Fellowships: The Best Kept Secret in Rotary

This is the meeting for the week of October 9, 2017 through October 15, 2017

This Meeting at a Glance:
Program:  Fellowships: The Best Kept Secret in Rotary
Program Description: Learn about what Rotary Fellowships are, and how to get involved in one!
Speaker: Rick Harned, Rotarian and Member of the International Travel & Hosting Fellowship

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our weekly online meeting! To complete our meeting, please continue reading from here to the bottom of this page. 

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 60 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!


Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!

Here’s a message from President Stephen:

Greetings Rotarians and guests,

Last week, I spent the afternoon hiking and eating with a few friends. It was a wonderful reminder that some of the best things in life are simple pleasures shared with good people. Hopefully, you enjoy this week’s meeting, the simple pleasures shared with good people, as much as I do. I’m also excited for the many programs and events we’ll have coming up in October.
Guests, please leave a comment at the bottom because we’d love to hear your thoughts! Members, please remember to sign in and leave a comment. Have a good week!

In service,


Stephen Zhou, President
Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley
[email protected]


Weekly Inspiration: Summiting Mountains Without Sight

Every week we start our meetings with a short video highlighting innovation, inspiration, entrepreneurship, or social change. This week we are featuring a video from Great Big Story about the world’s first blind climber to have summit all of the tallest mountains.

Scaling the world’s tallest mountains is a feat in and of its own—doing it while blind is extraordinary. Erik Weihenmayer is the first blind rock climber to summit the tallest peak in every continent, Mount Everest included. At a young age, Weihenmayer was diagnosed with retinoschisis, a rare eye disease that left him sightless by age 13. But he didn’t let that hold him back from seeking out adventure, proving that what others may see as a hinderance can oftentimes be your greatest asset. Now, he’s using his incredible spirit to inspire others to live a life with no barriers.


Coffee with a Rotarian

Every month our club members are paired with fellow members and special guests for an exclusive one-on-one coffee session called Coffee with a Rotarian. The idea is simple: spend 1 hour of your time during the month to get to better know a fellow Rotarian! Some of the greatest friendships were spawned that way. Members report on their coffee sessions here.

This week we feature a coffee session between two of our members, Tzviatko Chiderov and Brett Sham.

Last week we heard what Tzviatko had to say about Brett. This week we hear what Brett has to say about Tzviatko:

Thank you, Brett, for sharing!

A big shout out to Tzviatko Chiderov for continuing to chair and organize these Coffee with a Rotarian sessions! If you are not yet signed up for a Coffee Session, please email Tzviatko at [email protected] to sign up!


World of Rotary

The over 1.2 million members of Rotary Clubs around the world form the largest humanitarian service organization, Rotary International. We’re part of this global family. This segment is a tribute to stories and to good deeds Rotary clubs around the world are conducting.

This week we take a focus back to one of our official youth programs, Interact Club. Interact is for young people from age 12 to 18, with clubs predominately for middle school age and high school age students. Our Rotary eClub is located in District 5170 (the greater Silicon Valley area), which is home to the world’s largest Interact district with over 8,500 Interact members. 

Annually, the Interactors of our district work together to raise over USD$100,000 in money for their international charity project. Not only does this project changes year-to-year, but the Interactors are the ones who choose the project and are the ones who inspire their own peers to rally around the cause.

Every year, the Interact leaders kick off their year with the largest Interact event in California: our district’s Interact Fall Leadership Conference (FLC). FLC brings together over 4,000 Interactors on a Sunday for inspiration and for education. This past Sunday (October 8th) the Interactors of our district gathered for their annual FLC and it was incredible.

Hard to visualize it? Don’t take our word for it, here’s an Interact student-created video for you to actually watch the recap of this past Sunday:

Gathering 4,000 high school students together on Sunday under their own free will is a feat alone. But it doesn’t compare to the inspiration of what these students decide to tackle together as a district with the international project that they chose to collectively rally for this year.

This week’s World of Rotary segment features their video announcing their International Project and cause for this Rotary year. Take a look at it below.

That’s the same video that was shown to over 4,000 Interactors on Sunday. Powerful in its own right.

