Take a walk through the decades to appreciate the rich history of Toastmasters.
- Illinois YMCA Education Director Ralph C. Smedley sees public-speaking need
- Organizes Toastmasters Club, referencing role of “toastmaster” at banquets
- First unofficial Toastmasters meeting held on March 24
- Smedley and older men present short speeches; younger men join in evaluations
- Smedley accepts job at YMCA in Santa Ana, California
- Organizes what becomes Club No. 1 of Toastmasters International
- October 22: meeting of approximately two dozen men marks birth of today’s Toastmasters
- Article published in YMCA’s national publication, Association Men; word spreads
- Smedley is recognized for avoiding oratorical style of previous century; for keeping meetings simple
- Second Toastmasters club chartered in Anaheim, California
- Smedley writes Manual of Instruction (known later as The Club Management Handbook)
- Smedley writes Ten Lessons in Public Speaking
- “Toastmasters Club” trademarked
- Toastmasters International incorporated
- First president: Advertising Salesman J. Clark Chamberlain
- First Toastmaster magazine published in April
- First club outside the United States chartered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- Clubs reach 100-milestone
- Smedley resigns from YMCA; becomes Toastmasters’ first professional employee
- Smedley writes Basic Training, the “Bible” of Toastmasters
- District 18 of Scotland is first organized outside of the United States
- Clubs reach 700-milestone
- The Story of Toastmasters (Reminiscences of the Founder) published
- First World Headquarters building dedicated in October
- Educational Advisory Committee established
- Smedley dies at age 87
- New Communication and Leadership program introduced
- Membership opened to women
- Membership reaches more than 60,000 in 3,000 clubs in 41 countries
- Toastmasters International celebrates 50th anniversary
- Membership reaches 100,000
- Helen Blanchard first female president
- Membership reaches 150,000
- Toastmasters headquarters moves from Santa Ana to Rancho Santa Margarita, California
- Clubs reach 8000-milestone
- First website launched
- Clubs reach 10,000-milestone
- Daniel Rex becomes executive director
- Organization’s structure changed to 14 global regions
- Membership reaches 250,000 in 106 countries
- Brand, website, logo and tagline are refreshed and updated
- Pathways launched in various regions
- Headquarters relocates to Englewood, Colorado
- Pathways fully implemented in May
- Toastmasters/Rotary announce strategic alliance
- Pandemic drives club meetings online; 83% soon go virtual
- Free 2020 Public Speaking Webinar Series begins
- Pathways becomes the official education program
- First all-virtual International Convention/World Championship of Public Speaking®
- Toastmaster magazine wins Folio national editorial awards
- Toastmasters turns 96
- Toastmasters-developed education courses go live at Rotary International
To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development
Toastmasters International Mission
We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.
We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.
View early Toastmasters manuals and magazines.
View recognition letters from famous figures in history.
Read how Toastmasters evolved.
Scroll through images of Toastmasters leaders.