Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our organization has more than 345,000 memberships. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 15,900 clubs in 142 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.
The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.
Our District’s History
The first Toastmasters club was founded by Dr. Ralph Smedley, in Santa Ana, California in 1924. There were already more than 1,500 Toastmasters clubs before District 57 (D57) came into existence. The oldest club in our District is still around today! San Leandro Toastmasters, club #452, chartered in 1947 while they were still part of District 4. A full list of clubs in our District in order of charter date can be found here.
Our first District Governor (now District Director) was the late Lothar Salin who served from 1957-1958. He went on to serve as President of Toastmasters International from 1967-1968. Michael Notaro, District Governor from 2003-2004, followed in the same foot steps, serving as President of Toastmasters International from 2011-2012. Our District first achieved Distinguished status under the leadership of the late Don Orput from 1969-1970. Women were not admitted to Toastmasters membership until 1973 – 53 years after women got the right to vote. However, women soon made their presence felt! The first time our District achieved Select Distinguished was when it was led by a woman, Anna Frazier Holden, from 1982-1983. Our District achieved Presidents Distinguished status for the first time, led by the late Ginger Kane from 1986-1987. D-57 next achieved Presidents Distinguished status in 2000-2001 when it was the 6th best club in the world, under the leadership of District Governor Cassandra Cockrill DTM. You can learn more about today’s leadership here.
In 60 years, we have gone from a fledgling District to having more than 140 clubs. District 57 Toastmasters, the Redwood Empire, covers the Northern California region, from the East Bay to the North Bay, wine country and stretching up the northern California coast to almost the Oregon border. We had the honor of being the first District to initiate the new Toastmasters International educational program.
What’s in our future? That’s up to you. Find a Toastmasters near you and get started on your journey.