A Bright Path to the Future

by Program Quality Director Chris Boyk

On February 13, 2018 Pathways was released to District 54 with a bang. It represents a different way of experiencing Toastmasters projects that really give members access to interesting and fun projects quicker than the traditional program. Members are able to meet their goals faster and receive rapid recognition for their accomplishments.

I started the Pathways program before it rolled out by being a Pathways Guide and Ambassador for the district serving several clubs. When the program officially rolled out I selected Dynamic Leadership where I became Proficient in the path. Today I am enrolled in the Visionary Communications path where I have completed Level 2 and working on Level 3. The projects challenge me in ways that I can easily apply to my normal day to day job. A personal goal I have set is accomplish all ten paths at some point in time just for the experience.

As of August 2018, almost 60% of all club officers and 50% of all members in the district have selected a path. We have 24 individuals have achieved educational awards in Pathways ranging from Level 1 to Level 5 Proficient in their specific path. These are outstanding numbers as a percentage when compared other districts in Region 5 and the US Toastmasters.

You may ask yourself how can Pathways help you? Are you looking for a path that translates well to you job or the job you really want? The ten paths do translate very well into leadership, sales, engineering, project management, social media coordinators, and presenter roles quite nicely. With five levels in each path you will receive recognition from Toastmasters International and the District for each level you achieve.

Can you give four speeches and evaluate someone this year? If you can that is how simple a Level 1 is to achieve, with a Level 2 between three to four more projects, a Level 3 three to four more projects after that, Level 4 two to three more project after that, and Proficiency four more projects after that. In total it can take a little as fourteen projects with fifteen speeches to become Proficient in a path. Any of these levels are education achievements you can put on your resume. To accomplish a Competent Communicator award, you need to complete ten projects to obtain your first designation and fewer than 10% of members ever achieve that designation. Burn out can happen well before a new member may see the goal of accomplishing an educational award. But with more frequent awards and feedback, new members have a great opportunity to be engaged while accomplishing their communication and leadership goals resulting great self-confidence and personal growth.

If you are an experienced Toastmaster who has accomplished several designations in the traditional education program than Pathways has a plethora of opportunities for you. Many of the projects that are part of the Advanced Manuals that were found to be most popular are still there in Pathways starting in Level 3. This allows members to start a storytelling project or interpersonal speech project sooner than what someone was able to in the traditional education program. There is always the challenge of starting a new path to not do the same thing over and over again. Remember the last day to submit an award for the traditional education program is June 30th 2020.

If you have hesitation on going to Pathways because of the interface, ask yourself a question. How are you reading this newsletter? Did you click a link on the email blast that was sent to you? Are you reading this on the District 54’s website of https://www.d54toastmasters.com? Did you see a post on Facebook for this newsletter on the District 54 Facebook page of https://www.facebook.com/ToastmastersD54/? If you read this electronically than there is no difference between that and using the Pathways system. Paper versions of the paths are available from Toastmasters International for five of the ten paths. At the Toastmasters International Convention for 2018 in Chicago one of the strongest concerns that World Headquarters heard was how the interface for Pathways has room for improvement to the point where the board of directors have made it an initiative to fix the interface for how to use the online version of Pathways which will be coming in the future.

Do you need help with Pathways? Our district is very lucky to have a wonderful team of Pathways Support members who are available to answer your questions. All of them were Pathways Ambassadors or Guides with extensive knowledge of the system. Feel free to reach out to any of them for questions about Pathways. For the most up to date list of Pathways Support Team members check out the 2018-2019 District team site at https://www.d54toastmasters.com/about/2018-2019-team/.

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