The Gene Beckwith Memorial Trophy was established at the Founder’s District Fall Conference in 1981. The Founder’s District Director selects the Toastmaster who best exemplifies the humor, wisdom and leadership qualities of Gene Beckwith, DTM, PDG. The first recipient of this award was Roy D. Graham, DTM, PID.
I've never met Gene Beckwith so I have no idea how to compare his humor, wisdom, and leadership qualities. Our only option is to compare such qualities with those of recent past recipients of this award. This is the most prestigious award the district will bestow on a member so this selection is not taken lightly. Not one, but multiple years of contributions are considered.
This year's recipient began his venture into leadership by serving as a simple club coach for a struggling club. Ten years ago this club had 7 members and on its last leg. Through hard work and perseverance he helped the club grow its membership year after year up to 37 members and is consistently Presidents Distinguished every year. He remains a member of the club today.
He found his passion in pursuing leadership positions that involved coaching clubs, teaching others to coach clubs, building new clubs, and especially youth leadership programs. As Lt. Governor of Marketing, a position we now call the Club Growth Director, he was largely responsible for building enough clubs to achieve distinguished district status, a rarity in Founder's district for the last 20 years. Two years later as district governor, leading his team under the theme "Pursue Your Passion", he incredibly achieved for the first and only time in the history of the district, select distinguished status.
His leadership skills and wisdom are incontrovertible. As far as humor ... well, if you've ever heard him speak and tell the story about the tortoise and the hare, you would agree that he has no problem with humor. And even more importantly, he is inspirational.
Congratulations Distinguished Toastmaster, past district governor, Harry Yan.