I am a proud Canadian. I sit on my deck with my red and white flowers, my red and white clothing and a red and white mug. Our shed is also red and white. I have a white car and my husband’s is red. It’s Canada’s 150th birthday, and while I am always honoured to be Canadian, it’s not what’s making me a little nervous today!
The cause of my nervousness is that today, July 1, 2017 I am officially in the role of District Director, Toastmasters International, District 64, 2017-2018. I am honoured to be elected to serve our members and assist our leadership teams. I am nervous because I also represent and simultaneously serve the entire organization.
I am proud to be part of this diverse and inclusive organization. Toastmasters International is in most countries. There are thousands of clubs. There are millions of people who have benefitted from the program and millions more to come. It’s an organization struggling to modernize in a world of rapidly changing types of communication. Increasingly available access to information comes with more languages, cultures and political climates sitting as close as our mobile phones. Yet Toastmasters continues to grow and adapt. It continues to offer members a voice in the form of voting at the club, District and International levels. I am honoured to be part of it all.
As I reflect on my Toastmasters journey however, my best moments have been personal and local: the catch in my throat when my club presented me with my first membership pin, the joy when I completed my first icebreaker, the applause and approval of my club members when I succeeded at my first Table Topics speech, the appreciation shown by my club when I was awarded a Competent Toastmaster certificate (CTM, now a CC) and best of all, the satisfaction I continue to feel when other members succeed at any step in the journey to being better communicators and better leaders.
I have branched out from my home club in the succeeding years but Carillon Toastmasters is still there, supporting me and keeping me grounded. There, I am still just Sheryl. I am still honoured to be a member and still a little nervous when I do a speech. I will try to remember that while I am representing the world of Toastmasters International, and within it the amazing country of Canada, I also represent my club. I hope I represent them with integrity, respect, service and excellence. I am honoured, but still a little nervous.