I first joined Toastmasters in 2002 as I had a problem with filler words! I used a lot of them and took a long time to get to my main points when speaking! Not a good thing as the first 30 seconds of a conversation or an interview is so important! Some people even make a decision about you in such a short period of time.

During that first year, I completed 9 speeches in the Competent Toastmaster Manual and was able to considerably reduce my use of filler words thanks to the members of Fish Creek Bravehearts. My biggest regret was that I decided that I had learned enough and left Toastmasters. This is a mistake that many first-time Toastmasters make!  The only smart thing I did at the time was to save my CC manual. It wasn’t until 14 years later that I decided to rejoin the club after I had retired from work. What a difference it might have made to my career if I had stuck around.

I returned to Toastmasters in October of 2017 and was able to get credit for those 9 speeches in the Traditional program. I came really close to completing a Traditional DTM but the program was replaced by Pathways when I was still working on becoming a successful coach.

What did I learn from this experience:

  1. Not to give up!
  2. To commit to Pathways;
  3. To jump at learning and leadership opportunities;
  4. To focus even more on helping others to achieve their goals and finally;
  5. Not to be in a rush!

Pathways Can Be Your Friend!

When Pathways was first introduced, I really didn’t want to learn about it or do it. I ignored it as I just wanted to complete my Traditional program. As a member of the club executive, however, I realized that I wasn’t modelling the way! Once I engaged in the program, I saw the possibilities with the online modules! I spent considerable time developing a greater understanding of the different levels in pathways but more importantly how the projects worked and how they fit into meeting and leadership roles. What really made the difference as well, was the switch over to online zoom meetings as a result of Covid.

Past Work Experience:

My former work background with the provincial government included teaching, career counselling coordinating staff development and various leadership roles. This experience fit nicely into becoming a club coach, club sponsor, and club mentor and taking on leadership roles. It also helped when I provided pathways training and delivered training at some of the leadership training events.

It Started to come Together!  

I enrolled in my first two Pathways in early 2020. Presentation Mastery and Effective Coaching were a great fit for me! Both Pathways helped me to enhance my public speaking and coaching skills. I completed both in the late fall of 2021. I became a club sponsor with Kepler Astrologers and a club mentor with Safeways Stampeding Speakers. Both clubs successfully chartered in the summer of 2022. I continue to support Safeway’s club. I have continued as a club coach with Waters Edge.

My DTM project:

My project’s key focus was on helping to enhance club creation resources and practises within the district. I had a fantastic advisory team which helped me stay grounded and not take on too large a project.

What really made the difference?

There were several things that made a difference and helped me to achieve my DTM. I want to acknowledge:

  1. All of the wonderful people that I met along the way and who supported me on my journey. Special thanks to the members of the Fish Creek Bravehearts and Waters Edge toastmaster clubs. 
  2. The District 42 leadership teams provided leadership opportunities, quality training and encouragement.
  3. The staff at TI who designed the Pathways program and all of the other great resources that I used along the way.
  4. The TI organization and District for providing the opportunity to deliver speeches, lots of speeches!
  5. The clubs for making meeting role opportunities available helped build my skills. I love impromptu speaking!

In closing, special thanks to Rayanne Rodier, my fellow toastmaster at Fish Creek Bravehearts for always encouraging me and leading by example.

Lastly, my wife Betty supported and encouraged me and put up with all of my online meetings over the last few years.

It’s really worth the effort!

Brian Fegan, DTM
D42 Club Extension Committee Chair  

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