Congratulations are in order for the Toastmasters’ Clubs of the Caribbean for achieving the highest award recognized by Toastmasters International: the Smedley Distinguished. This is the first time in history that District 81 has achieved this status, thanks to the hard work of the district executive team, division directors, club presidents and members.
For the July 1-June 30, 2021 Toastmaster year, District 81 was led by District Director Brenda Maynard, DTM of Saint Maarten. She ran her year under the theme, “Breaking Barriers Now and Beyond.” Her leadership truly reflected that goal and has placed an unforgettable, very fluffy feather in the Caribbean’s Toastmasters’ cap.
District Director Maynard applauds Toastmasters International for structuring and developing her leadership skills. She was able to apply these tools and methods in both her professional and personal life, which has resulted in great success and opportunities to further develop her communication and leadership skills. “Today, because of all of our Toastmasters in District 81, we all have the privilege of saying, “District 81 – Smedley Distinguished! Celebrating every small step brings automatic success; therefore, each Toastmaster who completed his or her journey has contributed to the success of District 81,” said Maynard.
The Toastmasters’ Smedley Distinguished Award is named after Ralph Smedley, the organization’s founder. This nonprofit educational organization teaches communication and leadership skills. Among 122 global districts, to date only four have achieved Smedley Distinguished of which District 81 is proud to be in la crème de la crème. The Smedley Distinguished Award is given to districts that, over a 12-month period, maintained an eight percent growth in three areas: paid clubs, membership and distinguished clubs.
District 81 was able to secure 199 paid clubs. It retained and grew the membership to almost 5,000 members and celebrated the fact that over 148 clubs achieve the Distinguished Club Award. These numbers are projected to increase by June 30, 2021, which is the end of the Toastmaster year.
Equally impressive is that District 81 is the only district in the Western Hemisphere to achieve Smedley Distinguished status beating North America and South America. It is poised to receive additional awards; however, as of today, it is ranked first in the region in three categories and the top 10 in world categories in three other categories.
Additionally, District 81 surpassed all 15 districts under region 8 in: the number of paid clubs, membership numbers and Distinguished Clubs. To date, nine out of the 10 divisions are Select Distinguished and President’s Distinguished; 43 out of the 49 areas are Distinguished, Select Distinguished and President’s Distinguished. Of the 199 clubs, 148 are Distinguished, Select Distinguished, with 128 as President’s Distinguished.
District 81’s Executive Team was comprised of District Director Brenda Maynard (Saint Maarten), Program Quality Director Innocent Richard (Haiti), Club Growth Director Pierre Mingot (Haiti), Public Relations Manager Roslyn A. Douglas (Grenada), Administration Manager Linette Gibs (Saint Maarten), Finance Manager Carti Sophia (St. Martin) and Immediate Past District Director Fabiola Cleofa (Curacao).
The Division Directors who oversaw the Area Directors and ultimately all the clubs were: Division A – Aiwha Alcala (Curacao), Division B – Melinda Lloyd (Jamaica), Division C – Rosemary Sweeney (Dominica), Division D – Ralph Brice (Haiti), Division E – Elka Price (Antigua and Barbuda), Division F – Sandra Theodore (Trinidad and Tobago), Division G – Lourdes Coruo-Ramsey (Puerto Rico), Division H – Michele Brooks (Aruba), Division I -Annette Berkel (Saint Maarten) and Division J – Mizana Gonsalves (Guyana).
District 81 is comprised of the following countries: Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Cayman Island, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Monsterrat, Puerto Rico, Saint Eustatius, Saint Martin, Saint Maarten, St. Croix, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Turks and Caicos.