You are the Author of the Book of Your Life

I’m going to talk to you about some things that I’ve learned in my journey most from experience, some of them I’ve heard in passing, many of them I’m still practicing, but all of them I do believe are true.

Life is not easy! It is not! Don’t try to make it that way. Life is not fair, it never was, it isn’t now, and it won’t ever be. Do not fall into the trap, the entitlement trap of feeling like you are a victim. You are not. Get over it and get on with it.

So, the question that we’ve got to ask ourselves is what success is to us, what success to you. Is it more money? That’s fine, I’ve got nothing against money. Maybe it’s a healthy family. May it’s a happy marriage. Maybe it’s to help others. To be famous. To have a jolly spirit. To leave the world a little bit of a better place than you found it. Continue to ask yourself that question. Now, your answer may change over time, and that’s fine. But do yourself this favor.

Whatever your answer is, don’t choose anything that will jeopardize your soul. Prioritize how you are, who you want to be, and don’t spend time with anything that antagonizes your character.

Be brave, take the hill, but first answer that question, “what’s my hill?” So, first we have to define success our ourselves and then we have to put in the work to maintain it. Make that daily tally. Tend to our garden keep the things that are important to us in good shape.

Where you are not is as important as where you are. It is just as important where we are not as it is where we are.

Look, the first step that leads to our identity in life is usually not “I know who I am.” “I know who I am.” That’s not the first step. The first step is usually “I know who I am not.” Process of elimination. Defining ourselves by what we are not is the first step that leads us to really knowing who we are.

You know that group of friends that you hang out with that really might not bring out the best in you? You know, they gossip too much, or they’re kind of shady they really aren’t going to be there for you in a pinch. Or how about that bar that we keep going to that we always seem to have the worst hangover from? Or that computer screen, right? That computer screen that keeps giving us an excuse not to get out of the house and engage with the world and get some real human interaction. Or how about that food that we keep eating? That stuff that tastes so good going down but makes us feel like crap the next week. When we feel lethargic, and we keep putting on weight. Well… Those people, those places, those things stop giving them your time and energy!

Just don’t go there! I mean, put them down! And when you do this, when you do put them down, when you quit going there, when you quit giving them your time, you inadvertently find yourself spending more time and in more places that are healthy for you, that brings you more joy.
Why? Because you just eliminated the who’s, the where’s, the what’s and the when’s that were keeping you from your identity.

Trust me too many options I promise you too many options will make a tyrant of us all. So, get rid of the access. The waste of time decreases your options. And if you do this, you will have accidentally, almost innocently, put in front of you what is important to you. By process elimination.

Knowing who we are is hard. It’s hard. So, give yourself a break. Eliminate the who you are not first, and you’re going to find yourself where you need to be. Instead of creating outcomes that take from us, let’s create more outcomes that pay us back. Fill us up. Keep your fire lit, turn you on for the most amount of time in your future.

We try our best, we don’t always do our best. Our architecture is a verb as well. And since we are the architects of our own lives, let’s study the habits, the practices, the routines that we have that lead to and feed our success, our joy, our honest pain, our laughter our earned tears. Let’s dissect that and give thanks for those things.

And when we do that, guess what happens? We get better at them! And we have more to dissect. Be discerning. Choose it because you want it. Do it because you want to. We’re going to make mistakes, you’ve got to own them. Then you’ve got to make amends. And then you’ve got to move on.

Guilt and regret kills many a man before their time. So turn the page, get off the ride, you are the author of the book of your life.

-Speech from a true American Patriot

President’s Update – November 2018

Good morning Rotarians!  

Today finds us one-third of the way through our Rotary Year.   November is The Rotary Foundation (TRF) month. Our Club Foundation Committee is led by Pete Leenhouts, and staffed by John Barrett, Diane Johnson, Betsy Pentz, Vince Verneuil, and Jack Zalaha (Planned Giving). The Foundation is known as “…the engine of Rotary…” Our goal this year is to raise $11,000 from among our Club members for the Foundation, so far, we have raised $5385. You will hear more from committee members throughout the month of November as they talk about the aspects of The Rotary Foundation.

Terry Umbreit, as Past-President and the chair of our Nominating Committee, will begin accepting nominations in November for various Club leadership positions for the next Rotary Year, 2019-2020. During this phase, he will be looking for nominations for Presidential candidates, to follow Paul Wynkoop. Club elections will be held during our Annual Meeting on Thursday, December 6th, 2018.    