Our club is proud to sponsor one of the Interact clubs of our district: the Interact Cub of KIPP San Jose Collegiate Prep. Throughout the year you will hear from our Interactors who will be working hard to help the marginalized people of the world.

Let’s work together to help support them in their noble efforts!


For Members Only: Updates

This segment of the meeting is dedicated to our club members. This section includes announcements and new initiatives. Guests, you are welcome to read this section or just skip it.

Members: NAMEBADGES ARE COMING! Update your info please!

The Membership Committee is working on ordering new magnetic name badges for each member! We are missing the info for many members!!! These name badges will have your name on it and your profession. Perfect for wearing when you attend any Rotary events or meetings. In order to do this, we need your most updated information. Members, please click here to submit your info.

Past Member Announcements:


Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we hold regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley every month! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of our events and service projects listed here.

Also be sure to join our Meetup Group for automatic calendar updates and to RSVP for our events! These are open to all guests as well!

Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley

Fremont, CA
137 Members & Guests

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

Check out this Meetup Group →

Past Event Recap:

Recap of Avenues of Service Project Fair last Thursday:

Past President Mitty here! It was terrific seeing members Megan Breyer, Cecelia Babkirk, Catherine A., and Heather Shaw at our district’s annual project fair, Avenues of Service, last Thursday at the Biltmore Hotel in Santa Clara! We had a blast networking with Rotarians and guests from throughout our district. We heard from the Vice President of Costco, John Matthews from Seattle. In addition to working for Costco, John also is a Rotarian and serves on the Rotary International Board of Directors. John spoke to us about Rotary membership and the importance of change and sustaining a positive net growth for our clubs in the years to come. Special kudos to member Cecelia Babkirk, known throughout the district as The Rotary Foundation Grants Queen, for presenting at the breakout session on The Rotary Foundation Grants. We heard great things about how it went!

Upcoming Events:

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)

Note: The Astrology social for Sat. October 14 has been postponed/canceled due to the recent fires in Northern California. The Marin Center is currently being used as a shelter for over 400 evacuees. Thanks for understanding!

Saturday, October 21, 2017 from 12 PM to 4 PM PST – Oakland Treasure Hunt

Join us for a treasure hunt fundraiser to support Game Theory Academy, a local nonprofit that pays high school students a stipend to take financial literacy and career development classes! The first person to e-mail [email protected] will get two free tickets!

Other Upcoming Club Events:

  • Sunday, November 19, 2017 – Save the date for a club social (Details TBD)
  • Friday, December 8, 2017 – Save the date for a club dinner (Details TBD)
  • Saturday, January 13, 2018 – Save the date for a club outdoor expedition (Details TBD)
  • Saturday, February 28, 2018 – Save the date for a club skydiving event (Details TBD)

More events coming soon! All events are open to guests, unless otherwise mentioned. Feel free to join us! If you ever have questions, please email [email protected]

What would you like to do?

Hey Members! What would you like to do? We’re working on putting together some exciting socials and impactful service projects for our upcoming quarter’s event calendar. Let us know what you want to do by posting in our members only Facebook Group (if you don’t have access, please request it with Webmaster Mitty). Remember, you’re only taking advantage of the full impact of Rotary when you’re stepping up to get involved.


Happy Dollars: Do Good by Sharing Something Good

Each week we ask our members to share stories with the club and toss in a few dollars to support our efforts. The primary goal of this section is to provide a fun way of getting to know each fellow members and guests, while giving back to a good cause.

Happy dollars is an opportunity to share something positive that has happened in your life whether it is personal or business. Think of it as your opportunity to brag a little, but also put a little bit into a karma jar. The money donated through happy dollars is put to charitable use, and the message that you leave for happy dollars will be posted in our online meeting the following week for the entire week for folks to see! (Pending that it’s appropriate!)

Last week’s happy dollars went towards powering our club’s projects and service grants.

Thank you to member Rory Olsen for his generous $15 donation to PolioPlus! Rory had this to say:
“Life is very slowly returning to normal. Please apply my gift to Polio Plus.”

