Reflecting On The Conference
Our conference this past weekend was a success. All the attendees had fun and learned a lot. Starting with our keynote speaker on Friday night – Past International Director (PID) Sharon Hill, on her “Just Say Yes.” It was fascinating, entertaining, and very familiar. I can relate to her journey, especially how I always welcome the challenge of moving forward. It reminds me of the quote from Mark Twain that I always apply, “The secret of getting ahead is to get started.”
What is holding you back?
The keynote speech from Immediate Past International President (IPIP) Richard E. Peck – “Break Down The Barriers, Maximize Your Potential,” was also outstanding. It was so compelling, moving, and thought-provoking. It made me reflect on my own to analyze the situations where I was held back. I am sure the majority of the attendees reflected on their own. He touched on many phobias and negative voices that we face, “Atychiphobia,” or fear of failure, is one that I can relate to the most. How many times have I gone through those thoughts – “Will I pass the mark?”, “Will I exceed the expectations of the audience?”, “Will I succeed in motivating others?” and much more. Having those thoughts just held me back. Only in situations where I pushed through, no matter when I learned the most and when I realized how much I could contribute.
The two contests were astonishing and fantastic too. What a great show of talent from all the contestants, a great demonstration of all the fundamentals of public speaking, and much more.
The education sessions were all exceptional too. “Aligning Action and Values” by PDD Jocelyn Hastie reminded us to use our Core values to align with our Code of Conduct and actions. “Find your funny bones” by Nandini Venkatessen, IPDD Katrina Aburrow, and Laura Chambers was fun, entertaining, and educational. We learned gazillions of tips on how to elevate our humor. “Having the Ride of your Life” by PDD Mona Cooley, where she shared grit and resilience. “Who do you think you are” by Gail Shirley, where she gave insights into human behavior and how to use it in dealing with individuals. “Genuine Networking” by Ahmad Jabbir and Richard Lee – Thai, where they showed how to make connections in a way that is fun and easy. “SOAR to success” by IPIP Richard E. Peck, where he showed us strategic planning techniques and where SOAR is better than SWOT. As in SOAR, we looked for the Aspirations and Results that make us develop a plan and make things happen.
On top of that, we were able to network in person like it used to be in the good old days, especially for those of us who made it to the venue itself. And, of course, the dancing and fun with our fellow Toastmasters and partners. Photo Album
Preliminary feedback from the attendees online is positive too. They witnessed all the events and felt the energy even attending online. We will get more input on this to make sure we improve and continue to do better.
Thank you again to the Conference chairpersons – Michelle Ryerson and Abraham George – for their hard work, dedication, and diligence. Thank you to our District Contest Chair Alisen Dopf, and District Chief Judge Joyce Allen for organizing and running our contest so smoothly. Thank you to all the Conference Committee leaders – Emma Glover and Saya Sanyal – for sharing your valuable time. Thank you to all the volunteers who made this happen. Thank you to all the attendees as well. You made it all worthwhile. All of you have made this first hybrid conference in District 42 a success. This is an event that we can all be proud of.