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As Public Relations Manager for Founder’s District I have a motto which I wish all to follow:
Make History, Not Lose History
The reason I have this motto is that I feel that there have been opportunities that we’ve missed to celebrate over the last few years. We’ve missed out on the opportunity to document, photograph and write articles on certain special anniversaries of either clubs or club members.
In an effort to curb that, I have implemented a few changes to the Public Relations Team, which include recruiting Christine Brady as the Talent Scout and David Moore as the Special Events and Anniversaries Scout.
Both are asked to scout throughout the district and through our available data to “go where no person has gone before” in order to find pertinent information and share it with the right people who can share it with the appropriate Toastmasters world.
Their information will be passed both to the Division Directors and to either FDTV for talent or Social Media for Special Events. We need your input to help make this happen. If you have information for Talent or Events, please give to Christine for Talent or David for anniversaries or events.
I encourage more participation across the board in the Public Relations arena both from the Public Relations Team and from the Toastmaster members. All Public Relations members are also included in this offer which includes the Division PRM’s plus their teams. Also encouraged to participate is any individual member who either brings an outstanding article or brings light on something that is happening within Founder’s District. Each month, I will be looking for those whom I believe have gone above and beyond their Toastmaster expectations and I will be rewarding 2 members a $25 Toastmaster gift certificate.
The 2 individuals I’ve chosen to recognize under that program initially include:
Avis French, who even while ailing, remained liaison between Founder’s District and the local community. Avis continually works to make sure we have opportunities to serve as local judges for local school and community speech events. These events weigh heavily on Toastmasters participating as they see us working to our core values of integrity, respect, service, excellence. Avis is also looking to our Toastmasters community for someone who may want to help out and possibly transition through the next few years. Thank you, Avis.
Steve Itzkowitz, who worked up until the final hours before being admitted to the hospital for his surgery. Steve is a real trooper and is always the first in line to help make it happen. After the awards night, Steve took on doing a lot of the articles. I love him for all he does and now need him to concentrate more on delegating. Thanks for all your work, Steve.
Here are a few other mentions of individuals that I really appreciate stepping up to the plate:
Lawrence Crandall, who is always there when you need him and then some
Jeff Lee, for stepping up when Steve was ailing given how much we had to cover.
David Shostak, the man of the hour, who is setting the way as an example for everyone.
Mike O’Neil, who has been my right hand man in the Tech Team.
George Day, who has been doing amazing programs and software in the background that have made a big difference. We need you back.
I could go on but let’s save some for next month.
How does a software engineer who can spends hours in the dark, playing video games, alone, without moving a muscle... become an inspiring speaker, a master of the stage, a Contest Master, an empowering leader and a motivational force in the success of others?
Let me tell you that story... it will inspire you, it will encourage you, and it will make you want to stand up and cheer!!!
Yes fellow Toastmasters! Let me tell you about the journey of Cliff Shimizu, ACS, CL - a journey that began a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
In 1998 two seasoned and influential Toastmasters in Founder's District (Avis French, CL and Colette Gardner, DTM, PDG) were working at Unisys, as was Cliff. They were rebooting the corporate "Unimasters" club and suggested (in their typical gentle way) that Cliff join them to be a Charter Member. With an understanding that Cliff's manager had encouraged him, AND that Cliff's office mate was none other than Mitchell Knight - another seasoned veteran in Founder's District and President of the club - of course Cliff agreed.
Cliff knew enough about himself to understand how beneficial this first step would be ... he felt comfortable in one-one situations, but large groups made him freeze! He focused on the development of his speaking skills, never thinking about leadership - he was happy giving speeches. Of course he held club officers roles - he was among friends and colleagues at Unimasters, that was his comfort zone; he worked with them everyday - no stretch to help manage the club by taking a role now and again...
Cliff was very happy with this state of affairs - for 17 years he was happy with his journey.
Something changed in 2015... as was often the case, the incoming Division Director asked if Cliff would be an Area Director. Cliff's answer had always been an unequivocal "No". But this year, he said "YES".
What happened.... was it that Cliff had a change in career, maybe a mid-life crisis, or did they just wear him down with the question year after year? We may never know exactly what he was thinking, but we do know he has great respect for Marie-Noelle Palermo, ACB, ALB; he wanted to work with her and her Division G team; he was just beginning to see that the whole is so much more than the parts - that every club member contributes to the larger organization by inspiring and supporting others. Saying "Yes" was the catalyst Cliff needed to stretch his leadership wings, test the water, expand the envelope, step outside the box - you know what I mean - take that first step into District Leadership!!!!!
