Thursday, October 22, 2009

Toastmasters International 85th Anniversary

October 22, 2009

Fellow Toastmasters,
Happy Anniversary!

October 22 is an auspicious date for Toastmasters around the world. It marks the day that a small group of people, led by Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, held the first official Toastmasters meeting in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, California, USA.

While the original intent of the group was to teach after-dinner speeches to young men, as we all know, Toastmasters has evolved to become a worldwide leader in communication and leadership development. This evolution was no accident; Dr. Smedley firmly believed that the improvement of a person's ability to communicate his or her ideas was a means of improving life in all its phases, personal as well as professional. It's a philosophy that resonates as clearly today as it did back in 1924.

Since its founding, Toastmasters International has empowered more than 4 million people to achieve their full potential and realize their dreams. Our organization's long-term success and growth is a tribute to Dr. Smedley's vision. He understood that communication isn't optional and leadership isn't always natural, but both can be learned through doing.

As we celebrate our 85th anniversary, the organization stands at a historic high point. Our membership is at an all-time high of 252,000 and growing, our programs are more expansive and our leaders have developed innovative strategies to keep up with advances and shifting cultural dynamics of the global age.

The next 85 years hold even greater promise as we continue to adapt and evolve in an ever-changing world. Let us work together to build our organization by building our members -- with confidence, leadership and service.

Thank you for all you do to support and serve Toastmasters.

Gary Schmidt, DTM
International President 2009/2010
Toastmasters International

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