Importance of Leadership/Candidates

Larsen, DebbyWhen I was asked to write about the importance of Leadership/Candidates I thought back to my life in Sertoma. I joined Sertoma as a way to give back to my community and that was ALL I wanted to do. I grew up in a community where neighbors helped neighbors and no one needed to be asked. So giving back through Sertoma seemed to be natural.

There are so many opportunities within Sertoma where you can be a leader.  In your local club you can submit your name for an office; you can do the same on the district, regional or even the national levels. Some of the leadership roles that Sertoma has are:

Club Officers/Directors                Fundraising Chairs             District Director/Officers
Regional Director                        Director at Large                 Regional Offices
National Officers                         Club Liaison                        Regional Trainer
Certified Trainer                          Fundraising District Rep.    HCOA Board Member
External Marketing

Let’s take a look at the district level. Each district needs to have a District Governor, Secretary and Treasurer for the basics. There are other cabinet offices but it varies by district.  All of these positions are voted on at your district meeting held during the regional conventions in the fall. Training is held during the Sertoma National Convention in April so that you can start out your year with a bang.

There are individuals in your club that would be great leaders and you need to ask yourself if you are one of them. Stepping up isn’t always easy and everyone is busy.  There really isn’t a good excuse to not become a leader and I can speak from experience. I was a mother of three active children and working full time when I was elected the second President of our club. I attended all the club and board meetings; district, regional and of course national meetings. Evidently just giving back to my community wasn’t enough and I didn’t even know it. At each of these meetings I watched individuals as leaders – some were excellent, some were so-so, and a few were not so good.

One of the new leadership areas is our new Mission Expansion Specialist (Evangelist) volunteer role. This new volunteer role was announced at the Sertoma National Convention in April with a follow up article in the Sertoman Digest. External marketing is looking outside the Sertoma family to grow by using tools like CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence®. I would like to challenge you to spread the word in your community and outside your community. This can be done through doing a walk for a special project, doing an educational seminar on looping, or on SAFEEars. Doing these kinds of activities not only raise funds and awareness, but  also trains those that are in charge of these efforts to become leaders. Talk with these individuals and let them know that you see leadership skills within them and encourage them to run for an office. Once that is accomplished then going onto other leadership roles will be a cinch.

I went from an individual who just wanted to give back to my community to an individual that still does that but also believes that strong leadership is good for all of Sertoma. I would like to challenge each of you to look at having the same experiences that I have had on my road to becoming President of Sertoma. If you are asked to hold a position within your club, your district, your region, or the national level, please consider saying yes – you don’t know where the road will lead you. Don’t be afraid of a new challenge – it is a great experience! Look at the list above and say I can do that or you know of someone who would also be great and ask them to consider running. You never know you may be President of Sertoma one day.

Debby Larsen
Sertoma President Elect

If we only knew!

I was another day at the desk, and like most days involves the elusive effort to find and develop resources for those we want to help.  This particular day seemed to focus on CELEBRATE SOUND, our national fundraising event. Part of the day I was reviewing a proposal for a new series of training videos to support volunteers leading events. This was an interesting counter point to an earlier in the day when I was making lists of possible volunteers to host a CELEBRATE SOUND event in New Jersey. But as mid-afternoon approached, the energy and clarity of the morning had become mired in the reality of the challenges we face in these and the other issues pouring in through emails and calls. Continue reading

Internal & External Marketing

Johnson, DavidHello fellow Sertomans. We have started the 2014-15 year focusing both internal marketing to our members and clubs, as well as external marketing to communities that do not know SERTOMA.

Let’s first talk about internal marketing. Following convention in April, the board decided to implement an expectations project. The goal is to develop a better understanding of the how and what we can do to strengthen Sertoma. When the board talks about strengthening our clubs, we are talking about how we can grow internally through participation in our Sertoma programs, resulting in retaining and adding new members.

