May 18, 2021 - Meeting Preview

Ingrid Christensen

DEI Initiatives in Regards to Business

Ingrid Christensen, founder and president of INGCO International has dedicated the entirety of her professional career to interpreting and translating. Her expertise lies in creating an end product that is not only true to the original but also renders a meaningful message to the client — regardless of their spoken language or cultural background. She has worked with numerous cultural groups both within and outside of the United States and is considered a vital resource regarding the various immigrant communities throughout the country.  On May 18th, Ingrid Christensen will be speaking to the EPAM Rotary about DEI initiatives in regards to business.

Duty Roster 12/21/21 - 1/4/22
 December 21stDecember 28thJanuary 4th
GREETERNathan NyrenHoliday BreakAmy Nyren
INSPIRATIONElaine LarabeeHoliday BreakSusan Leddick
VOCATIONALn/aHoliday BreakBill Bloomberg
CHECK INAaron CasperHoliday BreakTom Poul
DOOR PRIZEKurts StrelnieksHoliday BreakJosh Swanson
Notes from May 11th 

Above & Beyond Celebration

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John Estall started by thanking all the people who were a part of the annual Rotary Above & Beyond Celebration process. He then shared more information about the celebration. 
The celebration started 15 years ago by a Rotarian Presiden who was also the superintendent. They wanted to celebrate those who have overcome adversity and go above and beyond during their High School years. They are students who are an inspiration to others, demonstrate integrity, show an improvement in grades through adversity, and exhibit the Rotary's 4-way test. The event usually occurs in the East Commons of the High School but was celebrated virtually this year. The celebration also brings in a past award-winning to return and share their experiences. Ezra Davidson-Long, a 2017 recipient, returned to share her experience. 
Then John played the video, Eden Prairie Above & Beyond Ceremony 2021. Lastly, He gave thanks to the Rotary club to continue this event and give a $150 book stipend to all the recipients.

tribute to Terry Hutchins and gives thanks to all the Rotarians that also attended.


  • Jon Melander made an announcement to the club about looking for organizations for Rotary to partner with a grant. We have already helped Praf's Treehouse and Meals of Wheels. You can request grant forms from the website or Jon Melander.
  • Praf announced returning to hybrid meetings. There will more information coming soon, but he requested 6-8 people to help run the hybrid meetings. In addition, he informed the club that Bearpath will be charging the club to use the ballroom for 30 members whether there are 30 attendees or not. 
  • Jenifer Loon will be sending an email regarding PROP Shop asking to donate crackers for the Chicken Challenge, Summer Food for Kids. 

Vocational - Amy Nyren

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This was Amy Nyren's first vocational. Amy Nyren first started talking about her childhood. She had parents who were in the AirForce. She was born in Las Vegas, Nevada, and lived in both Florida and Bitburg, Germany. Then she moved to Minnetonka, MN, and graduated from Hopkins High School. Amy attended the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire where she doubled majored in psychology and Spanish language and literature. She then attended Minnesota State University - Mankato where she received a Master of Public Administration. Amy talked about how she enjoys traveling and has been to Peru, and she also studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain. Currently, Amy is working on a Master of Science in Data Science at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire. 

Happy Fives:

  • PG was happy to give to happy fives. One for his daughter-in-law who was admitted into Bethel University doctorate program. His daughter is moving to Minnesota to be a psychologist at Eden Prairie High School. 
  • Jan Eian did a ten-dollar happy five to commemorate Gardiner, who led the ABC House, who recently died from COVID.
  • Dan O'Brien is happy to announce that his grandson turned 6 last month. His daughter Molly is the new director for early childhood education in Minnetonka. His son, Tom, just purchased a house in Minnetonka. Lastly, Dan announced that he was back in Minnesota and looks forward to seeing everyone. 
  • George Esbensen also did a ten-dollar happy five for the golf event at Bearpath. They have sold out and appreciates everyone's support. 
  • Dick Ward was happy to shout out Pei Ling Jamison for being helpful and giving himself and his wife Martha guidance. 
  • Blake is excited to announce that his daughters will be in Master's programs this year.
  • Tim Conners is happy to announce that he is 18 days past his second dose and is attending swallows.
  • Jenifer Loon is excited that she is two weeks past her second dose of the vaccine and attended
Notes from May 4, 2021 

Jennifer Gaines

Affective Sober Living by JCS - Human Trafficking Prevention Among Vulnerable Populations

Jennifer begin her talk to the club by reading one of her first speeches she wrote. Her speech told the story of her past, growing up being abused and sexuality assulted and trafficked by her father. She found herself addicted to drugs and alcohol. She has been to treatment 13 times and struggled the most keeping sober after her treatment. She also found it hard to be able to discuss her prostitution without judgment. These events empowered her to start her own sober homes. These homes are homes that people can live in as they transition out of treatment back into their lives. They lives with other women who have been through similar situations and are connected with resources  to help them with their transition. 
Jennifer opened her first Sober home in 2018 in Minneapolis. She is in partnership with NUWay and MASH who assist with helping give services and accreditation. In this home there are around 10 beds for the women. In September of 2019 Jennifer opened her 2nd home, in memory of her son who was killed in a car accident. This home can house 13 women. 
Jennifer ended her talk by thanking EP AM Rotary for giving her the space to talk today. She said the best way to make an impact is to donate directly to organization  that are helping women. She noted that while education is important, lots of organizations are underfunded  and need support. She also thanked her mentor an Edina Rotary member and other for helping her on her journey.


