Category: Speakers (page 1 of 20)

Speaker programs at Wednesday SMA Meetings

Joe Holmes and the DMA Songsters, May 30, 2018

Joe Holmes and the Songsters will entertain us with their melodious music as has been the tradition
these many years.


Ray Osborne, Chief of Police, May 9, 2018

Chief of Police Raymond Osborne will speak on the current law enforcement trends we are seeing in Darien, as well as new developments and trends in law enforcement in general. He was inducted as a police officer in Darien in 1983. Prior to being sworn in as Darien’s 10th chief of police in 2016, he held positions of detective, sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He is a member of the Darien Police SCUBA team, the South West Regional Response Team’s Hostage Negotiation Team and the Darien Police School Security Committee. Chief Osborne has a master’s degree in criminal justice from Iona College and currently is an adjunct faculty member at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport.


Terrie Wood will discuss key legislation passed in this latest session and also will talk about the state budget. May 16, 2018

She has served as State Representative from the 141st district (Darien and Norwalk) since 2009 and is currently ranking member on the Executive Nominations Committee and a member of the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee and the Human Services Committee. In 2013, she served as co-chair of the Mental Health Working Group of the Gun Violence and School Security bill passed after the Sandy Hook school massacre. She was instrumental in crafting and implementing the Mental Health portion of the bill along with her co-chair Sen. Toni Harp, now mayor of New Haven. She also served as co-chair of the MORE Commission Working Group on Special Education in 2013-2014.

Terrie is past president of the Darien Land Trust, founder and first chairman of the Darien Environmental Group, past trustee of the Darien Library, The Community Fund, an ABC Host family and current member of CT Advisory Board of The Trust for Public Land. In addition, she was co-chair of YES…DHS! a political action committee dedicated to passing a referendum to promote the building of a new high school. A former commercial/voiceover actor in New York and professional portrait photographer, she is a graduate of Rollins College with a degree in art history.

A 39-year resident of Darien and four years in Rowayton, Terrie is married to Jay Wood, a third-generation Darienite. They have three children, all graduates of Darien High School, and are EMT members of Post 53.

Terrie handed out the executive summary of the Connecticut Commission on Fiscal Stability and Economic Growth. Here is the full report:


Hon. Barbara Bellis, Superior Court Judge, to speak May 2, 2018

Hon. Barbara Bellis, a judge with the Superior Court in Bridgeport since 2003, will talk about how the court resolves civil and criminal cases on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at the Darien Men’s Association (DMA).

Judge Bellis will explain how cases are handled from filing to disposition, the difference between civil and criminal cases, and how the court responds to self-represented individuals.

She is a graduate of Boston College and the Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.


Patrick Houlihan,
State of Play: Major League Baseball in 2018,
Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Patrick Houlihan will speak on the “State of Play: Major League baseball in 2018,” including the current state of the game and recent changes plus trends on and off the field. He is vice president and deputy general counsel in the Labor Relations Department in the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball in New York. Patrick represents the Commissioner’s Office and the 30 major league clubs in all matters involving the Major League Baseball Players Association that is the labor union representing all 40-man roster players. Patrick’s work focuses on player discipline; representative of the Commissioner’s Office and Clubs in grievance hearings; salary arbitration; player pension and welfare benefits; revenue sharing; player health and safety; drug testing; and other matters involving the interpretation and application of the collective bargaining agreement or the Major League Rules.

Before joining the Commissioner’s Office in September 2012, Patrick spent seven years as an associate with the law firm of Williams & Connolly, LLP in Washington, D.C. Patrick also was previously an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught a sports law course for several years.

Arranged by John Schlachtenhaufen

Damian Rossney and Billy Seales,
Hudson Link for Higher Education in Prison,
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hudson Link, a privately funded non-profit corporation, organizes college degree programs in six New York State prisons. Several years ago, Sean Pica, Executive Director of this amazing program, came to give us an overview of the organization, its successes and its challenges, and his own experience in the prison education system. His presentation was followed by a very successful clothing drive for recently released program graduates.


On April 18, we will hear from two Hudson Link representatives, Damian Rossney and Billy Seales. While incarcerated, both of these men earned college degrees. Billy, in fact, earned three! They will give us an update on Hudson Link’s expansion since Sean was with us, with particular focus on new initiatives designed to assist program alumni when they come home from prison.


Damian runs Hudson Link’s recently launched New Beginnings Program, which will offer Hudson Link graduates transitional housing and other assistance vital to a successful re-entry into society. Billy has been home for just 11 months and will share his very recent experience dealing with the challenges faced by all returning from prison – even those returning with a college degree.


