By Carrie Baker, Assistant Area J22 Director
I came into this with an open mind, as I did not really know what the Area Director’s role really involved – all I knew is that I wanted to gain as much experience as I could as I need to do this to get my DTM! When Nikita approached after me I expressed an interest in shadowing and taking on the role the next year, I jumped at the chance to become Deputy Area Director, as it gave me a security net and someone to learn from!
I could not have wished for better support or more welcoming team than Joy Division and having coaching from Nikita (current Area Director) and Helena (current Division Director) has helped increase my knowledge and network ahead of stepping into Nikita’s shoes later this year. I am also lucky enough to be a part of Joy Division and feel that I have met and made lifelong friends this year. I have been lucky enough to watch and share in their growth and achievements and feel proud to be a part of Division J and Toastmasters.
I believe that this is a model we should take forward in future years and showcase to other districts, as the benefits outweigh the effort required to support this. If we formalise the processes and document the roles, it would make it easier for people to pick up and we could split the Director roles out further, thus reducing the pressure on the Directors. It could be rolled out to all the roles within TM, as a way of supporting those taking on the roles.
We need to be conscious that everyone carries out the roles as volunteers and if you are working full time, it is more challenging to find the time to get to every contest / club / meeting that you are required to attend. Previously the model has been more pass the baton on and disappear as this is a demanding role that can take its toll on people and so some need some time to recover and continue their personal TM journey, whilst others are fired up ready for the next challenge!
I feel more prepared for my next challenge as I take on the mantle of Area Director, I know that I will not be perfect, that is the joy of being human and a TM, as I am willing to take the feedback and share my experiences and knowledge with my clubs and help them to grow.