Member News December - 2014

Congratulations - District 86 Legacy Award

ReemaDuggalLegacyAwardCongratulations to Reema Duggal, ACB, ALB (Glen Abbey Toastmasters) for being presented with the first ever District 86 Legacy Award. 

District Governor Carolyn Hoxie and Immediate Past District Governor Tony Bratschitsch presented the award at the 2014 Fall Conference.

The recognition is for a foundational achievement for her vision for a District 86 Member Communication / Engagement Strategy. From April 2014, she and the Member Communications and Engagement Committee have been worked to transform and improve the way the District communications processes, applications, technology infrastructure, organization, and governance work. 

The Member Communications and Engagement Committee includes: Dennis Bartel, Tuula Redditt, Chris Brown, Justin O'Donnell, Hitesh Parmar, and Craig French.

I Didn't Want To Be A Leader by Bud Brown, DTM - Division W Governor

I'm not a leader by choice. I feel I make a better second in command. The one behind the scenes who lines everything up and hands the primed tool to a leader who can take all the glory (and also deal with the people in the cheap-seats taking pot-shots).

When I joined Toastmasters, it wasn't for their leadership-building path. It was for their communication program. For my first year in Toastmasters, I was just along for the ride. I did my 10 speeches and was called "competent". What I did not realize was that in that year, I was being groomed for Leadership. They groomed my listening skills by asking me to count ums and ahs and to watch for the use of a word-of-the-day. They taught me to be more organized by making me first a timer, then a Toastmaster, then an General Evaluator.
They taught me how to assess abilities and give positive, constructive feedback with evaluations of all sorts. They taught me about team building through being a General Evaluator and a Toastmaster and finally by getting me to run a contest.

Then they sprung their trap! "Would you be willing to be the VP of Membership?" I looked around at my club which had 26 members at the time and thought, "How hard can it be?" Under my skilled leadership, I took a thriving club of 26 members and turned it into a starving group of 16 rugged individualists. Clearly, I had a lesson to learn about leadership. Then it hit me. I felt a need to learn about leadership. Without my planning for it, Toastmasters had turned me into a leader-in-training.

This isn't a bad thing; whether you are part of a business, a social club, a non-profit organization or even your own family, groups of people need leaders to help them have direction. Often, those leaders are not the people with the titles. Business guru Jim Rohn said, "A leader is someone that people follow". It sounds so obvious doesn't it? but often the people who are leading are doing it unconsciously. They are confident in how they approach things and people sense that. Some people become such leaders because they naturally go in that direction and any group is fortunate to have such people. But the need for leaders is great and only a few get into that role without thinking about it.

A couple of years after I joined Toastmasters, they introduced the Competent Leaders Manual which basically organized the knowledge I had been getting; just by belonging to the organization. The Competent Leaders Manual did three key things. It put into words, the lessons that people had been unconsciously learning, it motivated people to take on different roles at their meetings and it gave credit to people who learned the whole spectrum of basic leadership skills. Now, while striving to become competent communicators, Toastmasters gives us a focussed tool toward becoming competent leaders.

I am currently on my third time through the Competent Leaders Manual and just like the Competent Communicator manual I get more out of it each time I apply the lessons in that powerful book. Have you actually read your Competent Leaders Manual? This week, take a look at what role you’ll be taking in your meeting, then go to the Project Completion Record in your Manual and find that role, read what the project says about it and purposefully grow.

I still don't aspire to be a leader. Even in my present role within Toastmasters, I think of myself as a servant leader: someone who prepares the way for others to achieve their goals. Something has changed though. Now I recognize that even staying in the background, I am someone whose example people will follow. If I want things to go well, I had better pay attention to the example I am setting. That means purposefully handling various skills that are called "leadership": Listening, evaluating, providing feedback, building teams and motivating, just to mention a few.

Be the leader you didn't want to be.


St Catharines Toastmaster attends Moscow Free Speakers Club

Founded on the eve of Perestroika by an American in 1988, the Moscow Free Speakers Club is the oldest Toastmasters Club in Russia and numbers about 75 members. It is English speaking.

