Congratulations to three of our members, Janey Wassel, Lorna Speid, and very soon, Jane Schmitz for achieving the coveted Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation. This is an amazing feat for our SmoothTalkers club. We will now have a total of five DTM’s in our club. Steve Cicero received his in 2017 and I received mine in 2016.
I would like to say a few words about my mentor, Janey Wassel, because I think there is some kind of record here for “Person who took the longest to get a DTM.”
Yes, that would be my Janey. Many people thought she already had her DTM, because really, what’s it been now, twenty-six years?
Our beloved Janey is our Club Historian and has a permanent position on our Executive Board as Mentor Chair. She takes this role very seriously and has become basically the Toastmaster mother of each and every one of our members. This is precisely why she did not achieve her DTM earlier. She cares more about seeing our new members get over their fears and achieve their goals than worrying about getting her own special designation. Her own mentees have achieved educational goals beyond hers. Just like me for example.
I met Janey and SmoothTalkers in November 2011. I was so scared it took me three months to join the club. I immediately wanted Janey as my mentor because I knew she had been in the club the longest and she was also the oldest member. She was exactly the same age as I was. Our birthdays are a week apart. She guided and encouraged me to speak more often, but I was too afraid and wanted to quit after a year and three awful speeches. But she encouraged me to become a club officer and to continue doing functionary roles. Club officers are required to attend District officer training and there my eyes were opened to all the potential that is available in the Toastmasters program both within the club and beyond. I learned some tips and tricks to make speech preparation and delivery easier and, like Janey had been telling me all along, the only way to get better is to do it more often. I went back to the club re-energized. I gave speeches as often as I could and achieved my DTM three years later.
I owe it all to Janey for insisting that I not quit. Now, I would never dream of quitting Toastmasters. I’m a member of an Advanced Toastmasters club and a mentor for many new Toastmasters myself.
Thank you, Janey, for all the help you’ve given to the organization and to all the individuals you’ve inspired over these last twenty-six years. And thank you Steve, Lorna and Jane Schmitz for not giving up and for inspiring our members to continue to grow and achieve.
Cindy Essary, DTM is a longtime member of SmoothTalkers.