RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., Oct. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Toastmasters International has come a long way since its humble beginnings 90 years ago. Since October 22, 1924, when Toastmasters' founder Ralph C. Smedley held the first meeting in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, Calif., more than 4 million men and women have become more confident speakers and leaders through the Toastmasters experience. And Smedley's idea of turning young business leaders into "would-be orators" has led to a thriving global organization with membership exceeding 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries.
Toastmasters International continues to build on Smedley's vision as it grows both domestically and internationally. With communication and leadership skills ranking at the top of employers' list of attributes desired in employees, Toastmasters training benefits job seekers of all ages and demographics. Many employers – including numerous Fortune 500 companies – offer corporate clubs that employees can join to develop and improve their skills.
"Toastmasters' ability to thrive over the last 90 years is a testament to Smedley's vision and people's desire for self-improvement," says Toastmasters International President Mohammed Murad. "He recognized the importance of developing public speaking skills in a supportive, social atmosphere. He was fond of saying, 'We learn best in moments of enjoyment.' "
Toastmasters continues to see consistent growth and has seen significant membership gains for the past 21 years. The organization is continually evolving and has many initiatives underway, including expanding its corporate presence and modernizing its education program.
"These initiatives will continue to make us relevant to a new generation of professionals," says Toastmasters Chief Executive Officer Daniel Rex.
While Toastmasters remains focused on expansion, Rex attributes the organization's achievements and longevity to the dedication of its members. "We couldn't have achieved our sustained success over the past 90 years without the support and efforts of our leaders all over the world who volunteer their time and expertise to create a rich and rewarding member experience."
For more information, visit Toastmasters 90th anniversary website and watch a brief 90th anniversary video and view photos of the world's oldest Toastmasters club. Participate in the social conversation by using the hashtag #TI90years.
About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, California, the organization's membership exceeds 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people of all backgrounds become more confident in front of an audience. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.
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SOURCE Toastmasters International