The Journey to DTM

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At the 2014 Fall Conference, we celebrated with 12 Toastmasters who had recently received their DTM awards. Several of them have shared some of their journey. 

WHAT took me so long to achieve my DTM? I could say procrastination, but I was involved e.g., club officer, area governor and frequent member, etc. The BOTTOM line:  I did NOT establish a goal for myself!  The turning point for me was to join a second club which forced me out of my comfort zone. It was that spark that ignited my 11 year journey to DTM. A new year is around the corner. Make 2015 a year where you achieve YOUR Toastmaster goal.

Wayne Sekerke, DTM
FAA Toastmasters
Soapbox Heroes

I was sold on Toastmasters from my first meeting. When the VPEd asked me what my goals were I didn’t have a clue. My response was that I wanted to go as far as possible as quickly as possible. Two years and four months later the Distinguished Toastmaster honor belonged to me. 

I didn’t know that my long-slumbering leadership skills would be honed on that journey. And, to think that I had initially laid aside my Competent Leader manual. Being Area 44 Governor was one of my favorite parts of the whole Toastmaster experience. Thanks, Toastmasters, for a well-rounded program.

Gwen Fischer, DTM
Clearly Speaking Toastmasters

As I think about my Toastmasters journey, I’m reminded of the saying, “It takes a village….” Often though, the journey starts with the ‘encouragement’ and motivation of a single friend; in my case, a very good friend, who worked with me in the same office. He came to me one day, very excited, and told me about this great opportunity to improve our speaking skills. “It’s great! You get to give prepared speeches, hear evaluations of what you did, and even learn to speak off the cuff to a question given on the spot! You’ll love it!!”

Even though I didn’t share the enthusiasm that he possessed that day, I did learn to appreciate the wisdom of the process and the benefits that it can (and has) made in improving my career.  

What is the most valuable question I’ve been asked in my Toastmaster journey….? “Why don’t you come with me to a Toastmasters meeting.”

Bret Hauser, DTM
Savvy Sayers

My job as an IT professional and Project Manager requires me to conduct training on new or updated systems, deliver verbal status reports to upper management, and present financial justifications. I could stand up and do that – just not very well. When a new Toastmasters club formed at my company, I jumped at the chance to join as I knew I needed to improve my speaking skills. Then came recession and job loss. The speaking skills I learned helped me with my interview skills and Table Topics helped with “elevator” speeches. I landed a new (and better) job that required even more speaking and leadership skills than the last one. I joined other Toastmaster clubs and had the opportunity to make many speeches and advance quickly through the Toastmasters communication track. Going through the leadership requirements was slower but fun. Then, I had, after nearly seven years, finally achieved my first DTM!

In Karate, you start learning when you achieve your black belt. In music, you start learning when you can play songs all the way through with a band. In Toastmasters, my journey has finally begun. I have achieved the Toastmasters version of a black belt – DTM.

Constantine Sparto, DTM
Off The Cuff
Fort Worth Project Management

Back Row: Gwen Fisher, Dwayne Fontenot, Susan Gardner,
Bret Hauser, Rucha Jani, Debra Levrets
Front Row: Nancy Little, Chuck Mencke, Kaye Schwertner,
Wayne Sekerke, Constantine Sparto, Jeanette Vance 

Have you planned YOUR journey to Distinguished Toastmaster? 
Establish your goals. Draw up a timeline
. Persevere!