With any elaborate outdoor plans shelved because of COVID-19 and with limited resources, friends and members of the Bacon & Egg Club in Johannesburg, South Africa had to think up a quirky way to celebrate Shaun Goodbrand’s 30th anniversary as a Toastmaster. Shaun celebrated this grand occasion by giving the last speech of one of his Pathway journeys. His friends put together a great video narrating how well they know him and have travelled part of their Toastmasters journey with him.
Shaun is part of the Achieving Excellence editorial team, so for the out-of-the-box lockdown anniversary celebration, I sat down with him to answer some questions reflecting on the past 30 years, his experience and Toastmasters as a whole.
Here is what he had to say.
This is three decades for you, how do you feel about being a Toastmaster for so long?
Toastmasters is a wonderful environment and I have met so many people over the years, made so many friends and having fun with each other is what I have most taken away from Toastmasters.
Back then, how did you hear about Toastmasters and what made you to join it?
My mother was a Toastmistress herself back in the day, when I was still at school. She was a very quiet and shy person, but when she joined, she blossomed. Ten or eleven years later, I had a colleague at work who was also a Toastmaster but a very quiet person. He invited me to my first Eskom Toastmasters meeting but I couldn’t even open my mouth. As they say, the rest is history.
How many people have you influenced to join Toastmasters?
I am more of a one on one person. I used to wear my Toastmasters pin to work and subtly leave the Toastmasters magazine on my table at work. Of the people who have asked me about it, one of them has recently become an Area Director. A number of colleagues have joined Toastmasters because of my subliminal hints.
What memorable roles have you held before?
The best year in Toastmasters for me was in 1995 when I was an Area Governor – the youngest that year, 30 years old. Not like now! I was very lucky to be in an area which had four other strong and vibrant clubs, so I didn’t have to do all that work to support them.
I have also been District Chief Judge and I have been a convener of two of the District conferences including the one where Pat Johnson, the then international President came to South Africa. Our team really created a wonderful impression at that occasion.
How do you spend your time outside Toastmasters?
I am a general knowledge quiz fanatic and I have won three national titles on the quizzes hosted by 702 radio station. I also read a lot, wear my Arsenal FC shirt a lot, prove that there’s nothing wrong being barefoot a lot and I have fun practising child and senior psychology on my 18 year old son and my 91 year old mother.
What has made you stay on for all these years?
When I became District Secretary and also earned my second DTM in 2011, I thought that was the end of Toastmasters for me, but then I got involved in starting a second new club and mentoring another and I am still around. I have stayed on because Toastmasters is a wonderful place to find people with similar interests and goals. I have never taken a break from Toastmasters in 30 years and I will never get tired of it.
Your Achieving Excellence team mates celebrate with you on this grand milestone!