District 86 2020 Conference Banner

District 86 Toastmasters 2020-2021 Conference

Learn new ideas, strategies, and techniques to help your clubs, areas, and divisions succeed.
Connect face to face and network with like-minded Toastmasters from across Ontario
Spur your personal growth, thinking, creativity, and planning from outstanding workshops
Be Inspired by Distinguished Toastmasters and District Award Winners who are recognized for achieving their goals 
Be Amazed by fabulous contest speakers, motivated presenters, and selfless volunteers
Renew Friendships by coming home for a TM Conference - an annual gathering of new & old friends
Re-Energize your passion and regain your focus for your own Toastmasters journey


  • Mon., Apr. 12

    7-8 pm Workshop:
    Toastmasters: Your Pathway to Emotional Intelligence
    Philip Lai
    8-9 am Workshop - International Presenter:
    Build a Better You: Translating Toastmasters Into Your Personal and Professional Life
    Melissa McGavick
  • Tue., Apr. 13

    7-8 pm Workshop:
    So You Have to Write and Present a Speech, Now What?
    Manisha Melwani
    8-9 pm Workshop:
    Cancelled due to Illness
  • Wed., Apr. 14

    7-8 pm Workshop:
    Beyond Transactions-How to be a Transformational Leader
    Jules Hare
    8-9 pm Workshop:
    Uncomfortable Conversations with Guerdah & Melanie
    Melanie Taddeo & Guerdah Felix
  • Thu., Apr. 15

    7:00 pm Workshop:
    Take Your Dot for a Walk
    Tuula Redditt
    8-9 pm Workshop:
  • Fri., Apr. 16

      Comfort Break
      First Timers / DTM Meet & Greet
      Opening Ceremonies
      Parade of Banners
      DTM Recognition
      Comfort Break
    7:20-8:05 pm Workshop:
    Toastmaster Rotary Alliance
    Sue Storie
    7:20-8:05 pm Workshop:
    Studio Operating Procedures
    Emily Nichols
    7:20-8:05 pm Workshop:
    Stories Connect
    Carolyn Wilker
      Networking – Mix & Mingle
  • Sat., Apr. 17

      Registration, Settle in time
      International Keynote - Melissa McGavick, International Director, Region 6
      Comfort Break
      District 86 Council Business Reports
      Lunch / Network Break
      Candidates Showcase
      Network Break
      District 86 Council Business Meeting
      Comfort Break
      Comfort Break / Dinner / Networking
      District Director Keynote
      Office Installation
      Comfort Break
      Directors Ball / Games
  • Sun., Apr. 18

    8-8:45 am Workshop:
    Power Up Your Speeches with Storytelling
    Kwesi Millington
    8-8:45 am Workshop:
    The Benefits of Being a Mentor and Mentee
    Cathy Dranitsaris
    8-8:45 am Workshop:
    Stronger Links on LinkedIn
    Steve Elliot
      Network Break (15 min)
      International Speech Contest (with waiting room)
      Comfort Break / Lunch Break / Networking
    Workshop - International Presenter - Melissa McGavick

Keynote Speakers

Balraj Headshot

Melissa McGavick, DTM
International Director, Region 6


Why did you join TM? Was it because you wanted to be a little bit better at something?  Maybe it was speaking, leading or connecting?

How has Toastmasters improved your life?  Do you know how to highlight what you’ve learned to improve your personal or professional life?

Do you know what your fellow club members are working to improve? Would you like a way to attract more members to your club?

Every one of the 300,000 plus members join for their own reason.  In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Maximize your Toastmasters experience to build a better version of you
  • Help the members of your club, new or long term, find their motivating “MyWhy”
  • Attract more visitors to your club by showcasing personal and professional growth!

Join us for this powerful presentation where you will be introduced to a system that will help you to be a more authentic, focused and productive member and leader.

Bio: Melissa McGavick, DTM, PRA, ID, is a professional speaker and trainer. She is the owner of McGavick Interactive Training, which was founded in 2004.  McGavick earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications and media studies from Pennsylvania State University. In 2008, she was awarded Business Woman of the Year by the Women’s Business Network of Western Pennsylvania for her excellence and leadership in her profession. The following year, she served as president of the Board of Directors for the same organization.

A Toastmaster since 2004, McGavick’s home club is Cranberry High Noon Toastmasters in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania. She has held a number of high-profile leadership positions within Toastmasters and has attained the Distinguished Toastmaster designation—the highest level of educational achievement in the organization.

