Inspiring, friendly and a lot of fun!

It’s been a week since the International President -Elect Deepak Menon visited Finland and it was clear during the Area Contest, that his visit had a strong impact on our members.

He spent three days with us. During the first one, the Area Director, Ann Marie Morrow had the privilege of hearing his first impression after landing in Helsinki: it was cold, but the air was very clean! Short time after his landing, he participated in the Open House event, where Toastmasters and guest from the Helsinki area had an entertaining and educational meeting, led by the Toastmaster of the day Antonio Diaz. The venue, offered by the KONE Corporation, was full of laughs and wisdom. Deepak presence on the stage was confident and trustworthy, the message was clear: “Don’t keep the Toastmaster program a secret anymore, it is time to spread the news, because Toastmasters changes lives!”

The second day in Finland started early in the morning with one-to-one meetings with Toastmasters leaders: Pekka Kanerva, Adam Adam and David Dominguez and it ended late in the night with one-to-one meeting with Thomas Melbin. They all were inspired by Deepak’s energy and enthusiasm, when talking about the organization.

In the middle of the day, the agenda was also full. First, a visit at the KONE Corporation, where the Human Resource managers were convinced, after a demo meeting, that Pathways is the solution for cost efficient and continuous development of soft skills. Clear proposals for extensions of the clubs not only in Finland, but also from Chennai, Kunshan and other parts of the world, were discussed. The demo meeting, led by Toastmaster of the day Gabriela Roivainen, reached its target: “The Toastmasters program is the tool to practice soft skills and boost your career!”

The second visit was to a special meeting, organized by Thomas Melbin. A combined meeting of two very different clubs: the Keilaniemi club and Mother In Business (MiB). While the Keilaniemi club consist of a number of resilient professionals, the MiB have a large number of members, all mothers, participating in meeting with their children. Deepak message this time was: “Dream big, bring 10 of your friends to the meeting, and split the club when it reaches 30 active members!” The Toastmaster of the day Andy Bassuday ran the meeting in time and with professionalism! Alongside Deepak’s speech, a highlight was also a video message of World International Speech Champion Menoj Vasudevan for the members of the clubs!

The last day was reserved for Oscar Santolalla, interviewing Deepak for the Time to Shine Podcast:

Before flying off, the International Director, Tuire Vuolasvirta, one of the main organizers of the visit, prepared a short tour of the town.

I am very grateful that Toastmasters International is focusing more and more of its attention to Europe and we can expose our members to outstanding and experienced Toastmasters and the core of its value: Toastmasters can change lives!

Gabriela Roivainen

Program Quality Director District 108

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