Meet A Toastmaster: Janet Alkema

Janet Alkema

Winner of the District Director Award in the Year 2020/21

Also recognised for services to the District as Chair of the District Alignment Committee

Farnham Speakers

Godalming Speakers

How do you feel about winning your award?

I was really surprised to receive this award. I was delighted to be recognised for my contributions and felt appreciated. The work on the District Alignment Committee particularly can get quite involved but it is very much a back office support role, albeit one requiring negotiation and persuasion skills to make sure everyone agreed with the outcomes.

What is your secret to winning the award? / Why do you think you won?

I don’t have a secret but I think I won the award because I just love Toastmasters and can see the value of the change that it enables in members’ lives.

I am very enthusiastic about it and love to be involved and help in any way I can. So when Florian asked if I would take the District Alignment Chair, it was a perfect way for me to serve the District in a smaller way and one which I could incorporate into my work/life schedule. I also love to find solutions! So when Diane asked if I knew of someone who could provide a workshop at the Division D conference – I volunteered. And when anyone asks if I can run a training – I usually say yes. To me it’s a double opportunity – not only to develop and improve my own skills but also to impart knowledge for the benefit of those attending. That was also why I volunteered to MC one of the stages at the Conference. Volunteering and saying yes just opens up so many opportunities – and you never know where these might lead.

I attribute my growth in confidence and the development of my speaking and leadership skills more to stepping up and accepting challenges, than simply delivering speeches at club level. Toastmasters offers so many opportunities for doing this.

What is your next challenge?

My next challenge – that I know about – is to Chair the District Alignment Committee for this new Toastmasters year. There is a lot happening with membership in the District and I am looking forward to working with the Area and Division directors to understand how the clubs, areas and divisions can be aligned to best serve our members.

As for other challenges – well, one is to serve as an effective VPPR for Farnham Speakers. This will be a steep learning curve for me as I am currently not very good at interacting on Social Media! Another challenge is to master EasySpeak efficiently as VPE of Godalming Speakers – and encourage the members there to love using it!! As for other challenges – well, who knows what the year will bring!