Finding the leader within

By Angela He

2020 has been a challenging year for many Toastmasters clubs and McGill Toastmasters Club is no exception.

Before the pandemic and online meetings we had a very large in-person membership with an advantageous location. The pandemic has changed the dynamic. Some people left and I don’t blame them.

Attending my weekly Toastmasters meeting has been a habit since I joined the McGill club in 2004. The first online meeting in March 2020 felt strange. To me, it would not be a pleasant experience to have meetings online, so I did not attend. However, I missed my Toastmasters family so I attended our second Zoom meeting. Instead of being the Toastmaster I signed up for a short role instead. I was still reluctant but the meeting went better than I expected. Slowly but surely, attending weekly online meetings became a habit.

A year has passed. Yes, I do miss seeing people in person, shaking hands, and hugging each other. Due to the circumstances, I realize that seeing people online is the second best choice.

I have been an active member with the McGill club since 2004, from VP Public Relations, VP Membership, to VP Education, VP Mentorship, and the club President; I have grown tremendously as a leader. I have learned to tune-in and cultivate my leadership traits no matter the situation.

For the past few years, I have been an active member without an executive role but I always strive to influence people in positive ways. Leading by example is my favourite attribute of great leaders and I practice that to the best of my ability. A few examples include:

  • Attending every online meeting, sometimes even other Toastmasters events
  • Writing about Toastmasters on my daily blog (Toastmasters is a big category, I usually write about Toastmasters once a week)
  • Reaching out and inviting others. One time, seven people came to our meeting to show support and interest!

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”
– John Quincy Adams

How do you cultivate your leadership traits?