District 7070 hosted a world-wide celebration which brought together female leaders both in industry and Rotary who shared bold ideas, history and women in Rotary and business. These trailblazers really did invoke our Rotary spirit and inspire us all with the work they have done over the years!

Thank yu to Johanna deBoer and Jan Hoselton for organizing the March 8 celebration of Women in Rotary on International Women's Day 2021. Over 80 Rotarians and guests from all over the country and beyond attended over Zoom. There was a quick meet and greet before we started the presentations, and we were led in toast by our District Governor Mark Chipman. 

For more details, please Read more.....

The Speakers: 

Dr. Sylvia Whitlock

While she is perhaps best known for being the first woman ever to become president of a Rotary club, she did a lot more besides. She actually served as club president twice at her Rotary Club of Duarte and at various times served as club secretary, treasurer and Foundation Representative. At district level, she chaired the Ambassadorial Scholarship Committee for six years, has been assistant governor, presenter at Institutes and a speaker at Rotary Clubs, Conventions and meeting in the US as well as overseas. Sylvia is a recipient of many awards including the Rotary Foundation District Service Award. She has supported an orphanage in Mexico, sunk wells in Nigeria and raised nearly $90,000 to educate girls in India. She is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow and benefactor. A world traveller, Dr. Whitlock talked about how thrilled she was to have met the Queen in Nigeria, Jamaica and Calcutta. At the urging of many supporters, she eventually wrote a book describing the history of Rotary admitting women to its membership.

Syliva’s career spanned with over 40 years as an educator and then a second career as a family therapist.


Valarie Wafer - RI Director

Valarie K. Wafer had a 27-year career as a Tim Hortons restaurant owner, one of Canada's iconic restaurant brands, where her restaurant operations were widely recognized for their inclusive hiring practices, particularly the employment of people with disabilities. Valarie joined Rotary in 2005. She has served as an RI training, 2018 Toronto Convention Host Organization Committee member, assistant regional Rotary

Foundation coordinator, and RI president's representative. She has led a vocational training team focused on youth suicide and depression, audited Rotary Foundation grant projects in Tanzania and Kenya, and volunteered during a 2012 National Immunization Day in India.


Sherry Colbourne

Sherry Colbourne is a Canadian entrepreneur with decades of experience in Ontario’s high-tech sector. Her career has taken her to the far corners of the world in pursuit of building strategic business relationships for the companies she has served. As CEO, Sherry guides the direction and growth of Spark Centre and advocates for an international approach to the development of Durham Region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Sherry is a strong believer that entrepreneurism brings diverse cultures and people together and that the opportunity for Durham Region lies in its roots as an innovative and diverse region.