Enabling the Next Wave of Leaders
By Kimberly Dueck, DTM, D61 District Director
When I first joined Toastmasters, I had no intentions of staying long. I knew I wanted to become a better communicator so I could land that promotion at work. Little did I know the profound impact Toastmasters would have on my life.
I loved my first club, The Young Professionals (Winnipeg, MB). It was a fun group of individuals in a similar place in their careers. We had a LOT of fun (especially post-toasties) and we had amazing leaders in the club who had been members for a few years and also served as this foreign thing called an “Area Director.” One even had made it to the level of “District Director.” These titles meant nothing to me at the time. All that mattered was I had found my tribe and they were supporting me to become a better communicator.
It was a sad day when I announced to my home club (my cocoon) that I was moving to Ottawa with a job opportunity. They were excited for me and encouraged me to stick with Toastmasters as it is a great place to meet people. Was that ever a great idea! I discovered my now home club, Management Development for Women (MDW) who welcomed me with open arms (and hugs). I was quickly inducted into the club executive and my comfortable cocoon was re-established. The ladies in this club have long served as my mentors and life-long friends there to support me no matter what. They introduced me to conferences and TLIs including many people at the district (still had no clue what this “district” was but the people seemed nice!).
One day my friend and mentor Shirley McKey said, “consider serving as the District Finance Manager, it will help you finish your DTM.” I had no idea what this really meant but I said “OK!” It sounded like a great opportunity plus I was excited to work with this new friend I met, Gina Cook (the District Director). I decided to make the most of the opportunity by treating the district executive team like my senior executives at work. I experimented with explaining the financials from a business perspective. Everyone on the district team was SO supportive and my confidence grew significantly. Even today, I still have people approaching me saying that my financial reports were memorable! Gina was there as my cheerleader and gave me creative space to learn.
My friends…yes I now consider all Toastmasters to be my friends…the first year I served on the district, I became a Toastmaster for life. It was just the nudge I needed to find my voice, my confidence, and the leader within. Serving at the district level is truly a special experience and can take your career to a far higher level than you could ever imagine. More importantly, you will make lifelong friends…your tribe who will say, “welcome home.”
Our goal this year as a district team is to support ALL members learn how Toastmasters can help them realize their full potential. As a district team, we will fully support the club executive teams. We will host area council meetings where you can learn from other clubs experiences. We will deliver highly valuable training and other exciting events where you can meet new friends. We will learn to how to communicate more effectively with you. We will also be actively looking for the next leaders who may not even see it in themselves yet and we will support the development and growth of anyone interested. The opportunities are truly endless. Please contact me or anyone else on the district team today to discover how to take yourself and your career to another level.
Your friends are waiting, the experience WILL change your life!