Rotary Meeting: September 15, 2020


PRESIDENT KEVIN (Executive Director for Fairytale Town) noted that 45 years ago last week, on Monday, September 5th, 1974, former President Gerald R. Ford visited Sacramento. President Ford was a longtime Rotarian and stayed at the Senator Hotel, where Eddie Mulligan, our Club Secretary, would have been in his office that day. Sacramentan Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to shoot President Ford as he walked to the Capitol. Thankfully, she could not work the gun correctly and Ford was unharmed. However, just 17 days later President Ford returned to California, to San Francisco, where Sara Jane Moore attempted the same feat and also failed. President Ford in 1976 did win California, but lost the election to Jimmy Carter who later was awarded the Rotary International Award for World Understanding.


KERRY WOOD (Sergeant in Arms) (Chief Marketing & Donor Engagement Officer for Sacramento Region Community Foundation) requested for any guests to speak up. We all welcome JIM HENDERSON, guest of DAN MCVEIGH (Downey Brand LLP) who is currently looking to join DAN’S firm. Best of luck to you, JIM!


GIULIANO KORNBERG (Development Manager for Sacramento Philharmonic & Opera) shared a poem named Only a Dad By Edgar Albert Gust which revolves around thoughts of GIULIANO’S dad. His dad has had some recent health issues that GIULIANO is currently assisting him with. Your dad is in all our thoughts and prayers.


Only a dad with a tired face,

Coming home from the daily race,

Bringing little of gold or fame

To show how well he has played the game;

But glad in his heart that his own rejoice

To see him come and to hear his voice.


Only a dad with a brood of four,

One of ten million men or more

Plodding along in the daily strife,

Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,

With never a whimper of pain or hate,

For the sake of those who at home await.


Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,

Merely one of the surging crowd

Toiling, striving from day to day,

Facing whatever may come his way,

Silent whenever the harsh condemn,

And bearing it all for the love of them.


Only a dad but he gives his all

To smooth the way for his children small,

Doing with courage stern and grim,

The deeds that his father did for him.

This is the line that for him I pen:

Only a dad, but the best of men.


PRESIDENT KEVIN reminded us that the International Day of Peace, a Rotary staple, is September 21st. We encourage everyone to perform random acts of kindness, not just on Peace Day, but every day! Stay tuned to next week when for a further discussion on the International Day of Peace.


CLICK HERE to view an inspiring video about the International Day of Peace!


PRESIDENT KEVIN was sporting his Sac Century Challenge jersey to the envy of us all. This is a great reminder that you too can sport the same jersey by signing up for the Sac Century Challenge. We have already raised $255,000, but the families and especially the children of those families at the Sacramento Children’s Home Crisis Nursery still need our help! Your donations or time are greatly appreciated and supporting an amazing cause. Let’s get active! SUSAN SHERIDAN gave a special shoutout to TOM BACON (Senior Vice President for Bacon Commercial Real Estate), LINDA GEERY (Shareholder for Gilbert CPAs), RUTH TESAR (CEO for Northern California PET Imaging Center), and JUDITH KJELSTROM (Director Emerita of the Biotech Program for UC Davis) who have all raised over $1,000 in donations. Way to go, Rotarians! By participating in the Sac Century Challenge, you will receive amazing swag including: a neck gaiter, string backpack, participation medal, and vendor cards which you can use at many clothing boutiques, coffee vendors, frozen yogurt establishments and more! SARAH HODGE (Director of Development for California State University, Sacramento) reminded us to sign up for the Strava app to track our miles. You can also join Rotary’s Sac Century Challenge club on the app. If you have any questions regarding Strava, please contact SARAH HODGE.


CLICK HERE to register for the Sac Century Challenge


JOHN SWENTOWSKY (Owner of Swentowsky Photography) led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Our meeting sponsor for the day, STEVE HYMAS (Partner of Downey Brand LLP) relinquished his speaking time so CHELSEA MINOR, Corporate Director of Public Affairs for Raley’s, could speak a bit about Raley’s charitable acts. Raley’s is an 85-year-old, Sacramento based company with a 3rd generation of family ownership. Raley’s has been able to open three (3) new locations during the pandemic as their desire to serve still burns brightly. Food for Families, a non-profit stared in 1986 by Joyce Raley, has every donation go directly to the food banks. You may recognize the name as it pops up to ask if you would like to donate during checkout at all stores. The food banks also work with Raley’s in order to not only receive food at cost but receive the food and items they are actually in need of. Raley’s has been inspired by our efforts with the Sac Century Challenge and pledged to contribute $10,000 to help and support the cause in hopes that is will encourage others to participate and join. Thank you for your amazing contribution, Raley’s!


DAVE BRANDENBERGER (Chair for the Day) (Managing Director of Newmark Knight Frank) introduced KEITH KNOPF, our guest speaker, and CEO of Raley’s. MR. KNOPF joined Raley’s in 2017 and was named Chair Executive Officer in 2018 and also recognized as a Fortune 500 leader. The story of how Raley’s has not only survived but thrived during the pandemic is an inspiring story to us all.


