Inclusive, supportive, learning, mentorship, and friendship. These are key attributes that continue to make Glen Abbey Toastmaster (GATM) a welcoming and successful club over the last 30 years.
GATM reflects the multi-cultural, multi-faith nature of Canada. We count ourselves fortunate to have such a diverse club, as we are mesmerized by stories from our members. We continue to embody Toastmaster International core values of integrity, respect, service, and excellence by providing a safe space for our members to speak. The friendships that develop out of this club are founded on mutual respect and trust and extend beyond the Toastmasters’ meeting time.
With a “glow and grow” culture, we allow members to practice the different facets of speech writing and performing in a supportive environment that understands how nerve-racking it is to speak in public. Members receive constructive feedback that is often focused on what they did well. This serves to boost self-confidence so they can experiment with improving what did not work as well. Learning by doing reinforces the “glow and grow” evaluations.
A key asset is our website. It is an appealing site that attracts guests each week. A members’ page has scripts for each role needed to run a meeting, from Chair to Sergeant-at-arms. New members rely on these scripts in doing their roles for the first few times. Older members adapt them as they grow accustomed to the role’s needs.
We also acquire leadership skills that are beyond the nuts and bolts of learning how to speak. All our meetings include a parliamentary/business session based on Robert’s Rules of Order. This provides us with a structured framework on how effectively to manage a business session. Knowing how to run a meeting is a key ability and many of our members leverage these skills in their daily work environments. To emulate the reality of today’s hybrid working environment, our club has decided to alternate in-person and online meetings. This provides the best of both meeting formats and allows members to gain experience in both types of communication platforms.
Our personalized mentorship initiatives bring added value to our members. Senior members give of their time outside of meetings to allow members to practice their speeches, give tips on how to write one, or how to complete a project in a pathway. Our executive team drives strategic objectives for individual growth and pathway level completion and provides tailored individual coaching to members to achieve their objectives.
We are proud to say that thanks to these practices, some members return to our club, after exploring other clubs.
GATM has consistently achieved President’s Distinguished Club status in the Toastmaster International Distinguished Club program every year since 2003 and we look forward to serving our members and community with excellence for many more years to come.
Louis de Jager
Executive Team, Sergeant-at-Arms
Blog Submitted by Kathy Bullock, Glen Abbey Toastmasters