On November 23 2019, District 86 honoured all it’s Of The Year Award winners. We had an amazing night of celebration recognizing the successes of our leaders and members from the 2018-2019 Toastmaster year.
This year we had many nominees, I would like to identify each nominee before naming the winners of each category:
Alvin Abawan | Aurie Contosta | Brian Patton | Cal Lockhart | Candu Toastmasters | Cindy Tate | Confidentially Speaking TM | Deridor Collier | Felicia Ketcheson | Firdaus Walele | Grant Bouchard | Halton Hills TM | Leslie Benfield | Margaret Waechter | Matthew Ogbulafor | Nancy Movrin | Peter Day | Ram Lakhanpal | Shamela Shah | Tim Douglin | Tuula Redditt | Vasu Desikachary
District Publicist of the Year – Matthew Ogbulafor
Our District Publicist of the Year award celebrates the individual who made the biggest impact in helping promote Toastmasters in the community. Public Relations is challenging for some people and this year we were blessed with a wide range of novel ideas. We had clubs reaching out to their local media, we had several cities recognize Toastmasters Month and so much more. Matthew Ogbulafor has helped the District is a wide array of formats. Heplayed an integral part in Emailing all District members, was responsible for the distribution of the Newsletter, was a key coordinator in arranging the interview and subsequent promotion of the video of our International 1st Vice President Richard Peck DTM, managed some of our social media content on Facebook, and created 8 Press Releases and distributed them to the media.
Club Coach of the Year – Ram Lakhanpal
Our Club Coach of the Year submissions this year were amazing. I was amazed at how many awesome people were submitted. It makes me feel all warm inside knowing we have so many great coaches supporting our clubs. This year, club coaches were asked to submit a club recovery plan so that the Club Growth Director knew the coach and club were a good match and had a plan to achieve success. Ram Lakhanpal identified that new members needed a 10-step plan to their success in Toastmasters provided to them on the first day of membership, that additional Pathways support was needed, there were several opportunities to promote the club in the community using posters, Facebook, Meetup, as well as identifying many different little ways the club could take things they were doing to the next level. Evidently, they succeeded. Seven different club members with many of them being new achieved multiple educational awards, the club added 12 new members, the club achieved President’s Distinguished status, its club officers were trained in both rounds of training, hosted workshops on Pathways, Evaluations, Member Engagement, Motivating People, Meeting Roles, and Beginning Meetings with a Bang. Wow it made me out of breath just saying all this when I presented the award.
Club President of the Year – Leslie Benfield
Leslie Benfield left me breathless with everything he has achieved. He has helped take their club to new heights. This club has 80% of its members enrolled in Pathways now, grew its membership by 18%, and has been promoted in many unique ways to promote its presence and establish relationships with clubs in many different locations in order to learn and adopt as many best practices as possible. Leslie earned seven educational awards on his own, coached a club to success, travelled all over to promote his club including Kitchener, Sudbury, Ottawa, Miami, Chicago, Dominican Republic, Georgetown in Guyana, was on television, attended multiple marketing expos, multiple contests, District 86 conference, the International Convention in Chicago, created a Gavel Club, the list could go on. Most importantly, Leslie led his club to President’s Distinguished status for the first time in the Chez Nous Toastmasters club history.
Area Director of the Year – Aurie Contosta (Area 44)
Aurie Contosta can be summarized in many different ways-a ray of sunshine, the Energizer Bunny, and someone who is always on the go. She has taken the role of supporting her clubs and Division to a whole extra level. The Area grew its membership by 3%, has 67% of its officers enrolled in Pathways, found a corporate sponsor for their Division’s Marketing Expo, provided an extra level of support to their fellow Area Directors, and supported their clubs so well that for the first time their area had two President’s Distinguished Clubs and one Distinguished Club. Additionally, she demonstrated the value of Toastmasters by earning 5 different educational awards, being a member of 3 different clubs-one of which is a French club, serving as a club officer in two of her clubs, , serving as a club coach, and more. Aurie enjoyed her Area Director role so much, she’s stepped up and is now serving as a Division Director.
