johnhewkoprogramThis Meeting’s Highlights
Program: Rotary, the Original Social Network
Speaker: Rotary General Secretary John Hewko
Meeting for the week of April 4th to April 10th, 2016

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our meeting!

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 45 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you; read it while on public transit, waiting in line for coffee, or even at the park! Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!



Message from our Club President

Welcome, everyone!

A special week, we have for you! Our speaker this week is the General Secretary of Rotary, and we are very honored that he took time to record a program with us. We also have plenty of other inspiring goodies to share, and welcome your letting others know what you find on our site.

As members of our club know, I often write these greetings while I’m on a plane. It’s one of the reasons a number of us joined an eclub – a busy travel schedule makes attending a set weekly meeting a significant challenge.

While heading home from Nashville, I began talking with Alyssa, one of the flight attendants, about her work and what she thinks of what she experiences with people on planes. She mentioned how powerful having a good attitude is for a company to come across well to its customers. She came across to me as interesting and genuine, and that made me pleased about American, the airline I typically fly.

Taking time to smile, say nice things to others, and be encouraging to those working hard are obviously things which align nicely with who we are in Rotary.

Members, you may recall that last week I introduced the meeting with a story about a trip to a place in Half Moon Bay that specializes in serving chai tea. You may also recall that the owner is known for his ornery attitude. A customer might just as well be berated as greeted. Well, when I got to the counter, I said, “I’ve heard of your amazing chai tea, and would like one prepared as it should be.” He smiled, and I ended up with some of the best chai I’ve had in a long time!

Rotarian guests, we ask that you consider contributing something – whatever for you is the regular cost of a Rotary meal, perhaps – to the efforts of our club. Please choose one of the options below:

* To pay via Google Wallet, you’ll need to log in to your account to donate.

Those of you who prefer a more traditional approach can mail a check made out to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley to our treasurer: ℅ Allen Thompson, 13500 Cascade Ct., Bakersfield CA 93314.

Non-Rotarian guests, there is no need for a donation from you. As we see it, your job is to simply enjoy what you read and watch, though at the end we do ask that you let us know you were here and also leave a comment letting us know what you think. This club is loaded with folks who love sharing ideas, and we look forward to your sharing yours!

Yours in service,
Rushton Hurley, President
Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley


The Power of Images

They say a picture says a thousand words. Every week we try to bring you a picture that we think will inspire you a thousand times.

This photo illustrates the Number 1 rule of photography–“You can’t take a picture if you don’t have a camera.” I was driving through Sausalito one morning on a job and saw these herring fishermen just a few yards off shore. This happens for only a few days a year during the herring run. I pulled over and grabbed one of about 4 cameras I carry in my SUV to capture this image. Fortunately, with the ubiquitous iPhones and other electronic devices, this rule is not so much of a problem and has even created a different problem with people paying so much attention to their phones that they miss the “experience.”

Herring007 by KMarsh

Great work, Keith! With some of the people we know, there may be only a few moments each year when we have a special opportunity to encourage them in ways they may need. You know the moments when such opportunities arise – the person’s tone may be different, their facial expression may strike you as concerned, or similar. The key is not to let the moment go by without doing what we can. Much may depend on it.

Keith, thanks for the reminder!


The Power of Ideas

A good idea is one that catches our attention, and then catches our breath.

In honor of having the General Secretary of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation as our speaker this week, we offer up a quote about leadership from the author Beth Revis:

“Power isn’t control at all–power is strength, and giving that strength to others. A leader isn’t someone who forces others to make him stronger; a leader is someone willing to give his strength to others that they may have the strength to stand on their own.”
Beth Revis

Great leaders inspire many wonderful things in those they lead. Among them is compassion.


The Power of Compassion

Is everything absolutely wonderful in every way for you? Probably not. It’s in times when we’re facing challenges, though, that we learn who our friends are, what we need to do, and what is most important to us.

This video is one that tells of the healing power of friendship and compassion, and it’s likely one you’ll want to share with others.

You might think that the word “compassion” might have been better replaced in the intro with “companionship.” Still, how did that video make you feel about those in it, or perhaps about someone you know who may need some of both?

New Member Induction

Ferheen (600p)Our members are the lifeblood of our club and of Rotary International. Whether our members are local to the Silicon Valley or living on the other side of the world, they become part of our family of over 1.2 million members worldwide.

It is our pleasure this week to bring a new member into our club!

Members, you may remember Ferheen Abbasi’s bio from a recent email, but we’ll include a personal note from her below to remind you.

