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

My Journey As VP of Membership

What I learned at my Club Officer Training by Tuula Redditt DTM 

I wanted to create this blog post because I realized that I had aquired a lot of great information from my officer training on Feb 1st 2020 with our District Club Growth Director Clifford Graham DTM and I wanted to acknowledge those efforts. We often start to get tired of our roles in our 2nd phase of training because the year is winding down. Our Area directors are frantically paying visits to their clubs, running club, area and division contests right in the middle of cold and flu season and we all feel a little tired. 

This being said I want to give a big thank you to the District Trio who try their best to be present and to Present quality training sessions for our club officers. I remember years ago when we randomly selected volunteers and great leaders from our District to perform these training sessions and sometimes they were good and sometimes especially in the 2nd phase they lost a bit of lustre. 

I was fully energized after Clifford's session and became empowered to put an application to the Spring Conferenece Education Chair Nicole Holas to do a workshop at the conference ... for the first time! 

As VP of Membership we have a responsibility along with our Treasuer and Secretary to renew our club memberships for those clubs who renew every 6 months. Not only can we work together to make this task easier I realized the earlier you do this, the easier it is. So I challenge you all to hopefully have started talking about it Feb 1st but to also start collecting memebership dues NOW!
March 31st will come very quick along with the nice weather so PITTER PATTER! 

Once again thankyou to the District Trio for doing an awesome job! keep up the great work.

Tuula Redditt DTM, MSP, EH1
VP Membership. Speak To Inspire TM, Brampton

Officer TrainingFeb1st

Phil Coakley, Club Treasuer, Ngozi Ugoh VP/PR, Felicia Simpson, club Secretary, Tuula Redditt, VP Membership, Razina Patel, President and daughter


Phototastic Collage900W

We joined Toastmasters primarily to become more effective communicators and stronger leaders, in every area of our lives. But why confine ourselves to just the home Club environment and experience? I was humbled and thrilled to go beyond the Club environment and experience, when I was called upon to be the Chief Judge at Toastmasters District 60, Division G, Area 63 International and Evaluation Speech Contests. The Area 63 Contests were held at the Etobicoke Civic Centre, February 12, 2020, with Area 63 Director Nancy McInnis, ACS, CL as Contest Organiser, and Mashaal Effendi, EC4 as Contest Chairs (part of his HPL Project), under the leadership of Division G Director Angela Ho, DTM.
People often say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”. The collage captures the spirit and essence of the contests. The Organisers and Speaking from Experience Advanced Toastmasters # 1818485, the hosting Club did an amazing job of running a cool and flawless event, with support from Volunteers from numerous Clubs in both District 60 and District 86 - with lots of fun, camaraderie and inspirational speeches.
Congratulations to all the District 60 Area 63 Contestants! Congratulations to the Area 63 Winners moving forward to the next Division G level contests. There were a number of familiar faces, including the District 86 Leadership Team. The contests introduced those from District 86 to “new” Speakers, Speaker Champions and a World Class Speaking Coach. The contests provided a unique opportunity to connect and network, across boundaries, with fellow Toastmasters and District Leaders from District 60. All in all, it was a most rewarding experience. A synergistic win for Toastmasters and the Community!
For additional information, please refer to:

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters # 5940499, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
February 15, 2020

That’s Magical!

Speech Group Pic

 There’s something magical about the start of a new year that brings excitement and fresh hopes. We make new year resolutions, create plans and aim to improve ourselves in all sorts of wholesome ways. But do we always take the time to reflect on what’s already inside us - what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, people we’ve met on our journey and the experiences we’ve had? This year, for the first time in my life, I did. And its been one of the most rewarding exercises I’ve had. I sat down one Saturday morning in December with my coffee and journal and started writing.

I had an incredible year with travel, my son got married in June, and I started an amazing course that I’m absolutely loving. I’m learning to grow vegetables in my garden and deepening my meditation practice, so many things to be grateful for including my toastmaster journey!

There were so many firsts for me – I attended the 3-day District 86 conference and was inspired by the dedication, commitment, quality and courage of the speakers and evaluators, the powerful energy from the audience, the networking and the workshops.

I was honoured to accept the role of Area Director, albeit a little hesitantly, to be honest I wasn’t sure I had the skills, but so thankful I accepted! It’s given me the opportunity to witness incredible leadership, teamwork, courage, perseverance and hope from members to support a club that was struggling.

My biggest fear this year was chairing the Division T Open House, delegating, marketing, media and so much more! But I survived and learned new skills!

Go ahead, make plans for the coming year, seek out new opportunities for growth, but also take a moment to acknowledge and feel gratitude for all you’ve already done! That’s Magical!

