Photo by Theresa Albini

Photo by Theresa Albini

Immortal Memory given by: 
June Sawyers

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, June Sawyers is an editor and author of more than 20 books, many with a Celtic theme, including Bearing the People Away: The Portable Highland Clearances Companion (Cape Breton University Press); The Civilized Shopper’s Guide to Edinburgh and Glasgow (Little Bookroom); Celtic Music (Da Capo Press); Dreams of Elsewhere: The Selected Travel Writings of Robert Louis Stevenson (Neil Wilson Publishing); The Road North: 300 Years of Scottish Travel Writing (Neil Wilson Publishing); Famous Firsts of Scottish-Americans (Pelican Publishing); Maverick Guide to Scotland (Pelican Publishing); The Scottish Bed & Breakfast Book (Pelican Publishing), and, with Wayne Rethford, The Scots of Chicago: Quiet Immigrants and Their New Society (Kendall-Hunt). Her essays, “Weeping Willows and Long Black Veils: The Country Roots of Rosanne Cash, from Scotland to Tennessee” appeared in Walking the Line: Country Music Lyricists and American Culture (Lexington Books) and “Celtic Music in America” in the Encyclopedia of Music and American Culture (ABC-CLIO), respectively. In addition, her work has been published in Scottish Tradition, the San Francisco Chronicle, Sing Out!, Stagebill, Dirty Linen, Booklist, The Common Review, and Verbatim: The Language Quarterly, in which appeared “Ha’penny Hurls and Chittering Bites: Talking Glaswegian."  Other books include Chicago Portraits (Northwestern University Press); Racing in the Street: The Bruce Springsteen Reader (Penguin); Read the Beatles: Classic and New Writings on the Beatles and Why They Still Matter (Penguin); and Bob Dylan New York (Roaring Forties Press).

Under her birth name June Sawers, she published The Water Is Wide: Celtic Poems on Time, Memory, and Loss, a collection of poetry and lyrics on loss and separation, remembrance and memory, identity and heritage which also features several poems by her brother, James Sawers. Recent projects include the just-published Cabaret FAQ: All That’s Left to Know about the Broadway and Cinema Classic (Applause Books) and the forthcoming Long Walk Home: Reflections on Bruce Springsteen at 70 (Rutgers University Press). A former contributor to the Chicago Tribune, she wrote the “Way We Were” history column, the “Afterhours” nightlife column, and the long-running “Travel Books” column. She is the founder of the Phantom Collective, an arts group that presents staged readings, theatre pieces, and music programs, mostly on Anglo-Celtic topics. In addition, she teaches at the Newberry Library and is an associate producer of the forthcoming documentary on the Highland Clearances, Voices over the Water. In 2013, she was the recipient of the Flora Macdonald Award from St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, North Carolina, which is given to a woman of Scots birth or descent who has made an outstanding contribution to the human community.

Toast to the Lads & Lassies given by:
Mike Bell & Sema Lakhani-Bell

Mike Bell: Growing up as one of two sons of longtime Chicago Scots members, Jim and Isobel Bell, Mike is quite literally a citizen of the world. As a natural-born Canadian citizen, Mike spent his early childhood residing in Mississauga, Ontario, Upstate New York and then New Jersey before his initial move to Glen Ellyn, IL in 1985. Mike's work and military service has also taken him all over the world, from Chicago to Texas, California, Alabama, Florida, Ohio, Germany, Arizona, and then in 2015, back to Chicago. Mike met his wife, Sema in 2013 while living in Arizona, whom he married in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2016. Mike has an intense passion and love for his family, including his three beautiful children -- Cameron (18), Gabriella (13), and Gavin (12). As an avid health and wellness enthusiast, he enjoys running, hiking and when possible, traveling. Mike has been attending the Chicago Scots events for the past twenty years and most recently served as a committee member, providing voluntary marketing/branding assistance and guidance in conjunction with the launch of Caledonia Senior Living. 

Mike's career has encompassed a broad range of roles over the past 15+ years -- from flying as a Captain in the US Air Force to a number of marketing and strategy roles at companies such as PWC, Henkel/Dial, LifeLock, and Guaranteed Rate. 

Mike currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-Founder of Persosa, an advertising technology platform that provides clients with real-time website personalization. Mike holds a B.S. in Aeronautical Sciences from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Cincinnati. 

Sema Lakhani-Bell: Sema was born and raised in South Barrington, IL to Kishore and Kirti Lakhani. Originally hailed from Gujarat, a state on the western coast of India, Sema's multicultural background is represented through her parent's upbringing, commencing in Eastern Africa and extending to their residency in India and the UK, before finally landing in Illinois in the 1970's, where they raised Sema, her twin brother, Samir and older sister Amee. Possessing a great sense of pride and appreciation for her culture and tradition, Sema also has an extensive amount of family residing in the UK, providing for strong ties to Great Britain. 

Sema received her undergraduate degree in Business Management and Human Resources from The Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, and went on to hold a number of roles as an HR leader across a wide variety of industries, including Legal Services, Private Equity, Financial Services, Construction, Real Estate, Advertising, and Design. Currently, Sema consults for several organizations as an executive HR advisor, providing strategic HR guidance and assistance. 

Sema met her husband, Michael Bell through a mutual friend in 2013, and was married on September 1, 2016, in Edinborough, Scotland. After living together in Arizona for a year, Sema moved back to Chicago with her husband in 2014 and currently calls her South Loop residence home, where she is very loved by her three step-children and two dogs Teddy and Bear. 


Address to the Haggis given by:
Jack Moncrieff Crombie 

Born in Dundee. Raised in Glasgow, The Isle of Lewis, Stockton on Tees and Dumfries. Educated at Caledonian University in Glasgow. 

Got married to a Bonnie American lass in the Auld Church in Scone. Domiciled in Winthrop Harbor, IL with the same Bonnie lass 38 years later. 

International antique dealer, restaurateur, real estate developer, occasional writer and full time trouble maker.