What a Treat!

Thanks to the kind invitation by fellow toastmaster Ryan Belluz, I had the opportunity to attend my first ever Gaval Club meeting on April 21, 2018. As the test speaker at the Brampton Gaval Club’s Spring Speech Contest, It was such a treat and learned a great deal.

The speech contest ran smoothly and I had the opportunity to reflect on the enormous amount of preparation required behind the scenes by the organizers who were so dedicated. The various roles for the contest were executed seamlessly by the members who had seized the opportunity to polish and demonstrate their speaking skills and leadership.

As test speaker, I received so much constructive feedback from the 7 contestants, and was very much impressed by the youngsters’ sincerity, insights, and eloquence. Where on earth could we find a place where one speaks and others listen, and most of all they listen with the intent to understand and motivate? Only in Toastmasters!

While Toastmasters is where leaders are made, it is also where understanding happens. When we truly understand, we are empowered to respond meaningfully and purposefully. Understanding is exactly what we need more at home and work today.

By Philip Lai, ATMB
Member of Port Credit Club (1474)

Toastmasters with Differing Abilities by Cathy O'Connor

As a Toastmaster with a hearing loss and a (hopefully temporary) physical disability, I see the need for occasionally having to accommodate those with differing abilities. A friend of mine is blind; nothing annoys her so much as when some well-meaning Toastmaster tells her she needs to improve her eye contact. She can’t see. How can she improve something she simply cannot do? It is like asking a fish to climb a tree. Fish can swim really well. They leave the tree climbing to others.

As Toastmasters, it is our duty as leaders to know how to incorporate an accommodation. The simplest way is to ask the person what s/he needs or wants. I am hard of hearing. I don’t require much in the way of accommodation, but some of my hard of hearing friends may need everyone in the club to use a microphone. Someone else with a mobility disability may need a wide aisle to go down to accommodate a scooter, a wheelchair or a service animal.

Sometimes certain prerequisites required to attain certain educational awards may have to be modified, or even eliminated altogether. A case in point. As a child I joined Girl Guides. Because of my severe ADHD and other learning disabilities, I simply could not and cannot tie anything more convoluted than a sheet-bend knot. A clove hitch is beyond me; don’t even talk to me about a bowline or a prusik knot! Back in the 60s, there were no accommodations. One either passed or failed in Guiding. As a result of this one thing, I was not able to attain the highest level in Guiding, and thus was never able to meet Prince Philip who handed out All Round Cords, Gold Cords and Canada Cords.

These days, my disability would be accommodated, and I could substitute another project of similar scope in its place. This is something that also needs to occur in Toastmasters.

If someone, for some reason, cannot handle the job of timing (whether because of the physical ability to reach or manipulate the switches on the timing mechanism, or cannot see well enough to watch a stop watch, get the person to do something else and give them “credit” for timing. Someone may love the role of general evaluator. Within this position the general evaluator has to know about, and demonstrate, the importance of time in the meeting, and is in charge of the timer of the meeting, among other people. If the person loves the role of general evaluator, but cannot perform the role of timer, switch them out. Don’t let something like this hold someone back.

What if someone with a disability wants to become an area director? That can happen. If the position needs to be modified, or if something needs to be put in place in order for the person to be accommodated, sit down with the person and find out what needs to happen. A person may make a perfectly good area director, and may need to fulfill this role in order to attain the educational level of ALS in the legacy program, or one of the higher levels of the Pathways paths. Traditionally the area director needs to visit the clubs twice and write up a report. If the person doesn’t drive because of a disability, a couple of things can possibly be put in place to accommodate (again, with the person’s input – never make a decision on behalf of a disabled person and expect to be praised!). Either arrange for a team of volunteer chauffeurs, or arrange to have the area director participate via virtual meetings. Set up a computer on an overhead projector, and invite the person to participate via the web. There are many programs available online to do this. Again, always ask the person, who knows best what works for him or her.

