Toastmasters offers a lot of opportunities and I like to say that I have taken advantage of all of them. I have enjoyed both the communication and the leadership track. I have competed in all the contests in which a member can compete and I have filled all the officer positions in a club. I have also served as a district leader as area director and as division director in two different opportunities. I have been conference chair and co-chair and I have presented at the district conferences. And I have been to the international conference which allowed me to see the true reach of toastmasters and its impact in the world.
The reason I do all these things is because I learn so much when I do them. Every opportunity to participate and serve in Toastmasters has a direct positive impact in my personal and professional life. And I truly believe that this is a great opportunity to do something positive for others. I joined the district team this year because I feel that there is a lot of potential untapped in our district. There is a lot of people out there who could benefit so much from what toastmasters can provide. We just have to bring toastmasters to them.
I also know that we have a lot of talent already in our district. There are so many experienced Toastmasters from which I have learned much during the years that are full of ideas to move our district forward. My plan is to build a strong team to bring toastmasters to those who need it the most. I want to ask you to help me in this task. If you ever wanted a chance to do something great for the benefit of those around you, your community and your world, Toastmasters can be a perfect vehicle to do that. Imagine what would happen if those with ideas had the resources and the confidence to express them and make them a reality. Imagine showing people that they can overcome their fears and aspire to be the best version of themselves they can imagine. This is what we can achieve through Toastmasters by offering to others the opportunity to explore and develop their leadership and communication skills.
I am honored you selected me as your 2016-17 District Director. My slogan is Every Member Matters. I believe that every member can contribute to Toastmasters at the club and district level. Every member is critical to the short term and long term success of our district. I would like to let you know who I am and also how I plan to help our district.
I am a systems analyst at Protective Life Insurance and have been married to my beautiful wife, Melissa for almost 18 years. I joined Toastmasters in 2002 at the Carpe Diem Club (now Jubilee Toastmasters) in Mobile, AL in 2002 and was a member until 2004. I rejoined Toastmasters in 2006 a few months after moving to Birmingham, AL. I served as club President, VPE, VPM, VPPR. I also served as area director, division director, club growth director, and club extension chair.
Every club member, club leader, and district leader is invaluable. Every person can use his/her talents to the benefit of the club, which also benefits the area, division, and district. All of this starts with the district and club leadership. I challenge our district and club leaders to show that we care about the members in our clubs. The best way the district leadership can show concern is by exhibiting the core values of Toastmasters below:
It is important for each member to participate in the success of their club(s) starting now. In order for members to participate, they must feel they can succeed. One way to do this is to encourage all club leaders to read the Club Leadership manuals and to participate in the Club Success Plan. Also, all district leaders are encouraged to read the District Leadership manual and to participate in their appropriate success plan (Area, Division, and District). I want us to do this so well over 50% of our clubs will be Distinguished by June 30, 2017. Additionally, I challenge our district to have over 25% of our clubs to be Distinguished by April 30, 2017. These manuals have the information to help you succeed!
Finally, seek help from past district leadership. They have the experience from their positions. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. For example, we did trio training before the new Toastmasters year began, and we plan to continue this as a tradition to help us succeed. The outgoing district leaders decided to be part of the district training June 18 in Montgomery to meet with the incoming district leaders. We will also continue a tradition of including outgoing district officers to attend the district officer training to help with the transitioning of district leaders. Let’s start this year and every year in better shape by using the resources we have (i.e. manuals, people). Your success will result in the district succeeding.
Elections for district officers for the upcoming year were conducted at the district's spring conference. The following officers were elected:
District Director: Randy Cooper, DTM
Program Quality Director: Tammy Keeley, ACB, ALB
Club Growth Director: Nelson Ortega, DTM
Division A Director: Ruth Jones, CC
Division B Director: Jessica Hentges, ACB, ALB
Division C Director: Gennice Burch, ACS
Division D Director: John Wahlers, DTM
Division E Director: Sharon Johnson, DTM