March 6, 2018

Dear Toastmaster,

Can you believe it’s March already!? We have just passed the 2/3-point in our 2017-2018 Toastmasters year and I trust we’ve all had opportunities to try something new this year. Starting in the Pathways program, completing a traditional Communication or Leadership manual, taking on a new club officer role, competing in a contest, or simply giving another speech--these are all ways we can try something new and continue on our journey to develop our communication and leadership skills, while becoming more self confident in the process. There’s lots going on in our District and as always, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved and try something new for the remaining 4 months of this year and beyond.

If we’ve benefited at all from being a Toastmaster, I’m sure it has crossed our mind at some point to help others Experience the Value of being a Toastmaster. One way we can do that is by starting a new Toastmasters club in a business or community that doesn’t yet have one. If you would like to help start a new club in a company or community, let us know--we’d love to help make it happen. Being involved in starting a new club is a great opportunity for us to try something new, help others experience Toastmasters for themselves, and grow leaps and bounds ourselves. We have two District 101 Recognition Programs to make starting new clubs fun and rewarding, so check out the Club for a Club and Bona fide Best Programs on our website. If you have an idea for a new club in a business or community, or one that focuses on hiking, food, a hobby, a foreign language, or another specialty, let us know. Submit your idea to our Gift Bag Challenge for a chance to win! If you have questions, or if you’re just curious about the process or want to find out more, contact Pavan Datla, Club Growth Director, at .

Now that March is underway, it’s time to think about renewing our dues for another term. Renewing on time ensures that we continue to Experience the Value of our Toastmasters membership uninterrupted and makes the transition smooth for everyone. We recognize clubs that stay ahead of the curve with renewals for these reasons with our March Madness Program --clubs that renew at least 75% of their base membership by March 15th will receive $75 in District Credit, and they can receive additional credit by renewing even more members. Be sure to check our website for all the details . Ask your Club Treasurer and VPM how you can renew your dues today, and make sure they know about March Madness .

Over 40 clubs conducted an Open Houses in Jan-Feb and we recognize them through our New Year’s Challenge Program . It’s not too late to participate even if your club didn’t hold an Open House. Any club that adds 3+ new members in March and renews their membership through September can receive $20 in District Credit, or $45 if they add and renew 5 or more members. Contact Pavan Datla, Club Growth Director, at for more details about either the New Year’s Challenge or March Madness Programs and help others Experience the Value of Toastmasters too.

Have you thought about the next step in your Toastmasters journey--what will be your next occasion to try something new and grow? Have you thought about taking up a District Leader role? It’s a great opportunity to further develop your communication and leadership skills beyond your club. If you are interested or would like to find out more, check out our District Leader webpage , talk to a current or past District Leader, and reach out to Mythili Prabhu, Chair of our District Leadership Committee at .

Contest season is upon us. Area Contests will be held throughout March and Division Contests in April. If you’ve never been to a contest, I’d encourage you to go this time! They challenge and inspire us to be better communicators as we watch the best speakers compete at each level. There’ll be many opportunities for each of us to try something new--if we’re not competing, we can get involved by helping plan the event and by serving as a functionary: judge, timer, ballot counter, Contest Toastmaster, etc. Reach out to your Area or Division Director if you’d like to find out how to participate in any way.

On May 19th and 20th, we’ll be gathering in Monterey for our District 101 Annual Conference, so save the date and plan to come. I can’t think of a nicer place to spend the weekend by the sea, and of course, there’ll be lots of reasons to attend the conference, including a keynote speaker, educational breakout sessions, our Hall of Fame celebration, District Annual Business meeting, and the Tall Tales and International Speech Contests! There are plenty of opportunities to try something new here too to help make the conference a success, growing ourselves in the process. If you’d like to find out more, contact Francoise Muller , our Program Quality Director, for the details.

As you can see, there’s lots to do, so don’t be shy about jumping in and getting more involved!  We continue to grow by participating in our clubs and beyond, developing the skills and self confidence to be successful in whatever we do. It’s when we take the skills we’ve developed in Toastmasters and put them to use outside our clubs, to make a difference at whatever we’re passionate about, that we begin to truly Experience the Value of our membership. So let’s join each other on the journey and make a difference together!

David Spence, DTM
District Director, 2017-18