  1. KNOPF has been with Raley’s for 5 years and in the retail universe for over 31 years. The highlight of his career is his current position as CEO at Raley’s. Raley’s has an amazing team of dedicated employees that are 13,000 strong. MR. KNOPF couldn’t be prouder of how everyone has stepped up during this time as Raley’s is considered an essential business. The hourly team members who come to work each day and are still navigating everything during this time are truly an inspiration. Raley’s has come a long way since the spread of COVID and MR. KNOPF is proud of the practices they have instilled to keep standards high and the improvements they are still working on.


Raley’s was quick to act during COVID, by putting provision in place as the first person who was afflicted with COVID in Sacramento, was treated by the wife of a member of the Raley’s team. Raley’s quickly started to realize what they need to learn and what they need to do. This past February, they put sanitation stands in place and began ordering plexiglass shields. Asking customers to wear masks was a known challenge as they were still waiting on guidance from the CDC. Luckily, it grew to become common knowledge to wear a mask, but Raley’s still faces this challenge as they cannot and do not want to enforce customers to wear masks.


As the challenge of asking customers to wear masks started to fade, the inventory demand grew. As everyone was driven by the unknown, especially at the beginning stages of quarantine, many were driven by a fear that the grocery stores would close. MR. KNOPF was particularly curious as to why people purchase what they do during a pandemic. He saw the demand shift from paper products to products that have a longer shelf life such as soup and frozen packaged seafood. Manufacturers also faced challenges as need for inventory shifted from restaurants and other similar channels to mostly grocery stores. Manufacturers have struggled to not only produce the content, but they also lack the plastic to package the content in order to send it out. MR. KNOPF thinks most consumers have a mindset that the world is built on notion of just in time and that there are warehouses full of items waiting to be shipped out when it is actually the opposite. The distribution model for grocery stores is based on what models they had a year back. For example, if Proctor and Gamble are producing the product, they will also allocate how much a retailer can buy from them based on their previous year purchases. They can also only produce so much product and then have to allocate what goes to who. The reason why so many items are missing from a store is because the previous year they did not have the demand that they have now and are therefore also not getting the amount of product they need since the manufacturers are basing their need on the previous year’s need. MR. KNOPF believes this is an issue that the manufacturers will need to deal with in case there is ever a similar pandemic again.


Nothing is more important to Raley’s than team safety. While Raley’s has stopped short of forcing customers to wear masks, they do choose to remind and encourage all customers to wear a mask. There are many team members that are not trained to deal with an issue that could arise if they were asked to force customers to wear a mask. Not only are they not trained, but to request the employees to take this task would also be a tremendous amount of pressure put upon them. Raley’s appreciates their employees and although they did not want these to be incentives for employees to work, they did still want to offer paid out appreciation awards. Raley’s has had hundred leaves of absence that were all supported and paid for. On top of that, there are 500 employees who are not afflicted by COVID but have chosen to stay home due to unique circumstances. Raley’s has also paid out nearly $15 million in cash bonuses to team members, an amount that is third fold their profitability. While MR. KNOPF wishes that Raley’s affliction number were zero, he believes Raley’s has done all they can to minimize exposure to team members and customers alike.


CLICK HERE to watch KEITH KNOPF’S entire speech including the Q&A


PRESIDENT KEVIN thanked KEITH KNOPF for taking time to speak with us and letting us get an inside peek at how Raley’s has been flourishing during this time. We also thank CHELSEA MINOR for updating us on how Food for Families functions and, of course, a huge thank you to Raley’s in general for their momentous donation to the Sac Century Challenge and overall, the Sacramento Children’s Home Crisis Nursery. In honor of MR. KNOPF’S speech, 100 children in vulnerable communities will receive a Polio vaccine. Rotary is dedicated to eliminating Polio worldwide!


VIRGINIA WADE shared that her son, BJ, has been attending medical school in San Diego and is not a resident doctor at the San Diego Medical Hospital. On top of that, VIRGINIA’S daughter-in-law is now starting as an actual physician at another hospital in San Diego. Congratulations to both of them and we wish you luck on your career journey! In honor of her son and daughter-in-law, VIRGINIA has donated $200. Thank you, VIRGINIA!


SARAH HODGE announced that, unfortunately, all Brown Bag events are shifting towards becoming virtual. The Brown Bag event on September 29th will still be occurring, it will just be on Zoom instead. Virtual does not mean it will not lack excitement and fun though! Please sign up for future Brown Bag events as you will regret missing out.


CLICK HERE to sign up and receive e-mails regarding Brown Bag


The Annual Rotary Laguna Sunrise Clothing Drive has begun! We need light jackets, new socks and underwear (of all sizes), mechanical pencils, screen wipes and earbuds. The Clothing Drive began on September 7th and is ongoing until October 9th, so grab your donation gear and let’s help all we can.


CLICK HERE to view the flyer including the drop-off locations


Tune into the same time, same place next week as our guest speaker will be our District Governor BRENT HASTEY. BRENT will be discussing the 3 F’s; Family, Friends and Foundation. Mark your calendars as you will not want to miss this timely and informative speech with our fellow Rotarian on September 22nd.