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By trade, I'm an IT project manager. Leadership and communication are two must-have job skills for a project manager. Like most of you, I joined a Toastmasters club to learn communication skills. As it turned out, I found that Toastmasters was actually a better place to learn and practice leadership skills.
In other words, Toastmasters programs provide a safe environment for us to learn both communication and leadership skills. In Toastmasters, five clubs are grouped together as an Area (approximately 100 members), five areas form one Division (25 clubs, approximately 500 members), and the Founder's District has 8 Divisions (225 clubs, approximately 4500 members).
Start the year off right with a membership building program for your club. The Smedley Award begins August 1 and ends September 30. It's simple. Add five new, dual, or reinstated members to your club between August 1 and September 30 and receive a "Smedley Award" ribbon, named in honor of the founder of Toastmasters, which you can display on your club's banner.
Winning clubs will be revealed on the Toastmasters International web site.
Our focus this year will be to build new clubs and grow our membership, sharing the benefits of Toastmasters to more people in our District. Do you have an idea for a new Toastmasters club? Or know someone who is interested in starting a club in their area? Tell us about it and we'll help you get it started.
We are at the beginning of the new Toastmasters year and I hope you are all enjoying your experience as members. I invite you to GET INVOLVED in Toastmasters' activities within as well as outside your club to support all Founder’s District members in achieving excellence.
I challenge you to continue to grow by achieving your own educational and leadership goals. Continued growth -- personally and professionally -- translates to a Successful YOU, which leads to successful Clubs, Areas, Divisions, and District. Let all members from Pasadena to San Clemente work together to grow quality Founder’s District Toastmasters for 2015-2016 and beyond!
It’s my honor and pleasure to serve as the first ever District Director of Founder’s District. My vision for this year is to help you achieve your goals and to keep Founder’s District focused on its mission, which is to build new clubs and to assist all clubs in achieving excellence.
Together, we can bring about the changes you are looking for. For example, one of the goals for this year is to inspire more leaders, mentors, and coaches to step up to the plate to serve our members. That’s why I chose the theme, “Join and Serve to Prosper.” Serving in Toastmasters is such a wonderful learning opportunity.
Many members in Toastmasters complete 10 speeches and receive the Competent Communicator (CC) award. They believe they have learned it all, so they leave the organization. In my humble opinion, serving in a District leadership role after obtaining the CC award is one of the best ways for members to learn and prosper.
On Wednesday, March 25th the La Palma Toastmasters club (#1412788) celebrated the 5th anniversary of their club's chartering at a meeting attended by City Council members Steve Hwangbo and Michelle Steggell and Founders District Lt. Governor of Education and Training Pan Kao DTM and Area E4 Governor Thomas Nguyen CC ALB. Nearly 25 members and guests attended the 90 minute get together which also included a regular TM meeting.
In order for us to utilize our time more effectively at the Business Meeting on Saturday, April 25, we have put together some of the routine items discussed into a Consent Agenda. These routine items are packaged and accepted as a group. In this package are items that do not need any discussion or a vote. Any District Officer can request the removal of an item from the Consent Agenda if they feel that we should vote on it independently. However, the idea here is to be able to focus on items that need more attention and limit the time spent on the items that are general in nature.
It is my honor and privilege to present the Gene Beckwith award for 2014-2015 to Linda and Richard Daugherty. They have served as the official district photographers for the past three years, but served in that role for several years before that. They have literally taken thousands of pictures of our members at LACE, Area/Division contests, district meetings, special occasions, and conferences. If it had to do with the district and our members, you can guarantee that Linda and Richard would be there - with cameras and smiles.
Photo by Harry Yan, DTM
How do you retain your existing club members? When and why do so many Toastmasters lose interest? Member retention is one of the greatest issues plaguing our Toastmasters clubs.
The Phoenix Club in Anaheim provided the venue and a delightful breakfast for participants in the second Founder’s District Retention Workshop. District leadership and members discussed existing Toastmasters tools and innovated solutions to invigorate clubs and retain members.
Photo by Richard Daugherty
Ninety Toastmasters who attended Founder’s District Spring Marketing Workshop, came away with unbreakable rule #1: Consistency beats Ability! The remaining rules can be found in Cathey Armillas book: The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9 ½ Ways To Get People To Love You.
What helps a club retain membership? Interesting question! The answer is just as interesting, depending on whom you ask. If you ask me, I run, not walk to my weekly Toastmaster meeting for my weekly one-hour therapy session! I wholeheartedly enjoy the camaraderie between our members. New and seasoned members experience a safe and encouraging environment where personal growth is watered like a delicate spring flower. Although encouragement, positive feedback, and growth should be expected of any Toastmasters club, Tools 2 Lead club (Club 921159), based out of Department of Child Support Services in Santa Ana, takes their camaraderie to new levels!
In Toastmasters, we are given multiple opportunities to learn, grow, and to become a better communicator. It also gives us an unusual opportunity to learn first-hand about leadership – what to do, and what NOT to do. But in order for us to really take advantage of this learning opportunity, we need to step up and take on the various leadership roles that are available.
You're probably already familiar with the leadership opportunities that are available at the club level; but did you know there are MORE chances to learn about leadership outside of the club? You can learn about how to work with other clubs as an Area Governor (appointed by District Governor); you can learn how to delegate as a Division Governor (elected); you can enhance your team-building skills in the positions of Lt. Governor Marketing or the Lt. Governor Education and Training (elected).
Does your club have a name? I'm not talking about "Smedley Chapter 1,” “Tongues A Flame,” “Vineyard Journeys” or any of the club names registered at World Headquarters. To be successful, a club must be "human" and have many names and faces. People want to connect with other people who have common interests, who are facing similar challenges, and who want to offer support and encouragement.
Remember the Toastmaster's Promise . . . "to attend club meetings regularly." To me, that sounds like yet another obligation in a life filled with obligations. I prefer to think of it as, "twice each month I'll link up with Lee, Jason, Wendy, Siri, Clint, Sami, Sue, to have some fun and coach each other to become better speakers and leaders." I don't suggest that we revise the Toastmaster's Promise; however, the realization that my friends are expecting me makes a huge difference in my motivation to prepare for and arrive to the meeting on time.
It seemed everyone was there. Leaders were trained and leaders trained. The numbers were impressive. Around 900 members were in attendance at the two events on June 1 and June 29. The variety of sessions offered more than officers’ training. The highlighted workshops included "Secrets to Better Photos", "Job Interview: Get Them to Say Yes", "7 Habits of Successful Leaders", "Winning a Humorous Speech Contest", "The P5 Model for Presentation Success", "You Can Turn the Table on Table Topics", "Sharing the Gift of Toastmasters: A Simple Way to Build a New Club", and "They're Not Laughing Because You're Not Funny. But You Can Be". Much magic was required from almost 50 volunteers at each event to plan the day and deliver the 25 educational classes each appropriately at Chapman and Biola Universities.
Recognition and appreciation must be given to Siri Payakapan, DTM and Wilma Springer, DTM, PDG who planned and coordinated the event, spread the message and assured that the day would be memorable and club officers would be ready to lead Founder’s District to greatness and be Distinguished for the 2013-2014 terms.