Susan Smiley was pleasantly surprised by the amount of content offered in each Pathways project and the positive impact it’s had on her life. “I used the projects in Visionary Communications as an impetus to complete a personal project I had been working on for several years.“ She examined each project with an eye to the evaluation criteria and how she could improve herself. In the process, Susan shared information about many aspects of her life, from climbing to the top of the Potala Palace in Tibet, to adopting a donkey at The Donkey Sanctuary. Even traveling to a variety of interesting locations in Toronto for a blog called “Living on the Subway Line.”
When Susan does a Pathways Presentation, she makes it personal. She can talk about how Pathways has worked for her, rather than just offering a packed presentation. Even though there is a lot of information to be presented, she finds ways to make it relevant and tailored to the group she’s speaking to.
Susan’s perspective on Pathways has changed drastically from her first impressions. Susan remarks, “I was very sceptical of Pathways when I first heard of it. As a retiree, I didn’t feel it addressed my preferences the way the manuals did. As time went on I started looking into Pathways in-depth: first by reading the information on the Toastmasters International website, then becoming a Pathways Ambassador, then a Pathways trainer. Once I was fully informed, I saw the value of the on-line module format of the Paths, as they could offer much more training for each project.”
Selecting Presentation Mastery as her first path based on its Level 4 and 5 projects, Susan felt they would be of value to a pet project. And they were! She then selected Engaging Humour on practically the same day it was introduced. Her fourth path, Innovative Planning, is also good fit given that she’s involved in a few projects that could be helped by the Path specific projects.
Susan was a Toastmaster from 1990-1993 and then rejoined in 2016. She has completed Presentation Mastery, Visionary Communications and Engaging Humour paths and several speeches in Innovative Planning. “Toastmasters is about developing our Leadership and Communication skills. The new curriculum format doesn’t change that. Each Path has 1-2 Path specific projects at each level after Level 1. Take a close look at these projects to see what Path might serve you best. Then dig in and get going!” Susan says.