March 24, 2020
My dear fellow Toastmasters and friends,
The pandemic caused by the coronavirus is now affecting all aspects of our personal and professional lives with so many activities on hold. For us, as Toastmasters, this is unsettling and makes us feel isolated. We rely on one another for growth, support, and camaraderie. We have helped one another become stronger leaders, speakers, and team players. Communication is at our core; we thrive on it.
While we are most comfortable fully engaged with in-person meetings and interaction, we are finding it is possible to thrive through our technological connections now. Online meetings, speeches, and chats are giving us purpose and reason to smile with one another, even in this difficult time. Toastmasters was always a laboratory, of sorts, for experimenting and learning, and now it gives us an opportunity to become more creative as we engage online together. We are experiencing our support system, still in place, all around the world.
As your International President, I have been thinking very seriously about our role as Toastmasters, but also about the precautions we must take during these times, especially regarding current and upcoming Toastmasters contests, programs, and events. To see the actions we’ve taken so far, click here.
Rest assured that we are closely monitoring the situation with respect to the 2020 Toastmasters International Convention to be held in Paris, France in August. We are actively working with our partners in Paris and relying on local health and government officials to assess moving forward. We are also following the lead of the world’s most trusted sources, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and will keep you updated on any changes. We want to make the smartest decision, above all, for the health and safety of you and your families.
I encourage you to continue to find ways to connect; emotional wellness is just as important as physical health. The Board of Directors and World Headquarters staff is committed to helping you through these challenging times. While staff is working remotely for the safety of all, they are dedicated to keeping service standards and helping members in any way they can. Please reach out to them here.
Our activities as Toastmasters have certainly shifted, with our primary focus on protecting ourselves, so we can protect the globe. It is my hope and passion that we stay connected and come through stronger, as we endure new challenges, but also find new reasons to be grateful.
Please take care of one another,