What made you decide to become a PR Manager?
I learnt a lot serving District 95 as Area Director and I knew that serving District 108 as a PR Manager would bring me a lot of new, valuable experience, challenges and fun, that’s why I decided to apply for this position. I wanted to go beyond my club within the Toastmasters journey. In the previous year, I was supporting the District PR team so I knew what PR activities I would like to implement in the brand new District 108.
What is your vision for the upcoming year for you in your new role?
I want to spread all around the world what great things are happening in Toastmasters. I’m really passionate about our methodology, energy and engagement of our members. I think we are doing very valuable things like meetings, conferences. I’ve seen progress of so many people joining Toastmasters in terms of public speaking, leadership skills, building career path, social life and I would like to reveal this secret place to other people. Everyone deserves to have such opportunity to change the quality of life thanks to Toastmasters.
What kind of challenges were you able to identify so far related to your role?
We are a brand new District and we needed to build all communication channels from scratch. It takes time to build recognition in social media (of course if you would like to do it in organic way :D). That’s why step-by step we are more and more visible amongst our members and outside of the Toastmasters World. We are present and very active on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. The other thing is that the communication stream is in English as this is the official language of our District, but I know that there are members in our District who operate in native languages. Nevertheless, on social media channels everyone can easily translate the messages conveyed, which I hope is helpful.
What’s in it for you?
I’m passionate about social media, personal branding, PR activities. This role helps me broaden my knowledge and experience. I really like testing new things, following trends and this role gives this opportunity. On the other hand, except for the online work, there is a human-to-human work. I need to know what happens in the whole District and be there, where something interesting happens. Thanks to my networking skills I’m cooperating with members located in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
How do you think this role will impact your professional career/ personal goals?
I’m an HR Professional and self-development is my addiction. This role, aside from knowledge and experience in the field of PR, gave me the opportunity to see how the District operates by being the Core Team Member and had a chance to lead an international PR Team. This will enrich my CV and help to level up my professional career, but also encourage me to start running my own blog.
What are your passions aside from Toastmasters?
I love travelling-whenever I’m not travelling, I’m planning my travels. I’ve visited more than 60 countries on 6 continents. I’m very engaged in creating local communities like TEDx , LinkedIn Local. Currently, I’m preparing myself for another marathon as I enjoy running.
What drives you to be part of Toastmasters?
Life-learning experience is the best in our organization. You can’t be bored, because you can create opportunities and run whichever projects you want. The second motivator are the people- ambitious, energetic, who always want to achieve more. With people from Toastmasters who are my friends, I’m creating other projects and spending my free time.
Recently, I’ve shared my Toastmasters journey with Roy’s podcast, there is the whole story: Podcast with Justyna Szuminska
What piece of advice would you give someone who would aspire to take on this role in the future?
Don’t fly solo! This role is very challenging, time-consuming and….rewarding. You need to create a team. I have opportunity to work with the best team I could even imagine. Marta Maruszewska who is the copywriter and the Queen of English Grammar, all texts are checked by her with the highest details. Adam Fortuna is the Webmaster and taking care of any IT issues which we have. Yash Chawla helps with graphics and video. Monika Puszko is starting with our vlog. It’s really good to have people who are masters in their field of expertise and I’m very lucky to have such a great team who helps me!
What are your plans for the next years?
To find a place in Toastmasters which will be challenging and developing as my current role.