傑出會員回顧 - 唐華瑄  

Dear Members:

We're more than happy to announce that Diana Watson got her Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) ! Congratulations to Diana Watson for achieving this great honor! We should cheer for Diana s remarkable achievement!

很高興宣佈,台灣地區總會的唐華瑄 會友 獲得傑出會員的榮銜!恭喜唐華瑄 會友獲得此一殊榮,值得大家喝采!

Diana Watson

An interview with DTM Diana Watson

Q: Brief us about your Toastmasters journey. How and when did you join Toastmasters?

A friend in the US told me about Toastmasters, so one day I happen to look at a Compass Magazine and there I found an ad for Taichung Toastmasters club. That same day I saw that I saw the ad in the magazine, I attended a TTC meeting. I joined Toastmasters in December 2007 with the hope of improving my Mandarin speaking skills! I know this must sound crazy, but I also knew that I needed some improvement with English fluency as well. After living abroad for many years, I found that I would forget many simple expressions and phrases that were so commonplace to say when I lived in the US. In the end, joining Toastmasters helped me to improve my Chinese and English!

Q: What challenges did you face and what sacrifices have you made to reach here?

I have written articles in conference manuals explaining my struggles in Toastmasters and how they have always made me into a better, stronger speaker and leader. I have lost two speech competitions. One loss was thrilled to get second place, the other was a heartbreaking disappointment. But in Toastmasters you learn humility. A speech that you poured your heart and soul into doesn’t mean it’s a winning speech, and if you spend almost every waking second sending emails to your club members and organizing every meeting perfectly, doesn’t mean you will always get the pack on the back you deserve. In the beginning I was insulted because I was accustomed to always receiving so much praise for every small thing I did. Once I became a Toastmaster, I performed many tasks. Sometimes I received tremendous praise and appreciation and other times I didn’t. Now I don’t need it. I give it to myself because I know that it’s all a part of the giving and receiving process in life. Toastmasters taught me that
Q: Tell us about your professional life.

I am a trained ESL instructor from the US. I started in Corporate America but I quickly realized that sitting at a desk all day wasn’t for me. Then pursued my graduate studies in international affairs and education. While in graduate school for my international affairs degree, I was desperate for a job, any job, so I settled for an afterschool Spanish teaching position. From the very first day I taught that class, I knew that I should be teaching, speaking, sharing and learning from others, so then I got a second master’s degree in education. Thereafter, I taught public school, boarding school and community college in the US before moving overseas and teaching at an oil school in Balikpapan, Indonesia for two years. Then I came to Taiwan to teach at the American School in Taichung in 2005. After many years of teaching, I suffered from what teachers call “teaching burnout”. I figured that maybe I was just tired of teaching children, so I attempted to get my PhD with the hopes of that being my gateway into teaching at university. My doctoral studies didn’t work out but now I work at a cram school where I teach children and adults, some classes, some one-on-ones. I never get bored, I love the students I teach, and I feel I learn just as much from them as they learn from me. In the end everything always works out!

Q: What changes has Toastmasters introduced in your life to make you carry on?

Toastmasters has changed my attitude about the art of public speaking. Writing and delivering quality speeches that move people’s hearts are the toughest jobs on this planet – except for maybe brain surgery! Now when I listen to a speech, I appreciate the effort the speaker made to use rhythm, to provide allegory and to challenge my brain with humor and metaphor. 
I also help start a book club along with some members from TTC. We have read over 15 books, all of them different reading levels and genres. We started the book club in 2010 because some TTC members wanted the opportunity to read interesting stories, learn more about Western culture and explore the nuisances of the English language in a less formal atmosphere than meetings, while also still becoming better English speakers. I serve as the mentor of the book club and because of it I force myself to read even more!

Q: How has Toastmasters helped you develop better leadership and communication skills?

I have served as a president of Taichung Toastmasters and Taichung Advanced clubs. Both times I found serving as president challenging. Because for the former, it was during the recession in Taiwan and many people were unemployed or underemployed, so it was difficult to persuade guests about the benefits of Toastmasters. The latter was challenging because advanced clubs suffer from having a limited demographic of members within Toastmasters to choose from. To maintain the integrity of a truly advanced club was difficult, but we are doing well now, so sometimes it pays to be stubborn!

Q: What is the one thing you look forward to when you attend the Toastmasters meeting?

I always look forward to hearing Table Topics responses. There’s nothing better than a Table Topics session master well prepared and club members answering interesting, funny questions in a comfortable, warm, family-like atmosphere.

Q: What does achieving DTM award mean to you?

My DTM means that I found the leader within me that I didn’t know existed. My DTM means that I became a speaker that I didn’t know that I wanted to be. My DTM means that I have been able to develop familial-like relationships with people from completely different socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds than myself from hard work, patience and love.

Q: What challenges did you face and what sacrifices have you made to reach here?

Every time I served as a leader I loved and hated it at the same time. As a leader it always seemed that I was stuck doing so much work! I looked at other leaders and they made the job look so easy. Later I understood that everyone was working hard, just in different ways. For some it was overcoming their speaking fears and finding the confidence to speak as president at every meeting. For me it was learning to love administrative work. I think God/Universe knew I needed some work in that department in addition to my poor time-management skills. Also I am a control freak by nature, so I loved that I could organize meetings and run them the way I wanted to. But the sacrifice of my time meant that vacations were cut short, work wasn’t always priority and I had many sleepless nights debating on whether I was making the right decisions.

Q: Before joining Toastmasters what was your dream? Did Toastmasters help you fulfill that?

My dreams were to become a fluent Mandarin speaker, sound like a very articulate English native speaker and make friends with positive and supportive Taiwanese people. Toastmasters helped me achieve all of my dreams and so much more. Now I love public speaking and helping others develop their own public speaking abilities. I never wanted to be a leader, but now I have the experience and confidence to know that I can organize or lead anything – if I want to.

Recently I joined Happiness (樂陶陶) club, an all Mandarin-speaking club, which was a big deal for me. The agenda was all in Chinese and the culture of the club was completely different from English speaking clubs. I am the only foreigner and they laugh at me when I say something wrong, which is all the time! But I don’t care because I hear non-native English all the time at TM meetings. I understand that they just aren’t used to hearing bad Chinese, since I am the only foreign speaker. I hope I can be an example and encourage more foreigners to join the delightful torture of joining Mandarin-only TM clubs. 

And most importantly, I have made the most amazing, supportive, positive-thinking friends on this Earth by joining Toastmasters in Taiwan. No other place in the world can top the hospitality of the Taiwanese people. Double that with Toastmasters and I landed on a gold mine!

Q: What you do in your spare time?

During my spare time, I love to exercise, practice my Chinese, listen to music, chat with my mom and other friends on Skype, and of course – Toastmasters!