Don’t be afraid to ask us what we need. We don’t bite. Well, usually. In fact, being asked makes us feel part of the club. All too often, people are afraid to interact with us because they don’t want to say the wrong thing. The result of this is that we end up feeling alone and isolated. Something that should never happen at a Toastmasters meeting. You don’t need to know how to accommodate. Just treat as as you would want to be treated, which is with dignity and respect. After all, the Toastmasters Club Mission sums it up perfectly:

We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Roger Caesar speaks at Grand River Toastmasters Open House Event

Grand River Toastmasters are hosting an Open House on May 1st in Cambridge. Come out and enjoy an evening of fun and learning.

  • When: May 1st, 2018
  • Where: Allan Reuter Centre, 507 King St E, Cambridge, ON (MAP)
  • Time: 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Featuring Roger Caesar
Roger Caesar is a two-time semi-finalist in the World Championships of Public Speaking. A truly amazing speaker. Along with hearing Roger Caesar, members and guests will enjoy Table Topics™ (impromptu speeches) and information about Toastmasters, refreshments and door prizes.

Great Contest In All Its Glory

March 19, 2018 … the Division B Evaluation and International Speech Contest was held at Maple Leaf Foods.

What a contest! An extraordinary evening filled with laughter, fun, seasoned speakers, so many dignitaries including our District Trio, great venue, and awesome food. A wonderful networking event for Division B Toastmasters.

A great start with SAA, Dennis Bartel doing a headstand. Contest Chairs Yoshi Perera (Brampton Club President) and Patricia Williams (2016 Humorous Speech Contest Winner) were wonderfully engaging and made the evening a lot of fun. Contestants delivered inspirational and motivational speeches. The Evaluators each brought their unique style and did not make it easy for the judges.
This contest will not only be remembered for all of its glory but also for how the lights unexpectedly went off when the winner was announced. The contestants and audience were true Toastmasters, switching on cellphone lights to help successfully finish the evening!

I was very proud to have had the opportunity to organize an event of this magnitude as my HPL project. When I started planning the contest, I never imagined what a great experience it would be with the chance to lead a team of volunteers from different clubs to deliver a successful contest and have loads of fun!

Maheeza MohamadA big thank you to Maheeza Mohamed, (shown to the left) Division B Director, for her leadership, encouragement, and support. Thank you to all the District Leaders who attended and helped, everyone on my guidance and action committee, to the many volunteers who took roles to help make it a success … could not have done it without you!!

I wish the Contest Winner for both Contests, Roger Caesar, all the very best and look forward to cheering him on at the District contest.

Marisa Fernandez, ACB, ALB
Brampton Speakeasy Toastmasters
Brampton Talks Toastmasters – 2017-18 Club Treasurer

D86 2018 Members Making A Difference Award

This award is awarded to a District 86 Toastmaster member who volunteer their Toastmasters communication and leadership skills to better the lives of those in their community in a significant and notable way. Here are this year's recipients:

ShishirLakhaniDTMShishir Lakhani DTM

Shishir Lakhani, a Distinguished Toastmaster and a serious heart patient, volunteers as a member of the Board of Directors at the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Lakhani uses his Toastmaster skills to raise awareness, improve education and wellness as well as fund-raise for a cause that is dear to his heart. He received the Heart and Soul Award, in 2009 and the Heart of Gold Award in 2014. He is also a recipient of government awards for this contributions in his community, including the Ontario Volunteer Services Award in 2013 and the Canada Governor General Sovereign Award in 2018. He is a long standing member of Destiny Toastmasters Club, Markham. 

LenaShawDTMLena Shaw DTM

Lena Shaw, a Distinguished Toastmaster, member of Brampton Toastmasters and Raising Champions Advanced Toastmasters in Brampton, is recognized for her contributions in helping youths develop their communication and leadership skills over the past 6 years in the Youth Leadership Program. Shaw spent 13 years in the non profit organization Knights Table helping the less fortunate within the Brampton Community. Shaw uses her Toastmasters skills to meet, great and recruit volunteers, she manages over 200 volunteers a month.  Shaw helps clients with their resumes, cover letters and help them to find a home. She uses her event planning skills to outreach and help raise awareness and funds to further support the homeless in Peel Region.

