Start a Toastmasters Corporate Club Today



Standard Bank, Telkom, AON, Old Mutual, Allan Gray, MTN, South African Reserve Bank, among many others have partnered with Toastmasters to developed the employees personal and professional skills. When will your branch partner with us?

What is Toastmasters?

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our organization has more than 352,000 members. Members improve their speaking and leadership skills by attending one of the 16,400 clubs in 141 countries that make up our global network of meeting locations.

The world needs leaders. Leaders head families, coach teams, run businesses and mentor others. These leaders must not only accomplish, they must communicate. By regularly giving speeches, gaining feedback, leading teams and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere, leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program. Every Toastmasters journey begins with a single speech. During their journey, they learn to tell their stories. They listen and answer. They plan and lead. They give feedback—and accept it. Through our community of learners, they find their path to leadership.

Internationally, Toastmasters is focused on the empowerment of individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

In every Toastmasters meeting, members provide a supportive and positive learning experience to each other in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Toastmasters has 4 core values which form the very fabric of the organisation and are certainly ideals which would benefit any organisation. They are:

  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Service
  • Excellence

Toastmasters began as a series of speaking clubs organized by Ralph C. Smedley in Bloomington, Illinois, United States. Smedley saw a need for the  community to learn how to speak, conduct meetings, plan programs and work on committees, and he wanted to help them.

Smedley decided to organize a club where they could learn these skills in a social environment. He named the group the Toastmasters Club; “toastmaster” was a popular term that referred to a person who gave toasts at banquets and other occasions.

The first unofficial Toastmasters meeting was held on March 24, 1905. Much like Toastmasters meetings today, the participants took turns leading and speaking at each meeting.

The first official meeting of a Toastmasters Club took place on 22 October, 1924.

By 1930, nearly 30 Toastmasters clubs had formed including a club in British Columbia, Canada. To reflect expansion outside of the United States, the newly formed association was re-named Toastmasters International. Two years later, in 1932, Toastmasters International was incorporated as a California non-profit organization.

Ralph C. Smedley died in 1965. In 1970, Toastmasters International admitted its first female member, Helen Blanchard, under the name Homer Blanchard. In 1973, Toastmasters began officially admitting women, and in 1985, Helen became Toastmasters’ first female international president.

The number of Toastmasters Clubs within corporate clubs are increasing dramatically and it is also a possibility to start a Toastmasters Club within your company, with convenient times and venues for those interested. We encourage you to partner with Toastmasters International to start a corporate club within your company, from which we believe your organisation will harness the benefits of professional growth.

We encourage you to email Andrew Tsuro DTM, the Toastmasters PR Manager for Southern Africa, at to find out more.

Article by Michael Shackleton DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster)