June 4, 2024

  • James Tanis, 43 Year Toastmaster
  • Save the Date for COT Plus HALL OF FAME
  • WMAT holds Open House

by Barb Sheren

Jim Tanis joined Toastmasters in 1981, staying active for 43 1/2 years. He has held the Club President office several times along with holding other leadership roles over the years in two clubs. As a member of The Breakfast Club of Muskegon for 43 years and the White Lake club for 8 1/2 years he has attained the rank of ATM Gold Toastmaster and participated in many contests including the District 62 International Speech Contest.

He joined Toastmasters to overcome shyness even though he decided early in life to never speak in public again after failing a high school speech class.

Back in 1981 he never thought he would overcome those odds and conduct 526 funerals, speak as the Keynote at 7 high school graduations and a leadership forum, speak at two Pride Days events, stand in for ministers 15 times every year, speak at Memorial Day services, lead many retirement services and is still speaking today. He recently spoke at the Muskegon Area Nurses Honor Guard Banquet with 70 nurses in attendance.

Jim would be the first to admit that he’s not computer savvy but in spite of this he is about to complete his second Pathway in Presentation Mastery after completing Humorously Speaking last year. Jim hopes to continue in Toastmasters for two more years to complete his 45th anniversary as a Toastmaster.

Also interesting is Jim was a clown, going under the name of Punky the Clown for many many years. He recently hung up his clown shoes but he’s still clowning around in the White Lake area. Jim is evidence of the quote by Helen Blanchard, the first female Toastmaster and first female President of Toastmasters International, “If you get out of Toastmasters all there is to get out of Toastmasters you will never get out of Toastmasters.”

Jim holds his photo as Punky the Clown



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