by Chuck Blethen, DTM
I originally joined TM in my late 20s. After a break, I rejoined Toastmasters about 15 years ago. I came back after I made a presentation to a Fortune 500 company’s Board of Directors in which I stumbled through a presentation punctuated with so many Ah’s and Ums that it was embarrassing.I immediately joined a local Toastmasters club in Arizona to regain my speaking and presentation skills. Since then I have been an avid supporter of Toastmasters to keep my speaking skills sharp. Later, I was able to combine my speaking skills with my hobby of winemaking and grape growing to the point I authored a book “The Wine Etiquette Guide – Defense Against Wine Snobbery”.This led me to teaching classes at local community colleges and universities and I served as a wine etiquette consultant to several major corporations. I then obtained speaking engagements aboard cruise ships that allowed me to take my wife on free vacations eating and drinking our way around the world. I know, it’s a tough job but someone has to do it!
I will NEVER be able to give back to Toastmasters what Toastmasters has given me. I have served as club officer positions in several clubs, Area Governor, and I have spent six years serving as a District officer in two different districts. Last year I was honored to be awarded the Outstanding Toastmaster of the Year in District 37 – a very humbling experience. I highly recommend Toastmasters to everyone interested in developing their professional career.