Their talk will be followed up with another clothing drive. As you can imagine, for someone who has been wearing prison greens for years, proper civilian clothing is a must and is sorely needed. (New York, which is not atypical, gives a released inmate only $40 and a bus ticket home.) This year’s drive will take place on Wednesday, May 2. Just bring those gently worn items (suits, ties, shirts, pants, sweaters, coats, etc.) that’s been clogging up your closet to the DCA parking lot before our meeting on May 2; a Hudson Link van will be waiting to take it to the Hudson Link office in Ossining, where it will be Ossining office where it will change someone’s life. It will be much appreciated!



Ambassador Donald Gregg,
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Ambassador Donald Gregg will speak on the current administration’s challenges due to today’s situation on the Korean peninsula, its impact on neighboring U.S. allies in the Asia Pacific region and what policy options exist for the Trump administration. Donald will share his thinking on the world situation through the lens of his unique background as a top diplomat and intelligence operative.

He graduated from Williams College in 1951 and joined the CIA, where, over the next quarter century, he was assigned to East Asian countries. He was seconded to the National Security Council staff in 1979, where he was in charge of intelligence activities and Asian policy affairs. Upon his retirement from the CIA, he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. In 1982, Gregg was asked to be national security advisor by Vice President George W. Bush, and, over six years, traveled to 65 countries. He also served as a professorial lecturer at Georgetown University, teaching a graduate level workshop entitled Force and Diplomacy. In 1989, Gregg began service as the U.S. Ambassador to South Korea. He retired from his 43-year government career in 1993.

Today, he is chairman of the Pacific Century Institute in Los Angeles and chairman emeritus of The Korea Society of New York City. He is actively working to establish normal relations with North Korea and has visited the country six times.

Arranged by Tom Lom


Heather Pech,
Life on the Run,
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Heather Pech will speak of her experiences running marathons, particularly the recent Boston Marathon, where she won her 55-59 age bracket. Her time was better than 698 other runners in her category. She also will discuss the increased performance by American runners in international competitions and the responsibilities and satisfaction of coaching a group of Darien middle school kids who want to run – they call themselves The Blazers.

After graduation from the University of Minnesota and the Wood Tobe Coburn School, she entered the fashion retail field. Initially, she was with Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. She then joined Jones Apparel Group, culminating in serving as CEO of its Polo Jeans Company and then 9 West. She finished her business career as CEO of Nanette Lepore, a $120 million contemporary fashion designer with multiple locations here and in the U.K.

Heather was born and raised in Darien and still lives here with her three daughters. She continues to be an active runner, clocking 80 to 90 miles a week.

Arranged by Wilder Baker


Update: Heather won her age group again in 2018 Boston Marathon with a time of 3:10:15.


Andy Bramante,
Peak Performance in Teaching Science,
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Andy Bramante, a science teacher at Greenwich High School, will talk about what’s behind the incredible success of his students and how he motivates them to peak performance. Over the last 10 years, more than 30 of Andy’s students have competed in the Intel Science and Engineering Fairs, won six First Place, three Best of Category and two Grand Prize awards. Earlier this year, two of his students were semifinalists in the International Google Science Fair. One won the Grand Prize for designing a low- cost portable test for ebola and received a scholarship of $50,000. Last year, six students were selected as the Regeneron Science Talent Scholars, and two won a $100,000 scholarship. Andy received an M.S. degree in Chemistry from Fordham. Before joining Greenwich High School in 2005, he had an 18-year career as an engineer/scientist in industry and worked for several companies, including Hitachi Instruments and Perkin-Elmer. Throughout this period, he taught chemistry at the college level at Baruch and Sacred Heart universities.

Arranged by Sunil Saksena


Kevin Peraino,
A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman and the Birth of Modern China, 1949,
Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kevin Peraino will discuss the Truman administration’s response to the fall of Nationalist China and the triumph of Mao Zedong’s Communist forces in 1949 – an extraordinary political revolution that continues to shape East Asian politics to this day. Drawing on Chinese and Russian sources, as well as recently declassified CIA documents, he tells the story of this remarkable year through the eyes of key players, including Mao, Truman, Secretary of State Acheson, Congressman Walter Judd and Madame Chiang Kai-shek.

