Building confidence, Overcoming fear of speaking in public, and grooming leadership: these are just among the many exhilarating journeys you hop onto as a Toastmaster.

At Bluenile Toastmasters, we nurture these journeys with a touch of family and friendship. Just as the club motto reads; we are indeed “friends in a race for excellence”. It is in this spirit that the age-old Bluenile Toastmasters club has been operating since its first formation in 1947, making it the oldest toastmaster club in Ethiopia. Mondays are usually special for our members; a nice energetic, witty and jovial style to kick off the week.

A podcast microphone set against a maroon background
That said, Toastmaster Mondays are not free from some chaos every now and then. But isn’t that the beauty and fun of it? Adam Sahilu – President of Bluenile Toastmasters shares one of his memorable Mondays: “My most memorable Toastmaster experience was the session when everything seemed to go wrong! The assigned speakers had canceled at the last minute However, the executive committee and individual members pushed for the session to continue. After quick thinking, the session turned from assigned speeches to an impromptu debate. Debating with humor, wit, and sincerity, the session went from a potential crisis to a realized event! This demonstrates everything Toastmasters stands for; leaders who can solve any problem, speakers versatile enough to adapt to challenges, and a strong bond among members to carry on even through the hard times!”

The Toastmaster community in Ethiopia is evidently growing in size and, most importantly, quality. More club members are now embarking on the Pathways education program, and making sure their progress is evaluated and certified. In their quest to grow their leadership skills, members turn up their game and stand to serve, as club officers, courageously investing their valuable time and effort in serving their members and clubs. Isn’t that service leadership right there? Showing the way in the leadership journey, is our very own Ethiopis Tadesse – Division D Director and immediate past President of Jupiter Toastmasters Club. “Becoming a Toastmaster was hands down one of the best decisions of my life”, she says. “I can attribute many of my achievements to the skills I’ve gained in this supportive, challenging and utterly enjoyable environment. We strive to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every individual member has the opportunity to develop oral communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth”.

Ethiopis’s journey doesn’t stop here, now four years down the road and with her most current position as the Division D Director. Ethiopis further adds, “I’m excited about where my Toastmasters journey will take me”. And that’s what we love most about our club, the unlimited possibilities of change, courage, and fun each member brings to the podium.

At the time of this conversation Abiy Shimelis was a Civil-Environmental Engineer by training who currently works in development communication striving to ensure creative enterprising contributes towards a more inclusive, transparent and impactful social development. He is the Co-founder of Addis Sustainable Life S.C and the Country Coordinator of African Art for Peace Initiative (AAPI) Ethiopia