Speaker Date Topic
Sally E. Lapides, CEO of Residential Properties Aug 17, 2020
Real estate market in RI and specially in Providence during Covid-19
Real estate market in RI and specially in Providence during Covid-19

Sally Lapides is President and Chief Executive Officer of Residential Properties Ltd., Rhode Island's premier residential real estate firm which she co-founded in 1981. Sally provides energetic leadership and vision for the company, overseeing operations that encompass five offices, a relocation division, a commercial real estate division, approximately 210 agents, and a large support staff. An early pioneer in the use of the Internet, the company has always strived to be a leader in technology while increasing the success of the buying and selling process. RPL was a founding member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, the country's largest network of leading independent residential real estate firms.

A nationally recognized expert in the local market, Sally is frequently quoted as a real estate specialist by such leading news organizations as The Providence Journal, Providence Business News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NBC10 TV, WPRI TV, WRNI radio, and 920 AM radio. She has been recognized as a leading woman in business by Providence Business News and Rhode Island Monthly magazine.

Sally has served as the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and has been a Trustee on the boards of Roger Williams University, Smith Hill Center, Trinity Repertory Company, and Providence Country Day School. She was the former Chair of the Board at The Gordon School, the Newport International Film Festival, GAIA (Global Alliance to Immunize Against Aids) and The Rhode Island Foundation's Equity Action Campaign Committee which raised $1 million for the Fund for the LGBT community.

She grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island and is a graduate of Boston University with a B.A. in Art History. She is married to Arthur Solomon and has two sons, Emmett Barnacle and Ian Barnacle who manages the company's Barrington Office.

Curt Columbus of Trinity Repertory Company Aug 24, 2020
The impact of Covid-19 on Trinity Rep and the RI performing arts
The impact of Covid-19 on Trinity Rep and the RI performing arts

Curt Columbus (The Arthur P. Soloman and Sally E. Lapides Artistic Director, Trinity Repertory Company, Directing/Dramaturgy) became Trinity Rep’s fifth artistic director in January 2006 after a 20-year career in Chicago Theater. His directing credits for Trinity Rep include Sweeney Todd, Macbeth, Ragtime, Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage, Middletown, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Merchant of Venice, His Girl Friday, Camelot, Cabaret, Blithe Spirit, A Christmas Carol, Cherry Orchard and the world premieres of The Completely Fictional—Utterly True—Final Strange Tale of Edgar Allen Poeand Social Creatures. Trinity has produced the world premieres of three of his plays, Paris by Night, The Dreams of Antigone, and Sparrow Grass, as well as his translations of Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard and Ivanov, Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear and Lope de Vega’s Fuente Ovejuna. Curt’s adaptation of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment (with Marilyn Campbell) has won awards and accolades at theaters around the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. His play, Sparrow Grass, is published by Dramatists Play Service, as are his translations of Fuente Ovejuna and Chekhov’s major plays: Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters (developed at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia) Cherry Orchard, and Ivanov. Curt lives in Providence, Rhode Island with his husband, Nate Watson.  

Kelly Perry, Director of Horticulture@Swan Point Aug 31, 2020
Kelly will talk sbout horiculture at Swan Point for Our First in-person Rotary meeting!
Kelly will talk sbout horiculture at Swan Point for Our First in-person Rotary meeting!

Kelly M. Perry holds the position of Director of Horticulture, Greenhouse Operations and Educational Outreach at
Swan Point Cemetery, a 200-acre, active, nonsectarian garden cemetery located at 595 Blackstone Boulevard in
Providence, Rhode Island. In this capacity, she is responsible for: producing the greenhouse’s annual ornamental
plant material; implementing the seasonal decoration programs; caring for the arboretum and ornamental gardens;
developing landscape projects; leading grounds and garden tours, workshops and lectures; and coordinating floral
and plant decorations for Swan Point’s chapels and reception facilities.
Prior to her promotion, Perry served as Horticulturist and Greenhouse Manager for the cemetery. Previously,
she held the positions of Sales and Customer Service Representative at Sylvan Nursery, Inc., Westport,
Massachusetts and Assistant Manager with Bald Hill Garden Center and Florist, North Kingstown, Rhode
A popular lecturer in the area, Perry is a Certified Horticulturist by the states of Rhode Island and
Massachusetts. She serves as a Board Member for the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association -
Massachusetts Certified Horticulturists and as 2nd Vice President of the New England Cemetery Association.
Honored with the Massachusetts Young Nursery Professional of the Year award by the New England Nursery
Association, Perry earned her bachelor’s degree in Plant Science – Ornamental Horticulture from the University
of Rhode Island in Kingston. Perry resides in Somerset, Massachusetts.

Brent Runyon, Providence Preservation Society Sep 14, 2020
Brent will speak about PPS's most recent work in programs for restoration and advocacy
Brent will speak about PPS's most recent work in programs for restoration and advocacy

Brent will be speaking about PPS's most recent work, establishing a program to train people in wood window restoration and advocating fo the reuse of Providence's largest empty buildings (Superman, Cranston Street Armory).

