Club Growth

deepa surendran, dtm

club growth director

Dear District 105 Family,


When the idea of applying for the post of CGD occurred to me in January 2021, another persistent thought also kept surfacing, “Would I be able to manage the highly demanding position of Club Growth Director of the second largest District in the world?” I sought the counsel of knowledgeable seniors who I look up to as mentors and received the much-needed reassurance and valuable advice. Let me share an opinion expressed by stalwart, Abraham Thomas, DTM, that struck a chord with me.

He asked me to reflect on how I would define success and then added, “As far as I know, Deepa – you are a person who wants positive results always, especially from Toastmasters. While there is no problem with that optimistic attitude, you need to consider that these are not the most favourable of times. With many Toastmasters forced to return to their home countries, membership numbers could drop. If you allow yourself to believe that this is a negative response to your membership building efforts, you might end up feeling discouraged and defeated.”

I mulled over his words of wisdom and deliberated on what I really wanted to achieve, and what kind of realistic goals I should focus on as Club Growth Director. I realised that one aspect of success would be when existing members achieve the purposes they had aimed for when joining Toastmasters, be it to enhance their communication skills, befriend people with a positive mind-set or just boost their self-confidence. In short, we need to aim at improving the quality of member experience.

Another aspect of success would be our ability to introduce the treasure of Toastmastering to non-Toastmasters and get them interested enough to take a decision to join a Toastmasters club, even if at a later date. Most importantly when you encourage anyone to attend a meeting, show them a club that meets at a day and time that is convenient to them; it does not necessarily have to be your own club.

The impetus for newcomers to join depends on the quality of our meetings. When we committed to the Toastmasters’ promise, “to prepare all of my projects to the best of my ability…”, we undertook the responsibility of surpassing ourselves with every presentation and meeting-role assignment. When we uphold this promise, each one of us can stand out as an exemplary Toastmaster when the spotlight falls on us. And…quality clubs depend on ­quality members—and that’s what the promise seeks to deliver.

So, my dear colleagues that is our plan; to focus on what is possible. Let us spread the word about the existence of Toastmasters clubs in our communities and workplaces, and invite friends to attend one meeting, that’s all. I request every one of you to help us in this endeavour. Have you shared your Toastmasters experience with your neighbours? Have you spoken about the positive changes in your personality to your colleagues? Have you asked your relatives to come and watch you at your club? If not, there is no better time than now!

Let us by all means redefine success, but let us be guided by these wise words of Conrad Hilton, “Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” And for us, a successful person is one that knows that regardless of whether others catch up, we have done what we need to do – and that is what makes us successful.

Deepa Surendran, DTM
Club Growth Director 2021-2022

team members

jameel shakeel

club growth director

Dear District 105 family,

It is truly an honour to have been entrusted with the responsibility to serve you, our Toastmasters members.

My journey as a Toastmaster spanning more than 8 years has taught me so much and yet there is so much more to learn. It has always been my objective to pass on the benefits I have gained from Toastmasters to everyone around me so that they too can become better versions of themselves and become a force to reckon with.

Today, while we are faced with uncertain circumstances and unexpected challenges, we still possess unparalleled ambitions. It is your spirit and the countless motivational examples around me that amaze me and keep me going.

Certainly, each one of us had a spark that made us Toastmasters. Our goal going forward should be to support fellow members to rediscover that spark and nurture it into a bright blaze that spreads to as many people as possible.

I call upon all of you to explore how we can be of service to those around us as it is only Through Service, We Excel.

Best Regards,
Jameel Shakeel, DTM

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