Our faithful Club Secretary, Pete Hubbard, has announced that he is stepping down as Secretary as of the end of this Rotary Year. Pete  has served as Secretary since 2014 and I know I can say this on behalf of the club we will always be grateful for all that he has done for us, and we look forward to working with him in other roles within the club. I personally can’t say enough about what he has done for our club, and I know I’m not alone. Thank you Pete!

Betsy Pentz has volunteered to serve as Secretary in his place and will assume that role on July 1st, 2019, since she will be traveling for part of the next Rotary Year. We need to form an active committee to support her and this vital role. The goal is to transfer some of the secretary’s tasks directly back to the committee and to other committee chairs to help Betsy in her new position. One of the tasks that has been already been transferred is the management of our Club’s website. I’m currently working with the Public Information Committee, led by Pete Leenhouts, to start working on these details.

We are making decent progress on our effort to qualify for the Rotary Presidential Citation for this Rotary Year, one of my key goals is to earn this citation with platinum distinction. I will address the status at the next Administrative Day. The requirements are somewhat different each Rotary Year, and reflect not only the long-standing priorities of Rotary, but those of our RI President as well.

John Erickson reports that we are making reasonable progress on our annual Pot of Gold fundraiser. The prizes consist of  four $2,500 cash prizes, a $1,000 QFC gift card as second prize, and a $500 gift card for Hadlock Hardware. The drawing will be at the regular meeting of the Club on Thursday, November 15, 2018. John states that we could certainly use a renewed effort to sell every one of the tickets since this is one of our primary sources of funds.

John Barrett is wrapping up the Club’s support of our global grant which involved support of a well-digging project in Honduras with the final report. As this project comes to a successful conclusion, we are starting the process to identify the next Global Grant Project.  The South Lake Union Club reported on their work in Ethiopia with SPLASH to improve water and sanitation access and was met with excitement and positive feedback. I was excited by the positive enthusiasm and thought it would provide a perfect fit to create a similar global grant. As many of you can remember from the videos I have shared about SPLASH coupled with our dedication to help youth, Nepal is an area that includes our Club’s interests. Currently, the goal for the Grant will be to serve 8-10 schools which would serve approximately 2,500-3,000 schoolchildren daily, with improved water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure; behavior change programs, with the addition of the sustainability measures like rainwater harvesting. If we could harness the power of SPLASH and our Club, in conjunction with a few other Rotary Clubs we could develop a global project to support water and sanitation in Kathmandu. I will eagerly update everyone as details become available.  

The District Community Grant for which we have received conditional approval, EJC Rotary Support of the Jefferson Teen Center, should be ready for District approval in early December. John Barrett has lent his expertise and initiative to helping to determine the needs of the Jefferson Teen Center so that we can match our Club’s abilities to their needs. We have agreed to support the Teen Center for the next several years, so this is the first of what I would expect would be several Club and District Community Grants to support them.  

Since District Community Grants essentially take two years, a year in development and a year in execution, President-Elect Paul Wynkoop has begun working with Chimacum High School and FinnRiver to develop a District Community Grant to support the development of a small outdoor pavilion in the CHS Horticulture gardens to support that program.  If approved by the Rotary District, this project could begin as early as July 1st, 2019.

Club member Elena Lovato-Kraut has formed a small non-profit called “Holiday Meals” to put on the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals at the Tri-Area Community Center, and is seeking Rotary volunteers to help. The meals will be served on Thanksgiving, November 22nd, and Christmas Day, December 25th. Please let Elena know if you can help this year, or feel free to contact me. Since Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 22nd, we will not have a Club meeting that day.

We have a great Club, and I’m proud to be this year’s President!

Caleb Summerfelt
2018-2019 President
The Rotary Club of East Jefferson County

Critical to Life: Volunteering

Aristotle is credited with saying, “What is the essence of life? To serve others and to do good.” Washington State is ranked 16th among the 50 states and Washington DC for volunteers, that means that 30.6% of Washingtonians, or 1,644,364 volunteers. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 198.62 million hours of service were volunteered, totaling $5,000,000,000.00 of service that were contributed in 2015.

Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards.

Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. Experts have documents that when one focuses on someone other than one’s self, it interrupts daily tension-producing patterns, it also has been proven to make an individual healthier, moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, helps control over one’s fate while strengthening the immune system.

Volunteering also provides valuable community services so more money can be spent on local improvements instead of hiring needed labor to complete a task. The estimated value of a volunteer’s time according to the Corporation for National & Community Service is $28.32 per hour.

