Category: Speakers (page 1 of 16)

Speaker programs at Wednesday SMA Meetings

February 22, 2017
Susan Granger, film critic
150 Timeless Movies

Susan Granger, film critic, will talk about her new book, 150 Timeless Movies. She last talked with us about the Oscar awards.

Susan was born into a film-business family and was raised in Hollywood. She appeared as a child actress in movies with Abbott and Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball and Lassie. For more than 25 years, she has been an on-air television and radio critic, bringing an experienced and unique perspective to the movie business.

Her commentaries are distributed around the world by SSG Syndicate. In addition, her work has been published in The New York Times, Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, Working Woman, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan and numerous other publications.

Susan also is the feature film critic for Video Librarian magazine, distributed to libraries throughout the country.

Arranged by Scott Hutchason

February 15, 2017
Robert H. Patton
The Self-Invention of General George S. Patton: Its Triumphs and Costs

Robert H. Patton

Robert H. Patton

Robert H. Patton will talk about “The Self-Invention of General George S. Patton: Its Triumphs and Costs.”

Robert, grandson of General Patton of World War II fame, examines the roots of Patton’s notable warrior persona against the backdrop of an inherited family destiny and a lifelong interest in classical literature, spiritualism and military history.

General Patton’s willful transformation from an insecure child to a swaggering blood-and-guts commander enabled him to become one of America’s greatest wartime leaders. But the personal price that came with his triumph gives the story a human dimension left out of the history books.

Before becoming an author, Robert worked as a Capitol Hill reporter, a commercial fisherman and a real estate developer. Then in 1994, he published his family memoir entitled The Pattons: A Personal History of an American Family. The book chronicles five generations of ancestors, culminating with General Patton.

Robert has since published two history books and five novels. They include Patriot Pirates, about privateering during the Revolutionary War, and Hell before Breakfast, about America’s first international war correspondents.

His latest book, Cajun Waltz, tells the tale of a colorful and violently troubled family in the Louisiana bayou from the Depression to the 1950s, published in 2016.

He currently is working on a series of historical novels set in the world of colonial maritime conflict during the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812.

Robert and his wife live in Darien and have four sons and five grandchildren.

Arranged by Kevin Davidson

February 8, 2017
Jeff Cordulack
Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)

Jeff Cordulack

Jeff Cordulack

Jeff Cordulack will talk about the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), a nonprofit organization of more than 5,000 farmers, gardeners, landscape professionals and consumers in seven states.

Jeff is executive director of the Connecticut Chapter of NOFA, whose goal is to educate farmers, gardeners, land care professionals and consumers about organic farming techniques using conferences, workshops, farm tours and printed materials.

Jeff was raised in Darien and is interested in wildlife conservation, watershed protection, organic farming and sustainable living. He joined NOFA in 2015 after working for 10 years with the National Audubon Society in Greenwich. Prior to that, he worked for SoundWaters in Stamford for eight years. He has collaborated with many conservation organizations over the last two decades.

In 2013, Jeff was a recipient of the Paul Keough Award presented by the Northeast Water Environment Association in recognition of his communications leadership to increase public awareness, understanding and personal actions to protect water quality and the environment.

Jeff and his wife have three children and cultivate their own frontyard garden and organic lawn. He volunteers as the Schoolyard Habitat Steward for local schools and is chairperson for the Metro North chapter of Slow Food USA.

Arranged by Martin Skala

February 1, 2017
Alison Nicholls
Conservation Art in Africa

Alison Nicholls is an artist inspired by Africa. Although she has traveled extensively throughout her life, Africa inspires her in ways unmatched by any other place. Her artistic work depicting Africa is based on field sketching, studio paintings and conservation sketching expeditions. Alison has found Africa to be a continent of diverse peoples and cultures, huge cities and dusty villages, vast deserts and thick forests, hot swamps and cold highlands, and home to some of the most iconic wildlife on the planet.

Alison brings all this together using her artistic talents. Field sketching in pencil requires confidence and speed. It usually is done standing up or sitting in a vehicle. Decisions about light and composition must be made quickly. Another factor is that the person or animal being sketched can move out of sight at any time. Studio painting makes it possible to create the effects of light, color, dust and heat. Conservation sketching expeditions and resulting sketches and paintings help raise awareness and funds so that the sponsoring organization can continue its work.

