Andy Hammond DTM – Candidate for Club Growth Director
Firstly, a little bit about me.
I joined Toastmasters in January 2001 as a member of Arun Speakers in West Sussex. I had done a multitude of training sessions and presentations in my career to date, and not to be too hard on myself, I was okay. I wanted to be so much better than just okay. There were two specific areas I felt I needed to work on: keeping to a script – I do tend to ad lib and get side-tracked very easily; and dealing with questions in meetings, sometimes in public – I found it difficult to give considered and structured answers.
That was when a vague memory resurfaced. I recalled some years previously my elder brother telling me about this thing he belonged to called Toastmasters, and something called Table Topics. My reaction at the time had been one of incredulity that anyone would subject themselves to that, and for fun! However, I realised that what he had described was exactly what I was looking for and set about finding the nearest Toastmasters club.
The rest, as they say, is history. I learned to make speeches and keep to the script – mostly. My impromptu speaking skills improved immensely – I even made the District final of the Table Topics contest. And there were two other huge bonuses: my overall self-confidence increased; and I made some wonderful new friends.
During my membership I have undertaken almost all of the Club Officer roles, some many times over, and I have also been Area Governor and Division Governor, and Conference Director. All of which has given me a broad understanding of the needs of members and their clubs. I have experienced the different phases a community club can go through, and also experienced first-hand the practicalities of starting, and establishing, a successful corporate club, County Communicators.
My career outside Toastmasters has involved developing and implementing strategies for a wide range of organisations, both as an employee and in consultancy roles. Most recently I was responsible for the performance management of an organisation with an annual expenditure of some £950 million. I also hold a Masters degree in Strategic Management, the focus of my dissertation being Strategic Communication.
I believe my combined experience both in Toastmasters and in my career would enable me to make a positive contribution to the District 91 Leadership Team, on your behalf.
Why do I want to be Club Growth Director?
My 15 years as a member of Toastmasters have been beneficial to me in so many ways, both professionally and personally. I believe as many people as possible should enjoy the same opportunity.
One of my personal values is that I have always sought to give more than I take, and feel that I am now ready for the opportunity to do that at District level. I am now actively retired, and not only have the capacity, but also the desire to take on new challenges in my life.
There has been a steady and sustained increase in clubs and membership, which is to be applauded. However there is still massive potential. Current membership of Toastmasters in the District represents approximately 0.05% of the working age population. To put that in some context, in the USA current membership is around 0.2% of the working age population – that is four times as many. So how many of the unlucky 99.95% who don’t know what they are missing could we welcome!
The Revitalised Education Programme offers an exciting opportunity to generate a huge wave of new interest and to reinvigorate existing members. I would relish the chance to contribute my extensive experience and range of skills in support of the next successful stage in Toastmasters history.
What greater excitement is there than being part of the team responsible for enriching more people’s lives?
How would I approach the role of Club Growth Director?
Firstly, I would look to continue the excellent work already done. It is important to build on success by identifying what already works well. I would seek members’ views on what has worked for you, and what could be improved.
Secondly, I believe there are far too few corporate clubs, particularly outside London. My early impressions of the Revitalised Education Programme are that it will have much greater appeal to employers, and to HR/Learning and Development Managers. I would seek to engage with relevant national bodies, to recruit them as advocates for our programme.
Thirdly, I would like to encourage even greater cross-club support. Other than formal events such as area training and contests, we have a tendency to be rather parochial. In addition to regular sharing of ideas and experiences, the first helping hand for struggling clubs could be their neighbouring clubs. The proposal to allow Mentors to be chosen from anywhere within Toastmasters is another potential strength and should encourage members to broaden their horizons.
Finally, I am a great believer in providing regular information to members, to keep them informed and enthused, and equipped to be our greatest marketing tool. There is no more powerful message than your experiences as members of Toastmasters.
Why should you choose me as Club Growth Director?
I believe I have the breadth of knowledge and experience, and the enthusiasm, to enable me to make a significant contribution to the continued success of the members of District 91, present and future.