My name is Jim Sharrick, and I am very hard of hearing. A year ago, I came to the conclusion that I would get a cochlear implant. It was not a sudden decision, and not my first step in dealing with my hearing loss. Mine is not a unique story, but one that I hope will be of interest to those facing, or the family of those facing similar decisions. Like any journey in life, it helps to know where it began. So I will start with the story of my journey to this point. Then I will share my experiences leading up to, and hopefully, following a successful installation. Continue reading
We as Sertomans should take advantage of the month of May as an opportunity to help educate our communities in our Mission of Hearing Health. This is an ideal time to discuss with your local media the many programs that we have in progress in the Hearing Health area as they will be aware of the national focus of this month. We can let others know about participating in our CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® events to raise awareness and fundraise so others can hear.
Tell others we need their help. Others can help by joining a Sertoma Club, or donating a hearing device. They can become a Friend of Sertoma and participate as a volunteer. They can affiliate with other like-minded people interested in hearing health issues and programs. They can make a donation to support our Mission.
Everyone knows someone that has a hearing issue and needs help, or be informed where help is available. Hearing is the number one health issue in men over 65, and number four with women. Hearing loss over time breaks down communication and causes individuals to be isolated. They no longer want to participate in activities. We should encourage hearing screenings for people over age 60 as part of their annual Wellness Program.
Hearing loss affects high school students and it is irreversible. Seventeen percent of high school student show they have the beginnings of hearing loss. May is a great opportunity to promote our SAFEEars! program. You could make the giveaways available to the school marching bands in your communities.
What a great time when with a national focus on our Sertoma Mission of Hearing Health to build new relationships, with organizations like NASCAR and NRA, where noise levels are a definite problem. Can you imagine the opportunities to further our mission with a relationship with these organizations? We have great opportunities available to us. May could be the beginning of something that could change the lives of many people in our communities.
I would like to thank my good friend Dr. Sherri Little, Dr. of Aud. for many of the facts in this article.
Don Bartelmay, Jr. Vice President
For those who attended, the 2014 Sertoma Convention provided great camaraderie, good food, some free drinks, and exceptional training. Add into that mix an extensive discussion of our priorities for the coming year with the Board, and it will take a few weeks to share what was missed. But it seems best to start where we ended the weekend, with comments and observations by our keynote speaker. Tom Hill provided us both a message and example of importance to Sertoma and its members. Continue reading
At the heart of what it means to be Sertoma is service. It is our service and philanthropy that define why we exist. We believe that people have the right, if not the obligation, to make their communities better through volunteer service. It is what we do. It is the same for every charity. How we do it may differ, what we work on may differ, but in the end, the service and philanthropy of all charities takes place at the community level. From that perspective, there is little difference between service clubs and community groups of other national charities.
The difference comes in the ability of those who share a mission to generate outcomes well beyond any individual community efforts. It is the multiplying factor we experience as we get more people involved our club’s activities, but to a much greater extent. It is why organizations that share a mission, have more recognition, more resources, and more people involved. Those volunteers have a real sense that their service and philanthropy in the community, means more, and does more. Continue reading
This will close out this series of blogs about the recent Board meeting. As with all Board meetings, there are always reports. Most related to the operations and finances of Sertoma, all which are in good shape. Nothing of much interest or excitement to share. The Board among other items, receives an update on the work being done by our subsidiary, Hearing Charities of America. Of the general reports, I thought this would be of the greatest interest to the members. Continue reading
Last week I shared the work coming out of the strategic discussion at the January Board meeting. This week I will cover our new business agenda, where issues brought to the Board by the Directors or members are managed. Our agenda item was club participation in Division activities. This covered a range of issues, beginning with a concern about payment of Divisions dues which led to the discussion of value.
It has been a little more than a week since the Board meeting. The Board went home with some homework to complete before the next Board meeting in April. Among the regular and some mundane business, the Board spent a fair amount of their time in strategic discussion. Unlike your typical business meeting, this time is set aside to allow a more open discussion of issues and concerns. This time several issues came up, but all shared a common perspective, relationships.
