Highlights from the 2018 Toastmasters International Convention

This past week, Chicago lived up to its nickname of the Windy City… and not just from the blustery weather. It’s the historical moments of the 2018 Toastmasters International Convention that blew us away! Fifteen members represented District 4 at this annual event, filled with education, inspiration, celebration, and networking. Check out the highlights below.


World Championship of Public Speaking

It was a blast cheering on our very own District 4 champion Vivas Kumar (from Eloquent Elocutionists #1279215) at his semi-final. He delivered his best speech yet, and we’re all proud that he represented us.

Vivas Kumar represents Eloquent Elocutionists #1279215 and District 4 Toastmasters in the International Speech Contest semi-finals.

On Saturday afternoon, it was an incredible experience to witness these three talented women sweeping the 2018 World Championship of Public Speaking. Here are the details of the unprecedented results:

  • Ramona Smith (1st place) – “Still Standing”
  • Sherri Su (2nd place) – “Turn Around”
  • Anita Fain Taylor (3rd place) – “It is what it is. It ain’t what it ain’t.”

If you want to see what you missed out on, watch Ramona’s winning speech on the Toastmasters International YouTube channel.

Ramona J. Smith – the 2018 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking – delivers her winning speech “Still Standing.”


Pathways Updates

At the Board Briefing on Wednesday, Toastmasters CEO Dan Rex made several remarks about the challenging rollout of Pathways:

  • There IS a Pathways Digital Services Team receiving ALL feedback via email, phone calls, and social media posts. Most issues are related to change management, not technology.
  • We realize that this change is pushing away more tenured members, but we need to lead this change because Pathways isn’t going away. It will improve in the coming months.
  • No plan was mentioned about mapping Legacy credit to Pathways. It’s designed to be a standalone program with unique benefits. Worldwide rollout is not yet complete.

If you have questions or feedback about Pathways, continue to contact World Headquarters. Find the best email or phone number on this page.

Toastmasters International CEO Dan Rex delivers updates about Pathways during Wednesday’s Board Briefing.


Distinguished Club Program Updates

One of the most exciting announcements at the Board Briefing was by newly-installed International President Lark Doley. Upon hearing feedback about lack of incentive to fill functionary roles and leadership positions, changes will eventually be made to the Distinguished Club Program to include the following categories:

  • Educational Achievements
  • Leadership Development (NEW!)
  • Membership Growth
  • Membership Retention (NEW!)

There will also be a level of recognition BEYOND President’s Distinguished, called Smedley Distinguished. These new updates can be anticipated to roll out closer to July 2020.

In the meantime, Golden Gate Toastmasters (Club #56) has shared their sample bingo sheet motivating their members to take on functionary and leadership roles. Click here to download the template. Please email VP.Membership.GGTM@gmail.com to thank their leadership team for this innovative idea.



Ad Campaign Piloting

California and Florida districts were chosen to partake in Toastmasters International’s three-month digital ad campaign in early 2019. The objective is to recruit new members and invite them to qualifying clubs in their area.

In September, club presidents and vice presidents of membership in District 4 will receive a pre-qualification questionnaire via email to assess:

  • Brand compliance
  • Membership strength
  • Ability to participate and respond to all prospective members
  • Willingness to provide reporting and input to World Headquarters
  • Robust, high-quality club experience

If successful, this campaign will expand and benefit Toastmasters clubs (and especially District Public Relations Managers) across the world.


Annual Business Meeting Results

Thank you to all clubs that voted or assigned a proxy for the 2018 Toastmasters International Business Meeting on Saturday, August 25th. Click the links below to read the results:

If you weren’t able to make it to convention this year, fear not! Here are the locations of the next few conventions, so you can mark your calendar for the 3rd week in August:

  • 2019 – Denver, Colorado
  • 2020 – Paris, France
  • 2021 – Nashville, Tennessee
  • 2022 – San Antonio, Texas

Below is the site of the 2019 convention at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center. Follow upcoming details on www.toastmasters.org.

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!

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