The first “Toastmasters” club was formed 88 years ago on Wednesday, October 22, 1924 when Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, met with a group of men in the basement of the YMCA in Santa Ana, California. Dr. Smedley’s objective was to form a club “to afford practice and training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings, and to promote sociability and good fellowship among its members.”
Despite slow growth in its infancy, as the word spread, interest grew across the country and Toastmasters clubs were being chartered gradually across the United States. By 1930 action was taken to coordinate and standardise the activities within the growing network. The community formally became Toastmasters International after the formation of a club in Victoria, British Columbia.
In 1973, membership was opened to women. The first Toastmasters club in the Caribbean was established 75 years ago in Guyana. The movement then spread to Barbados and Jamaica. Curacao currently has the most TI clubs per capita.
Toastmasters International was introduced to Trinidad & Tobago in the early 1980s. The first club was a corporate club for management at the National Commercial bank (NCB). By the mid-eighties, the NCB Sports Toastmasters Club was formed with the guidance of Courtney Garcia, Nazeer Sultan and Philip Rochford for non-management staff of NCB and their family and acquaintances. In 1988, the club was renamed Dynamic Speakers and made open to the public. There are currently seven chartered clubs around Trinidad.
Basic Training for Toastmasters was developed in 1942. This evolved into the Communication & Leadership Educational Program now used by over 280,000 members in 13,500 clubs in 116 countries around the world.
Visit the Adult Library NALIS Port of Spain on World Toastmasters Day from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M. to share stories with members of the community and join MDA Toastmasters at 5:29 PM at Shalom House Valsayn for their charter ceremony.
Share your story of how you became a toastmaster with us in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter. To our blog guests, would you like to visit and/or join a Toastmasters Club in Trinidad & Tobago? Send us a message via the Contact Us Tab or call/text 477-7548.