by Tammy Kasterke, DTM, TLI Training Chair
Would you believe I’d never heard of Toastmasters until I was in my 40s?
The PepsiCo e-newsletter advertised a club meeting and gave a description of the PepsiCo Presenters Toastmasters Club. I clearly said to myself, I need this. I went to the meeting and became a member. Now I never thought I would actually follow the education program. It was an overwhelming mountain. I was simply in the club, for a while, to improve my speech (crutch words) and be more comfortable speaking in front of people.
The club meetings led to great friendships and mentors. We encouraged each other. I clearly said to myself, I will stay to achieve my CC and CL. Then, I will move on.
A layoff occurred which drastically impacted our club. Our membership was cut in half. Several of them were our club officers. The remaining members were deflated from the experience. This is where my subtle leadership became intentional leadership in the club. I had a newfound purpose to stay in the club. I wanted our club to thrive. As a result, I never left Toastmasters. And, nine years later, I conquered that overwhelming mountain to earn my DTM.
I retired from PepsiCo in June 2017. Yeah … I am super blessed to retire! It has freed me to give more time to Toastmasters, assist in Financial Peace University courses, and help mentor young girls at my Church. I love my family! I will celebrate 33 years of marriage to my wonderful husband, Jeff, this coming March. We have two sons, Daniel, 23, and David,15. Daniel graduated from Texas Tech and attends a Bible College in Anaheim, CA. David is a freshman at Keller High School.
I served as a Pathways Guide in 2018. That role led to Toastmasters recommending me for my current role as the 2018-2019 District 25 TLI Chair. I am honored people had faith in me to lead such a significant and important endeavor. I have enjoyed this role! I work alongside people of strong character – integrity, enthusiasm, and dedication. And, I get to meet fascinating people at every TLI. It is a challenging leadership position. But oh, oh … the rewards!
I’m thankful for Toastmasters! I wish I had known about Toastmasters sooner. But that’s okay. I know Toastmasters now. Clearly, I say, I’m here to stay!