Understanding community needs will help foster empathy and self-fulfillment. Volunteering strengthens the community in many avenues, it can support families, improve schools, support youth and even, allows one to help beautify the community.

The greatest aspect of volunteering is that one can learn new ideas, tasks, or even different approaches to solving problems if one is willing. It is easy to say, we haven’t done it that way before, or even why change. Learning new approaches is vital to keeping our little gray cells active, as Agatha Christie character Hercule Poirot says, “…without the constant stimulation, my little gray cells will starve and die!”

Volunteers can discover hidden talents that may change one’s view on self-worth. Through working with local non-profit agencies, volunteers can learn about the critical functions and operations of one’s own village or even your local HOA. Helping with various projects, volunteers can gain knowledge of local resources that may be available to solve other community needs on other projects

While volunteering for a cause, it is important to volunteer from the heart, not because it is a forced obligation to “serve your time.” It is critical for everyone involved to give one’s best simply because one’s name is associated with the activity, which is invaluable.  More is at stake when one’s heart isn’t in the process, and one can cause more damage than intended.

The most rewarding aspect of volunteering is that volunteerism is an investment in one’s community and the people who live in it, helping you neighbors, your village, or the county, will make a substantial difference, not only for one’s self but the benefit of everyone. It is important to remember, every person counts!

From Behind the Podium

2018-2019 is going to be a great year! I’m excited to get started, and can’t wait to start working with everyone to complete the goals. To help achieve the goals during the year, the easiest way to keep informed about club progress will be to increase the level of transparency, all members should be able to know where we stand, and what we need to accomplish to meet the goals.
To address this issue, we will be creating a bulletin presenting detailed club reports. The content will discuss everything that needs to be known about current activities/projects, what projects require, and how to get involved. At any point, if you want to see specific content, please let me know, I will be happy to help!



Club membership 65
Service participation 40
New member sponsorship 10
Rotarian Action Group participation  1
Leadership development (DTA) participation 10
District conference attendance 5
Rotary Fellowship participation 1
District training participation 6


Annual Fund contributions $11,000
PolioPlus Fund contributions $26.50 PER ROTARIAN
Major gifts 1
Bequest Society members 1
Benefactors 10


Service projects  5


Interact clubs 1
Inbound Youth Exchange students 1
Outbound Youth Exchange students 1
RYLA participation 3


Improve online presence YES
Social activities 9
Update website and social media  20
Media stories about club projects  10
Use of official Rotary promotional materials YES


Conduct a member classification study YES
Club members talking with media YES
Development program for members YES
Collaboration with non-Rotary partner YES




When you are selling a product similar to one that someone else is selling, with similar features, at a similar price, the question becomes, how do you attract customers? Usually, when asked why your customers shop with you, people would typically say it’s because of your features or price, in short, this is a nice way of saying, we have no idea.

There are two ways to influence behavior: inspiration or manipulation. We manipulate the whole time – sales, promotions, unfortunately, manipulation works. Prices, promotions, fear and peer pressure are all used to manipulate and motivate a purchase. All of these techniques work, but none of them are sustainable. They are short-term wins and don’t encourage loyalty. Succesful leadership can help you reach the top, but they won’t make people follow you. Leadership is the ability to motivate people not just for a single event but to inspire individuals for years to come.

In the professional word, leadership means that customers will continue to support your company even if you make mistakes, after all, we are human, and we aren’t perfect.


Few leaders choose to inspire rather than manipulate to motivate people. Whether individuals or organizations, every single one of these inspiring leaders thinks, acts and communicates the same way, it’s the complete opposite of the rest of us. Consciously or not, how they do it is by following a naturally occurring pattern that is called “The Golden Circle.”

The Golden Circle identifies how leaders inspired action instead of manipulating action.

  • WHAT: Every company, hopefully, knows what they do because they can describe their actions.
  • HOW: Some companies know how they accomplish WHAT they do because they know how they’re different, specifically they have a unique selling point.
  • WHY: Very few companies know why they do what they do, WHAT is the companies purpose, and WHY should anyone care?

Normal companies communicate from the outside-in “…this is what we do, and this is how we do it…” For example, if Apple were like other companies, they would sound like this: “We make great computers, they’re beautifully designed and easy to use. Wanna buy one?”

Inspiring companies start with WHY. There’s no trickery or manipulation, they simply reverse the order of the information. “…we believe in challenging minimal expectations, and by thinking differently, we design products that are beautiful and easy to use, we also just so happen to make great computers. Wanna buy one?”

