So after eight years and four months, I have finally finished every Toastmasters communication project. Some highlights:
- I have attended approximately 500 Toastmasters events during this time period.
- I have spoken formally approximately 200 times.
- I hold 26 educational designations - Competent Communicator x7, Competent Leader x7, Advanced Communicator Bronze x3, Advanced Communicator Silver x3, Advanced Communicator Gold x1, Advanced Leader Bronze x4. An educational designation generally involves 10 formal projects and usually takes a year to complete.
- To put all that in perspective, less than 1/6 Toastmasters make it to Competent Communicator once much less complete another 25 designations after that point.
- I am a charter member of the Community North Advanced Toastmasters Club.
- At my first Toastmasters meeting I was voted unanimously onto the club executive as Vice President of Public Relations. Since that first meeting I have never not been on both a club executive and/or district team.
- I have served as a club executive officer 16 times - most frequently as a Vice President of Public Relations and as a Club President. My favorite continues to be Vice President of Education as I particularly like helping people set goals and achieve them. Motivating people when you're not financially compensating them is great practice for real life.
- I've been a member of the club beside my wife and beside my mom. I literally proposed to my wife as a Toastmasters speech (and got credit for it!). In particular with my mom I have both been her direct supervisor (e.g. being President to her Vice President of Education) and been her direct subordinate (e.g. being Vice President of Education to her President). That has definitely been an insightful experience - you perceive your parents differently when you work with them professionally.
- I am on the only living holder of the Outstanding Area Governor award in Northern BC.
- I have received the Outstanding Toastmasters twice within Prince George Toastmasters.
- I have been recognized twice provincially in both BC districts in 2013 and 2015. I was the first Toastmaster recognized in Northern BC after the district reformation in 2015.
- My High Performance Leadership project lead to the creation of code.pachogrande.com which at last count has been used in more than 13 countries and by more than half of the worldwide districts. For a work-in-progress (approximately 8% of public features rolled out) it has been an incredible success.
For me, if there is any measure of success that matters, it's the realization that people who know me seek my participation within their teams and meetings, whether in a non-profit capacity, at work or at Toastmasters. People might not always like me as a person (likeability is not always one of my strong points) but they respect me as a facilitator and as a team leader. I'd like to think that I'm continually looking out for win-win agreements, that I promote transparency and honesty, and that although I'm often very direct that I'm fair on both praise and criticism. I've been honoured to watch people that I mentor improve their lives.
Every day brings new challenges but I'm happy to take a moment to celebrate completion of the Toastmasters communication curriculum.
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