HuldaMullingsDTMHulda Mullings DTM

Hulda Mullings, a Distinguished Toastmasters, a Business Executive and a  Registered Chaplain of Canada, has been using her Toastmasters skills helping Inmates and Residents in the Ontario Correctional Institute improve their communication skills. In 2017, Mullings was presented the Community Award for volunteering 17 years at the OCI Toastmasters (Ontario Correctional Institute) in Brampton. Her volunteer work also includes providing Free Income Tax services in Mississauga and Brampton for 7 years under the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program and the delivery of Health related presentations with the Heart and Stroke Foundation for 6 years. She is a member of Hershaw Toastmasters and Raising Champions Advanced Toastmasters in Brampton, Ontario.

CandiceKirkbrideCandice Kirkbride

Candice Kirkbride a member of Greater Sudbury Speakers Toastmasters Club since 2006 was a victim of an impaired driving accident in March 2001 that left her with a catastrophic brain injury. She currently shares her experience to teenagers across North Ontario and the importance of forgiveness. Kirkbride actively delivers presentations and delivered speeches on the risk of drunk driving and surviving from brain injury and stroke at many organizations across Ontario including the Ontario Provincial Police, The Red Ribbon Campaign, The PARTY program (Prevent Alcohol Risk Related Trauma in Youth and the Timmins Brain Injury and Stroke Clinic survivors. She is the recipient of the Rolly Rousseau Award at ACTION Sudbury and authored a book entitled "Changed by the Rain, Life after a Brain Injury".

 

Time is Fun

Reflections of Contest Season by Tuula Redditt

This year my plan was to take time out for myself and relish in my guilty pleasure ... of Toastmasters. Contest season kicked off early with clubs scrambling for volunteers to be test speakers, judges, chairs and contestants to take the 'Wild Ride' in Toastmasters challenging themselves with fantasic leadership roles. My 'Beyond Boundaries' card was burning a hole in my pocket and I volunteered where ever I could sneak out of the house with the excuse that I will get a point on my card if I go out. Or another favourite excuse to my husband was I can do my 'Wild Ride' speech  again as test speaker... and get a point. Before you knew it I had 7 points and decided to go after the big prize and get 12 points, a $50 gift certificate from Toastmasters International.

Wild Ride by Tuula Redditt: This speech takes you on a journey of the many wild rides I loved going on as a kid starting with the coin operated pony ride at the Woolworth Department store in Timmins, Ontario. Later loving the thrill of eating candyfloss which resembled pink fiberglass insulation and then going on the Tilt-a-Whirl (nicknamed Tilt-a-Hurl) with my friends and feeling sick afterwards. Even as an adult continuing to step out my comfort zone and going on the 'Bahemoth' roller coaster ride at Canada's Wonderland. My reflections of the past coincided with the Wild Ride of Toastmasters beginning with the pony ride and eventually building up courage enough to enter your first speech contest and experiencing the 'Tilt-a-Hurl' of Toastmaster rides, feeling a little sick afterwards. Finally discovering the 'Moment of Truth' when suddenly that near death experience transforms to 'EXCITEMENT'. You suddenly find yourself at the 'Bahemoth' of Toastmaster rides and competing at the District Conference Contest. I challenged everyone to take that coin out of their pockets and put it towards their next 'Wild Ride' but don't leave it in your pocket too long or the chocolate within the coin might just melt.

TakeTime4 FunI had the pleasure of competing in the International speech contest for Area 34 with some amazing and talented speakers. Two speakers in particular Michael Georgie from the City of Brampton TM and Veronica Hislop from Brampton Alpha both spoke about the Brampton libraries. Earlier that day I was busy having fun with free services provided by the libraries...3D printing. Check out the fun Ferris wheel clock that my husband and I designed in a 3D program called 3D MAX. I've named it 'Time is Fun'. So I challenge you all to take your precious time and have some fun. You never know what kind of Wild Ride you might end up being on. 'Go Beyond Your Boundaries' and have some fun!

P.S. Just so you know, writing this blog will give me my 12th point, completing my mission. My husband will be proud. 

"Two frogs are sitting in a pond and the one frog says the other,"Time is fun when you're having flies!"

