Navigating Roadblocks on Your Toastmasters Pathways Journey

Change is like the monster hiding under your bed when you were a kid. Once you look and realize it’s just a shadow or a shoebox, fear turns into relief.

For many Toastmasters around the world, the new Pathways education program is like that monster, and I hope this article dispels that fear. ** By addressing common roadblocks and learning why Pathways came to be, you can also become a valuable resource and mentor for new members in your club. Remember the saying, “When one teaches, two learn!”.

In short, Pathways enables each member to customize their journey based on their own goals and to develop more transferable skills to the workplace. This makes sense, considering the diversity in reasons for joining Toastmasters.

Below, we’ve identified some of the common roadblocks as Pathways rolled out in District 4. While there is an overwhelming amount of resources out there, this should give you a great start on your journey. See what members across the world are already saying about this new program:

** Note: New members that joined after September 19, 2017 in District 4 are automatically enrolled into Pathways. All others will transition from the legacy program to Pathways before June 30, 2020.


ROADBLOCK: “I’m so close to getting my Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) designation on the legacy program. I don’t want to lose all my speech and leadership credit by starting on Pathways.”

There’s no penalty for simply logging into Pathways, for choosing your path or even for starting your path. In fact, we encourage this! Even if you start achieving “Levels,” you’ll still have two years after the final Region finishes rolling out Pathways to complete your DTM on the “legacy” path. The end date is tentatively June 30, 2020.

If you don’t think you can earn your DTM in that time, or simply prefer Pathways and want to start this program now, you can completely switch over at any time. The confidence, knowledge, and wisdom gained thus far from the legacy program is how true growth is measured.


ROADBLOCK: “I’m ready to start my Pathways journey. What’s the next step?”

Click here, and follow the simple guide to log into your Toastmasters International account and select your path. Base Camp will give you a virtual tour of the different components, but they’re also listed in that document.

BONUS: For those curious about the “new” path to Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) see the checklist below.

  • Completion of two learning paths
  • Serve as club officer for 12 months
  • Serve as Club Mentor or Club Coach
  • Serve as Club Sponsor or conduct Speechcraft or Youth Leadership Program
  • Serve as district officer for one year or Pathways Guide/Ambassador for six months
  • Complete capstone DTM project


ROADBLOCK: “How many paths are there, and how do I pick the right one for me?”

District 4 Chief Pathways Ambassador Ken Cawley created this webpage to describe all ten (10) paths in detail. When you log into Pathways, you’ll be invited to take an assessment to identify the recommended path for you. You can select a different one if you desire. If you change your mind about the path, you can switch within 30 days of the original selection of the path without additional charge.


ROADBLOCK: “I’m not very computer savvy. Can I get the materials in print?”

Yes, materials are available in print if desired, but choices are limited. You will have this option once you complete your online assessment, or call Toastmasters International at (949) 858-8255 for assistance. Did you know? Out of all the paths in progress, as of November 29, only 90 have been requested in print. Most members are choosing to go online.


ROADBLOCK: “Our club already submitted CC and CL awards. How does the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) change with Pathways?”

The workbook on “How to Be a Distinguished Club” is updated! Click here to download, and scroll down to page 34. Instead of the standard six possible “Education” DCP points, there are six more possibilities with Pathways. The other requirements for Membership, Training, and Administration are the same. See how your club is doing by searching its Dashboard here:


ROADBLOCK: “What is a Base Camp Manager, and what am I supposed to do if I am one?”

In each club, the vice president education (VPE) will serve as the Base Camp manager, with support from the club president and secretary. Duties include verifying and tracking level completion, path completion in printed materials, projects completed outside the club, and individual member progress.

Click here for a short guide on basic tasks. If you want more detail, download this instead.


ROADBLOCK: “I’m not sure how our club’s Base Camp Managers can approve my level completions and projects.”

Each club needs to keep their club officer list up-to-date. Only those listed on the Club Central section of will be granted the ability to approve members’ level completions and projects. If the club officers do not update this list every term, they will be locked out of Base Camp and need to contact World Headquarters at (949) 858-8255 to update their list. Mark your calendars, and make sure this task is completed!


ROADBLOCK: “I still have questions about Pathways. Where can I find answers?”

The most immediate source for assistance is Toastmasters International. Any member or officer can call their support line at (949) 858-8255. On the local level, each club was assigned a Pathways Guide when the program first rolled out. If you’re in District 4 and want to know your Pathways Guide, email

If you’d like to do more in-depth research, check out these additional resources:


BONUS: “Is District 4 offering any incentive programs related to Pathways?”

Why, yes! There is a “Pathways Trailblazer” incentive program, both for clubs chartering before and after the Pathways rollout in District 4. Clubs achieving this program will earn $50 in District credit. Click here for more details and check out the other incentive programs listed while you’re at it. 

Lastly and most importantly, Pathways will continue to improve as the program rolls out in other Districts. We know from our own Toastmasters journey that we can’t grow without feedback, so share your experiences and suggestions with World Headquarters. That way, we can continue growing together as a community.

About Stefanie Chow 15 Articles
Stefanie Chow began her Toastmasters journey in August 2013 in order to expand her personal and professional network. She is thrilled to be serving District 4 as its District Director. Her crowning achievement is competing twice at the District level of the International Speech Contest -- once in San Diego and once in San Francisco. While she is not attending Toastmasters meetings, she is utilizing her communication skills as an advocate volunteer for Freedom House, a shelter for human trafficking survivors. Stefanie also enjoys her career as a meeting and events professional and spends her leisure time exploring craft breweries, watching Broadway musicals, and running with her Siberian husky puppy Oz!


  1. Dear Stefanie,
    D62 would love to include a link to your article on our web site with your permission of course to aid our members in Pathways understanding. It has so many useful tips.
    Please let me know if that’s okay with you.
    Helen Dotson
    D62 PQD, 2017-2018

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