The Parade of flags begins

The Parade of flags begins

This year I once again had the pleasure of representing District 7 at the International Convention, an event that I would encourage all toastmasters to attend at some point in their Toastmasters experience.  I want to share a few highlights with you from the event.

District Leader Training

On Monday and Tuesday District Leaders gathered for training on how to help our district’s clubs be successful.  We shared our lessons learned and talked about our plans for the upcoming year.
Incoming Regional AdvisorsThe incoming Regional Advisor team was introduced, including District 7’s own Allan Edinger. They came in a day ahead of us to receive their training then focused on training the district leadership teams.
In addition to 9 hours of training each day, we had a chance to meet the current board members and interview the members running for regional and international offices.
On Tuesday, the district Governor lunch featured speeches by  John Lau, DTM Past International President,  incoming President George Yen, DTM, and Dan Rex, the Executive Director of our Organization. I have  had  the opportunity to get to know the leaders at the top of our organization.  I have become confident that the future of Toastmasters International is in good hands.

The Convention

Wednesday the convention was  in full swing.  We had four days to learn and grow  with Toastmasters from around the world .  The educational sessions were packed as we took in everything that we could.  As you can see from this picture, for some, there was no standing room left.

Darren Lacroix EdSession

Rhonda's Semi FinalPacked into the schedule was the World Championship of Public Speaking.  Rhonda Holdridge did a great job representing us on the stage.   Her story and delivery were excellent and once again we saw how focusing on one speech can truly transform a great speech into an incredible one.

In the end Rhonda did not make it to the Saturday morning Finals.  We need to find a time for her to share what she learned and allow her to inspire our members to strive to deliver their best speech.

The Hall of FameThe convention featured the Hall of Fame where districts were recognized for the success of their members and clubs.  District 7 was recognized as a Distinguished District based on the successes that our clubs had in both achievement and membership. It was an honor to be part of the group that received the award on your behalf.

Our banner, with all the signatures from our members,  stood out.  You can find that photo in the District 7 Facebook group.

When I looked at the schedule of events it felt like there was lots of extra time, but it  slipped away all too quickly.  I reconnected with friends from previous years and online. Before I knew it the speech finals, the business meeting and the President’s Dinner and Reception were all behind me.  As I suggested earlier,  every Toastmaster should find time to attend an International Convention.  While next year is in Malaysia, the 2015 conference is in Las Vegas, which is probably the closest venue for years to come.  There are opportunities to volunteer at the event to save on registration fees if that is a challenge.

I look forward to seeing all of you at the District 7 Fall Conference: Passion to Purpose and I hope to see you at the International Convention in the years to come.