If you want the busiest but perhaps the most rewarding Executive role at Parramatta Toastmasters, the VPE role is for you. In an earlier blog, I explained what I’d learnt at the end of my first month. At that time, I’d created 3 programs. After creating many more, what more have I learnt?
1. You get to know everyone in the club. Your main aim is education so you need to know what education each club member wants. Creating balanced programs and rotating members around roles is one thing. Another is to find out specifically what manuals and skills each member wants to focus on, then build programs that tie it all together. And of course you get to understand why some members can’t attend meetings or need to become inactive for a while – everyone has their own story. It’s very satisfying as VPE seeing members progressing and improving.
2. None of this can happen without planning. Being the VPE stretches your planning skills to the limit. Not only the methodical planning but the miracle planning. The methodical planning is what you do to set up programs two weeks in advance, carefully creating those balanced programs. The miracle planning is what you do in the last couple of days, hours, and minutes as last-minute apologies come in before the meeting. Sometimes they come in after the meeting starts! In this case, you get to know the much appreciated miracle members who can step in at the last minute to help you out.
3. Team work is essential. Staying in touch with other members of the Executive team is top of the list because what you do as VPE has to align with what the rest of the Executive does. As VPE you’ll be in frequent touch with all of them. Club members are part of your team as well because everyone has to be involved for meetings to be educational and fun. You’ll also get to work with Toastmaster officers outside your club and see the bigger picture – particularly at the Area level.
The VPE role is an all-round role. Rewarding and challenging, it’s a role where you get to know and appreciate your fellow club members, and a role with great personal learning potential. If you really want to stretch all your leadership skills, then the VPE role at Parramatta Toastmasters will do it. In many ways – organisation, time management, methodical planning, rapid decision-making, multi-tasking, diplomacy, negotiation, to name just a few. My suggestion is: when the role next becomes available, consider nominating yourself for it. You’ll contribute to the club and learn a lot.
I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has helped me develop in the role during the year. It’s been a very enjoyable year.
Vice President Education, 2015-16