Tech Data is a multinational IT distribution. company operating in many European countries, North American, Latin America and Canada. It is no stranger to Toastmasters International with a corporate club in the Worldwide headquarters in Clearwater Florida and also in our Canadian business. However, until March this year when local Toastmasters from around the District held a demonstration meeting, members of the UK headquarters in Basingstoke had never heard of Toastmasters.
Following several lunch time drop in sessions and thanks to members of Wessex Speakers, Basingstoke Speakers and the then Club Growth Director, Dorothea Stewart, around 30 members of staff from Tech Data enjoyed a full demonstration meeting, allowing them to see first-hand the benefits that a corporate Toastmasters club might bring to the organisation.
Jodie Carol, Human Resources Director and UK board member was able to attend the meeting and take the opportunity to explain that in support of the initiative Tech Data would be paying the first six months’ subscription for every new member. The demonstration meeting was so successful that it took only two further meetings to sign up enough members to charter. It took only 2 months from the demonstration meeting for the club to charter and become one of the District’s newest clubs.
Although we have only been in existence for 5 months, membership is strong and so is the willingness for all members to gain as much as they can from the Toastmasters experience. Committee appointments are from across departments and levels within the organisation and we are enjoying a slow but steady journey through everyone’s ice breaker speeches.
We have been lucky enough to welcome other Toastmasters from around the area to join us for one of our lunchtime meetings which take place at 1pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month.
I never imagined that chartering a club was possible in such a short period of time, but it was a proud moment to collect the charter certificates from the District Director at the recent Division A speech contest.
I would encourage anyone who is tempted by the idea of starting up a new club to give it a go – while challenging, it is a wonderful experience.
By Steve Vear ACS ALB, President Tech Data Toastmasters