PG Narayanan was born in Kerala, India. His father was rice farmer and his mother never went to school. PG lived in India for his first 18 years before moving over to the US. He first attended community college, before going to Northeastern to get a degree in electrical engineering. He went back to Northeastern to receive a masters in electrical engineering as well.  He is founder and CEO of SmiForce, an IT analytics software company based in Eden Prairie. He and his family have lived in Eden Prairie since 1999. PG is also very well traveled clocking in over 1.5 million miles on Delta Airlines in past 5 years. PG ended by expressing his gratitude for living in the United States and Eden Prairie.  


  • Roger Jorgenson gave an update on TFR: the goal for our club is $27,000 and we are currently at $12,301. Email Roger with any questions on how to donate.
  • Thank you to all the members who where involved in the park cleanup! 
  • Aaron announced that the next Swallowship will be May 13th from 4:30-6:30, email Aaron to RSVP.
Notes from April 27, 2021

Serge-Alain Wandji, Co-Founder, President and CEO of DiaspoCare

Founding a Medical Organization to Provide Healthcare to Friends and Family in Africa

On Tuesday, April 27th, Serge-Alain Wandji spoke about DiaspoCare and its efforts to provide healthcare for friends and families in Africa.  Serge-Alain started off with a bit about himself.  He is originally from Cameroon and left for Canada to study at 18 years old.  He then came to the US as a postdoctoral scientist and conducted research at Cornell.  Serge-Alain has a background in biomedical sciences and technology management.  He has worked for Cargill and Children's Minnesota among others.  During his time working for Cargill, he spent time working on understanding how to leverage the strengths of Cargill to help the folks in Africa.  Serge-Alain then spoke about the African diaspora’s attempts in trying to support their families medical fees.  The African diaspora sent around $48 billion to families in Africa last year.  The majority of the money is sent back through Western Union and Moneygram; however, there is no accountability on how the money is spent.  Serge-Alain shared a bit about his family as an example.  His mother has a medical condition, but there are other family obligations and expenses that the money ends up going to.  Serge-Alain knows the funds will be going to other expenses and that his mother is not getting the medicine that she needs.  This is a similar situation for many families in Africa.  Serge-Alain then figured out that a direct payment to a pharmacist would insure that families receive their medicine, and families won't have to worry about spending their remittance on healthcare.  Serge-Alain then started his digital platform DiaspoCare to create a system that pays pharmacists directly.  DiaspoCare enables diaspora members to scale their help, and help as many people as possible, which is a big step in healthcare inclusion.   Additionally, with a monthly payment of around $100, he could fund many family members’ medicine.  DiaspoCare works by having the African diaspora enlist as many family members as they can.  When family members need medicine, they can then go to participating pharmacists, and the pharmacist will enter the prescription on DiaspoCare's system.  The diaspora will then receive a notification on their mobile devices that their family members’ prescription is ready to pick up at the nearest participating pharmacy.  The diaspora can then pay for the medicine on their mobile device.  The pharmacist will receive a notification that the payment is on the way, and the family member will receive an SNS message with a unique code to read to the pharmacist to receive the medicine.  Serge-Alain highlighted that DiaspoCare system is faster than Western Union and Moneygram.   Also, when money is sent through Western Union and Moneygram, most of the funds disappear on the way back home because a family member who goes to Western Union and Moneygram might spend some money on the way back.  DiaspoCare also strives to solve the UN identified problem of an annual 100 million people falling into poverty due to unaffordable healthcare.  DiaspoCare is also partners with the largest healthcare insurance company in Kenya, Jubilee Healthcare, to get more Africans insurance so their basic healthcare costs are covered.  Serge-Alain ended with asking the EPAM Rotarians to consider partnering with DiaspoCare.


  • The Fat Pants fundraiser is on August 15th.  Irene thanked the members who are volunteering to help out in the planning and executioning.  She is also asking for some additional members to work on the raffle, logistics, registration, and day of the event.  Fat Pants.

  • Aaron Orwick, Craig, and Dave are planning the next Swallowship on May 13th at Fat Pants.  Please RSVP to if you would like to stop by!

  • George Esbensen announced the MnFORE Golf event at Bearpath will be on May 24th.  Proceeds will go to the Minnesota Firefighter Initiative (MnFIRE) that supports firefighters who are facing cancer, cardiac, or emotional trauma.  It will provide relief to all firefighters, many who are volunteers.  Register here: 

  • Praf requested that all members complete the survey sent to their emails

Spotlight: Lyndon Moquist

Member pictureLyndon Moquist has been a manager and broker at Edina Realty for 20 years, and before that he was a realtor, selling for 12 years.  At age 30, he started his career in realty, and then met his wife a few months later.  Lyndon has two daughters; his older daughter is a registered dietician, and his youngest is graduating from St. Thomas.  Lyndon had high praise for his team at Edina Realty and loves working there.





Happy Fives

  • PG had two happy fives.  PG fundraised for the EP Community Foundation for his birthday a week ago, and was happy to have raised $2200.  PG was also happy to announce he has a new grandchild; his son recently had a baby boy!

  • Irene put in $10 and was happy to recognize Tim Conners for helping put up boards, the day after the shooting of Daunte Wright and hours before the curfew, for a business on Lake Street that Irene and Tim are mentoring.

  • Julane was happy to remember the words of his good friend who is passing away: “Surely, Goodness, and Mercy were his three girl friends, and Surely, Goodness, and Mercy followed him all the days of his life.”

  • Jennifer had two happy fives.  She was happy to get her second COVID vaccine.  Jennifer was also happy that her oldest daughter just got engaged!

Please support these 2021-2022 Rotary Sponsors
Their generous support helps sponsor all that our club does in our community and around the world! This includes the Above and Beyond Awards Dinner, the Golden Eagle Awards, the Ethics Lunch and STRIVE scholarships and much more. Interested in becoming a Rotary Sponsor? Click here
Gold Sponsors ($1500 - 2499)
Silver Sponsors:  ($1000 - 1499)
Bronze Sponsors: ($500 - 999)