Gwen joined the Coastmasters Club located in Dana Point in 2008. She learned about Toastmasters International at a Jack Canfield conference. It was there that she met a business owner who attributed his business success to being involved as a Toastmaster. Up until that point, Gwen had received all of her communication training skills as a corporate leader and assumed that Toastmasters was only for people afraid of public speaking. She joined Toastmasters with the goal of learning to speak on topics outside of her comfort zone and corporate expertise. She also wanted to become involved with a reputable organization that supported the local community.
Being a dedicated member in her local Coastmasters Club, Gwen soon began to serve on the executive committee. She was first elected as Club Secretary, and later V.P. of Membership. She also successfully led the Youth Leadership Program for the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Juan Capistrano. In 2010 and 2011, Gwen was elected to serve as Club President. In that role, she focused on achieving both the Club DCP goals, and bringing club leaders together as an executive council to enrich the member experience. During her term as President, the Coastmasters Club achieved 10 out of 10 DCP goals.
“It is important to inspire members by being a positive example for them to learn from. I made sure to show my level of interest and commitment through my weekly actions in the club, and also volunteering for area and division activities when opportunities were provided.”
Initially, Gwen served as Division G Marketing and PR Chair in 2011-2012, where she established the Division G website and reinitialized the Facebook page. This experience resulted in being tapped on the shoulder by Sushma Rajput, Division G Governor and Kam Jahali, Area G-2 Governor to consider serving as an Area Governor. Gwen added, “We all need someone who can look us in the eye and say, you can do this! That nudge can go a long way”.
“Serving in this role, I was focused on creating a connection between the different clubs in the G-2 Area. I established an executive council among the Club Presidents and provided a forum for sharing best practices and communicating Area goals and priorities.”
Under Gwen’s leadership, Area G-2 achieved President’s Distinguished Area for the 2012-2013 term. To accomplish this required clubs achieving their DCP goals, Area Governor visits, and chartering one new club. Gwen was instrumental with helping to charter the Lensmasters Club.
Division G, led by Kevin Graham, DTM, had a very successful year in 2012-2013, with achieving a President’s Distinguished Division. Division G chartered four new clubs, and had first place winners at the Founder’s District Fall Humorous Speech Contest, Spring Table Topics Contest and International Speech Contest.
Gwen was elected 2013-2014, Division G Governor, and has continued the success momentum and standards of club excellence and quality established by the prior Division Governor leaders. “It is truly about supporting our club members in helping them achieve their communication and leadership goals.”
“We are focused now on building new clubs, and supporting club leaders on achieving their DCP goals. I have talented and amazing Division G leaders serving with me and we are on track to achieve another successful term as a Division.”
Gwen’s award of 2012-2013 Area Governor of the Year is a great reminder of how hard work and focus can pay off. Her advice on this topic is well worth remembering. “Remain focused on your current role, do the best that you can, and stay in the present moment. The more energy and effort you put into what you are doing right now, the more it can help to create a great future for you”.
Personally, Gwen said that Toastmasters has given her the chance to emerge as an effective communicator and leader. “I am much more confident as a speaker and leader. I know that I can deliver at a high level in whatever task I take on personally or professionally.”
As members within Division G, we are all very privileged to have such a talented leader with Gwen Earle, and we are excited to see the success ahead for Division G in 2013-2014.