Julie Paige Pittman was called to be an educator and community builder. She is a proud graduate of Johnston County Public Schools, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Speech Communications, as well as a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before becoming a NC Public School Teacher, she held teaching positions at UNC-CH, Rutgers University, and in 2003, and joined Rutherford County Schools as a high school English teacher at R-S Central High School, and has been an educator for 16 years, and was named the 2018 Burroughs Wellcome Fund NC Western Region Teacher of the Year. Her mission as an educator has been to motivate students to find their own voices and roles as citizens of this world, as well as inspiring fellow teachers to grow their skills by expanding their classrooms into the global community.
Featured in January 2017’s Rotarian Magazine, New York Times best-selling author Andra Watkins chose a crazy way to launch her debut novel. She's one of the only living persons to walk the 444-mile Natchez Trace as the pioneers did, and she did it with an unconventional wing-man, her 80-year-old father. Her life-changing adventure inspired her NYT best-selling memoir Not Without My Father, which chronicles their experience. Andra is also the author of four other successful books, and is an active and celebrated Rotarian, having served in a number of leadership positions at Eastern South Carolina area clubs. When she's not traveling across the world speaking and writing, Andra lives in Charleston, South Carolina with her husband Michael.
Nancy Barbee is a member of the Rotary Club of Maysville, NC and served as District Governor of NC District 7730 in 2009-10. She was instrumental in gaining partnerships from two Districts in India to provide $80,000 to feed hungry children in NC District 7730. She has also helped clubs in many districts partner with host clubs in countries around the world. Nancy has served as RI President’s Representative both domestically and internationally. She has spoken in many district events throughout the United States and has been a guest speaker at the Polio Summit, Literacy, Foundation, and Water and Sanitation Summits in India. Nancy is the recipient of the Service Above Self Award, Citation for Meritorious Service Award, and the International Service Award for a Polio Free World.
Charlie Engle is a global ultra-endurance athlete and the founder of the 5.8 Global Adventure Series, one of the most ambitious expeditions in modern history. His incredible athletic ability was profiled in the film, Running the Sahara, narrated by Matt Damon. Charlie raised more than $6 million for clean water projects in Africa and helped establish an organization called H20Africa, now known as Water.org, one of the largest water nonprofits in the world. Charlie’s memoir, Running Man, became a bestseller shortly after it was published in 2016. While the book details his inspiring life story, it is about more than just running. It is about facing demons, overcoming impossible odds, keeping your sense of humor and discovering the redemptive power of putting one foot in front of the other.
Freebird McKinney is a “Village Teacher.” It is his calling, his destiny, and his purpose. As the 2018 North Carolina State Teacher of the Year, he had the honor of inspiring countless young men and women inside and outside of the classroom, both in public high schools (for 14 years), and at Elon University, as a School of Education adjunct professor. His mission has been to motivate students to find their own voices and roles as citizens of this world, as well as inspiring fellow teachers to grow their skills by expanding their classrooms into the global community. Partnering with Go Global NC and Dustin’s Greenhouse, he believes teachers and students need to see the power and purpose of the human spirit and how we are all inter-connected in our collective human story.
Jeff and his wife Barbara join us from Gilroy, CA (the “Garlic Capital of the World”) representing Rotary International as our President's Representative. Jeff has been a Rotarian since 1999 and has served as Area Rep for The Rotary Foundation, Assistant Governor (2006-07), New Generations chair (2009-12), Lt. Governor (2012-13), District Governor for District 5170 (2016-17) and General Chair for Far West PETS. He is currently the District Major Gifts and Legacy Giving Chair for The Rotary Foundation. He is a Paul Harris Fellow, member of the Bequest Society, and past recipient of the Ward Garing Award for outstanding service to youth in the district. Jeff is fond of saying, “I joined Rotary for business and fellowship. I stayed to change the world."
District 7690 Annual Conference