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About Toastmasters

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations.

Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization has more than 292,000 memberships in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries.

Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience.

The mission of each Toastmasters club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth.

History of Toastmasters

When people hear the word "basement" they're more likely to picture mold and spiders than the birth place of a global communication and leadership training organization. But a basement in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California, is exactly where, in 1924, Ralph C. Smedley held the first meeting of what would eventually become Toastmasters International.

Smedley began working as director of education for a Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) after he graduated from college. He observed that many of the young patrons needed "training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings" and Smedley wanted to help them. He decided the training format would be similar to a social club. During the early 1900s the word "toastmaster" referred to a person who proposed the toasts and introduced the speakers at a banquet. Smedley named his group "The Toastmasters Club" because he thought it suggested a pleasant, social atmosphere appealing to young men.

When Smedley started the Toastmasters group at the YMCA in Santa Ana, California, members practiced speaking skills in a supportive, informal atmosphere. The seedling club blossomed. Word spread about Smedley's YMCA experiment and soon people in other communities and even other states began asking for permission and help to start their own Toastmasters meetings. By 1930 the burgeoning clubs had established a federation to help coordinate activities and provide a standard program. Toastmasters became Toastmasters International after a speaking club in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada, expressed interest in joining the organization.

A series of rented office spaces in Southern California served as Toastmasters International's "home office" until 1962. That year the staff moved into its first World Headquarters building in Santa Ana, not far from the YMCA where the first Toastmasters club met.

Over the next three decades the number of Toastmasters grew, and so did the need for a larger staff to service them. World Headquarters relocated in 1990 to its new building in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, about 20 miles south of Santa Ana. See our timeline for a detailed account of Toastmasters' history.

The evolution of its educational programs and resources are a big part of Toastmasters International's success and growth. Training has expanded from the 15-project manual Basic Training for Toastmasters, developed by Smedley, to include other materials to help members develop skills in listening, giving feedback, decision-making, delegating and mentoring.

With more than 292,000 memberships in more than 14,350 clubs in 122 countries, Ralph Smedley's "basement brainstorm" continues to thrive in the 21st century.

Mission, Values, and Envisioned Future

The mission statements, the value statement and envisioned future succinctly express the function of each organizational unit.

Toastmasters International Mission
We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders.

District Mission
We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.

Club Mission
We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Toastmasters International Values:

Respect
Integrity
Service
Excellence

Toastmasters International Envisioned Future
To be the first-choice provider of dynamic, high-value, experiential communication and leadership skills development.

Our club

Rio Copa Toastmasters are dedicated to the ideals, mission, and vision of Toastmasters International. We actively implement the Toastmasters Educational program in our club and consistently meet our club and member goals. The educational program provides members with a proven curriculum that develops communication and leadership skills one step at a time, with many opportunities for awards and recognition along the way. The communication and leadership tracks are not mutually exclusive; you may participate in both at the same time, if you wish.

  • You progress along each track by working through a series of manuals, each of which offers a set of carefully crafted projects to complete.
  • Each project includes an evaluation guide, which gives club members an easy way to provide immediate feedback as the project is completed.
  • Once you become a member, you can begin the educational program right away.

We have two convenient meeting times and locations to help our members learn and grow!

Lunch time
Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Maricopa County Community College District Office
2411 W. 14th St., Tempe, AZ 85281
Usually in the Employee Lounge.

Evenings
First and third Wednesday 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Rio Salado East Valley Veterans Center
3320 S. Price Road, Tempe, AZ 85282

Follow the signs to find our room or ask the security guard.

Learn about becoming a member!


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