Presidential Citation Award

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Aurora Toastmaster to receive the Presidential Citation at Toastmasters International Hall of Fame Ceremony

Ross Mackay, DTM, PID, AS, a seasoned Toastmaster will receive the Presidential Citation at the Hall of Fame ceremony during the 89th Toastmasters International Convention slated for August 27, 2020.

The Presidential Citation, one of Toastmasters highest awards, is given for outstanding and continued contributions to Toastmasters International's organizational growth and excellence.

Mackay, a Distinguished Toastmaster, professional speaker and trainer, started his Toastmasters Journey 29 years ago when he joined the Towns of York Toastmasters Club in Aurora, Ontario. Over the years, he sharpened his communication and leadership skills by taking full advantage of the Toastmasters educational curriculum and by helping others in his community.

His excellent oratorical skills helped Mackay place 3rd in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking in 1995 from a field of over 20,000 contestants. He is also the only Toastmaster in District 86 to have earned the Accredited Speakers Award for professionalism and outstanding achievements in public speaking.

Mackay has also served on the Board of Directors of Toastmasters International.

Toastmasters District 86 Director, Jocelyne Vezina expressed her excitement over the recognition. "Ross has spent many years guiding young Toastmasters members to excel in their professional careers", she said. "He also was instrumental in creating our District over ten years ago during the Reformation phases. This award is well deserved. We rejoice with him and his family."

Mackay's desire to help others succeed has been his driving force since he became a Toastmaster. "From my early days as a member, it became increasingly apparent to me that Toastmasters can change the lives of those who may never have a chance of doing so by any other means", he said. "It continues to be particularly relevant for all people who want to develop their self-confidence, and their communication and leadership skills."

Mackay, an author of 5 non-fictional books and 3 audio books including "Humour is No Laughing Matter." He is happily married to his wife, Margaret for over 50 years.

For more information about Ross Mackay, please contact Lisa des Vignes, District 86 Public Relations Manager.

Stabilizing & Strengthening Clubs Workshop

Reflections on the workshop by Matt Kinsey, DTM, PID

MattKinseyBlog imageOn July 29, 2020 Matt Kinsey delivered a Masterclass workshop in membership building.

We learned how to increase the members in our clubs  | "How to" attract, retain and grow our clubs membership | We learned membership Growth Strategies | CPR membership techniques and how to breathe life into our clubs | and we learned about Club Growth Initiative 

"I found some fantastic ideas to help with membership building and issues that our clubs face especially during the pandemic. The workshop was very informative and useful. Matt is a great educator with valuable experience."_Tuula Redditt 

A recording of this event is now available. Check it out!

About Matt Kinsey, DTM, PID

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Aug. 23, 2019 — Matt Kinsey, of Coral Springs, Florida, has been elected Second Vice President of Toastmasters International, the world’s leading organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development. Kinsey was elected to the one-year term at the organization’s 88th annual International Convention, held Aug. 21-24 in Denver, Colo.

As a member of the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, Kinsey is a “working ambassador” for the organization. He works with the Board to develop and support the policies and procedures that guide Toastmasters International in fulfilling its mission.

Kinsey is the CEO of MK Tech Group in Coral Springs, Florida, which he started in 2007. Kinsey oversees all aspects of his IT consulting firm that services small and medium-sized businesses in the South Florida area.

Kinsey holds a master’s degree in computer information systems from the University of Phoenix, Arizona. He has a certificate in strategic management and was recognized with the Silver Beaver and Vigil Honor awards for his work with the Boy Scouts of America. As a Boy Scout volunteer for 23 years, he has held numerous positions within the organization including district chairman, event chairman, and currently serves as the council’s camping chairman.

A Toastmaster since 2003, Kinsey is a charter member of his home club, Outspoken Toastmasters, in Coral Springs. He has held a number of high-profile leadership positions within Toastmasters and has attained the Distinguished Toastmaster designation—the highest level of educational achievement in the organization.

