Reflections of my 25 Year Journey in Toastmasters Club – Part II

Reflections of my 25 Year Journey in Toastmasters Club – Part II

The next five years presented a completely different perspective of the organization. I joined two clubs including one advanced club neither of which I was impressed with. However, I thought to myself this is a great time to step in and shake things up and utilize my leadership skills.

I wasted no time in accepting the office of VPE in the Singapore Armed Forces Reserve Association Club for two terms and was elected Club President for the term 2003-2004. At the time, the club was in a BIG MESS. Two ineffective Presidents had driven the club into the ground. The first one tried to run the club like a dictator, but nothing worked, the second one let the club crumble to pieces and like the first one tried to find someone to blame like the first one – Yours truly.

Read More: Reflections of my 25 Year Journey in Toastmasters Club – Part I

In any case, within a year the club attained 22 members and finished the year with the “Select Distinguished Club” status. It was not great but a start.

As I was helping to chart the course for the next year, I received a call from a Manager of the Association saying that the club would be shut down because we could not get a minimum of 50 members. A ridiculous target to demand in my view. Once again, I refused to give up. This was a flight or soar like an eagle opportunity.

I looked for community clubs to convert the military club to a civilian club. And I made sure I scouted around for community centres that did not have toastmasters’ clubs and found one. After necessary discussions, West Coast Toastmasters Club, Singapore was formed in March 2005. I assumed the role of Club President for the term 2005-2006 and led the club to “President Distinguished Club” status in June 2006.

Soon after my term as Club President ended, the membership reached 33. That was nearly a three-fold increase compared to when I was elected to the Presidency in July 2003. In conclusion, I created order out of chaos. Today although I am not given credit for being the catalyst, West Coast Toastmasters Club, Singapore has achieved “President Distinguished Club” status year after year.

What they tried to resist in the beginning as many toastmasters in my district do not really believe in the Distinguished Club Program: it is now a way of life for the club as a tool to achieving excellence.

I may have been forgotten. I may have been ignored. Someone else has been given the credit. But that is my fate!

That same year I was an Area Governor for the term 2005-2006. Being a district officer really expanded my horizons outside the club level and I had to serve unfamiliar territory. Leadership skills of motivation, coaching, facilitation all came into play.

Although I generally had strong clubs, a club proved a bit challenging, and my suggestions were discounted. I however soon learnt that as an Area Governor I can only advise. Even if I am right and the club is wrong, I cannot overrule any decision made. The year went off well with being an Area Governor and participating in a variety of other activities such as the club rescue chair for the district which I used as a high-performance leadership project. I had been invited to and visited several clubs all over Singapore that year. After the year, lots had been accomplished.

Shortly after I received my DTM.  So, my ten-year journey was encapsulated with my first DTM!

Read More: Reflections of my 25 Year Journey in Toastmasters Club – Part III

 

D D Daruvala, DTM

D.D. Daruvala has been a member of Toastmasters International for the past 25 years. Major achievements include receiving the Distinguished Toastmaster Award twice in 2006 & 2013. The Distinguished Toastmaster award is TI’s highest member recognition for outstanding accomplishment and leadership excellence in the pursuit of the mission of Toastmasters International. Another major achievement is leading the largest Division in South East Asia to President Distinguished Division with the largest number of distingusihed clubs of any division at the time. Daruvala is currently the Managing Director of DFS Safety Solutions, a consulting company he founded in 2017 providing professional services in Occupational Safety and Health, Fire Safety, and the design and development of various ISO systems for enterprises.