Parveen Johal
Grand River Toastmasters (Cambridge)
Club 1908

What I Learned from a Social Media Detox

gabriella gabyr
Photo Credits to Pixabay for social media image

I went on a social media detox. Initially my detox was intended for 30 days. But when I dropped my phone (again), this time I really damaged it and needed a new one. When the data transferred over, my social media apps didn’t. 3 weeks went to 4. 5 weeks went to 6, then 7, then 8. This is what I learned in the 60 days.
Weeks 1 & 2:
The beginning was bizarre. I found myself picking up my phone for no apparent reason. Initially I felt like I was punishing myself. I wondered what my friends were doing and what my colleagues were posting. I experienced guilt that I was not commenting or sharing posts from people in my circle. From a business perspective, I felt irresponsible that I was not responding to comments on my posts that were prescheduled with a social media management tool. My posts were still going up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and my anxiety increased that the algorithms were being affected by inactivity. I admit that I found myself taking a quick sneak peak at my notifications and scrolling through pictures, but I quickly closed the window when I felt like I was somehow cheating.
Weeks 3 & 4:
My morning ritual used to be that I would scroll through feeds and click on notifications. Once I went through the initial stage of withdrawl, I found myself using that time to meditate and visualize what I wanted my day to look like. When the kids woke up, I was in a better mental state, ready to tackle my day. My absence from social media became easier. This is when I dropped my phone and didn’t bother putting the apps back on. I admit that there were times where I enjoyed social times with friends, but taking our pictures and posting them was no longer a priority. I valued the time with them and didn’t need to post about it.
Week 5 & 6:
People reached out saying, “Gaby, why have you been so quiet?” I had many reasons, too many to list. Ultimately, I needed to focus on my family, my health and unfinished projects. I felt that social media was taking away precious time that I needed to complete my objectives. I made the decision to take the hiatus for my well being and I was finally gaining momentum in my life. I was starting to make progress and my attention span was increasing. Living with a disability can be very challenging at times, but I finally felt like I could focus.
Week 7:
By now, I was able to regain my positive mental state. I completed projects that were lingering and planned for new ones. I was able to keep a clear head and operate at full capacity for my children. I didn’t miss the spammers, complainers or inappropriate posts. I did however miss the community and connection. Being part of a social connection can lower anxiety and help us regulate our emotions and improve psychological well-being.

I apologize to my friends and network for being absent in your exciting posts. I have recalibrated and am slowly making time to be online again. I admit that I couldn’t help to enjoy how much more productive I was.
There was a time where I went through an overwhelming feeling of needing to post pictures within a day of the event and causing myself to be stressed. I ask myself now, but why? I can still post the pictures, but on my schedule. So, if you see images from an event you joined me in several months ago, you will be reminded of how much fun we had. (and thank you for understanding on the late post!)
I no longer feel the urge to be constantly tapped in. I have turned off my notifications and ensure that I hop on social media when time permits, and my daily objectives have been achieved. If you decide to take your own social media detox, I am optimistic that you will experience a greater outlook on how you will manage your time and declutter your mind. I feel grateful that I was able to take this break as it gave me extreme clarity and the ability to manage my time better.
What made me return to social media? I actually think that social media is a good thing. In my case, in moderation. I want to log on when I want to, on my own time, on my own schedule. Control your social media efforts, not the other way around.

Blog submitted by: Gaby Mammone
Gaby is an award-winning business executive recognized as an advocacy leader in the charitable and not-for-profit sectors. She writes blogs and hosts workshops in the topics of inclusion, acceptance and communication. Gaby is the Past President at City Centre Toastmasters, Club 6288.
Gaby can be reached at:

Letting Your Voice Be Heard by Bob Turel, DTM

I am in a situation that allows me to be a different kind of Toastmaster. One that participates silently through serving other TMs remotely, which is necessitated by my medical condition. I was diagnosed with ALS, which has curtailed my ability to speak. However, it has not hampered my competency to see, hear, feel, and type. These capabilities allow me to participate as a Toastmaster in a different manner. Specifically, it enables me to view videoed speeches with the intent to provide supplemental feedback to the presenter. Essentially, I'm advocating the importance of seeing what one's feedback is referring to so adjustments can be meaningful. I am asking Toastmasters to consider videoing speeches, for remote evaluations offered by a slightly hobbled Toastmaster who can still deliver constructive feedback.

For as long as I am physically able, I would love to participate in my fellow Toastmasters' growth & development as communicators and leaders. Videoing speeches can be a brave new world for many, but, as we know from being Toastmasters, trying something new, that makes sense, can only offer enhanced learning and progress. If you are interested in how the process works, please send an email to bob.turel@gmail.com.

Bob Turel, DTM - District 48

Members Making a Difference and Distinguished Toastmasters

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. In addition to the Of The Year Awrds we also recognized Members Making A Difference, Distinguished Toastmasters and Directors who's areas and Divisions received Distinguished status. 

Members Making a Difference Awards

Members Making a Difference

Starting from the left: Ken KlunderACG, ALB | Dennis Bartel, DTM | Gaby Mammone ACB, CL, PM4 | Louisa Steele, DTM | Tuula Redditt, DTM


High fives went around the room with so many Distinguished Toastmasters being recognized, Congratulations!

Distinguished Directors

Check all these Distinguished Directors representing Distinguished Areas and Divisions for 2018-2019

Congratulations to all these inspiring members!

Of The Year Awards 2018-2019

OTYAwards 2

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 YearMatthew 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 YearRam 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 YearLeslie 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 YearAurie 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 YearCindy 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 YearTuula 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.

Clubs of the Year

Membership Leadership AwardHalton 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 AwardCandu 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 YearClub of the YearConfidentially 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.

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