By Maribeth Fontabla, PM4, President, World Renowned Grand Prairie Toastmasters
I joined Toastmasters in March 2018. The reasons I joined Toastmasters was to become a better speaker and further develop my leadership skills. At the time that I joined Toastmasters, I was working as one of the assistant service managers in the psychiatry department at Parkland Hospital and an officer of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Texas Chapter as a Member-at-Large.
After a few months of attending the club meetings and assuming different roles in the club meetings, I saw the other available opportunities to help me enhance my leadership skills. With my leadership background and the desire to be a better leader, I volunteered to be the Vice President for Membership for the next term in June 2018. I know I can do it as I started applying the principles, I learned from Jack Canfield, that is, believe it is possible, believe in yourself, and take action.
With the many opportunities available not only in the club but in the area and district as well, I took the action! I first volunteered to be the Contest Toastmaster for our Club Humorous Speech in September. In Area 31 and 32 Humorous Speech contests that same month I volunteered to be the Refreshments Chair on September 22, 2018. The night before the area contest I was asked to step in as a Contest Toastmaster, seeing this as another opportunity I said yes. After the area contest, a bigger opportunity was given to me to be Division C Contest Toastmaster and Refreshments Chair the following month.
With the leadership experiences I have gained in Toastmasters after nine months, I decided to volunteer to be the president of the club in December 2018. While I was given the role of president of the club, I moved up to be the secretary for the American Psychiatric Nurses Association Texas Chapter and was asked to become the Interim Unit Manager of our newly opened unit in our department. Truly when you believe in yourself and take action, it is possible.
As more opportunities become available to serve the club, the area, and the division I continue to take action and volunteer to further get the chance of working with different people at different levels. I recently chaired the Area 32 Table Topics and International Speech Contests. This opportunity gave me the chance to work with other leaders of the area and the division and learned some leadership skills from them. The next opportunity I am excited about is working as Co-Chair for the Division C Table Topics and International Speech Contests in April as I get to work with other leaders. I have observed that as I take advantage of these opportunities I am also growing as a leader that now I am the full-time Unit Manager of our new unit and the Interim Unit Manager of our inpatient unit. Yes, I am now given the opportunity to manage two units.
After a year of doing different roles, participating in different activities, and attending training sessions in Toastmasters I have learned a lot that helped me be a better leader. I consider the time I spent in all of these as an investment in my personal growth journey. I still have a lot of growing to do as a leader. I will continue to look for other opportunities in Toastmasters and take action.