The fact is, Apple is really reversing the information because they start with WHY all the time. They simply think and communicate differently, the WHY engages us emotionally while the WHAT and HOW serve as the evidence of the belief. Other companies can attempt to copy what they do or how they do it, but if they don’t understand and start with WHY they will never be the same.

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, for example, a company marketed their product as a “32GB mp3 player.” While Apple stated “…7,000 songs in your pocket…” Both are the exact same message, the only difference is that the first company told us WHAT their product was while Apple told us WHY we needed it. Only when we decided we wanted an Apple product, did the WHAT actually matter, and then we chose the 32GB version, 64GB version or the 128GB version. The tangible details that proved we could get the 7,000 songs in our pocket, our decision started with WHY, and so did Apple’s offering.

The goal is to attract people who believe in your WHY. You don’t need the how to be different from the competition. It’s not a debate about better or worse, it’s a discussion about different needs, and before the discussion can even happen, the WHYs for each must be established.

Another example, if a company specializing in making trains and railroads in the late 1800’s, if this entity defined themselves by what they did and ignored the development of the airplane, they would have eventually died. If the company had defined themselves by WHY, transport mass people, and merchandise, this might have shifted from manufacturing trains to the development of a commercial airline.

It is in our DNA that we find the sense of belonging and the urgency for survival, this notion comes from a common set of values. Focusing on this concept, if a company was formed with the WHAT in mind, there might have been an edge of appeal, but success is hinged on the creation of a company that focuses on the WHY. This is critical because WHY shows that we care about an individual’s beliefs and in turn get a sense of belonging because the product now becomes a symbol of their beliefs.

Finding WHY is powerful, it is not an opinion, its biology. A cross-section of the human brain reveals the levels of the Golden Circle correspond to the three major levels of the brain.

  • The neocortex corresponds to relational thought and analytical thinking which translates directly to the WHAT.
  • The limbic brain corresponds feelings and emotion, while this is the area that decisions are made, this is also the part of the brain has no control over language so that is why it can be hard to describe feelings, this area directly translates to the HOW and WHY.

When we can’t put these feelings into words, we are forced to rationalize decisions with the evidence we have (the WHAT). When you communicate from the outside-in, you give all of the critical details while not engaging the limbic part of the brain, this is why people get the feeling when something “doesn’t feel right,” even though it still may seem like a rational decision. When you communicate from the inside-out, you are talking directly to the part of the brain that controls decision making, the language part of the brain, the neocortex rationalizes the emotions.

Gut-decisions and thinking from the heart actually all happens in the limbic brain. Organizations that fail to communicate a sense of WHY force us to make decisions with only empirical evidence, this is why decisions take more time, feel difficult and commonly leave us uncertain.

The limbic brain is extremely powerful and out ways rational thought, this is the area where innovation comes from, and it is why we take risks that seem illogical. This is the same reason people will pay more money for an Apple even though it is often less powerful than a cheaper PC. They do it for themselves because Apple’s are a symbol of who they are and how they like to be seen.

A great example, the Apple logo is upside down to the user and right way up for others to see, simply stated: clarity, discipline and, reliability. WHY is just the beginning!


As a human being, by default we are attracted to those have the same values and beliefs, when we believe the same things, a trust or a bond emerges. This is what allowed our ancestors to leave their families behind so they could go and hunt knowing that everything would be protected by the people who shared the same needs and beliefs. This principle can be easily applied when we recruit new members, we should recruit people who believe what we believe so that we can trust one another, instead of finding members purely based on skills and experience.

As a service club, we need to talk about our WHY and prove it with WHAT we do globally, within our community, and within our club meetings. WHY is just a belief, the HOWs are the actions we take while the WHATs are the results of the actions. All three but be in continuous balance, and when they are internal trust is built, and our value as a service club is perceived.

Trust is not a checklist, just because you fulfill your responsibilities does not create a sense of trust, it is a feeling, not a rational experience. We trust some people and companies even when things go wrong, and we don’t trust others even though everything might have gone exactly as it should have.

Our goal is to locate those who are passionate about our WHY, our purpose, our causes and our beliefs. Great organization don’t locate skilled people and motivate them, they find already motivated people and inspire them, the unfortunate reality is that people are either motivated, or they are not. Unless we can motivate people, something to believe in, something bigger than to work toward, they will motivate themselves to find an organization that will help them fill a need that we couldn’t. Tradition has shown that once individuals can trust the culture of an organization, they will take personal risks to advance that culture or organization. The key to remember, a great organization become great because the people inside the organization feel protected and engaged. A strong sense of culture creates a sense of belonging, people come to meetings and event knowing that their fellow members and leadership as a whole will look out for them and what they value the most.


