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


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?


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


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

Better Hearing & Speech Month

BARTLEMAY, Don3We 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

One Good Idea – Convention Observations


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