Keep on running!

Thanks to the hard work and efforts of members, Club Officers, and DEC members as a District we are close to becoming a distinguished district. Why is this important and what does it have to do with me you might ask? Running a Distinguished club clearly demonstrates to the rest of the Toastmasters Community that we have quality clubs who are meeting members needs and so it is with districts. For this reason, I am going to ask you to “keep on running”!

Keep on running!

Many sports coaches and athletes talk about running or competing beyond the finish line. If they are running 100 meters, they will talk about running 101 meters. This is because they want to finish a race as strongly as possible not only for an advantageous position this race, but also to set them up for good start for next race.

They want to ensure they achieve the best result they can and not be overtaken in the last few years. So, it is with District 91, we are in touching distance of becoming a Distinguished district for the first time since 2020. Some of you may ask why does this matter? It matters because becoming a Distinguished District shows the rest of the Toastmasters world how hard you, as DEC, Club leaders and members have worked to have a successful year yar.

As I mentioned during the Hall of Fame, we have over 1,100 pathways level awards this year and many more to follow in the last six weeks of the year. Where we most need your help is with clubs seven or fewer members to return them to good standing and help to convert some pre charter clubs into chartered clubs. If you can help, please contact either Mo our Club Growth Director or myself.

Hall of Fame

Many congratulations to this year’s Hall of Fame recipients. It was a great to see Debbie Williams and Amy Jones both acknowledged for achieving their DTMs, with Amy receiving her medallion on Saturday. Winchmore Hill Speakers won PR Club of the Year for their great website and social media activity which helped them launch a Gavel Club during the past year.

Diane Richardson, District Director 2023/24 with Gala Dinner and Hall of Fame MCs Serena Salvatore and PDG Hilary Briggs, DTM

Our Youth Leadership Co-ordinator (and District Admin Manager) presented the Youth Leadership Facilitator award to Gillian Myers of Hamwic Speakers. The first Phoenix Award of the Year for clubs who start the year with less than 12 members and then have 20 or more by the end of the year, went to FTI Consulting who started the year with only three members and now have 25.

Club Sponsor of the Year was Kavita Dukai for her work chartering Sustainable Speakers and Olga Galaiko won Club Mentor of the Year for her work supporting L&C Toastmasters Club and sponsoring a second London Stock exchange club.

City of London Toastmasters won the Club Growth Award for recruiting thirty-seven new members and growing the club to seventy-three members. Celia Edwards won Club Coach of the Year for her work with Battle Speakers who thanks to her hard work and that of the club committee in growing the club to its largest size since 2019/20.

The Corporate Club of the Year is Moody’s Europe Toastmasters, they were the first corporate club this year to become Presidents Distinguished with a perfect 10 DCP points after being a select distinguished Club last year and distinguished in 2021/22.

Hamwic Speakers, are this year’s Club of the Year. This club has a long record of having over 40 members and of becoming a conformed Presidents’ Distinguished club in early April for the past several years. To meet demand the club, hold weekly meeting to ensure that there are sufficient speaking slots available for members to progress through Pathways.

Helyn Ashford (J10) is this year’s Area Director of the Year. Last year Helyn stepped up and became an Area Director midway through the year. This year she is helping to Charter a new online club in her area, has helped all five of her clubs be the best they can be with two already distinguished and two more very close to becoming distinguished and her enthusiasm has helped raise the energy level in any room which she enters.

The Division Director of the Year is Division H Director, Guler Cortis, for her work in starting a new club at her workplace and the support she has given to clubs and Area Directors in her Division this year.

The Toastmaster of the Year is Juli Chapman, for her work as a Pathways Champion and Club Coach. The District Directors award went for the second time to Janet Alkema. Janet first helped me when she was Division D Director in 20/21. She went on to became Youth Leadership Co-ordinator the following year and continues to hold this role. In 2022/23 she stepped in to become Division D Director mid-year and this year she stepped in as Administration Manager when her predecessor stepped away in October.

Conference Team

This month’s newsletter has been put together by the conference team. If you did not attend, you missed a magnificent event as I am sure you will read and see below. Many thanks to Amy Jones, DTM and her team who put on a fantastic conference in Bristol.

If you want to develop your event management skills then Steve is looking for next year’s conference director, please contact him.