In-house Toastmasters club reinforces corporate values at Tacoma General Hospital

by Aug 8, 2018

Starting an in-house Toastmasters club at Tacoma General Hospital required teamwork, collaboration, and persuasive leadership.

When Leida Randall and Stacy Estes, members of a community Toastmasters club, brought the idea to executive leadership at the hospital, they found a champion in Kevin B. Dull.

Dull is the Senior Vice President of Human Potential with MultiCare Health System, the multidisciplinary health organization that runs Tacoma General as well as seven other hospitals across Washington state.

MultiCare Tacoma Toastmasters is a closed corporate club, operated exclusively to benefit employees.

Reflecting on the club’s first eight months, new club president Charlotte Morris notes the challenges and rewards of establishing a corporate club.

“Toastmasters is a long-standing, well-known organization,” Morris says. “But there was not much of a track record in the healthcare field.”

Shared values led to approval

Morris cited the close alignment of Toastmasters’ and MultiCare’s values as a key to winning support for the program. “MultiCare is very focused on internal leadership development, teamwork, and creating a collaborative work environment,” says Morris. “Seeing that those same values are shared with Toastmasters International and integrated into the Pathways program helped open doors and gain executive approval.”

The Talk of Tacoma Toastmasters Club served as a club sponsor, helping the MultiCare club launch its first meeting in September 2017. By December, the club had worked through the founding process and received its charter.

With the ongoing support and sponsorship of Dull, other leaders in the company also got on board. Supervisors started recommending the program and writing it into professional development plans for their team members. Other employees are taking the initiative to join on their own volition.

Morris says MultiCare has supported the club on other levels as well. “We’ve been able to use internal communications and health fairs to promote the club.” The company also provides an on-site meeting location for the club.

Seeing the results in increased teamwork and self-confidence

Morris notes that she is already seeing the benefits of Toastmasters amongst her fellow employees.

“The hospital is a large, fast-paced organization,” says Morris. “Our employees have to translate their subject matter expertise to both internal and external customers. I see our employees developing new found confidence and greater clarity in explaining complex, unfamiliar topics.” Morris adds that she’s also seeing growth in collaborative effort and networking that’s generating benefits for employer and employee, alike.

“We really focus on teamwork at MultiCare. Our in-house Toastmasters club gives employees a place to develop and hone those skills,” notes Morris. “It’s invaluable to have a place to practice presentations and get supportive feedback to help with continuous improvement.”

Extending the benefits to other venues

Based on its experience with the in-house club at Tacoma General, MultiCare is looking at establishing clubs at its other locations. “What we’ve done in Tacoma has generated interest from other facilities in the MultiCare network,” says Morris.

On August 22, the club will officially receive its club banner from Toastmasters International. Immediate past district director, Mike Marion, will be on hand to present the banner and recognize the club. The banner presentation and a small celebration will precede the scheduled club meeting at noon.

“I think this is a great milestone for the club,” says Morris. “It gives us a chance to revisit why we established the club, recognize and honor our charter members, and invite prospective members to find out what the program is all about.”

To find out how your company can establish its own in-house Toastmasters Club, contact Carolyn Curley, Club Growth Director at d32cgd [at] gmail [dot] com. To find a community club, visit the Find a Club page on the Toastmasters International website.