May Wilson's Toastmaster Journey 1994 to 2017

I am a very shy person. In early 1994 Debbie (my daughter) asked me what I would like to do with my life. To which I replied, that I would like to do something in public speaking. Debbie nodded and said "Leave it with me." A few days later she returned with a contact number for me to ring. The first Toastmaster I spoke to was Lorraine Margerison from Werribee toastmasters. Lorraine gave me the meeting evenings, times and the length of the meetings, and where they were held. She encouraged me to attend the next meeting.

April 1994 was the first meeting I attended it was held at the Werribee Community Aged Care Home (Old Werribee Hospital) in Synnot Street Werribee. This was an interesting venue, we were sometimes visited by the elderly residents who would wander in and then leave after a while. Bruce Bedson evaluated my Icebreaker. Bruce calmed my fears, I was sure my terror was obvious during the speech, but Bruce said no. The club was supportive and very friendly; I gained confidence as I worked through my 1st 10 speeches. I was overawed when I achieved my 1st Competent Toastmaster. I would never have believed that I could do such a thing. My elation was increased some weeks later when I received a Competent Toastmaster Certificate from America. I had never achieved a certificate for anything in my life. In 1996 I was VPE then in 1997 I became President. In 1997 I was Area Governor for N3, for which I received a District Gold Elite Award for Leadership and Administration.

May Wilson induction, 2nd Feb 1994, Meeting 158

In about February 1997 Tom Boon asked me if I would be the Semi-annual Convention Chairman to be held in the August. With absolutely no experience in this field I lead an executive made up of members from Werribee, Williamstown and Footscray Skyline. 'Flying High' semi annual convention was held at Tullamarine airport in the Hotel that is there. The flying theme was carried right through the weekend. Ross Whittingham Chaired the Table topics as flight steward. We needed a key note speaker, someone suggested Suzy Maroney a marathon swimmer who had a swim school in North Footscray. I rang Suzy and asked her if she would be our keynote speaker, we discussed her charges for being our speaker, (Suzy could charge a large amount of money at this time). I explained the non profit status of Toastmasters and she agreed to get back to me. Suzy rang me a few days later and agreed to speak at the convention for $500. I was over the moon. Suzy was perfect she left the audience wanting more and feeling inspired. Just what we needed in a keynote speaker. The Convention was a great success. In 1998 Wendy Powell who was working at Footscray Council discovered a pamphlet about the hotel that was proposed to be built as part of the Werribee Mansion and was due to open early in 2001. A wonderful place for a Semi Annual Convention. A great idea was born. I made an offer to hold the Semi annual in Werribee at the Lilydale convention late in 1998 and a video promotion at the South Australian convention followed in early 1999. The building of the hotel still had not begun, although by the end of 1999 the building had begun. And still Toastmasters still did not about any of this.

Once again I was Chairman of the convention committee. Wendy and I kept the committee informed of the building progress and things were going very well. A booking was duly made.

The hotel was about 6 weeks old when the Convention was held in August it had opened in mid June. When May stood up and told the story when welcoming toastmasters to the Werribee convention on the Friday night, an audible gasp swept across the audience. Werribee members ran every aspect of the convention and excelled themselves. Every member grew in confidence that weekend. I was very proud to be a Werribee Toastmaster. Ross Whittingham who had achieved DTM in early 1999 suggested I apply for my DTM as I had completed all the requirements. I duly applied and was awarded my DTM in April 1999.

October, 2017

During my journey I was involved in the sponsoring and mentoring of 3 new Toastmaster clubs Williamstown North, Melbourne and Filoz. Both North Melbourne and Williamstown are still working, unfortunately Filoz closed in 2007. I am very proud of my Toastmaster achievements. Wendy tells me that I can now talk under water though I still feel shy, I now have the confidence to speak out when needed. I enjoy working with the students at Westbourne Grammar which has been running for 19 years and Seaholme Primary which has been running since 2000. I thank Toastmasters for taking me on this wonderful journey and the wonderful toastmasters I have met and worked with on the way.

May Wilson, DTM
October, 2017