It’s the journey, not the destination  

Traveling through District 21 with a Past International President (PIP Ted Corcoran) was a part of the year that was so fantastic. It allowed us to take to a message of unity to our members. The strength of that visit is now showing up in our stats as a district. Today, June 27, we have 61 Distinguished clubs or better, and more are on track. Thank you for helping us find the moment to do this, Ted!!! This man is a shining light with anything he does and he lives and breathes the message he puts forward.

Last year Alan and Michael were instrumental in outlining how our future club trainings for officers would go. Our four-hour, FREE sessions were a huge success. We also ran a contest to rename our Club Officer Training (COT) sessions and now they are called Accredited Club Training (ACT). We put the focus on training and asked our club executive officers to be the best they could be: we had 24 Clubs with ‘Seven of Seven Ribbons’ for officers trained, and 649 trained. This is a success that is directly affecting the members experience in their club. Thank you, club officers for your efforts.

We put together two outstanding conferences – “Beaches, Speeches & Spas!” in the Fall, co-chaired by Phyllis Nielsen and Kristin Nickells; and “Spring into our Future…Take the Leap and Lead” in the Spring, co-chaired by Annie and Jenny Peng. Both teams gave the members an experience they will remember for a long time.

Being part of unfolding the Pathways Program with David Hobson was amazing. He worked hard to keep members engaged, and to look for those guides that will be a big part of our future. We teamed with District 96, offering education sessions to ensure we learned from each other. The respect we have for each other helped us to learn and offer our members the best possible outcomes. I thank Lydia Burchell District 96 PQD and Eleanor Kroeger (MacPherson) for the time they shared with David and I.

Working with Michael and Alan has been something I will always remember. Learning from them about how to work on the necessary paperwork, meetings, DOT’s has been invaluable. We worked as a team that kept our efforts moving towards how to serve the membership well. We “always” kept in mind our TM values, Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence.

Then there was Remote Club Officer Training (RCOT) – thirteen clubs got the best of what Marg Hope, Maureen McBeath and their team at Toastmentors (a D21 club) had to offer.  This is a spectacular and important piece of training with members from the Yukon interacting with people in other remote areas in BC sharing and caring the Toastmaster way.

I would always say members are incredibly important, but I would suggest to you that your Area Directors, Division Directors, and the Trio of the district are there to move the organization forward at different levels. Please remember to introduce them and always treat them respectfully whenever they attend your club. They all work hard for you.

We had two successful District Officer Training (DOT) sessions — they were fun events with great food (thanks Ros, Letty, Jenny and Annie).  The sessions provided the ability to bring the province together and share the same message.  We also had the opportunity to bring in experienced members, whose strength lies in their ability to see the big picture, to share with our officers. Pat Johnson, Past International President (PIP), Margaret Page, International Director (ID) and others gave us a chance to ask the questions that were on our minds and also infused us with the energy to go back home and confidently take their messages to our members. There was a 100% rate of attendance in the first round, and 98% in the second session; officers were given the tools to do the best for the members.   

The Distinguished Club Program (DCP)  according to Margaret Page is  “Documented Changes in People”.  Margaret is an amazing woman who gives so much. Have you ever received one of her personalized cards? She knows exactly what to say and is always there for support.

Do you remember me saying, “Every Toastmaster and guest deserves to walk into a Distinguished Club and experience the Toastmaster Program”? I did not create the saying, but I know if the clubs work towards this goal, every member will be successful at achieving their goals.

If I were evaluating the year, this would be the time I’d put in what could have been more effective.  There are always challenges to be addressed, but since there are so many positives to rave about this year, instead I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate District 21 for coming together and taking advantage of lots of opportunities that were offered to members:

Finally, it will be a joy to go back to my club.  I did not attend a lot of meetings as District duties have to be fulfilled, but I was in a meeting last night with fifteen members and three guests, and the energy was powerful. We have been President’s Distinguished for twenty years in a row–something to be very proud of. “We work the program, because the program works”!

Toastmasters has a message that anyone can find value from and it has been my privilege to work for D21 as the PQD.

I wish you all well on your Toastmasters journey and always remember,

“It is the journey, not the destination”.

All the best,

John Sherber






District 21 Program Quality Director, 2016-2017