom and daughter Hannah, talk about his fund-raising efforts which earned the affection of a country and a knighthood.
“When we started off with this exercise we didn't anticipate we'd get anything near that sort of money. It's really amazing.”
Jennifer Jones - The Power of Connection Through Storytelling
In our first togetherTalks session, we welcomed Jennifer Jones - a thought leader, Rotarian, Executive Coach, President & CEO of Media Street Productions Ltd and TEDx speaker.
"You don't need to tell a long story to make an imapct. You need to think about things that happen in your life and then find a way to to explain it in a simple way that can move people."
Karl Wilding - The Modern Shape of Volunteering
Karl Wilding is the Chief Executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. NCVO represents and supports 14,000 voluntary organisations of all sizes, from the biggest household-name charities to the smallest community groups, and was founded more than 100 years ago
"People want to get involved and change things, but they want to do it a bit differently."
Michael McQueen - How to Maintain Momentum in Tough Times
Michael is a regular commentator on TV and radio, who has had his work featured in a wide variety of publications around the world. The Australian is also a familiar face on the international conference circuit, sharing the stage with the like of Bill Gates, the American author and pastor, Dr John Maxwell, and Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak.
He has spoken to more than half a million people across five continents since 2004 and is known for his engaging, entertaining and practical presentations. Michael was recently named Australia’s Keynote Speaker of the Year.
"We can learn a lot from other organisations who've faced many crises, didn't let them go to waste, and emerged from those times stronger as a result."
Holger Knaack - Rotary Opens Opportunities
Holger Knaack is a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, and served as President of Rotary International for the 2020-2021 term.
A Rotary member since 1992, Knaack has served Rotary as treasurer, director, moderator, member and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor.
"We have to take care to be interesting and attractive to young professionals. For me, that's the most important thing."
Tony Hawks - How do we Give the Best of Ourselves
Tony Hawks is a TV and radio comedian, and author. He wrote the best-seller ‘Round Ireland With a Fridge’ and four other books, including ‘Playing the Moldovans at Tennis’.
Tony is the founder of the Tony Hawks Children’s Health Centre in Chișinău, Moldova - a medical centre which improves the quality of life for chronically-ill children from socially-vulnerable families. He is also the co-founder and a trustee of www.tennisforfree.com which provides free tennis coaching to communities in the UK's public parks.
“We are always looking to give the best of ourselves, but sometimes we don’t know how to do it.”
Sanj Srikanthan, Chief Executive of ShelterBox - Going the Last Mile as a Humanitarian
A former Captain in the British Army, Sanj has been leading teams in adversity over the last two decades; from peacekeeping operations on the Iran-Iraq border, to responding to Ebola outbreaks in Liberia.
Before joining the ShelterBox Team in December 2019, he worked at the International Rescue Committee for 10 years where he progressed to Senior Vice President for Europe and Executive Director for the UK. He was voted as one of the London Evening Standard’s ‘changemakers’ in 2018.
During his career, Sanj has had significant first-hand experience of humanitarian work. In a previous role at IRC, he worked as an Emergency Field Director, leading response teams supporting communities in many countries including Mali, South Sudan, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.
“Our mission – to turn despair into hope through shelter provision.”
Heidi Eggleton & Luke Addison - The Value of Being Global Citizens
Heidi and Luke are two dynamic changemakers with a passion for community and getting things done. Heidi, from Dorset, will chair Rotaract in Great Britain & Ireland from July. She is part of a new group of Rotaractors and Rotarians across called ‘Rotary Refresh’, with the aim of making Rotary more intergenerational. Luke, from Surrey, was chair of Rotaract in 2016/17, and is now a member of Winchester Rotary in Hampshire. He set up a Rotaract club at Winchester University and organised a PeaceJam.
Both Heidi and Luke are involved in PeaceJam Youth Conferences and Slams across the world, as well as becoming involved with other peace movement projects. They are currently setting up the Rotaract e-club of GB&I.
"We act because that is the right thing to do: there is no better feeling than taking action."
Roy Spencer, Founder and President of PSBS, Illinois - Elevating Humanity through Business
Roy is the Founder of PSBS - a waterproofing and foundation contracting company based in Illinois. Starting out from a one-bedroom apartment, and $1,700 in the bank, the company has grown 41 years later to employing more than 200 people.
Roy has two passions in life: providing opportunities to others who aspire to improving their lot and promoting conscious capitalism - running businesses for a purpose as well as profit. His goal is to promote alliances between organisations like Rotary and conscious capitalism, in order to increase the impact and magnitude of all their good work and intentions.
