Remembering a Leader Extraordinaire

The words “To mentor is to touch a life forever” encapsulates an aspect of Merryl’s leadership style that will remain with us as part of her legacy. She was a fellow Toastmaster, District 74 Director, a true leader, a mentor and a friend of many in Toastmasters International.

Merryl’s winning smile lit up a room or on zoom – no matter what, she showed up, ready to deliver whatever was needed, no matter if she was tired or ill. Her total dedication and passion for Toastmasters shone through on any occasion.

I’ll remember Merryl for

  • Sharing how to sell the sizzle – the mouth-watering analogy is branded in my mind forever
  • Her leadership and mentoring – a highlight was being part of #Team Merryl in “Mentoring without Borders. Merryl challenged us and shared many gems on leading and mentoring
  • Her total dedication and commitment to all things Toastmasters – she attended events and made time for everyone as if she were “twins”- she really was visible and engaged at all times
  • Her making time to LISTEN with phone chats and relaxed zoom session one on ones
  • Her incredible resilience in a tough year of change. No matter if she was ill, Merryl showed up smiling and ready to participate
  • Her sense of humour, love of laughter and fun
  • Her encouragement and support…and more 

Favourite memories this past year include our leadership calls where Merryl relaxed and sat with her wine and a cigarette to unwind and just connect across zoom. The fun of creating presentations with TeamMerryl and experiencing Mentoring without Borders.

I saw Merryl at our Directorate Strategy weekend in March 2021 for the last time. It was sad that she couldn’t be there in April, but she was there online, no matter what. Her last message to me on 30 April, echoes in my mind, when I asked how she was. She typed, “This week has been a particularly bad one from a health point of view”

Merryl leaves us a legacy of many lessons and a desire to follow through on her vision for 2020/2021.

Tears come to our eyes as we see photo memories. Merryl, you left too soon, with much more to accomplish in your life which you filled to the brim. We miss your presence. We are grateful for the impact you made on our lives

We are committed to honour Merryl by finishing strong on 30 June 2021. It is what she would want us to do and we will do her proud in these last 6 weeks.

This quote to end “Every great achiever was inspired by a great leader” Laila Akhita.

Joanne Schmitt, DTM

Division P Director, 2020/2021