Thursday Foundation Dinner Speaker

Big West Rotary Foundation Coordinator Ken Howell

Rotary’s Future is Built on a Strong Foundation: A strong Foundation, fully supported by Rotarians, is vital to advancing Rotary’s mission of service to the world.  Ken will help us imagine how to use The Rotary Foundation to ‘Serve to Change Lives.’


Ken is a fourth-generation farm raised Idahoan, a practicing attorney in banking, real estate, and finance law. He is active on many civic boards, a member of the downtown Boise Rotary Club, and has held many Rotary leadership positions including District Governor, and many Big West Zone leadership positions, especially as related to The Rotary Foundation. Ken is a woodworker, PADI Divemaster, amateur electronics technician and inveterate tinkerer.

Friday breakfast Conference Kick-Off

Rotary International Big West Zone Director Vicki Puliz

Connecting Today’s & Tomorrow’s Leaders thru Rotary: Don’t miss our Kick-Off Speaker as she addresses the importance of multi-generational diversity – learning from each other regardless of age – in the world’s largest non-political non-denominational service organization.

Vicki currently serves as a Rotary International Director for 2021-2023, one of 17 directors around the world.  A proud member of the Rotary Club of Sparks, Nevada, Vicki served as Governor for District 5190 in 2013-2014, and as a Rotary Public Image Coordinator 2016-2019. Vicki graduated from the University of Utah with a Marketing degree and Master of Business Administration. She owned a commercial electrical contracting firm in northern Nevada.

Friday lunch speaker

Utah State University Professor Rob Davies

Defining Wicked in the Age of Humans: We live on a planet perplexed with ecological and social crises. We possess the resources and technological knowledge to navigate the issues but struggle to take meaningful action.  There is a framework to understand and respond holistically, with leadership and courage.

Dr. Davies is a physicist whose work focuses on global change, human vibrancy, and the science of systems. He has served as a scientific liaison for NASA, a project scientist with Utah State University’s Space Dynamics Laboratory, an officer & meteorologist in the United States Air Force.  He is a past Associate of the Utah Climate Center. He holds a joint appointment in the Dept of Physics, USU’s Ecology Center, and the Caine College of the Arts.

Friday dinner Keynote

Retired Chief Justice Christine Durham

Making a Difference: Reflections on leaders as change agents and the role of “follower-ship” in the process.

Christine Durham retired from the Utah Supreme Court in 2017, after serving as a Justice for 35 years and as Chief Justice and Chair of the Utah Judicial Council for 10 of those years. She currently co-chairs the Utah State Bar Access to Justice Commission. She is past-president of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States, past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, the entity that accredits American law schools. She is past president of the National Association of Women Judges. Read more here.

Saturday breakfast speaker

Director of Migration & Refugee Services Aden Batar

Creating hope when home was lost: the Utah Refugee Resettlement Program: Catholic Community Services is a frontline organization for refugee resettlement, assisting hundreds of refugees each year settle in Utah. Afghan refugees are most recently arriving, and a partnership with Salt Lake Rotary – supported by 30 Utah Rotary clubs – has provided tremendous support for the complex effort of empowering clients to reach self-sufficiency.

Aden Batar is a former refugee from Somalia, resettled through CCS in 1994. He has worked in refugee services for more than 30 years. He serves on the Utah State Refugee Board of Advisors, is the President of the Utah Islamic Society, founder of Somali Community Services of Utah, holds a Law Degree from Somali National University and Master of Public Administration from University of Utah. He is an Immigration attorney by training.

Saturday lunch speaker

Girls Rule Executive Director Dena Patton

Girls Change the World: Leadership principles that help girls thrive. In our dynamic and changing world, girls and young women must gain the skills to give them a seat at the table in leadership settings – for the benefit of all of us.

Dena is the co-founder and CEO of Girls Rule Foundation, based in Arizona, a 501c3 offering powerful programs to teach girls self-esteem, leadership, and financial literacy skills.  She was a panelist with RI President Shekar Mehta at the November 2021 Tucson Big West Rotary Institute.  Since 2001 Dena has been training and coaching leaders, executives and business owners on purpose, profits, and leadership. Her passion and philanthropy are focused on empowering girls in the world.