So long, farewell…

So long, farewell…

By Patricia O’Reilly, District Director 2018-19

In “The Sound of Music”, the Von Trapp family sang, “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye”

It’s almost time for me to say “so long, farewell” as your District Director. I’ve served 5 years and 3 months on the District Leadership Team. It has been a huge commitment in terms of time and effort, but it has also been richly rewarding. A member of the DLT told me recently that “the amount of knowledge you have about how things are done is encyclopaedic and I for one would have had a much harder year if you hadn’t been there to advise me”. That DLT member was right. I do have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the district. But that knowledge has been learned from the District Directors I served under – Luanne Kent, Kevin Lee, Michael Collins and Red Skelton. For better or for worse they had a big influence on my development on the DLT.

Other members who influenced me are past District Governor, David Thompson, past Region Advisor Aletta Rochat, Past International Director Teresa Dukes and most especially Past International President, Ted Corcoran. I am grateful to each of them.

While it’s difficult to measure commitment and effort it’s important to recognise it. I would like to recognise the commitment and effort put in by the members of the DLT and the wider District Executive Committee in 2018-19.

  • John Cox, Program Quality Director was a great support to me and masterminded a very successful 8 semi-finals and 4 finals at the District Conference.
  • Gerard Mannix, Club Growth Director helped to add 14 new clubs to the District and was so committed to his role that he went in person to a corporate club and guided one of the members through the renewal process and followed up with Toastmasters International on a daily basis to get the club reinstated.
  • Daniel Sandars, PR Manager gave us informative, interesting and entertaining newsletters, ensured the district was visible on social media and resurrected the District YouTube channel.
  • Brenda Lannon, Administration Manager, whose attention to detail, willingness to learn and commitment to her role made my life easier and contributed to the smooth running of the District.
  • Martin Foran, Finance Manager was patient and dependable and understood the importance of accountability in his role. His strict adherence to accountability meant that he even had the temerity to challenge the District Director’s expense claims. I couldn’t have asked for a better finance manager.
  • Red Skelton, Immediate Past District Director was always available to take a call when I needed his advice.
  • The Division Directors all of whom are at least Distinguished – Phillip O’Brien, Larry Lyons, Barry Lane, Shaun Durkin, Andy Nichols, Pat Croke, Alex Knibbs, Steve Campion, Colm McGlade, John McFadzean and Avril Stringer.
  • The Area Directors – Mari Manning, Alun Rees, Charlie Corrigan, Darren Burnett, Donnacha Smyth, Helsa Giles, Rosario Walsh, Derry Butler, Michael Madigan, Marie McNamee, Chris McCabe, Laurence Kelly, Jim Keating, Loretto Kenny, Niamh Doherty, Ita Finnerty, Danny Banks, Jill Ming, Mish Barad, Ken MacKenzie, Thérèse Kinahan, Pat Coakley, Paul Gannon, Kevin McGill, Karen Bellerby, Ray Mitchell, Martin Harnor, Faye Ritchie, Wojciech Zujla, Martin Mansell, Binal Sawjani, Gareth Coghlan, Mairead Murphy, P.J. Claffey, Mary Burnham, Bobby Buckley, John Kelly, Lynn Gregory, Becky Pennington, Rumbi Chihoro, Shyamenda Purslow, Tina Norbury, Adrian Herbert, Helen Kelly, Phil Cooper and Neil Whitelaw.

Will I “heave a sigh” as I say goodbye? Of course, there will be a sigh of sadness that my year as District Director has ended. But it’s time to move on. I will step into the advisory role of Immediate Past District Director and will still be involved in various pursuits across the District. Outside of toastmasters I’m looking forward to spending more time with my 18 months old twin granddaughters and their 6 months old sister. I’m hoping my garden will be blooming beautifully by the end of the summer and in September I hope to go back to college.

Alfred Lord Tennyson said in Morte d’Arthur “the old order changeth, yielding place to new”. I wish the incoming team a very successful year and I look forward to working with them.

One of the current DLT members said to me recently “your year as District Director will play a big part in my activities in TM for years to come”. As I say, “so long, farewell”, I couldn’t ask for a better compliment.

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