As I pen my final Viewpoint column it is hard to believe how quickly the past 12 months have gone by. It has been an experience of a lifetime to work with dedicated leaders from the club level to the Board of Directors, a supportive and tireless staff at World Headquarters and you, the members. To all, my sincere and grateful thanks for your support.
In a Toastmasters year of change where we have seen the launch of Pathways, the acquisition of a new World Headquarters building in Denver, Colorado, and the birth of online clubs—to mention just a few changes—it would be easy to become complacent about our organization’s progress. However, we must continue to change and evolve if we are to fulfill the legacy of those who have gone before us. Toastmasters is a continuing journey of development for both our individual members and the organization itself. To stand still is to stagnate.
I have been fortunate to visit many districts this year from around the globe, and although the cultures, languages, sights and sounds are all different, one thing remains constant: the members. The strength of Toastmasters International is the diversity of our members, who, though of different countries and backgrounds, all have a common goal: to become the speakers and leaders they were meant to be.
With so many different personalities and cultures in our clubs and districts, it is only natural that we encounter differences of opinion. We should not view these as challenges but, rather, as opportunities to live by our core values of integrity, respect, service and excellence. With these values in mind, no challenge is insurmountable.
Our organization has many opportunities to grow: by developing the potential of Gavel clubs and our youth, nurturing the Smedley Fund so it can help Toastmasters grow in developing markets and taking advantage of technology to communicate on a truly global scale. How we meet those challenges is up to you and the support you give to the Board to make them a reality.
I thank you for the opportunity to serve, because true leadership is about serving others. At Toastmasters we are not about making better Toastmasters but about making better people—people who can take the skills they learn in their clubs into the world to benefit their families, their communities and their careers. The one thing my journey has reinforced above all others is that I will always Remember you, the Member.
MIKE STORKEY, DTM