Having been involved in District 4 Toastmasters for several years, I’ve had the opportunity to hold a variety of leadership roles both at the club level and more recently at the district level. One of the roles I will never forget is when I served as the Area E4 Director. It was truly a rewarding experience and one that left me with many new skills to add to my toolkit. For those who are considering the role, here are a few examples of what you can expect to gain from the experience.
You will hone your management skills
You may have been an officer of your club but an Area is a whole new level. The advantage you have when managing your own club is that you know your own members, their journeys and their interests. Moving up to the area level brings a entirely new network of individuals who may have a completely different set of needs and goals. The clubs may be bilingual, tailored to start ups, focused on improvisation, etc.
Figuring out how to help your clubs maximize their potential is the core management skill everyone aspires to have but few get to practice and hone.
You will learn to better manage your time and priorities
By becoming an Area Director, you not only learn how to manage 5-6 clubs, you learn how to manage your own time and priorities. You obviously cannot be present at every meeting for every one of your clubs. The very first leadership lesson is the economics of your schedule. How can you achieve the most within a limited amount of time?
Learning how to prioritize your time and efforts in a way that enables you to achieve your set goals will help you become more efficient, avoid burnout and get more stuff done.
You will add event planning to your skill set
You will be responsible for putting on an area contest that brings all your clubs together. Get ready to put on your event planning hat. You’ll need a venue, volunteers, food and refreshments, and more. This task alone will teach you how to think through logistics, market your event, recruit and delegate help, and negotiate terms.
Should the day come for you to put on a conference for a company, a party for your friends, or even your own wedding, you’ll already be ahead of curve.
You will expand your personal and professional network
You have at least 5 clubs who, on average, each have about 20 members. The math alone says that is 100 people who now each know who you are and belong to your network. I hope I don’t have to convince you that expanding your network can lead to new fruitful opportunities, both personally and professionally.
You will become a part of your clubs’ history
I still remember my first Area Director. Her visits were always a delight because she would bring exciting updates from the district and let us know how we were doing. It’s no surprise that she became a celebrity in our eyes with each visit and inevitably part of the family. During her last visit, she let us know that it would be the last time she saw us in her role as Area Director. Pictures were obviously taken and hugs were exchanged. She was a now a part of our club history and helped shape the elite club we were on the path to becoming.
District 4 is now accepting Area Director nominations for the 2017-2018 term. If you would like to recommend someone you think would be great for the role or wish to apply yourself, please email our Past District Director Katherine Pratt.