This is an in-depth introduction to our district, adapted from a document originally put together by District 28 member Linda Anger. If you’re looking for a quick overview of the district, please see our About Us page.
Home Sweet Home
When Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home,” she meant Kansas, of course, but her statement applies equally to your home club, your front door into the international organization that is Toastmasters! Here you present the first speech in your Toastmasters journey: the Ice Breaker. Here you gain leadership experience by taking on specific roles at meetings, giving and receiving feedback from your fellow members. Here you begin the deeper journey through the Pathways program.
Everything begins at your home club: your personal Toastmaster story, the awards given to individual clubs in the Distinguished Club Program, and the speech competitions that go all the way to the World Championship of Public Speaking.
Each club within the district follows the same executive committee structure, with seven officers. Club members are encouraged to take on officer positions, whose terms generally run for one year, though a few clubs elect their executive committee every six months. The officer roles are:
- Responsible for opening and closing each club meeting and Executive Committee meeting. Acts as liaison from the club to the area leadership (see next section).
- VP of Education
- Responsible for tracking each member’s advancement through the speech projects from their first speech to earning the DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) designation, and managing the club’s DCP (Distinguished Club Program) progress. Also responsible for creating and managing the agenda for each club meeting.
- VP of Membership
- Handles inquiries regarding the club, works with prospective and/or new members to create mentoring relationships, keeps in touch with everyone, keeps everyone in touch.
- VP of Public Relations
- Responsible for the promotion of the club through various channels, including updates to the club website.
- Responsible for the collection, documentation, and processing of member-ship applications and dues.
- Records minutes of the club business meetings and Executive Committee meetings.
- Sergeant at Arms
- Responsible for room set-up, maintenance of club documents, etc.
Once you’ve served your club as an officer, you’ll want to consider stepping up to a broader role! We’ll learn about those next.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Your home club is the center of your Toastmasters solar system, so to speak. But there’s always a lot happening outside your front door, isn’t there? Let’s take a look at the next level of the Toastmasters hierarchy: the area.
Your Toastmasters area is your neighborhood. When you move into a new home, one of the first things you do is meet the people next door and across the street, right? Eventually you meet and interact with people on the next street, and then a few blocks over.
Moving into Toastmasters works the same way. The people across the street and next door are the members of your home club. The next street over, and a few blocks away, are the other clubs that comprise your area—a group of four or five clubs in close geographic proximity. Ask your club president to tell you about your area, and introduce yourself to your area director when they come for their formal visits.
Toastmasters is a worldwide organization striving to keep local clubs personal and comfortable, while managing a membership of more than 300,000 people across the globe! That’s a lot of data and financial transactions to handle, so the Toastmasters world is built up from the club into increasingly larger segments.
Your area director brings the leadership and membership of several clubs together in several ways:
- Conducts club visits twice each year to understand and assist in whatever the club needs, which might include answering policy questions, setting up speech competitions, and working in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP).
- Acts as liaison between your club, the division, and the district (more on these latter two shortly).
- Brings the leadership and members of the area clubs together for competitions and networking.
Are you beginning to see the bigger picture? We’ve defined your home, your neighborhood, and now we’ll take a look at your broader community—the division.
Your Community: The Toastmasters Division
Your club is your home, your area is your neighborhood, and now we venture out a bit farther, to the division.
Just as an area is a collection of clubs, a division is a collection of four or five areas. There are seven divisions within District 28, each designated by a letter of the alphabet, and each area director reports to a division director. You can see a current list of our area and division directors in our DEC directory.
Your division director supports the area directors in your division. The division director’s responsibilities include:
- Encouraging and reminding area directors of upcoming events.
- Providing appropriate examples of Toastmasters forms and other materials necessary to fulfill an area director’s duties.
- Acting as a liaison between the represented areas and the district.
- Overseeing events such as division competitions.
As you become more involved in Toastmasters, you may be asked to speak at clubs outside your home club or area. You may be asked to act as Toastmaster for a club or area competition, or to judge a competition outside of your division.
Our home clubs are like the teams in an organization—with team leaders who report to a group head, who reports to a department head, who reports to a division head, who reports to… who reports to… all the way up to the Chair of the Board of Directors worldwide.
That’s most of the rungs in the local ladder—each one taking you a step higher, a bit farther afield, with the top rung being the last one we’ll discuss here: the district.
Your Doorway to the World: District 28
District 28 covers southeast Michigan, northwest Ohio, and southwest Ontario, including the major cities of Detroit, Toledo, and Windsor. We’re part of Toastmasters Region 6, which encompasses large parts of Ontario and Michigan, all of Ohio, and much or all of several neighboring states. To see how we fit into the bigger Toastmasters picture, check out this map of Toastmasters districts and regions (PDF).
If you already looked at our district directory, you probably noticed a few names besides the division and area directors we discussed previously. Our district is led by a district director, with the support of the Program Quality Director and the Club Growth Director. These three officers are referred to collectively as “the Trio,” and are assisted by a number of other officers—a finance manager, a logistics manager, and so on—many of whom perform similar functions to the officers in your club. You can find out more about the District Executive Committee roles on the Toastmasters International website.
How Far Will You Go?
The saying, “If you want to get all you can out of Toastmasters, you’ll never get out of Toastmasters” rings true for many of the people involved in District 28. Whether you’re just beginning your Toastmasters journey or have been involved in your club for years, the more involved you become, the more you will grow and the deeper your experience will be.
How much do you want to get out of your membership? How far do you want to go in your career? How much time and energy are you willing to invest in yourself ? How far will you go?
Talk to your club president or your area director about the opportunities available to you outside of your home club, or reach out to us directly to have your questions answered. We can’t wait to meet you!