Thank you to member Brian Liddicoat for donation! Brian had this to say:
Heading up to Portola with my son for “Run a Locomotive” weekend: two hours of running our own diesel locomotive on the railroad. Can’t wait.

Thank you to member Heather Shaw for her generous $20 donation. Heather had this to say:
“First time at district rotary meeting. Enjoyed meeting new people and learning more about rotary”

Thank you all for your donations last week!

This week’s happy dollars donations will be going to help fund our club projects and service grants!

Happy dollars is also a great opportunity to share with the group about something good that has happened to you, while giving back to a great cause.

So what are you happy about? Share with us below, and help support one of our future leaders!

Fill out my online form.

Selected Six

Every week at the bottom of our meetings, there is a comments section for members and guests to tell us what they enjoyed about the meeting or to ask questions to the speaker. We select six comments every week from last week’s meeting to be featured during this week’s meeting.

Here are six comments selected from last week’s meeting featuring the program on The Glass Giving Project:

Member Angela Hoang (Sydney, Australia) had this to say:
“Thank you ladies for your great presentation, i love that you’ve used your talents and hobbies for good! Amazing 😁 Also just to build on Tzviatko’s chat with Brett I just wanted to let our Rotary family know that Brett and I have recently gotten engaged! We’ve been enjoying lovely celebrations with family and friends, even managing to spend some time with the inimitable Rushton Hurley during his whirlwind trip down under recently!

Member Heather Shaw (California, USA) had this to say:
“Caroline and Rebecca great presentation and beautiful work! Makes me think of highlighting your work at our next fundraisers silent auction and it could be a win win for all involved. Also had a great time at local district meeting!”

Member Brett Sham (Sydney, Australia) had this to say:
“Tzviatko, loved getting to chat to you. Keith your photos always look amazing, wish I could be there for the astrophotography tour. Rebecca & Caroline, so great to hear from another eClub and see how you come together for service. Sounds like a great initiative that you have. The snowmen looked so cute. Here’s a photo of a few of us catching up for breakfast in Sydney last weekend!”

Guest Padmaja Magadala (California, USA) had this to say:
“I am so happy to have found the amazing work done through this club. I am visiting from Niles rotary in Fremont- had to visit this club after the captivating speech delivered by Mitty Chang at our club. Kudos to Lambert Lo for the gift of smile – such a noble thought! Shout out to Glassgiving team as well! I will definitely look more into it.

Member Rory Olsen (Texas, USA) had this to say:
“Wow! This program shone with innovation and shattered records for creativity. The program reflected well on the speakers and made fund raising seem almost translucent.

Member Rushton Hurley (California, USA) had this to say:
“Great videos about the surfing program for “misfits” and the Dreamcatcher Playground! I also noted that Keith will be doing a workshop on astrophotography in Marin next Saturday (14th) – I so wish I could go, but I’ll be on the other side of the country. I’d also have taken a shot at getting the two free tickets to the Game Theory Academy treasure hunt shindig on the 21st, but will be busy then, too. Argh! Becky and Caroline, it was wonderful to connect with you at the Rotary e-Club of East Anglia, and even better to get your story in front of our members and guests! I hope your beautiful glasswork finds its way into ever-more hands, raising funds for all sorts of good causes. Thanks again for taking your time to present to us!”

Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this week’s meeting after you watch the program below, and perhaps you’ll see your comment featured next week!


Program: Fellowships – The Best Kept Secret in Rotary

Every week we bring to you a new program on innovation, education, technology, and humanitarian service. This week our guest speaker is Rick Harned, from the International Travel and Hosting Fellowship.

A native Kentuckian, Rick was born in Hopkinsville. He attended Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Bellarmine universities and retired in 2010 after a lengthy career in banking, international trade promotion and information technology. He has been a Rotarian since 1999, a Member of the Rotary Club of Louisville. He has served District 6710 in various capacities, currently the District Rotary Foundation Chair. He is active as Administrator of Rotary’s International Travel and Hosting Fellowship and is in training as an RLI facilitator. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Food Literacy Project, Louisville KY. and is a Jefferson County Master Gardener.

Members and guests, please join me in welcoming Rick!