So when Daniil Maslyuk, Vice President of Public Relations of this club invited me to be General Evaluator of meeting no. 602 in Moscow, I leaped at the chance. “We definitely would love to experience the Canadian style :-)” he had emailed in perfect English.

Having loved visiting Toastmasters in Paris and New York, Russia was not to be missed.

The meeting was scheduled for 7 pm on October 16th the day of my arrival in Moscow. I wasn’t sure to make it. Luckily I had just spent two weeks in Paris, my birthplace, so jetlag was not a problem and neither was my carry-on luggage. And with two extra hours to my day, (Moscow is two hours behind Paris) I felt the night was young.

But soon it was dark, cold and windy. The rain seemed to fall horizontally as we made our way by taxi to the Famous Gorny Institute of Mining where the Moscow Free Speakers Club gathers bi-weekly. With neither signs nor streetlights, the venue was difficult to find. Eventually, thanks to her flawless Russian, my long time friend Marie Stock found the correct classroom. She and her husband Bob had also agreed to experience Toastmasters in Moscow.

The room was packed. Heads turned. Toastmaster Mikhail Petrov CC greeted us warmly. A great Icebreaker for guests, we were asked to line up in the front, face the audience and speak! No was not an option. Names, occupation and what brought us there. An attentive Grammarian named Natalya Lapitskaya announced she would be listening for sentence structure and correct grammar. This it turned out she did to a tee and was more exacting than most native English speakers. The Table Topics led by Ilya ensued at a humorous clip, followed by two speeches. Given they were delivered in a foreign language (English) and with no notes, these were impressive as were the evaluations.

The meeting was high energy, positive, and well organized. Without exception, members were friendly and welcoming. In addition, Moscow Free Speakers Club has a superb website in flawless and fluid English. A top Toastmasters Experience to be sure, participating in this meeting was a highlight of 2014.

Marie Betteley CC CL President
St Catharines Toastmasters

Marie Betteley at Moscow Free Speakers Club


The Failed Experiment | Medical Researcher Sheetal Pundir | TEDxNickelCity

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. Sheetal Pundir walks the audience through her experiences growing up in India. As a female growing up in India the concept of educating women doesn't exist. Despite the personal challenges and several failed experiments as a PHD student Sheetal believes these experiences played an important role in her research and the idea to redesign existing drugs that would improve its anti-cancer activity. As a result of Sheetal Pundirs research a US patent for novel anticancer drugs has been filed and the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada will be establishing a start-up Pharma in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

Award winning Public Speaker & Biochemistry Researcher Sheetal Pundir is a dynamic storyteller who captivates audiences all over with her experiences in India. Born and raised in India, Sheetal came to Canada in 2009 to pursue her doctoral studies in biochemistry. She is currently conducting research on the design and use of novel anti-cancer drugs at the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada in Sudbury.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.
View this presentation on youtube

Meet District 86 Toastmasters!

Heather Skolls (Area 25) and her husband Ken (President of Golden Gavel) along with Rose Weinberg (Area 24 Governor). Heather received a MADD award in the Spring for her work on this cause. Check them out on snapd!

Holiday Seaon Food Drive Success Story by Mark McKenzie, DTM

As many of you know since 2013 I have been doing the Holiday Season Food Drive for the benefit of the Salvation Army of Brampton. On the 27th of November Tuula Redditt from Speak to Inspire Toastmasters and Bolton Banter Toastmasters delivered about 140lbs of non-perishable food items to the Salvation Army of Brampton. Today I delivered another 240lbs and we are on track to collect roughly 3000lbs of non-perishable food items for the benefit of the Salvation Army of Brampton.

On Saturday I delivered a speech at Lambs to Lions at the Mississauga Main Library. In my speech I gave specific data and statistics that need to be considered. Check out my speech from Saturday on YouTube for some of these details that were discussed.

Why do I share this information? We are better communicators and we are better leaders....what social issues will you lend your voices to? Or will we sit by and be unsatisfied by the excessiveness of some of those who run charities?

