Vivian Prater. Photo by Carla Thomas.
Vivian Prater is a member of ARPB Toastmasters Club #8933, which serves the Bay Area, including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda, and San Leandro. Prater received the highest area director honors for Toastmasters Leadership Clubs as Select Distinguished Area Director and Co-Area Director of the Year. She recently sat down with the Oakland Post to discuss her latest accomplishments.
Were you surprised to be recognized this summer?
VP: If someone had asked me what I envisioned for myself in July 2017, I most likely would have said, I would be the same ordinary Toastmaster I was. Never in my wildest dream did I think I would be a SELECT DISTINGUISHED AREA DIRECTOR AND A CO-AREA DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR. During the past year from July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017, I have been totally transformed.
How did your journey begin?
VP: I began my year deciding to join the TLC (Toastmasters Leadership Club) and embarking on doing my HPL (High Performance Leadership) project as an Area Director. My goal was to help my clubs raise their profile and succeeded in having one club be Distinguished and the others to be Select Distinguished and President’s Distinguished.
Who inspired you along the way?
VP: I met, Adrian Jefferson Chi for, during an office visit to Oakland Uptown, which was one of the clubs in my area. I sensed she was special and when she entered her heartfelt speech, “The Final Goodbye,” about her recently deceased father and won the Spring International Speech Contest, I was shocked to know she’d only been in Toastmasters for less than a year. Adrian won multiple awards and was elected to be president of Oakland Uptown for the year 2017- 2018.
What have you learned as Area Director?
VP: I found that by being an Area Director, you get the opportunity to connect with people in a totally different way as a servant leader. During my visits with the Oakland Uptown chapter, I shared with them the importance of getting the most out of their Toastmasters journey.
How has Toastmasters expanded your network?
VP: I connected deeply with Elizabeth Pauw, the president of my home club, ARPB Toastmasters. She was a vital part of my executive committee and an important link in helping ARPB Toastmasters chosen as Select Distinguished. Elizabeth will be my replacement as the Area Director for 2017-2018.
What other opportunities did you encounter?
VP: I had the great opportunity to meet and work with Maya Clark. Maya is the daughter of Ernest Clark, the last person who is a founding member of ARPB Toastmasters Club. Maya also was a part of my executive committee. Maya did an amazing job as our VPE.
What does the future hold for you?
VP: In my new position, I will serve as the Awards Chair of D57 for 2017-2018. I am fortunate to have been mentored by Merci Del Rosario for my new position.
What is your advice to other aspiring leaders?
VP: I strongly urge anyone to join Toastmasters and I encourage current members to step out of their comfort zones and consider assisting their area directors. This will be a chance to be surprised and positively rewarded beyond your imagination.