Division Director of the Year – Cindy Tate (Division B)
Cindy Tate can be described as always willing to help and go the extra 100 miles to support her team. She had substantial Pathways support amongst her Division Leadership with 55 % of the club officers and members enrolled, earned two levels in two different paths herself, had several Area Directors earn levels in Pathways, had substantial Area Director Representation at all District Executive Council meetings and Division Council meetings, led 5 of 7 Area Directors to achieve Distinguished or better status, hosted the most successful Marketing Expo in District 86 as Division B’s was the only one to have many guests, served as a successful club coach, supported the oh-so-close creation of a club that added 21 new members to other clubs, created a second corporate club at their company that charted a few weeks late due to a few key individuals being on vacation, served as Assistant Area Director to one of their Area Directors going thru some very serious medical treatments, mentored members across 4 different clubs, is a member of 3 different clubs, had 21 clubs achieve Distinguished Status or better, and did all this while also serving as the District Alignment Chair where she also contributed well over 100 hours of service in addition to being the Division Director.
Toastmaster of the Year – Tuula Redditt
Tuula Redditt is always seen with a smile on her face and extending a helping hand. Tuula has shown dedication and leadership in regards to membership, education, and leadership. She has developed membership by providing workshops for their club Speak to Inspire, conducting membership building campaigns, sponsoring 3 new members, and supporting the marketing expo initiative throughout the District. In terms of education she has helped develop it throughout the District by providing club officer training, coordinating three different Speechcraft Programs, a Youth Leadership Program, volunteering at club, area and Division contests, She earned 3 different levels in the Pathway program, and facilitating communication of all District education communication on the website. Tuula has served as a strong leader throughout the District by serving as a vital part of the District PR team last year as an assistant to the Public Relations Manager, serving on the Conference Committee, serving as a mentor and coach to multiple Area Directors in her Division, serving as a club officer, and mentoring 5 different members. In terms of public relations, she is immensely valuable. Tuula served as the Blog & Newsletter editor for her club and the District, served as the graphics coordinator for all District created materials for contests, business cards, the Go for Bold program, website banners and modules, and more. In addition she helped promote the District through her local Rotary club, her local Senior’s Center, and her local YMCA. Over and above all this, she went far beyond her own boundaries and learned how to help manage the District website so she could make updates to various forms, the District calendar, banners, modules, events, and more. When I presented the award, I was out of breath just thinking, never mind saying how Tuula Redditt has influenced people throughout our District.
Club of the Year Awards
For Club of the Year for District 86, this award is split into three categories – Membership Leadership, Education Leadership, and Overall Club of the Year. This award is based solely on the total number of points and we had fantastic candidates this year.
Membership Leadership Award – Halton Hills Toastmasters Club
Our Membership Leadership Award recognizes overall membership growth and retention, District Support, Membership Years of Service, Community Programs, and Club Officer Training. Halton Hills has 11 members with 3 or more years of membership, 21 new members, two members served on the District Executive and on District Committees, one member served as a Club Coach and had all its club officers trained in both Phase 1 and Phase 2.
Education Leadership Award – Candu Toastmasters Club
Our Education Leadership Award recognizes overall Education Achievement in terms of the number of awards by combining the total number of awards in the Legacy and the Pathways programs. Candu had 26 awards last year between the Legacy and the Pathways programs with 21 of them coming from Pathways. They are a true leader in the adoption of the new Toastmasters Education program.
Club of the Year – Confidentially Speaking Toastmasters Club
Our Overall Club of the Year recognizes achievement in both the Membership and Education categories. This is the third time that Confidentially Speaking has earned this award and this year they earned 40 awards between the Legacy and the Pathways programs and they are a club that believes in maintaining its members with 18 having three or more years of membership and they also had 40 new members. They also had all seven club officers trained in both Phase 1 and Phase 2.