Club Infomation
Metro meets on Alternate Tuesdays at noon at the Jewish Educational Alliance, 5111 Abercorn St.
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Committee Reports

Immediate Past President Jessica Pedigo presided over the meeting on behalf of President Cecilia Arango and announced that Metro has received three District Governor 6920 Awards: The Governor’s Gold Award, The Governor’s Best of the Best Award, and The Governor’s Superior Leadership Award to Jessica.
She reminded members that they could earn meeting credits by attending Rotary EClub One meetings. Don’t forget to send your make-up info to 
Foundation Committee Chair Laura Lee Bocade announced Metro’s newest Paul Harris Fellows: Ellen Harris, Elizabeth Summerell, Jamie Smith Arkins (+1), Spencer Burch, Jordan Chase (+1), Jasmine Mills, Cari Phelps (+1) and Patrick Phelps (+1).
Contact Program Chair George Seaborough for more information on these upcoming events: 
  • July 27 — Social at 5:30 p.m. at Taca
  • Aug. 3 — Lunch meeting with Maryann Brickey, children’s librarian and branch manager with Live Oak Public Libraries.
  • Aug. 3 — Program Committee meeting, 5 p.m. at Taca
  • Aug. 17 — Lunch meeting with Tiffany Collins, executive director of Girls on the Run
  • Aug. 24  — Social at 5:30 p.m. at Taste of India
Looking for Service Committee opportunities? 1. Donate two pieces of business attire to the Interact Business Clothing Drive. Receive one service credits for every two items donated for a maximum of three credits. 2. A beautification project will be held at the Savannah Center for Blind and Low Vision on Aug. 7. There will be one shift, held indoors, for 8-10 volunteers. Contact Service Committee Chair Kristen Crawley for more information.
Sarah Bockel Smith, Interact liaison for Woodville-Tompkins High School, invited members to present to the club. You are not limited to talking about your career. You can also speak to the students about your involvement in the community and other topics. Contact Sarah for more details.
Sophie Bohl of Sweden, the area’s Georgia Rotary Student Program participant, will be arriving in Savannah Aug. 2. Contact Florence Slatinsky if you would like to help welcome her to Savannah.
Reshma Shah Johnson, The Rotarian Reader, directed the club's attention to Friends in Need from the July issue of The Rotarian. The article describes how an international relationship came full circle when clubs in India provided aid to Detroit in the early days of the pandemic.

Metrotarians in the Spotlight

Bret Bell presented at the Savannah Rotary Club's recent meeting and Julie Wade’s was included in the University of Georgia Alumni Association Bulldog 100 for Park Place Outreach Youth Emergency Services. The list recognizes the fastest growing businesses and organizations owned or operated by UGA alumni in 2021.

Membership Moment: Jamie Smith Arkins

Jamie works in human resources, but talked about what she likes to do outside of work, including her love for live music. She’s looking forward to seeing Hamilton, one of her bucket list items. Jamie grew up in Valdosta and will be visiting this weekend for the first time since 2014. She said her favorite thing about being a Metro member is, “I get to be me!”


Nate Wayne, a loan officer with the Small Business Assistance Corporation, was the guest of Katie Joyner.
Brad Trower, vice president of development for St. Joseph's/Candler, attended along with Chase Cowart, manager of strategic planning at the hospital. Brad is a member of the Statesboro Rotary Club.

Featured Speaker: Georgia House District 163 Rep. Derek Mallow

Rep. Mallow — a native of Savannah who earned a bachelor's and a master's degree from Savannah State University — outlined the contours of his district, which includes both affluent areas of the city of Savannah, along with every public housing property.
He reviewed legislation he considers victories from the last session, including the overhaul of Georgia’s citizens arrest law; Senate Bill 85, which expands the definition of hazing; and a pair of bills which help victims of human trafficking, among others. He explained his main passions as a lawmaker are mental health, education, and criminal justice.

Late Breaking News: Updates from After the Meeting

Whitney Shephard directs our attention to this from Bill Gates: "Thanks to the commitment of Rotary and other partners, as well as the dedicated political leadership of polio-affected countries, I’m confident that we can create a world where no child will ever be paralyzed by polio again." Read more.
The Gates Foundation is matching our donations to Polio Plus two to one. 


Committee Reports

Jessica Pedigo presided over her last meeting as president. President Elect Cecilia Arango presented her with a Rotary tiara and Immediate Past President Bret Bell relinquished the infamous cat portrait.
Jessica provided a club attendance update, reporting that it stands at 53% and increases to 59% if members who are leaving the club are removed from the calculation. She reminded members they can gain attendance credits by:
  • Attending an eClub Meeting
  • Attending a meeting of another Rotary Club
  • Donating to our service partners Bike Walk Savannah or Urban Hope
  • Participating in a service project
  • Attending a Munch or social
There is another opportunity to participate in the June service project, the second of two street audit sessions in the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood. It will take place on Saturday, June 26 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Prior to the session volunteers will receive information about the process and instructions on how to download the mobile application, and the group will meet at the beginning of the audit session to answer any questions and receive their assignments. The signup link is now available.
Jessica reminded members that we will resume entering the J.E.A. through the front door beginning at the June 29 meeting.


Derek Goldfarb was the guest of Cecilia Arango
Maryann Brickey was the guest of Jamie Smith Arkins
John Rodman (New Member Program)
Destiny Mojica-Taylor (New Member Program)
Meagen Burrows (New Member Program)
Chelsea Sawyer (New Member Program)

New Member Program Profile: Chelsea Sawyer 

Chelsea Sawyer earned graduate and undergraduate degrees from Virginia Tech, and met her husband Seth there. They worked together at the American Red Cross and now work together at the Chatham Emergency Management Agency, where she serves as outreach/public information coordinator. She started at CEMA just three weeks before Hurricane Matthew hit Savannah in October 2016.
Chelsea’s daughter was born in December 2019 and she described the challenges of having a “pandemic baby.” She also revealed that she was the subject of a TV documentary when she was 15.

