Greetings! When I joined Toastmasters in 2014, my main goal was to overcome my shyness and feel comfortable speaking with others. Little did I know that I would embark on a new journey of contribution and leadership that has enhanced my life in numerous ways.
When I said yes to becoming the Vice President of Education in my 1st Toastmasters club, I was not a stranger to being a leader in a volunteer organization. My children participated in the Catholic Youth Organization basketball team in their elementary and middle school years. As a parent of children in the league, we were tasked with taking on various leadership roles in the organization. We would manage the registration table at the games, greeting attendees and players, collecting entrance fees, and passing out the programs. Other times we would be in the kitchen selling snacks, coffee, and other items. And we filled other roles as needed.
One of the most important lessons that I learned from volunteering in the CYO organization was that even though you are a volunteer and not a paid employee, take pride in the work that you do, and commit to serving with excellence. My children saw this commitment to excellence and learned the importance of volunteerism and leadership.
I joined my 1st Toastmasters club in 2014. A few months later, the President of the club, who was also my mentor, asked me to take on the role of VP of Education for the upcoming term. I was not sure that this was the right role for me. After all, I was a newbie and barely knew anything about the organization. How was I going to effectively provide education to the club members with my limited knowledge? My mentor explained to me that there was a training program for club officers, as well as support from those who had served in this role before me. He promised that I would not be alone in serving in the club. I said yes and since then have filled numerous roles in and outside of the club.
Some of the lessons I learned from that first Toastmasters leadership role is that if you don’t know something, ask someone. Also, attend as many leadership training sessions as you can. There is always something new that you can learn or information that you can share with others to help them and give back to the community.
More recently, I took on the role of VP of Public Relations for not 1, but 3 clubs! My thinking was that I could apply what I learn in multiple clubs and therefore be more effective in this role.
Our district has created many opportunities for us to be leaders and to learn how to be effective in our roles. In January I attended the Toastmasters Leadership Institute club officer training. The instructor provided us with wonderful nuggets of information. We also had the opportunity to share best practices with each other and create relationships with our fellow Vice President’s of PR.
I also had the opportunity to attend a workshop on how to use CANVA for creating fliers for the club. I was surprised at how easy the program is to use! Another learning opportunity was the Public Relations hangouts meeting and the Vice President of Public Relations Facebook group page. Using these methods of support has given me the opportunity to ask questions and receive assistance in my role.
I have received so much support and I am so thankful for this!
My advice to you is, do not pass up an opportunity to serve as a volunteer leader because of a lack of knowledge or the fear of not being good enough. Our growth and development hinges on taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zone. Take pride in the work that you do, commit to serving with excellence, reach out to others, ask questions, attend as many leadership training sessions as you can, and step into the wonderful world of contribution and leadership!
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