Keynote Speakers - District Conference 2022
Rotary International Representative
Michael was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. He graduated from New Jersey City University in 1967 earning a B.A.in History and Political Science. As a Secondary School Teacher for nearly seven years, he taught American History, Economics and International Studies. Upon his departure from the teaching profession in 1973, Michael became a self-employed businessman. Now in their 49th year of business, he, his wife and two of their three sons own and operate Mulberry Street Partnership and Italian Specialty Food Center in Brick, NJ
Michael has been a member of the Brick Rotary Club for thirty-eight years and served as its President in 1993-1994. Four years later, he became District Governor in 1997-1998 and following his tenure as District Governor, he held several district wide positions including District Trainer, District Foundation Chair, vice chair of the NJ Rotary Leadership Institute, District Representative to three Councils on Legislation, District Membership Committee chair and for the past four years Michael has served as the Treasurer of District 7505.
Internationally, he served in various leadership positions such as RI Membership Coordinator, TRF Strategic Advisor, RI Poverty Alleviation Task Force Coordinator, Family of Rotary Coordinator and was selected as the General Chair of the Rotary Institute in Cambridge, Md. Michael has been assigned as the personal representative of several RI Presidents to various District Conferences throughout the Rotary world. He is a multiple Paul Harris Fellow, a Level II Major Donor, Benefactor of the Permanent Fund, Charter Member of the Bequest Society and a proud recipient of the Meritorious Service Award.
In 2006, he was selected as the RI Director from Zones 31-32 for the 2008-2010 term and on 1 July, 2008 Michael was selected to serve as liaison director to the RI Finance Committee, the RI Rotary Action Groups Committee and the Administration Committee. On July 1, 2009 President John Kenny asked Michael to serve as RI Treasurer for the 2009-2010 Rotary year. As a Past RI Treasurer, Michael was appointed to serve a three-year term (2012-2015) on the RI Finance Committee and became its Chair in his third year. He also served on the RI Convention Committee for Sao Paulo Brazil followed by subsequent service on the Convention Promotions committees for Seoul, Korea, Atlanta, GA and the Toronto Convention Promotions Committee as the liaison for the countries of the USA and Canada. During the same period of time, he served a six-year term (2015-2021) on the RI Audit Committee. He was Chair of this committee for four of those six years. Presently, he serves as Treasurer of WASH Rotarian Action Group as well as Treasurer of District 7505. Currently, RI President Nominee Gordon McInally and Heather have asked Mike and Ann to serve as their aides for the three-year period ending on 30 June 2024.
Chinemelu Okafor is a researcher, and scholar originating from Umuoji, Anambra State, Nigeria. Raised in Lansing, Michigan and a graduate of Waverly High School, Chinemule was a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participant and Interact member. Currently, she is a doctoral student, Graduate Prize Fellow, and Karl Deutsch Fellow at Harvard University, where her research and advocacy aim to confront pressing social, political, and economic policy issues through a normative lens. Chinemelu concurrently works as the Founder and President of the Research in Color Foundation, a 501c(3) non-profit organization which seeks to increase the number of historically excluded scholars in economics and economics-adjacent fields through mentorship and financial support. In the past, she has worked with institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations, Reuters, and the Royal African Society, among others. Chinemelu holds a Bachelor’s in Economics and International Studies from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Applied Economics from the George Washington University.