I first met Merryl when I was appointed as an Area Governor in 1995. I was invited to find out how Toastmasters can be a social event and also an occasion for learning and growth. This was way before “Where Leaders Are Made” became the Toastmasters motto. JRA (used to stand for Johannesburg Regional Accountants) was an idling club until a certain young lady in her 20s drove it with a passion. We, that included Erich Viedge, Tim Knights and Kazik Blonski used to adjourn to the Hard Rock Cafe (?) in Rosebank to continue the third half of the meeting and there we discussed life.
Merryl was a tracing agent in those days and she had the horrible experience of her brother “disappearing”. How frustrated she was that even with the resources she could call on, at that time her quest had failed. She drifted away from JRA, joined Sandton Club, I think and was often involved in club officer training. Providentially, when she was appointed TLI coordinator, we caught up again, as she invited me to present Judging Workshops around the country. The two she organised in Cape Town were occasions driven by her enthusiastic organisation and promotion.
When she decided to climb the Cabinet ladder, she faced strong candidates in two positions, but I feel it was her reputation for excellence that allowed her to reach the peak of District Director. She was fully committed to a new District website and pushed me to assist as its Webmaster, and was involved in its design. We always kept in touch as we shared opinions of certain issues, even though I had only been District Secretary
Merryl, my Toastmasters friend of over 25 years, I find it hard to miss you as the memories are still there. I can still hear you promoting the sizzle of the sale.
Shaun Goodbrand, DTM