Cliff knew he would be challenged in this new leadership role, but he also knew three things would help him succeed: 1) his mentors (Avis and Colette) would encourage and support him; 2) Marie-Noelle was a proven leader and would provide the vision and leadership for a successful Division G team; 3) Ann Shimizu, DTM was also going to be an Area Director that same year... how could he fail?!?!
Cliff's success as Area Director that year (2015-2016) extended beyond the reports, the training, the meetings and the contests... what he learned about himself, about working beyond his personal boundaries, about how to mentor and inspire others, about the acts of leadership - this experience instilled in him the drive to see beyond his own needs and objectives and to focus on the development and success of others. It instilled more deeply in him the idea of and the practice of servant leadership.
Then, a funny thing happened... In the Spring of 2016, the Spirit of Excellence award recipient delivered a game changing statement that transformed how Cliff saw his own Toastmasters journey. He heard a phrase that resonated with him then and continues to drive his commitment to servant leadership. The speaker said "I had taken so much. It was time I gave back."
Cliff turned to Ann and said: "We should run (for Division G Director)!"
Ann's practical reply: "Why both of us?" Cliff: "Because it will be FUN!!!!!"
What happened to the dark room and video monitor as your only friend? After 18 years Cliff saw the light - giving back as a servant leaders was now his passion.
Born in that moment was the TRIO approach to Division G: Cliff, Ann, and Raymond (McCullough) all ran - no matter who would win - they would act as a trio in driving Division G success... well, we all know how that turned out. And yes, the Trio approach to leadership for Division G worked flawlessly. With a combined vision, Cliff's pursuit for inclusive leadership, and an outstanding crew of Area Directors, Division G soared into success as a President's Distinguished Division - that is how to define leadership!
Cliff spoke to his Division council each month about his leadership passions, his expectation for pushing boundaries, how to reach for success, his inspiration for mentoring others - his message could not have been clearer; it resonated with each Area Director - the results speak for themselves.
Now that his term as Division Director is complete, his leadership goal has shifted ever so slightly.... he no longer cares to pursue success in his own interest, but rather - in the true sense of a servant leader - his joy is to encourage and support others in their pursuit of excellence.
Cliff - We applaud you! We cheer for you, and for those whose journey you have inspired. We ask you to continue to be the leader, mentor and visionary you became once you stepped outside of your comfort zone. The District awaits you...
Founders District is very pleased to announce that Mike Sato, Area G3 Director, is the Founder’s District 2016-17 Area Director of the Year.
"Mike's dedication and commitment went above and beyond what I have seen from other area directors. He visited his clubs several times throughout each 6 month period," said nominator and Division G Director, Cliff Shimizu. "He delivered trophies to our area and division contest winners and worked diligently to ensure the success of each club."
Sato addressed challenges in his area with dedication and commitment. Three of his four clubs faced relocation of their meeting sites in the past year and Mike was directly responsible for arranging a new meeting location for one of those clubs.
Despite the challenges, Mike's area is currently distinguished. Two of his clubs have the DCP points to be distinguished and only need a few more members to be at charter strength.
Faced with a particularly struggling club in his Area, Ziggurat 425, Mike joined the club as a member, even though this would preclude him from receiving credit as a club coach. The club had 8 members before Sato joined and now has 15 members and became a Select Distinguished club.
According to Shimizu, "Mike was committed to helping the club and made them commit to rebuilding their club. He worked with the club and the members worked hard as a result. He pulled in the support of the division and nearby clubs to boost the attendance and speakers at the club. Members of the club were helping at the Fall Contest as functionaries and by the Spring Contest, the club was sending contestants".
"The turnaround," said Shimizu "has been nothing short of remarkable."
Mike not only led the turnaround of the club, he recorded his efforts in the form of a case study which he voluntarily wrote up.
Mike is now involved in the process of chartering the Ware Malcomb club. This prospective club needs only three more applications to charter. The club has already started conducting their own meetings, beginning on June 2nd, 2017.
In addition to his tireless work with his clubs, Division Director Cliff Shimizu noted several occasions where Mike assisted his Division. "Mike also jumped in as the Division G Chief Judge when past district governor, Colette Gardner, was no longer able to attend due to her medical condition. He also aided Division F as their area contest chief judge, and helped guide Jean Tanquary as a brand new chief judge for the division contests", Shimizu said.
At the end of the day, Mike left no stone unturned as he helped build a new club within his area while assisting his established clubs in achieving excellence.
Founders District congratulates Area G3 Director, Mike Sato, for his outstanding work with his area and for his inspiring leadership by example.
