February 4, 2013 Rotogram: 28

Diamond Dogs Ready to Play

With his team ranked at 13 in the NCAA pre-season, Mississippi State’s Head Baseball Coach John Cohen brings his annual season preview.

Next Week: Starkville Police Department

Starkville Police Chief David Lindley gives a status report on his department next week.

For the Record—January 28

Invocation and Pledge: Hank Williams

Attendance:                                   65.83%

Present — 115 (37 exempt)

Absent — 60 (8 exempt, 10 honorary)

Makeups reported: Mike Cayson and Jeff Donald

Guests: Guests of members were Bob Zion of  Don Lasell, Dolph Bryant of Jack Forbus, Erdogan Memili of Martha Wells, John Rigdon and Will Staggers of Pat Lane, and Katherine Little of Jerry Toney. Guest of the Club was Guilia Martinoli, RYE student.

Regional Youth Exchange

Giulia Martinoli and Debra Hicks attended the South Central Rotary Youth Exchange winter conference in Tulsa, Okla., on Jan. 18-20.

SCRYE promotes and facilitates Rotary International Youth Exchanges in its 36 member districts from Alabama to Arizona, and from Texas to Minnesota. President Debra noted that there even were representatives from British Columbia.

Out of the 180 exchange students at the meeting, Giulia was honored to carry her country’s flag at the Sat. banquet.


rodeo-logo - webOur seventh annual rodeo hits the gates this weekend. If you are not using your ticket allotment, you can contribute them to Palmer Home or the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Golden Triangle. Proceeds from the event will add to the endowment for the Oktibbeha County guaranteed tuition program at East Mississippi Community College.

February 8-9    Mississippi Horse Park

Between the Lions

Reading Schedule

  • 2/05     Jeff Donald and MarthaWells –Emerson Family Resource Center at 11:00 a.m.
  • 02/07   Sarah Fratesi and Brad Jones First Presbyterian at 9:30 a.m.

Next week:

  • 02/12     Carrie Beth Randall
  • 02/13     Andy Gaston

Rotary and Taxes

Treasurer Clay Richardson reports that for those who pay their dues with personal funds, the tax deductible portion of the club fees is $126. Additionally, whatever is paid in Paul Harris Fellow contributions (normally $100) is deductible. Thus, $226 is the amount most Rotarians should claim on their tax returns.

Draft Billing Incentive Continues

Remember, the board still is offering a $50 credit to your Paul Harris account if you sign up for bank draft for your quarterly bill.

Palmer Home: Everyday Leaders and Everyday Service

January 28 — The 108-year-old Palmer Home for Children exists to “take the children who are broken, who nobody wants” said Drake Bassett, CEO of the ministry in Columbus.

Instead of detailing the home’s workings, he expressed the philosophy under which it operates. His focus is on leadership, service, trust, character and passion.

At the peak of a successful career, first with IBM, then with the Nielsen Company, Bassett said he realized that although he liked working with marketing and demographic information, he had lost the passion for it.

As president and CEO of one of six Nielsen divisions, he attended a symposium where a retired executive challenged participants to question their own passion. Reflecting on his career, the Collierville, Tenn., native decided he wanted a new challenge. That brought him to interview with Palmer Home.

“In contrast with Connecticut and New York where I lived, no one knew or cared much where you worked.” he said. “Here, wherever I go they know Palmer Home. Its deep and longstanding bond with Starkville became apparent early on. And, that’s evidenced by the number of board members from the community.”

He explained the work isn’t monotonous. It takes years and years to invest in the children. At this point, residents range in age from 15 months to 21 years. They are abandoned or from broken homes for many reasons.

“Their stories are heartbreaking,” Bassett said. “Every once in a while when I review files and see some of the things that have happened to our children, I want to kick someone. That would only give a momentary sense of justice.  It’s not my place. Our place is to serve.”

Bassett’s answer is to recruit, train and develop great people. The atmosphere and culture of Palmer Home is determined by its people.

First, he emphasizes that leadership is not about title. There are leaders all through the organization — in the kitchen, in the finance office, in the homes, on the grounds. Leadership is about the individual decisions to do the right thing. It assumes responsibility.

“You don’t have to be given instructions to deal with a problem. Fix it. Debrief. Then figure how to avoid the situation in future. Leaders don’t ask. They go. They solve problems,” said Bassett. “My ROTC commander said, ‘When in command, take command.’”

His second indispensable principle is a spirit of service. Citing Jesus’ example, he said, “He showed there’s a time and place to talk, but a time and a place to serve.”

“People need to know when things fall sideways that you’ll be there,” he said. “The only way to lead any relationship or organization is by building trust. You have to know the people with whom you work in the trenches. You trust because you’ve seen them in action under pressure.”

Bassett challenges himself to sit down with every employee regularly. With about 50 to 60 staff, the process is not quite as complicated as it was when he managed 400 or 500 people.

“If you can’t spend a few minutes to talk with the people around you about the things that matter to them and let them know that you care about them more than your own agenda, you’ll never build trust,” he said. “Once you build the trust, they’ll go through a wall for you.”

Finally, he said that character comes into play each time Palmer Home hires house parents. Their influence is built by the things they say, the way they treat themselves and their marriages, and the way they deal with a sick child at four in the morning.

“It is character, not law, that preserves civilization,” said Bassett. “It says something about your ability to keep a commitment, your respect for others. Character chooses the high road over betrayal and tells the truth whatever the consequences.”

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