Toastmasters Honors Jim Cathcart with The Golden Gavel

For a professional speaker the highest award one can receive is Toastmasters’ Golden Gavel. This award has been given to one person each year for forty two years. Previous recipients include: Walter Cronkite, Earl Nightingale, Art Linkletter and Dr. Joyce Brothers. More recent recipients are Zig Ziglar, Tom Peters, Anthony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. The honoree for 2001 is author and speaker, Jim Cathcart. Cathcart is a business motivator best known for his books The Acorn Principle (St. Martin’s Press), and Relationship Selling (Putnam Berkeley). With over 2,400 professional speeches under his belt, Mr. Cathcart has addressed virtually every industry and profession. He is a past president of the National Speakers Association, a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, and recipient of the coveted Cavett Award. Toastmasters International has 180,000 members in 9,000 clubs in 60 countries. They teach communication and leadership skills through actual experience for individuals around the world. Business and Civic leaders worldwide have credited their Toastmasters experience for giving them the confidence and skill to speak and lead effectively. The presentation of the Golden Gavel took place in Anaheim, California before a luncheon crowd of 1,200 Toastmasters from around the globe. Jim Cathcart delivered a high-energy presentation titled, “All leadership begins with Self-Leadership.” Filled with humor as well as inspiring, real-world examples, his presentation met with standing ovations both before and after he spoke. As further testament to the value of his message, the audience stood in line for one hour and twenty minutes to obtain Mr. Cathcart’s books and his autograph! Here are some of the salient points Cathcart presented:

  • Leadership is a privilege and a responsibility.
  • Sometimes one idea can transform your life.
  • Think in terms of the person or company you can be, not merely the one you are today.
  • If the world is changing more than you are, you will soon be obsolete.
  • Never stop re-learning because everything is changing.
  • Leadership skills and interpersonal skills do not become obsolete.
  • The human factor trumps technology as the most valuable aspect of business.
  • When power shifts from institutions to individuals, self-leadership is vital.
  • Self-leadership is: the ability to get yourself to do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, whether you feel like it or not, and still do it well.
  • If people don’t know what is possible, they will tend to ask for too little.
  • Aim high because the future you see defines the person you will be.
  • Build your professional and personal reputations long before you need them.

Lead with your heart (emotion and spirit) and guide with your head (logic). Mr. Cathcart told of an audience member who took his message to heart in 1979, at age nineteen. By 1998 the young man was a multimillionaire and credited his success to the idea Cathcart gave him eighteen years earlier. Another highlight of the presentation was when Cathcart introduced his six month old grandson, Jason Tyler Cathcart, to the audience. As they applauded, Jason grinned widely and kicked vigorously while his father, Jim Cathcart, Jr. held him aloft. In homage to his own mentor, Mr. Cathcart played a brief recording of Earl Nightingale’s radio broadcast which had inspired him to become a speaker. Cathcart heard the recording in 1972 and has clearly proven its value. Today, Jim Cathcart is the author of thirteen books, veteran of thousands of speeches and serves as dramatic proof that significant achievement lies within the reach of everyone. He closed with this question: “How would the person you would like to be do the things you are about to do?” Toastmasters Logo For further information contact: Jim Cathcart, Cathcart Institute, LLC, 805-777-3477, Toastmasters International, 949-858-8255,

List of past years’ Golden Gavel Recipients.