Recognising Excellence in 2022 – 2023

On 30th July this year, we hosted your District’s Hall of Fame over a social event on London’s Southbank. The full list of those individuals and clubs recognised at this event can be found here.

For several years, we’ve recognised individual clubs with the ‘Club Excellence’ award; a recognition that goes beyond the dashboards. Clubs are recognised for some of the more intangible elements that show success aside from membership and training numbers. Examples here are contributions of members beyond the club such as in leadership positions, conducting wider Toastmasters education programs and the overall ‘feeling’ someone gets if they visit such a club.

Why not visit one of the clubs listed and discover the magic?

We also recognise clubs who have suffered a little but bounced back over the course of a Toastmasters program year with the
 Phoenix Award.

Due to the nature of our organisation, we celebrate milestones and length of service largely through education achievements. For example, to become a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), individuals must complete several projects and leadership service over a period which make it quite a milestone when achieved. I know this year’s team have a renewed emphasis on length of member service and anniversaries.

Reflecting on my own Toastmasters career journey, I got stuck in very early on simply due to a combination of my own curiosity and others opening doors for me. As a result, I wanted to pay this forward by recognising
 new members who had dived straight in and added value outside of their club in their first 12-18 months of membership.

After the May elections, many individuals start to wind down. This year, we felt compelled to recognise a District Officer who kicked it up a gear in the final stretch with the
 District Mission Award. This year, to the best of my knowledge, was the first time District 91 issued the Communication and Leadership Award. This award recognises someone who has made significant impact in a community under these categories and need not be a Toastmasters member.
Spreading the footprint of what we do is a collective responsibility. Two members were handpicked by our Public Relations Manager for their consistency of effort. A key function or mission of the district is to ‘build new clubs’ and as we stepped out of the pandemic 6 new clubs (all corporate!) were recognised with the
 Pioneer Award. This is testament to the fact that companies see the value of our program for their employees.

Every now and then we get asked if there are criteria for the main awards i.e.,
 Toastmaster of the YearDivision Director of the Year and Area Director of the Year. The simple answer is – yes! There are checklists that act as a guide for these and often it is quite clear at some point in the year who the recipient will be. In some cases, the deciding factor may be because of something an individual has contributed (often quietly) to the cause or overall mission.

In my deliverance speech at the May Hall of Fame, I referred to the fact that I searched high and low for the checklist for the
 District Director’s Award. This one is understandably quite subjective, and you can find out why here.

I didn’t get off Scot free, though. There’s a certain type of speech known as a roast in which the subject matter is often someone leaving a role. When it became clear that this was about to happen, I was incredibly nervous however couldn’t help but choke up at the affection that came through not one but four roasts! One was delivered by immediate past District Public Relations Manager, Chris Arning and can be watched back here.

I once again thank the 2022-2023 District Leadership Team for their service, commitment, secret scheming to put this on, and for their friendship – a lovely byproduct of working intensively in a team for 12-15 months.

As ever, thank to event photographer Chris Bovell from
Blaqpix for capturing special moments. You can view the photos here Password: Limin

Rupa Datta
Immediate Past District Director 2023-24