By Angela Ritchey, 2015-2016 District Director 

Do you remember how you felt when you attended your first Toastmasters club meeting? How did you feel after your first speech? How have you grown since you first attended? What you gained since then?

It took me six months after my manager strongly encouraged me to join Toastmasters for me to attend my first meeting. When I first stepped into a Toastmasters club I was completely terrified of public speaking and second guessed my decisions. While I was still nervous after my first speech, I felt a sense of accomplishment. Every speech, meeting role, and leadership position I stepped up to chipped away my fear of speaking and doubts about my ability to be an effective leader.

As a result of actively working the program over the past 12.5 years, I have grown far more than I anticipated. For me my most significant growth came from stepping up when called to serve in club officer roles and district leadership positions, including serving as the first District Director of our blended district when the State of Alaska became a part of our District 32 Toastmasters family. Why do I stay in Toastmasters and continue to renew my membership? The opportunities for personal growth and helping others benefit from the program are limitless! If you have already submitted your membership renewal kudos to you for investing in your personal growth! If you haven’t done so it is not too late! While March 31st was the deadline to submit our membership renewals to our club and Toastmasters International you can still work with your club officers to submit your membership renewal. 

What are the reasons to renew our Toastmasters membership? 

  • Invest in your personal and professional growth: Just like any other professional development organization, we need to pay to maintain our membership with Toastmasters. By maintaining an active membership you continue to receive monthly magazines from Toastmasters and continue to network with the like-minded community and a safe environment. 
  • Continued personal growth and access to Pathways educational program: Staying current on our membership allows to continue honing your communication and leadership skills in a safe environment while continuing to build your self confidence. Continued access also provides you with access to the educational program that allows you to leverage over 300 practical workplace skills and 11 different paths. 
  • Ability to compete / support a club member competing: If you are competing in a contest you need to be a paid member. In addition the club you are a member of needs to a club in good standing with at least 8 paid members. Your club member has invested a lot to progress up to the Division level competition. Help them make it to the District level! 
  • Support your Club President and VP Education vote in the District Council Meeting: At the District Council Meeting during our Annual District Conference we will be electing our 2021-2022 District leaders and voting on topics that impact your club, to include club alignment in the District. Similar to speech competitions, Club Presidents and Club Vice Presidents need to be paid members. In addition your club needs to be in good standing with at least 8 paid members. 
  • Club officers retain access to Toastmasters Club Central: As club officers retain the ability to conduct club businesses. Unpaid officers will loss access to Toastmasters Club Central until the end of April. 
  • Support District Operations and your educational growth opportunities: A portion of the Toastmasters International memberships renewal helps to run district activities such as District and Club Officer Training, and educational workshops. 

Do you have questions about dues renewal? Reach out to your club officers and District leadership. Also check out the Toastmasters International Dues Renewal Frequently Asked Questions. As a past district leader I encourage you to continue investing in your personal and professional growth through the Toastmasters program. You never know where your Toastmasters journey will take you!