As a member of the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, McGavick is a “working ambassador” for the organization. She works with the Board to develop, support, and modify the policies and procedures that guide Toastmasters International in fulfilling its mission.


Workshop Presenters

Philip Lai Headshot

Workshop Title: Toastmasters: Your Pathway to Emotional Intelligence

Philip Lai , DTM
Monday April 12 7:00pm-8:00pm

In addition to communication and leadership skills, Toastmasters around the world have been able to enhance their Emotional Intelligence (EQ) through attending meetings regularly and participating in educational programs.  According to the studies, EQ is a composite competence and one of the most reliable predictors of one’s success.  This highly engaging workshop helps participants better appreciate why Toastmasters works and, specifically, why it is such an effective way to grow one’s EQ.

Bio: Philip worked extensively in Asia-Pacific for over 20 years as an organizational change consultant & talent development manager.  As a consultant, he has designed and led hundreds of leadership development & assessment workshops for numerous world-class organizations like BASF, Bayer, GE, Kraft, Lloyd’s, etc.  Fascinated with the notion of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Philip believes that Toastmasters has played a significant role in his own EQ and professional growth.  Based in Mississauga, Philip is the VP Ed for Clarkson Toastmasters Club and a founding counselor of Leaders of Tomorrow Gavel Club.

Manisha Melwani Headshot

Workshop Title: So You Have to Write and Present a Speech, Now What?

Manisha Melwani
Tuesday April 13 7:00pm-8:00pm

Learn how to:

  1. Relax and tune in to your heart to get inspiration for a speech title and content.
  2. Apply the spiritual principles of surrender and how to detach from the outcome to give an impactful speech that leaves the audience feeling touched and uplifted!

Use both these techniques for tapping into your inner guidance and for success in any decision and activity you take on.


Participants will:

  • Practice the basics of deep yogic breathing
  • Learn a technique to tap into the wisdom of their heart.
  • Gain an understanding of the spiritual principles of Karma Yoga—the Path of Right Action. (no physical exercises required!)

Bio: Manisha Melwani has been a Toastmaster and member of the Feel Good Toastmasters Club in Richmond Hill for 6 years. She is a teacher and the author of, So You're a Spiritual Being–Now What? A Straightforward Guide to Understanding and Growing in Your Spiritual Journey. Manisha offers spiritual and wellness solutions for life and stress management. She teaches classes, courses and workshops on various spiritual topics, meditation and stress management. She also offers private counseling sessions on-line. Read nearly 200 articles on spirituality on her blog and website at: ManishaMelwani.com


Workshop Title: Success Follows Joy

Cancelled due to illness
Jules Hare Headshot

Workshop Title: Beyond Transactions-How to be a Transformational Leader

Jules Hare
Wednesday April 14 7:00pm-8:00pm

Have you ever been in a challenging situation where you KNOW your response would change everything but... you just don't know what to do or say?

We are all leaders, but we don’t always know how to empower and activate our inner leaders.

Based on the principles from Jules' recently published book, this workshop beautifully defines the patterns alive within all of us that unknowingly barricade us from taking full ownership of our leadership potential. It starts with forming deep trusted connections within ourselves, then with one another.

This workshop will help YOU to access and unlock the inner-leader within you that is desperately waiting for your trust and attention. Imagine a world where you believed in yourself as a leader SO MUCH that you inspired others just by being YOU.

Jules gracefully weaves personal and professional stories to life. Join her as she reveals the access points to discover and play with awakening your own inner leader utilizing her powerful '3 Simple Steps' to connection.

Bio: Therapist, parent, author, illustrator, speaker, co-founder of Cranial Waves Wellness Studio in St. Martins, NB, Canada. Specializing in Pediatrics, I am a cranial sacral therapist with over 30 years of hands-on experience working with families and kids of all ages. Over the years, I have pioneered a unique approach to my work. As a catalyst and facilitator, my role is simple but profoundly transformative. I listen deeply to the body, harnessing the great power of clients’ attention when it’s focused and directed inward. Using curiosity and inviting the imagination into the driver’s seat to unite the mind and body, I continually witness deep connection and transformational change as both accessible and infinite. As a speaker, I use my clinical experience to help me deliver powerful messages about the life-changing power of our attention.

My charisma, stage presence, and playful personality make all the talks I deliver truly engaging, impactful AND memorable.

