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Past President Interview: Founding President Lee Wagner (1990-91) on why she enjoyed every meeting

November 19, 2012

Q: During your time as President did anything memorable take place during meetings or otherwise?

Lee Wagner, our founding president

Toastmasters was a big part of our life in London while we were in England in 1989-1990. My husband Bob and me really had a wonderful time. The district conferences alternated between Ireland & England. We attended all of them while we lived there. I had a car with my job – wasn’t I lucky – so we had a schedule: one weekend we stayed in the City, had breakfast then lunch and explored and had dinner. The next weekend we waited until 4am on the Saturday and left and explored one of the cities, so we went to Leeds, we had a wonderful time and stayed overnight, and came back on Sunday. The third weekend we went overseas: We went to Brussels, then we went to Zurich. We just had a ball. We loved living in London. It was a real treat.

Q: Will you describe the best speech you heard during your Presidency? What made it so good?

A. I forget the name: There was a lovely British Gentlemen who was one of our club officers who did a very very nice job.

Q: What made you decide to become President? How did it come about?

A. I didn’t have any choice as a matter of fact! I joined Toastmasters in 1982 because I was such a crummy public speaker. It was Aztek Toastmasters in San Jose (California, USA). When we moved to London in1989, there was only one club: Grosvenor Square Speakers, so I decided to start a new one. 

Q: What have you taken away with you from your time as President? Did you achieve your goals?

A. Getting the Club started was the biggest achievement. When I got to London, there was only 1 club.  When I left, there were 3 – so one could say I tripled the number of clubs in England. I got my first  DTM in London, when the International Toastmasters President Ed Bick came to visit District 71. I was also elected the Outstanding Toastmaster of District 71 for 1990-91, all of England & Ireland, which was quite an achievement for a visiting chubby American! I felt like I had made an impression and helped to change things and they helped me.

Q: Is there any advice you would give to future Presidents with the benefit of hindsight?

A. Enjoy every meeting! Every toastmaster needs to do that but the President can get so caught up in the detail and who’s doing what and so on: They should concentrate on having a good time and having fun, you learn from having a good time.

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Working or living in the LondonVictoria area? Want to know more about becoming a better public speaker? Visit London Corinthians on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Thursdays @ 7.30pm.

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