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Leadership and Transition


From 2015 to 2016, and now on to 2016-2017—times of transition in Toastmasters. Each program year, more than 100,000 volunteers lead our clubs and the organization. Many now leave their leadership positions, and many take on new ones. Including me.

At the conclusion of our International Convention this month in Washington, D.C., I will take on the role of Immediate Past International President. A year later, at the convention in Vancouver, I will leave the Toastmasters Board of Directors. Many of you face similar transitions.  

At this month’s convention, Mike Storkey will step into the role of International President. At times I have struggled with transitions like this one, but it is part of the role of a volunteer leader. I’m eager to support Mike and all our new leadership teams as they begin their work to serve our clubs and members. I expect that, from time to time, I’ll be asked for my views, and sometimes I’ll offer an observation or opinion for consideration. 

I trust our new leaders to commit to our mission and deliver results for our members and clubs.

I hope you’ve noticed recent stories in the Toastmaster magazine about members who use the skills they’ve learned in clubs to advance other causes: Jimmy Thai helping poor children in Vietnam, for instance. This month’s issue features an article on Geoff Regan, the Speaker of the House of Commons in Canada. I hope you take pride in the role Toastmasters has played in enabling these individuals to contribute to our broader world and society, and I hope you see much opportunity for yourself and the members in your club. 

I trust our new leaders to commit to our mission and deliver results for our members and clubs. I’m confident our club leaders will continue to provide ­excellent environments where members can achieve amazing results inside and outside of Toastmasters.

Author Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Consistent with this idea, I will always be a Toastmaster. I want to keep my communication and leadership skills sharp. And to be strong as a leader or speaker, we need a base of knowledge, a place to practice our skills and a way to get feedback on our performance. I can’t think of a better place than Toastmasters to access these three elements. 

It has been my pleasure to serve as International President. I look forward to seeing many of you at the convention in Washington, D.C., and celebrating your achievements.


JIM KOKOCKI, DTM

International President