Dear Club Awesome Members,

The current toastmaster year is almost at an end, and I’d like to use this opportunity to give you the highlights of this past year… the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We started off with a great “feather” officer installation by D47 Program Quality Director DTM Louis Margolin. This is marked the beginning of the new Toastmaster year for me.

Caption (right): from left to right, top to bottom: Lois Margolin and the incoming Executive Board (Rachel Adeka, Andy Bern, Tricia Jervis, Amina Mohktari, Christine Campbell, Claudia Sutherland, and Edgar Macero.

A year that started as restrictions from COVID-19 were only starting to be lifted and we at Club Awesome began to really encourage members to show up in person. One of our initiatives as a club was to host a monthly breakfast. Initially these monthly breakfasts, and the rest of the in-person weekly meetings, were lightly attended. However, thanks to the persistence of our VPE Tricia Jervis and Technical Manager DTM David Carr, we have had progressively increasing in-person attendance. No better proof of that than observed healthy attendance during the last two breakfast events.

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Caption (top): In-person participants during breakfasts on April 28 (left) and May 26 (right)

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At the same time, we were continuing to welcome and/or retain members who, due to their distance from the club, could only join us online. As we tried to expand our footprint outside of our local market, our VPM Christine Campbell and VPPR Amina Mokhtari began to invite guests from as far as far away as China, Italy, Australia, and Poland and as close as the west coast of Florida.  Once those guests became members, Christine made sure they felt appreciated and included by getting to know their interests, successes, and aspirations (among other things) and then presenting it to the club during their induction.

That was briefly threatened when operators of the venue where we always meet misplaced our equipment, which forced us to get creative to continue running our hybrid meetings. Thanks again to our superstar Technical Manager David, and the resilience of our members, we did not miss a beat. And thanks to some strong-arming on behalf of our VPE Tricia Jervis, we got the equipment back and got back to normal in a matter of weeks.

Our “normal” meetings include themes, creative table topics, and lots of energy from all our members.

That is one of the reasons it is not hard to get engaged during a Club Awesome meeting.

Following are memorable times which we captured during our weekly meetings (and I was able to retrieve):

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As I mentioned during my Officer Speech a few weeks ago, what you see in our weekly meetings is the beginning of all the activities that go on behind the scenes by all the officers.

Activities such as initiatives to enhance member engagement and experience, officer’s monthly meeting, extra-curricular member activities and promotional activities. 

Following are some of activities that took place this year:

  • Reflection and Rejuvenation Summary- Led by VPM Christine Campbell- Sep 17
  • Toastmaster Bingo- Led by VPE Tricia Jervis- Most Friday nights.

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In addition to putting together extra-curricular activities, Tricia created incentive programs to increase membership volume, as well as participation and engagement.

  • Toastmaster Trivia to enhance member engagement.
  • Coral Springs Art Walk Event to draw new members.
  • Star Chart incentive program

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A big part of Toastmaster is recognition and awards, both for the Club and for individual members.

At the club level, we have gotten the following awards:

  • Smedley Award- 5 new members added during August-September period.
  • President Distinguished- completed 9 out of 10 goals.

But none of this would have been possible without your membership fees to fund all these initiatives. And I could not think of a better steward than Claudia Sutherland, who had the challenging task of collecting those fees. She has also done an excellent job at creating and maintaining all financial records.

 

To keep records that are not financial in nature, and to help the president and the rest of the board navigate all the rules and requirements, Club Awesome has had the pleasure to have DTM Andy Bern as Secretary. Since the start of his term, Andy has been diligent in suggesting strategies to sure the club achieves all its goals and stays in compliance with Toastmaster rules. Sometimes, he also represented the Club at area events in his capacity as secretary.

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This has been a transition year in which we have learned to operate in a post-pandemic world.

Although most restrictions have already been lifted, the changes we experienced over the first couple of years after the pandemic began have had a lasting impact on the way we approach life and career. 

People have favored experiences over material purchases. They have also realized that there is more to life than just working at your job. And although that may have had unintended consequences for the economy, it is also a catalyst for better things to come.

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My journey at Club Awesome has been a great learning experience in several fronts.  I have learned the value of teamwork and collaboration.  The realization that as good as any individual might be, nothing beats the power and efficiency of a well-organized team; of a team in which members are allowed to play to their strengths while at the same time improving their weak areas.  I also learned that sincere words of encouragement go a long way towards lifting someone’s spirit.  And finally, I learned that taking the time to build genuine relationships with your friends and colleagues opens an exciting new world. 

Yes, I know all this may sound cliché and/or obvious, but it has truly been my journey, and I wanted to share my experience.  

I also want to thank you all for giving me the opportunity to lead the Club during this past Toastmaster year.  It has been a privilege to be your president and I look forward to welcoming the new board led by president-elect Tricia Jervis. 

Warm Regards,

Edgar

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