As the TLI Chair for the past Summer TLI Series, it feels strange to admit, I had never attended a TLI until this summer. It’s not that I had anything against the sessions; it’s just that I didn’t have a strong compulsion to dedicate an hour of my evening to more Zoom time. However, as the TLI Chair, I was obligated to attend every TLI session in the summer, and I do not regret it one bit.

What is the TLI?

TLI stands for Toastmasters Leadership Institute hosted by our District. We invite Accredited Speakers, World Champions of Public Speaking, and recognized Toastmasters to share their perspectives on communication and leadership. TLI’s are open to current and budding leaders who want to take their leadership and communication skills to the next level.

For the Summer 2021 TLI series, we held eight sessions throughout July to August, with one session each week.

Sessions in more detail:

1. We started the series strong with Lance Miller. His session was entitled “Leadership is Everybody’s Business.” Advertising by our PR team and Lance’s title, World Champion of Public Speaking 2005, attracted a large audience. Next, Lance shared his story about how he resurrected his club from five to over ninety members in a span of five years. Following the story, he shared his strategy and mentality to instill a sense of drive and unified vision in members. Finally, he shared members are now demanding speaking slots from the VPE – Vice President of Education.

2. In the subsequent week, Patrick Hardy shared with us “What to do When Disaster Strikes.” With the past year’s pivot to online Toastmasters meetings, this talk was more relevant than ever. Patrick’s expertise is in disaster preparedness. Patrick’s focus was on how to handle a “disaster,” in or out of Toastmasters—for example, nosediving membership, unhappy members, and more. One of the most significant insights I left with was focusing on what the disaster has revealed after disaster strikes and not what was lost. And ultimately, what new mindset and resiliencies do we need to build in case the disaster hits again?

3. Fredda Dogterom shared with us “The Making of a Marvelous Mentor.” Who needs a mentor? Everybody does. Whether you are a new Toastmaster or want to be a World Champion, it is worth getting a mentor. Even in her former job as an ice trucker, Freddi had a mentor to teach her the ropes! Regardless of what the mentor is for, Freddi elaborated on the key features they should have to be not only a good mentor but a “marvelous mentor.” Her talk was so compelling, one audience member immediately emailed me that evening, asking me to be their mentor.

4. In our fourth session, “I Promise You.” Past International President and current Region Advisor Pat Johnson took us back to the Toastmasters Promise that we all signed when we first joined Toastmasters. Pat walked us through each of the ten promises that we made and shared her experiences and the significance of each one. I know that personally, I hadn’t revisited the Toastmasters Promise since I signed my new member form three years ago. It was humbling to remember what unites us all as Toastmasters and what we should expect from any of our members.

5. Donny Crandell’s “What’s in a Salute” was the most surprising session to me. Having a little affiliation with the US military, I didn’t anticipate relating to our male military speaker. But, boy, was I wrong! Donny explicitly called out the audience’s hesitancy. He framed his speech on building respect as a leader through four straightforward actions (like remembering names and caring by just being there for someone). At the end of the session, I gave myself the talk to spend more effort remembering people’s names and my conversations with them.

6. World Champion of Public Speaking of 2001, Darren LaCroix revisited District 101 with his talk “Storytelling for Leaders.” Darren documented his journey from bombing at a stand-up comedy show to becoming a World Champion. Some tips included keeping a journal to turn mundane moments into award-winning speeches and finding an appropriate and qualified mentor, just as Freddi mentioned.

7. Nearing the end of the series, Satish shared “The 3 Realizations of a Distinguished Toastmaster – Speak, Lead and Serve”. In his interactive talk, Satish recounted his journey as a Toastmaster. He shared the gifts gleaned from the Toastmasters program, how he benefits from giving his time to his community, and how his growth applied to his career. Finally, he encouraged his audience to share some of their journey and the impact it has had on others.

8. To close off the series, Renee Yao and Khushboo Shah shared tangible actions with their “Proven Tips to Promote and Personalize Your Events and Businesses.” Having been VPPR for many terms and even running VPPR training, I still walked away with insight into how to “brand” our club and have a consistent look and feel with our club. Their club, Women LEAD Toastmasters, is a paragon of effective marketing and social media engagement. Their club regularly publishes blog posts and shares newsletters. It holds workshops to keep up its user engagement to get more value from the club.

The best way to fully experience the sessions would be through the recordings at: d101tm.org/TLI, but I will do my best to capture the heart of each talk.

Each of these sessions highlighted different aspects and skills of leadership yet interlinked and reinforced the ideas of one another.

Was the one-hour weekly commitment worth it?  Absolutely, yes!

Each speaker has had a different journey in their Toastmasters career: from VPPRs of successful clubs to Past International Presidents. Additionally, each speaker tied a part of their personal life into the presentation.  We had a former ice trucker, a disaster preparedness company, and a US military member – to name a few. I learned about leadership within Toastmasters and how I can apply the lessons to further my career and be a better person in my personal life.

The enlightening content of each of the speakers, who held my attention for the 40-60 minutes, showed how captivating their presentation and speaking styles were.

What’s next in store?

There will be another TLI session upcoming in the Winter (anticipating January – February 2022). Details aren’t out yet, but when they are, you can find the latest updates at d101tm.org/TLI.

If you missed any of the past Summer TLI Series Sessions, they are all recorded, and you can view them also at d101tm.org/TLI under each session drop-down.

Written by: Jackie Law LD4 – D101 Club # 6902835 -Toastmasters Evelyn 

TLI Chair 2021-22