Altogether, 15 members from D67 gathered in beautiful Calgary of Canada for the Toastmasters International 77th Annual Convention! Being the new Lieutenant Governor of Marketing, it was completely a new learning journey to me and it was very rewarding!
During the whole convention, I encountered many “first time” experiences! Prior to the International Convention, we attended the DNAR (Districts not assigned to Regions) training. This is for the three major district officers from each district (countries) outside the US and Canada and it’s like a small UN meeting! During the one and a half days, we had the chance to meet our counterparts from other districts and receive very informative and practical training from the International officers including the incoming International President Jana Barnhill and our beloved outgoing International Director, George Yen! They were fantastic! We also had another additional training for all the district officers from the world. One important thing I learned from this training was that a humorous person can easily become a good leader!
One of the climaxes in this convention is the Inter-district speech contest in the evening of Aug. 12! The contest was divided into two groups. George was the contest chair for group B of this significant occasion with 7 contestants. Sammy’s performance in this group was marvelous! Even though she only won the 2nd place, many audiences, standing in line, came to congratulate her! Sammy is determined to attend the contest again next year, because she believes that by then she will be the winner! In fact, I was assigned as one of the vote counters for this contest! From the contest briefing to the announcement of the winners, I was in this process and I learned a lot!
The hosting capability of the outgoing International President Chris Ford was really incredible! His calmness, wit & humor in dominating every occasion impressed me greatly!
The International Speech Contest is of course another climax. The big auditorium was packed with more than 2000 people! There were 10 contestants in this world-class contest and the quality of this contest was no doubt the best! The champion, Ms. LaShunda Rundles, is a young mother of African American decent, which is very rare in the contest history of Toastmasters International! In her speech, she spoke of her love to her family and especially to her mother who is her driving force and the source of her inspiration! We were enchanted by her excellent speaking skills, rich body languages, touching story and even the resounding voice in her song! Not only did she sing and dance, eventually she won the hearts of the judges and audience!
In addition, I witnessed a very keen and fair election for International Officers and President in the convention! Our District Governor Marian Hsiao led James and me to have interviews with almost all the candidates so that we could know their vision and plan to lead this great organization in the next few years. Each candidate had a booth for all the members to visit. The election process for all the candidates was a long trial, but when the result came out, even though I saw some losers were weeping, they still showed their wonderful manner to greet the winners!
There were some very inspiring keynote speeches along with some formal feasts, thus providing the opportunity for us to mingle with the fellow Toastmasters from the world to exchange views. It’s a pity that owing to my tight schedule, I did not have much time to join many educational workshops! However, I did attend several of them and benefited a lot! Moreover, we managed to spend a half day to tour the world famous Banff National Park. The breathtaking scenery of big valleys and giant mountains are magnificent! All the experiences were unforgettable and will be in my memory forever!
Fellow Toastmasters, in your life time, I challenge you to plan and attend the Toastmasters international convention at least once! You will find that life with Toastmasters can be so colorful! Yes, we should add more colors to our Toastmasters journey and make it more interesting and meaningful!
with TI Co-workers and DNAR officers Marian & Mike in Banff Park