I don’t think I would be overstating to say that as a whole, the Board believes that we need to have much better support of and communication with our members and volunteers. It is nearly impossible to reverse history, so the question is, what will we do different moving forward? What needs done to make sure our new relationships get off to the right start, and to strengthen current relationships? The resulting discussion produced the following list of needs (work to do).
Communication with the members, and to facilitate communication across the membership
Outreach to new people and communities
Training and support
The list defines a good relationship management effort. Allowing that leadership development is part of training and support, we have only to address the remaining five needs to expand and strengthen Sertoma. So the question was asked, “What are we doing to assure we have these people to do this work?” The response was “in truth, nothing.”
So the decision was the Board’s work should start with defining the right people. That became the basis of the Board’s homework.
So the ground rules: The needs (work to do) are not roles. They might be, but for now the focus is on the work. Looking at the work, define the personality traits, skills and abilities that come together to do successful marketing, fundraising, planning, etc. Look at the work for each need and define the specialists best suited for that area of work.
I think our President Mr. Hazel, summed up the assignment as follows. Forget about our structure, our roles, our traditions. Like our founders, begin with a clean slate, base your input on our current technologies, economy, and society. Describe the people that can (and will) do the work to expand and strengthen Sertoma today.
So starting with the list above, the Board is working to define the specialists we need to do that work. That may be the easy part. Because then, how do we recruit, train, and support these specialists? What structure, roles, and technology do we need to see specialists are available when and where the work needs done?
Then we get to the interesting part, how does that compare to what and how we are trying to get the work done today?
Want to join in the fun? I would be happy to share your input on this effort with the Board. So how would you describe the “right people” to help with the work of Sertoma?
On a personal note, are you interested in a great leadership development experience? Then make plans to join us in Overland Park in April. Hope to see you there!
One of the issues we face is use of language. What an expression means to the Board and staff may not translate the same to a member. So this week I begin in our efforts to improve communication with some look at our language.
Let’s start with what it means when we talk about Sertoma. Sertoma is a national charity. Sertoma is not a reference to the headquarters operation or activities “above” the club level. Sertoma refers to the whole of our efforts. That whole is defined by what we believe. We believe volunteer service is core to a free and democratic society. We believe that the power of volunteer service is in creating groups of shared effort. We demonstrate those beliefs through our shared mission of hearing health, that includes outcomes at the national and community level. We also know there are also community focused missions, which too are part of Sertoma.
Sertoma is people defined by different levels and roles. Together these people assure the strength and future of Sertoma as club members, national volunteers and staff. Who are these national volunteers? These include FDRs, Governors, certified trainers, and the National Board. Though not national volunteers, the Club Liaison serves as a critical link between the club members and the national volunteers. But these are not the only people who define Sertoma. We would not exist without our donors, volunteers, and mission partners.
Like our own bodies, the vitality of Sertoma depends on the strength and health of each element working together. To support and value any single element more than the whole, in the end will result in the failure of all. So, as we look at our strategies and plans, the needs of people working in community and the national roles are of equal importance. We must also match our investment in our current people with an investment in developing new relationships. That is why we have specific plans for both. So when we speak of expansion that is about new relationships and new communities, and when we speak about strength that is about how to support our existing members and communities. Those combined define our growth strategy.
We need a shared language to define our work as Sertomans. Not every member will agree with all these definitions. That is to be expected. But it provides the starting point for that discussion. This is also not an inclusive list of shared language. I started with definitions of those things that should not change, what we believe, and what we are; people who have chosen to make service a priority in our lives. If we don’t agree on what truly defines us, there is little hope of addressing any of the issues that follow.
We had an interesting and productive Board meeting last weekend. In the next blog, I will begin to share those discussions. I look forward to your input as we seek to secure a long and prosperous future for Sertoma.
Have a great one!