My Toastmasters journey began nine and a half years ago in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, helping to charter a new club. After a year, in February of 2009, I was honoured to be the Charter President of River Talkers Toastmasters. I joined Toastmasters to get more involved in my local community and through club leadership, I felt I was contributing. I wanted to work harder on my presentation and speaking skills, so I joined Toast of the Coast, Advanced Club, which was an hour and a half drive every other Saturday for a 9:00am meeting.
Joining a second club led to more opportunities to develop my skills and had the added benefit of broadening my Toastmasters network. This network of Toastmasters that had taken full advantage of the program was a great inspiration. I started considering my next steps – how cool would it be to be an Area Director!? My year as Area Director opened my eyes to the broader world of Toastmasters International. There are so many opportunities outside of our clubs!
The subsequent year, I took on the challenge of Division Director and loved the role. It was great to work with a team of dedicated Area Directors who wanted to see our clubs succeed as much as I did. I had aspirations of working through the Senior Leadership roles, but put it on hold while I studied to obtain my Certified Management Accounting designation. As I was winding down my studies, the opportunity came up to step into the role of Public Relations Manager. In considering this position, I had to determine the “why” – why do I want to do this? If I had answered the question three years earlier, it would have been about the title – how cool would it be to be District Director!? What I soon realized is that it was no longer about me, it wasn’t about a title, it was about being a better Toastmaster! When recruiting new members, I often say “no one joins Toastmasters to be a better Toastmaster” (meaning we join to develop skills we take outside).
I have come to realize that leadership in this organization is about giving back (with the added bonus of teaching so many valuable lessons). I am excited for the upcoming year, to serve our members and clubs as District Director. I want to be a better Toastmaster and I urge you to think about how you can give back through mentorship, leadership and service.
Program Quality Director
Thank you for electing me to be your Program Quality Director for 2017 – 2018. I am honored to continue working to build a stronger District 45. We have fantastic members across the district. I have been quite fortunate to work with many of our members. I see my role as Program Quality Director to be focused on ensuring our members have access to the training that they need to accomplish their goals. The next two months are an extensive planning period. I will be working with our district leaders to plan educational activities for this next year. Please send me your ideas and recommendations. Those of you who work with me know that I like to take many different ideas and figure out how to focus energy to have a strong impact on the district.
This year, I will continue to help clubs engage our members in the Toastmasters educational program. Together we will enhance member experience. We will help members recognize the value of Toastmasters leadership training. We will demonstrate how our program enhance their performance. I look forward to working with you this year to help strengthen your club. Together we will ensure that every member can succeed.
Now that you know about my plans for this Toastmasters year, the rest of this article is about my Toastmasters experience.
I joined a corporate Toastmasters club in 2000 to overcome fear of public speaking. I am an engineer. I recognized early in my career that I had a hard time with technical communication. Toastmasters helped me present my data as a coherent story. I became a club officer to help others in my club develop their skills. Then I became an Area Governor (now we would call that office an Area Director). In 2014 I volunteered to help the Division B Governor. I was awarded the 2014 – 2015 District 45 Toastmaster of the Year for my contributions. At the time, I didn’t realize what a positive impact I was having. I was simply doing things I loved to do, and a few things that were terrifying. I was working with great people on a variety of challenging projects. This may or may not be your idea of fun, but it is exactly what I love to do. Like many Toastmasters, I joined to improve my speaking skills and I learned that I also wanted to develop my leadership skills.
My leadership activities in District 45 bloomed in 2015. I served as Division B Director from 2015 – 2016 where I worked with a great team of Area Directors. Division B performed very well that year and became a President’s Distinguished Division. This was largely due to our Area Directors and club officers. Their dedication and leadership helped motivate clubs through the Division to reach beyond their goals. I was quite honored to receive 2015 – 2016 District 45 Division Director of the Year for my work in guiding this amazing team.
In 2016-2017 I served as District 45 Club Growth Director. In this role, I gained a much broader sense of our diverse district. I realized that we had people in different parts of the district doing very similar activities. Each of these groups thought they were alone. We also had many individuals doing a lot of work, while others were looking for a project to help with. It was a great challenge to bring these people together. Email, conference calls, and newsletter articles are all powerful tools to help people collaborate with those who are physically distant from them.
At each step in my Toastmasters journey, I’ve learned invaluable lessons and met terrific people who helped me get the job done. I can’t wait to work with you.
Club Growth Director
I joined Toastmasters in April 2004, after my friend Alain Bilodeau invited me to a Civil Speakers meeting. I immediately saw the potential of the Toastmasters education and leadership program and joined after my second meeting. At the first opportunity I got involved on the club executive and eventually became an Area Governor. This is the path that has led me to Club Growth Director.
Along the way, I have been a member of four clubs: Civil Speakers, Golden Toastmasters, Advanced Dawn Breakers and, Rise and Shine Advanced Toastmasters. I have been a club sponsor and club coach as well. I have held the positions of Area Governor, Division Governor, Public Relations Manager, all while achieving two Distinguished Toastmasters Awards. I do not want appear as boastful, but I do want to point out that if you buy into the program, you will succeed.
As the Club Growth Director (CGD), it is my responsibility is “to generate positive awareness of the Toastmasters brand for the purpose of attracting and retaining members.” My goal is to continue the excellent work of my predecessor, Jeff Hebert, DTM. As CGD, my role is to focus on club growth, new clubs and club retention. I will need club coaches to assist in this process, and I have a club coach chair, Bob Bechtold who has agreed to assist the district again this year. If you are interested in becoming a club, coach contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to continuing to work hard for the members of District 45 and I am sure we will grow together.
Public Relations Manager
I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to serve with the terrific Trio that will be guiding District 45 to new heights in 2017-18.
Seven years ago, when I relocated to New Hampshire after practicing architecture for three decades in San Francisco, I fell into the possibilities of living in a small, rural community. In 2011 I joined Portsmouth Toastmasters to hone my communications skills and strengthen my voice in my small
town, not realizing that I would eventually want to serve the widespread and diverse community of Toastmasters. In 2015-16, I was Area 10 Director, and this past year I served as Division B Director. Each step along the way has swelled my perception of the gains possible though Toastmasters. I’ve learned too the wide variety of perceptions and philosophies in this vast but single-minded group.
As Public Relations Manager, my service to you will be twofold. First, there is the important business of keeping all of you informed and updated on District events. I am looking forward to a larger presence on social media to augment our website. Both District 45 and Toastmasters International offer an abundance of materials that can motivate and inspire every one of us, and I look forward to exploring new ways to share these.
Second, I will focus on increased visibility in the outside world. With increased brand awareness of the empowerment Toastmasters offers, we can look forward to increases in our membership, building on our unified strengths.