Robot VPE, the only solution?

27 May 2017

With nobody willing to take on the role of Vice President Education (VPE) for the first half of next term, I delivered this opening speech in exasperation:

Some of you might be wondering why there’s no programme sheet, why wasn’t it sent out as usual.

No, it’s not been taken by the super heroes, although today’s theme is super heroes.

Doing without programme sheet could be the new norm that you have to get used to.

Why? Because we don’t have a VPE for the first half of next term, that is, from July to December.

Some of you are on course, can’t spare the time; some of you who remain in Singapore on employment pass but your employment status is uncertain, some work on most Saturdays or spend half the year overseas. Others simply don’t want to assume the role.

Perhaps we should have an equivalent of the match-making app tinder to match make speakers, evaluators, and appointment holders, with functions to draw up programme sheets and update the Google sheet that tracks our progress. But until then, a human vpe is still required.

Toastmasters is a non-profit club with no full-time staff and everyone of us is working full-time.

Who isn’t busy here? Have a show of hands. No one.

All of us are stakeholders of the Toastmasters journey and we can’t do it alone. No doubt the executive committee roles take up time, someone has to do it. But if you think “let that not be me”, it would end up that we have no VPE, no Sergeant-at-Arms, no meetings.

For those who understand Chinese,  please look at the term on the whiteboard.  What does this term 舍得 mean? It means the willingness to part with. If you look at the two characters separately, 舍 means “giving up”, 得 means “gaining”. You give up one thing but you’ll gain something in return.

For those who are looking at practical returns, being in leadership position enhances your résumé.  Those who want to make sure you’d attend meetings – like what Taichi was after  – being on the executive committee pushes you to attend meetings regularly.

For me, I just kn0w I couldn’t simply take from the club, I have to give as well. In the process of giving, what did I get in return? Opportunities like this to make you hear me out, opportunities to network with other clubs’ leaders and stronger friendship from my fellow executive committee members.

Do we have a VPE next term, you decide.  Over to you,  Toastmaster of the Day.

Coincidentally, Jean took the day off and she joked that her rare absence might reinforce my message. However, it didn’t because two days after the meeting, KUTMC still doesn’t have a VPE (for July – December) and Sergeant-at-Arms.