Category: Past Speakers (page 1 of 16)

April 19, 2017
John Rousmaniere – Historian for the New York Yacht Club
History of the America’s Cup yacht races

John Rousmaniere will present “The America’s Cup, Then and Now,” an entertaining review of
the nearly 170-year history of one of the world’s most celebrated and sometimes controversial sports trophies.

John is the author of 30 books covering a wide range of topics, including the America’s Cup, yachting history and seamanship. His books include Fastnet Force 10, After the Storm, The Annapolis Book of Seamanship and three histories of the America’s Cup.

He is a recipient of the Mystic Seaport W.P. Stephens Award for maritime history.

John has sailed more than 40,000 miles in many waters and is a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America. He headed the media operation for the four most recent Newport-Bermuda races.

Descended from a Frenchman who served on the rebels’ side in the American Revolution, John is an alumnus of Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary.

After many years of residing in Stamford, he now lives in Manhattan with his wife Leah and sails wherever there are good boats.

Arranged by Bob Fiske


April 12, 2017
David Fitzpatrick, CNN Journalist
Cable news coverage of and impact on the 2016 election.

David Fitzpatrick: 40 Years Covering News around the World

David Fitzpatrick will talk about his 40-year career as a network television producer and manager covering major news events around the world.

David recently retired from CNN after serving as a senior investigative producer for more than 15 years.

Previously, he was with CBS News for 25 years. He also was with the ABC News primetime news magazine 20/20 for two years.

At CNN, he covered many of the world’s most riveting events: the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, the tsunami in Indonesia and the missing Malaysian airplane. He also covered the Boston Marathon bombing and the terrorist
attacks in Paris and Brussels.

While at CBS News,he served in bureaus in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and London. He was bureau manager in Chicago and the network’s national editor in New York.

He was lead producer for CBS coverage of the Iran hostage crisis and produced “60 Minutes” for three years, working with Morley Safer’s team.

His friend and colleague Dan Rather once said it’s “easier to list the places around the globe David hasn’t worked than to list the places where he has been.”

David and his wife Adria Bates Fitzpatrick live in Darien and have three adult children.

Arranged by Alex Garnett

April 5, 2017
James Mapes
Author: “Imagine That:Igniting Your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance”

March 29, 2017
April Foley, former US Ambassador to Hungary
“Ukraine, Russia,
and Issues of the Day”

April Foley

April Foley

April Foley was US Ambassador to Hungary from 2006-2009. She is a former 1st VP and Vice Chair of the US Export-Import Bank, and a Pepsi executive for 17 years.

Ms. Foley is will speak about “Ukraine, Russia, and Issues of the Day”.

March 22, 2017
Jayme Stevenson
State of the Town

Jayme Stevenson, first selectman of the Town of Darien, will present “The State of the Town.” Jayme’s update will include a review of town operations and the outlook for changes in the near future. She has been first selectman since 2011 and has been a member of the board of selectmen since 2009. Jayme recently was elected chairman of the Western Connecticut Council of Governments and served as vice chairman beginning in 2015. She recently was named to the board of directors of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities and to that organization’s municipal risk insurance agency known as the Connecticut Interlocal Risk Management Agency. Jayme has served on a wide variety of Darien nonprofit boards, including The Depot, the Darien Nature Center and the First Congregational Church Nursery School. She also was chairman of the Parent Teachers Organization for Royle Elementary School and Darien High School. She has been a member of the board of The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education since 2016. Jayme and her husband have lived in Darien for 26 years and have five children. Her husband grew up in Darien and is a graduate of Darien High School.
Arranged by Marc Thorne

March 15, 2017
Zachary Janowski
Yankee Institute
Connecticut’s Fiscal Crisis:Why the State’s Deficit Won’t Die

The Yankee Institute for Public Policy is a 30-year old, Hartford-based organization that monitors the most critical areas of interest to Connecticut citizens: taxes, the state’s fiscal status, energy costs, the health industry and political and governmental integrity and accountability.

Zachary Janowski is Director of External Affairs for the Yankee Institute. After spending time in mainstream journalism, Zach joined the Institute in 2010 as its first investigative reporter and founder of “Raising Hale”–an investigative reporting blog. He writes extensively about waste, fraud and abuse in state and local governments. Zach, a native of New Hampshire, serves on the board of the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and works closely with the Connecticut Council on Freedom of Information. He was a 2012 recipient of a Phillips Foundation Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship. Zach, his wife and two children reside in Plantsville, CT.

Download his PowerPoint presentation here:

March 8, 2017
Sandy Garnett
Author “The Year of an Artist”

Sandy Garnett will talk about his career as a fine arts artist and his book, The Year of an Artist.
His presentation will include slides of his work and a video. A
successful painter, sculptor, creator of public arts installations, author
and songwriter, he has been plying his craft for the past 25 years. He
lives and works out of a loft in South Norwalk. Sandy began his career
in high school, selling his art in parking lots at Grateful Dead
concerts. While attending St. Lawrence University, he set up a studio
and created art for 50 bands and production companies. Today, his
work can be found in 40 states, 10 countries and a network of 500
collectors. His art has been placed in museums and public, corporate
and private collections. Sandy has developed a reputation as a selfsufficient,
prolific painter, sculptor and multimedia creator. He is best
known for his 20-year running Fingerprint Project, which features
sculpted and painted fingerprints, human silhouettes and signatures.
He recently signed his 1,250th career painting. The first 1,000
paintings appear in his 2012 catalogue, “The First 1000 Paintings of Sandy Garnett.” Sandy’s
public arts projects have received national recognition. At the Stamford train station, he created a
permanent fine arts lighting installation hailed as one of the most compelling public arts projects
on the East Coast. Other public arts projects include the Fox Cities Building for the Arts in
Appleton, Wis., and the New London Light Cube here in Connecticut. As an author, his first book,
Baloney Express, is an autobiographical coming-of-age story. The Year of an Artist, published in
2011, documents his survival as an artist. He also writes, illustrates and publishes The Rainbow
Riders children’s books. His album, “Ep1,” is available on iTunes and includes “Busted Wing,”
“Sylvie,” “Northern Lights,” “Cruzing,” “Perry Street,” “Every Love” and “MCT of Thee.” For
more about Sandy and his work, go to

Arranged by Tom Lom

March 1, 2017
W. Michael Crouch: psychotherapist
Treating depression, anxiety and trauma

W. Michael Crouch, psychotherapist: Treating depression, anxiety and trauma

W. Michael Crouch, LCSW, is a psychotherapist with a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and certifications in eye movement, desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and dialectical behavioral therapy.

In private practice in Stamford for 25 years, he treats adults, couples and families who suffer from depression, anxiety and trauma.

Michael is co-coordinator of the Fairfield County Trauma Recovery Network (FCTRN), a community of EMDR-trained therapists who focus on the treatment and education of first responders in Fairfield County.

The FCTRN was founded in response to the tragedies of the 2011 Christmas Day fire in Stamford and the 2012 school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown. In its six years, the FCTRN has educated and treated more than 1,500 individuals in the state of Connecticut.

Previously, Michael served on the board of the Fairfield County Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which offers support and mental health services to those suffering from the loss of a loved one through suicide.

He lives in Norwalk with his wife, who together have a blended family of four children and three grandchildren.

Arranged by Wilder Baker

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

Click here to view her presentation:

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