Toastmasters International bids farewell to one of its dearest members
Toastmasters exist around the world to help people build their confidence and self-esteem by practicing public speaking in a safe environment. On April 26, Toastmasters International suffered a huge loss in its tight-knit community when one of its members, Beth Thomas, passed away after an uphill battle with a terminal illness.
Tim Knights of the Florida Toastmasters Club shared his grief in tribute to the late speaker, activist and friend. Tim spoke fondly of Beth’s impressive drive as she rose through the Toastmaster ranks from Member, to District Governor, to a highly successful International Director.
âBeth can claim a lot of the credit for Toastmasters’ tremendous growth across Africa,â explained Tim. In the late 1990s, she helped start Toastmasters clubs in Botswana, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. In early 2000, she started a club in Kenya, which spawned 12 more Toastmasters clubs in Uganda and Tanzania. Over the next few years, this incredible woman was able to bring Toastmasters to Nigeria, Benin and Ghana. âBeth’s success is all the more remarkable given the economic and political upheavals and all the turmoil across Africa,â he continued.
With all the success Beth has achieved in her life, she has been described as a humble, people-oriented woman to the end; reach out to the underprivileged, by creating Toastmaster clubs in underfunded universities and prisons. The prison clubs she helped create are now part of the prison rehabilitation process and through her efforts, prisoners have even competed at the regional and divisional levels in Toastmasters. Away from the clubs, Beth worked tirelessly to help the orphans and homeless children she encountered.
Tim described Beth as a remarkable woman, doing a remarkable job. The Record sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of this fallen Toastmasters icon.