“I have learned that to be most successful, you need to lead with your heart and not your head,” he says. “There is no finer program than Toastmasters for helping people build their self-confidence, communication and leadership skills.”

Toastmasters Branding Advanced CANVA Workshop

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Toastmasters District 20 and Resources for Toastmasters (RTF) Facebook Group hosted a first and unique Toastmasters Branding Workshop from Kuwait City on Wednesday, 27 May via the ZOOM video conference platform. On the heels of that very successful workshop, Training Team conducted an Advanced CANVA Workshop on Thursday, 11 June. These passionate CANVA Trainers were: DTM Cajetan Barretto, TM Roshan Lewis, TM Naram Alaradi, and TM Bijal Karia. One interesting feature was the inclusion of Jess Ruyter, London-based CANVA Product Design Manager to ensure CANVA was used appropriately. The audience were fellow Toastmasters from Toastmasters Districts, in a Public Relations role and function at the Club level, at the District level worldwide.

Workshop Learning Objectives include: (1) CANVA Elements (2) CANVA in Action (3) CANVA Tools (4) CANVA App in Mobile (5) CANVA Hands-On. The entire workshop was conducted using tools from the basic free CANVA. Even though there are far greater tools, features and storage with the subscription CANVA PRO, it is not essential to go for that expensive option. The Learning Objectives for the Experienced Users includes: Start creating branding program for participant own District, and respective Clubs.

Training Team continued with their novel learning model by getting the participants to join a specially created WhatsApp Group 10 days prior to the workshop. There were such interest that the number was limited to a maximum of 256 participants, a feature of WhatsApp upper limit. The participants were users with some exposure, experienced users, and those in between. There were many opportunities for the group to share thoughts and experience in Toastmasters branding, content creation, and everyday challenges. The WhatsApp Group Members benefitted greatly from the feedback that the trainers provided to the participants individual attempts or submissions. Training Team went beyond the call of duty, by being available before and after the workshop!

All in all, the Training Team displayed leadership by providing exceptional initiatives and services to the Toastmasters Community. So proud to be experiencing first hand - Toastmasters Helping Toastmasters, previously in a basic CANVA Workshop, and now in the Advanced CANVA Workshop. We can all learn and aspire to become a better brand ambassador, to strengthen the brand and be compliant. To summarise on the impact of the Basic CANVA Workshop and Advanced CANVA Workshop - It has ripple effects on Toastmasters Branding worldwide.

For those who miss the workshop, as well as those who were at the workshop and want to go back and try the hands-on, there is indeed opportunity to learn from watching (and re-watching) the 2-hour workshop, that was recorded (https://youtu.be/h7R-9v71ngo).

Acknowledgements: (1) Trainer DTM Cajetan Barretto, Division F Director Elect, District 20 (2) Trainer TM Roshan Lewis (3) Trainer TM Maram Alaradi (4) Trainer TM Bijal Karia (5) DTM Ali Shabaz Region 11 Advisor, Past District Director 20 (6) DTM Noor Mohammad, Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group Administrator (7) DTM Wafaa Salman, District Director 20 (8) DTM Mohamed Saleem, District Director 20 Elect (9) TM Priscilla Dias, Workshop Chat Monitor & Quality Assurance (10) Jess Ruyter, CANVA Product Design Manager, based in London, UK.

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
Blog Submitted June 15, 2020

Toastmasters Branding Online Global Workshop

George How4District 20 and Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group hosted a unique and amazing Toastmasters Branding Workshop on Wednesday, 27 March via the ZOOM video conference platform. The Workshop were conducted by Certified Trainer TM Cajetan Barretto from Kuwait, and Certified Trainer TM Verna Bonaby from Bahamas. Why unique Workshop? The audience were fellow Toastmasters from worldwide Toastmasters Districts, in a Public Relations role and function at the Club level, at the District level.