When was that last time your club did an evaluation with its members? What are your strengths? Where can you do a better job? Have better communication? Have a successful fundraiser? Having fun and socializing? These are all key areas we need to take an honest look at so we can find areas to improve. If we need help, we should be able to ask a regional or certified trainer in our area to come in and train.

Next, our external marketing efforts are working to expand our mission outside our Sertoma family. We have several new communities participating in our hearing health programs as a result of our efforts over the past year. There are many new communities that we need to be reaching out to in order for us to grow. Many of your Board members are assisting staff in touching base with new groups and communities. Are you interested in helping? Please contact staff and visit with them about your role with this key expansion program.

This past winter I attended a club’s fundraiser. They had students from a local university helping with the event. I asked the advisor of the group if they were interested in learning more about our hearing health programs. Those conversations have resulted in a possible new CELEBRATE SOUND® event at Kansas State University. They have students eager to assist in raising funds and awareness about hearing health. This is just one new community where we are seeing results.

The governors had a conference call recently and I visited with them about the importance of their communication with clubs and the need to complete their administrative duties. I shared how their role should support that of the FDRs and CTs to help strengthen the Sertoma relationship with clubs and to help build a strong relationship between clubs and Sertoma. Their excitement and enthusiasm about Sertoma’s programs and training through the Leadership Institute is important for our members to see so that they will want to participate and partner with what we do together as Sertoma. I also encouraged those that were interested to be involved in our expansion efforts.

We have an exciting year coming into full swing. I look forward in all of us strengthening our local clubs and expanding into new communities to spread our hearing health mission – making a difference in the lives of those in our local communities.

David Johnson
Sertoma President 2014-2015

As the Ears Go By

Plugged In, But Not Clued In
The second in a series on one man’s experience in getting a cochlear implant

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Well folks, it’s clear I have issues with written assignment deadlines. You needn’t take my word for it, since I have dozens of educators who will vouch for me. But enough groveling, because I have big news to announce. I have an installed cochlear implant! I had the surgery to install the implant at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE, June 16th. Continue reading

What do you want?

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Myself I want to win the lottery; I want the physical vitality of my youth or even middle age, I want gas prices to go down during a holiday. We probably all have this list of things we want that are typically out of our control, or not even possible. There is nothing wrong with a bit unrealized fantasy in our life; it is probably even good for the mental health. That is assuming we also have an answer to the question – What is it you really want? Continue reading

Proud to be a Sertoman! (CLAP)

It would be hard not to be in Sertoma long and not know of this tradition. I am sure this started with one member, in one club, and has now migrated and spread across the organization. It is always fun to watch the response of visitors and speakers at convention the first time they experience “I am proud to be a Sertoman”. It is a wonderful sentiment, but what does it mean, or maybe more to the point, is there a shared meaning.

This question is at the heart of our member’s expectations project. Can we identify the core of what it means to be a Sertoman? More important can we define what experience results in our pride of association. The answers are more than just knowledge, they are key to our ability to market and to attract others to join the family of Sertoma. People who would share and identify with our pride in “what”?

I cannot speak for others, but as we are going to ask, it only seems fair to begin with my feelings. Why am I proud to be a Sertoman?

Because we serve. For whatever reason or cause, we give our time and resources to help make life a little better in our communities. It is because as a group we embody one of the most important aspects of our civil society. That it is the people, not the government, or businesses, who have a right, yes I will say it, an obligation to take responsibility for the state of our society.

It is not pride based on what I do, or what my club does. That is not only somewhat self-centered, but also it limits the value and potential of Sertoma. The real source of our pride should be in embracing and supporting the service efforts of others and of the whole. It does not matter if it is recognizing the future leadership of youth through freedom and democracy essays, cleaning up a park, or fixing up an elderly persons home. It is all part of what defines Sertoma, and should be valued and shared by all.

But our pride also should not be limited to just what happens in a club. As Sertomans, we should have pride in our shared effort. It is through those efforts we make life better for people across the nation. It was such an effort that lead to required hearing screenings for every new born in the US. It is through a shared effort we support the largest scholarship program for deaf and hard of hearing students in the country.

