Cannington Communicators and Gaylene Kelso

Read about this new club started by a former Toastmaster

This is the story Gaylene told me about the amazing start to Cannington Communicators.

What do you do when your employer shifts you from Central Perth out to Cannington?

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Gaylene Kelso CC

Well, you go of course, and leave behind your first Toastmasters Club. Now what? They meet at lunchtime. It’s very difficult to get there. There are no lunchtime clubs in Cannington, and evening clubs are a problem when you have a young family.

That was Gaylene’s problem. She had joined West End in September 2005. She had always had an interest in public speaking and enjoyed it immensely, but wanted to be a better public speaker. Coming from a singing and volunteer first aid lecturing background (spare time hobbies only), getting up in front of an audience wasn’t new to her, but she still lacked confidence and the skills to become a truly professional public speaker.

Icebreaker or Table Topics? Wow!!

At her first meeting, one member could not attend, so she was asked to give her “Ice Breaker” speech, which she did, totally unprepared, and was congratulated on a great first speech. As she said, “I felt so nervous and was still shaking afterwards, but I had taken my first step. It took me just over 12 months to complete all 10 project speeches and to attain my Competent Communicator Certificate.”

And then the axe fell

Just before she finished her CC, her office was shifted out to Cannington. She commuted in for the last 3 speeches to complete the award, but that wasn’t viable for the long term. In November 2006 Steven Reynolds, the President of West End suggested she start a club out in Cannington. Obvious, isn’t it! After several conversations with staff and management at the Department of Treasury and Finance, she got the ball rolling. She spoke with staff and planted the seeds to see what interest there was, if any. There seemed to be a bit of interest, so the next step was to “be seen”. In July 2007 she volunteered to make a 10-minute presentation on the work that her team does at a whole of staff meeting, approximately 100 people. After this presentation, as staff commented on a great speech she would reply, “Toastmasters, it’s just practice and confidence, and that’s what Toastmasters provides”.

Enter District Governor Mike Helm

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District Governor Mike Helm

After this event, she really commenced the drive for the creation of a whole of department policy to be created, to ensure that Toastmasters was part of the training and professional development program. In November 2007, she contacted Mike Helm, who guided her through the processes involved. There was a bit of work involved, but it was simply a case of keeping the momentum going and ensuring that what needed to happen, actually happened. The Demonstration meeting was set for 19th February, and Gaylene advertised this to staff two weeks prior.

What a success!! Mike Helm and I were there, along with Western Division Governor Mark Richards and Robyn Richards. Of the 27 staff there 23 people signed up to join. Cannington Communicators! – a few formalities at the next meeting on March 4th, and it will be chartered. On the day Svend Beicher pitched in and was Timer. Timer? Yes, all that preparation wasn’t going to be spoilt by allowing the meeting to run overtime.

What benefits does Gaylene see for the new to Toastmasters members?

Gaylene’s replay was that “Cannington Communicators will have members from all backgrounds and levels of confidence and skill. They have great personal potential as individuals and as a successful Toastmasters Club. Members will gain confidence, skills and have the opportunity to practice these new skills in a friendly, non-threatening environment. Since the demonstration meeting, those people have emailed me and said to me in person ‘Thank you’. That is all I ever need to hear to know that the work I have done to make this happen is truly worth it.

What is Gaylene’s work role at the Department of Treasury and Finance (DTF)?

She is currently the Senior Project Officer for Online Solutions, Department of Treasury and Finance. She manages the http://wa.gov.au portal and works closely with the Office of e-Government on a variety of projects for whole of government IT solutions. Toastmasters, has given her the confidence to get this position and to effectively respond to questions at high-level meetings. She also studies part-time at University, where she has had to make several presentations. She has always had confidence at University and at work to make presentations because that’s what Toastmasters has given her, çonfidence and skill.

What about you? Do you want to start a club at your work?

Gaylene says, go for it! Ask for help, and you will get it. District Officers offered all the help she needed to make it happen. She says they made it an easy process. It was a team effort for this to get going and as a result, Cannington Communicators will be a great team of successful public speakers and communicators, now and in the future.

Where can you get help to start a club?

There’s plenty of help available. You can email any one of District Governor Mike Helm or WA New Clubs Coordinator David Nicholas or Western Division Governor Mark Richards. All three are part of the New Clubs team in WA. Include a contact phone number in your message so we can discuss your needs and suggest the best way to go about it.

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David Nicholas

This story was written by David Nicholas. Add your comments or queries.

One Response to “Cannington Communicators and Gaylene Kelso”

  1. Avatar for sandrar sandrar says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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