What did you think? Let’s hear from you!

Share with us your thoughts in the comments at the bottom of this meeting page! If you have questions for Rick, feel free to ask him in the comments too!


Upcoming Program Schedule

All of our guest speakers and programs are recorded live online. We welcome members and guests to join us in one of these upcoming recordings. Recordings are approximately 45 minutes long and are subject to change without notice.

Upcoming Recordings:

  • More coming soon

If you would like to join us for any of the live recordings, please email [email protected] with your request. Requests will be checked up until 5 minutes prior to the recording time. Please note the timezone is all California, USA time.


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. If you think you may want to join our eClub at some point in the future, we would strongly recommend you fill out the attendance form as it will improve your chances of success for your membership application.

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.
  • Tzviatko Chiderov

    Great to see Rushton with our Australian members there 🙂 fits well with the travel fellowship discussion.
    Rick, thanks for the educational program. I wasn’t aware there are so many fellowships. And one for members of Rotary eClubs?! Seems like there really is something for everybody.

    • I love our Aussie members!

      • Brett Sham

        We love you too Mitty!

    • Rick Harned

      Tzviatko, there has been a fellowship for members of e-clubs, but their website seems to be dormant currently. The rotary.org/fellowships page can give you some pointers – or email [email protected] for a direct response.

  • Keith Marsh

    Astrophotography Update: If you are planning to attend the meet-up on Saturday in Marin, please send me an email by Thursday to [email protected]. They are currently using the building for evacuees from the Sonoma fires. I will keep you updated.

    • @disqus_buKp99PU2B:disqus – Thanks for the update! Following the news on the fires; pretty crazy! Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help. Otherwise we’ll connect again closer to this weekend to find out what is going on.

      • Keith Marsh

        I went by the Gallery today and it is closed. The entire building is being used as an evacuation center for the Sonoma fires. We can try to reschedule when it re-opens.

        • @disqus_buKp99PU2B:disqus – Let’s do that. Perhaps those who are available can still get together in the East Bay on Saturday.

          Unless, Keith, you think there’s a service opportunity where we can help evacuees out on Saturday somehow. Not sure how though. Let’s discuss this more

          • Megan Breyer

            There is a huge Rotary outpouring of amazingness going on in District 5130, especially with the clubs local to where the fires are hitting. If our club wants to get involved, we have several options in regards to the ways we can do that. Let me know!!

          • Keith Marsh

            Mitty: They are telling people not to drop off donations and there are too many volunteers. I think the best thing we can do now is just stay clear. If something comes up, I will let the club know.

  • Sean Straker

    Go Eric! I thought you were onto something there that people don’t “summit for the view” – they do it because its hard and enjoy the challenge You’re determination and passion shows and that’s why you enjoy climbing.

    • Good to see you at our meetings again, Sean! 🙂

  • Rory Olsen

    Rick,

    Thank you for an interesting program. My guess is that this e-club might be able to revive the fellowship for e-clubs.

    • Rick Harned

      That would be great, Rory! I will see if I can get more information on the situation, and maybe some contacts, from the Rotary Fellowships office.

      • Rory Olsen

        My guess is that all of the e-clubs face the same challenges. sharing thoughts might improve our ways of handling the problems.

      • We appreciate that, Rick! 🙂

    • @rory_olsen:disqus – What a fun idea!

    • Rick Harned

      Rory, Jessica at the Fellowships Office at RI gave me the contact information for two principals of the E-Club Fellowship. What’s the best way to get those to you? Brett has my email address – please ask him to share that with you, and I’ll send you these names and addresses.

      • Rory Olsen

        Who is Brett?

        • I think Rick is referring to Brett Sham! He’s our member in Sydney, and on the programs committee for the club. 🙂

          • Rick Harned

            Mitty is correct. I have already emailed the contact addresses to him, since his was the only email address I had for your e-club.

  • Andrew Taw

    Thanks for your presentation, Rick! I checked out the Travel and Housing Fellowship site and am definitely intrigued!

  • Leanza Tupfer

    Amazing that you can still summit mountains without sight! Inspired by this story.