“Practising conscious business just feels good."
Dr Sylvia Whitlock - "Pushing the Boundaries of Rotary" The Story of Women in Rotary
Sylvia is a Rotarian, history maker, UN Global Citizen and all-round Humanitarian. In 1982, while an Elementary School Principal in Duarte, CA., she was invited to join the history-making Ex-Rotary Club of Duarte. Dr Whitlock became President of that club in 1987, the year the United States Supreme Court ruled that the club be reinstated, thus making her the first woman in Rotary International to head a club as President.
Sylvia's favourite club projects, while in Duarte, have included sinking water wells in Nigeria, setting up an AIDS Center in Jamaica, supporting an orphanage in Mexico, and raised almost $90,000 for Education for Girls in India.
"Rotary is the best vehicle she knows for humanitarian ventures in service to mankind."
Brad Howard, Former Rotary International Director - Who Benefits from Volunteering?
Brad was a member of Rotary International’s Board of Directors from 2015-2017 and just completed a three-year term as chair of Rotary’s Communication Committee. In addition, since 2011 he has served multiple years on Rotary’s membership committee.
Brad’s Rotary passion is taking people overseas to experience Rotary. Over the past 20 years, he has lead 33 trips to Sub-Saharan West Africa and India, with more than 1,600 people, to participate in Polio national immunisation days. He is also President of Howard Tours and Managing Director of Howard Properties.
"We act because that is the right thing to do: there is no better feeling than taking action."
Lorin LaFave, Founder of the Breck Foundation - Recognising the Signs Of Grooming and Exploitation
Lorin is founder of the Breck Foundation, a charity set up after the tragic loss of her 14-year-old son, Breck Bednar, through online grooming.
The Breck Foundation travel the UK educating the Digital Generation to be empowered to keep safer online. They campaign for a safer internet and help train police, safeguarding leads, parents and pupils to ensure that everyone is empowered to make safer choices for themselves online.
Lorin is a regular guest on television as well as on radio programmes. She also presents training clips and documentaries, spreading awareness to all who touch the lives of children.
"We believe in empowering young people to keep safer online.”
Mark Norbury, Chief Executive for UnLtd - The Role of Entrepreneurs in Creating Social Justice
Mark is the CEO at UnLtd, who find, fund and support hundreds of social entrepreneurs every year; with a particular focus on access to employment for disabled and young people, and on improving the connectedness and wellbeing of people in later life.
Mark Co-Chairs the Inclusive Economy Partnership, a collaboration between the UK government, business, and civil society to tackle major social issues. Mark has over 25 years’ experience in the charity and social entrepreneurship sectors.
"Real business leaders makes change happen through purpose, trust and action."
Max Johnson and Family - Keira Gave Me Her Heart & We Changed UK’s Organ Donation Law
In July 2017, nine-year-old Keira Ball was killed in a car crash in Devon. Her family made the decision to donate her organs. Days later, Max Johnson, also just nine, underwent a nine-hour heart transplant operation. It was Keira’s heart.
Max’s parents, Emma and Paul, along with Keira’s parents, Joe and Loanna Ball have campaigned to change the law around organ donation. And in May, ‘Keira & Max’s Law’ – the Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act, came into force.
“Max is having days, weeks, months and now years which, if natural selection has its way, he wouldn’t have had.” – Paul Johnson.
Adam Henson - From Field to Fork - The Importance of Understanding Where Food Comes From
Adam is perhaps the most well-known farmer in the UK, having his own section on Countryfile which goes out to millions every Sunday.
He introduced his Cotswold Hill Farm Park which opened in 1971 with his father Joe, at the helm. In 1999 Adam took over the park with business partner Duncan, and has since been an ardent advocate of “you are what you eat”.
Adam is very keen to pass on knowledge about food production, farming and wildlife since he feels there is a huge void of knowledge.
"We all eat and drink and it is a social and enjoyable thing but understanding food production is crucial. Education is important here.”
Dr Michel Zaffran, Director for Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization - Lessons Learned rom Polio in Tackling COVID-19
Michel Zaffran is Director for Polio Eradication at the World Health Organization and chair, Strategy Committee, at the Global Polio Eradication Initiatives. He joined WHO in 1987 where he has held several positions including Coordinator, of the Expanded Programme on Immunization and has led work on logistics, vaccine quality and immunization financing.
Michel represented WHO on the Group that launched Gavi and was Deputy Executive Secretary at Gavi.
"We are caught between two terrible situations.”
