Leadership Opportunities – Level Headed Leader


Those who dare to fail miserably, can achieve greatly, stated John F Kennedy.

Imagine you were with me, on this particular night of June 2015, at this beautiful hotel called Protea Ryalls, in one of its magnificent conference rooms, you could have seen how elegant and vibrant I was. You know why? I had just been voted President of Eloquent Toastmasters Club. This was my first leadership position having joined the club in less than a year. I was very excited when my name was mentioned on this particular night, at this splendid hotel, in one of its beautifully lit conference rooms, that I was taking over from Samson Kanjala as the President. I rose majestically from my chair, dressed in a dark blue suit, white shirt and well-polished shoes, walked to the front to receive my leadership manual from Michael Malera, then the Vice President Education of our club, while rest of the members kept clapping their hands. I felt great and yes I told myself then ‘this is it’. I was over the moon.

Little did I know that there were challenges that I would face along the way. My experience of Toastmasters as a leader became frustrating since every time we planned a meeting, only three or five members would turn up for the meeting. However, what excited me the most was that, despite, these few members attending the meetings, we always had great and fruitful meetings. When I was taking over as President, there were no proper handovers and this, eventually, took my energy away for I knew nothing about DCP goals. Guess what happened. The consequences were disastrous because our club hit the bottom low. Few members were willing to renew their membership fees. Even when the EXCO meetings were called, only two EXCO members showed up. But I never gave up for I was born a fighter. I did tell myself that no matter what, this club was going to become a better club than it was. I

t was during this terrible time that Frank Tsuro and myself engaged in constant WhatsApp chats to map the way forward for the club. An agreement was reached that Soustain Chigalu, became a club coach for our club. With the help of both Frank Tsuro and Soustain Chigalu as a club coach, we saw our club getting back on its feet. I reigned as President from June 2015 until June 2017. My second term of office as President made me see the fruits of my persistence and hard work because the club became better than it was. I was a very happy man handing over my powers to Omega Mwanza, an energetic and vivacious young lady, as President the club that was vibrant.

Now walk with me into 2017, on this cold night of June, being a vivacious and daring person, gathered in our usual and immaculate meeting room, I was elected Vice President Membership. There was clapping of hands as the new EXCO team members were mentioned including me. This time around, I had the experience and had attended several Club Officer Training sessions. Experience, and meetings we had planned and attended as EXCO members, helped all the members to understand and manage their roles well. Fired up and full of energy, my goal was to increase the number of new members for the club. I posted a lot of stuff on our club’s Facebook page and in the process, I saw a lot of people asking me how they could join the club. Phone calls were made and yes, eventually, our club grew its members from 8 to 16, and most of the new members were recruited by myself. Not only did I rely on Facebook leads, but I had to meet and discuss the importance of joining Toastmasters International to my friends, through such discussions, I had several of them joining our club. Seeing our club growing in members made me the happiest person.

Once asked to take any leadership role, the best response is to accept it. There are challenges that come along with such a role, frustrating sometimes, and smooth during other times, but having the persistent spirit and willingness to learn help an individual overcome such challenges.
Every new position taken comes with new lessons. New lessons bring with them new experiences and enrichment. I am a level headed leader TODAY because I have always been ready to take up any leadership role as a Toastmaster.


Robert Salijeni