A Family Without Boundaries

Jeanie Lai blog

Do you know you have an extended family all over the world? Yes, you do! Toastmasters is a family without boundaries, and when you visit another country – of course, you have to visit your family over there!
And that is exactly what I did on my last trip to Hong Kong. It was great to connect with my (real) family, but I also dropped by a local Toastmasters club, TGIT – Thank God It’s Toastmasters Club, which is Hong Kong’s first advanced club. The theme of the meeting was “Masterchef” and, as promised, the meeting served up a delectable assortment of speeches. For example, I learned how to make a perfect cup of chai tea, and why steak should always, always be paired with potatoes. The advanced speeches were all from the Persuasive Speaking manual (under the traditional education program), which perfectly suited my palate because I have plans to work on that manual this year.
This visit resulted in a fun record of “firsts” for me: my first Toastmasters meeting outside Canada, my first visit to an advanced club, and, most delightfully, my first experience with a wine and cheese reception before a Toastmasters meeting. (Now, that’s food for thought!) I loved the congenial atmosphere of TGIT and I was greeted so warmly that I felt right at home with this new family.
The next time you travel, I encourage you to go see your extended Toastmasters family! This welcoming, worldwide family is a perk of being a Toastmasters member, so definitely go see them when you have the chance!

Jeanie Lai, ACB, ALB
Sheridan Park Toastmasters

Speech Marathon – Sneakers not required!

CST members

On Saturday, April 21, 2018 Comfortably Speaking Toastmasters hosted a very special early morning meeting event a “Speech Marathon!” The theme of the meeting was “Life is a Marathon, not a Sprint.”

Lights, Camera, Action! The speaking event began, resulting in an exciting action packed morning, filled with fun as eight diverse speakers took to the stage from first timers to advanced speakers. The room was silent and a hush fell over the room as each speaker stepped forward to the lectern in an act of courage to take on their fear of public speaking! It’s a testament to how well Toastmasters works in a very supportive environment.

Ramindar Kaur delivered her ice breaker on Life without Limits and inspired us with her courage and her journey chronicling various episodes of her life, weaving personal heartfelt stories with valuable life lessons. The audience was inspired with hope, faith, self-acceptance, attitude and courage. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

Paul Dubal took on the role of a Public official fielding a controversial topic “Glen Abbey Golf Course Development,” speaking to a ‘hostile’ audience. The speech took an exciting turn of events with members taking their roles seriously, challenging Paul as he skillfully acknowledged each argument. We have the makings of a politician in Paul, perhaps the next Prime Minister? Move over Justin Trudeau!

Lolo Franscisco introduced the “Big Red Jolly Bee,” a fast food store, the pride, joy and heritage of the Philippines that gives “McDonalds” a run for its market share. It was very entertaining and had the audience salivating over the menus. Just you wait, Iolo informed us the next location is opening right here in Mississauga.

Loubna Nejjari inspired the audience with her road map to success with four key points: Believe you can succeed, vaccinate yourself against fear (and do it anyway), Go first class and think like a leader! All of us left inspired by her quote by Derek Bok “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”

Karen Mewa Ramcharan read us a story by Nick Vujick from his book “Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life.” Karen took us on a journey of hope and courage with a core message, that no matter your circumstance, you can overcome!

Chelsea Zheng showed us how her lessons learned from a sprained ankle and the kindness of strangers can make a difference. Her smile, vivid imagery and personal stories had the audience hanging on to her every word.

Hamedeh Razavi enthralled us all the way to Persia with beautiful pictures of Iran, the land of Pearls, Perfume, Spices, Silver and Mystery. Together we discovered Iran's breathtaking landscapes, ancient monuments, dazzlingly beautiful mosques and magnificent imperial palaces from Shiraz to Tehran, Isfahan to Kashan, by way of Persepolis and Yazd. We learned about Cyrus the Great, the first King of Persia, an Eastern monarch that issued a charter considered to be the oldest known declaration of human rights.

Usama Mubashir unveiled a surprise slide show with pictures and food and music and together we wished our president Paul Dubal au revoir on his journey to Abu Dhabi in the Middle-East with a famous quote "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Paul may you enjoy every step!”

The outstanding speeches received advanced evaluations from Anna Malinowska, Swamy Maheswarn, Hanson Diao, Connie Yuen, Iona Rodricks and Byron Qu.

Fun and camaraderie filled the room! Our speakers in this speech marathon event showed us the strength and determination needed in the journey to become better communicators by one of the most outstanding Toastmaster clubs in District 86! Together we blazed new trails!

Comfortably Speaking Toastmasters meets every 1st and 3rd Saturday at the Mississauga Central Library
from 9.15 a.m. - 11.15 a.m. Visitors and guests are always welcome.

Respectfully submitted,

Iona Rodricks, DTM
D86 Pathways Guide 2017-2018
Comfortably Speaking Toastmasters / District 86 / Division D / Area 85 / Club 01120086

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

 

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