In the opening months of 1949, Truman found himself faced with a looming diplomatic catastrophe. Through the spring and summer, Mao’s Communist armies fanned out across mainland China, annihilating the rival troops of America’s one-time ally Chiang Kai-shek and taking control of Beijing, Shanghai and other major cities. As Truman and his aides scrambled to formulate a response, they were forced to contend not only with Mao but with unrelenting political enemies at home. Over the course of the year, Mao fashioned a new revolutionary government in Beijing that laid the foundation for the China we know today, while Chiang Kai-shek would flee to the island sanctuary of Taiwan.  These events transformed American foreign policy – leading ultimately to decades of friction with Communist China, a long-standing U.S. commitment to Taiwan, and the subsequent wars in Korea and Vietnam.

Kevin is a veteran foreign correspondent who has reported from around the world. A senior writer and bureau chief at Newsweek for a decade, he was a finalist for the Livingston Award for foreign reporting and part of a team that won the National Magazine Award in 2004. He is the author of “Lincoln in the World: The Making of a Statesman and the Dawn of American Power.” His latest book is titled A Force So Swift: Mao, Truman and the Birth of Modern China, 1949.
Arranged by John Schlachtenhaufen

Moritz von Stuelpnagel,
What it takes to make a Broadway hit ,
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Moritz von Stuelpnagel will discuss how a passion and an idea – against all odds – became a Broadway show and will explain what it takes to make a hit. Along the way, he’ll touch on how the feast or famine economics and the cut-throat politics of the industry work from the inside.

Moritz, a Broadway theatre director, originally hails from Darien and Greenwich. Today, he is an award winning, internationally recognized theatre director based in New York City. His recent Broadway revival of Noel Coward’s “Present Laughter” garnered three Tony Award nominations. He guided Robert Askins’ play “Hand of God” to success, starting Off-Off Broadway to Off-Broadway to the play’s Broadway debut, where it received five Tony nominations. Before arriving on Broadway, the play earned a Lortel Award and a nomination for a Joseph A. Callaway Stage Directors and Choreographers Award. He also directed “Hand of God” in London’s West End, receiving an Olivier nomination for Best New Comedy.

Other recent Off-Broadway productions include “Teenage Dick,” Public Theater; “Important Hats of the Twentieth Century,” Lincoln Center Theatre; “Bike America,” Ma-Yi Theater; “Love Song of the  Albanian Sous Chef,” Ensemble Studio Theater; “Trevor,” Lesser America; “Mel & El: Show & Tell,” Ars Nova; “The Roosevelt Cousins Thoroughly Sauced,” Ensemble Studio Theatre; “Spacebar,” Studio 42; and “My Base and Scurvy Heart,” Studio 42. His work has been seen in other venues such as the Alliance Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Huntington Theatre and many others. As a sometimes producer, he is the former artistic director of Studio 43, New York’s producer of “introducible” plays.

He is a graduate of the Greenwich public schools and holds a B.F.A. in theatre
studies from Boston University and an M.F.A. in direction from Rutgers University.

Arranged by Bert von Stuelpnagel


March 7, 2018
Richard E. Hyman
Journeys With Cousteau and the Crew of Calypso – Will be reschedule due to weather

Richard Hyman will be sharing stories and photographs about his time working for the famed Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau.
Richard was a professional diver and photographer for Cousteau. He worked his way up the ladder, first driving a supply truck from L.A. to the Canadian wilderness and there building a cabin with Cree Indians for the Cousteau team to winter in and film Beavers of the North Country. A year later, as a deck hand aboard Calypso, they filmed The Incredible Migration of the Spiny Lobsters in Mexico, before sailing south to Belize, where they filmed the spawning of thousands of grouper, The Fish that Swallowed Jonah. Singer songwriter John Denver paid a visit and performed a televised concert on Calypso’s foredeck. On Richard’s final expedition he graduated to diver and photographer, where en route to Venezuela, he experienced treacherous deep dives on the wreck of the USS Monitor off North Carolina, skeletons inside wrecks off Martinique, and the death of Jacques Cousteau’s son, Philippe.
Richard is a PADI-certified Aquanaut, a member of the Marine Biology Hall of Fame, and a Trustee of the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center.

Stories about life aboard Calypso and Cousteau, once one of the most recognized names in the world, should interest most everybody, particularly adventurers, Denver fans, divers, environmentalists, photographers, travel buffs, and videographers.
Mobile 203-456-4271





As a kid, I spent as much time as possible under water. Cousteau was my hero.  Here is a video that is sure to be an earworm as you enjoy this talk. Gary

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

(We’ll avoid the yodeling part.)

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