Jackie Graybill – Nominated Candidate for Division J Director
Toastmasters member since
Toastmasters offices held and terms of service
Area Director 2021/22
Toastmasters honors and recognition
Triple Crown Award Winner, 2021/22
Completed four paths, incl. Strategic Relationships
What lessons did you learn from previous leadership positions?
On a personal level, winning District 9 of the Toastmasters International Speech Competition in my first year of competing in any contest was a phenomenal success for me. It signaled to me that I do have what it takes to be a successful professional speaker if I keep working on my craft. I also learned the process of honing a speech over time and taking in the continual feedback of others to make my speech better and better. Taking in and appreciating feedback is one of the best lessons I’ve learned in Toastmasters. I’ve come to see feedback as something to look forward to instead of cringe at, because when I take in that feedback, I grow by leaps and bounds! It is truly a gift!
Being an Area Director has been a challenge I didn’t expect and it has been a learning curve. It has been a challenge to encourage the growth of four very different clubs, half of whom are booming and the other half of which are struggling. I’ve had to learn to be different things to different groups and this has been a good challenge for me.
Becoming better acquainted with the DCP points and how they are a vital metric of club growth and vitality has been one of my biggest learnings this year. I feel that all I have learned will help to make me a more effective leader in any project I take on in the future. Indeed, I would not have been able to successfully complete my DTM project (the actual project completed today, though the final 360 evaluations and speech are still to come). An online 8-day challenge wherein I was speaking for one hour each day and interviewing 15 guest speakers for an hour each (to equal 23 hours of speaking/interviewing in an 8-day period) would not have been possible if not for all that I have learned in Toastmasters! Replays of the Challenge videos can be seen here for the next week, after which they will be converted into a podcast (that will be another project for the next Pathway!
Why do you want to serve as a District leader?
Why me, why now?
At its heart, Toastmasters is about speaking and growth, and I have come to love both. I came to my very first Toastmasters meeting on April 1st, 2019, knowing that I wanted to become a professional speaker. What I didn’t expect was the growth, leadership opportunities and incredible relationships that would form over my Toastmasters journey.
From my very first Toastmasters mentor and the mentors I’ve been privileged to work with since then, to my experience in the International Speech Competition last year (where I won District 9 in my first year competing), to my time as Area Director, Toastmasters has required more of me than I thought possible, but it has also given me enormous gifts in return.
I really believe in the Pathways program and am passionate about helping members and clubs understand how beneficial it can be to their professional and personal lives. I feel like this is a unique strength, as Pathways is still looked at with disdain by a lot of Toastmasters. One of my goals as a leader in Toastmasters is to help change this perception and for members and clubs to embrace Pathways like the friend they didn’t know they always wanted and needed. In a little over a year and a half I will have finished four Pathways and there is a possibility that I will have my fifth finished by the end of this Toastmasters year.