Danni Andrew, ACG, ALB, doesn’t do heels. Whatever the Farmington native does as District 23’s Program Quality Director, expect her to do it in boots.

There was a time Andrew didn’t do public speaking, or leadership. But Toastmasters changed that. She is now a published author and artist and, come October, will also be a professional speaker. As the district Program Quality Director, Andrew is in charge of officer trainings, speech competitions, and district conferences. She will also work with the Club Growth Director (Cliff Colvin) on membership retention. She is a member of AS We Speak and the DTM Think Tank clubs.

How did you find out about Toastmasters, and what brought you into that first meeting?
My brother-in-law was a Toastmaster, and a friend of mine in Farmington was a Toastmaster. When I started writing books and sought publication, my editor at the time said, “You need to learn how to speak.” I was terrified, literally shaking in my boots terrified of getting up and speaking. I stopped by the website for about a year before the first time I joined the club in Farmington and met a fabulous mentor with whom I’m still friends.

What was it that brought you to your second meeting?
My mentor. His name is Bill Morgan. He’s no longer a Toastmaster; he’s pursuing other things. He was always very supportive, very helpful. He also made Toastmasters fun. He was Area Governor at the time, and he was active in the club. It was a fun club. We had a fun time, and they were always very supportive of my goals. They knew what my goals were. I had a mentor immediately and just felt like I belonged.

How are you using your Toastmasters skills outside of the organization?
I have my very first speaking gig coming in October. I’ll be doing a seminar on public speaking; how to present yourself, some of the how-tos, but I also plan to include how to represent yourself as a speaker with what to wear and what not to wear, when you walk into a room and present yourself. I’m very excited. It’s my first paid gig.

What was the light-switch moment where you realized what you did in Toastmasters had a tangible effect on what you did outside of Toastmasters?
I never intended to get into leadership. I wanted to learn to speak and get out and promote my books. When I got into leadership as an Area Governor, I still didn’t know. But when I became a division director, I started seeing what Toastmasters is and what an impact it had in my life. I wouldn’t say I overcame my shyness completely, but when I got up in the Ruidoso conference in front of 120 people, I realized getting in front of people was fun and my confidence level went way up. I thought this organization has made a powerful difference in my life, and I get emotional when I talk about it.

If you could go back in time and see yourself attending that first meeting, what would you tell yourself?
I think I would tell myself, “You really can do this. You are worth it.” I had horrible self-esteem growing up, and getting into Toastmasters really tested that. I was really not sure I was worth it. It feels horrible to say, but it’s true. I would tell myself, “You are worth it, go for it, get ‘r done.”

What would you like to do with this office in the coming year?
My main goal is to make an impact on our level of trainings, take it up another notch. We have good trainings, but I want to make them better. I want to integrate the internet and GoToMeeting. We have these opportunities to reach people who don’t come to trainings or conferences, but hopefully, we can reach them over the internet. I want to target the webinar. I really hope to make an impact through the Internet to those clubs in Farmington and Carlsbad that don’t typically come to club training.