Podium Toastmasters: A club steeped in history
The year was 1956 and two members were running to be president of Broadview Toastmasters Club. One was Walter Keyes, a business owner in his late 30’s. The other was his young friend, Ian Thomas, an enthusiastic Toastmaster with a shock of red hair that gave a hint of his bubbling personality. It was a classic match, and the outcome would have a dramatic effect on many lives in the ensuing years.
The Broadview members voted for experience. It was a good choice. Walter Keyes did a great job for the club which is still active today.
What became of Ian Thomas, the loser in that election? Ian and Walter were good friends and there were no hard feelings or regrets over the election results.
Ian was full of enthusiasm and determination, eager to test his ability with a new challenge, determined to push ahead. What did he do? He formed The Podium Club and became its first president.
In 1956, there were three Toastmasters clubs in Toronto: Toronto #1; Gavel & Glass, and the Broadview Club. Each club was allowed, by Toastmasters By-laws at the time, to have a maximum of 30 members. The Bylaws also permitted 5 associate members, who could become full members only if one of the 30 members became inactive. If a member missed three consecutive meetings, he automatically became inactive. At each meeting, there was a full house.
When Ian Thomas had his brainwave, he achieved three things: he formed a new club; he became its president; and he opened the doors for others to become active Toastmasters. He approached three associate members and three guests, and asked them to serve as his new executive.
The first executive of Podium Club:
Ian Thomas, President
John Shemilt, VP Education
Bob Parsons, VP Administration
Jack Punter, Secretary
Bert Onstad, Treasurer
The new executive decided to meet on Tuesdays at the Broadview YMCA, and the Podium Club was chartered on January 9, 1957.
Excerpted from Podium Platform