Thursday, October 22, 2009

TI turns 85

Today is Toastmasters International 85th Anniversary, and so Toastmasters everywhere should pause for a minute or two on this day to reflect on what it means to be a Toastmaster, and how much of a difference it has made to our personal and professional lives. I am pleased to reproduce a portion of an email sent by Gary Schmidt, International President – a message in our Inbox that was waiting patiently to be read: “October 22 is an auspicious date for Toastmasters around the world. It marks the day that a small group of people, led by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, held the first official Toastmasters meeting in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, California, USA.

While the original intent of the group was to teach after-dinner speeches to young men, as we all know, Toastmasters has evolved to become a worldwide leader in communication and leadership development. This evolution was no accident; Dr. Smedley firmly believed that the improvement of a person's ability to communicate his or her ideas was a means of improving life in all its phases, personal as well as professional. It's a philosophy that resonates as clearly today as it did back in 1924.”

This message serves to remind us of how Toastmasters started 85 years ago and how it has evolved through the years, and leaving its precious imprint on its members – this blogger included. I am immensely enjoying this Toastmaster journey, and although I consider myself a newbie (being only in my second year as a Toastmaster) – I have achieved a lot! I became a member on July 01, 2008 and since then I had served as a Chartered President, completed my Advanced Communicator Bronze, visited at least 9 Toastmasters Clubs, performed roles from TME and General Evaluator to Grammarian and Evaluator, participated in Table Topics sessions and competed at the Area-level Humor and Evaluation Contests. And nope, I don’t think Toastmasters has changed my life yet, but I have truly benefited in more ways than one.

I attended a HUC student function, which was the Uganda-Nigeria Joint Independence Celebration. A busload of HICT students and staff went to Bandar Pusat Damansara to support this event yesterday. We did not have any Ugandan representation, but we have Gift, Joshua, Bright and Bashir representing Nigeria from amongst our Klang contingent. An interesting event and the pictures below tell a fun-filled story:

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