Archived Blog 10/9/17 DTM Ceremony Changes – A tribute to past DTM Chairs

Serving as the current DTM Chair is humbling. I hold a great deal of respect for the position as well as my 3 predecessors.  Marsha, Kim, and Deonna gave this program their heart and soul.  We as a district are better off because of their efforts.

That is why when I was asked what I wanted to change about the DTM Minting Ceremony, I had to think long and hard about it. All three of them brought in elements that make this ceremony and the position I now hold special.  Today I will share what I enjoyed about all 3 of their eras and how they all inspired what I want to do with the ceremony moving forward.

The Marsha Era:

The Godmother of this program. Marsha took a dream and made it a critical part of our district’s success. She earned TMOTY year honors in 2012 for her willingness to serve the district in this unselfish manner.

Marsha will forever be known as the “Godmother” of the DTM Mentoring Program. Keep in mind what she did.  She created the first DTM Mentoring Program in this world!  No other District had this program.  Marsha had an idea that she made a beautiful reality.  For that we should all be grateful.

I first met Marsha in November 2012 at the Fall Conference. We bonded quickly over being Miami Alumni and I knew her late husband Richard well (I was the Area Governor for one of his clubs).  At that conference I knew few people, Marsha, Richard, and Jenilee invited me to sit at their table for lunch.  Richard and I bantered about how bad the Browns were.  Then all 4 of us watched what would be the last DTM ceremony in the old format.

I was not impressed with what I saw.

That’s why when Marsha shared her plans for the ceremony when she took over, I was excited. She made changes that took the ceremony to the honorable dignified ceremony it is today.  Here is what I plan to keep from the Marsha era:

  1. The format of the ceremony – the foundation of the ceremony is amazing. You have someone who honors someone else. It reminds me of a good wedding toast or the NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony. It made the DTM honored feel special, and it allowed another person to feel special (the introducer). Why fix what is not broke?
  2. The confetti stays in the closet – I’ll be honest, Marsha’s changes to the DTM ceremony inspired me to finish up my DTM. The format before that did not excite me at all. There is no chance I’m bringing the confetti back!
  3. The significance of the DTM – Marsha did an amazing job of breaking down how big earning a DTM is. This is critical and important for the audience to understand, I plan on keeping this in the ceremony.

The Kim Era:

I’ll never forget what Kim said when Debbie Curtis told us both we were being awarded the District Governor’s Award. “I’m speechless!”
Debbie Retorted with, “That’s a first!”
Kim responded in kind with “Do I get a new tiara?”
Guess what Kim was given at that awards ceremony 😉

Kim and I worked with each other frequently over the years. When I was Club Extension Chair, she was the DTM Mentoring Program Chair.  The following year, I chaired both District Contests while she ran the DTM Ceremony.  The two of us worked so well together, we knew what we could expect from each other.  I was honored to earn the District Governor’s Award with her in 2014.  I could not have been prouder of her when she was the 2016 Toastmaster of the Year.  What I admire about Kim is that she always thinks big and bold while raising the bar.

This District truly saw the program grow under Kim’s watch. In that spirit here is what I plan to keep from her era:

  1. No PowerPoint – When Kim made this change in late 2015 it changed the focus of the PowerPoint to the introducer and the DTM. It raised the bar of the introductions we heard, and I think it forced us as introducers to raise our game.
  2. Outside the Ceremony – This blog is an inspiration off of Kim’s Podcasts. Kim’s Podcasts have provided value to this district. Doing this blog pushes me to do the same. In fact Kim was the one who helped set me up this blog. 

The Deonna Era:

I’m happy for Deonna. Between her book, contest success, and 5th DTM, life after DTM chair is treating her well.

Out of the three I have known Deonna the longest. My first time in District Leadership Deonna was the Lt Governor of Education and Training (now the Club Quality Director).  Deonna has always been passionate about our education program.  Having 5 DTMs requires work most of us will not be able to fathom!  It made sense that someone that is so passionate about earning DTMs was our program chair.  I admire what Deonna did while she was in this role.  Here are a few I plan to keep:

  1. The 3 Minute Clap Down – It took a lot of courage to do this. I am keeping this for two reasons. The first is that we have to be timely with this ceremony. The second is that a good DTM intro rarely goes over 3 minutes! Deonna understood the quality and time management needed for a great ceremony. It is critical we keep this element.
  2. Outside the Ceremony – What Deonna did to announce DTM clinching moments was top notch. I put my own spin on it, however Deonna is who inspired me to write up and honor the DTMs on our Facebook Page the way I do. A few people thanked me for how I wrote them up after their clinched, they should not be thanking me, they should be thanking Deonna.

My changes:

I’m just excited to have a picture where my eyes are open. I hate flashes more than anyone you will ever meet.

They are a few things I plan to try this year. Here are my top ideas:

  1. A short briefing – DTMs and Introducers: my briefing will be 5 minutes. Introducers will be shown the lights and reminded of their time limit. DTMs will be showed how they will take the stage. That’s all we need to cover J
  2. A DTM Ceremony TM – I will not be the MC for the event. Every conference I will look at the host division DTMS and see who I think well represents the DTM brand to serve as the host. I’m pumped that Debbie Curtis will be hosting the ceremony. I think the world of her!
  3. Less Lag Time – I plan to grab a picture of all the DTMs before the minting. However we will utilize the photographer after each introduction is complete. That will allow the ceremony to move quicker.  I also plan to cut the DTM Honoree grand entrance to eliminate confusion and be timely.

Will my changes make the ceremony better? I hope so, however I also know this is a trail by error process.  The ideas work, we’ll keep.  The ideas that don’t we can scrap.  However the ultimate goal is this:   to honor the newest members of the DTM family and allow their achievements to inspire the rest of the district.  If we do this, we will always be successful.

That’s all for this week!

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