We are leaders! We are better communicators! One way for us to change the matrix is to get directly involved. Our annual Food Drive is one of many ways that you can make a difference.

I want to thank the many members of Toastmasters that have been a tremendous help towards our efforts so far this year....and when we are done ...we will wheel and come again next year!

Thanks again!
Mark McKenzie, DTM
City Centre Toastmasters

Give the Gift of Toastmasters

SpringConference-2015 gift

Twas the Gift of Toastmasters

Twas the Eve of the 25th, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
There were socks by the chimney, hung all in a row,
In hopes they’d have Toastmaster gifts by tomorrow.

Toastmasters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Toastmaster mugs danced in their heads.
Gail Gustin in her ‘kerchief, and Frank in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Gail sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window she flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
A Surprising Adventure Spring Conference next year.

A man had appeared, I thought was a prank
She knew in a moment that it was just Frank.
More rapid than eagles other Toastmasters came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"There was Janice, Mike, Vitaliy and Dawna!
Oh and Carolyn, Sarrah, Myrna and Tuula!
Up a ladder then up the side of the wall!
Climbed Frank with his Toastmasters haul!

And then, in a twinkling, Gail heard on the roof
The struggling and grunting and then a big “OOF”!
As she drew in her head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Frank came with a bound.

His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the cap on his head was now covered in snow.

He was jolly and proud, a real Toastmaster elf,
Gail laughed when she saw him, in spite of herself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Letting her know she had nothing dread.

He spoke the whole time, like a Toastmaster does,
And filled all the stockings, with Toastmaster stuff.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
He gave me a nod, and up the chimney he rose!

He climbed down the ladder, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
As they drove out of sight I heard him sing,
"A Surprising Adventure, awaits you this Spring.

Stuck for ideas on what to give that favourite Toastmaster this holiday season?

Check out Toastmasters International online store or simply go to our Spring Conference page and maybe give the gift of a Spring Conference Admission Ticket. 

Shopping this year is at your finger tips. Simply sit back with your mug of hot chocolate and wait for the surprised look on the face of your favourite Toastmaster.


The Amazing Power of Questions

Reflections from the Fall Conference in London by Veronica Hislop

What is the most empowering question you could ever ask yourself? I approached many of you at the District Conference with this question. Those of you who responded contributed to my latest blog: 'The Amazing Power of Questions'

“A good question is better than a brilliant answer…” Richard Saul Wurman – Creator of TED

Why do adults stop asking questions? Children ask amazing questions all the time. Their innate sense of curiosity is astounding. Yet somehow, as we move towards adulthood, that natural sense of childhood curiosity seems to disappear. Why is it that we encourage students to ask questions but as adults we seem to stop doing this ourselves? Isn’t that the most powerful way to learn? Where would we be today if Newton and Einstein had never stopped to ask questions?

The questions that we are speaking of here are those life questions that we need to ask ourselves, not just when we are stuck and lack motivation and direction in moving forward in taking actions towards our goals, but regularly – even daily.

According to Robert Thurman, Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, “…… Questions can take you into critical examination of what you are doing in this life.”

These life-affirming questions can help us in the following ways:

  • Help us to be creative and inspire and motivate ourselves
  • Help us in decision making
  • Help us think outside the box
  • Give us purpose, focus and meaning
  • Help us with our transformation, growth and learning
  • Provide moments of self-awareness and reflection
  • Provide us with wake-up, shake-up moments
  • Change, challenge and provoke our thinking
  • Explore values get us thinking on a deeper level about what is important
  • Begin to open up the realms of possibilities

Recently while attending a conference, I went around asking people a simple power question. Not because I was trying to be deep and meaningful, nothing like that, it was just a way for me to start interacting and connecting with people. As I progressed with this activity I refined the question I was asking as follows:

What is the most important powerful question that you can ever ask yourself?

The first reactions were that people really stopped to pause and think about their response. I did not realize that this question was so deep. It stumped a lot of people. The responses I did receive were really interesting. I listed some of them below:

  • “Who do I want to be?”
  • “Is what I’m doing making a difference?”
  • “What is my purpose in life?”