From new member Ferheen Abbasi, 

“Hi everyone! My name is Ferheen Abbasi, I use she/her pronouns, and I am from Santa Clara, California, but am currently living in Osaka, Japan, to pursue my Master’s Degree at Osaka University in Reproductive Biology. I have always been interested in Rotary, especially knowing so many people involved with the organization (Rushton! Yvonne! Andrew K.!), but did not know how to get involved until Rushton introduced me to this eClub. I fell in love. I love learning, growing and becoming a better person and I feel that in just the short few weeks that I’ve been involved with the eClub, I have done all of those things. I am excited to continue to make service a large part of my life!”

Ferheen, our board and our members have approved your application and we welcome you into our club!

As you have learned in the application process and from the content of our meetings, we expect you to share your ideas, contribute your time to worthy causes, support projects of this club and The Rotary Foundation, attend weekly and participate actively, and encourage all those who are working to improve communities around the world.

Let our club’s focus on education, entrepreneurship, and innovation inform your thinking about possibilities for what you do.

Know that the members of this club are here to support you and work with you.

And finally, keep Rotary’s Four-Way Test in your heart.

The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do:

  • Is it the TRUTH?
  • Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  • Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Ferheen, you are now part of an organization of over 1.2 million women and men in over 34,000 clubs around the world. Our motto is Service Above Self, our members are glad you are with us, and our belief is that you will help us make great things happen!

Attend Our Club Events in the SF Bay Area!

While our meetings and programs occur weekly online, our Rotary club holds in-person events throughout the San Francisco bay area every month! We now have a group on for you to follow our upcoming events and RSVP for them.

Check us out at and join the Meetup group if you are interested in attending any of our events or future events!

Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley

Oakland, CA
36 Members & Guests

Calling all service-minded entrepreneurs, foodies, and community leaders! This group is for anyone interested in innovation, community service, education, business networking,…

Next Meetup

Justin’s House Chili Cookoff Service

Sunday, Apr 24, 2016, 9:30 AM
4 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →


Our Events & Projects

This section of our meeting is where you learn about both recent and upcoming events and projects our club is leading or supporting. We welcome guests to all of our events and service projects listed here.

Did you miss our past events? Come join us for any of our upcoming events! Guests, you are welcome too!

All times are in U.S. Pacific Time (Silicon Valley time, that is)!


Justin’s House Chili Cookoff Service on Sunday, Apr 24th, 9:30a-3p

Do you think you have the best chili in town? We’re putting together a team (maximum 4 people) for the first Justin’s House Chili Cookoff, to be held Sunday, April 24th, in Santa Clara, from 9:30 to 3:00. We’re helping raise money for a great cause during a fun day of ‘competition’ and food. We could win, too! If you’re interested, find out more about the Justin’s House Chili Cookoff day by clicking here. To learn how you can get involved with our club’s team, please email Gene Tognetti ([email protected]) or RSVP on Meetup by clicking here.

Food Sorting Service at Second Harvest Food Bank on Saturday, May 7th, 9a-12p

Come join us for a morning of sorting food at Second Harvest Food Bank! We will be at the Cypress Center in San Jose. This event will be capped at 5 people, with priority going to those whom we haven’t seen out at an event yet. Members interested can RSVP with Andrew Taw ([email protected]). Priority registration is given to club members until April 18. After which, we will be opening up RSVPs to all guests as well. Confirmations of attendees will be finalized no later than Saturday, April 30th.


For Our Members: Min-e-Grants

Min-e-Grants are service grants of up to $250 that are available for our paid members only. These miniature grants are available for our members to use for local community service projects such as school renovations, community park improvements, and partnership opportunities with other local groups.

Support a Good Cause with a Min-e-Grant

As we announced last week, the club will consider suggestions from our members to support a good cause. To do so, the member should make a case through our Min-e-Grant process, identifying a third party (another Rotary club, perhaps) which will match what our club donates to an appropriate cause.

Sound intriguing? If so, read the rules, gather what’s needed, and make something happen!

Rotary eClub of Silicon Vally Min-e-Grants


Mentoring Entrepreneurs

Last Sunday a team of club members and other volunteers met in a video conference with a young woman in Poland who is working to launch a new social media app. It was our opportunity to ask and be asked questions in the hopes of helping her see new possibilities for her work.

The woman, Karolina, is a former Rotary scholarship student who studied in Massachusetts, where she graduated from high school before returning to Poland to start her university studies. The ties to Rotary meant it was easy talking with her about how her app might be used to serve others innovatively.

Here is the note she sent afterward:

“Thank you for taking your time and sharing your insights, I feel very fortunate I had an opportunity to meet such knowledgeable and helpful people. The session has provided me with many new ideas about how I could spread the word about Spontime and how it could contribute to the community. Also, I truly appreciate your support in legal issues which are extremely confusing for a person growing up in another country. After our meeting I feel much more confident about launching Spontime not only in the US, but also internationally. Again, I am very grateful for your help and the time you spend with me. Thank you!”