COVID-19 has been a challenging time for the whole world, including the Toastmasters International organisation. Toastmasters have been resolute and resourceful. Lockdown has been an opportunity for Toastmasters to connect with like-minded Toastmasters around the world via online meetings. Various Districts have already carried out their Annual Business Meeting via online format. It is also an opportunity for Toastmasters to learn something new, something productive when we are in a confined mode. This specific workshop was an opportunity for Toastmasters worldwide to learn about Toastmasters Branding.


Workshop Learning Objectives include: (1) Brand Color Palette (2) Logo (3) Fonts (4) Images (5) CANVA Hands-On. With a diverse audience, the Learning Outcome for the Novice Users includes: Start creating content that gives priority to branding guidelines; the Learning Objectives for the Experienced Users includes: Start creating branding program for participant own District.


Training Team decided to make the workshop a unique learning experience by getting participants to join a specially-created WhatsApp Group 10 days prior to the workshop, where there were some preparatory work. There were such enthusiastic interest that the number was capped to a maximum of 256 participants, a feature of WhatsApp upper limit. The participants were new users, experienced users, and those in between. There were countless opportunities for the group to share information, thoughts and experience in Toastmasters branding, content creation, and everyday challenges. The whole group benefitted from group osmosis and the feedback that the Training Team provided to the participants individual attempts and submissions.


The actual Workshop was well attended by over 200 plus eager participants. One can safely say that it was likely one of the largest group of like-minded members, coming together virtually from different parts of the world, focussed on Toastmasters brand awareness. At the end, there were lively sessions on Q&A on both TM Baretto’s and TM Bonaby’s presentations. The Chat Monitor compiled all queries to ensure that all were addressed. There is so much more to learn and explore by spending time on the Toastmasters International/Resources/Brand Portal Section, and CANVA Design Tool as reference starting point.


All in all, the Training Team displayed leadership by providing exceptional initiatives and services to the Toastmasters Community. So proud to be experiencing first hand - Toastmasters Helping Toastmasters. We can all learn and aspire to become a better brand ambassador, to strengthen the brand and be compliant. To summarise on the impact of the Toastmasters Branding Global Online Workshop - It has ripple effects on Toastmasters Branding worldwide.


Acknowledgements: (1) Trainer TM Cajetan Barretto, Incoming Division F Director, District 20 (2) Trainer TM Verna Bonaby, Incoming District Director 47 (3) DTM Ali Shabaz Region 11 Advisor, Past District Director 20 (4) DTM Noor Mohammad, Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group Administrator (5) DTM Wafaa Salman, Past District Director 20 (6) Priscilla Dias, Workshop Chat Monitor & Quality Assurance.


George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
Blog Submitted May 28, 2020

First Time To The Conference?

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As a First Timer to the Conference you get treated royally. A special reception is held just for you where you have the opportunity to rub elbows with the District Trio, Toastmasters International Dignitaries and the accomplished DTM’s. A team building exercise helps break the ice and helps you get to know your fellow first timers, DTM's and Dignitaries a little bit better. This is done especially for the First Timers to welcome them and make them feel comfortable in unfamiliar territory when attending their first conference.

We want the First Timers experience to be a positive one. A chance to learning, gain knowledge, experience the workshops, observe the best of the best speakers, make new friends and have a lot of fun.

I’ll be looking out for you April 24th.

Eva Britton, DTM

District 86 Conference Co-Chair 2020

LINK to register on Eventbrite

LINK to conference page

Toastmasters: Your Pathway to Emotional Intelligence

By Philip Lai ACS, Area D82 Director, member of both Clarkson Toastmasters and Port Credit Club


There are more than 168,000 Toastmasters Clubs in 143 countries around the world today. Of the 358,000 plus members worldwide, many join Toastmasters to gain more confidence in public speaking. Since 1924, the Toastmasters program has provided a well-structured, positive and feedback-rich environment for members to build capability and confidence in communication at members’ own pace. The unique meeting format and educational system provide a near perfect environment in which members could invigorate their emotional intelligence, an integral part of effective leadership, while having fun. 

