A random Whatsapp post on our Old girls’ class group by Toastmaster Doreen Baingana -Charter President Entebbe Toastmasters club, had me seat up as I read each word, with bated breath and rapt attention. I had previously heard about Toastmasters from a mentor I held in high regard. At that point Toastmasters was not yet in Uganda.
“Toastmasters in Uganda?”
I immediately inboxed Doreen. Needless to say, I was in the house for that meeting. To say that I was blown away at my first visit would be the understatement of that year. Vice President Membership Cynthia, ooohed and aahed over me and served me a cup of tea on the house. The speeches were surreal the atmosphere electric. By the end of the meeting I was a willing catch. I signed up.
For 10 months, I enjoyed being served at Kampala Toastmasters. It felt great having someone chasing after my growth and me sitting back and cherry picking at what I wanted to do and being lavish with (hopefully) constructive feedback on what I felt was due to us as members!!
February 16th 2018, the Served turned Servant! Lubowa demo meeting ushered in a new era. Since then, I have been the Servant working with other servants to charter Lubowa; Muyenga a year later and Kampala Sunrise 1.5 years later.
July 2019, I was rewarded with more service responsibility. I enjoyed a phenomenal 12 months as Area 13 Director. To her who much is entrusted, more is expected! July 2020, brought in yet another opportunity to serve, as Division F Director.
Has it been easy, not at all ! There were tough times, frustrations along the way and a few disappointments here and there; with plenty of HARD work, fun and many accomplishments splashed into the fray. It has been a true and fair playing field for Leadership growth. A real life experience with hardly anything going as per the blue print. In the words of Denzel Washington, “Easy is the enemy of Great!” I am therefore grateful for all the setbacks because they have made for great comebacks as I have adapted and adjusted to surmount each obstacle working together as leaders to achieve set objectives and goals.
I have seen my leadership metamorphose from one style to another. Toastmasters introduces us to 8 Leadership styles. In my comfort zone as the served, I was comfortable oscillating between just 2-3 styles. My Leadership journey has seen me take up each of the 8 styles depending on what the circumstances are, who I am dealing with and where I need to influence and inspire action from others.
I have completed the 10 projects of Leadership and Communication under the Legacy program and have completed two paths and my DTM project, with a few more assignments to qualify, for the DTM award.
My communication skills have also grown in leaps and bounds. I am honing my sales pitch. This recently earned us sponsorship by Stanbic Bank and Joint Medical Stores plus Exhibition by Rotary, Success Africa, amongst others at the Division F Conference, 6th March 2021. Furthermore, I have been appointed Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Risk and Programs Manager for Malaria Consortium effective March 2021. I am convinced that the ability to sell my skills and competencies honed at Toastmasters played a big role in convincing the 2 interview panels.
My ask of you is:
- Consider joining Toastmasters if you are not a member yet. You are missing out on great skills, competencies and fun
- If you are a Toastmaster already, consider muddying your feet in the Servants’ pool.
I have learnt that if you want to excel, work at your Toastmasters educational program and speeches with a passion. However, if you want to be EXCEPTIONAL, there is no two ways about it, brave it, jump in and join me and others. Borrowing from the words of President Franklin Roosevelt, let 2021/22, be your year to “Dare the Mighty”!; as you serve.
At your service!
By Dr. Christine Nabiryo, Division F Director, District 114; Charter President Lubowa Toastmasters club and Area Director of the year 2019/20, District 114