Singing Valentine Fund Raiser

Valentine Singers WebThe Singing Valentines fund raiser is a joint effort of Durham Rotary and Heart of Carolina Barbershop Chorus. A quartet from Heart of Carolina came to Rotary on Monday to demonstrate what a Singing Valentine is like. A portion of every singing valentine sold goes to Rotary to help with its scholarship programs. These will sell out fast, so please make your reservation soon! If you your sweetheart isn’t around, then why not consider sending a singing valentine to your favorite nonprofit to show your love for their cause?

Order online at or by phone 919-730-3342.

Click this link for more information about the options available. 2013SingingValentinesPoster

Submitted by Shelly Green

Rotary Foundation Mid-Year Report

PHF medal webThe Durham Rotary Club members have been very active with their gifts to The Rotary Foundation this year. Since the beginning of the current club year on July 1, 2013, our club has contributed $21,000. plus to The Foundation. Approximately $14,000. of that amount resulted from the two-for-one challenge offered in late October. The remainder includes a few gifts to Polio Plus . We gained some 35 Paul Harris Fellow awards of which 15 were first-time member contributions. The remainder of the awards were divided between members who qualified for +1,+2,+3,+4 and +5 Paul Harris Fellow status.
Since the first gift given to The Rotary Foundation by our club, The Durham Rotary Club has contributed a total of $426,170.00 to The Foundation. There have been a total 296 Paul Harris or multiple Paul Harris awards given through our club. We currently have 148 members who are current donors toThe Foundation, including 4 major donors. Additionally, there have been 36 persons who are not Rotarians who have made contributions to The Foundation through our club.
We continue to stress the importance of our members becoming Foundation Sustainers. Sustainers are those members who make a total contribution of $100. to The Foundation each year. As we approach the 100th anniversary of The Durham Rotary Club our goal is to have 100% Sustainers. Thank you to all who continue to participate in this worthy opportunity.
 Submitted by Dallas Stallings and The Foundation Committee

Program Report: The Science of Ethics and Honesty – Dan Ariely, Ph.D

arielyWebTalk about a great job.

Studying why people cheat and how they justify it in different places and cultures.  Explaining it in New York Times bestsellers.  Revealing still more in a regular column in The Wall Street Journal.  Even being able to wear bright orange sneakers while captivating, engaging and entertaining  yet another full house of club members during our weekly lunch on Jan. 28.

Dr. Dan Ariely, professor of behavior economics at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, shared  insights about human nature and human mis-behavior across all groups, nationalities, places.

Nobody was spared.  And it turns out most people are much the same everywhere.

“We lie a lot,” Ariely said soon after his introduction by club member Melissa Mills.  “You can tell a lot of things in favor of lying.”

The good news is that Dr. Ariely’s findings show that most people everywhere want to be considered nice and honest people.  People want to view themselves in that frame of life.  In the course of daily affairs, however, they tend to rationalize small misbehaviors to balance lies or cheating with their natural notions of honesty.

“People want to be good but don’t want to do it in the moment,” Ariely said.

He described different tests and methodologies that researchers use to tempt subjects in tests and  measure dishonesty.  Studies in the U.S., U.K., Italy, Israel and even Canada defy conventional notions by some that lies and cheating occur on a large-scale through careful evaluation of cost, risk and benefit. “There are some big cheaters out there,” he explained, “but just a few.”

By contrast, he said, the accumulation of most of the cheating “is a ton of little apples that are rotting just a little.”

Among factors that encourage honesty and better behavior: Being in touch with one’s moral and ideal self as cheating situations arise and committing in advance of situations that present cheating possibilities not afterwards.  Cheat-free outcomes are also more likely when people exposed to temptation are in closer proximity to money, not farther from it through non-cash transactions.

Ariely said that being closer to potential victims, not faceless people in cyberspace, also works against mis-behavior.

President Don closed the meeting by noting that a regular reading of The Four Way Test might be a solution.  With that, our membership recited the four points.  And Ariely moved to the hallway, sneakers aglow, to autograph copies of his books.


