This is such an exciting time in the evolution of Toastmasters! With Pathways, our new World Headquarters, developing a global marketing plan, and potential upgrades to our infrastructure, we have a very bright future ahead – and I want to be part of the decision-making team that charts the course. I have valuable skills and experience that can be a great asset in this stage of our development, and this position seems to be the best avenue to channel them.
At this point, our greatest challenge is interpersonal conflict among leaders at the District level. Too often, challenges within leadership teams compromise their focus on our main objective: building new clubs and helping all clubs achieve excellence. If we enhance the ways we recruit and train leaders, we can develop more effective leaders and stronger clubs, improve the member experience, and strengthen our organization as a whole.
I believe that Pathways presents our greatest opportunity to grow. With widespread acceptance and uptake, our ability to reach more people and deliver more value will grow exponentially.
I would make the organization simpler. Not smaller, but simpler. As it stands now, it takes new members a while to understand the program and the opportunities it offers. Unfortunately, many leave before they discover the full range of benefits, support, and growth opportunities that Toastmasters offers. With a simpler structure and better tools to communicate the full value of the program, we can make it more appealing to more people.
The keystone of Toastmasters is our core values. Everything we do and everything we are comes back to those values. It’s time to breathe new life into those values by encouraging ourselves, each other, and all members to demonstrate them consistently. When we act with integrity, treat people with respect, serve each other, and commit to excellence, we become more effective communicators and leaders – and, more importantly, we become better people. Imagine if we all upheld these standards, everywhere, all the time. Who wouldn’t want to become a Toastmaster?
If we become complacent in planning for the future, we risk a decline in our vibrancy and value. What comes after Pathways? How will the world be different in 5 or 10 years? What will our members need to grow? How will the Toastmasters program stay relevant? How will we become more agile and responsive to a rapidly changing world? It is imperative that we continue to look ahead and adapt to the ever-rising needs and expectations of our members.
Again, the expectations of our members and the value we deliver should drive our decisions about the future. If expectations rise and we need to enhance our infrastructure to meet expectations, dues will rise. Of course, there are many other factors to weigh in that decision. As long as the value we provide exceeds the cost, members will continue to engage in and benefit from the program.
Growing up, I was taught that I had to do my homework, housework, and piano before I could play or socialize. Later in life, when I created businesses, I had that same mindset. The problem is, there’s always more work to do! Living with that philosophy, my time for socializing often amounted to zero. Toastmasters helped me cross a crucial bridge into a new way of living and achieving. I discovered the joy and possibilities we gain by cultivating connections with other people. In the process, I became a more effective leader, more efficient in reaching goals, and a much happier person.