You’ll recognize Darrell Henderson, DTM, by the loud suit jackets that have become his trademark at Toastmasters District 23 events.
You’ll know Henderson, a Los Angeles native and El Paso veterans benefits advisor, by his humor and his passion for both Toastmasters and veterans.
A member of EPCC Toastmasters and 24-year military veteran, Henderson brings his humor and passion to the top of Division D this year, where he will serve as Division D Director for the El Paso and Las Cruces areas.
In his spare time, Darrell enjoys board games — not American standards like “Monopoly” or “Operation,” but Eurogames like “Catan,” “Terraforming Mars” and “Feast for Odin.”
How did you find out about Toastmasters, and what brought you into that first meeting?
I was recruited by a guy named Gary Brown. I was sitting in a bagel shop. He told me about Toastmasters. I went to a meeting a month after he told me about it.
What was it that brought you to your second meeting?
Table Topics. I think I won a trophy. Table Topics had me hooked and I had to come back.
How are you using your Toastmasters skills outside of the organization?
It helps me in my job. I do a six-hour briefing every Friday where I have to stand in front of 30 to 50 different veterans and tell them all about their VA benefits. Toastmasters has given me the confidence to do it without my script. I can be funny and engaging and the service members can learn something.
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?
Probably the leadership aspect. After I became president of Northeast Toastmasters and we accomplished 10 out of 10 (Distinguished Club Program) goals, we were effecting change in the community. We were getting people better at speaking and leadership, and that was a good feeling for me. We’re helping people accomplish their goals.
If you could go back in time and see yourself attending that first meeting, what would you tell yourself?
If you stick with the program, stick with the course, participate, you’re going to get a whole lot more out of it. You don’t participate, you don’t grow.
What would you like to do with this office in the coming year?
My vision statement is still under construction. I want to develop and strengthen clubs by followup. I mean following up with those guests, following up with members who haven’t shown up in a few meetings. I think that a phone call is the key to saving clubs.