What does it take to become the Toastmaster of the Year on a district level? How it is connected to exemplifying Toastmasters International values when supporting the district mission?
District 108 is proud and grateful to have fantastic Ryszard Kosowicz as the Toastmaster of the Year of 2018-2019!
Valeria, D108 PRM, spoke with Ryszard asking him to share the key elements of his success and tell us what brough him to the community and what motivates him to keep going along this journey of Toastmastering.
Q1. What is your personal definition of the TM of the Year award? How do you understand it?
For me, the Toastmaster of the Year Award is a reward for the effort put into developing an organization above the club level.
Q2. Ryszard, can you share how you supported the District 108 mission?
I will start with the story: when Olga Turek-Wozniak decided to run for the Division D Director, I came to her with a specific idea – the idea of transforming our division into a learning organization. When Olga heard this, she applauded and immediately invited me to join her team. This way I became the first PR manager in the district at the division level.
I saw the main function of this position in connecting everyone in the division. In order to support communication through all levels I organized groups for assisting PR Director for each area, and for the whole group of VPPRs. And people found it very useful.
I think that the main value of Toastmasters International that was visually present in my project was SERVICE and the second thing was INTEGRITY. The matter of excellence is tricky. Sometimes my team perceived innovations as if they were a sort of a test, sometimes it was only an MVP – Minimum Valuable Product. So it was excellence in Kaizen’ish way =)
Q3. Interesting! Could you please point out 3-4 essential skills that helped you to become the Toastmaster of the year?
- READINESS for action is probably the first element. To do something, you have to start doing it and this is probably one of the most difficult elements. Sometimes “to continue doing something” is much easier than taking the first step in the new direction.
- The second element is the HUMILITY of receiving information about what could have been done better. If you are prevented from acting by the fear that someone claims that your action was unprofessional, that it was not good enough, it is the dead end. You can’t act and worry at the same time. Which does not mean that this fear has not accompanied me throughout my term. However, I managed to transform this fear into willingness to create better solutions with the support of many people from my surroundings and with Toastmasters.
- The third is CREATIVITY in coming up with solutions. I tried to find solutions to problems in my plot, which I learned in conversations with other people: I listened to them and wondered how I, acting in my plot, could help in solving a given problem.
- The fourth is the WILLINGNESS and taking responsibility despite the expected failures. It was something that burdened me mentally and at the same time it was tailored to my personality. I am convinced that in order to change something one must take responsibility for it and failures which may and will appear on the way turn out to be useful experiences by the end of the journey.
Q4. Ryszard, here is the question i like asking )) What or Who brought you to Toastmasters?
I learned about Toastmasters over 8 years ago. However, I have always been on my way to the meeting. After moving to Bielsko I literally made several steps to meet Bielski club. People such as Wanda Kubik, Alicja Markowska and Leszek Cibor were a source of a very strong inspiration and motivation for me to creatively approach the possibilities that Toastmasters brings. In short, I came to the Toastmasters club because I was just on my way there 🙂
Q5. A tricky question now) How do you manage to distribute your time wisely in between TM, family and job accordingly? Has it ever been a problem to solve or was it always in a perfect balance?
According to my knowledge and experience there is no such thing as work-toastmasters-life balance. You just have to be a crazy person which I apparently am. That’s it ))
Q6. Fair enough )) You are an area director now. What are your plans for the future year 2020-2021?
I’ve been nominated for the position of the parliamentarian for the district 108. Additionally I’ll be working on learning more about organizational projects and procedures.
Q7. Thanks! And last but not least) How would you keep enthusiasm for TM? Is there life after Toastmaster of the Year?
Yeah, of course! I just keep going. I haven’t finished my project yet. I haven’t created the supportive culture for learning organization in District 108. So my motivation is still high.
I just need to look back at the 4 elements once in a while to keep myself on the right track! ))