Brent came to PPS in October, 2013. Prior to that, he was the executive director of Thomasville Landmarks (Thomasville, Georgia) for eight years. He received his master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of Georgia. While at UGA, he focused on community planning and affordable housing issues and worked on several community-based design charrettes.  His focus is on community planning, place identity, and affordable housing issues. He is actively serving on the boards of the Providence Revolving Fund, the Providence Public Library, Trinity Gateway Historic Improvement Association, and HousingWorks RI. He was named a Providence Community Library “Champion of the Year” in 2017.

Sarah Matthews Sep 21, 2020

Sarah Matthews

Staff Attorney
Sarah Matthews

Sarah Matthews is a staff attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, where she focuses on providing intake support to First Look Media's Press Freedom Defense Fund. Sarah litigates cases, drafts amicus briefs, provides pre-publication assistance to journalists, and oversees the publication of and updates to the Reporters Committee's legal guides. She also helps supervise the Reporters Committee's hotline for journalists, and serves on the advisory committees of the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker and the Red Press Initiative. In addition, Sarah teaches media law at American University's School of Communication.

Before joining the Reporters Committee, Sarah was associate principal counsel at The Walt Disney Company. Prior to that, she was a litigation associate at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, where she focused on First Amendment, media law, and entertainment cases and represented the Reporters Committee on a pro bono basis. Before joining Gibson Dunn, Sarah clerked for the Honorable Renée Marie Bumb on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Sarah earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law, where she was an editor and contributing writer for the Journal of Law & Liberty. During law school, Sarah clerked at media law firms Davis Wright Tremaine, LLP and Levine Sullivan Koch and Schulz, LLP, as well as at Human Rights Watch. Prior to law school, she interned as a reporter at Newsweek and served as communications director for a national education nonprofit. Sarah earned her bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Vanessa Lillie Sep 28, 2020
Living and writing in Providence!
Living and writing in Providence!
Vanessa Lillie is originally from Miami, Oklahoma, where she spent a lot of time investigating local ghost stories at the public library. After college, she worked in Washington, DC, until moving to Providence, Rhode Island, which she calls home with her husband and dinosaur-aficionado son. ... Vanessa recently wrote a gripping thriller called Little Voices set in Providence. She is releasing another Providence set thriller called For the Best which will be released on September 8, 2020.
Dr. James McDonald of The RI Department of Health Oct 05, 2020
He will discuss the impact of covid-19 has on social business organizations like Rotary

Dr. James McDonald has been a representative of the RI Department of Health at Governor Raimondo's Covid-19 Press Conferences. 

Dr. McDonald has served at the Rhode Island Department of Health since 2012 as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline and the Center for Customer Services Medical Director. He is also a member of the Governor’s task force on preventing Overdose deaths and leads the Prevention Strategy work group. Dr. McDonald is also the medical director of the overdose prevention program as well as medical director for the Center for Health Systems and Policy at RIDOH. Dr. McDonald earned his MD from Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, his pediatric residency in the US Navy, and his preventive medicine residency from the State University of New York. He earned is MPH from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Dr. McDonald is board certified in pediatrics and preventive medicine. His diverse career includes officership in the US Navy, as well as private practice in rural areas and in the Navajo Nation. Dr. McDonald lives in North Kingstown with his wife and three children.

Vincent Buonanno Oct 19, 2020
Mile of History Association
Mile of History Association


The Mile of History Association (MoHA) is a private, non-profit 501(3)(c) organization working with the Providence Preservation Society and the City of Providence to revitalize area infrastructure; ensure that properties in the area are in compliance with zoning and housing standards and Historic District Commission guidelines; and preserve and promote the historic character of the area for both residents and visitors


Known as the “Mile of History,” the Benefit Street area is home to one of the most extensive collections of 18th and 19th century architecture in the country. It is a vibrant and dense mix of civic, educational, cultural, and religious institutions interspersed with historically significant single- and multi-family residences.



R. W. Alley and Zoe Alley, Illustrator and Author Oct 26, 2020

R. W. Alley -- R. W. Alley has illustrated more than one hundred books for children, including Enzo Races in the Rain! and the popular Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond. In 2010, he received a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award for Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day by Kate McMullan. He is also the illustrator of two large comic panel-formatted books: There’s a Wolf at the Door, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year, and There’s a Princess in the Palace, written by his wife, the talented Zoë B. Alley. You can visit him online at www.rwalley.com.

Zoë Alley -- As the very proud wife of illustrator R. W. Alley (check out his website, too!), and the mother of two wonderful adult "children", I am similarly thrilled! School-wise, I received my B.A. from the University of New Hampshire, and my Ed.M. from Boston University. You don't need to know the years! We live in Barrington, Rhode Island; a beautiful state with lots of ocean air that makes my hair curly!