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.

Area 55 (Niagara Falls and Welland) Evaluation and International Speech Contests

Area 55 Eval Speech Contest

On Wednesday March 7, 2018, Honeymoon City Toastmasters Club opened its arms to warmly host the Area’s Contests in Niagara Falls. Rose City Toastmasters Club’s President, Greg Lewis, DTM, walked off with the hardware for both contests, and advances to the March 22 Division L Contests!

Our second place winners were Lou Anne Reddon, ACB, ALB from the Honeymoon City Club for the Evaluation Contest, and Joanne Gray, ACS, ALB from the Rose City Club for the International Contest.

Thank you to the huge community of volunteers who made the Contests such a success!

Eve McDonald, ACG, ALB

Area 55 Director

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.


(dis)Abilities in Toastmasters

“Whether I am in my wheelchair, dealing with my light sensitivity or my sound sensitivity, I am treated as an equal.” This is one of the key phrases in my entry for the International Speech Competition this year.

For people dealing with disabilities, some disabilities are easy enough to overcome than others, like having meetings held in an accessible facility. Other things like overcoming exhaustion, illness, sensitivities you can’t control, and having the need for an interpreter can seem too large a gulf to bridge.

From personal experience, what I’d like to tell everyone is, “Go For It!!!”

I live with a severe chronic illness that at one point kept me 98% bed bound, but thankfully is now down to about 75%. Since regaining a little strength, I started looking for opportunities to improve myself and was guided towards Toastmasters, where I have been able to “Find My Voice.”

I was worried that my wheelchair would be a barrier, that I constantly must be wearing a hat and sunglasses would be a barrier, that I am scent sensitive would be a barrier, and that I am sound sensitive would be a barrier, but my fears were unfounded!

I am a grateful member of Cambridge Toastmasters #2728, where people have welcomed me in from Day 1. The facility we use is wheelchair friendly, people have learned to track my head movement rather than my eye movement for the purpose of evaluations, our club has gone scent free, and traditional applause has been substituted for the form of applause used by the deaf community. These small changes have reduced pain and suffering I would otherwise have to just chosen to “endure”. I wasn’t expecting people to change tradition for me, but this open willingness has touched me deeply and created a sense of inclusivity.

Many people living with disabilities are part of a marginalized population and having disabilities can lead to isolation, feelings of inadequacy, and depression, but it doesn't have to be that way!
One of my personal goals at Toastmasters in the years to come will be to help encourage and be a bridge between those with (dis)Abilities and the clubs in our District. I am hoping that I can help others dealing with (dis)Abilities “Find their voice” too and become a positive instrument of change in our world.

My loving challenge to other clubs is to think outside the box and find new ways to think about how to be inviting to members who may fear acceptance because of being “different” or “limited”.

Ms CJ Janzen
Member of Cambridge Toastmaster
Club #2728

Soar To Excellence Toastmasters Club Contests


It was a successful, fun, and exciting meeting where contestants competed in the International and Evaluation Speech Club Contest held at St. Hillary's Church, 2055 Hurontario Street, Mississauga, ON, L5A 2E6 on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

Rob Belsby competed in the Evaluation Club Contest and Yasseen Tasabehji competed in the International Speech Club Contest, and both achieved first place. Sally Wong competed both in Evaluation Club Contest and International Speech Club Contest achieved second place. The winners will move on to the Area Contest at the Area 46 contest held at Streetsville Vic Johnston Community Centre on March 6, 2018 at 6:30 PM. The winners for Area 46 contest will compete at Division C Contest in South Common Community Centre Room - Arbour Green Room 2233 South Millway, Mississauga, ON, L5L 3H7 on March 20, 2018.

We invite you to join in the fun, networking and cheer on both contestants from Soar To Excellence Toastmasters Club.

If you are looking to reach your highest potential, join Soar To Excellence Toastmasters Club, to experience the art of public speaking, communication and power point presentation.

