John McGowan, CEO, Mathematical Software, who has been a Toastmaster since the 1990s, says:
“I joined Toastmasters in 1997 shortly after starting a new job at NASA Ames Research Center. I was looking for a way to meet more people at Ames outside my immediate work group. Ames had a printed newsletter which had a list of meetings of various groups. Ames has a program to sponsor extracurricular activities such as Toastmasters. I found Jetstream Toastmasters which dates back to the 1950s and started attending.
I enjoyed attending the weekly Jetstream club meetings and decided to look for a non-work related club as well. I found Talking Heads Toastmasters which met on Thursday evenings within easy walking distance of my home in Mountain View. At the time, Talking Heads was a very social club with members having dinner after the meeting on Thursdays. We took many trips and other activities on weekends during this period. I still have quite a number of friends from Talking Heads; we had a Holiday Reunion dinner this past December.
I enjoyed attending both clubs for many years. I definitely experienced an improvement in public speaking and interpersonal skills. I earned the Competent Toastmaster (CTM) which was later renamed Competent Communicator under the old pre-Pathways system within about a year, the Advanced Toastmaster Bronze (ATM-B) and the Competent Leader within a few years.
I had a bit of a hiatus from 2003 to 2010, especially from 2008 to 2011, although I attended Jetstream from time to time. I resumed strong activity in about 2011 and have earned the Advanced Communicator Silver (ACS) and the Advanced Communicator Gold (ACG), the latter about six months ago (mid-2018). I also was a Finalist for the District 4 Evaluation Contest in 2016 — the first time I have gotten to the District and Division contest level. All of these awards and competitions were with Early Risers Toastmasters.
I was looking for a community club near my home which is how I found Early Risers. With its early meeting time, it tends to be small but the members have consistently been highly committed, good speakers that I have learned much from, and supportive.”