By Robi Ley, District Director

Although Chicago got its nickname for the plethora of agriculture, manufacturing, and other industries it supports, that title was so very appropriate this year at the 2018 Toastmasters International Convention.

These past eight days, we were able to mingle with some of the biggest shoulders in our Toastmasters world. You’ve seen the inverted triangle that represents our District; the trio is the point on the bottom, supporting the rest of the district. This also pertains to TI as a whole. The President, President-elect, and 1st and 2nd Vice Presidents are the point. Next is the Board of Directors; 14 individuals each representing a Region of the world. Along with Region Advisors, each group offers support and encouragement, leadership, and service. Trios across the world are the next layer, followed by the Division and Area Directors. On top of all that is 358,000 plus members, just like you. Yeah. There are some pretty big shoulders leading our organization.

This isn’t just limited to leadership positions; there were more big shoulders in the International Speech Contest. Four women in the finals is rare enough, but history was made when all three top spots were taken by women. Take the time to find the posted videos of the winning speeches. They are well worth your time.

Why these comments instead of an account of the events? The events are recorded in the thousands of pictures that are on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the comments on Twitter. Selfies, groupies (a group selfie), and other types of digital records can be found anywhere you want to look. But you miss the scope of what we experienced in person. Those individuals I listed above started where you are. A newbie, terrified of giving the Ice Breaker. Clueless as to just what this “club” is you’re getting into. They are active members of home clubs. They serve as club officers, timers, grammarians, ah-counters, and evaluators. They are still volunteers. They are Toastmasters.

More shoulders are needed. Is it your turn? Are you ready to go that New Direction and find that New Destination?

A few of the memorial moments at training and convention.


Check out photo albums from 2018 International Convention

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