Note from Tim: When I joined the Sunrise Toastmasters Club back in the mid 1990’s, I had no idea of the profound impact it would have on my career, personal growth, leadership skills, communication awareness, and the personal friendships that would develop along the way.
The advanced sales training book “Selling To Very Important Top Officers” by Anthony Parinello directed me to Toastmasters. That direction lead me to being my company’s youngest salesman ranked in the top 25 nationally in consecutive years for gross profit and total sales, out of a sales team of 1200. As my income continued to grow through the communication skills I was exercising at Toastmasters, I began to explore other areas such as leadership skills and mentoring by moving on to being a club officer, then President, then Area Governor, and competing in speech competitions beyond my club. Through this, I found the courage to break away from corporate life to start an internet web development business with my wife (www.abetterweb.com) so that I was able spend more time with my family and more thoroughly enjoy my work. Many of our current clients were introduced to us through friends at Sunrise Toastmasters going back as far as 20 years. Since our business has always been done remotely, a few years after the youngest of our five daughters went off to college, my wife and I decided to move to Hawaii and travel. Everywhere we went, a Toastmasters Club greeted us with open arms and invited us to participate. We visited Toastmasters Clubs in Hawaii, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Ireland, California, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, South Carolina, etc. After years of travel, exploration, and reflection, in April of this year we moved our home base back to the east coast (Ashburn, VA) to be closer to our grown children and new grand children.
With Covid-19 forcing clubs to move to online platforms, we jumped at the opportunity to join back up with the Sunrise Toastmasters Club, as it had also recently moved online to Zoom meetings. In my spare time social distancing, I am currently in the process of writing a book on what we can learn from digital natives (people young enough to have only known a world with internet access) and the Toastmasters environment is perfect for me to “field test” some of my research and observations to receive honest feedback. I find the new Toastmasters Pathways educational approach to be a huge leap forward toward the concept of communication and leadership skills as muscles that you develop and keep in tone. Spoiler alert, a topic to be covered in my book delves into the lifetime learning or “growth mindset” of digital natives that involves multiple potential careers and experiences that you cultivate through your efforts, as opposed to the “fixed mindset” of previous generations’ commonly held belief that someone’s basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. Toastmasters’ latest educational initiative of Pathways has aligned itself with needs and desires of future Toastmasters, and with all the benefits I have received in my lifetime, I plan to do everything I can to help pass that advancement forward.