Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer Change

Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer Change

A message from our International President 

Change is not always easy to accept. I was recently reminded of that first-hand. As we do following every February Board Meeting, my husband and I went to Disneyland. Going there is routine for us. We have a set way we do things – where we eat, what rides we ride and when. We’ve always done it that way.

This year, though I didn’t understand why at first, things were different. It started when Bob suggested we take the camera. We never bring the camera! It continued throughout the morning as we (very innocently, I thought) kept running into friends at the park. As we did, they would join us. Then came a point where our routine was interrupted. Some of the people wanted to eat; this was not part of the plan at that moment. I acquiesced and “led” them to where our routine would normally take us for lunch. I turned around to find no one was following.

That frustrated me. I tried again to get everyone into the restaurant. It wasn’t working. Finally, one person put his hands on my shoulders, sat me down and told me not to move. I was resistant, but lost the argument. Was I ever glad. It was finally revealed to me that my sweet husband was throwing me a surprise birthday party! It was wonderful! It was also very eye-opening. Lesson learned: Even though I thought I knew what was best, I had to admit I didn’t.

Over the years, Toastmasters has faced some big changes: expanding outside North America, admitting women, changes in the education and recognition systems, just to name a few. Each of those changes was met with resistance by some people. Yet I believe we would all agree they were the right changes at the right time.

Today Toastmasters is facing another change – the biggest we have seen in decades. This change will allow us to adapt to the growth of our organization, prepare for future growth and enable us to provide the best possible service to every member.

This issue of the magazine includes detailed information on page 5 about Proposal A, Global Representation and Support, which will be brought before the members at the Annual Business Meeting this August in Mashantucket, Connecticut. We believe this change is the best course of action to move our organization into the future. I urge each of you to read the information carefully.

Every club has a voice in this matter. If you have questions, please ask them! Club presidents, please make sure your club discusses these changes and send in your proxy so your voice will be heard! And remember, as resistant to change as some of us may be, change can be a great thing! So read, ask questions and when the time comes, I ask you to vote YES to Proposal A. I encourage you to have The Courage to Conquer Change!

Jana Barnhill, DTM, Accredited Speaker
International President