Our club is constantly looking for ways it can bring our members’ talents and interests to service in innovative ways, and we welcome your ideas on things we might try. Additionally, if you know people who are trying to start businesses which have the potential to improve communities, and who also need some advice/brainstorming, feel free to point them our way! You can do so by contacting President Rushton via email ([email protected]).


The World of Rotary

We are part of the Rotary International family, with over 1.2 million members in over 180 countries around the world. Rotary’s reach is global. Here we tell our members and guests about Rotary’s initiatives and events.

A number of celebrities around the world have been inspired by Rotary’s work to devote their time to help with one of our causes. In this video, actress Archie Panjabi describes her opportunity to help with Rotary’s effort to eradicate polio.

As we’ve been telling folks for several weeks, our district is having its annual conference at the end of this month. Here’s an invitation from District Governor Susan, and I hope you’re planning to attend!


For Our Members: Service Survey

This section is dedicated for our members to report to us what service projects they have participated in recently. We love giving shoutouts to our members for the good work and the impact they’ve made in their local communities.

Service is at the core of the Rotary experience, and our members are working in big and small ways all the time to improve the world around them and the lives of those in need.

Each month, the meeting of the first full week includes what people have reported in via our survey, and we’re glad to present what’s come in lately! Use what’s below both to get to know your club colleagues better, and also to inspire you to see new service possibilities in your daily lives.

  • Yvonne Kwan helped to beautify some parts of Golden Gate Park along with some fellow eClub members (Andrew, Gene, his friend Karen, Catherine, and her son Nathan).
  • Martin Fox, in addition to his usual pro-bono mentoring and advising of nonprofit folks, also did some nonprofit board mentoring and mentoring a new nonprofit leader.
  • François Tessier helped at a drug addict center to build a revenue generating project, and also helped a Sri Lankan rehabilitation center putting together a revenue-generating project by starting an organic coconut tree plantation.
  • Rushton Hurley mentored teachers needing help with technology possibilities.
  • Richard Knaggs prepared and handed out warm meals to those in need, and also took a tourist to a grocery store after he discovered they had all just closed in the mall we were in. Drove him there and back again.
  • Heather Shaw organized a clinic team for Charity and started walking.
  • Manju Ramachandran volunteered organizing a high school bollywood dance event for 160 high schoolers.
  • Keith Marsh spent time serving on the Board of a non-profit that serves the developmentally disabled in Marin.
  • Brian Liddicoat joined Rushton and two guest panelists, Sherman Hu and Laura Andrews, in mentoring a young entrepreneur in Poland working to figure out the next steps for her team’s social media app.

The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey


Happy Dollars

Happy Dollars is the segment of our meeting where anyone can choose to make a voluntary donation to tell us a short story about something good that has happened to them this past week. Maybe someone paid for your coffee, gave you a ride somewhere, or you got a job promotion.

Why leave a comment with a donation? Well, in part because you know that the funds go to good causes, such as our min-e-grant program. Additionally, because it’s fun to hear what people are doing and celebrating!

Over the last two weeks, a majority of our members have also kicked in for the effort to eradicate polio, because the Gates Foundation offered a 2-to-1 matching program. We’re really, really close to finishing off this horrific disease, and a big thanks goes to every member who chipped in!

Here are some happy dollars donations from the last week: 

From member Mahmood Khan ($25),

“Eradicate Polio. Thanks to Bill and Melinda, it will be tripled.”

From member Hardeep Singh ($30),

“Time to finish the fight against polio!”

From member Mark Dohn ($30),

“Polio Effort”

From member Tzviatko Chiderov ($10),

“A few happy dollars to celebrate becoming an Africa Business Fellow! If that could go to the polio fund as well it will make me extra happy. [Can do!]”

From Brian Liddicoat ($15),

“Just finished watching “I Know That Voice” on Netflix, a documentary about the art of voice actors (Spongebob, Looney Tunes, etc). The credits alone (with various voice actors showing their skills) is worth watching….”

From member Linda Tangren ($15),

“Glad that spring is here and time to finish the landscaping projects.”

* * *

What are you happy about? Here’s your chance to give a shoutout and donate a little something into our karma jar. 

Fill out my online form.

Member Birthdays

While we have no member birthdays this week, we note that April 4th is the birthday of the great poet and activist Maya Angelou. In her honor, we’ll share one of her quotes as a challenge to all of us to live up to who we can be:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

This week, may you help those in need, contribute where you can, and spread good feelings wherever you go!


The Tidbit

For each meeting, we create or find a short video that helps you with some slice of technology or anything else as a way to learn something new. The last two weeks, President Rushton gave us keyboard shortcuts, first in the Mac world, and then in Windows.

We swing back in the Apple direction for this week’s Tidbit, posted several months ago on CNET’s How To offerings on YouTube.


A Little Humor

We love to help others smile, and continuing our cerebral run in that realm, we offer up this food for thought:

Continuing our higher-order thinking jokes from, here’s one that may make you chuckle, but perhaps not drool.