Submitted by Mark Lazenby

Howard Clements and Leaders of Tomorrow

HowardClement2webWe haven’t seen much of Howard Clements, a long time Rotarian and City Councilman recently, so it was great to see him and his wife Annie at the meeting on January 14th. Howard came to support of a bunch of very sharp high school students who found an appreciative audience of Rotarians who came early at the request of Immediate Past President Arthur Rogers. The students presented a “case study” of Facebook as part of the Leaders of Tomorrow Program sponsored by the National Black MBA Association. It was great to see Howard and as the pictures illustrate, he seems to be glad to be with us too.HowardClementweb

Program Report: NCCU Buisness School – Dean Keith Pigues

PiguesWebOkay, the big crowd wasn’t really there for Todd Taylor’s Rotary Minute, at least most of them. Many were there for a presentation before the meeting of a “business case” developed by several very sharp high school students that are part of the Leaders of Tomorrow program of the National Black MBA Association, a favorite organization of long time Rotarian and City Councilman Howard Clement and his wife Annie.  Most of the guests also stayed for the program provided by Dean Keith Pigues of the NCCUBusinessSchool.

One of the students sat down at my table and politely inquired what each of us did.  After meeting a lawyer, an electronics guru and a physician, there was clear surprise in her eyes when I announced that I was a plumbing associate at Home Depot. Like Todd, I’ve had many career lives, but, as my wise pappy used to say, “Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.” I mention this because the view you get of business at the bottom of the chain of command is quite a bit different than that shared by management or seen by MBA candidates doing case studies.  In fact, I often joke with customers wondering in frustration why Home Depot carries parts for one faucet but not the one they bought that it was a mystery to me but undoubtedly the decision of some MBA at their headquarters in Atlanta noodling on a spreadsheet.

With that perspective, it was very refreshing to hear Dean Pigues present a vision of where he is taking NCCU to make the school and its graduates more relevant in the real world. Listen up Home Depot, you may want to send some recruiters to NCCU. [Read more…]

Rotary Minutes: Todd Taylor

ToddMinutewebThe staff at the Durham Convention Center had to roll out extra tables and many of us who came early gave up our seats to the overflow crowd that gathered to hear Todd Taylor’s Rotary minutes. They were not disappointed.  Most of the regular attendees of the meeting know Todd for showing up in western headgear (most of which came from Australia) as the organizer, cheerleader and chief spokesman for our Club’s efforts to light a fire under the collective butts of teachers, parents and kids to reduce and eliminate illiteracy in our school system.  Todd’s Reading Rangers (of which I proudly claim membership) is already in two of the Durham Schools with the most need for help from the community.

Todd described himself as a cat now in the third of his 9 lives. This claim is based on his three major careers but he cataloged a number of things that were so unique that they could have been conjured up by someone with the flair to stage the tragic death of an imaginary girlfriend to motivate a football team to the brink of a national championship and himself to the brink of the Heisman Trophy.

Consider these experiences and how often you are likely to run into someone who has had any of them much less all of them.

–          Have a mother who was one of the first 90 women in the US Marines.

–          Of all the billions of people who have lived, to be one of the 100,000 or so who have ever stood at the South Pole or the lip of southern most active volcano in the world in Antarctica.

–          Be officially credited with saving 28 lives as a search and rescue helicopter pilot.

–           Fly for the Royal Australian Air Force in an American Navy uniform.

–          Retire for the first time at 38.

–          Become a Mr. Mom. Todd stayed at home with his son, Jason while his wife Jan went off to work.

Consider also that Todd can pronounce r’s even with parents from Boston, graduated “Laudy How Come” as a physics major from Appalachian State University, managed cell phones towers, was a top recruiter for the Navy here in North Carolina, remembers Eastern Airlines as inspirational, flew repaired planes to prove they were safe and might have had a totally different life if he had been able to hit a curve ball.

Since I now work as a part time plumbing associate at Home Depot, my one and only retail job, I totally get a quote Todd shared from a fellow worker during his only retail job, “They say only two things make one hate humanity – combat and retail.”  Amen brother.

Todd’s current job managing Duke Corporate Education’s facilities sounds tame by comparison to the rest of his resume, but he still shows his tendency to temp fate with an off beat sense of humor that he shares regularly. Todd’s full presentation is here.

Submitted by Jay Zenner