(Toastmasters Presidency Speech)
I’ve said it once, I’m going to say it for long – change is good! Why, how, when, by whom, to whom or to what extent are only variables. Change should be the constant, as paradoxical as it may sound. To me, it’s pure logic! Many things have changed recently in my life. Yes, I’m going to use it as an excuse (again!) for ditching on the blog. No, I’m not going to bore you to death with them. I just reached a point when I need to put the wobbling things tremendously revolving like drunk atoms around my head in their place. Writing on the blog is one of them. Procrastinating it day by day is not the solution. I feel I cannot find the mood anymore to write long reviews, the desire to read new books to be reviewed afterwards, or the imagination to improvise. Hence the luring of time and the befooling of expectance. But things are about to change. Because change is good. No matter why, how, when, by whom, to whom or to what extent.
About the change in my life I treasure the most lately I want to tell you today. I’m sure you remember my Toastmasters’ stories (see my #1st speech and my #2nd speech) and how excited I have been since May last year when I joined and, even more, since June when I became the Secretary of the club. Things have followed the path I like to believe it was intended for me and today, at the beginning of 2012, I am happy and extremely proud to call myself the President of Brasov Toastmasters. Below you can see the recording of the speech I delivered as part of the contest. Given the poor quality of the image, of the sound and also my trembling voice strangled by emotions, I will also add the script of the speech.
Vote for me now! Listen to me, this is the right thing to do, you need me, I’m going to be the best president this club will ever have! If you vote for me now I promise you won’t have to pay for your membership renewals ever again, but you will be paid to come here, I will bring in mass-media and all of you will become famous, we will have free snacks and drinks at each meeting, just vote for me now and your whole life will change!
Was I good?! Did I do it right? This is how am I supposed to make you to vote for me? Fellow Toastmasters, distinguished guests, I can’t think of any reason good enough why would I be a better president than Cristian (i.e. the person I competed with for the position) or the other way round. Cristian and I made a great team these past few months and I’m sure we’ll keep up the good work together, no matter which one of us will be entitled with the president denomination.
Nevertheless, here’s what I can tell you at this moment – I understood that by becoming a president one doesn’t need to build a whole new cart, but polish the wheels of the old one and make it glide along smoothly in the right direction. I understood then that there is no right direction, but only the path led off by one’s vision and guided by ambition, courage, initiative and willpower all in the hands of the right leader. I finally understood that there is no such thing as a right leader, but someone who knows how to carry out extraordinary reactions out of ordinary people’s actions.
I was afraid I didn’t have the inner skills I needed in order to become the president of this club. And then I realized I am a leader in so many areas of my life and this not because I was born that way, but because I learned how to turn a passion into a vision and then take action to shape it into reality. I don’t have to be right all the times. I don’t have to be afraid of taking risks. I don’t have to always say “yes” – saying yes is way too easy! I don’t have to give answers, but propose solutions. I don’t have to display my leadership strategies on a silver platter in front of you right now so you can vote me, because anyhow you won’t be able to touch them, feel them, smell or taste them, but I’m sure you will find them in me when the time will come.
Fellow Toastmasters, distinguished guests, as an American master of wit once said, “only one man in a thousand is a leader of men” (and I’m sure this man could easily be Cristian), but, he goes on, … “the other 999 follow women”!
Below, you can read the article on the first page of the club’s newsletter for December (elections took place on November 15), where Cristian and I talked about how it felt like competing against each other and the way we felt back then, when everything was said and done (I should mention that he was also already an officer; while I was the Secretary he was the Sergeant at Arms, now he is the VP of Education and I couldn’t be happier to have him!). Probably you are wondering why is that I posted only my speech and not also Cristian's. The thing is that the recording of our speeches is personal, so you had to be there :)
On November 15, Brasov Toastmasters Club had its first officer competitive election for the 2012 presidency. What was it like to compete for a leadership position, and what are the thoughts of the candidates now?
Roxi: I’ve been in Toastmasters for seven months, and the time has flown by like none other! Now I’m smiling, but a few weeks ago I was really frightened. I didn’t know if I had grown enough to reach for the top position. It was because of you, the Toastmasters members and dear friends, that I realized how much I had actually grown, and that physical time should not be a determining factor for me anymore.
I first came to a Toastmasters meeting as a guest in April, joined the club in May, and became a board member (secretary) in June. Since then my life has totally changed. And I’m not using big words here! Toastmasters has been my greatest life-changing experience so far, and I intend to keep on making the best of it!
Not long before the election day, I said to myself, “this is the right thing to do – I have to do it, I want to do it, I can do it!” I put my heart and soul in this election. I knew that competing with Cristian would be fun, because we are very different in so many aspects, yet we make such an amazing team together! Each of us unveiled himself in front of the audience as we truly are. Both of us had serious intentions, both had a vision and ideals, both were dedicated members, both had gotten involved in the club’s projects, and we both knew where we were going so we could lead the way with the head held high. Nevertheless, only one of us could win, and I feel I won twice. First, because I am the new President of Toastmasters Brasov; second, because I have Cristian on my team.
My vision for the club? There is only one way to go – up and forward! I think we still have to improve on many levels, but we are on the right track and in the right environment to do this. One goal is for us to become a President’s Distinguished Club by June 2012, but I don’t see it as THE priority. The priority is to accomplish those requirements for our individual development, and if this leads us to another distinction, then good for us! Our aim is not to check as many speeches, leadership roles, or distinctions on a list, but to make them worthwhile for ourselves and through this, for the club.
I want our club to evolve, increase in membership, become wiser, renowned, more experienced, more awarded and yet… not to change at all, because it is exactly how it is supposed to be!
Cristian: I’ve been in Toastmasters for seven months and have enjoyed being the Sergeant at Arms for the past six months. When you're the first and last person people see at the weekly club meeting, members tend to speak with you more. I've made connections and friends who have helped me with the necessary materials this way.
Of course I wanted to win the competition to be the 2012 president! So did Roxi. Both of us knew that we had a 50-50 chance to win, and that it all depended on the speech that night. I was sad that I lost, but that's how it is in a competition, and I trust she'll do a great job as a president.
Both Roxi and I want our club to achieve the President's Distinguished Club award, and with some work, I think we can achieve it. However, my bigger priority at the moment is to see more speeches from those who are almost ready to finish their CC manual and also from those with advanced manuals. We haven't had a lot of action from them lately. I want the new members and visitors to be amazed and encouraged as I was at my first few meetings! I heard some great speeches!
Another project I think we should develop is our mentoring program. Several of the more experienced speakers have now offered to be mentors, and that’s great for our members. I also want members to have a thirst to speak more often and strive for excellence with their speeches.
I’m excited about 2012! I know this board will work together to continue building a high quality, professional, and enjoyable club for everyone.
|Cristian & I, a month after the elections|
Change is good. I just hope I will be good enough for the change.