On Saturday November 8th, 2014, Lensmasters’ Secretary, Gayle Larkin, is presented with the highest educational award in Toastmasters, the Distinguished Toastmaster. Seen here with Distinguished Toastmaster Norm Stein (left) and Founder’s District Governor and Distinguished Toastmaster Linda Ulrich (right) at the 2014 Fall District Conference.
Gayle and her husband, Frank Larkin, joined Toastmasters when his best friend, Terry McCann, said “Frank, why don’t you and Gayle join Toastmasters and do your CTM (Competent Toastmaster) before I retire in August. If you do, I’ll sign your certificates.” Terry retired after 25 years as the Executive Director of Toastmasters International, but before he retired, Frank and Gayle completed their CTMs and Terry’s name is signed on their certificates.
Gayle gave her first Ice Breaker speech on April 16, 2001. The title of the speech was “Labels” in which she talked about all of the different labels she had during her life. At the time, she was an Elementary School Principal, married, and raising two teenagers.
“When I joined Toastmasters I never in a thousand years thought I would achieve DTM status. I had no clear understanding of what it meant and HPL was a very scary acronym to me. But as I made my way through the educational levels, my vision for myself as a powerful communicator and leader grew. By the time I finished ACG, I knew I would pursue DTM. It was fun to share in the journey with fellow Toastmasters.” says Gayle.
One of the toughest requirements to achieve the DTM is to complete a High Performance Leadership (HPL) project. Gayle’s HPL project was taking on the leadership of the Division G area contests in the Spring of 2014. Working with a team in the context of the High Performance Leadership is transformational.
Gayle is already working on her second DTM. She has become a Learning Master and says she is looking forward to the revitalized educational program.
Her next big project is a personal one. She has always wanted to pursue her passion for art and is preparing for an art show this spring. Being a Toastmaster has helped her find her voice as an artist.
“Thank you to all of my fellow Toastmasters who have supported, coached, evaluated, listened, mentored, and shared my journey. I could not have done it without you. I have a huge network of friends in Toastmasters and that is a treasure.” — Gayle Larkin, DTM.