For more information, please visit Soar To Excellence Toastmasters website at www.soartoexcellencetoastmaster.ca or email us info@soartoexcellencetoastmaster.ca

Soar To Excellence Toastmaster Team
St. Hillary’s Church
2055 Hurontario Street,
Mississauga, ON, L5A 2E6

By: Alvin Abawan
Edited: Rob Belsby

Silent Auction Gift Basket Challenge

Seeking Member, Corporate and Club Donations For Our Silent Auction

To help defer costs and have some fun I’ve put out a challenge to all Toastmasters in the District to form Division teams fill their baskets, boxes, or containers with items and creativity to be auctioned off at the District Conference Division Challenge. 

Corporate sponsors will have Recognition at the Conference.

We are accepting silent auction items of almost any description, not limited to the following items…but we hope to spark ideas and your generosity:
Silent Auction Sample2

  • Gift cards (movie, dinner..)
  • Spa package (massage, pedicure..)
  • Travel voucher (hotel, train… )
  • Food bundles (coffee, sweets..)
  • Unique experience (events, theatre..)
  • Art & Home Decor (own creation or re-gifted..)
  • Re-gifted items (new items..)
  • Services (car wash, hair cut..)
  • Speech training (workshop, training..)

Division Challenge

Game plan: One to two items from each club, put like items together you may have more than one container, baskets, etc.
Division directors please have your baskets ready by the March DEC meeting  

  • Individual donations will be recognized at the Conference for their donations
  • To make a donation please coordinate with your Area or Division Director. Suggest presenting your club donation at your Area and Division contests
  • For Corporate donations please contact me, or fellow Toastmaster who shared this opportunity with you

Please include contact information:
With name and email, Division and Director or Individuals name contact & Division.
For Corporate, business name and contact information.
We would like to recognize our contributors for their generosity.

How Does A Silent Auction Work?

  • Tables at the Spring Conference will have tables with items in two groups.
  • Print your name and bid on the list in front of item being auctioned off. (A minimum bid and/or suggested cost of item with description will be displayed)
  • One group will be auctioned off before the business meeting on Saturday. (This gives members to purchase items who are attending Option1 of the conference)
  • The 2nd group of items will be auctioned off at the end of the conference on Sunday.
  • Register your name and contact at the Silent Auction desk (for committee to contact you if your bid won)
  • Pick up and payment of highest bidder can be made before you leave the conference before the business meeting or following conference on Sunday

Eva Britton
Silent Auction Chair
District 86 Spring Conference

Speech or Presentation? Knowing the Difference

Speak to Inspire TM

Knowing when to make a speech and when to make a presentation may be more important than you think.

You may have seen a Toastmaster speak passionately about issues of importance only to dampen the impact of his or her speech by putting up Power Point slides full of technical data. The effect was to dilute the passion and conviction in the speech. When this happens, how do you evaluate the speech? Do you view the Power Point as part of the speech?

When do you speak and when do you present? First, it helps to know the difference.

A presentation typically employs visual aids to convey data.
A speech relies on words alone to create feeling and imagery in the minds of the listeners.

How do you choose? Determine what’s best for each occasion, each audience, based on their needs, their concerns and expectations.

A presentation is generally the best vehicle for showing specific, detailed information. Ideally, clear uncomplicated visual data detail to prove or support the presenter’s points.
A speech is more appropriate for striking larger themes and conveying emotion, with a greater dependence on language to convey ideas ‘visually’.

Philip Coakley ALB, ACS - Speak to Inspire Toastmasters
Adapted ‘The Total Communicator’

Rose City Toastmasters 20th Anniversary


On Thursday February 8, Rose City Toastmasters celebrated their 20th Anniversary. Established in 1997, Rose City Toastmasters has proudly served the city of Welland and South Niagara. Current and past members celebrated with some of the founding members Dianne Yungblut, David Smith and Charmaine Grace. President Greg Lewis DTM led the meeting with aplomb culminating in a General Evaluation by Area Director, Eve MacDonald. Rose City is looking forward to another 20 years of promoting growth in communication and leadership in Niagara.

Charlie Kennedy ACG, ALB
Rose City Toastmasters

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

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