October is legacy month in Toastmasters. An idea that Dr. Smedley developed as early as 1904 after he had been appointed Director of Education for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) in Bloomington, Illinois in the United States of America. He saw a need for the men in the community to learn how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programmes and work on committees, and he wanted to help them.
Over the last 80 years Toastmasters has evolved from an organisation known for public speaking to Where Leaders are Made.
Since my second year in high school being a Chartered Accountant was all I ever wanted until I joined Toastmasters. For some of you that know me, I tend to exhibit obsessive tendencies to whatever I commit to. I think if I had never joined Toastmasters there is a high chance I would be a typical accountant you would enjoy poking fun at but, today I believe I am more than that. To quote one of the members of Grant Thornton Toastmasters in Gaborone, I am one of those accountants with personality. Toastmasters has taught me to be more empathetic, compassionate, amongst other things helping me to grow my emotional intelligence and confidence.
It has been more than a century since Dr. Smedley set out his vision for this organisation, his ideas in their original state remain relevant to date.
I can’t help but, feel mixed emotions whenever I see failed relationships, poor leadership and suppressed potential owing to a lack of emotional intelligence and self-confidence – something which Toastmasters provides in abundance. I imagine what this world would be like if all adults had access to Toastmasters or a similar programme. What do you think?
Today, I would like to salute you and your fellow Toastmasters whose progression in Toastmasters inspires others to aspire to be better than they are, to those of you that are adding value to fellow members as mentors, to those of you involved in starting new clubs, coaching existing clubs, officers of these clubs, coordinators of Youth Leadership and Speechcraft Programmes – the list is endless. Because of you, the Toastmasters legacy lives on and makes an even bigger impact in changing world order as it is today.
Long live the legacy of Toastmasters International – Where Leaders are Made.
Frank Tsuro DTM