How do you start a new club? See how Leaders Worldwide was created.
By Linda Patten
On October 23, 2020, Leaders Worldwide was chartered with Toastmasters International. For those of us who were in the chartering process, Cynthia Stott, Michelle Peticolas, Jay Ligda and myself, it was a day of relief; we could breathe again.
We had been working on this club for over a year and to be honest, it was the Shelter-in-Place that really brought momentum to the process. Because we became a virtual club, we could invite people from around the world to join us and be a part of what we were building. We changed the name from Oakland Leaders to Leaders Worldwide to reflect our new audience. We used Meetup, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp to promote our meetings and invite individuals and clubs across the globe to be part of the Speechcraft as well as join the club.
There were several key aspects that were very different:
- Our Speechcraft was designed for Pathways Level 1 speakers. We also added opportunities for people in Level 2 to speak as well. Then, to really make it attractive, we added Level 3 and beyond where experienced speakers could speak every week if they wished. We would have between 40 and 60 people each week looking to speak.
- We also brought in key Toastmasters Leaders to provide our Keynote addresses and we continue that practice today. We recently had Margaret Page, International President-Elect, induct our officers and charter and new members into the club.
- We had Cohort Advisors for each of the speaking breakout rooms who served as a mini-Toastmaster in the room. It allowed our speakers to see and hear from experienced Toastmasters and get a true feeling of what an exciting, well-run meeting looks like.
- The Public Relations team created video ads of our keynote speakers which went up on Facebook. They also created the thumbnail for each of our YouTube videos. They were extremely professional and were in Toastmasters colors and design. We did create a YouTube channel to promote our events.
- While I am relatively new to Toastmasters, I haven’t seen a real depth in club leadership. Well, Leaders Worldwide is different here too. We have created teams for virtually every key officer: Education, Public Relations, Membership, and Sergeant at Arms. What a great way to give members experience in leadership but also to share the responsibilities and groom individuals for future leadership roles.
Having experienced all of this innovation, the club has not stopped there. While we charted with 52 members, we have recently added three new members to our growing club. We keep stretching and growing so that our meetings are always innovative and exciting – and that is what our attendees tell us.
This is the time to step outside our comfort zone and to ask the question “what if…?”