The last Fall Conference for District 86 went out with a bang! The Kingbridge Conference Centre in King City was an idyllic venue because it was somewhat 'remote' but close enough to be a reasonably short drive. I have been to this venue for other professional conferences and have formed a lot of fond memories here. Built as a spa in 1989, the buildings have many quiet nooks where I could tuck myself away with a good book or just enjoy the beautiful view outside. The food throughout the weekend was delicious!
I enjoyed the two day layout for the Conference because the Friday evening was 'downtime' for all Toastmasters to rekindle friendships and networking. November 10th was sold out with all of the great events that were planned. The TM Talks was a new event and very engaging and we learned about self-development, the impact of our appearance on first impressions and Pathways. The Parade of Banners kicked off the Opening Ceremonies and it was wonderful to see that we have four new Clubs, namely, Algoma Steel Makers, The Blue Mountains, City of Burlington and Toronto PCL. The DTM Recognition Dinner had 30 new Distinguished Toastmasters getting 'high-fived' by current DTMs. The 'Of the Year Awards' was uplifting to see the people and Clubs be recognized for being committed to the Toastmasters Vision. I had the pleasure of meeting George How Pak Hing earlier this year and was proud and happy to see him receive 'Area Director of the Year'. He has helped countless clubs with one thing or another so this award was well deserved!
The awards ceremonies closed off with the masquerade ball and the DJ had Toastmasters dancing until close to 1:00 am!
Day Two offered more highlights with the day starting off with a Plenary Humorous Workshop presented by NRG (Neil Dunsmore, Roger Caesar and Gregory C N Smith). All three presenters gave us great tips on how to continue uplifting our audiences, but interjected so much laughter. We learned great pointers such as helping your audience feel your story, caring about your audience, personalization, practicing and how being in the moment through your day will help you see that you have many great speech topics right under your nose. Forrest Willett delivered an impactful keynote address and I don’t think that there was one dry eye in the audience… Forrest’s message showed us “how to get from where we are to where we want to be”, showing gratitude, success principles and that in order to get what we want, we need to give it away. Forrest also mentioned how our lives can be very different if we help ourselves, our family and strangers everyday. Fall is a time for change, we have so many opportunities through Toastmasters to improve our communication and leadership skills, embrace it!
Muktha Tumkur, ACS, ALB