Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm Pleased to Announce...

I'm pleased to announce that Word Weavers, my Toastmasters club, has elected me to serve as President for the 2013-2014 Toastmaster year.  This is a great honor for me and I look forward to serving my club members.

From the Toastmasters about page " Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. " But there is so much more to Toastmasters than public speaking! They were founded in 1924.  Wikipedia reports that Toastmasters has over 260,000 members in 113 countries, served through its over 12,800 member clubs.  Toastmasters is not as well known in Europe as it is in America, but this is changing as can been seen with the phenomenal growth Toastmasters has seen in Europe. District 59 (Continental Europe) will be splitting into two districts in the 2014-15 Toastmaster year and even Toastmasters in the UK, will be splitting into 2 districts in the near future as well.

I joined Word Weavers in the summer of 2011, so I'm coming upon my 2nd anniversary this summer. They made me feel right at home and I was hooked (in a good way I must say). I had heard about Toastmasters when I lived in the U.S. but I never got around to checking out a club. After passing my PMP in April, 2011 I was ready to check out Toastmasters. The 2nd meeting that I attended at Word Weavers was a BBQ (we had another one on May 15th). One of the things that I really love about Word Weavers (and all of the other Toastmaster clubs I have visited as well) is the variety of interesting and caring people that you'll encounter at meetings and events. It is also a supportive environment where you can try out different communications methods and get constructive feedback.

For the 2012-2013 Toastmaster year I have been the Vice President of Public Relations.  The club website was moved from its previous provider to a site being hosted on EasySpeak, the current president and I  spent quite a bit of time setting up the current website and I've been serving as the webmaster and will continue to do this in the near future. I've really enjoyed being a part of the activities that we've had this year in addition to our regular meetings.  In January our club celebrated their 10th Anniversary and we've made it a club goal this year to celebrate this often.  We celebrated in January, at our BBQ, and we'll be having a special meeting at an old Greek style amphitheater near the Neroberg, which is a water-powered train that goes up/down a mountain in Wiesbaden. The train itself is celebrating 125 years in 2013. 

In 2012 I started up the Toastmasters Podcast Europe along with some other Toastmasters that I've met via LinkedIn.  In March I released the 1st Anniversary episode.  I'm looking to expand the podcast team near future and I hope to be able to create a team that is spread throughout Europe (including the U.K) so that we can keep Toastmasters in Europe together even after we split into more and more districts.  For the podcast I've interviewed a lot of interesting Toastmasters at the D59 2012 Fall Conference in Bonn, Germany as well as the D59 2013 Spring Conference in Antwerp, Belgium and at other events that I've attended. 

I will be getting in contact with the other newly elected club officers shortly and we'll do our preliminary planning for the year as well attend the first of two officers training sessions being held in July. I'm also going to make sure that I get the input from our members as to what they what to accomplish this year and what direction they see the club going.  I want to do my best to serve the club and to get as much out of the experience as I can, so I should be a pretty exciting year. I really can't say enough good things about Toastmasters and I believe that is almost impossible to give back as much as I have received from Toastmasters.

If you're ever in the Wiesbaden, Germany area on the 1st, 3rd, or 5th Wednesday of the month, then we'd be happy for you to stop by, be sure to check out the website for more details.  You can also find a club near you at the Toastmasters International Website. I hope that you'll check out a Toastmasters club soon. For all other officers (both newly elected as well as experienced officers, and all other Toastmasters), lets make the 2013-14 Toastmaster year an exciting one full of growth and lots of wonderful memories with your fellow Toastmasters and guests!

Photo credit:  The Toastmasters Log is property of Toastmasters International.

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