Marilyn Fitzgerald PhD - More Than Just The Money!
Dr. Fitzgerald consults with organizations and foundations investing in projects intended to achieve sustainable outcomes. Marilyn is dedicated to offering assistance by providing an opportunity to the economically disadvantaged in collaboratively determining their own sustainable solutions to poverty.
She is passionate about obtaining sustainable results by recognizing beneficiaries as major stakeholders and partners in the collaboration and integrative negotiation of all projects.
"Microfinance and social business when correctly applied, each is invaluable in the recipients' effort to achieve sustainability."
Will Travers OBE and Virginia McKenna - Life In Lockdown From The Animals' Point of View
Virginia McKenna OBE, her late husband Bill Travers MBE and eldest son Will Travers OBE are Founders of Born Free, the animal welfare and conservation charity in 1984.
The organisation works to stop individual wild animal suffering, protect threatened species, promote compassionate conservation, help local communities co-exist with wild animals, and keep wildlife in the wild.
“As we struggle with Covid-19, the natural world is under threat. It is time to fight back”
Lauren Coffaro and Wisdom Addo - The Untapped Power Of Teaching Peace
Lauren Coffaro believes youth are key to building peace. At the PeaceJam Foundation, she works alongside 14 Nobel Peace Prize winners to mentor young people in 40 countries to take action for positive change in their communities. Her passion for peace education was born from her own experience as a young leader in Rotaract at Northwestern University and in Chicago.
Wisdom Addo is a Rotary Peace Fellow and Executive Director at the West Africa Centre for Peace Foundation (WACPF), a non-governmental organization serving schools and communities through education on human rights, leadership and peacebuilding in Ghana. Wisdom also serves as Africa Chapter Coordinator for the PeaceJam Foundation.
"We believe in youth leadership to solve the toughest issues we are facing."
Daniel Flynn - Empowering Humanity to Choose a World Without Poverty
Determined and resourceful, Daniel Flynn is Co-Founder and Managing Director of one of Australia’s most successful startups, Thankyou.
He co-founded Thankyou at the age of 19, and today 12 years later, Thankyou’s products are stocked by major retailers in Australia, with every product contributing to helping end global poverty. To date, Thankyou has raised over $17 million to impact the lives of people across 22 countries.
Daniel, named in the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 for Social Entrepreneurship, is known for his ability to motivate audiences to realise that they too can make their own ideas a reality.
"Business as usual is out the window. We must forge bold new paths forward.”
Barry Rassin, Past Rotary International President - Together We Develop Leaders
Barry Rassin served as World President of Rotary International in 2018-2019. His responsibilities involved leading and motivating the 36,000 Rotary Clubs and 10,000 Rotaract Clubs in the 200+ countries throughout the world.
Barry has been a member of the Rotary Club of East Nassau since 1980. Barry is a Member of the Rotary International Board of Directors, Trustee and Vice-Chair of The Rotary Foundation, as well as Chairman of Shaping Rotary’s Future.
Mr Rassin is the founder of HANWASH - Haiti National Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy, a collaborative program to bring potable water and satisfactory sanitation to all the citizens of Haiti.
“Rotarians and Rotaractors are natural leaders and we have a responsibility to help them be the best possible leaders they can be through mentoring, training, guiding and storytelling.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, DBE - Lifeline for Lockdown
Dame Esther Rantzen is an English journalist and television presenter, who presented the BBC television series That’s Life for 21 years, from 1973 until 1994. She has worked with various charitable causes and founded the charities Childline promoting child protection, which she set up in 1986, and The Silver Line designed to combat loneliness in older people’s lives, which she set up in November 2012.
Esther has been recognised for her contribution to television and society. She was awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting in 1991, a CBE for services to children in 2006, and in the 2015 New Year’s Honours, was made a Dame for services to children and older people through ChildLine and The Silver Line. Dame Esther is an honorary Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow.
“Laughter is the best medicine even for a pandemic.”
Amanda Ellis - The Critical Role of Gender Equality in Leadership
Amanda Ellis leads Global Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives for the ASU Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory. Amanda is co-chair of the WE Empower UN SDG Challenge to promote women’s economic empowerment, launched by the UN Secretary-General and the Council Of Women World Leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in 2018.
An economist by training, Amanda held senior roles at the World Bank (Lead Specialist Gender), the International Finance Corporation (Head of the Global Gender Unit) and Westpac Banking Corporation (National Manager Women in Business).
The author of two best-selling Random House books on women in business, five research titles on gender and growth in the World Bank Directions in Development series and the 2020 Gender Equality and Governance Index.
