Interview with Distinguished Toastmaster Sandra Pyke-Anthony, Division F Director!
Dual member of Genesis One Toastmasters Club and
Inspired Speakers Toastmasters Club Trinidad and Tobago.
This Toastmaster for life says… Plan your Work and Work your Plan!
Why did you join Toastmasters?
I joined because I wanted to increase my self-confidence when I was called upon to speak at short notice. I had been a leader for several years and was accustomed to speaking on the topics with which I was familiar. When I was asked to speak on different topics, I suddenly found that I would lack self-confidence.
What impact has being a Toastmaster for the last six and a half years had on your life ?
I have become a better person since joining Toastmasters. I am a much better listener who is able to evaluate what I hear and read. I have also been able to structure my thoughts in a more logical manner.
What were some of the targets that you set for the Division on assuming the office of Division Director?
Even before assuming the office of Division Director, I recognized that Toastmasters in Trinidad and Tobago was not well known, as such I set as my theme for the year, “To make Toastmasters better seen, better heard, better known.”
What strides are you making to have Toastmasters become better seen, better heard and better known?
Members of the Division Council have appeared twice on local television as well as in the newspapers. In addition, we have reached out to young people through the school system, the police youth club, and many other youth organizations. The intention is to make Toastmasters better seen, heard and known among the young people and by extension their parents, because their parents were required to sign them up and attend orientation meetings.
I think that having embarked upon that venture; we are making some strides. We are not where we need or want to be, but we have definitely made strides .
What are your plans for the next five months of the Toastmasters term?
For the next five months, the intention is to ensure that all clubs have attained President Distinguished status. At present, the clubs have achieved over 50% of their goals. Of a total of 160 Distinguished Club Program points, clubs have achieved 81 points. There are still a few clubs that are not at charter strength and two clubs in need of coaches. Re-engaging members is where focus needs to be placed and that is what I will be concentrating on over the next five months. No club or Toastmaster will be left behind.
What were some of the challenges that you have experienced as Division Director and what strategies did you use to overcome the challenges?
One of the challenges that I faced was lack of membership renewal. I recognised that a number of persons were not able to renew their membership due to financial difficulties.
I reached out to Toastmasters that I knew, and several of them have helped other Toastmasters who lost their jobs and were unable to pay their dues. In that way, we were able to overcome the problem of a decline in dues renewal.
Why should anyone want to serve at the District level?
Service at the District level takes a lot of time and effort. However, the growth and learning are phenomenal. I would always encourage anyone who has reached a certain level in their club to take up the challenge. It is only when you take up a challenge and stretch yourself that you grow. I have seen the growth in myself and I would encourage others to serve.
What is your message for members of Division F?
Determine your goal for a year or longer, plan your work and work your plan. Members are the heart of Toastmasters. I have questioned some people who are able to do exceedingly, abundantly above what we normal people are doing and they are concentrating on the goals of the member. ”Set goals, plan your work and work your plan!”