Viewpoint: The Secret of Your Success

Viewpoint: The Secret of Your Success

A message from our International President

When my employer and mentor, United States Senator Mark Hatfield, retired after 45 years in public service, he was asked by many people what his secret was to longevity and success in politics. His reply: Building personal relationships. Not education, or intelligence, or financial resources. The secret was people.

Of the many benefits we receive in Toastmasters, one of the greatest is the people we meet and the friendships we form. Our network of Toastmasters friends can help us in all aspects of life.

This is certainly true for me. Earlier this year I was between careers. When I attended the Toastmasters Board Meeting this past February, in California, Past District 5 Governor Sheryl Roush took my photo and posted it on Facebook, a Web-based social networking site. Lynn Peterson, a commissioner for Clackamas County in Oregon, is a Facebook friend of mine who saw my Toastmasters photo and sent me a message asking if I had applied for the job of Clackamas County public affairs manager. I was not aware the job existed. Because of Toastmasters – where I met Sheryl – and because of Facebook – where I was connected to Lynn – I found my current career. Thank you, Sheryl and Lynn!

Our Toastmasters friendships can also lead to love. My friend Naomi invited me to my first Toastmasters meeting. I joined Toastmasters because of her encouragement. Many years later, I introduced Naomi to my Toastmasters friend Doug, who later married her. You never know where your Toastmasters associations will take you!

These are just a few examples of how Toastmasters, and our connections to others, change our lives, and in so many different ways!

At your next club meeting, look around at your fellow members. Are your best friends there? Does the meeting include mentors who guide you, speakers you emulate or leaders you learn from? Our involvement in Toastmasters is much more than improving our personal communication and leadership skills. Toastmasters offers us the opportunity to build our network of friends, learn from our peers and discover the rewards of helping others.

Perhaps the club members sitting next to you will help you find your next job, introduce you to your future spouse or support you when you need it most. That is the power of relationships. That is the potential of Toastmasters. Your journey of building relationships starts now!

Gary Schmidt, DTM
International President