Alison leads art safaris in South Africa and is a signature member of Artists for Conservation, the Society of Animal Artists and the Explorers Club. Her art has been exhibited at the Botswana Mission to the United Nations. The U.S. Department of State used her art to promote the Coalition Against Wildlife Trafficking.

Alison lives in Port Chester, N.Y., with her husband and a German shepherd named Chase.

Arranged by Tom Lom

January 25, 2017
Joe Schneirlein
Norwalk Aquarium
The environmental conditions of Long Island Sound

Joe Schnierlein

Joe Schnierlein

Joe Schnierlein, research and university liaison representative with The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk, will talk about the environmental impacts on Long Island Sound past, present and future.

The Maritime Aquarium explores the many facets of the Sound, which is an extraordinary ecosystem that has supported the economy and culture of the region since prehistoric times. Some 20 million people live within a one-hour drive of the Sound. The effects of their actions make sustaining the natural functions of Long Island Sound a challenge. Its watershed covers five states and extends into Canada. Three major rivers and 59 smaller rivers and creeks empty into the Sound. Geographically, it is 113 miles long and 21 miles across at its widest point. Its average depth is 63 feet and holds about 18 trillion gallons of water.

Joe has been involved in the sciences and education his entire career. His current work at the Aquarium includes serving as manager of professional development and assistant director of guest services. He began his career in 1970 as a teacher and then science department chairman at Brien McMahon High School.

His many other teaching experiences include adjunct professor of marine biology at Norwalk Community College, adjunct professor of sciences at Sacred Heart University and chemical oceanographer for the Windward Oceanographic Institute.

He is a former member of the Norwalk Shellfish Commission, the Norwalk Mayoral Water Quality Commission and the Norwalk Park Planning Committee.

Arranged by Tom Lom

 

January 18, 2017
Dave Shafer
Photographer and humorist
A Humorous Guide to Better Photography

Dave Shafer

Dave Shafer

Dave Shafer, a local photographer and internationally recognized designer of optical systems, will present “A Humorous Guide to Better Photography.”

Asked to describe his talk, Dave said, “When Snow White sent her film to be developed, she said, ‘Someday my prints will come.’ ” He noted that times have changed. Film is gone now, and we need to refresh our picture-taking skills. The most valuable asset in photography is your eye, not the camera. He will show ways to improve your photos by using some classic methods about picture composition. Many examples will include visual humor. If you have not taken any pictures since your old Brownie camera, you still can enjoy the stories in his talk.

His main claim to being a humorist is that after 51 years of marriage, he still can make his wife laugh. But that is only half of Dave’s story. He has spent the last 50 years designing camera lenses, telescopes and microscopes and now operates a one-man optical design and consulting firm. All of today’s state-of-the-art computer chips for cell phones, computers and tablets are made using a unique optical system invented by Dave 10 years ago. He has more than 125 patents for optical designs. One of his unusual telescopes went to Saturn a few years ago aboard the Cassini spacecraft. Another device took photos of the asteroid Vesta. And a spacecraft using his telescope was launched with the goal of landing on a comet. He also designed a specialized stereo-viewing device for Salvador Dali.

Arranged by Tom Lom

Dave slides are at A Humorous Guide to Better Photography

January 11, 2017
Ed “Skip” McLaughlin, and
Wyn Lydecker
Starting and Building Your Own Business

Ed McLaughlin

Ed McLaughlin

Ed McLaughlin and Wyn Lydecker will talk about becoming an entrepreneur: how to start, fund and grow the right business.

Co-authors of the book The Purpose Is Profit: The Truth about Starting and Building Your Own Business, they will discuss why distinctive competence trumps passion when starting a business. They also will talk about where to get funding without losing control and why a startup should factor profit into every business decision.

Over the years, Ed “Skip” McLaughlin founded four businesses and today runs Blue Sunsets LLC, a real estate and agent investment firm. His first business grew into an Inc. magazine 500 company that later was sold to a Fortune 100 company, where Skip became CEO of Global Workplace Business for the Americas. He was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young in 2001. He is a member of the Tufts Medical Center board of governors, where he founded the David E. Wazer Breast Cancer Research Fund.

Skip graduated from College of the Holy Cross and is a member of the board of trustees. He lives with his wife in Connecticut, has three adult children and is active in philanthropy.