What is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?

It is “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships”. (Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman).
According to Goleman, EQ is essentially a composite set of competencies that can be learned and significantly improved over time if appropriate learning conditions are present.
Generally speaking EQ is made up of five clusters of competencies. Mastery of these EQ competencies is critical to the overall successes and well-being in many aspects of our life according to the researchers.

The 5 Emotional Intelligence Competencies and Toastmasters Experiences

  1. Self Awareness - self knowledge, self confidence, and emotional awareness.
    Toastmasters Experience - Evaluation, with encouragement and constructive feedback, is the cornerstone of the Toastmasters program. Essentially, all speakers in the meeting will receive feedback one way or the other from fellow members. Sometimes, the feedback helps confirm what we already knew about our strengths and weaknesses. Other times, the evaluators would shed light on our “blind spots”, which could be our unrecognized strengths or stumbling blocks. These insights are critical and invaluable to the development of our self knowledge and understanding. 
  2. Self Regulation - self control and self management.
    Toastmasters Experience – While a typical Toastmasters speech would last between 5-7 minutes, it often takes hours if not days to prepare for it. It takes much efforts and planning to ensure we have a coherent message for the audience. Obviously, a great deal of self-management and prioritization are required to allow us to stay focused on the task. 
  3. Motivation - achievement, commitment, initiative, and optimism.
    Toastmasters Experience – Motivation works multiple ways in Toastmasters. First, members get guidance in developing our communication skills based on a well-structured curriculum called Pathways. We choose among the 11 Paths that are currently available based on own interest and aspiration. Each Path covers a variety of learning projects and speaking assignments spanning across 5 levels of complexity. Members’ achievement of each level is promptly recognized and celebrated at meetings.
    Second, members are encouraged to pursue our learning at our own pace. While it is not uncommon for many of us to complete our Pathways Level 1 in a number of months, quite a few others have indeed finished their entire Path in a similar time frame. It is therefore entirely up to us to make the journey a “dash” or a “marathon” as we are the one responsible for our own growth. 
  4. Empathy - awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns.
    Toastmasters Experience – Members develop our speaking skills through giving and receiving mutual evaluation and feedback. The desire and ability to provide constructive feedback to each other is very important. For feedback to be of value to the receivers, it must be given with sensitivity and care. Above all, members need to have a heightened sense of awareness of the speaker’s feelings, goals and concerns. Empathy, therefore, is a key competence in providing constructive feedback and evaluation that motivate.
    As research has shown, empathy is a learned set of behaviors which can be improved through practices and receiving feedback. The good news is that the feedback-rich environment provided by the Toastmasters program offers an optimum condition by which we can develop our empathic capabilities effectively.
  5. Social Skills - influence, leadership, teamwork, and conflict management.
    Toastmasters Experience – members are offered many opportunities to develop social skills through the meetings and educational programs.
    It is also worth mentioning here is there are plenty of leadership development opportunities through serving on the club’s executive committee. By serving fellow members, club executives have the opportunity to sharpen their inter-personal and influencing skills, learn to collaborate with others by working through individual differences, and resolving conflicts constructively.

Conclusion

Emotional Intelligence is a learnable set of skills that matter much to our everyday life and overall well-being. With the right learning conditions, EQ competencies could be developed and greatly enhanced. The above-mentioned Toastmasters experiences represent a small sample of such learning opportunities. Readers are cordially invited to discover and benefit from the many more growth opportunities as you immerse yourselves in the vast array of Toastmasters experiences.

Dear Toastmaster Authors

Are you a Toastmasters Published Author or Do you know someone who is?

How would you like to connect with 200+ people in less than 3 days?

  • Sell your own products (book, DVD, multimedia, etc.) & Keep 100% of your earnings
  • Inspire a large audience and Gain exposure with your story
  • Have a dedicated space and Connect with other Toastmasters who are authors

Access poster & guidelines for the Author's corner HERE>>>
Register by April 4, 2020 for the full conference at  HERE>> to book your spot. 

