If you were asked, “Where can you go to learn to run committee Meeting?”
Toastmasters of course
In August 1991, I joined Tropic City Toastmasters for that simple reason I wanted to know how to run Meetings
At the time, I was a member of a Professional organization known as the Australian Computer Society in Townsville and I was moving up the ranks and I knew within a couple of years I would be the Chairman and I did not have a clue how to chair a Meeting. The Society consisted of members who were IT Managers, University Professors, IT Directors and highly skilled IT professionals who don’t tolerate fools.
Why did I join Tropic City?
18 months prior I had attended a Speechcraft course at the TAFE run by Kym Cheetham, Helen Squelch (Flynn) and colleagues. They had left me an open invitation to come along.
I vividly recall the first night I attended Tropic City Toastmasters, I walked up to the first floor of the Hermit Park Hotel to be met at the door by a man dressed in formal military dinner uniform. White jacket, black trousers with satin stripe, cummerbund, bow tie and 3 gold sergeant stripes on his jacket sleeves.
I said to myself, am I in the right place, am I attending the right night. I don’t want to attend an Army function.
Luckily, this military man with hand outstretched said, “Welcome to Tropic City, I am the Sergeant at Arms and my name is Pedro Pedersen.” Pedro introduced me to the President, Ross Trigger who took me to the bar and introduced me to other members. To Pedro’s credit no-one entered Tropic City without being warmly welcomed by Pedro. Warm hugs were the order of the night as members greeted one another before and after the meeting.
The Business Session for the first 30 minutes of the evening was fiery, robust, witty, jocular and serious, entertaining and fun. The likes of Steve Jenkosky, Mike Coleman, Claire Murphy, Helen Squelch and Pedro Pedersen made mincemeat of the unprepared. I recall Clive was never controversial or a stirrer but quietly he knew the rules of “Renton”. I think many a tactic was contrived at the bar before the meeting and then at the break explanations and support were offered to a relieved Chairman. It was all good fun. No Chairman was ever victimized but maybe a little bruised. I suggest it was the best “Table Topics” session available.
I gave my “ICEBREAKER” on the 3 Sep 1991 and completed my Competent Toastmaster (CTM) 30Apr 1993. During that period I was the Sergeant at Arms (SAA) for 18 months and Vice President Public Relations (VPPR) for 15 months
In May 1995 I was elected President of Tropic City. It was a great year with 30 members and we were “Select Distinguished” for the year. You could never become a “Presidents Distinguished” Club unless you chartered a new Club. Townsville had 10 Clubs at the time.
Beside my Toastmastering, I was elected Chairman of the Australian Computer Society and became a member of the State Executive in Brisbane where through my Toastmastering skills I was able to successfully sell that a State Conference for IT Professionals be held for the very first time outside of Brisbane. It was so successful that we made $12, 500 profit in a weekend at the now Mercure Inn. That profit margin has never been bettered for a weekend Conference. Preparation and Communication were the keys of success.
In May 1996 I was elected Area 13 Governor and in those days there was electioneering going on. Whereby a candidate visited the Clubs in the Area to gain votes at the Area Council. Barry and I put our hands up for Area 13 Governor at the time. I think Barry withdrew from the ballot a few months before the vote. Again another great year and Area 13 had 6 vibrant Clubs with membership totaling around 150 Toastmasters. That same month in 1996 I attended my first District 69 Convention in Ballina.
In 1997/1998 I wanted a break from leadership in Toastmasters, however Mike Storkey had just been elected District Governor and invited me to become the District PRO (Public Relations Officer). What a year that was promoting District 69. My greatest achievement was inviting the International President at the time, Len Jury of New Zealand to come to Townsville to present to Mayor Tony Mooney, Communicator of the Year. All the Clubs of Townsville and surrounding areas banded together and raised monies to bring Len Jury to Townsville.
1998/1999 Northern Division Governor
- Division Conference in Alice Springs
- “Toastmasters of the Desert” – 26 hours non stop by bus, Clive, Pam and myself as drivers
- Amazingly Toastmasters came from all around District 69 to attend.
May 2000 at the Gold Coast Convention
- I stood for election as LGM (unsuccessful). Uncontrollable nerves froze me during my election speech to the District Council.
May 2001 “Stranded in Townsville” and the “Huki Lau” at Maryborough Convention
- Tropic City’s bid for the Convention 2003 in Townsville “Clive the Dummy”
- Clive and I and 10 other Tropic City members journeyed to Maryborough for a fantastic weekend. Our presentation overwhelmed the opposition that they never bothered to make their presentation.
May 2002 off to Toowoomba Convention to sell “Stranded in Townsville”
- “Clive the Dummy” was stolen and dismembered. A Memorial Service was held.
May 2003 “Stranded in Townsville”
- Gavin Blakey International President was our Official Guest
- The Holiday Inn and the Museum of Tropical North Queensland were the venues
- The Pandora Great Room convention Dinner
- Saturday night theme, “What were you wearing when the ship went down?”
- There was so much fun and hard work.
- Clive and I believe it was the most successful Convention ever held in District 69. In fact many Toastmasters commented that it was such a high standard that others will now be judged against
In June 2004, I chartered Townsville City Council Toastmasters with the help of Hanna Wiskar, Linda Taylor and many members of Tropic City.
This is but a brief episode of my Toastmastering here at Tropic City. Toastmasters is a wonderful organization. It will give you back multiple, memorable moments of life and it all depends you and how much you enjoy it.
Bevin is a Distinguished Toastmaster and held most position in the club including | Past Club President, VPE , VPPR, Secretary & SAA. Bevin has also been an Area Governer and District Public Relations Officer for District 69.
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