The structure of Toastmasters: from club to International HQ

Chartered clubs have seven elected Club Officers who each have a key role to play in ensuring that the club runs smoothly. The officers are responsible for dealing with membership, finances, pathways, setting the meeting agenda and setting up the meetings and everything else to keep the club running smoothly. The Committee can also include or co-opt other members and meets each month to discuss all topics of importance to the continued success of the Club. Currently Sussex Online Speakers does not have formal roles and the tasks are currently carried out by the founder members and certain other early joiners. All members are urged to help with organisation, publicity, and promotion.

What do the seven Club Officers do?

Here’s a quick summary of the Club Officer roles.

President. The head honcho, the big cheese. Has a key role at the start and end of each Club Meeting, sets the tone for the club success for the year, is responsible for working with the Toastmasters Organisation that exists above the club level (see below).

Vice President of Membership (VPM). The person responsible for talking with prospective members (as you know!), for signing them up and for organising membership renewals.

Vice President of Education (VPE). The busiest role. Ensures that the agenda is filled up with Roles and Speeches and distributed ahead of each meeting, and signs off on all the speech completions so that Toastmasters HQ know how you’re progressing.

Vice President of Public Relations (VPPR). The public face of the club! responsible for the Socials (media and meetups) and the Marketing of the club, including press releases and so on.

Secretary. Maintains the lists and records pertinent to the club. Takes the minutes of the Committee meetings and distributes them in a timely fashion.

Treasurer. Makes sure that the membership dues are paid to Toastmasters HQ on time and is also responsible for the rest of the money! Pays for Zoom Licenses, website hosting fees, plus anything else that the club and Committee decide that we need.

Sergeant At Arms (SAA). In an online club, the SAA is the chief greeter and club enforcer. May also be ZoomMaster.

There are also other roles and titles, including Immediate Past President, which every club also has. Then we have further roles, including Webmaster, Newsletter editor and so on, as desired by the club.

What’s that “Above Club Level” bit?

There is an entire Toastmasters global hierarchy in existence. Toastmasters members are encouraged to serve their local Club Committee when called upon and may also serve at higher levels within the Toastmasters Organisation.

Sussex Online Speakers is not yet a chartered Toastmasters Club. However, we are part of a hierarchy.

We are part of Area 32 (roughly West Sussex) in Division H (South London, Sussex, and Kent). This is often called H32 for short.

Beyond this, we belong to District 91, Southern UK and Ireland, and then to Toastmasters International, based in the US.

Our President, VPE and VPM serve on the Area and District Councils. The Area has an Area Director and an Assistant Area Director. The Division and District are similarly staffed. All these roles are voluntary.

The leadership development aspect of Toastmasters is something not to be overlooked. Several of the Pathways you can follow encompass an element of leadership development, as do the roles at club level and above. Don’t forget that the Tagline of Toastmasters is “Where Leaders are Made”, so there is no mention of public speaking there, at all!

When does the Committee Meet?

Currently, the committee meets by Whatsapp messages and occasionally a Zoom meeting. Full club meetings may also be called on Zoom from time to time. Once we charter, we will have a formal committee and members will be encouraged to attend committee meetings – always online of course.