My Education Journey

My Education Journey

My Toastmasters Education Journey by Bobby Madera – October 2017

In February 2015, I saw a few AT&T Irving NOC Toastmasters Open House flyers placed at work that said I could become a better speaker and leader with the added benefit of being a self-development goal for work. When I was personally invited by Whitney Kaberle, I decided to attend since it looked to be a fun event. I will always be grateful for the flyer and Whitney’s invite that started my Toastmasters journey. The Open House was a huge success!

While writing this article, I located pictures linked on the 2/17/15 Hot Topics article:
· 2/17/15 Hot Topics
· 2/11/15 AT&T Open House

District 25 is absolutely wonderful to archive all of these memorable, life changing events. Yes, Toastmasters has changed my life.

After signing up in February 2015, I chose to move slowly with speeches as I completed a bachelor degree that I returned to school in 2013 to finish. In May 2015, after completing the bachelor degree, I was ready to give my first Toastmasters speech. I gave my Ice Breaker on May 20 with the help of my mentor, Chris Raneri. I am grateful for Chris’ valuable mentorship through my journey. Looking back on the Ice Breaker, I depended heavily on notes and delivered the speech mechanically, but I did it. I gave my first speech! Next, I developed goals to achieve Competent Communicator by the end of the 2015-2016 Toastmasters year and Competent Leader by the end of the 2016 calendar year. Speech after speech, CL project after project, the light brightened as I saw the CC and CL completion in my sights. During this time, I gave three CC speeches on dogs, happy and sad, and performed unforgettable CL projects. One CL project in particular stands out above the rest. Whitney and Chris gave me the opportunity to be the Open House Chair and the meeting Toastmaster in March 2016. With Whitney’s creative theme idea and flyer design, we had the most wonderful Star Wars themed Open House. I will never forget Marylee Mims (Past District 25 Governor) for attending that day and for delivering the best Table Topics response that I have ever seen from our Table Topics Master, Chris Raneri. She answered the question of how she would provide Toastmasters advice as Yoda to a new Toastmaster. Marylee will always hold a special place with AT&T Irving NOC as she sponsored our club when it chartered in June 2013.

For pictures of that day in March 2016, here are the archived links:
· 4/5/16 Hot Topics
· 3/9/16 AT&T Open House

On June 22, 2016, I gave my final speech to achieve Competent Communicator, which felt amazing. Over the next year, I worked on the Advanced Communicator Bronze and completed it in September this year. I am now halfway towards Advanced Communicator Silver and plan to finish it in the next few months before the 2018 District Spring Conference.

During the 2016-2017 year I performed my first club officer role as VP Education. This officer role transitioned my mindset to achieving individual goals alone to helping others achieve their goals, which was incredibly rewarding. With the outstanding efforts from the AT&T Irving NOC members, we achieved President’s Distinguished for the third consecutive year. I am very proud of each person who completed an education award.

Furthermore, I finished my Competent Leader in November 2016 and my Advanced Leader Bronze in April 2017. I am now working towards my Advanced Leader Silver. Thanks to Greg Pick (District 25 Director) for giving me the opportunity to serve Area 72 as Area Director for the 2017-2018 year and to Jamie Pickering (District 25 Club Growth Director) and Jen Romaszewski (D25 Club Mentor/Sponsor Chair) for the opportunity to serve Caliber Toastmasters as a Club Mentor. I plan to complete my Advanced Leader Silver in July 2018, and Distinguished Toastmaster by November 2018 at earliest or by May 2019 at the latest.

I would be remiss if I did not plug the awesomeness that is District 25 Promotions, and specifically the new Journey Awards. Please visit for the flyer, tracking form, and online submission option for details. In September, I earned the D25 Education Wayfarer bronze pin by completing four of the eight goals in the Journey of Education path. With this article and one other goal, I am excited to earn the D25 Education Adventurer silver pin soon. It has been a true joy wearing the D25 Education Wayfarer bronze pin at the various area contests and having the opportunity to help promote this program by telling how I earned it. District 25 is the best! Here is a picture that Diana Patton (Past District 25 Governor & current D25 Webmaster) took of Robi Ley (District 25 Program Quality Director) pinning the Journey of Education D25 Wayfarer bronze pin on me.

Finally, as I reflect upon my journey, I am fulfilled with what Toastmasters has done for me. I more motivated than ever to do more for the members, clubs, areas, and divisions in District 25. I encourage all my fellow Toastmasters to continue in this journey of growth, fun, and community where we all improve when we focus on helping others achieve while we achieve personal goals simultaneously.

D25 – It’s Your Journey!

Bobby Madera, ACB, ALB
Area 72 Director, District 25