My Toastmasters Journey – 50 Years and Counting

My Toastmasters Journey – 50 Years and Counting

by Richard Brown DTM Wichita Falls Club #305

The year was 1972. Richard Nixon was president. A man walked on the moon. For the last time. And Richard Brown walked into his very first Toastmasters meeting. Here’s his story, in his own words.

I’m currently a member of Wichita Falls Club 305 – the oldest club in Texas. But my Toastmasters journey began in Lafayette, Louisiana, back in 1972. Bob Theriot, one of our agents, came into my office. “I’m a member of Lafayette Toastmasters, and you could definitely improve your communication skills. Come join me at our meeting.” He explained what Toastmasters was all about, and I attended their next meeting.  The rest is history. This month marks my 50th anniversary as a Toastmaster! Mentors like Bob, James Garber, and Ben Brown have meant much to me over the years.

Has Toastmasters made a difference in my business career and in my life? The answer is definitely yes, professionally and personally. As a manager, I was a better, more effective communicator with my staff, with assisting our sales force with their new business cases, and being part of the management team. Later, I was promoted to Regional Sales Director in Dallas for four years, and the last twenty years I operated my own insurance practice in Farmers Branch.

I served in every club and district officer role in Toastmasters District 68 with confidence. My last year in Louisiana, I served as District Governor.

What I appreciate the most is how Toastmasters continues to help me build, polish, and be a better communicator and leader in all I do. Toastmasters has enabled me to be more confident and effective in serving my church and community. In my church, I’ve had the opportunity to serve in many impactful ministries. In my community, I’ve filled many roles for The Farmers Branch Chamber of Commerce, including Interim President. My mantra became Find ways to give back. As an amateur astronomer, I influence my community with outreach projects. These opportunities wouldn’t have been possible without Toastmasters and great mentors to guide me to grow my communication and leadership skills.

I encourage every Toastmaster to reflect on Pathways and mentorship possibilities. Has being a Toastmaster made a difference in your professional and personal lives?

I believe the answer is a definite Yes!