1st Youth Inspirational Speech & Evaluation Contests from Gavel Clubs a Success

BRAMPTON, ON, May 16th, 2016

The first public speaking contest that brought together all existing Gavel clubs in Brampton and Mississauga was held Sunday at the head office of Loblaw Companies Limited, to showcase the public speaking talents of the young members in the clubs.

YLP Contest

Three groups of six students each competed for first, second and third place awards; two groups participated in a “Inspirational Speech Contest” for Grades 5-8 and Grades 9-12 categories, and one group competed in a “Speech Evaluation Contest”.

Ryan Belluz, coordinator for the Brampton Gavel Club, Amparo Cifuentes, coordinator for the Junior Masters Gavel Club at Loblaw and Annie Bai, coordinator for the Mississauga Gavel Club, said the students did a great job showcasing the public speaking and critical thinking skills they are developing in their clubs, where members follow the Toastmasters International educational program.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the kids to continue building their confidence and speak about topics they are passionate about,” Amparo said.

The event also featured keynote speaker Neil Dunsmore, Winner of Toastmasters District 86 Humorous Speech Contest (2011) & Evaluation Contest (2015), and counted with the support of many dignitaries and volunteers from the District. Youth Gavel clubs provide the Toastmasters experience to students under 18. Meetings are typically held weekly, and the clubs operate in the same way adult Toastmasters clubs do. Members follow similar Toastmasters club protocols, use club officer titles and education manuals, but members are called “Gaveliers”. Participants increase their self-confidence as they become better speakers and leaders.

YLP 002Evaluation Contest, from left to right: Gaveliers Kayla Vitor and Vanessa Nguyen, Contest Chairs; 1st Place Winner, Shane Sun; 2nd Place Winner, Somesh Karthi; 3rd Place Winner, Eddy Ji





YLP 003Grades 9-12 Inspirational Speech Contest, from left to right: Gaveliers Neha Singh, Contest Chair; 1st Place Winner, Lily Liu; 2nd Place Winner, Roaa Shahbaz; 3rd Place Winner, Hannah Tang;
Contest Chair, Joseph Wu.





YLP 004Grades 5-8 Inspirational Speech Contest, from left to right: Gaveliers Joseph Wu, Contest Chair; 3rd Place Winner, Sarthak Das; 2nd Place Winner, Zaynah Bhanji; 1st Place Winner, Nathan
Nambiar; Contest Chair, Neha Singh.

Meet The 2016 / 2017 District 86 Team

The Incoming elected District Executive for 2016 - 2017


 Club Growth Director District 86 Vitaliy Fursov

Vitaliy Fursov, DTM

Program Quality

Cathy Herschell, DTM

Cathy Herschell, DTM

Club Growth

Glynis Dsouza

Glynis B. D'souza, ACG, ALB

Division A


Saima Mahmood Malik, ACS, ALB

Division B

Tracey Harding, CC ALB

Tracey Harding, ACB, ALB

Division C

Jane Harnadek, DTM

Jane Harnadek, DTM

Division D

Leona Wilson, ACS ALB

Leona Wilson, ACS, ALB

Division L

Veronica Taylor, ACG ALB

Veronica Taylor, ACG, ALB

Division M

DraganaVulpic Bork

Dragana Vulpic-Bork, ACB, ALB

Division N

Pat Bolduc

Pat Bolduc, CC, CL

Division S

 Diane Gordon, ACB CL

Diane Gordon, ACB, CL

Division T

 Cynthia Ayres, DTM

Cynthia Ayres, DTM

Division W

Steven Karnis, ACB ALB

Steven Karnis, ACS, ALB

Toastmasters District 86 Hosts International Director Ross Mackay


Hatch Toastmasters


Nissan Toastmasters

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, April 10th, 2016—Distinguished Toastmaster Ross Mackay, International Director Region 6 Toastmasters International and Accredited Speaker was the special guest of District 86 Toastmasters at the spring conference. The event was held April 22-24th, 2016 at the Hilton Meadowvale, in Mississauga.

During his visit, Mackay presented two Mississauga based companies with Toastmasters Corporate Recognition Awards, Hatch and Nissan Canada.

Toastmasters International recognizes both Nissan Canada and Hatch for enhancing employee engagement through continuing support of Toastmasters’ Communication and Leadership Education Program.

New Distinguished Toastmasters

Spring 2016 DTM Group

District 86 new DTM's

Left to right- Mary Lynn McPherson, Sharon D'Souza, Grace Rasmussen, Kris Schinke (missing Lisa Blackburn)


Thoughts from the recipients:

Thanks to my Black Walnut colleagues who, over the years, inspired and sharpened my speaking and leadership skills through their evaluations and modelling. I’m a Toastmasters advocate through my work as a governance and organizational health consulting work. Achieving DTM hasn’t been an effort, it’s been a privilege.
Mary Lynn McPherson

I started my Toastmasters journey in Edmonton a few years ago and I was hooked after my first meeting. I was fortunate to join a business group of very tenured and accomplished members who mentored me and I immediately knew I wanted to set my goal on becoming a DTM. It did not take me long to gain speaking confidence, especially making impromptu talks at work and work functions. No one believed me when I told them I was never a good speaker before Toastmasters. After moving to Toronto it took me 3 years to get back to Toastmasters and when I found a club near my office, I realized how rusty I was. With only my ALS to go, I brushed up on my lost skills and set my sights on DTM. I never hesitate to recommend Toastmasters to so many people I know. There is no where else one can take a weekly personal improvement class almost free! I was proud to earn my MBA 12 years ago and just as proud to earn my DTM!
Kris Schinke




Spring 2016 District 86 Evaluation & International Speech Contests

SpeechContestWinners 2016

The District Contests were held at the Spring Conference April 22-24, 2016.

