Regina Toastmaster Laurel Wingert, DTM, was recently recognized by her employer, Farm Credit Canada, through an Employee Volunteer Draw designed to recognize employees who volunteer. In this monthly community involvement program, the company holds six (6) random draws and awards donations of up to $500 for Canadian charities, non-profits, and community-based organizations where FCC employees choose to volunteer their time.
Employees who volunteer 20 or more hours within a one-year period enter to win $250 for the charity of their choice, while those who volunteer 40 or more hours within a one-year period can enter to win $500 for their chosen charitable organization.
For Laurel’s work as District 42 Finance Manager for the 2016-17 Toastmasters year, she qualified for the draw and her name was drawn this February. As a result, Farm Credit Canada has donated $500.00 to the Canadian Mental Health Organization. We interviewed Laurel by email to learn more about her work with Toastmasters and why this donation has been important to her.
1. Why did you choose to donate to the cause you did?
I have supported many great causes over my life. For over 10 years now, I have ridden on the Multiple Sclerosis bike tour. I have raised a lot of money for MS. I also donate to Z99 Radiothon in support of the Neonatal intensive care unit. I had a premature baby, many, many years ago, and all my Regina grandchildren have been guests of the neonatal unit. Owen, who is now five, was only 26 weeks and two pounds. And without the advanced equipment at the neonatal unit he would not be here today.
This year a friend of mine asked me to join her in the Ride Don’t Hide bike tour for mental health. I have suffered from depression and anxiety all my life. There is a huge stigma behind mental illness and its time there was more education and understanding behind mental health and I want to do my part in ending that stigma.
2. How has Toastmasters helped you in your career?
Toastmasters has helped me with my verbal and written communication skills, which has enabled be to be taken more seriously at work. It also been very effective in teaching me how to give feedback and organize my time.
3. What was your last Toastmasters speech project?
I received my Distinguished Toastmaster award in July of 2017; I gave over 40 speeches to earn that designation! While finishing that I realized I was almost halfway through the program again. It is really hard to say what my last Toastmasters speech project was. I sometimes work on one or more projects at the same time. I am currently preparing to speak at the Alberta Association of Assessors at the end of April in Calgary, Alberta. I have been asked to give training on effective public speaking. Maybe I’ll pursue the Accredited Speaker designation in the future — we will see.
4. What was the best evaluation advice you ever received in Toastmasters?
For public speaking the best advice I ever got was, be yourself, speak from the heart. For leadership skills, delegate, delegate, delegate. You don’t have to everything yourself, trust others will be able to accomplish what they are tasked to do.
5. What makes a great Corporate Toastmasters club?
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) is a great company that supports and encourages their employees to succeed. The senior executive recognizes the important of Toastmasters and how it can help people grow and succeed, therefore our Toastmaster Club at FCC has 100% support. That is the key to a great corporate club, Management support.
6. What is your next big Toastmasters goal?
I have two goals. The first – Learn the new educational program – Pathways, inside and out. This way I can mentor and help others in getting the most out of the program. The second is to go outside my comfort zone. I have a financial background and I love doing anything that has to do with numbers or spreadsheets, but when it comes to leading a team or “being in charge” that scares me. I am running for the Division B Director for the 2018-19 Toastmaster year. This position will give me valuable experience leading and team. It will also give me experience in organizing events and continuing the lesson learned of delegation.