On March 29, 2017, our very own Lillian Hull was honored with the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award, the highest designation that the Toastmasters organization bestows. According to Toastmasters International, the award recognizes “a superior level of achievement in both communication and leadership.”
Members who have reached DTM are in an exclusive club. Less than 1 percent of all Toastmasters members ever earn this status! To be eligible, a member must earn the Advanced Communicator Gold award and the Advanced Leader Silver award. On the communication track, that means Lillian has completed more than 40 speeches and on the leadership track, she has spent a one year term as a district officer as well as mentoring another club.
(If you’re looking for information about earning your DTM in the new Pathways program, click here.)
Here is an interview with Lillian on receiving the noteworthy DTM status:
How did you come to join Toastmasters? And how long have you been involved?
I started a new job at NetApp and one of my responsibilities was giving monthly business reviews. We had a friendly competition each month and the person voted best speaker would get a free lunch. I am rather competitive and after not being chosen the first couple months, I decided to improve my communication skills to increase my chances of winning. I discovered that NetApp had a Toastmasters club called Toastmeisters. While waiting outside the room for the meeting on one of my visits, I noticed a co-worker and she said she would be telling a joke and practiced it with me. The group was friendly and welcoming. At the end of the meeting, the President said that the company would cover the membership fees for employees and that clinched the deal. I joined the club in Fall 2012.
After I left NetApp, I was searching for a new club and visited several, including Macintalkers. The time and place worked for me and I liked that the club is large. I thought that if I could give presentations to a group of 25-30 people that could more easily scale to an audience of hundreds or even thousands. I joined Macintalkers in late 2013, so have been a Toastmaster for about four and a half years total.
What made you commit to earning your DTM status?
Initially, I just wanted to complete the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader manuals. When one of our Macintalkers visited several clubs in a very short period of time to complete an Advanced Communicator award so we could reach President’s Distinguished status before the deadline to earn district incentives, I was inspired to aim for achieving the DTM award.
What has been the toughest challenge on your Toastmasters journey?
Taking on too much at once. I was a club officer, a district officer and continued to work on my Advanced Communication manuals while moving to a new home. The upside was there was a plethora of material for speeches.
You have accomplished so much—being Club President, being a district officer, and now your DTM status—what’s next?
Good question. After forty-six speeches, four years, three club officer roles, and two clubs to become part of the one percent of Toastmasters who reach DTM status, I’m ready to explore other ways to serve. I’ve been thinking about leading workshops at our club and other Toastmasters clubs, or venturing outside Toastmasters.