By Melissa Jean, Conference Co-Chair for District 32’s 2021 Conference.

Toastmasters offers its members a safe environment to hone leadership. project management, and communication skills.  I found that volunteering as a Conference committee chair provides an excellent opportunity to work on all three of these valuable skills.   

The vision of the co-chairs for District 32’s 2021 conference was to help fellow Toastmasters achieve their dreams through individual empowerment. The various committee chairs collectively created a fun, engaging, and memorable 2021 conference.

Here is a recap of events from our 2021 conference: 

On Monday evening, Greg Wood, our keynote speaker, opened the conference with magic, literally and figuratively.  Using the acronym “MAGIC,” he shared how Moving beyond self limiting beliefs, Adding value to someone else, Guarding your self talk, Identifying your one word, and Comparing yourself to only the you of yesterday, will aid YOU in pursuing your dreams. One of Greg’s many “words of wisdom” that rang true for me was, “Self esteem is what we value in ourselves.”

The evaluation and International speech contests were held on Tuesday and Saturday, respectively. The contests were an amazing experience for everyone involved.  At each contest level, from club to area to division to district, the contestants sharpened their speaking skills.  Having competed myself in the past, I have empathy for the nerves the contestants experience leading up to their presentation and the huge sense of relief when they finally are able to utter the words “Thank you, Mr./Madame Toastmaster!”  The contest volunteers feel a sense of accomplishment knowing they have helped other Toastmasters be successful.  Contests are a competency gold mine; the volunteers and contestants exhibit skills and abilities that I want to emulate.  

Wednesday night’s educational sessions allowed attendees to choose between: HOPE for a Toastmaster; From Voiceless Victim to Master Messenger; If You can Imagine Change, and Believe in Yourself, You can Achieve Your Dream; and Crafting Your Team’s Value Matrix. Based on the comments shared in the Community posts, conference attendees found value in each of these sessions. If you missed some of these events, or would like to see them again, you can check out each session’s recording through Toastmasters District 32 – Conference 2021 portal HERE.

Thursday evening gave the candidates for 2021-22 District 32 leadership a chance to shine. Each candidate was able to showcase what he or she would like to accomplish in the upcoming Toastmaster year.  Attendees were given time to ask questions, as well. The evening’s agenda concluded with a Networking Table, an opportunity for all conference attendees to mingle with other Toastmasters.  Participants were randomly shuffled into rooms of four and given 5 minutes to chat.  Think of it as Speed Table Topics. 

Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Awards were acknowledged Friday night.  WOOHOO and congratulations to the new DTMs!  Earning a DTM requires a multi-year commit of one’s time and talents.  Friday evening culminated with a virtual, personal scavenger hunt.  The host gave attendees 5 minutes to find about 20 items in their home.  A rousing show and tell followed, with folks jockeying for extra points based their item’s unique characteristic(s).

Saturday’s agenda was full!  The morning opened with the District Council Meeting, which included consideration of next year’s club alignment and the voting and swearing in of the incoming 2021 – 2022 leaders. After the meeting, Conor Cunneen regaled the audience with the importance of finding humor everywhere and in everything.  “What do I want my attitude to me” was a key takeaway. The District’s International Speech contest on Saturday afternoon displayed the talents of six amazing Toastmasters!  I agree with what I heard someone else say after all the competitors spoke, “I’m glad I wasn’t a judge!” An incredible amount of wonderful talent was exhibited in each contestant’s speech.  CONGRATULATIONS to Danielle Rylander, who took first place!   The conference’s last event on Saturday afternoon was another network event.  Slightly audible behind the excited chatter was a sigh of relief from all the conference committee chairs.

As a result of their willingness to step forward, each conference committee chairperson helped make District 32’s 2021 conference a spectacular, memorable event. Working to create this conference also expanded each chairperson’s leadership skills and project management abilities.

Would you like to expand your communication, project management, and leadership skills? We are looking for folks to orchestrate next year’s conference.  

  • Imagine yourself being an active committee chair.
  • Believe you CAN and WILL successfully participate as a committee chair.
  • Achieve self confidence and Pathways progress by being a committee chair.

If you would like to step forward and help plan next year’s conference, please contact Melissa Jean.