What happens when two Toastmasters who have never met but work at the same company and both want a Toastmasters club at work? Speaking the Plains Truth Bayer is what happens.

Keith Waters, a Distinguished Toastmaster and member of the Toasters Club in Lubbock, Texas, and Parker Waldrop, a member of the WWJS club in Lubbock, joined forces in the summer of 2016 to sponsor a new Toastmasters club at their work place, Bayer’s Crop Science division in Lubbock. This makes the fifth Toastmasters club at a Bayer Crop Science location in the United States.

“As a new Toastmaster who is very excited about the benefits of Toastmasters,” said Parker, a member since May 2016, “I discussed it with colleagues in the other clubs and then presented it to local management and human resources.”

Since the club was to be a closed club – meaning that members are required to be employees of Bayer – Keith and Parker realized early challenges in gathering enough members.

“The difficult part of chartering a new club was making sure we had enough interested people. Twenty or more members represents almost 10% of our workforce in the Lubbock area, so it really took some effort to “sell” the Toastmasters idea to proposed members. We really had to show them the benefits are worth joining.”

The plan for selling the benefits came through for the pair and the club had its initial demonstration meeting on September 22, 2016. Parker said the club also had one informational meeting to help potential members better understand the club and how it works. He thinks that an additional informational meeting or two might have helped since only two members, himself and Keith, had experience in Toastmasters. Bringing 20+ new members into Toastmasters took a lot of coaching and mentoring. Fortunately, two members of Parker’s home club were available to act as Club Mentors. Tim Evans and Cletis Tatum joined the two Club Sponsors to help the fledgling club get off to a strong start.

Members of the club set a specific purpose for their meetings: to develop Toastmaster skills, which are useful in our personal and professional lives, and also fit perfectly with our internal company values, called LIFE values: Leadership, Integrity, Flexibility, and Efficiency. The mission and purpose of the club also complements Bayer’s overarching mission of “Science For a Better Life,” and will even help us advocate for and educate others about the importance of modern agriculture technologies – a task that becomes more important to our company and our industry every day.

Parker credits many people for helping the club go from idea to reality.

“Danni Andrew, Kim Davis, Stacy Cain, Tracy Thomason, Natalie Waters, Gary Johnson, Victoria Xiong, Lori Daniel, and of course Keith Waters (Sponsor), Tim Evans & Cletis Tatum (Mentors) were all critical in the planning and putting on the demo meeting and getting us chartered. Inside of our company, Monty Christian was the manager who told me it was a great idea and to push to get us chartered; but without the membership and those who supported us in Lubbock and at our other sites across America, we wouldn’t have been able to make this happen.”

Photos by Trey Maresca, Vice President Membership