… reflections on my first three months
I know that sounds glamorous, but it was certainly no holiday. I arrived on the Saturday evening to be given the schedule of interviews on Sunday for the candidates for the International Board roles. With Vanessa and Pedro we completed 23 separate 15 minute interviews that day. A fascinating, if tiring, experience. That left us free to concentrate on the two training days, Monday and Tuesday, with each running from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. We kicked off in one large group of some 400 Toastmasters from all over the World. We then split into various groups over the two days, coming back together for the closing on Tuesday evening. It was awesome to be able to share ideas and experiences with enthusiastic colleagues from such varied backgrounds. I had to return home on Wednesday so missed the convention itself, but nonetheless it was a wonderful experience.
Then it was time for the real work to begin. I quickly learnt all about the District Success Plan, the District Budget, and the Marketing Plan. Next was getting up to speed on pre-charter clubs and new club leads. It is fascinating to be part of the regular meetings of the District Leadership Team (DLT) and the District Executive Committee (DEC) and see how the wider team works together for the benefit of our members. And then there is the District Council Meeting, which feels very different from the other side of the table!
Of course it is not all planning and meetings, there is the other side of the role which is visiting new clubs and talking to people who want to start clubs. I was honoured to be abl
e to represent the DLT at Porthcawl Speakers’ Charter Dinner and give the keynote speech. On my way back I dropped in to visit Bristol Central Speakers, at that time our most recently chartered club, to congratulate them on their achievement and welcome them to the District. I also had a great evening at Ferndown Speakers near Bournemouth, and shared with their members some of my plans and answer their questions about the role of the DLT.
I have also been lucky enough to meet with prospective clubs, such as Fidelity International and GlaxoSmithKline. Two large organisations where members of staff are keen to bring the benefits of Toastmasters into their workplace. In both cases I have been supported by enthusiastic Toastmasters who have helped to deliver excellent demonstration meetings. I have always been aware that I can only be successful in my role with your support.
Even though I have previously served in almost every Club Officer role and been an Area Governor, Division Governor and Conference Director, I was still surprised at how much work goes on behind the scenes as a member of the DLT. The whole team are very supportive. And we realise that each of us is in our role for the first time, so we are all learning and growing.
Is it hard work? Yes. Is it enjoyable? Yes. Would I recommend it? Absolutely, yes! So why not give it a go? Nominations are open until 15th December and you can find out more here.
Andy Hammond DTM
Club Growth Director