Reflections of my 25 Years Journey in Toastmasters – Part III
For the next six years, I did not hold any office. This was a break as I was continuously holding Club Officer positions including a term as Area Governor from 2001-2006. The next five to six years were spent “sharpening the saw” where I achieved several educational awards, organized different events and sharpened my leadership skills in club meeting roles by working on the competent leader manual FOUR times. I also worked on achieving a competent communicator every year till I completed my 10th Competent Communicator in 2018.
After nearly six years of being an ordinary member I was invited to serve as a Division Governor for a division I was unfamiliar with. It was really a great experience for me.
I was assigned a group of Area Governors save for one or two who were really passionate and helpful. I knew them as my Area Governors, and they knew me as their Division Governor. The experience of Division Governor was actually the best position I have held to date as I was forced to be a good delegator and focus on the critical success factors else, I would burn out. I was also in the position of being a mentor to my Area Governors and suggesting strategies for them to get through their term and effectively serve their clubs. I also became a club sponsor and mentor as well as working on my 5th CC.
The year ended well with “Division A” finishing strong as Presidents Distinguished Division. What gave me the most satisfaction was that I had one of the largest numbers of Distinguished Clubs in the largest Division (30 Clubs) there was at the time. As soon as my term as Division Governor was complete, I attained my 2nd DTM.
In August 2014 I attended my 1st International Convention and that was one of the BEST toastmaster events I have ever attended. Talking to Past International Presidents and making friends with 11 out of the 15 was the best part of the convention outside my Club, Area, Division, District and even country Singapore. This convention really made me appreciate that we are a truly global organization. I even would humbly request every toastmaster to attend at least one international convention to get a bigger and broader perspective of toastmasters.
After nearly 22 years in Toastmasters, another milestone was achieving my 10th competent communicator in January 2018. This was definitely a worthwhile goal that was achieved in terms of sharpening the saw and encouraging others to become better communicators and leaders by sharpening their own saw. This also marked the end of an old era and the beginning of a new one “pathways” which is the wave of the future of toastmasters with its competency-based programs.
My most recent achievement in toastmasters was being elected to the Presidency of Bukit Batok Toastmasters Club, Singapore (BBTMC) for the term 2018-2019. I led the club to Presidents Distinguished at year-end even.
Coincidentally, BBTMC was the first club I walked into in Singapore in late April 2001. At that time the club was thriving. Little did I know that one day I would be the president of that club. How I wish it at least stayed at the same level. However, when I visited it several years later after being a regular visitor for a few years, I decided to join the club. I soon learned it had been driven into the ground with poor leadership and Presidents setting bad examples themselves. In any case, I decided once again that fifteen years may have passed but the cancer of mediocrity was going up exponentially in Singapore.
Besides leading the club to Presidents Distinguished by rigorously working with the club success plan I also ensured 100% of our club officers were trained by bringing them to club officer training with me in July and January. At the same time, I achieved my complete path in pathways -Leadership Development.
In 2020 I finished my second path in pathways – Dynamic Leadership. I also achieved the Pathways Mentor Designation as well as complete a DTM project in pathways which is the substitute for the High-Performance Leadership Award in the traditional program.
In August 2020 I was invited to be a Club Coach after nearly 15 years for another club. I was glad that this club of nearly 30 years which had gone down in membership numbers was revived and lead by the team to Select Distinguished Club.
I took up this challenge and this helped me earn my 3rd DTM through the pathways program which I am due to receive in July 2021.
It was not so much the educational designations that mattered, but these awards stood for dedication to communication and leadership in toastmasters which involved what I believe we are all about which is to become a better communicator and leader and, in the process, inspire others to do likewise.
Toastmasters can and will provide life-changing benefits for all of us if we allow them to. Regardless of our level of participation, we can all make a difference big or small. is a song in all of our hearts waiting to be sung? Toastmasters does help us to sing it. Toastmasters has transformed me like no other.
What lies ahead for me now? You never know for sure, but if I continue, I would be inspired to continue serving as a trainer hopefully both in my club and at club officer training, because I believe that’s where the real learning takes place albeit in a safe and supportive environment. But most of all inspiring others to become more effective communicators and leaders.
Toastmasters has given me the opportunity to make a change for the better, sing my song, change lives one at a time, find my voice serve and shape my world and find the courage to conquer my dreams.
In my 25-year journey, I have moved up significant levels in business from an Engineer to a Manager to President and Managing Director of a company I have founded and own. My toastmaster success has been achieved in parallel with my business success where I have been able to export my toastmaster skills to the business world and import my business skills to the toastmaster world. However, I started my toastmaster journey when I was just a young student of engineering about to graduate.
A quote from my dearest friend in toastmasters and Past International President Jana Barnhill who as keynote speaker at the 2014 International Convention in KL said,
Toastmasters is a place where communicators are born and where leaders are made.
Wish everyone the very best in carving out the best journey they can design for themselves.