“Growth comes from being honest first with yourself in private. There is nothing more inspiring than an authentic person who does what they say. They inspire trust.”James Chiumia-Division Y Director
If you’ve ever faced a significant crisis in your life you’ll have experienced the power of living into yourself to tap reserves of energy, determination and courage you likely didn’t know you had. Your mission was clear. Your goal was compelling. Your potential was tapped. Your focus was laser–like. Diffused light has little use, but when its energy is concentrated—as through a magnifying glass—that same light can set fire to paper. Focus its energy even more, as with a laser beam, and it has the power to cut through steel.
What makes you distinctive? What sets you apart from the competition? These are important questions that Charles Chiumia, Division Y Director and his team are set to help their Division members answer by supporting them to get the knowledge and skills to help them rise above the rest and stand out with laser focus. They are helping each member find or follow their whY. The team has challenged itself to be impactful by ticking as many as possible of the Toastmasters boxes to achieve President Distinguished and for the Division Y leaders to achieve their set goals too.
Six months later, James can now look back and be glad that he took up this leadership role when he did. “When I was elected into office, my first anxious thought was that I was going way out of my comfort zone because I would be leading new people in a totally different geographical location. Then it got me thinking that some of the reasons I joined Toastmasters include the opportunity, not just to grow my leadership skills, but to expand my horizons as well, get out of that comfort zone and network with different people. So far, this journey has been all that and more.”
Interestingly, James lives in Malawi and Division Y, which is comprised of part of former Division A (Amazing) and part of former Division H (Heroes), covers Centurion, Waterfall and Midrand is in Gauteng, South Africa. Their theme, ‘Amazing Heroes finding their whY’ came about by combining the two and finding a common quest, their whY. Going virtual has made all this initially daunting task easy and possible as they meet regularly online. “Leadership is all people. My first task was to connect online, establish rapport and have personal relationships with my council so I could learn how to relate to them, which I now do. Infact, I work with them better now. We are a very strong team and I am confident that we are going to give our members value by delivering on the Toastmasters mission” There are 19 clubs, in four Areas, namely, Area Y1 whose Area Director is Wilna Grobler, Area Y2 which falls under Chanell Oliphant’s leadership, Area Y3 whose leader is Thabang Moleli and lastly Area Y4 headed by Michael Shackleton.
The philanthropist and relationship manager understands people dynamics. When he joined Toastmasters in 2012, his goal was to solely, “work on self development, but I soon realised that leadership is about how you serve and influence others to live their why. My inspiration comes from selfless leaders like Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa who tirelessly worked for the betterment of society as a whole.” Past District Director Frank Tsuro is another leader that James has learnt a lot from and he had this to say, “Frank has this ability to lead firmly but very persuasively, making it easy to buy into his vision. Very inspirational.”
James strongly believes in all the Toastmasters values but high on his list is integrity. The beginning point, as he called it, is to be honest with yourself first. H e said, “Growth comes from being honest first with yourself in private. Take for example, the Pathways assignments. If you are not honest about doing them, you miss out on growth opportunities. There is nothing more inspiring than an authentic person who does what they say. They inspire trust.”
Division Y can be contacted on the following: