Reflections on an Unforgettable Toastmaster Experience: Mayflower Conference 2017

One of my most enjoyable Toastmaster roles to date, but still one that makes me feel tired even today when I think about it, was when I served as the Logistics Chair for our Mayflower Conference in May 2017, under the leadership of Richard Blackman, our Conference Director, who was by then the Immediate Past District Director of Division J. This was during the program year when Vanessa King DTM was District Director, and I still remember very vividly the roof-raising inspirational speech she gave us about the positive effect Toastmasters has had on her life. It was held at the Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton (since bought by the Leonardo group), which is a beautiful hotel literally on the edge of the waterfront. It was especially significant because we hosted International President Mike Storkey DTM and his wife and were treated to a wonderful keynote speech about looking up and stepping into leadership.

On Friday evening, we held a District Executive Committee meeting to allow Mike to be a part of it, as well as the wonderful weekend being joined by 200 Toastmasters from around the district.

Part of that team, looking after our registrations, was the talented Barbara Saph DTM, who, like me, still remembers the event with happy memories. Our side stream was particularly exciting for those not attending the District Council, as we had qualified guides from Southampton who gave a walking tour of the historic parts of Southampton, and it went down a storm.

Personally, not only was I responsible for the logistics of an event across multiple rooms and floors, but I was also taking part in the live candidate showcase as I was running for a full year as Division A Director, having covered the role for the six months prior.

I wish I could remember more about what happened that weekend, but I am pleased that I remember the pure delight of being part of something very special, and once again be reminded of how far and wide and just how wonderful our District and the Toastmasters community is.