Among other benefits, Doreen Pendgracs credits Toastmasters for helping her acquire the presentation skills she now uses in speaking gigs across North America. On the way to earning her Distinguished Toastmaster designation, she founded a new club. She worked a year to recruit 20 members, and the Toastmasters in the Arts club, based in Gimli, Manitoba, received its charter from Toastmasters International in September 2013.
The club is geared to artists and art lovers. “Most of the members of our club are involved in some kind of creative endeavor, or they are art enthusiasts,” says Pendgracs. During the summer, the group meets in a museum and art center where all the walls are adorned with artwork. “It’s an artistically exciting venue to be in,” she says.
She explains why she targeted the arts community. “Many people involved with artistic endeavors are introverts. They are shy when it comes to speaking in public. I thought if I could encourage them to join Toastmasters, they could talk about their work, and their passion for art, to groups, whether it’s at a book launch or art show or whatever.”
Pendgracs says her club has two founding principles: creativity and fun. “We try to make every meeting fun, and we try to focus on creativity in some way.”