The Global Alliance between Toastmasters International and Rotary International offers members the opportunity to collaborate and work together to make a positive impact in their communities in Ireland.
Gerard Mannix, District 71 Director, Toastmasters UK & Ireland explained: “Rotary is dedicated to serving the world through service projects and Toastmasters is dedicated to improving the world by helping people overcome their fear of public speaking and building strong communication and leadership skills. When we put our two organisations together in Ireland, we make an even bigger impact on our local communities and ultimately, the world.”
Toastmasters has created eight structured communication and leadership development courses, specifically designed for Rotarians, to develop their practical skills which will serve them well in leadership roles both in their professional and personal lives.
Past President of Fingal Toastmasters and Rotary Dublin member, Bernadette Mulvey has been appointed Alliance Outreach Chair to oversee the development of the collaboration of the two organisations in Ireland. Mulvey sees her role as seeking out beneficial ways for both organisations to create connections and opportunities at a local level.
She highlights a project with Zamda, a charity set up by St. Joseph’s CBS in Dublin, as an early example of how Toastmasters and Rotary in Ireland can work together:
“Rotary Dublin support some of the most vulnerable children in Kabwe, a town in Central Zambia,” Mulvey said. “Our aim is to raise the levels of education, vocational training and counselling received by over one hundred and fifty orphaned and vulnerable children in Kabwe. Toastmasters will help Rotarians build on their existing leadership and communication skills, which they can then apply to projects in Ireland, Zambia and worldwide.”
Mulvey believes Rotarians will benefit from the new structured training programme, which she said will teach them improved presentation and leadership skills and how to run effective meetings:
“Rotoractors, our global movement of young leaders between 18 and 30, will be the first to pilot the programme. It will help them become more adept at developing innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. This fits in with Rotary’s vision statement, where we strive to make lasting change, not only in communities around the world, but within ourselves. We are looking forward to rolling the programme out to Rotary clubs in Ireland, later this year.”
Ted Corcoran, Past International President of Toastmasters International, has been a Rotarian for 30 years and was a charter member of Fingal Toastmasters Club in Dublin and Killarney Toastmasters in his native County Kerry. Corcoran has also been President of Dublin Rotary Club, which was established in 1912, the first club to be founded in the UK and Ireland. He predicts the collaboration will become a source of new opportunities for both organisations including training, gaining new members and collaborating on projects.
“Rotary has 73 clubs in Ireland with 1700 members, Toastmasters in District 71 UK and Ireland has over 200 clubs and 4,500 members, but Toastmasters and Rotary have operated as very distinct and separate organisations. Since our collaboration was announced, Toastmasters and Rotarians throughout Ireland have been attending each other’s meetings and functions.
For example, Dublin Rotary Club invited the President of Dublin Toastmasters to attend our meetings and annual (pre-Covid) dinner. We reciprocated, and we look forward to seeing both groups working successfully together on projects in our local community,” he said.