District Leadership 2018-19

Florian Bay: Vision 2019

I took away a lot from this year’s Mid-Year Training in Kuala Lumpur. Firstly, tropic rainstorms are something to behold and can soak one’s only pair of leather shoes taken along for the trip in minutes. Secondly, the real version of Nasi Goreng is soooo much better than the prepared one from Lidl.

Mid-Year Training

Lastly and finally, everything we do in our Toastmasters is driven by our organisational mission.“We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.”

I would like to invite all of you leaders and members to reflect on it for a moment. This mission is why we, as a District, have launched so many initiatives designed to help you and your clubs. Be it the beginnings of standardised Club Officer Training, the imminent launch of our Club Ambassador Programme, club and member level incentives and our 1 – 70 – 100 vision

– A member gaining an educational award each year is evidence that as they rise through Pathways levels, they are becoming more effective communicators and leaders! 

70 – Making the most of Toastmasters membership takes time, especially if one has leadership aspirations and wants to test themselves by becoming a club or District leader. Empowering requires retaining. This is why we should strive to retain 70% of our members each year!

100– Becoming an effective communicator requires an audience, becoming a leader requires others to serve. This can’t happen with a handful of people, however it becomes easier when a group reaches 20+ people. The magic of Toastmasters only works when 100% of our clubs are thriving and growing.

Arnaud Sartre: Awards Galore!

January saw myself, Florian and Andy receive our Mid-Year Training and boy we have some news! 

Renewals – Your Club will have received an email confirming the renewals window is open, this is great news and it means the 20 to 20 pizza challenge is now open! At the time of writing this article, we already have our first Club to renew its members … Congratulations to Epsom Speakers Club for being the first to renew 30 members already!

Talk-Up Toastmasters – On 1st February, the Talk Up Toastmasters campaigns opens. Every Club that adds 5+ new, dual or reinstated members between 1st Feb and 31st Mar will receive this coveted award. Award winners will receive a new ribbon to display on their Club banner and 10% off their next order from the Toastmasters store. Additionally, each winning Club will receive a free pack of Pathways ribbons from the District.

Zeus Award – What is this? Another Greek god? Yes, and more specifically a new District Award launching this year. All Clubs that have been awarded the Smedley Award and go on to get both the Talk-Up Toastmasters and Beat The Clock Awards will receive a very special Award in the Summer as long as they end the year with a net growth of at least 10 members. As we strive for Excellence, the Zeus Award will reward those Clubs achieving an outstanding performance on membership growth.

Club Coach – Looking for a new Challenge that will earn you credit towards your ALS or DTM? You may be the perfect candidate as a Club Coach. And hot off the press, Toastmasters will not only award your credit for rebuilding a Club, but you will also qualify to receive credit as District Officer. This is a short term change that will be awarded to all successful Club Coaches by either 30 June 2019 or 30 June 2020. Don’t hesitate, get in touch with me and let’s rebuild our weaker Clubs by sharing your knowledge, members will truly thank you for it. Have a question on the Club Coach program? Take a look at the FAQ or contact me directly.

Andy Hammond: Change is Constant

It has been a very busy start to the second half of the Toastmasters year.

The Trio, comprising myself, Florian and Arnaud, attended mid-year training for two days in Kuala Lumpur, with our peers from Region 10, which covers Europe, and Region 13, which includes India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Arnaud, Andy and Florian at the mid year Training

We reviewed progress on our District Success Plan and our District Budget, and shared experiences and best practice with 15 other District teams. We focussed on the importance of the Toastmasters branding, and had breakout sessions on our individual roles. I was also privileged on the Saturday evening to join a panel with Chief Executive Dan Rex and 1stVice President Richard Peck to answer questions from local Toastmasters at the Berjaya University College Toastmasters Club.