Tuula Redditt. DTM
VP of Membership
Speak to Inspire TM Club
Brampton

 

Wali Shah wins 2018 Toastmasters District 86 Communication and Leadership Award

Wali Shah, renowned spoken word poet and public speaker from Mississauga, Ontario will be honoured by District 86 Toastmasters for his achievements in the field of communication and leadership. The event will be held at the Communication & Leadership (C&L) Luncheon on Saturday April 28, during the 2018 District 86 Spring Conference at the Hilton Meadowvale Mississauga, ON, Canada

wali shahThe Communication and Leadership Award is awarded by the District to a non-Toastmaster in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader - and who best exemplifies Toastmasters values.

Toastmasters District 86 recognizes Shah’s numerous contributions in improving the lives of people in poetry and social change in Ontario and across Canada. He has delivered many poetry workshops to schools across North America and has performed at poetry events for many corporations including Microsoft Canada and the Canadian Football League.

Wali Shah is a South Asian spoken word poet and public speaker and an alumni of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20. His experiences range from being a TEDx speaker to performing poetry for 15,000 Microsoft Partners at the Air Canada Centre. Wali focuses on youth engagement and has conducted poetry workshops and keynote assemblies at hundreds of schools across Canada. His work has been featured in media outlets such The Toronto Star and MTV.

Toastmasters District 86 Director Cathy Herschell congratulated Shah for winning the award. “His communication and leadership skills as a poet and an advocate for social change resonates with Toastmasters International’s values: integrity, respect, service and excellence”, she mentioned.

He is currently studying at the University of Toronto Mississauga and advocates for social change through his work.

Please visit www.lifeaswali.com to know more about Wali and his amazing profile.

How to Run an Election Nomination Committee

Nominee Meetings 2018

While we are about to prepare for a spring Provincial Election there is another election Toastmasters across District 86 should be preparing for. I am talking of the Club Elections that are held every year in May. This is a big club event as it will set the club up for success for the coming year. Holding a smooth election where every executive position has at least one nominee is a hallmark of a quality club. An engaged and energized executive is a great way to keep the energy from one year to the next. I would like to share with you some information on how you too can hold robust elections and make sure you executive is as strong as it can be.

One of the first tasks that needs to be undertaken is to set your election date. Toastmasters International suggests that date be the first club meeting in May. I am a dual member (Port Credit Toastmasters and Great Minds Advanced Toastmasters) and my club elections will take place on May 7th and 8th respectively. This date should be announced during a club business section and then followed up with other forms of communication. The goal here is to make sure the entire membership is aware of the date.

Once the date has been set the next task is to strike up a nominating committee! Who strikes up this committee? That duty falls to the Club President to select three active members to form this committee. The Immediate Past President should be the committee chair (unless the best interests of the club require otherwise) and the other members should be familiar with the club executive positions. According to the Club Leadership Handbook (Item 1310) this should be done at least 2 weeks prior to your club elections. In my experience it should be announced sooner then that for the committee to get candidates for the various executive roles.

Now that the committee has been selected the real work can start. First the committee should be providing information during the business section of the club meetings. Letting everyone know who is on the committee and what to expect in the coming weeks. This committee has important work ahead as the goal is to make sure that all positions have a nomination (or two).

The committee may consider active members who have announced their desire to serve in office. (current members of the executive or others who are proactively seeking office) The committee may also seek out qualified candidates. In either case, only Toastmasters who accept the nomination may be placed on the committee’s report. The nomination committee report is due the meeting before the club elections and should be presented during the business section of the meeting.

The committee is looking for Candidates for the following positions: Club President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant at Arms. A member can run for more then one office. At a minimum a club must have three officer positions: Club President, a Vice President, and the Secretary or Secretary/Treasurer. In this case each office needs to be held by different people. This should be avoided if at all possible as without a full executive the risk of burn out is high and the work load would be too much for just three.

It is important that the nominating committee report is presented at the club meeting before the elections. Otherwise all the hard work of the committee will go unrecognized and the stress on election night will be high as candidates will be running for office without vetting.

