District Director: Find Your Voice and Make a Difference

By Bett Bollhoefer, DTM

2020 is a chance for each of us to find our voice and make a difference. Yes, the world isn’t perfect yet but that means there is an opportunity to be the change we want to see.

We are part of Toastmasters for a reason: It helps us improve ourselves and our community. The program is, at once, achievement focused and community focused.

Think about the Toastmasters club mission:

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Let’s dissect this mission statement:

Supportive environment – Community focused

Positive Environment – Community focused

Every member is Empowered – Community focused

Develop our Communication skills – Achievement focused

Develop our leadership skills  – Achievement focused

To get greater self-confidence –  Achievement focused

To get personal growth – Achievement focused

As you can see, the components of the mission statement embrace the dual purpose!

Toastmasters is more critical now than ever before. Three reasons:

  1. We are socially distant. We need community- The first value of our 2020-2021 year is to Grow Community. Growing means that we already have some community. We need to keep our current members happy. Ensure that they are still learning new things. The VPE should be meeting with all the members to help them come up with stretch goals for the new year. Growing community also means adding new members. We have lots of incentives around open houses this year. It also means adding new clubs. If you have a new club idea, please let us know.
  2. Still, achieve great things even if we have so little under our control. Celebrate achievements. When I make a small goal for myself such as giving my next Pathways speech, and then I prepare and finish that speech, I feel such a sense of accomplishment. When my club celebrates my achievement, I get even more joy. In this way, we grow ourselves and our skills.
  3. How do we do it? Gracefully. Graceful means that we do things without stress and aggravation. How do we achieve grace? Planning! Teamwork. Time management! If you aren’t good at something, ask for help! If you feel rushed, make a more roomy schedule. Anything can be done, but the question is how did you do it. Do it with Grace this year. Plan ahead, recruit a team. Don’t get burned out. No one has to do all the work.

Focusing on these three things can help us come out of this on the other side with new skills, friends, and joy.

Now let us talk about incentives.

Throughout the year, we’ll come out with several announcements of incentives. Some of these will be for the club and some will be for every member to pursue.

Pay attention to the incentives. You can add some nice pocket change in the process. The best part: This money is for you and we want you to grab it! You see, if you don’t earn it, we lose it!

Finally, a few items for club officers:

  • The international convention is still going to happen and at that meeting, I will need to vote for the next set of international leadership. The TRIO (Club Growth Director Julie, Program Quality Director George, and I) have been meeting with the candidates to vet them and decide who should be on the International Board next year. We need you to submit your proxies so that I can cast the ballots on behalf of our district.
  • Our own business meeting is held in Sept. All VPEs and Presidents need to attend to vote on the budget and other important items.
  • Pay attention to the club incentives we are putting out this year. This money is for your club. Again, if you don’t use it we lose it!