by Dawn Pitts DTM

It started out as a friendly competition. My Toastmaster’s journey, that is.

I wanted to be like my sister. My mentor.

When she earned her first DTM, I decided I wanted one too.

But somewhere along the way, my thinking changed. Suddenly, I wanted to earn my DTM for myself.

Only one thing kept me from achieving my goal. I had no interest in fulfilling the District Leadership requirement. I resigned myself to being happy with completing all the other requirements.

My fellow Club members would not let me settle.

From the very beginning, Donna Young, our VP of Education, was my biggest cheerleader. Every step of the journey, she was there. There are not enough words to say how much I appreciate Donna. She knows how to push you towards your goal, and if you think to hang back and just observe, you’ll find yourself being lovingly “volun-told” to take on a meeting role or to give a speech.

I soon learned my fellow Toastmasters weren’t the only ones cheering for me. Encouragement came from so many people.

Charlie Bowles was another standout encourager. Every time he saw me, he’d ask, “Are you an Area Director yet?” No matter how many times I answered, No, I’m not interested, Charlie kept asking.

I was determined to resist.

Then I had the pleasure of talking with Deepak Menon when he came for the 2018 Conference. Somehow, I think Charlie set me up for that conversation. {Smile}

Mr. Menon told me not to be afraid to step out. He had faith in me.

Well, how do you say No to that?

I can still see the smiles on the faces of Charlie Bowles and Godfred Ahuma. Yes, it was a setup, but it was a good setup. I finally accepted the challenge and served as Area Director for the 2019-2020 Toastmaster year.

Moments like that and the support of my club members kept me going.

I honestly don’t think I would’ve made it through my year as Area Director without all of the support I received. Thus, I would not have become a DTM. Walking that stage and seeing a congratulatory note from my club was the highlight of my entire experience. That note reminded me this achievement was not mine alone.

Leaders-Speakers of Tomorrow (LSOT), I am proud to be the second person in the club’s history to earn their DTM. Thank you, LSOT, for pushing me to be a better leader and speaker!

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