To find out more about the most important qusetion that you can ask yourself read more about it on my latest wordpress blog: 
'The Amazing Power of Questions'

Veronica Hislop


Spring Conference 2015 – Leadership Opportunities

A surprising adventure logo

Planning for the Spring 2015 Conference is underway. Over 300 District 86 Toastmasters will be coming together to embark on A Surprising Adventure. The conference will be at the beautiful Sheraton Parkway in Richmond Hill from April 24-26/2015.

Leadership Opportunities

Our first team meeting is happening this Saturday, November 22nd at the Conference venue. We have more than 30 leadership opportunities for Toastmasters to collaborate over the next six months and create an exciting Spring Conference that will truly be 'A Surprising Adventure'.

Would you like to be part of this Adventure? You will be pleasantly surprised at the opportunities you will have to expand your goals. We welcome you to step up and take advantage of this opportunity to grow as leaders.

Check out all the Spring Conference page and VOLUNTEER today!

Your journey begins now so MAKE attending the Conference your personal goal and MOTIVATE others to join you and finally don't forget to MARK your calendars April 24-26/2015. Find Adventure in leading others!

2014 Fall Conference

And if you’re interested in knowing what happened at the 2014 Fall Conference – check out the Fall Conference recap page. You’ll see the amazing program, lineup of speakers, and make sure you click on the Check Out the Photos On Flickr button to see the photos.

Smile, Speak, Shine!

Frank Gustin DTM / Gail Gustin DTM
Co-Chairs District 86 Spring’15 Conference

Member News November - 2014

Trucking exec wins Toastmasters competition, Roger Caesar

Check out this great article on trucknews on our District 86 Roger Caesar, our District 86 2014 Humourous Speech Contest Winner!

Once again Roger Caesar is in the news again, Brampton ON this time

Check out Roger in the Brampton Guardian

Speak To Inspire Toastmasters Club members perform workshop for students at UOIT

Michelle Ingram (president of Speak to Inspire TM) and Tuula Redditt and Michelle's friend Lois(HR professional in Oshawa) entertained a group of students at the University of Ontario in Oshawa on November 12th with the spirit of District 86 Toastmasters. We were invited to do a workshop on 'Confidence' and how Toastmasters can help the students improve their confidence, communication and leadership skills to eventually achieve success in getting a job. Michelle had walked us through the process of how our brain works and how we can choose to succeed by eliminating fear. Through the Toastmaster program Michelle also spoke about the communication and leadership tracks and how success can be achieved as both processes are learned together at Toastmasters. Tuula and Lois put on a demonstration of a good and bad interview to identify the qualities of a successful job interview using skills learned at Toastmasters. After the workshop the students were passionate about forming a Toastmasters club in the university. We look forward to helping them achieve this goal. Thank you everyone who participated.

Visit 360 Networking Facebook page at UOIT for workshop details


An Everlasting Experience by Tony Bratschitsch, DTM

I wish to share a message with my fellow Toastmasters about an everlasting experience I had on Remembrance Day. I believe that this is important to share with others in District 86 that serves its members so well.

I am a member of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 36 in Dundas. On Remembrance Day, this past Tuesday, I dressed in my uniform  and walked almost 2 kilometers to the branch where I was to fall in with the Colour Party (flag bearers). Along the way, through a neighbourhood park, an elderly man stopped me to express his thanks for my service. I asked him for his first name and I said, "Thank you, Ozzie, for your kindness". I felt my spine straighten even more so. Further on, I came upon three municipal workers who paused to praise me. My chin went up higher. I thanked them for their service, as well. As such, this experience already had a remarkable effect upon me.

When the Remembrance Parade started at the fire hall, the Colour Party was the second unit behind the Dundas Pipe and Drum Band which lead a long column of military and service units. When we wheeled onto King Street, we all marched to a pace that was measured by the drum roll. Step by step, we approached the cenotaph with the streets tightly packed with thousands of people. At that point, a tremendous crescendo of cheers arose from the onlookers - something I never heard before. Then the Scottish pipers played their marching tune and the cheers escalated to an even higher volume. During those moments, I did not feel any burden, whatsoever, carrying the Ontario provincial flag.

