Thursday, 25 February 2016 11:09

Spirit of Excellence Award Recipients

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Congratulations to Robert T. Hollis, DTM and Les Jenison, DTM! Founder’s District Spirit of Excellence Awards were presented at the DEC meeting on February 23, 2016 at the La Palma Community Center. Here are their Toastmasters journeys and secrets to success.

Robert T. Hollis, DTM


Bob's first toastmaster club was nearly 50 years ago in 1968 in Westminister in the back room of a restaurant that no longer exists. He has been in five clubs and started two of them. Currently a member of the Anaheim Breakfast Club, he has held every position many times and always reaches for Presidents Distinguished. His favorite part about Toastmasters is competing in contests. Two of his crowning achievements were beating John Latin at an Area contest, and representing Founders District in the International Contest at the regional level back when there was a regional level. He's been around a long time. After 45 years, he finally accepted the position of Area Governor and completed his final requirement earning his Distinguished Toastmaster designation.

1. Why have you continued your membership in Toastmasters as long as you have?

To continue to improve my speaking skills. (Even James Earl Jones continues to employ a voice coach.) Also for the friendships developed through the years. The list is long, but TM is a personal development program that is hard to beat. I love it.

2. One thing you would share with others about Toastmasters. What would it be?

There is so much to learn and do in Toastmasters beyond the CC (1st) Manual. Don't quit. Always make time in your schedule for Toastmasters. Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, Toastmasters is still the best personal development program on the planet.

Les Jenison, DTM


Currently, Les is a member of Club 231 - Newport CenterToastmasters Club. According to Colette Gardner, DTM, PDG, and Dr. Bob Wood, Les has volunteered to videotape members' speeches and evaluations from the very beginning. The clips are really excellent tools for members to improve their communication skills, as well as the key success factor of the club. Dr. Bob Wood received the Spirit of Excellence award on behalf of Les at the DEC meeting.

1. Why have you continued your membership in Toastmasters as long as you have? (35 years and counting)

Like most people drawn to Toastmasters, I knew that I needed the help, training and encouragement it could provide as I was just getting into the field of real estate, and wanted to be better equipped to deal with what is the most important part of that business -- communicating effectively and clearly with the huge diversity of customers that I would encounter. As a mentor told me early on in my real estate career, don't be afraid to "take, take, take" of everything that is offered to you when you are getting established, but don't forget to give it back 100 fold when you have taken all that you need. I think that is one of the most satisfying parts of this organization. I will never run out of opportunities to act like the wind beneath the wings of the new members who need the directions and support that I can help to provide. 

2. One thing you would share with others about Toastmasters. What would it be?

Periodically, I will run into a former member who will invariably ask me, "Are you still going to Toastmsters?" My answer is always a positive and upbeat "of course!" When they grill me as to what I could possible learn after all these years, I remind them of the myriad discussions I have had with past members in which they confide in me that after they stopped, they found that it wasn't like riding a bike -- (once you learn how to do it, you never forget). It is very much like my golf game. I have to continue to play and practice at golf to remain competitive and sharp, and the same is true with communication skills.

Read 3974 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2016 15:58


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