When Toastmasters Gathered to Impact Leadership


Vanessa Obioha

For two days, the Toastmasters International District 94 held its District Executive Council Meeting at Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. With exciting and educative segments, the gathering pooled industry giants who gave inspiring lectures on the theme ‘Repositioning for Maximum Impact Leadership’.

Welcoming his fellow Toastmasters and guests to the event, the chairperson of the local organising committee, Chimaobim Ezife enjoined all not to relent in developing capacity for the service of the community in West Africa even as they continue to strive for excellence. He noted that Toastmasters is the fastest growing platform in Africa that provides a solid framework for leadership and communication, even as it plays a vital role in personal and professional development.

Attesting to Ezife’s opening remarks, Toastmaster Amaechi Okobi, a marketing and communications professional and currently the Group Head Corporate Communications and External Affairs at Access Bank defined leadership as, “when a group of people are convinced and believe in your cause and are willing to go the whole nine yards with you.” He noted that speaking and communications have become the two most coveted skills in recent times.

He therefore urged all to harness their speaking and communications skills effectively to change the world perception of Africa with particular emphasis on Nigeria. “Toastmasters is a Diamond that we must not keep to ourselves” he stressed. He bared his mind on his desire to see a Nigerian President or African President who is a Toastmaster.
Regarding leadership in Africa, one of the district director from Burkina Faso Issoufou Zongo argued that the concept of leadership is not well known in Africa.

“That’s the main problem in Africa. We don’t think we have to train to be a good leader. Sometimes, we think we are born a leader. Leaders are not born, they are made. We say in Toastmasters that is a place where leaders are made not born. So we have to learn how to become a great leader.”
His words were echoed by the Programme Quality Director, Dr. Abayomi Aiyesimoju who bemoaned the paucity of true leaders in Africa.

The well-attended event featured training workshops such as ‘On the Road to Achieving Your Goals’ by Dunstanette Macauley, ‘Marketing is Fun’ by Ganiatou Sambaou among others. Other highlights of the event included the proceedings of the District Executive Council, networking session, Hall of Fame and Awards. The colourful closed with an electrifying Gala Night.

Toastmasters International is a worldwide non-profit educational organisation that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California in the USA, the organisation’s membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders.
District 94 is made up of Toastmasters Clubs in 15 West and Central African Countries. It is one of 102 districts in the world, which comprises more than 120 corporate and community clubs in Region 11.

Photo Caption for IMG 5430 : From Left to Right – Stella Odunwa, DTM (Division F Director; Dr. Abayomi Aiyesimoju, DTM (Program Quality Director); Issoufou Zongo, DTM, District Director District 94 2017-2018; Rokiatou N’Diaye, DTM, Club Growth Director; Chimaobim, DTM, Chairperson Local Planning Committee.

FREIA Berths in Lagos
The Fusion of Real Estate, Interior Design and Art (FREIA) will make Lagos the destination city on December 8 when its maiden edition takes place at the Grand Ballroom, Civic Centre, Lagos.
With the theme, “Next Frontiers: Building Tomorrow’s Masterpieces”, the event is organised to respond to the growing need for luxury real estate in Africa and the interrelationship amongst the three component elements namely interior design, art and real estate.

Convened by the CEO, Luxury Villas Group, Tommy Odama, FREIA serves as a platform for stakeholders to curate conversations on growing luxury real estate amongst other discourses.
During a press briefing to announce the event, Odama revealed that the event will feature a conference alongside exhibition from top interior designers, artists and realtors. He disclosed that the event will end with the official launch of Villas and Leisure Magazine.

“We are very excited about the launch of Villas and Leisure; the magazine will serve as an authoritative source of both local and global real estate news to aid property management service providers and shoppers in making informed decisions. It is of the highest standard in terms of content and production quality and will be a must have for active real estate and luxury lifestyle enthusiasts,” he said.
The speakers at FREIA conference include Azu Nwagbogu, Agatha Eric-Udorie, Olajumoke Adenowo and Andrea Geday.