The work of the nominating committee is important. If your club hasn’t followed this process I would strongly encourage you to consider following this direction. In my experience this process allows for members to feel comfortable about running for office. It takes the stress off the club that occurs when an election is held with little to no candidates for office. Finally, it gives the toastmasters on the committee some new skills to learn and enhance.

In my next article I will detail what the committee should be looking for in successful candidates and how to have a robust election!


Steve Elliot is currently serving as Area 83 director, immediate past president of Port Credit Toastmasters, and Vice President of Education of Great Minds Advanced Toastmasters.

How To Find Leaders

By Steve Elliot ACS ALB

In my last article I shared how you should strike up a nominations committee and how the process with the club elections should unfold. In this article I am going to focus on how to get candidates for the various club executive roles. After all a committee is great, but if they fail to deliver nominated candidates for the roles then the work is for naught.

A great idea for the weeks leading up to the election is to have the current executive stand in the business section and detail what they do, what they’ve learned, or even answer questions about the role. This can help the club members to have a better understanding of the various roles. It also helps grow the executive as they must speak briefly on what they do and what they have gained from the role. I think it can be very powerful to hear what skills have been learned in the role as this allows the members to see what roles will cause them to grow or stretch some leadership skills.

How should the nominations committee begin their search? First step the current executive. These are Toastmasters who are already aware of the executive. Chances are high that a few of them might want to stay on the executive and take on a different role. It is strongly encouraged that members don’t repeat a role on the executive, however in some cases it may be needed due to the level of members. Every effort should be made to have the current executive take on a new challenge for the coming year. The only person who can’t repeat in the role is the Club President. This person must only hold office for one year.

Once the current executive has been interviewed, the next step is the club at large. Here it would be a good idea to look for keen members.

  • Is there a Toastmaster who has helped at Area or Division Speech contests? Maybe this person would like a year long challenge.
  • Maybe a person who is eager to complete a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award in the legacy program? (if they take a club executive role this year, and a district role the following year and make their communication track they should have enough time to earn a DTM).
  • If you are a corporate club, is there someone wanting to learn new skills? What a great way to try an executive leader role.
  • Does your club have an longer serving member who’d like to get back into the club executive after a break?

Those are some good questions that might lead you to a Toastmaster who would be interested in filling a role on the executive. The committee should look to approach the interested or suggested candidates one on one. To send out a generic email and blast everyone who may be interested in a role makes it look like the committee isn’t interested in everyone. The committee should divide the candidates up between them and approach them one on one. It would be a good idea to schedule some time with the candidate. This needs to be a two-way conversation. The interested Toastmaster will most likely have questions. The committee member should come with some questions. Note taking and listening skills will be required.

What sorts of questions should you ask of an interested Toastmaster?

  1. What attracts you to the role? Do you have questions about what you will be required to do in the role?
  2. Why are you interested in being on the executive? How will you balance your Toastmasters commitment with being on the executive? (we don’t want someone feeling they have to stop their Toastmasters journey to serve as an executive.)
  3. What plans do you have after the coming year? (ideally, we would like people that wish to stay on the executive in a different role. It will lessen the work of next year’s nomination committee!)
  4. What’s a strength of our club? What’s a weakness? How will you address them in your role on the executive? (these questions gauge whether the person can see the big picture and is truly engaged in the club.)

Once all committee members have met with the interested parties the notes and thoughts need to be complied and discussed. Each member should present who they met with and provide the committee with the details of the interview. Once all candidates have been discussed the Nomination Committee Chair would write a report stating the various roles and those who the committee supports being nominated. Remember you can have multiple candidates for the roles. The committee is not to choose who should be on the executive, but rather who is fit to be on the executive. The Election Night is the meeting where votes will be held, and the club will elect their incoming executive. If the committee doesn’t have a candidate for all the roles, don’t fret members can run from the floor within the meeting.

Following these steps and suggestions should result in the club having a smooth election process. Remember the role of the Nominations committee is to help in the process of discovering candidates, not choosing who is on the executive. The result of an engaged committee will be an engaging and stress reduced club election. I wish you much success as you take steps to prepare for the coming Elections.

 

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