Evaluation Contest - Saturday April 23

 Sp 2016 Evaluation Contest collage

1st  -  Brian Brennan
2nd -  Andrew Mertens
3rd -  Glen Oxford

Contest chair - Harry Ansara,  Chief Judge - Karim Premji,  District Director - Janice McDonald

Special thank you to test speaker - Rhonda Mauer

International Speech Contest - Sunday April 24

Spring 2016 International Collage


1st -  Roger Caesar
2nd - Chris OBrien
3rd -  Steve Elliot

Contest chair - Jacques Brunet,  Chief Judge - Karim Premji,  Spring Conference Chair - Cynthia Ayres


Member Making a Difference Award M.M.A.D.

Amparo Cifuentes DTM

Amparo MMAD

Amparo Cifuentes is a proud Canadian of Colombian origin, fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French and of course, English. She has a degree in Advertising and more than 20 years of experience in her career as Executive Assistant.

She joined Toastmasters in 2010 and during that time she has taken several club officer positions including president. As a member of her first club, Chosen Voices Toastmasters, she helped organize and then mentor Point of Tale Toastmasters, where she is currently sergeant at arms. She sponsored and helped charter Chez Nous Toastmasters, a specialty club for French speakers. She is Webmaster of those three clubs. Amparo obtained her DTM designation in April 2015.

Amparo became Area Governor for the 2013-2014 year and since that time she has had the opportunity to deliver presentations to several groups outside of her club, including several workshops throughout the District including her Loblaw office, the Leadership Council of "My Life Centre" for young women plus the 'Hit Squad' networking group 2015.

Since November 2014 she has been Chief Spanish Translation Reviewer for Toastmasters International, leading an international team to help ensure educational materials are correctly translated into Spanish.

Amparo is also Counselor for the Junior Masters Gavel club since September 2014. The club is open to youth between 10 to 17 years of age, where she works with a team of members from her adult clubs to help the kids develop their communication and leadership skills following the Toastmasters Educational program.


30 Members By June 30th 2016

3030 JUN 2016
If you are a member of a club with less than 12 members, you probably believe that increasing membership in your club is challenging, if not impossible.
On the other hand, if you are a member of a club with 25 or more members, you will likely agree that acquiring new members is a simple and fun process! It seems that these clubs spend little effort promoting their meetings, yet the guests keep showing up!

What is the secret? 

Obviously, there is a secret. Perhaps you have already figured out that it has nothing to do with luck and very little to do with numbers. It’s all about the guests.
Consider these tips to help your club increase membership:

  1. Before launching any new member campaign, improve the quality of your meetings. Getting guests is easy! Impressing them enough so that they join the club or even want to come back for a second visit – that is the challenge!
  2. Separate duties between the VP Membership and VP Public Relations. Consider the idea, the VP Public Relations “gets the guests in the door” and the VP Membership converts them from being guests to members.
  3. Have a member create and maintain a small and simple web site for your club. It has been estimated that up to 80% of all club visitors find a club to visit through the Internet. There are many free web-hosting sites available! Learn more here>>>
  4. Be sure to notify Toastmasters International and District 86 of your new website address, so it can be added to their sites.
  5. Put your club’s web site address on all promotional materials.
  6. Provide a member’s name (typically the VP Public Relations), e-mail and phone number on your web site and encourage visitors to contact them with any questions.
  7. Ask your sergeant at arms to arrive 30 minutes before each meeting. Guests typically show up 15 to 20 minutes early. If no one is there, they might think the meeting was canceled.
  8. Ask your sergeant at arms (and other members!) to always be on the lookout for visitors. Learn how to greet guests warmly and show your fellow club members how to do the same. Assign members to the role of greeter for every meeting.
  9. Ask the greeters to “partner up” each guest with a member who will introduce them to the meeting at the beginning of it and will be able to answer any questions throughout the meeting.
  10. Educate the club members on how important it is that everyone shake hands with the guest before the meeting. This makes people feel welcome and comfortable.
  11. Always offer participation in Table Topics as an “option” to guests. Don’t ask a guest to participate in Table Topics until all the eligible members have participated.
  12. Ask guests to provide a short comment toward the end of the meeting. Consider asking them the following question: “Now, after having experienced our Toastmasters meeting, do you think participating in Toastmasters could help you to achieve your goals?”
  13. If your club has 12 or fewer members, request a club coach!

