Officers swap ‘club success’ ideas; advance towards Distinguished Club status

Today, dozens of club officers braved the winter cold to attend the Toastmasters Leadership Institute (TLI), a one-day seminar designed to boost leadership and management skills of people in these roles.

TLI training provides club leaders the opportunity to learn about their officer roles; to discuss the challenges they’ve encountered; and to share officer best practices. TLI officer attendance also helps clubs achieve “Distinguished Club” status.

Rajiv S. Khanna (ACS/ALB), an officer in both SALT and Five-Star Toastmasters, expressed satisfaction about the training he received as a student at the first TLI session of 2018 in District 27. According to Khanna, TLI classes help him face “unusual situations” as a club officer. For example, Khanna said, TLI provides tools that help him act effectively when meeting space suddenly becomes unavailable, or multiple speakers don’t show up.

“With all the senior people here [at TLI], you can ask these questions – you can ask for guidance,” Khanna added. “Some of these things can happen.”

Megan Jordan (CL), public relations vice president at Challenger Toastmasters, said she attended the TLI to get tips on how her club could grow, to attract new members and to cultivate existing members.

According to Jordan, the sessions provide a chance for people in these roles to achieve success from officers in similar roles at other clubs.

To help get the conversation flowing, TLI Dean Carlos Velazquéz (DTM) asked attendees to share their challenges and successes.

Jordon chimed in by encouraging club officers to individual reach out to members, instead of mass emailing them. Velazquéz agreed that Jordan’s idea is an effective strategy for boosting meeting attendance. “That old-fashioned phone call is a powerful tool,” Velazquéz noted.

Like Jordan, other session attendees provided their own suggestions on effective public relations strategies. For example, one attendee cited successes in optimizing a club website for mobile devices, while other said he knew how to get a website to show up in a Google search.

Meanwhile, in a nearby room, Realignment Chair Jenny Genser (DTM) and Logistics Manager Alonzo White (DTM) co-led training for education vice presidents.

In the education vice president session, Genser advised these leaders to stay on top of Pathways, even if they are still working to achieve their own Distinguished Toastmaster award in the legacy Toastmasters education system. The reason, Genser said, is that education vice presidents are responsible for approving club members’ Pathways awards.

If the education vice president hasn’t signed up for Pathways, Genser said, that officer can’t approve these members’ awards.

Velazquéz also stressed the importance of Pathways. “The great thing about the Winter TLI is that it’s a good time to reflect and share lessons learned and to catch up on Pathways.”

Club officers who missed the January 6 TLI—or who are angling to achieve Distinguished Club status—have several more opportunities to attend this training before the end of February. Dates for the remaining TLI sessions are listed below.

February 2018

  • January 9 (Tuesday) 5:30-9:00pm at National Rural Electric Cooperation (NRCEA), 4301 Wilson Blvd Ste 1, Arlington, VA 22203 Sponsored by District 27(Register)
  • January 13 (Saturday) 9:30am-2:15pm at GEICO,5260 Western Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 Sponsored by District 36(Register)
  • January 13 (Saturday) 12:45-4:00pm at GEICO,5260 Western Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 Sponsored by District 36 (Register)
  • January 18 (Thursday) 6:00-9:00pm at Navy Federal Credit Union 820 Follin Lane, Vienna, VA 20180 Sponsored by District 29(Register)
  • January 25 (Thursday) 5:30-9:00pm at Nannie F. Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson Street, Alexandria VA 22314 Sponsored by District 27 (Register)
  • January 27 (Saturday) 10:00am-2pm at Faith Baptist Church, 26325 Three Notch Rd. Mechanicsville Md 20659 Sponsored by District 27(Register)
  • January 27 (Saturday) 2:00-6:00pm at VERIZON,13100 Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, Maryland 20904 Sponsored by District 36 (Register)

February 2018

  • February 1 (Thursday)6:00-9:00pm at Oracle 1900 Oracle Way, Reston, VA 20190 Sponsored by District 29
  • February 2 (Friday)11:30am-2:00pm at the Library of Congress, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave, SE,Room LM-516, Washington DC 20540 Sponsored by District 27 ( Register )
  • February 2(Friday)5:30-8:30pm at Mt. Nebo 1001 Old Mitchellville Road Bowie, Maryland 20716 Sponsored by District 36(Register)
  • February 8 (Thursday) 5:00-9:30pm at Annandale High School,4700 Medford Road, Annandale , VA 22203 Sponsored by District 27 (Register)
  • February 9 (Friday) 5:00 pm-8:30 pm at St. Margaret’s Church, 410 Addison Road, Capital Heights, MD  (Register)
  • February 10 (Saturday) 10:00am-200pm at Peace Lutheran Church, 401 Smallwood Drive, Waldorf, MD 20678 Sponsored by District 27 (Register)
  • February 15, (Thursday) 5:00pm – 8:00 pm, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, South Lobby, 451 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC  20410; POC: Veda Dixon,
  • February 17 (Saturday)8:00am-12:00pm at James J. McCoart Administration Building 1 County Complex Ct, Woodbridge, VA 22192 Sponsored by District 29


Jay Krasnow (ACG/ALB) is the District 27 Public Relations Manager and a member of Challenger Toastmasters, which meets at Asahi Restaurant in Courthouse Plaza (2500 Clarendon Boulevard, Suite G), Arlington, Va., at 7 PM on the first and third Tuesday of the month.

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