It is June 30th, 2019 – I can’t believe it’s already one year! One year ago I was in Cyprus, and that is where, from the waters of Aphrodite, our District was “born” and I, as its father, received the gavel from the outgoing District Director of District 59, Ana Isabel Ferreira.
Today I spent the afternoon supporting the COT of my home area in Rome. It felt a bit like coming home from after a year of travelling. Travelling that took me from a TLI in Cyprus in June, to a DOT & DECM in Sofia, Bulgaria in September. From the Allegro cruise with our fellows from District 59 to Vienna, Austria in February for another DOT & DECM. From Lausanne, Switzerland where I attended Division D conference to Verona, Milan and Genova in Italy for workshops and then the District Conference. And the to Thessaloniki in Greece, for the transition meeting, when we trained the new core team. Travelling that has put me even more in contact with all members from our District.
We had beautiful events. The ALLEGRO Cruise perfectly organized by our Captain Patricia and her team which gave us the opportunity to learn in a nice environment while also having fun. The District Conference organized by Luigi and his team, a great opportunity to meet so many of you, see old friends, listen to great speakers, learn with excellent workshops and dance in an incredible environment.
As a “father” of this District I am very proud that Together we created District 109 from scratch, adding to our original team from Italy, Switzerland, Greece and Cyprus our friends from Austria and Bulgaria. These last countries grew incredibly fast: Austria spawned 4 new clubs, consolidating itself as an autonomous Division for the first time in many years. Bulgaria went from 1 to 2 areas, and may also soon become a Division.
And we even went Beyond! This year our District has grown into a strong and beautiful child! We have gone from 89 to 101 clubs, growing 13%, our membership payments have grown of 10% and more than 77% of our clubs have reached Distinguished level. We have given birth to three new areas in Divisions A, B and E. All of our Divisions are President Distinguished as well as half of our areas, with the rest being Select Distinguished or Distinguished.
Our District become, in the first year of its life, Smedley Distinguished, a new level that has just been created this year and that is even higher than President Distinguished. Only 10% of the District in the world have reached such a result, and we are currently ranked at number 5 in the world, and number 1 in our Region 10, Europe.
After 8 years in Toastmasters this has been the year where I learned most, expecially from the mistakes I did along the way. Some of you have had to be very patient with me – you know who you are, thankyou! Some of you have already given me great feedback, thankyou!
I have had to face a few issues and learned a lot while doing so – I hope I handled them well enough – more feedback would be welcome!
I have to thank specifically a few people:
- My Core Team members, who have done a great job at running the District and at being patient with me. Thank you!
- My Extended Core Team for all the support I got. Thank you!
- My 6 Division Directors and 23 Area Directors with whom I have had the pleasure of working – they have done a great job at supporting all our clubs. Thank you!
Most of all I would like to thank all of you, Members of D109. Thank you for trusting me with the role of the father of this new District, thank you for having given me the privilege to being the first District Director to serve this District. Thank you for all you did: TOGETHER we went BEYOND every possible dream I had.
I am now ready to step back and settle in my new role of Immediate Past District Director and I am very happy to hand over the gavel to Metaxia and her team, I wish her and all her Officers a great year, I am sure they will do exceptionally well and I am happy to be in her team as the old wise guy who sits on his hands and is there to provide advice when needed.
My wish is that we all continue along this path of excellence that our District has undertaken with such success, continue with our learning experience, continue reaching new goals, and go beyond everything. Let’s do that: Together Beyond!”
District 109 Director 2018/2019