Contact the Author Corner Chair Aurie Contosta at aurelieanne@hotmail.com to get your booth set up at

the Hilton Meadowvale, 6750 Mississauga Road, ON L5N 2L3

Thank you,
AURELIE-ANNE CONTOSTA
Authors’ Corner Chair

2020 Recipient of the Communication & Leadership Award

Anna Silgardo Founder of Artists In Momentum

Anna SilgardoA strong voice in the community, Anna Silgardo, is the Founder of Artists in Momentum, an organization committed to empowering, nurturing and sustaining the spirit of the individual. Through her organization Anna has taken a leadership role in encouraging self-reflection, stimulating the imagination while building self-esteem through creative self-expression. Believing in the therapeutic value of the arts, she uses it as the foundation to promote mental well-being, one life at a time, at a corporate and community level.
In April of 2016, Anna championed and took the lead on delivering programs as holistic outlets to help people deal with life’s many challenges. Spearheading the project, she brought together a group of multi-faceted artists to create 'The Starfish Collective' and went on to successfully deliver a unique program. First, of its kind in our community, this was made possible because of Anna's intense passion, leadership, communication skills while being dedicated to engagement in the arts while promoting mental well-being.
This is not the first time she has initiated community projects. In 2003, she created a series of interactive sessions for children and delivered them during March break to several Mississauga libraries. She has engaged senior executives at Bell Media and local Parent Advisory Boards to bring art to school corridors and corporate walls. Two of her 468 square foot murals, stand as silent testaments to this champion of the arts.
Over the past five years, she has worked tirelessly in building up artists from Mississauga and the GTA, encouraging and giving them a platform to showcase their art. In 2014 she gave young and emerging artists the platform to display their work. In 2015, 'Bun Bu Ichi' – a unique concept brought martial artists and visual artists together, to demonstrate that the artistic spirit moves both martial and visual artists.
In 2018, her ‘Through Glass' Art Series brought greater social awareness on issues surrounding mental health, and the stigma associated with it. Many of the artists who displayed their work, persevere through mental health challenges. The art series ended in a symposium 'Art in Everyday Life'. From concept to delivery, the symposium brought a diverse group of professionals together, to discuss the impact of arts as a tool for well-being. She started the first Arts for Mental Health Steering Committee for the Mississauga Region. Anna is constantly building networks with arts groups and community partners like the SAWITRI Theatre Group, The Mississauga Arts Council, WriteWell, Sky Studio, and the Saldanha Health Centre to develop and implement social prescribing through creative self-expression for the well-being of the community.
Presented by Mayor Bonnie Crombie, she is the 2019 recipient of the Mississauga Arts Council's Arts for Health Award, sponsored by Bell Canada. The award recognizes and validates Anna's leadership in developing and conducting arts for mental well-being programs in the community, especially among new immigrant women, isolated and marginalized individuals. Mississauga Mayor lauded Anna and her organization for "putting to work the therapeutic value of creative expression, as a means for enabling them to find themselves in their new country, to regain self-confidence, reduce anxiety and dispel depression, to ultimately achieve transformation results in every participant.”

Awards and Recognition
2015 – Gold Merit Award – Bell Canada
2014 to 2017 – Special recognition of contribution to the arts at various Bell locations in Toronto (can provide articles if required)
2015 – Winner of ‘Open Choice Award’ Mississauga Arts Council for community mental health art initiatives
2016 – Nominated for Laurie Pallet patron of the arts award – Mississauga Arts Council
2018 – Nominated for Heritage award Mississauga
2019 – Recognized at Queens Park for Community Arts
2019 – Nominated for Laurie Pallet patron of the arts award – Mississauga Arts Council
2019 – Recipient of Arts for Health Award – Mississauga Arts Council, sponsored by Bell Canada

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