    It’s also a shame to hear that in an age of advanced technology, we further leave behind other areas of the world where child marriage is still a barrier to girls’ education.

    • @leanzatupfer:disqus – I loved the inspirational story too! You were an Interactor in this district, right? Isn’t it cool to see how far Interact has come with FLC? 🙂

  • Ariana Fishkin

    It’s great to see how our youth are becoming involved with Rotary through Interact. Being introduced to Rotary through Interact myself and being heavily involved in Interact through high school, it’s wonderful to see students that are taking the initiative to become more involved in service!

    • @arianafishkin:disqus – Thanks for joining us for one of our weekly meetings! Years ago, I was an Interactor myself too; Interactors are stepping it up these days and definitely inspirational. 🙂 Looking forward to meeting you next week!

  • Wonderful!

  • ShagsCA

    Interact is the garden of Rotary’s future leaders, and we can’t fertilize and tend to that garden enough! And then they move from high school to college and either find or establish Rotaract to keep their connection strong. Hopefully, they will then find us and continue their Rotary life of service on a 24/7/365 from anywhere there is an internet connection (the moon & Mars, perhaps?)! As for Fellowships, they are a great way to connect. I’ve participated in several since my start in Rotary, taking a break since moving to California.

  • All — the astrophotography social for Marin Center originally scheduled for Sat. October 14th has been canceled/postponed due to the recent fires in Northern California. The Marin Center right now is an emergency shelter for over 400 evacuees. We’ll have an opportunity to come together another time.

  • Nathan Gildart

    Rick, that was really informative. Thank you. I had a look at the educators fellowship and will give it a think and now curious what might be happening around Japan and in Asia. Love the Great Big Story video – people that overcome challenges really do inspire me. It reminded me of the Braille Trail initiative. Great stuff!

  • BDL

    Thank you, Rick! I be lovin’ me some Rotary Fellowships.

  • Angela Hoang

    Thanks Rick again for your chat, it was so great learning about the fellowships and I like that there really is something for everyone! I should look into a Rotary beer brewers fellowships, the wine appreciation fellowship looks very intriguing!!

  • The video on blind rock climbing was amazing! He was truly an inspiration on keeping a positive attitude and not letting yourself be limited.
    Rick it’s true I was unaware of the possibilities available with fellowships. Thanks for sharing!

  • Brett Sham

    What an inspiring meeting, from blind mountain climbing to the size of Interact in our district and the amazing work they do every year.

    Rick, thanks again for joining us and sharing with us the possibilities and opportunities with fellowships.

  • mahmood khan

    Rick, Thank you for sharing your insights and taking on so many tasks. I did not know so many Rotary Fellowships are there as resources that can help Rotarian. Most of all, these fellowships creates an extended community of caring human beings and help each other to do more and better. I can see so many possibilities with International Travel and Hosting Fellowship. I will look out for opportunities to participate.
    thank you.

    • Rick Harned

      You will be welcome, Mahmood!

  • Richard Knaggs

    Great video on blind climbing. Crazy stuff. Thank you Rick.. This is the first time I have heard of Esperanto. What is the expected financial contribution by a visitor to food etc.?

    • Rick Harned

      I’m not quite sure what your question means, Richard. Each fellowship sets its own membership requirements and dues; Rotarians normally cover their own expenses for events. Is that what you wanted to know?

  • Raquel D. Juncal

    It’s amazing how Interactors are taking the initiative to become more involved in service! 🙂

    Rick, thanks for your presentation! I’m currently participating in several fellowships and they are a great way to connect with other Rotarians! Love the idea of reviving the eClub fellowship!

  • Thank you, Rick, for helping spread ideas (and a love) for travel! No better way to learn about the world than by getting out into it, I figure. Brett, great job hosting! The video about the blind climber was excellent, as well. We should all work to find ways to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths.

  • john lozano

    Rick, thank you for your presentation. It is always nice hearing the amazing stories about how Rotary can enrich our lives.

  • Ferheen Abbasi

    Rick, thank you very much for your presentation! Perhaps one day I too will apply for a Rotary fellowship! It sounds like such an amazing experience 🙂

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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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