Message from our International President

August 8, 2016Dear Toastmasters Leader,

On behalf of your Board of Directors I offer greetings and I thank you. We appreciate your tireless efforts to support club excellence and member achievement and to engage so many others in the benefits of Toastmasters.

The International Convention is fast approaching and with it the Annual Business Meeting and elections on August 20. At this meeting, clubs via their proxyholders, and delegates at large will elect new members to the Board of Directors and vote on important proposals. We encourage you to stay informed and vote using your best judgment in the best interests of our members, clubs and our growing organization. As you vote to select people to the next Board please consider each candidate’s experiences, skills, and ability to contribute to the board as we execute our strategy focused on members, clubs and broader engagement. You can learn more about the candidates and proposals here:

The people you elect to the board of directors are members first and take very seriously the responsibility you have entrusted us with. Recently, you may have received communication that questions the trustworthiness and validity of the Board’s decisions as they relate to financial responsibility.

As you’re aware, earlier this year the Board announced an increase in membership dues. This decision was not taken lightly or without significant discussion and analysis. The Board continues to believe this decision was the right one in order to ensure continuity and significant improvements in services and programs for members, clubs and volunteer leaders at all levels of the organization. Membership dues fund day-to-day service, operations and program development. Reserves and investment income are set aside to support long-term infrastructure, development needs and unforeseen factors that could affect service and continuity. You can learn more about the dues increase here:

There also has been discussion and critique of the salary paid to our Chief Executive Officer and senior staff. Your Board considers compensation following specific methods and processes, including legal requirements, to ensure that pay is fair, reasonable and comparable to other organizations of similar size and type in Southern California. We engage outside consultants to study compensation norms and trends and provide the Board with ranges that ensure that our staff members are reasonably and appropriately compensated. Our pay scales range from the 65th to 75th percentiles for each role. No staff member exceeds the 75th percentile. Our staff, by these measures and in our collective judgement and organizational responsibilities, are reasonably compensated.

Many of you will recall that Nobel Prize recipient Mohammed Yunus received the Golden Gavel award at last year’s International Convention and spoke to us about Toastmasters and other ‘social businesses.’ In his book Building Social Business, he wrote this regarding staffing and compensation:

‘many people assume that employees of a social business don’t get paid well…’

‘that’s a very wrong idea’

‘a social business has to attract talent from the same labour market that for-profit companies plumb. That means offering competitive salaries and benefits.’

Commenting as a member, I’m disappointed to see questions related to individual salaries discussed publicly. Commenting as International President I want you to have confidence in the work your board performs to see that our capable staff members are treated fairly and that our finances are managed well to enable service to our members, clubs and volunteer leaders around the world.

Toastmasters is an amazing organization that has changed the lives of so many. Your life and my life have been positively impacted by Toastmasters. I’m proud of our past and excited for our future. I look forward to seeing many of you in Washington, D.C.

Jim Kokocki, DTM
International President 2015-2016
Toastmasters International
www.toastmasters.orgPlease feel free to share this message with Division, Area and Club leaders and individual members.

This message has been sent to current Club Presidents, District Directors, Program Quality Directors, Club Growth Directors, Administration Managers, Public Relations Managers, Finance Managers and all Past District Directors/Governors, as well as Region Advisors, Past International Presidents, Past International Directors, Past Region Advisors and International Officer/Director Candidates.

Last Updated on 7th September 2020 by