Message from the District 42 District Director Katrina Aburrow, DTM

He who fails to plan is planning to fail.  Sir Winston Churchill

Most of us are familiar with this quote from Sir Winston Churchill.   It means a lot to me because of my experience in planning through Toastmasters.   I used to think that I had zero experience in planning and my lack of confidence in strategic planning made job interviews particularly scary.   I didn’t realize that strategic planning was a basic skill, or that it would be a skill that I would build confidence in by taking part in planning increasingly larger projects through Toastmasters.

My biggest strategic planning experience so far was in working with Program Quality Director Bev and the Club Growth Director Eugene to complete the District Success Plan.  Like a club success plan we discussed our vision for District 42 and then decided what steps we would take this year to achieve that vision.  What is our vision?   To be the best of course.   Like all members and all clubs, we started our year with our end point in mind.   We think District 42 is the best District and that we should work towards realizing our full potential to be a Smedley Distinguished District, the highest level of achievement a District can become in a year.  

We talked about what District 42 would look like if it as a Smedley Distinguished District.   If we were Smedley distinguished all members of District 42 would know the importance of giving speeches on a regular basis and would give one speech a month.   This would result in clubs where all members are completing educational goals and getting a sense of accomplishment when they complete different levels in their Pathways educational journey.   Clubs would have trained club officers who meet on a regular basis to plan for the success of their clubs and ensure that members are not only achieving personal goals, but are learning and growing in strong, vibrant clubs who are at charter strength, with over 20 members.   We have seen that clubs over 20 members offer the best member experience, even when meeting online, and would love to see every club over charter strength.  

And how do we become a District that is the best?   I think we do more of what we already do well.   We use the tools we have available to help members take full advantage of all that Toastmasters offers so that every member is able to reach their personal goals.   I think we continue to meet online while there is still a threat from covid, and we prepare to meet in person when the time is right for even our most vulnerable members, and we continue to work together to have fun while increasing our confidence and competence in a wide variety of communication and leadership skills.   And I think everyone starts with a plan.   And everyone gets excited about that plan.

Research has show that any plan is more likely to be achievable when you share that plan.   Now that our clubs have put together their club success plans, October is the perfect time for clubs to talk about those plans and to get members to talk about their personal plans as well.   What levels are you going to complete this year by doing one speech a month?   What level are you close to completing?   What will be your next level once your current level is complete?   How does your club help you celebrate once you have completed a level?  Every one of us should have these simple goals in mind this year.   If so, by the end of the year, every single one of us will be celebrating not only our personal success but the success of our clubs.   It is exciting to see each other succeed and come next summer when we have our summer social events, we will have a lot to celebrate together, and what could be more fun than that?

Katrina Aburrow, DTM
D42 District Director 


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