The Colour Party took its place front and centre at the cenotaph with the names of the young men and women inscribed who sacrificed all during their service to Canada. After the venerable Remembrance ceremony was conducted, local community organizations were called upon to lay their wreaths. For the second consecutive year, Valley Town Toastmasters was announced. As fellow Toastmaster Kenrick Chin stepped up to the cenotaph, a large applause from the packed audience was heard. I do not think that I ever stood taller in my life.

I am very proud to be a Toastmaster as well as a member of the Legion. It is such a great honour to serve others.

Tony Bratschitsch, DTM, Immediate Past District Governor

Tony B Legion Colour Party

Club News November - 2014

Trafalgar Toastmasters Celebrates An Amazing 35 Years!


On Monday, November 10/2014, Trafalgar Toastmasters held their 35th Anniversary Celebrations in Oakville.  Over 40 current and alumni members attended to participate in a very special meeting that celebrated Trafalgar Toastmasters rich history.

David Howlett, Professional Speaker & former Trafalgar Toastmaster delivered a great speech entitled: What I Learned at Oakville Central Library.

Charter Founding Member Peter Crabtree spoke about a very important past member.  Every week, Trafalgar Toastmasters gives out the Betty Mackay spirit award in her honor to the Toastmaster who personifies the values of Toastmasters. Peter is still an active member of Trafalgar Toastmasters after 35 years!  He was also a past District 60 Governor, and the District 86 President's Award is named after him. 

Joan Graham, a member for 34 years shared the reasons she keeps coming back. She spoke of the interesting cast of characters that come through our doors. She truly enjoys meeting interactions, learning and mentoring people of all walks of life. Trafalgar Toastmasters makes her Top 5 great things that she's done in her life. 

Evening Chair and Club President Francine Landry led a great night of speeches, celebration and camaraderie.  Learn more about Trafalgar Toastmasters at


Free Advertising in The News Mississauga

The weekly free newspaper The News Mississauga which is delivered free with flyers has a page titled Community Calender in which we can give free public service announcements about our forthcoming meetings. I have seen announcements by Meadowvale Toastmasters, Port Credit Toastmasters, and Lakeview Toastmasters informing their weekly meeting days and times.

Asa a memeber of Tangri Toastmasters in Mississauga we will be releasing our announcements as it will also work as information to others. Brampton residents also must be receiving similar free newspaper. Something to consider.

By Noel Singh
New Member of Tangri Toastmasters in Mississauga

Members Making a Difference Award Recipient

It is my pleasure to announce that Kathie Weaver, DTM will be receiving the Members Making a Differnce Award at the Communication & Leadership Recipient Luncheon on Saturday November 8, 2014 at the 2014 District 86 Fall Conference

MMAD Award Recipient Kathie Weaver, DTM

Kathie Weaver DTM, Members Making a DifferenceIn August 2014, Toastmaster Kathie Weaver travelled to Cambodia with a team of 6 other individuals to host a day camp for approximately 70 Vietnamese children.

The Vietnamese people of Cambodia are a displaced community who live without state or status. This means they are unable to utilize government services or be employed. Typically, the main breadwinners of the family are the children who wander the streets pulling large wooden carts and rummaging through garbage cans or who sacrifice their innocence for money.  

Kathie participated in a program to allow these children ample time to complete their family obligations yet still have fun and learn. Kathie and her colleagues provided a nutritious breakfast and lunch for those who attended. Many of these children would eat a portion of it and then bag it up to take home and share with their families. 

Kathie and her colleagues provided lessons in computer skills and character building. Additionally, and most importantly, they provided the children with the much needed love, attention and care that they so deserved and desired; from playing games to tending to infected wounds, they did what they could to show these children that they were important. Kathie Weaver is a member of Destiny Toastmasters, Area 25 in Division A.  She has served as a Past President of Open to Speak and Lexmark and is a past Area Governor.  But more than that, she’s a member making a difference.

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

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