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Celebrating a Century of Excellence: Toastmasters International Turns 100!

  • Uncategorized
  • February 8, 2024
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This October, Toastmasters International marks an incredible 100 years since Dr. Ralph C. Smedley held the first club meeting in 1924, setting in motion a global movement dedicated to the art of public speaking and leadership.

Click Here to Download our District 46 Centennial Backgrounds

From its humble beginnings in a small California basement, Toastmasters has blossomed into an international powerhouse with a presence in countless cities and countries, including the proud heritage and community of District 46.

Our journey through the decades is a story of milestones and innovation:

  • 1924: Smedley hosts the first Toastmasters Club meeting in Santa Ana, California.
  • 1926: The second Toastmasters club is chartered in Anaheim, California.
  • 1930: The Organization’s first bulletin, the Gavel is published.
  • 1932: Official incorporation of Toastmasters International.
  • 1933: The Toastmasters magazine is published and produced quarterly, replacing the gavel.
  • 1935: Our first club outside North America is chartered in England, paving the way for global expansion.
  • 1938: The Inter-Club speech contest begins. The event later becomes the international speech contest.
  • 1946: District 18 in Scotland becomes the first district organized outside the United States.
  • 1962: Toastmasters International’s World headquarters moves into its own building in Santa Ana, California.
  • 1965: We mourned the passing of our founder, Dr. Smedley, but his legacy continued to flourish.
  • 1970: The first Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Award is issued.
  • 1973: Toastmasters opened its membership to women, a pivotal step towards inclusivity.
  • 1977: Evelyn Jane Burgay, DTM becomes the first woman to win the World Championship of Public Speaking.
  • 1990: The World Headquarters moved to Rancho Santa Margarita and then to Englewood, Colorado, reflecting our growth and evolving needs.
  • 2004: Toastmasters charters its 10,000th Club, membership reaches 20,000.
  • 2020: The Pathways learning experience becomes the official education program.
  • 2024: We will celebrate our centennial with festivities beginning at the International Convention in Anaheim, California.

Alongside these significant events, Toastmasters International has been at the forefront of educational development, with the launch of The Pathways learning experience in 2020, which became the cornerstone of our educational program.

As we look forward to the centennial celebration, we reflect on the countless speeches delivered, the leadership skills honed, and the personal growth experienced by our members. Toastmasters has not just been a platform for public speaking; it has been a catalyst for change, empowering individuals to become the best versions of themselves.

Join us as we honor our past and forge our future – here’s to another 100 years of Toastmasters excellence!

Stay tuned for details on our district’s centennial celebrations and share your Toastmasters story with us. Whether you’re a seasoned member or a newcomer, your journey is a part of our rich tapestry.

Here’s to making history together, one speech at a time.