by Kathy Bergs
When I joined Toastmasters back in 2013 I had no idea that nine months later I would be First Timer Chair for the fall conference. The conference theme was “Get On Board.” I was amazed at how many first timers did get on board.
When I heard that Steve Blake was going to be the fall conference chair, I asked if I could be on his team as First Timer Chair. Since I had served in that capacity once before, I wanted to do it again. I created a construction permit in keeping with the theme “Bridging the Communication Gap” it had the General Contractor, Building Inspector and some other positions. Several members of the leadership team were also on the permit.
The first timers had to get the signature of everyone listed on the permit and turn their permit in no later than noon on Saturday of the conference. It was rewarding seeing all of them asking different people for signatures and getting out of their comfort zones. We had a special first timer’s reception on Friday evening different than we have done in the past. We had sparkling cider and the group gave a toast to having a great conference.
Many of the first timers I talked to at the conference especially liked the education sessions. Most of them said it gave them a new insight into Toastmasters and a chance to learn different things. I had one lady come up to me and say I should be the First Timers Chair all the time, I did a great job. As much as I would like to do that, it wouldn’t be fair to others who are trying to gain leadership experience.
I know that this batch of First Timers to the conference walked away with a good feeling that they gained valuable material to take back to their clubs, starting with the Key Note Speakers, Contests and Education Sessions.
My advice to anyone who does want to be First Timer Chair, look for a good assistant to work with you. It makes a world of difference.