What a journey this has been. For me, and for you as well. Because my story is not unlike your story. When I walked in to my very first Toastmasters meeting, I never dreamed in a million years that I would be where I am today, that I would learn what I have learned today, or that I would feel what I feel today.
I will never forget my first year as an area governor. That is a special time for any Toastmaster, one that will change your life one way or another. It was there that I met some of the most influential people in my life. Many of you have shaped me over the years. Some old friends, some new friends, and some who I hope to become friends. Each one of you in some way, big or small, has had a lasting impact on me. Sometimes it was your helpful suggestion, or a nod of approval, your show of support. But most of the time it was your kind words of recognition, and many times it was in the way I saw you offer a kind word to someone else who needed it. And that’s made all the difference.
Think about all of the situations in your own journey that has helped to get you where you are today. Was it completing a communication manual? Or a leadership level? Was it winning a trophy at a speech contest? Or being a part of committee chair and challenging yourself to do something you didn’t think you were capable of doing? All of these things are nice, but I think what made the most difference in your life, and in mine, is the kind words of friends.
A kind word is the most powerful force in the universe. Kind words have not built our skyscrapers, or highways, or any booming metropolis. Kind words did not usher in the technology that built the internet, that saves lives, and makes the planet a better place to live. Kind words didn’t do any of that, but kind words built the men and women behind those great accomplishments. Kind words can move mountains.
This year, we intend to move mountains. Together we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible. I have the benefit of following some of the smartest and wisest people I know. Each of you in some way have contributed to building my character and into the person I am today. Years ago when I was an Area Governor I had no idea what I was doing. Today, I am confident – confident that I still have no idea what I’m doing but at least now I know I am surrounded by friends who won’t let me fail. I have learned a lot over the years from some very special people and past district governors. Starting with Celly Adamo, may God rest her soul, the only District Governor to have all 8 divisions presidents distinguished. Celly taught me to think big and to respect others beliefs and opinions. Her year was distinguished.
Alanda Dyer showed me how to laugh and be resilient under pressure. She also showed me how the power of kindness and kind words can make a big impact on so many people.
Bob Hudack taught me to find the hidden talents in people and direct others toward their natural talents.
Maira Pineda taught me to be extraordinary, to find your inner light and let it shine.
Ede, Distinguished District Governor, Ede, taught me how to inspire others and lead by example. Ede is a beacon of light for all of us to follow.
Distinguished District Governor Wes Hoover, saw the big picture but also cared about the experience of each and every member. Wes taught me to see the good in all people.
And Victoria Dotson, someone very special to me, near and dear to my heart. Victoria taught me not to be afraid to take chances. Leaders are not always right, but you can never go wrong if you follow your heart. And Victoria is all heart.
Calm and methodical, Harry Yan, the only Select Distinguished District Governor in Founder's District. Harry taught me to remain focused on the mission. Never lose focus.
Linda Ulrich, always there with a hug and a smile. Linda helped me to recognize the human element in all that we do.
Pan Kao, helped me to realize that we are not super human with super powers. We are just people all working together to make this world a better place to live.
And finally, Siri, a master delegator. How she does all the things she does so well I may never know, but I hope to learn someday.
I’m someone who embraces change. Change is exciting for some but scary for others. The world is always changing. Toastmasters is changing, and we must change as well or suffer. Experience has taught me how important it is to remain laser focused on our mission – to build new clubs and support all clubs to achieve excellence.
What then, about the members? Members are the foundation of our district. Without members we are nothing. Strategies and policies do nothing to instill any real change in the lives of the members. I alone can have little impact on the greater population of our district. But each of you can move mountains, by giving all members the same thing you have given me – a kind word. A kind word is all it takes and doesn’t cost a thing.
Be generous with your kind words. Give a kind word to every guest that walks into your club meeting. Give a kind word to every speaker in your club, to your club leaders, to your club’s future leaders. Give kind words to your Area Directors and Division Directors who work so hard for you. Give kind words to your mentors, your mentees, your friends, your colleagues, those you agree with and those you disagree with. Give kind words with reckless abandon and more importantly, be sincere. Change one person’s life with one kind word, and you’ve changed the world.
Founder’s District hasn’t been Presidents Distinguished in almost 40 years. It’s an ambitious goal, but hey, let’s think BIG! Let’s not be afraid to take chances. Let’s enhance our natural talents and be extraordinary. Stay focused on the mission and above all be generous with our kindness to others, give a hug, give a smile, give a kind word. And let’s be Presidents Distinguished Again!