Melanie Taddeo and Guerdah Felix Headshot

Workshop Title: Uncomfortable Conversations with Guerdah & Melanie

Melanie Taddeo/Guerdah Felix
Wednesday April 14 8:00pm-9:00pm

This will be a workshop-type Podcast: part teaching, part conversation involving the audience.


            *Understand the importance of having uncomfortable conversations

  • Impact of such conversations
  • How we are all affected by not having them



Guerdah Felix:"Guerdah Felix is a connector, an Active Listener, a visionary, a Spirit-Led communicator, and Spiritual Life Coach.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Guerdah moved to Montreal Canada. Then, she moved to London, Ontario where she now resides.

Her studies took her anywhere from Languages, Hotel & Restaurant Management, to Psychology, and finally to Spiritual Life Coaching.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please help me welcome the multi-talented visionary, well-loved Coach, DTM Guerdah Felix."


Melanie Taddeo:"Melanie Taddeo is a passionate advocate for Inclusion, an educator, a resilient entrepreneur, and author.

After a massive stroke that left her legally blind and partially paralyzed, Melanie has overcome many barriers which led her to share her story, and start her own business which in turn, inspire others to embrace their abilities.

Tuula Redditt Headshot

Workshop Title: Take Your Dot For A Walk

Tuula Redditt
Thursday April 15 7:00pm-8:00pm

Have you ever wondered when someone makes you laugh how its changes your whole mood? Have you ever tried to harness the power and integrate it in your speeches? Tuula will show you how to use techniques to add humour and inspiration to your words in this interactive and creative workshop. You will leave your audience smiling with images that you create using inspiring words and stories. Come out and ignite the speechwriter within YOU using the Power of Happiness. It all begins with writing your story down, adding spicy ingredients to make it stand out and drive home your message and make it memorable.

Bio: Tuula Redditt DTM, MSP, EH4 has written a book (not yet published) of all her speeches in her 14-year Toastmaster journey. Recently Tuula received the District 86 Toastmaster of the Year Award for 2019-2020 as well as the MMAD award 2019-2020 for her selfless contributions to Toastmasters and professionally. She received her DTM in 2013 and The District 86 Spirit Award in 2014-15 and is currently the President at Speak To Inspire Toastmasters Club in Brampton. Tuula works from home as an artist at Sky Studio, creating portraits, web design, 3D printing and illustrations. www.skystudio.ca


Workshop Title: TBA!

Sue Storie Headshot

Workshop Title: Toastmaster Rotary Alliance

Sue Storie
Friday April 16 7:20pm-8:05pm
  1. Overview – about each organization – 5 minutes
  2. The difference between Rotary, Rotaract and Interact and what this means to Toastmasters – 10 minutes
  3. Toastmaster developed projects for Rotary – what are they? How do Rotarians find them? can Toastmasters see them? 5 minutes
  4. A demonstration of the projects that are available to Rotarians so that Toastmasters has the knowledge if Rotarians reference them 20 minutes
  5. A plan to invite Rotarians to speak at Toastmasters clubs and experience a Toastmaster meeting – 5 minutes

Plus Q and A throughout

Bio: Sue Storie has been a Toastmaster since 2002 and a Rotarian since 2006, serving both organizations at the club and district executive level. Toastmasters gave her confidence and the leadership skills that have served her as Area and District Governor in Toastmasters and previous Rotarian roles as Assistant Governor and District Literacy Chair. She currently serves Toastmasters District 86 as Division S Director and Rotary District 6330 as Global Grant Scholar Chair. She is a proud member of Toastmaster Clubs London Western, Podium Pros Advanced Club, STAR (Serving Toastmasters and Rotarians) and is a member of the soon-to-be chartered Virtual Voices Advanced Club. She is a current member of the Rotary District 6330 Passport Club and a past member of the Rotary Club of London Hyde Park.

When she is not at a Toastmaster or Rotary meeting with her husband Rick who is a fellow member at the above-mentioned clubs, Sue and Rick look forward to hosting the annual Division S Barbecue and visiting with friends and family.

Emily Nicholls Headshot

Studio Operating Procedures

Emily Nichols
Friday April 16 7:20pm-8:05pm

Enhance your virtual speaking presence – without spending a fortune or drowning in tech. In this workshop, Emily mixes creativity with engineering know-how to create a simple S-O-P for your home speaking ‘studio’. Set up with what you already have, Operate with repeatable practices, and Prototype your next improvement. Follow the process to present like a pro, every time.