A key session in our training provided updates on changes affecting all Toastmasters members. Some of the main headlines include:

  • For the coming year there will be an e-learning module for Club Officer training, to be completed ahead of the face to face training.
  • Club Leadership Handbooks will only be provided in digital format in future years
  • There is a revised online version of the Toastmasters Navigator (find it here.
  • There will be a new Pathways “onboarding” resource to support new members with their Toastmasters journey.
  • Evaluation resources will be easier to access (more details to follow).
  • There are teams within Toastmasters working on regular incremental improvements to Basecamp.
  • There is a longer-term project to replace Basecamp and to integrate with Club Central in response to feedback on problems raised by members.

In addition, your Club Officers should recently have received an email from International President, Lark Doley, with details of the Wow! Factor Project and changes to the Club Coach Program. Ask them for more details.

Following our own training, we delivered a two-day training event for Division and Area Directors at Gatwick. Topics included District 91 leadership culture, progress against District goals, updates to Division success plans, organising Open House meetings, digital marketing, and District 91 initiatives. Have a look at Florian’s article for more details. We also had plenty of fun along the way

“We learn best in moments of enjoyment.” 
– Ralph C. Smedley, Founder of Toastmasters International.

In between I was able to attend an excellent Corporate Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI) event in Canary Wharf, superbly organised by Division K Director, Barry O’Connell.

Altogether an inspiring and enjoyable start to 2019!

Arnaud Sartre: Explorers

December proves to be another busy month, with many Clubs and Areas hosting special celebration meetings. I had the pleasure to visit thePMI UK Toastmasters Clubto celebrate a year of achievements. I took the opportunity to award the Smedley Award District incentive to President Nadya Hamedi (President) and Luca Giaudo(VP Membership).

The next membership contest-Talk Up Toastmasters, is coming up in February/March, more information about incentives coming up in January.

Explorers Cup at PMI

During the visit, I noticed the Explorer’s Cup is still held by PMI UK, claimed back on 2nd August! PMI has been the one and only host Club of the Cup in London. Ready for a Challenge for 2019? Come and be the next Club to be home of the Explorer’s Cup. All you need to claim the trophy is three visiting club members to take on meeting roles at the host club.

And to round off this edition, welcome to our newest Club in K3, Tideway Toastmasters!

Happy holidays!

Andy Hammond: New Ideas New Connections

Thank you for all the time and energy you have contributed on behalf of or members, and for the support you have given to each other and to me.

I wish you all a healthy and happy New Year and personal success – whatever that means for you.

I know we are a richly diverse group, and have different celebrations and customs, so please accept my sincere wishes for a very Merry Christmas in the spirit they are sent, and may this time of year be a joyous one for you.

The Toastmasters year is almost half way through and the first six months have flown by!

Andy Hammond (District Director 2018-19)

So far we have welcomed nearly 1,300 new members, including those in four newly chartered clubs, taking us to nearly 4,500 active members. You have achieved 253 awards under the traditional programme, and 128 awards in Pathways.

Our Area Directors, supported by the Division Directors, have helped to train nearly 700 Club Officers and have completed over 150 club visits.

It is always worth reminding ourselves that all of that has been achieved by Toastmasters giving freely of their time and energy to help their fellow members. That commitment and enthusiasm is at the heart of our shared success, and I thank each of you for your efforts.

The Christmas and New Year period is a time of reflection and planning for many people. What are your Toastmasters goals for the coming year, and how can we best support you? Are you considering taking on a leadership role next year, and if so would you like to know more about the opportunities available to you? Do give us your thoughts and comments so we can help you.

My most recent club visit was to Chiltern Speakers in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. A great welcome and a wonderful evening as you would expect. Thanks to Area Director, Bret Freeman for the invitation, and to club President Diane Richardson. I really enjoy these opportunities to talk about what the District Leadership Team is aiming to deliver on your behalf, and I especially enjoy the question and answer sessions – I never know what I will be asked although Pathways always features heavily! In addition to the superbly organised and managed meeting, I was particularly impressed by two pieces of detail. Firstly the very clear notice regarding photos and video, and secondly the simple yet effective summary agenda on a customised whiteboard. Images of both are attached should you wish to copy the ideas! (I do have Diane’s permission to share!)

I learn something new at every club meeting I attend, and I would encourage all members to visit different clubs and pick up new ideas.

Onwards into 2019 – and more opportunities to change lives, one speech at a time.