Yes, I am proud to be a Sertoman. I have had the privilege to see this organization and its members at their best. Some of that I have seen through the history of our efforts, some during my 13 years as a member. It is an extraordinary thing that Sertoma tries to balance. It provides members great autonomy for their local service, while still supporting the shared service that defines us all, not as individuals, or as clubs, but as Sertomans.

My pride is challenged when I see acts that work to divide and isolate the efforts of members from Sertoma. There is not now, or never has been a “them and us” in Sertoma. At least not any more than you would see parents and children of a family as them and us. Such feelings exist only in the minds of those whose own pride does not allow them to have pride and respect in others. For me “proud to be a Sertoman” is pride in the difference we make as a family.

Steven Murphy
Executive Director

A Year in Review

HAZEL,-Tim-ThumbIt’s been a year already!? Seems like only yesterday I was writing my first article. It has been quite a year serving as your Sertoma President and I wish David Johnson all the best as he serves you next year.

First of all I want to thank everyone in Laurel, MS; Denver and Colorado Springs, CO; Albuquerque, Roswell, and Alamogordo, NM; Tampa, FL; and Thamesville, ON; for being such great hosts and treating me so well when I visited your areas. I did my best to pass on all the suggestions, comments, and concerns I got from each and every visit. It is so gratifying to know that every day Sertomans are volunteering, raising funds, making life worthwhile in their communities. Helping us spread our mission of hearing health.

I was honored to represent Sertoma and Hearing Charities of America at the official launch of the New Jersey Hearing Aid Bank last week at Montclair University in New Jersey. Greg Townson, Holly Walls, and I met and spoke with some wonderful folks about this joint venture between government, educators, and service volunteers. It is rare when such diverse groups can develop a program that will eventually help so many people in a area where no one knew anything about Sertoma. This is why we do what we do.

Ribbon_CuttingAlso this year, I got firsthand knowledge of how to sponsor a CELEBRATE SOUND Don’t Walk in Silence® event when my club hosted a walk last November. A walk in November in Iowa, you ask? Yes, it was held in our enclosed mall and it goes to show that a small 11 member club can sponsor a walk and raise $3,000 for our national programs and another $3,000 for our local looping project. In addition to that, I was able to participate in the Tampa Gem’s walk in March. That was going from the small to the large. They did one fantastic job of organizing that event. I know there have been many walks this year and still more to come. I truly wish there had been money and time to participate in all of them. I hope that every Sertoman encourages their club to host a CELEBRATE SOUND event. No club is too small, no club has too many fundraisers. The additional income to your club and to our national philanthropy is always needed. The chance to meet others in the Hearing Health professions in your community and spread our mission is priceless.

Yes, it has been a great year serving the members of the greatest service organization in America. Please give David your undivided support next year and help him grow Sertoma to new heights in this still new century of service.

Expectations, unmet or unknown, limit our future

It has been a bit more than a month since convention, and we have just about finished approving the bills, debriefing the trainers, and reviewing the evaluations. Without a doubt, the convention is the single largest effort for staff and many of our volunteers each year. That is not to mention that it is the single largest budget item other than our grants and scholarships program. So why? Why if this event and others hold such a position in our investment of time and resources, do so few members participate? Continue reading

Why Celebrate Sound? – Convention Q & A

CSWe had a couple of good guest blogs since convention, so I am picking up this week with my report/response to the 2014 Sertoma convention. I began with the closing banquet, and working back toward the start, one of the last session on Saturday afternoon was a Q & A session with the Board officers and the Executive Director. There were good questions and even better discussion. For those who see Sertoma exclusively from the club experience, and those of us who see it almost exclusively from the national perspective it is a time to remember that Sertoma has more than one dimension. Continue reading

As the Ears Go By: One Man’s Search for Better Reception

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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