Bio: In March 2020 Emily Nichols cleared out her basement, built a virtual speaking studio, and her audience named it “The Bunker”. After about 537 iterations, her studio now includes three camera angles and two sets produced from one amazing console. Inside “The Bunker”, Emily inspires technical people to embrace their human skills so they can become better problem solvers, team players, and leaders. Emily has a B.Sc. in Systems Engineering (University of Guelph) and an M.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering (McMaster University). She summarized her master’s thesis in five Dr. Seuss rhymes.

Carolyn Wilker Headshot

Workshop Title: Stories Connect

Carolyn Wilker
Friday April 16 7:20pm-8:05pm

Humans are wired for stories. It's the way ancestors shared information and family lore with the next generation. You, too, can use stories in a storytelling project or a story within your speech about your personal experience to inspire and motivate.    You will learn to build stories into your speech, shape your story, and select only the essential ingredients to best relay your message.  Join this session to get started.

Bio: "Carolyn R. Wilker writes and edits from her home in Kitchener, Ontario. She's a storyteller with the Baden Storytellers Guild and has been a member of the Energetics Toastmasters since 2004. She is the author of five books and has presented workshops at District 86 Toastmasters and Write Canada. She enjoys a good story."

Kwesi Millington Headshot

Workshop Title: Power Up Your Speeches with Storytelling

Kwesi Millington
Sunday April 18 8:00am – 8:45am

Storytelling is the key to connecting with an audience when you speak. Most people don't use stories enough or effectively in their speeches and I want to help you to feel confident in preparing speeches that will impact and inspire.

Bio: Kwesi has developed a career helping people to overcome adversity with over 10 years of experience as a Police Officer, Youth Mentor, Award-Winning Speaker and a Certified Storytelling & Speaking Coach. His mission is to help you to overcome your adversities, capture your confidence and empower you to share your stories.

Kwesi Millington (BComm), Professional Speaker & Certified Speech Coach

Cathy Dranitsaris Headshot

Workshop Title: The Benefits of Being a Mentor and Mentee

Cathy Dranitsaris
Sunday April 18 8:00am – 8:45am

Have you considered being a mentor or mentee?  This workshop focuses on the advantages of both roles. Cathy will define the role of a mentor and mentee with expectations, why the mentor/mentee relationship is important, and the skills required for both roles along with examples of success stories.  There will be time for break-out sessions to discuss goal setting and networking.   Discover how and where to look for a mentor and how to be the best mentor.  Where will mentoring take you?


Bio: Cathy Dranitsaris has had a broad career in aviation, travel, telecommunications, government and IT focusing on customer experience and relationships and management.  She has mentored many staff members and continues to share her experiences and insights in her professional and personal life.  As a Toastmaster, Cathy has won at the District 60 conference for the Humourous Speech contest in 2016 and has been the VP of Public Relations for Raising Champions Advanced Toastmasters and Downsview Toastmasters.

Steve Elliot Headshot

Workshop Title: Stronger Links on LinkedIn

Steve Elliot
Sunday April 18 8:00am – 8:45am

Stephen has used LinkedIn for business and job hunt purposes. In this interactive workshop, you will learn how to find your next job or client. If your profile could use a refresh, or whether you aren't getting results with LinkedIn, this workshop will help all! Come with your questions and learn about one of the fastest-growing Social Media sites and how to maximize your time and profile!


Bio: Stephen Elliot is an entrepreneur and a passionate Toastmaster. He is a member of two clubs, Port Credit Toastmasters and Great Minds Advanced Toastmasters and lives in Mississauga Ontario. Stephen is an eternal optimist, in other words, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan! Stephen has held many club executive positions and has also served as an Area Director and the District Logistics Manager.


Networking – Mix & Mingle

Directors’ Ball of Fun & Games!
2021 District 86 Conference-April 17, 2021 at 6:15 pm

Featuring Stephan Dyer

Stand-up Comedian, Keynote Speaker, Laugh Whisperer


In this fun, supportive and highly interactive keynote, Stephan will take you through 9 proven exercises used by top comedians and performers to understand exactly how they come across to others.

These exercises will leave you with the tools and techniques to use humor in your professional and personal lives, in the most magnetic way. Join us to find The Formula for Funny!


Then stay to play Toastmasters trivia and other exciting games & enjoy the chance to win fun prizes!


With Chris O'Brien & Patricia Williams


Registration Information

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

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