“Gender equality is not only a basic human right, it is smart economics that increases prosperity for all.”
Peter Kyle - Director, Rotary International - Peacebuilding: It's In Our DNA
This talk covers how Rotary was instrumental in creating the United Nations and its strong partnership with the UN today.
Throughout the session, Peter talks about his journey representing Rotary at the UN and other institutional organisations. He also gives insights into Peter involvement with Rotary’s Peace Initiatives and details Rotary’s historical role as a Peace Building organisation.
"Those words - international understanding, goodwill and peace - have underlined our entire lives and they are the foundation of The Rotary Foundation."
Jenny Seagrove - Finding Sanctuary in the Natural World Treating Each With Respect
Jenny Seagrove who has worked in theatre, film and television for over 40 years, finding fame in the popular film Local Hero and breaking records with A Woman of Substance.
In this togetherTalk, Jenny gives viewers an insight into her charity Mane Chance Sanctuary, where she works with 41 horses, two sheep, a goat, hens and a cow in its care, who support young people with their mental health.
The charity runs sessions for young people struggling to engage in more mainstream settings, who are presenting with a variety of symptoms, from ADHD, autism, eating disorders, self-harm, chronic anxiety and more.
"I wanted to be able to make a difference and, as it were, give back for what I had been given."
Dr John Blakey, Founder of The Trusted Executive Foundation - Nine Leadership Habits That Inspire Results, Relationships and Reputation
John helps board leaders across all sectors adapt to the ‘new normal’ of trust-based leadership using the unique models and tools from his books, ‘The Trusted Executive’ and ‘Challenging Coaching’.
John was named, alongside Steven M. Covey, Simon Sinek and Brene Brown, as one of the top 100 thought leaders in trust by Trust Across America.
John delivers keynote speaker sessions on the Nine Habits of Trust at conferences globally and support a small number of pioneering CEOs as an executive coach.
"What I wanted to create was something people could trust and had substance."
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta - Empowering Girls
A Rotary member since 1984, Mehta has served Rotary as director, member or chair of several committees, zone coordinator, training leader, member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, and district governor. He is also the chair of Rotary Foundation (India).
Mehta is a director of the India arm of Operation Eyesight Universal, a former trustee of ShelterBox (he helped build nearly 500 homes for families affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami), and architect of the TEACH Program, which promotes literacy throughout India and has reached thousands of schools.
His theme, Serve to Change Lives, still encourages Rotary clubs and districts to prioritize projects that improve the health, well-being, education, and economic security of girls in their communities and around the world.
“Service is the rent I pay for the space I occupy on this earth.”
Stephanie Woollard - Making Real and Lasting Change
In 2006, Stephanie found seven disabled women making soaps in a shed in the back alleys of Kathmandu. Disturbed by the injustice these women were facing, she spent her last $200 to pay two trainers to up-skill the women and sell their products abroad.
To date, Seven Women has trained and employed over 1,000 disadvantaged women and helped more than 5,000 women in remote villages, offering shelter, medical assistance and education.
Stephanie has received recognition for her work including the UN Rotary Responsible Business Award, Moral Fairground’s ‘Most Ethical Enterprise Award 2014’, La Trobe University Young Achiever Alumni of the Year 2016 and was a nominee for Australian of the Year 2016.
“Everybody can help make a difference”
Emily Stevenson - Plastics Warrior Turning the Tide on Ocean Pollution
In 2019, Emily’s work received recognition as a Point of Light award recipient from the British Prime Minister and a Young Citizen Award from Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.
In 2020, Emily was awarded the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action and humanitarian efforts: the Diana Award.
Emily is also currently working on the official youth engagement group of the G7 on the climate and environment policy track, the highest level of international decision-making.
“When we talk about environmental issues, we connect to them and we learn. Only when we know better can we do better.”
Erinma Bell MBE - Peace Building Just Do It
Erinma is a Community peace activist and Rotary Peace Fellow Professor Erinma Bell MBE became co-founder and CEO of her own formidable charity CARISMA - Community Alliance for Renewal Inner South Manchester Area - in 2003.
Now CARISMA Services Limited is a frontline community-based group set up to offer life chances for young people in the community by giving them positive alternatives to street and gun crime. This has enabled a 92% decrease in gun and gang crime in Manchester.
Erinma continues to lead on work around issues such as Restorative Justice, Peace and Conflict Resolution as well as Peace Making, Peace Keeping and Peace Building within an urban environment.
“There’s no such word as can’t, just get on with it!”