by Maribeth Fontabla, MS5 – Division F Director

As a member of Toastmasters, I find this organization a great way to grow myself, personally, and professionally. I wish I’d discovered Toastmasters a long time ago.

I am going to highlight three things I think makes Toastmasters the best organization for personal and professional development.

First, are the available opportunities for its members. This worldwide organization consists of 14 regions, each having 8-10 districts per region, and as members, we can visit clubs not only in our district but also in other districts and other regions. With social distancing and online meetings, some of our members have been able to experience Toastmasters meetings in other parts of the world. This opportunity gives members an unprecedented opportunity to learn the culture of other clubs.

With the many leadership opportunities in the district that I volunteered for, I am growing as a leader. After serving as a club officer for a year I decided to further grow and volunteered to be an area director the following year. This year I decided to serve on a bigger scale; being a division director. As a division director, I can learn additional leadership skills that I can apply at work, and what I learn at work I can use here. Another opportunity to practice and be better.

Second, is the time investment. As members, we have the luxury to decide how much time we choose to invest in personal growth. It can range from one hour a week to multiple hours. You can consistently attend your club meetings every week and learn from other club members. You can volunteer in other roles at the area and district levels and have additional time to learn more. Your pace of growth is dependent on the time you invested.

Third, is the cost. The membership dues we pay to Toastmaster are worth every penny with what we get back as members, especially if we factor in the available opportunities and the time investment.

A community club that meets every week and charges $50-60 per six months equates to around $2-2.50 per week. Yes, every time you attend your club meeting every week your financial investment is only $2. This is nothing compared to how much you learn and the opportunity to develop your public speaking and leadership skills. After completing 2 paths I feel that I am more confident as a speaker and leader.

It is up to us as members to determine the return on our investment. Being active members and participating in club meetings, volunteering for a role, giving a speech, or by just attending every so often. As a member, I do not wish for my membership cost to go to waste or for nothing. I make sure I get the return on my investment and further develop myself.

So, what are we waiting for? Let us continue to grow ourselves. It is time to renew our membership and take advantage of the available opportunities.

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