What many people do not realize is that even the large clubs can run into trouble with membership. Usually, a dip in membership is the result of a slight decline in meeting quality. Make sure you have a good product before trying to get others to buy into it and your club will be at membership capacity in no time!

Looking for more resources? Visit the District 86 How To page for answers and ideas.
Clubs achieving the milestone of having 30 members by June 30th 2016 will receive prizes from the District. Are you in for this challenge? 

Qualified Clubs
Division  Area Club # Club Name Membership on June 30
B 31 2347 Brampton Club 60
C 45 5456 Confidently Speaking Toastmasters Club 56
C 45 585043 Meadowvale Toastmasters Club 54
A 23 4782 Markham Toastmasters Club 49
B 33 4778 Milton Club 48
A 21 1015141 Woodbridge Toastmasters 47
A 26 1963 Richmond Hill Toastmasters 43
B 31 5961 Hershaw Toastmasters Club 43
B 36 2245 First Oakville Toastmasters Club 43
A 21 8517 Thornhill Club 40
B 34 1460785 Brampton Speakeasy Toastmasters 40
D 87 1474 Port Credit Club 38
D 81 4353901 Mississauga Sales & Marketing Toastmasters 37
A 24 1697108 Hilltop Toastmasters 36
A 26 1448795 Advanced Speakers on the Hill 36
B 35 4080 Trafalgar Club 36
B 35 8644 Glen Abbey Toastmasters 36
D 83 1337454 Creekbank Toastmasters Club 36
C 44 5139 Risky Business Club 35
A 24 698843 Golden Gavel Toastmasters 34
B 31 583417 Region of Peel Toastmasters 34
S 72 916925 London City Hall 34
S 73 2729 Forest City Toastmasters 34
C 43 2289206 7120 Speakers Corner 33
M 13 1609 Towns Of York Toastmasters Club 33
B 33 5260 Halton Hills Toastmasters 32
B 35 2380608 Horizon Toastmasters 32
D 83 5278183 Ericsson Toronto Toastmasters 32
D 84 3419 Trillium Toastmasters Club 32
D 85 4486929 Axis Communications Toastmasters 32
L 56 3301 Skyway Toastmasters Club 32
N 3 2152194 Sudbury Noon Hour Toastmasters Club 32
S 73 964201 Toast of Queens 32
A 23 640216 Unionville Toastmasters Club 31
A 24 1115199 Fluid Communicators & Leaders 31
D 83 8277 Mississauga Valley Toastmasters Club 31
L 56 3074 First Burlington Toastmasters Club 31
M 13 684023 Stouffville Toastmasters Club 31
N 3 3869 Greater Sudbury Speakers 31
B 34 8267 Rogers Park Toastmasters 30
C 42 2825443 D + H Toastmasters Club 30
W 61 6234 Talk Of The Town Club 30

Remembering Blake Kurisko

Blake Kurisko – An Appreciation

area66directorIt is great to see such a good turnout this evening – but there is one person missing who, had things been different, I know would have been here. I’m referring, of course, to BLAKE KURISKO who, as many of you now know, passed away last Saturday as a result of injuries received in a fall. Therefore I would like to take a few minutes to remember and pay tribute to our Toastmasters colleague, Blake.

I first met Blake when he became a member of Town & Gown Toastmasters and from the beginning he took an active role in our club. He was always willing to learn; quickly became a Mentor to new members and then provided guidance and leadership when needed. He was an excellent and thorough Speech Evaluator and many times represented our group in the annual contests at the Area, Division and District levels. His speeches ranged from serious to very funny. On one occasion, at our early Wednesday morning meeting, Blake treated us to a demonstration of Zumba Dancing. At another he was talking about “exercising and keeping fit”. Instead of having power-point to support his remarks, he simply held up a photograph of himself as a young man – standing next to some guy called Arnold Schwarzenegger! Good examples of how to get and keep the attention of your audience!

He was very passionate about Toastmasters and this was obvious since he was also a member of a second club – Guelph Public Speakers. At the time of his death he was the Area 66 Director and I understand in June, upon finishing his term of office, he would have completed all the requirements for his Distinguished Toastmaster designation. Hopefully that is still possible, albeit, posthumously.
Despite dealing with health challenges Blake always had a positive outlook. Last autumn when he asked me to help organize the Area 66 contests I got to realize just how focused and meticulous he was in his role as Area Director. After the contests I spent an hour the next day deleting his numerous emails!!! He really was a pleasure to know and work with.

Blake was not only a contestant in Toastmaster contests but consistently volunteered for other roles too. Just a few weeks ago he was the Chief Judge at the Area 66 event. He hadn’t been able to attend our Town & Gown meetings for the past couple of months, but when I met him at the Area 66 contests he told me he was planning to return to our club on the 30th March. Sadly, that would not happen.
Blake contributed greatly, not only to both his clubs, but the Toastmaster “family” in this Division. He will be remembered and very much missed.

Thank you, Blake.

Toastmasters International Values:  Respect • Integrity • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:  Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team 

join your colleagues on our social media channels:    District 86 Facebook   District 86 LinkedIn   District 86 YouTube   District 86 Twitter