2020 George Keenan Award recipient
George Keenan was a dedicated Toastmaster who served Toastmasters International and District 60 for many years, particularly as Parliamentarian and Credentials Chair, and as a District Governor in 1984-85. He was one of the most recognized Toastmasters in District 60. In 1995, to commemorate his 80th birthday and his 35th year in Toastmasters, his wife Judy, in coordination with the District, established an award in his name. It is given every year to an active Toastmaster who continues to serve and promote Toastmasters within the District and externally.
2020 George Keenan award recipient: Karim Premji, DTM
As an e-Business Project Management Professional, Karim Premji wanted to improve his presentation and meeting management skills. When Toastmasters came to his work place in 2004, he joined as its charter Sergeant-at-Arms. While attending his first Club Officer Training, he found the hidden meaning of Toastmasters, “Where Leaders are Made!”
Inspired by a quote from Muhammad Ali, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on Earth”, Karim continues to serve Toastmasters in Ontario. Through his active participation in and service to the Toastmasters Education Program, Karim has had personal success at work and in his community.
Karim has a keen knowledge of all things Toastmasters from years of experience promoting the education program. He provides excellent feedback to members so that they can develop problem-solving skills. His unique ability to sense patterns, trends and to simplify rules and processes are sought by District Officers.
For the past 7 years, Karim has devoted his personal time in the development and support of Pathways as a Learning Master, Pathways Ambassador and Guide. He has also been an active member of the two District 60/86 Reformation Committees.
As a 10-time recipient of an “Of The Year Award”, Karim has used his experience to revamp this recognition program. By updating, simplifying and making it more accessible, Karim modernized the program while serving as Chair for 4 years.
For his long-term contributions to the Ismaili community, members, clubs and districts, he has been recognized by his hometown of Richmond Hill, the Province of Ontario, the Governor General and Toastmasters International.
Some of Karim’s Toastmasters accomplishments include:
- Sponsoring 160 members
- Achieving 185 education awards
- Sponsoring, Mentoring and Coaching 16 clubs matching his 16 DTMs
- Serving as a Club or District Officer over 50 times
- Facilitating Club and District Officer Training over 90 times
- One of the first in the world to achieve the Advanced Leader Bronze Award (2006) and has achieved it with 20 different clubs
- Serving as a District Officer in both D60 & D86 for 2 consecutive years (4 roles)
- Recipient of the 3 Toastmaster and Area Governor of the Year Awards and Division Governor, President, Publicist and Sponsor of the Year
- Member of 28 different clubs (charter member of 13 clubs)
- Serving in every District Committee over the past 16 years
- Recipient of the 3 highest Toastmasters honours in Central Ontario, Presidential Citation Award, 2017; D86 Douglas Barclay Award, 2017 & D60 George Keenan Award, 2020
Mirroring some of George Keenan’s passions, Karim’s favourite roles have been Parliamentarian and Credentials Chair. This term, he is serving as the District 123 Alignment Co-Chair and the 2021 George Keenan Award Nomination Chair.
The key to his success and advice to others is to come prepared, actively participate in the education program, and to give more than you receive.