Viewpoint: Thoughts From 37,000 Feet In the Air

Viewpoint: Thoughts From 37,000 Feet In the Air

A message from our International President

As I write this, I am on a plane flying home from my last trip as International President. Unable to sleep and having already seen the movie being shown, my thoughts begin to wander to the year just passed. And what a year it has been!

My wife, Irene, and I have each flown over 140,000 miles. We lived out of our suitcases for more than 100 days and in that time, we’ve had to check-in and check-out of hotels and get on at least one – usually two airplanes – every three or four days, and never once had a home-cooked meal. We missed our children, whose school vacation time coincided with one of our long trips.

Was it worth it?

I think of the times I almost collapsed from exhaustion but had to keep smiling because the event I was attending was not over. I think of the many late nights and early mornings. I think of how my teeth chattered as I faced freezing weather in America, and how I sweltered under the heat of the Sahara Desert. Thank God for Irene who was always there for me.

Was it worth it?

I think of the many corporate executives, government officials, school administrators and leaders of various organizations I’ve met. I see their eager expressions as I talk to them about Toastmasters, and my heart skips as they say, “Yes, we can use Toastmasters in our organization.”

I think of the many media interviews I gave. I never thought I could go through even one, much less a dozen. I remember having so much fun at the interviews; we sometimes went overtime just talking about Toastmasters. Never mind if I had to wake up at 4 a.m. for the interview.

I think of our fantastic World Headquarters staff who keeps the machinery of our organization churning efficiently every day. And I think of our volunteer leaders who work tirelessly to make our clubs, areas, divisions and districts Distinguished. Then I think of the many volunteer Toastmasters who spared no effort in making our visits truly memorable.

But best of all, I think of the many Toastmasters I have met over the year. I met too many to remember them all, and yet I can see their smiling and excited faces. I can hear many of their stories – stories of how Toastmasters has changed their lives. I hear them tell me of Simply Amazing things that have happened to them because of Toastmasters. A smile crosses my lips.

Many Toastmasters have come to me after a speech or an educational session to thank me. “No,” I say, “It is I who should thank you.” Yes, a big Thank You! to all Toastmasters. You are the lifeblood of our organization. You are the reason I – and many volunteer leaders – do what we do.

Yes, because of you and your efforts, it was all worth it! Irene joins me in saying with all our hearts, “Thank you for a Simply Amazing year!”

Johnny Uy, DTM
International President