Tonight we were fortunate to listen to a guest speaker who has Rotary and what it represents in her veins. 
Johanna is the third generation of her family to be associated with Rotary, her grandfather and father also being Rotarians. Johanna grew up in the small rural community of Warracknabeal in a house that seemed to have a constant flow of exchange students coming and going. It was when at the airport farewelling a student from South Africa aged 4 that she found a Koala pin that had been dropped and decided then she would also like to be an exchange student with a jacket laden with badges, (and that badge is still on her jacket to this day).
At age 15 Johanna was selected to go to Denmark on Rotary Exchange. From having grown up in an exchange friendly household she knew that language and the word “YES” to any opportunity from a Rotarian was the key, which led to Johanna having a very successful exchange. It also taught her how to be resilient and self reliant.
 On returning to Warracknabeal, Johanna was asked to speak to many organisations, and took a job in a bakery where she received a courtesy award from the Rotary Club, a Lions Club “Citizen of The Year” and was awarded “Junior Rural Ambassador for Victoria” confirming that in Warracknabeal’s sporting oriented township, you could achieve results and opportunities outside of sport.
Finishing school, she then went to Federation University in Ballarat to do a Rural Social Welfare Degree majoring in Psychology.  She also began voluntary work for Lifeline and was asked by a Rotarian if she would like to attend RYLA. Saying YES again she attended, and three years later was invited to be on the Leadership Team, which later resulted in Johanna becoming Co-Facilitator of District 9780’s RYLA Program. This also led to Johanna being selected as an Australian RYLA representative at the RYLA World Conference in Montreal, Canada.
An added bonus while there was that Johanna was selected to be chaperone for  Rotary’s  World President John Kenny (pictured right) for the duration of the International RYLA Conference.
Another pivotal moment in Johanna's trip to Canada and her life was meeting Carl, her inspirational Taxi driver confirming Johanna’s belief that the happiest times of her life, were the ones that had a Rotary Wheel attached to them.
The experience of coming into contact with Carl and the numerous opportunities and challenges that Rotary had presented, convinced Johanna to once again accept the challenge of starting her own business, which has now taken her around the globe. Johanna’s message was, say YES when asked to try something by a Rotarian. Having doubts and being nervous is okay and normal, BUT, make that the reason for accepting a challenge not putting it off as we are more likely to succeed in these circumstances.
Johanna with (Left) Sameeha and (Right) Marat from Werribee Sec. College. 
Johanna left us all with two very important messages, one was,  .............................. 
“Whatever Rotary, Individual Clubs and Rotarians choose to focus on, grows, and every time Rotary has focused on me, I have grown”
Finally, a message that Johanna reminded the Editor about (as have several Rotarians since), …………………………….
“Dad told me while I was growing up, that my mouth was my biggest enemy. 
Well sorry Dad, but it’s my mouth that now pays all my bills” !!