Pavlov is at a bar enjoying a pint. The phone rings, and he shouts, “Oh! I forgot to feed the dog.”

All smiles by Chris Koerner from Flickr (CC by-nc-sa 2.0) (1200p)
All smiles by Chris Koerner from Flickr (CC by-nc-sa 2.0)

May the ringing of bells inspire great things in you this week.


Selected Comments from Last Week

Every week we finish our meetings by offering thoughts on what we’ve seen and read. The idea is to take the discussion forward another notch by asking good questions, identifying where what was presented connects with our lives personally, and (via reading others’ comments) to get to know each other better.

Last week we had a presentation from Lowell Sheppard in Osaka on ways that his organization, HOPE International Development Agency, is working to pull villages around the world out of poverty. Here’s a sampling of what was dropped into the comments.

member Gene Tognetti (California, USA)
Thanks Lowell- I appreciate not only your work, but how clearly you presented it! Very interesting, and very thoughtful. I particularly liked your description of the well-intentioned donor you helped educate regarding the need for “self-reliance” of the people you help. Great! Interesting ‘mind reader,’ too…sadly, his sources of knowledge weren’t surprising. Interesting meeting this week! Also, still hoping to get a couple people to help for an hour or two with the Justin House Chili Cookoff on 4/24. Any takers? Please email me at [email protected]!

guest Penny Noel (California, USA)
Brilliant to start every project with clean water. Thank you for setting a great example of leading a life of giving.

member Rushton Hurley (California, USA)
Lowell, thanks for your long-term dedication to those in need! Mitty, it was great to visit the California Academy of Sciences for their Nightlife program. I look forward to doing that again soon! Everyone, let’s make this polio effort happen!

member Nate Gildart (Tokyo, Japan)
Lowell, I feel as though I’ve learned more about HOPE International Development Agency. Sustainability and empowering the poor is certainly the best approach to solving some of these problems related to global poverty. I’m looking forward to continuing our music projects here in Japan that will support HOPE Intn’l Dev Agency! I appreciate your powerful but simple words: “If you can help, why wouldn’t you?”

member Tzviatko Chiderov (Nairobi, Kenya)
Thank you Lowell, for all that you do. I really liked the way you described how HOPE is a development organization, but when the communities you serve are affected by a disaster you respond there as well.

member Linda Diekman (Illinois, USA)
Lowell, thanks for sharing your stories. I think your points about “sustainability” for projects is an important consideration. Have a good week, everyone!

member Heather Shaw (California, USA)
I love the long-term approach and that you make sure the needs are being met for the goal, especially the story about the garden and the chickens providing extra income to support the teachers and be self sustaining!

member Andrew Taw (California, USA)
Love the story about the school lunches. Thank you for the presentation, Lowell!

member Brian Liddicoat (California, USA)
This was great, and this is what Rotary is really about to me: helping the truly disadvantaged in other countries.


The Program

johnhewkoprogramEach week, we share the thoughts of fascinating people who are improving their communities, wherever they are, in order to inspire people everywhere else!

We are extremely honored this week to have as our speaker John Hewko, the General Secretary of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation. Hewko leads a staff of 800 at Rotary’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, and seven international offices. Before joining Rotary in 2011, he was vice president of operations and compact development at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a U.S. government agency established in 2004 to deliver foreign assistance in a new and innovative manner.

An attorney, Hewko was an international partner with the law firm Baker & McKenzie (B&M), specializing in international corporate transactions in emerging markets and resident in the firm’s Moscow, Kyiv and Prague offices. While working in Ukraine in the early 1990s, he assisted the working group that prepared the initial draft of the new Ukrainian post-Soviet constitution.

Hewko holds a law degree from Harvard University, a master’s in modern history from Oxford University (where he studied as a Marshall Scholar), and a bachelor’s in government and Soviet studies from Hamilton College in New York. He is an emeritus trustee of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine.

Today, you will hear about Rotary as “the original social network,” as the General Secretary will describe how our organization connects people of every ethnicity and culture to address the world’s toughest humanitarian challenges.

Members and guests, please welcome John Hewko!


Upcoming Programs

Week of Apr 11th: Mike Lawrence: The Care and Feeding of Passion-Based Communities
Week of Apr 18th: Katia Gomez: Reinventing Student Sponsorships in Rural Honduras


You’re Almost Done! One last thing: The Attendance Survey..

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done. First, we have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you though.

More importantly, for all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment below in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!

Fill out my online form.


We'd love to hear from you! You can use this form or send us an email directly at [email protected]

Copyright Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley 2015-2017, located in Rotary District 5170 in the sunny Silicon Valley of California, USA. Rotary International club #86428. Inquiries can be sent to [email protected]

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