Growing up, I always wanted to help, it was simply in my blood, and I knew I needed to help my community. For me, it wasn’t if I should help, it was how I should help. I stumbled through many organizations claiming to help, but at the end of the day the fit wasn’t right, and the organization’s impact on the community was negligible, and I didn’t feel that I was able to help those in need. After I earned my Masters in Architecture, I quickly realized, that while I loved the design field, this was not a practical way to help. My second master and my Ph.D. were in an engineering field, and while I loved school, I was still missing the possibilities of giving back or helping the community.

For me, when I joined Rotary three elements stand out, the first element is friendship, the second was personal development, and third, I had the chance to make a difference. Together, 1.3 million like-minded people, Rotarians, joined together to eradicate polio, a task that would be impossible for anyone to accomplish alone.

As the Chief Information Officer for a manufacturing facility, I love my job, every day is a different adventure, but ultimately at the end of the day, or at the end of the week, I look back, and I realize that daily life can be tough. We wake up, we go to work, deal with the boss, make some money, come home, try to have a personal life, go to bed, wake up, and repeat. After continually going through this cycle, we start to question why do we do what we do. Why do we keep in this cycle?

Traditionally human beings live their lives by accident, we live as life happens, but we can’t forget, fulfillment comes when we live our lives with purpose.

We want to wake up inspired, we go to work, come home and feel fulfilled each day, but how do we do this? The answer to that question is simple. We need to discover our WHY, we are better able to find the clarity and confidence to choose the careers, organizations, communities, and relationships that are most likely to inspire us if we can identify our WHY.


My goals this year revolve around increasing our presence in the community, helping our local neighbors while focusing on helping humanity on a global basis.

We do amazing community work, but we need to strengthen our immediate public image. To accomplish this, we will be boosting support for our Public Image Committee allowing them to take needed action to broadcast our current projects and our accomplishments. We will also be increasing our social media presence, and we will revitalize our current website to appropriately reflect our club actives, increasing which in turn will increase local interaction with our content and then direct involvement with our club.

In addition, we will be supporting and strengthening the club by aiming to achieve a net gain of 10 new members, we will improve our membership retention rate by 1% while also focusing on increasing a net gain in female members.

We will focus and increase our humanitarian service by encouraging more members to become involved in our service projects, while also by conducting significant local and international projects.

With a specific focus on enhancing the public image and awareness of our club, we will be increasing our number of media posts for club projects while focusing on documenting and details our volunteer hours, funds raised, community sponsors, and photographs of our amazing Rotarians in action. It is critical that the community sees and understands how we help.

Committees are a critical part to the club’s success, we need to energize our committees to accomplish our goals. The Membership Committee is a vital lifeline for the success of our club. We have to remember, club success rests on all of our shoulders – we must all be engaged, together we can do anything!

I will personally strive to help our club earn not only the Rotary Citation but also earn the citation with Platinum Distinction. This will be possible by achieving a minimum net gain of 6 new members, showing how our club’s members are People of Action on social media while also initiating a leadership, personal, or professional development program to enhance members’ skills and their ability to help the community.

Members & Engagement: I have set our goal for club membership to a total of 65 members and would like to see 10 current members sponsor new members while increasing our service participation to 40 a minimum of members.

Rotary Foundation Giving: I have set our Annual Fund contributions goal to $11,000 and set the Polio Plus Fund contributions to $26.50 per Rotarian. In addition, it would be an honor during my year if we could achieve a goal of adding 1 Major Gift, 1 Bequest Society member and 10 new Benefactors to our club.

While we work on increasing our presence in the community, I have set our Social Activities goal to 9 events, our goal to update our website and social media accounts it set to 20 updates a month, while strongly encouraging a minimum of 10 Media stories during the Rotary Year about club projects.

I’m excited to announce that working closely with Dr. Barrett and Pete Leenhouts, we have secured a District Community Grant to help revitalize the Jefferson Teen Center and we will continue to work towards securing a Global Grant to help with a personal passion of mine, water and sanitation.

Two key points to always remember, we must never stop learning, and we must always adapt to change. While it is often difficult to do so, it is a requirement for us to stay relevant in today’s culture.

It will be an honor to support our club as the President of the Rotary Club of East Jefferson County!