Secrets To Success

“There are no secrets to SUCCESS. It is the result of preparation, HARD WORK, and learning from failure.” ~Collin Powell

We all have different reasons for joining Toastmasters. It was in the spring of 2015 that I moved to Calgary and other than the people I worked with; I didn’t know anyone in this wonderful new city. It was in 2016 that I joined Toastmasters after one of the worst years I had experienced.

I will spare you the details of this tragic year, but it was then that I realized I needed people around me other than co-workers, but how do you make friends in a new city? I decided to join a club or group of some kind with people of like mind and that is when I found Toastmasters, and more specifically, the Fish Creek Bravehearts club.

I didn’t know what to expect but after one meeting, I joined the club, gave my first speech at the very next meeting and competed in the Humorous Speech contest. Within a couple of months, I was asked to be a test speaker for the Evaluation contest in front of nearly one hundred people. I had decided that if I was going to be a member of Toastmasters, I might as well make the most of the experience and jump in with both feet.

If you want to make the most of your Toastmasters experience, I strongly suggest you embrace your fears and participate in every aspect of what Toastmasters has to offer. That first year, I joined the club executive, and three short years later, I was the Division D Director.

The year I was Division D Director, COVID hit, and we had to move from in-person meetings to online meetings. The real challenge was in moving to online contests. The District Executive team worked tirelessly to make this switch, and while there were many bumps in the road, we all learned a lot along the way.

I also took on the challenge of delivering one of the first online Speechcraft sessions in our District. I also assisted Irma Goosen in delivering Youth Leadership online for the first time. There were many obstacles to being the first to tackle online interactive group sessions, but it was also one of the most rewarding experiences.

In 2022, I mentored the Safeway Stampeding Speakers to become a new club in our District. There is a lot to be learned from sharing your own experiences with new members and highly suggest signing up to be a Club Mentor or Sponsor.

Toastmasters have so much more to offer than just public speaking. The hidden treasure of Toastmasters is the ability to learn or hone your leadership skills. I was a member of the club executive for seven years and I learned a lot about myself that I didn’t realize before and you will too, if you take a leadership role in your club.

I have received more from Toastmasters than I could ever give back and that’s what I wanted to do as part of my Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) project. I wanted to do something that would benefit all clubs in our District, and more specifically the club officers.

The club officer role can be one of the best learning experiences you can obtain at Toastmasters, but you must be fully engaged to reap the benefits. These roles are subject to election every six months or annually, which can be challenging for the person taking on a role for the first time.

My DTM was to develop a checklist of tasks for each of the club officer roles, to guide the new club officer and a reminder to experienced club officers, what each person is responsible for so they can accept accountability for their role in the success of the club.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey to achieving my DTM and want to thank all of those who have supported me along the way. To the Fish Creek Bravehearts, thank you for allowing me to be so active in our club. There are a few people I would like to give special thanks to, Brian Fegan, Nadia Brante, Cheryl Dust and Irma Goosen, I could not have done this without your support.

Rayanne Rodier, DTM

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