Posted by Jill Weeks on Mar 31, 2023

Looking for a speaker for your club?  Speakers recently added to Speaker Bank include Mal Padgett, who speaks on Rotary’s history of raising bowel cancer awareness; and George Petrou OAM, a graphic designer who supports the welfare of ex-service personnel.  

Several other speakers have impressed and received favourable reviews! 

Thank you to Rotarians who have sent in suggestions for Speaker Bank. If you have an interesting speaker at your club that you would recommend to other clubs, please contact Speaker Bank Chair, Jill Weeks (Hawthorn) via the Speakers Bank page: (Available only to members logged on to the District website) 

Mal Padgett is a Melbourne-based digital content producer who is a Rotarian with a Brisbane-based club. He was co-opted onto the Queensland Rotary Bowelscan Committee in 2017 because of his design and media production background; and because in 2001 his brother died from bowel cancer at the age of 47.  This is the prime motivator for Mal’s campaigning. In addition, he, his family, and friends have raised over $115,000 since 2012 for the Peter Mac Foundation for cancer research participating in Peter Mac's annual bicycle ride. 

In 2024, he is helping to organise a world record attempt for the Most Number of People In their Underpants in Brisbane as part of the Queensland Rotary Bowelscan campaign. In May 2023 he plans to ride his bicycle 800km through Victorian bowel cancer hotspots where two of the highest in the country exist. In his spare time, Mal likes to study the online Australian Cancer Atlas. 

Mal’s topics are: Rotary’s Proud History of Raising Bowel Cancer Awareness, and Who Are the Invisible 12 and the Silent 58s? 

George Petrou OAM 

Renowned Melbourne artist George Petrou is a successful graphic designer and acclaimed portrait artist. George assists in supporting the interests and welfare of ex-servicemen and women, their families, and dependents.  In June 2020 George was awarded an OAM for 'Services to the Visual Arts and to Veterans', and in the same year he released The Art of Sacrifice – a haunting and poignant exploration of a spirit like no other: the Anzac Spirit. 

George’s portraits proudly hang in museums in France, Government House Canberra, and a range of military institutions across Australia. He was described as 'one of the most inspirational speakers to present at Wyndham Rotary'. 

George accepted the invitation to be a part of the Rotary District 9800 Speaker Bank and wrote: 

'I am extremely passionate about the sacrifices made by our wonderful Australian men and women, especially our women who have been ignored for the last 100 years.  All profits from the sale of [my] book are donated to veteran charities. I currently hold the position of Patron for TPI'. 

*Please Note: George is unavailable to speak: from April to 17 May 21, 2023. 

Other Speakers have impressed:

Past District Governor Murray Verso's presentation on 'Rotary’s Priority - The Eradication of Poliomyelitis is always well received. Rotary Bendigo wrote: 'Murray gave us a truly interesting talk on Polio and Rotary’s involvement in eradicating this disease. I am yet to have any of the guests state that they were not impressed with the data and facts around polio that he provided'.  Peter Reading, President Rotary Club of Bendigo 

Martin Coleman: Let’s End Ageism 

In his words: 'We are all getting older and living longer. Ageism is a global human rights issue that sabotages our future selves. My presentation is about explaining what ageism is, how it affects us, the importance of intergenerational, diverse teams and how their creation can make a more robust business and ultimately a stronger economy. I also explain how ending ageism and ageist behaviour will make a happier and healthier community to be a part for all Australians’.  

Martin has founded a not-for-profit organisation called Your Age Advantage

Danyel Cucinotta, Vice President Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) 

Recently, Danyel spoke, via Zoom, to Rotary Hawthorn. Her presentation was very interesting, and was described as 'energetic and forthright'.  Danyel was elected as VFF Vice-President in late 2020 and holds both an Agriculture Diploma and Bachelor of Business. The VFF is the leading advocacy body in Victoria providing a voice for farmers and their communities. Danyel is working towards progressing Victoria’s farming future by leading a number of VFF farmer-led community support and awareness programs. Initiatives include the recently launched ‘Farmy Army’ that aims to coordinate relief and resources in times of crisis and the school-children based ‘Kids to Ag’ are key areas of her passion. VFF:  

Minay Lodhiya: Health In Kind  

Health In Kind is a not-for-profit organisation based in Australia that provides holistic healthcare support to communities in need. Our purpose is to bridge the potential gaps between local health providers and individuals. Qualified and registered medical, dental and allied health professionals volunteer their time to provide health and dental screenings and medical advice. These services are provided in a friendly and comfortable environment'.