Program Report: Ellen Andrews – Church World Services Refugee Program

Durham native Ellen Andrews is the Director of Church World Service’s (CWS) Immigration and Refugee Program, one of two organizations of its kind in Durham. During the past eight years, she and her colleagues have assisted over 2,500 individuals from more than 20 countries to resettle into new homes, new jobs, and new lifestyles in the Triangle area. Club President B.C. Dash commended Ellen on her work in the community, noting that many Rotarians’ lives have been touched as we welcome these newcomers to our country, allowing them to reclaim their dignity and build new lives marked by hope and opportunity.

CWS-Durham (cwsrdu.org) opened its doors in 2009, and works to welcome refugees and immigrants from around the world. As a faith-based global humanitarian organization, CWS is also known for managing CROP fundraising walks. Staff and volunteers base their resettlement work on an empowerment-focused declining model of support designed to enable new arrivals to embark on a path toward self-sufficiency, and ultimately, become completely in control of the direction of their new lives. CWS staff ensure refugees immediate access to food, shelter, and medical care, in addition to providing legal counseling, employment services, and links to community partnerships.

Ellen outlined the thought process that refugees go through before deciding to abandon their home country. “Most of them want, and plan, to return home someday, but unfortunately that is often not the case,” she explained. “While some families, usually those with greater financial resources, have time to plan their escape, many are forced to make a very emotional decision in a short window of time.” Families must decide what, and whom, to take: will elderly family members or small children slow them down? Will travelling be dangerous? How long will the journey take? Do we have financial resources? If so, how long will they last, and how will we access them?

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Rotary Foundation – Paul Harris Fellows – May 15, 2017

Foundation Chair Andy Esser made to significant Paul Harris Fellowship awards. Immediately below Andy is pictured with Club Treasurer, Susan Miller being awarded here PHF +4 and Emilee  Collins her PHF +2. Please congratulate these two great Rotarians.

President BC Dash Honored by Past Presidents

At their May 18 Past Presidents’ Council meeting, President BC is presented with a framed photo to recognize his year of service. Pictured are President BC and Past President Vandana Dake.

Photo credit to Past President Lois Deloatch.

International Committee – Pune India Project

Leadership in Pune Toilet Project

One of the many successful project that our Club has participated in is the Pune India Project. The plaque pictures celebrates the original project that led to this one.

The objective of the project is the construction of 272 toilets in villages situated in Velha & Haveli Taluka of Pune District, Maharashtra, India.  Beneficiaries will be 272 families consisting of about 2000 persons in whose homes toilets with septic tanks will be  installed. This will prevent the contamination of the water source and will thus: a) prevent disease; b) improve sanitation; c) improve the health of the community by eradication of water borne illnesses, especially those of women (pregnant and nursing) and children d) will increase security and safety to adolescent girls and women.  The local club spearheading the project is Pimpri, District 3131.  Our club, Durham in District 7710, is the international partner club.  The current amount budgeted for the project is $65,250.  This project builds on a successful project where 204 toilets were constructed in Ambi Village, Pune, India, which was also spearheaded by the Pimpri Club.

New Members – May 15, 2017

We inducted two new members on May 15. The first was Nancy Carstens who was sponsored by a smiling Don Stanger, maybe because Nancy succeeded him as President of the Hope Valley Neighborhood Association or maybe because he gets another hash-mark towards a District Governor’s Citation.  Nancy has visited with us several times. If you haven’t had a chance to meet her yet, please take the opportunity to welcome her to the club.

Also inducted was Michael Goodman of Capital Broadcasting and American Tobacco Campus fame. President Elect Seth Jernigan sponsored Michael, who has addressed the club at least a couple of time, the last time to help promote the last bond issue, which passed overwhelmingly.

Program Report: Brian Hamilton – Sageworks

 

Brian Hamilton reflected on his own career as a successful start-up entrepreneur during Monday’s lunch presentation. Brian was introduced by Don Stanger who praised the series of entrepreneurs we have had in the last few weeks with a retailer and builder and now with Brian’s tech company all thriving in the environment that Durham provides.

As he explained it to a near full house of Rotarians, there are popular images in the media of starting a company, and succeeding in short order. Then, there is the reality that he has encountered over the last two decades as a co-founder of Sageworks.

Many successful startups have some age on them, Hamilton said. Their existence likely lies in years of learning, hard work, revising the game plan and then revising some more.

Today, Sageworks is a successful financial information company based in the Triangle. It helps financial institutions and businesses access complex data by making it easier to understand in narrative form. The company’s numbers-to-narrative proposition ultimately met great success.

But that happy outcome, Hamilton said, was not a fast-growth wonder that “bloomed” in short order.

“What I learned, it takes time to learn,” said Hamilton, a Duke business school graduate who also has appeared as a business pundit on cable news networks. “It takes a long time to learn. I am still learning. It’s the rate at which you learn that will dictate your success.”

Among the basics of business startup success, Hamilton said: “You need the right product.  That’s hard.”

In the case of Sageworks, the entrepreneurs who launched the idea of making financial information accessible and easier initially found an indifferent reaction by potential clients as they made their pitches. Multiple iterations took place, he said, including one “pivot” that focused the product more to the precise needs of banks.

Hamilton also pointed to a key ingredient of successful leadership that might not appear at the top of some textbooks.

“To lead people,” he said, “you need to love them.”

Leaders with that quality will find their employees detect it and will work with the bosses through bad times and good as the whole team works to get better and deliver products that creates even more value for customers than the products cost.

Last, “You really must love your customers. You can never have enough service and love for your customers.”

Submitted by Mark Lazenby