Wyn Lydecker

Wyn Lydecker

Wyn Lydecker is founder of Upstart Business Planning and works with entrepreneurs to develop plans that answer the questions investors ask most often. Previously, she was managing director of Business Plan International in New York City and co-director of the Small Business Resource Center, Norwalk Community College. Wyn has a B.A. in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an M.B.A. in finance and marketing from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She helped found the nonprofit At Home in Darien and serves on the board. Wyn lives in Connecticut with her husband and has two adult children.

Arranged by Tom Lom


 

January 4, 2017
Michael Nyenhuis
President and CEO of AmeriCares

Michael J, Nyenthuis

Michael J, Nyenthuis

Michael J. Nyenthuis, president and chief executive officer of Americares, one of the country’s foremost disaster-relief non-profit organizations, will talk about distributing $500 million a year in donated medicines and medical supplies to people around the world who otherwise would not get treatment.

Michael leads a global health and emergency response organization that increases access to medical care in more than 90 countries, including the United States, El Salvador, India, Liberia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sierra Leone and Tanzania, plus free health clinics in Connecticut. Americares helps local health workers do their job better: Through the effective use of technology, the organization helps get medicine and supplies to the right place at the right time.

Michael is a global health professional with 20 years of experience who previously served as president and chief executive officer of MAP International. He received a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and an M.B.A. from Emory University.

Thanks to Bob Baylis.

December 28, 2016
No Meeting
Holiday Break

We wish you a wonderful holiday!

December 21, 2016
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal
Key issues facing our state and country

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Richard Blumenthal

Richard Blumenthal, United States Senator for Connecticut, serving his first term, will talk about the key issues facing the state and the country.

Previously, he served five terms as Connecticut’s attorney general where his law enforcement for consumer protection, environmental stewardship, labor rights and personal privacy helped reshape the role of state attorney general’s nationwide. As attorney general he advocated for reforms in health insurance and worked to eradicate corruption in state government. He fought unfair utility rate charges and air pollution causing acid rain.

From 1977 to 1981, he served as a U.S. attorney for Connecticut. He also served in the Connecticut House of Representatives from 1984 to 1987 and the Connecticut State Senate from 1987 to 1990.

Senator Blumenthal graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1970 to 1976 and was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant.

Arranged by Bob Fiske

December 14, 2016
Jon Zagrodzky, Chairman,
Darien Board of Finance

Jon Zagrodsky

Board of Finance Chairman Jon Zagrodzky (image from Darien TV79 video)

Jon Zagrodzky, chairman of the Town of Darien Board of Finance, will summarize his comments to the December 12, 2016, State of the Town meeting.  That meeting covers key town financial issues, including the outlook for the 2018-2019 budget process, which starts in January, and the possible impact of Hartford’s difficult financial situation on the Town of Darien.

The elected seven-member Board of Finance is responsible for the town’s $130 million annual budget. Jon also serves as a member of the Darien Town and Police Pension boards and was president of the Darien Historical Society from 2011-2015. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Forman School, a Litchfield (Connecticut) high school that specializes in children with learning differences.

Jon is a managing director of Oak Hill Capital Partners and serves as chief administrative officer and chief compliance officer. He is responsible for finance, operations, human resources, administration, information technology and business planning.

Prior to joining Oak Hill, he was an associate principal and director of financial planning and analysis at McKinsey & Company.

He earned a B.A. degree in economics and romance languages from Washington & Lee University and an M.B.A. degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Arranged by Tom Lom

December 7, 2016
Sylvia Reiss
The stone walls of Connecticut

Connecticut stone wallSylvia Reiss will talk about “Our Amazing Stone Walls: What They Are and Where They Are.”

A local resident, stone wall enthusiast and historian, Sylvia will present a fascinating, educational and amusing look at these historical structures. Stone walls are the signature archaeological legacy of Darien and New England itself. They can be seen along roadsides, far into the woods, across back yards and between houses. The stone walls delineate and define northeastern America as surely as the Appian Way says Italy or the Great Wall says China.

Darien is fortunate to have within its 23.4 square-miles many miles of these walls that have for centuries characterized our town’s agrarian heritage. It is the story of millions of fieldstones, tossed, stacked and laid; of single walls, double walls capped or coped; of rare walls and mysteries that will be revealed during Sylvia’s presentation.

Sylvia Reiss is a former teacher, retired antiques dealer, past president of the Antiques Council, and tag-along historian with her husband Ken Reiss, who is the Darien Historical Society’s historian.

Arranged by Tom Haacke

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