Inspiring a new club: Green Toastmasters Vert

by James Mihaychuk, CC, DL5, IP5

To quote the amazing Mohammed Murad, PIP, DTM from his incredible keynote speech at the District 61 Conference, there are two key questions to confront as we assess taking the leap to our next challenge: “Who are you?” and “Who do you want to be?”

For many of us, this evokes the concept of leaving a legacy. In my case, I remember my father who passed away more than two decades ago. Dad was an educator, counsellor, and administrator. He had a first career as a principal in rural public schools before I was born. As the baby of a big family, I knew only his second career, improving educational opportunities for First Nations youth.

Dad also had great passion for nature and loved to spend time outdoors hiking, canoeing, or cross-country skiing. We had the good fortune to live near a national park. Dad was the one to take all the kids in our large family outdoors on weekends, to go swimming or tobogganing to let us burn off some energy and give my mother a break.

At my father’s funeral, I was struck by the wide variety of people who came to pay their respects: neighbours, churchgoers, his hair stylist, and an old friend not seen for 3 decades. Referring to the eulogy that my sister and I gave, that old friend said that I seemed to be just the kind of person my father had been. While it was a kind thing to say, I still wonder if many of us will be remembered so fondly or by so many.

Living well is leaving a worthwhile legacy. As Mr. Murad said in his speech, we need to strive to understand the gap between our present reality and our aspirations. As Toastmasters we can build communications and leadership skills that empower us to be effective change makers who know how to work together as a team.

My latest step on that journey to be the person I aspire to be is to serve as the club sponsor for a new online club called “Green Toastmasters Vert”. This club is based here in District 61, but as an online club it will be open to all Green-minded people wherever they may be. The club values were inspired by the Global Greens Charter: Sustainability, Participatory democracy, Ecological wisdom, Non-violence, Diversity, and Social justice. A useful acronym to remember all that is “SPENDS”, although the intention is more about investing in future generations.

Online clubs and a “Green” club are both novelties, but that is just the kind of club-building challenge to test our ability to close the gap between the present and our goals. Please support our fledgling club by attending one of our meetings. Check out our Facebook page at or send us an email at