My first Toastmasters workshop conducted by a speaker from Singapore was so fantastic that I rushed to find out about the sponsoring organization.
A few days later, I attended the first Toastmasters meeting, answered my first table topic question, and joined as a member at Thai Airways Toastmasters Club at the venue of the company I had worked with as a communication and customer service trainer for 26 years.
I immediately went to my first Toastmasters International Convention in Miami, mingled with fellow toastmasters from all over the world, and listened to “One of those days!”, a most remarkable world championship speech by World Champ Ed Tate.
Needless to deny that I got hooked.
After that, I’ve attended 5 more International Conventions!
Miami Convention was an unforgettable experience, being coached by CEO Dan Rex to disciplinely carry my country’s flag, meeting up with 2 of my new, but became life long friends, Mikkie Belvedere and Rio Imamura.
As a first time convention goer, I received an honor and privilege to be personally greeted by the late International President Joana Mac Williams whose most impressive motto was, “Friends helping friends succeed.”
The impactful convention made me come home with goals and aspirations sizzling in my heart.
Becoming World Champion of Public Speaking and serving as International President were among my starry-eyed personal goals…!
I had been pumped up by the exuberant performances of those leaders and peak performance communicators, and I have had no doubt of achieving my very goals.
It has been 16 years, and I have optimistically moved closer to my goals, inch by inch.
In my early years with Toastmasters, Thailand was a part of District 51 whose record of achieving 7 years’ Number One District in the world has yet to be broken. I have fortunately been surrounded by most amazing leaders.
Here are my observations and statements.
“Success breeds success.”
“Leaders build leaders.”
“Friends help friends succeed.”
If they hate to see you succeed, they are not friends!
At the age of 55 as a brand new member, my PERSONAL SUCCESS PLAN was charted.
Surrounded by all of the World Number Ones, I thought, “Why can’t I become one of the world fastest DTM archivers, and the first woman DTM in Thailand? Why can’t I become the first Thai national to win speech contest at a District level among 11 Division winners who have outlasted as many as 300 club winners?”
Those goals and aspirations have been realized, and on top of those, in 2016 I was selected a Presidential Citation Award Recipient, the highest recognition and honor from Toastmasters International.
Suddenly I heard a voice.
Can’t you hear it too….?
“Toastmasters, Friends helping friends succeed.”
After receiving my first DTM, I stopped achieving any other recognitions beyond serving as a Division Thailand Governor, but my SERVICE without titles to the organization and the members has NOT STOPPED.
I have volunteered as club coaches, revived struggling clubs, built clubs in new countries, have given countless motivational speeches and trainings at countless clubs, areas, divisions and district conferences in many countries.
All in all, I have visited more than 100 clubs, in more than 10 countries around the world.
Flashing back to 2001, when I first joined Toastmasters, and immediately went to International Convention in Miami, I would never forget that year’s international theme,
“Toastmasters, Friends helping friends succeed.”
I never seize to be amazed by that theme.
We mentor, encourage and evaluate each other to succeed as a friend, not as a judge, or a teacher, and we keep learning in such a warm, supportive and friendly club meeting atmosphere.
As franchisees, our club meeting format is very similar in all countries, but the flavors differ from one club meeting to another.
By visiting more than 100 clubs in more than 10 countries, I have experienced kindness, friendship and helpfulness from fellow toastmasters everywhere.
We have become close friends, become free toastmasters Airbnb, and become excellent free tour guides for each other.
That’s why my Facebook page, “Petra Dtm” is always full of traveling, eating and club meeting posts with my GLOBAL Toastmasters friends.
Toastmasters nembers have one main behavior in common, and that is to keep on learning, and to keep on helping others learn.
In Toastmasters spirit, it gives me an immense pleasure to train, to mentor and to see members learn to grow, and grow to learn.
Better than communication and leadership skills, Toastmasters has taught me Friendship, Help and Happiness SKILLS, priceless skills that are not easy to behold.
They say, “Life is good when you are happy, but life is BETTER when other people are happy because of you.”
There is no way to thank Toastmasters enough for the marvelous, life long learning opportunities.
Toastmasters never seizes to amaze me
as to how extensively “Friends can help friends succeed!”
Petra Prapairat Choradol, DTM
District 97P Club Retention Chair
2016 Presidential Citation Award Recipient