Munich Prostmasters was chartered in 1999 and was at the time the second English-speaking club in Munich. We could now call it the first English club in Munich – but that would not be fair to our fathering club, the Munich Toastmasters.
Stories are in everything, also in history. This is a history of our club. We could have told it differently – highlighting other dates and events - but we chose to write the story which best represents our club's character. We hope you will come and see for yourself one day soon and become part of our (hi)story in the making – because we may not be legendary yet, but we're definitely on the right track.
Way back in 1999 there were about eleven Toastmasters clubs in all of Germany, three in Munich and three in Berlin. In that year Continental Europe was officially declared a Provisional District, meaning there were about 45 clubs. If Continental Europe could grow to 60 clubs in three years’ time, full district status would be conferred.
Exciting times for Toastmasters in Europe you might say. Now let's zoom in on Munich in the summer of 1998: there were only three clubs and the single English club, Munich Toastmasters, was exploding! In fact, there were so many members that speaking slots became scarce and the quality of the meetings was at stake. The officers took the wise decision to split and named the new club “Munich Prostmasters”.
THE NAMING GAME
You might wonder where the name “Munich Prostmasters” comes from – you might even have heard myths and legends about it, but the one and only true story is recorded here below:
Back in 1993, Albert Kaufmann, a member of Munich Toastmasters, came up with the idea of changing the club's name to Munich Prostmasters. As this required filing for a new name and a number of changes to the club bylaws and so forth, the officers team decided to put this up for a vote in the club. When voting night came, one member suddenly rose and delivered a magnificently effective emotional speech to prevent changing the name which caused the vote to turn.
Nonetheless, the name – a clever pun on the word Toastmasters, replacing the English “toast” for its German equivalent “prost” – stuck and when (in 1998) Munich Toastmasters was split, the new club was called Munich Prostmasters and came to be called just so.
Thus, the club's name has an even longer history than the club itself !
By the way: the club's first ever newsletter... was “The Prostpost”.
Barely one year later – in March 1999, Munich Prostmasters reached 20 members and was officially chartered.
The first president was Christopher Magyar and he has since only rarely skipped a meeting.
- Summer 1998 – chartering: Christopher Magyar
- 1999 – 2000: Christopher Magyar
- 2000 – 2001: Denise Magyar
- 2001 – 2002: Ralf Schleer
- 2002 – 2003: Matthias Sen
- 2003 – 2004: Josef Neumeier
- 2004 – 2005: Dirk Husfeld
- 2005 – 2006: Daniela Dettmann
- 2006 – 2007: Irina Troshina
- 2007 – 2008: Ranjith Venkatesh
- 2008 – 2009: Cynthia Myers + Goekhan Kilic
- 2009 – 2010: Goekhan Kilic
- 2010 – 2011: Mel Kelly
- 2011 – 2012: Darya Belousova
- 2012 – 2013: Ineke Vermeulen
- 2013 – 2014: Thomas Dall
- 2014 – 2015: Caroline Deinert
- 2015 – 2016: Stefan Gruss
- 2016 – 2017: Stephanie Hobert
- 2017 – 2018: Ranjith Venkatesh
Even though splitting a strong club into two clubs is always hazardous – it very often results in two weak clubs – both clubs have continued to thrive since. The greatest thing maybe is that both clubs were able to develop into very unique clubs, both successful in their way, but very different in atmosphere.
We have an impressive award history – not just in the Distinguished Club Program – but also when you look at some of our club members' personal competition and leadership track records.
When District 59 (Continental Europe) became a provisional district in 2000, a young member of Munich Prostmasters, Matthias Senn, won the very first Spring Conference in Copenhagen. After this first strike, we have regularly sent our champions on to District level and they have won: Humorous Speech, Table Topics and Evaluation Contests and – again – the International Speech Contest in 2006 with Martin Brown. He then went on to compete in Phoenix Arizona and came in third in the semifinals.
We even indirectly made it to the 2005 International Speech Contest in Toronto. In the early years we had a member from Eastern Germany, Stefan Köhler. Unfortunately, after less than a year in the club he went to college in Wisconsin, and although he did come back after a year, he eventually left permanently for the United States. Of course, he became a member of a local club there and, after a winning streak, went to the finals in Toronto. As he was interviewed on stage, he made a point of thanking Christopher and Denise Magyar of Munich Prostmasters. To this day he is active as a professional public speaker.
WE ARE A UNIQUE CLUB
Not only do we have champion speakers, our club is also a breeding ground for leadership talent. Of the 12 District Governors to date, 3 of them were members of Munich Prostmasters! Dirk Husfeld was the first District Governor during the first year as a provisional district and, when the District passed the three-year and 60-clubs threshold, Denise Magyar became Governor. That year, Munich hosted the District 59 Spring Conference.
- Most international in Munich (except probably the Effective Communicators)
- Incredibly high standard of speakers
- 3 past District 59 District Governors
- Currently the Division I Division Governor, 2 Division I Area Governors and the District 59 LTG of PR are all members of Munich Prostmasters
- Winning guest speakers
- One member is a 3 time winner of evaluation contest + Table Topics contest winner
- 2 winners of international speech contests (1 went to Phoenix and came in third in the semi-finals)
WHERE WE MET OVER THE YEARS
Of course, there were times when trouble came to visit paradise too! While at the Evangelische Stadtakademie, in August 2003, the club almost went bankrupt – Warren Marine, Treasurer at the time, had to call for a contribution from all members in order for the club to survive. I mention the location not for the sake of accuracy, but because in our 14 years of existence, Munich Prostmasters has moved no less than eleven times! Moving incidents indeed.
- Hotel Arosa, Hottererstraße (the hotel stopped) – in 1998
- Manila, a filippinno restaurant near Viktualienmarkt (soon became too small) – also 1998
- Papier Technische Stiftung (PTS) – Heßstraße (not an ideal location – too deserted, hard to find, off the beaten track – we chartered there but moved on) – 1999
- TU Technische Universität München – near the Pinakotheken – 2000
- Piano Hirsch – a hotel near Sendlinger Tor (was too expensive) – 2001
- Evangelische Stadtakademie, Herzog Heinrichstraße (we broke the record there and stayed for more than 1 year) – 2002-2006
- Amerikahaus, Karolinenplatz (although a good location, the closing time and other programs were not convenient) – 2007
- Engpass, near Odeonsplatz (we stayed about 2 yrs and then it too became too small) - 2008-2009
- Akademiker Pastorale, near the Hauptbahnhof (change of the contract and we had to move on) – 2009-2010
- Movimento, in the Kaufinger Strasse (too expensive) – 2011- 2012
- Freiraum, in Westschwabing (we hope to stay forever) – since July 2012
So when you come to a club meeting and get the impression that we're slightly unprofessional and laid back, bear in mind that we are a breeding ground for talent in both tracks.
Become part of Prostmasters and help us on our and your path to greatness.