Advanced Leadership Program
The Toastmasters Educational program has two tracks, a communication track and a leadership track. Members may work on either track or on both tracks at the same time. On completing the Competent Leadership Manual and earning the Competent Leader (CL) designation members can move to the Advanced Leadership Program. This program consists of two levels, the Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), which is quite easy to attain, and the Advanced Leader Silver (ALS) which usually takes a number of years to complete.
The relative difficulty of the two levels is indicated by the number of awards given. For District 21 (BC) the number of awards presented for the year July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014 was as follows:
One needs to have completed both the Competent Communicator (CC) and Competent Leader (CL) awards to be eligible for the Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB). Most of the other requirements for the ALB can be achieved by service as a club officer. One must serve at least six months as club officer and while serving in that office participated in a district-sponsored club officer training program. Clubs may opt to select their officers for one year of six month terms. For clubs electing officers annually, elections for the year beginning July 1 are held at the first meeting in May. For clubs electing officers semi-annually, there is an additional election at the first meeting in November for the term beginning January 1. While a club officer one must have participated in the preparation of a Club Success Plan. In clubs electing officers annually, this is usually done at the first executive meeting of the year and outlines the club’s Distinguished Club Plan goals for the year and how they will be achieved. The remaining CL requirement is the presentation of any two programs from the Successful Club Series and/or The Leadership Excellence Series. Such presentations are typically ten-to-fifteen minutes in length. The speaker paraphrases material from a text provided, adding his or her own support material. The modules come with PowerPoint slides. Check with your Vice President Education to see which modules your club has.
On completion of the ALB, members may move on to the Advanced Leader Silver. One requirement for this award is serving a one-year term as a district officer. Most people choose to serve as an Area Governor. The Area Governor acts as a resource person for his or her clubs, working primarily with the club presidents, vice presidents education, and vice presidents membership. The Area Governor is required to visit each of the clubs in his or her area twice a year, submitting a report to Toastmasters International and the district executive following each visit. The Area Governor also organizes the area speech contests: a table topics and humorous speech contest in the fall and an evaluation and international speech contest in the spring. Elections for area governor take place at the latter contests; however, many area governors are elected by acclamation. There are two training sessions for district officers a year and area governors and sometimes asked to assist with club officer training and the division speech contests. A conscientious Area Governor will attend the district conferences and the district council meetings held there. In addition, there may be division council meetings to attend as well. The frequency of these is determined by the Division Governor in consultation with the Area Governors.
The second requirement for the ALS is completion of the High Performance Leadership program. To complete this program one chooses a project in which one acts as a group leader. Some people choose to use their term as Area Governor as their HPL project but projects outside Toastmasters are also possible. For example, one woman organized a Block Watch in her neighborhood as her HPL project. To get started you order the manuals from Toastmasters International and appoint two or three advisors to meet with you during the project to discuss your progress. There are two speeches to be presented to your home club. At the start of your project, your deliver a speech in which you present your vision and mission for the project and at the project’s conclusion you present the results.
The final requirement for the ALS is to have served successfully as a club sponsor, mentor or coach. A club sponsor organizes a new club. Typically, a demonstration meeting is held in which the benefits of the Toastmasters program are explained. Once twenty or more members have joined the prospective club and the required dues and paperwork submitted to Toastmasters International the new club receives its charter. Some clubs charter at the first meeting, others take longer. In some cases, the prospective club is disbanded before having reached the required twenty members. A mentor works with a newly chartered club for its first six months to a year, providing guidance and leadership. A club coach works with a low member club (twelve members or less) to bring it to Distinguished Club status. There can be up to two club sponsors and anyone can start a club. One or two club coaches or club mentors are appointed by the District Governor. In addition to published material from Toastmasters International, assistance from the district is also available.
The Toastmasters Leadership Program is based on the premise that one learns leadership not in the classroom but by experience as a group leader. The requirements for the education program have been relaxed over the years. For example, one used to have completed three advanced manuals for each of the Able Toastmaster, Able Toastmaster Bronze, and Able Toastmaster Silver awards. Now only two advanced manuals need be completed at each level of the communication track. The requirements for the Advanced Leader Silver and its predecessors have remained the same. On completion of the Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG) and Advanced Leader Silver (ALS), one may apply for the Distinguished Toastmaster Award (DTM). New DTMs receive a plaque from Toastmasters International and get their names listed in the Toastmaster magazine.