New Member Program Profile: John Rodman

John Rodman is a senior partner at Cox, Rodman & Middleton, Attorneys at Law. He said he’s wanted to join Rotary since 2013. He grew up in Albany, joined the Army, and  became a scout/sniper. He was deployed several times and thought about staying in Washington, where he was stationed, but came back to Georgia and decided to make Savannah his home.
He earned degrees from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Georgia Southern University, and Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law. He and his wife Anne, who is also an attorney, have two children.

Featured Speaker: Leigh Ryan

Leigh talked about her work as vice president of World Trade Center Savannah, where she oversees strategy and development. She said WTCS serves area businesses that are active in international trade and its primary mission is job creation and investment in the region. The center hosts global education programs and events, and as everyone who participates is involved in international trade, there are a lot of opportunities for networking.
She hosts inbound delegations and outbound trade missions may begin soon as the rest of the world begins to open up again. The center also offers the Global Trade Helpdesk, a market research tool developed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Leigh said WTCS is ranked as one of the  top five World Trade Centers.

Committee Reports

President Jessica Pedigo confirmed the following people are currently in the New Members Program: John RodmanKatie Balthrop, Destiny Mojica-Taylor, Meagen Burrows, and Chelsea Sawyer. She announced the end of the year party will be scheduled for late June and more information is coming. In the meantime, don’t forget to report your munch attendance. Leigh Ryan of World Trade Center Savannah will be the speaker at the June 15 meeting.
Service Committee Chair Jordan Chase reported that details of the June service project with Bike Walk Savannah were still being worked out and she hoped they would be announced soon. UPDATE: Our June service project will be comprised of two street audit sessions in the Edgemere-Sackville neighborhood. The two sessions will take place on Monday, June 21 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and on Saturday, June 26 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Prior to the session volunteers will receive information about the process and instructions on how to download the mobile application, and the group will meet at the beginning of the audit session to answer any questions and receive their assignments. The signup link is now available. See email from Jordan for more information.


  • Sen. Jen Jordan was the guest of Julie Wade.
  • Derek Goldfarb was the guest of Cecilia Arango.
  • Emily Salzer was the guest of Jordan Chase.
  • Hannah Simons, visiting from France, was the guest of Whitney Shephard.
  • Ed and Lois Engel are Rotarians from Holland, Michigan. They are new to Savannah and looking for a new club.
  • Chelsea Sawyer (New Members Program)

Featured Speaker: Michael Traynor

Michael said he was a little over 90 days into his role as CEO of Union Mission, but explained he has previously served as chair of the organization’s board of directors. Union Mission serves more than 700 people per year through its various departments, including individual programs that focused on women, women and children, men, special needs housing, permanent supportive housing, and mental health counseling.
He said he was particularly excited about the conversion of the J.C. Lewis Health Center’s former location on Fahm Street into a shelter, which will serve unaccompanied women experiencing homelessness. Michael said his research indicates it’s the only such facility on the Georgia Coast. It will include 32 rooms and onsite counseling.

Membership Moment: Cody Tharpe

Cody said Tharpe Engineering Group recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. The structural engineering firm works on a wide range of commercial, industrial, preservation, and multi-family residential projects. When asked about his favorite Rotarian, Cody named Patton Dugas. Cody serves as Metro’s treasurer.


President Jessica Pedigo reminded members of Metro’s 50% attendance minimum, which is more generous than many other clubs. Running low? You can earn attendance credits by:
  • Attending an eClub Meeting
  • Attending a meeting of another Rotary Club
  • Donate to our service partners Bike Walk Savannah or Urban Hope
  • Participate in a service project
  • Attend a Munch or social
Service Committee Jordan Chase thanked everyone who participated in bike and pedestrian counts with Bike Walk Savannah. She hopes to have more information on the June street audit project soon.
Program Committee Report: Michael Traynor of Union Mission will talk about the organization’s Phoenix Project at the June 1 meeting. Don’t forget to report your Munch attendance to
A lively game of Metro Jeoparty (yes, you read that right) ensued with a fierce competition between teams quizzed on categories such as Pandemic Shift, Official-ish Rotary Things and Metro History. Winners walked away with priceless prizes of Hansen Architects mouse pads, Sterling Seacrest cups, Daniel Weiner Handyman pens and more.


Alyssa Harvey was the guest of Jordan Chase
Chelsea Sawyer (New Member Program)
The following people are currently in the New Members Program: John Rodman, Katie Balthrop, Destiny Mojica-Taylor, and Meagen Burrows.
From the President
Metro Savannah may not look like your father's Rotary Club, but we're not all that different. We're proud to be members of Rotary International, believe strongly in its mission and traditions, and partner frequently with other clubs in the area.
We're just a bit different, and do things a bit differently. We're younger than the average club, and our meetings are twice monthly instead of every week. We fill in the free weeks with monthly service projects and socials. We throw larger events that have become legend.  
Want to join us? Visiting Rotarians are welcome to join any of our lunch meetings or events. Others should come as a guest of a friend, colleague or acquaintance who is already a member of Metro. If you're interested in becoming a member after that visit, reach out to your host and they'll explain the membership process to you. 
Thanks for checking out Metro.    
Cecilia Arango
Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Programs Chair
Rotary Foundation
Membership Chair
Communications Chair
Service Chair
At Large
At Large
GRSP Liaison
Interact Liaison