Ellen’s Farewell Interview
As our Toastmasters year winds down, I asked our District Director – Ellen Pieklo, if she would be our final Member Spotlight with a recorded interview about her experiences as a member of the District Trio over the last 3 years.
Thankfully, she agreed and we recorded it live the other day.
Before I start, with the interview I wanted to mention the fact that this has been an extraordinary year for District 65. When Ellen, Lillian and I took the reigns on July 1st, 2017, our district was in Dead Last Place in the world.
Yes… We were Dead Last.
With a lot of hard work and effort by all of you, our Club officers, our DEC officers and especially Ellen and Lillian, your District 65 is now in the in First Place in Region 9 and in the Top 20% Worldwide. And we are not done yet…
This was no small accomplishment. What most members do not realize is all the work that goes on behind the scenes. This was where your district director – Ellen Pieklo shined.
She made sure that Lillian and I, and every other District Officer, were kept up to speed. She monitored events, progress and goals regularly and communicated our strengths and weaknesses in a manner that helped all of us to grow.
For that, I am Thankful… and you should be too!
Thank you Ellen!
(Below is a loosely transcribed version of our interview)
What is your favorite memory from the last 3 years?
I favorite memory is visiting the Buffalo Psychiatric Hospital to their Toastmasters meetings. I’ve been there for a Grand Rounds & Demo Meeting of Toastmasters, and to give a corporate award. It was moving to hear people talk about how Toastmasters helped them tell their story.
What are you most proud of during your tenure with the Trio?
I’m most proud to have survived my tenure. I’m most proud that we have a DEC team that works well together and gets along. People have tried to step in and help each other with training, DEC Officer training, workshops, etc. I realize that we’ve come a long way in obtaining new members, increasing club training numbers, and rolling out pathways to name a few. I’d love to say it was me, my guidance or something….I think I”m proud of fostering an environment that has enabled people to succeed and/or learn safely. I like to think if someone calls up to say they’ve botched something up big time that I’ll be able to convince them it isn’t so big and work through the problem together.
What was your least favorite memory from the last 3 years?
My least favorite memory is with some of the Toastmasters I’ve encountered who in my opinion really aren’t happy with themselves. I’ve had encounters with people who condemn, criticize, complain yet find many reasons they cannot be part of the solution. For me, takes a lot of energy to be able to put the “noise” on pause and work through the problems.
What is the best piece of advice you received that helped you prepare and endure through your 3 years on the trio?
I think the best piece of advice was hearing that 3 years is going to go by fast, really fast; enjoy your time with it. At the International Conferences, District events, and club levels, I’ve tried to make the most of the time and enjoying each trio role. That helped me make it through each year but helped put things in perspective for the next. By the time I was District Director I felt I could understand our challenges and how to help the district, in those areas holding us back. The time has gone by fast. Enjoy the ride, make friends along the way, learn from the mistakes, and laugh/smile. This way, there is nothing to endure but a 3 year journey that will provide a lifetime of memories.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
You need the mistakes in life/Toastmasters to help you grow. As a leader, it’s up to us to create that safe place to fail. At the end of the day, ask yourself “what is this moment teaching me? “
We hope everyone has as much fun moving forward as Ellen, Lillian and I had this year.