Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer!

Viewpoint: The Courage to Conquer!

A message from our International President

A Toastmasters International President never really knows when he or she decides on a theme for the year just how the theme will play out, although the hope certainly is that it will be relevant, timely and inspiring to the members.

Indeed, throughout this past year so many of you have been called upon to find the Courage to Conquer devastating events in your districts. There were violent attacks in Mumbai right before the District 82 fall conference in India. District 73 in Victoria, Australia, witnessed the tragic “Black Saturday” fires. The H1N1 virus (more commonly known as the swine flu) threatened to derail the District 80 spring conference in Hong Kong. District 56 waited as Hurricane Ike decimated the island of Galveston in Texas. The economic crisis has extended across the globe, affecting many of our members.

Yet in each case, and I know there were others, the Toastmasters in those districts not only rose to the challenge, they found the Courage to Conquer!

In addition, many of you have experienced personal challenges. Thank you for sharing those with me, and explaining how, through the skills you have learned and the support of fellow Toastmasters, you found the Courage to Conquer!

To our club and district leaders, thank you for the courage you have shown this year. We could not exist without you, our volunteer leaders. Despite the economic downturn, we have had a tremendous year. Thanks to your efforts Toastmasters has, for the first time, reached 250,000 members, surpassed 12,000 clubs and is now in 106 countries! We have reached these milestones because of your Courage to Conquer!

To Districts 53, 14, 62, 3, 2, 49, 54, 22, 28, 42, 72, 73 and 70, thank you for having the Courage to Conquer the added stress and logistics of hosting a presidential visit! Bob and I will never forget the overwhelming welcome and generous hospitality you so graciously showed us. You blessed us with memories we will cherish and will relive every year when we place your Christmas ornaments on our Toastmasters tree!

To the Toastmasters in District 23 and all of Region III, I offer you a heartfelt thank you for being the first to provide me the opportunity to find my own courage. You have never allowed me to settle. You have always pushed me to be better and do more, and have held me to the highest of standards, which I appreciate more than you know.

To every one of you, I thank you for the humbling opportunity to serve as your International President. We are so fortunate to be part of this incredible organization. Never forget the Toastmasters Vision: “ empower people to achieve their full potential and realize their dreams!” Never stop learning. Never stop growing. Never stop having The Courage to Conquer!

Jana Barnhill, DTM, Accredited Speaker
International President