Anniversary Celebrations

If your Club is celebrating a big event next month, What’s The Buzz Editors would love to highlight your club with a group photo and/or a short blurb! 

Anniversary Celebrations in May

Surrey Club 2590 Surrey 49th
Langley Toastmasters 2743 Langley 39th
Comp-Talk Richmond 31st
Armstrong Toastmasters Club 2645 Armstrong 29th
Enterprising Nanaimo 27th
White Rock Surrey 26th
Early Edition Surrey 24th
Richmond Dragon Masters Richmond 24th
New City Surrey 23rd
Cloverdale Surrey 23rd
Discovery Campbell River 16th
Salt Spring Salt Spring Island 13th
Revenue Ramblers Victoria 13th
Uptown Rollers Victoria  6th
Prospera Prose Abbotsford  4th
Silverbridge Duncan  3th
Coastmasters Surrey  1st


Anniversary Celebrations in June

Thunderbird Victoria 71st
Kelowna Kelowna 59th
Kalamalka Vernon 35th
Speakers Corner Victoria 31st
Harbour City Nanaimo 28th
Macdonald Dettwiler & Assoc Richmond 25th
White Rock Evening Edition White Rock 24th
The Rock Christian Surrey 24th
Rise And Shine Abbotsford 24th
Surrey Civic Speechmeisters Surrey 24th
Richmond Friendly Richmond 23rd
Kelowna AM Kelowna 22nd
Trestle Victoria 22nd
Pacific Rim Ucluelet 22nd
Sentinel Speakers Castlegar 22nd
Leading Edge Richmond 22nd
Toast Of The City Abbotsford 21st
Snowpeaks Chilliwack 16th
Walnut Grove Langley 14th
Midnight Madness Langley 14th
Kelowna City Hall Kelowna 13th
Energized Communicators Surrey 13th
Night Hawks Victoria 12th
The Professional Edge Surrey  9th
Hi Noon Vernon  8th
GenoJabbers Victoria  7th
Gateway Victoria  6th
Chosin Chatters Victoria  6th
Sage Richmond Richmond  5th
Royal Roads Victoria  5th
BC Ferries Richmond  5th
Spotlight Speakers Richmond  4th
West Coast Esquimalt  4th
Spontaneous Speakers Surrey  2nd


Winner of the D21 Evaluation Contest, 2017

“I lucked out when I joined Kelowna AM Toastmaster club” Wade Paterson said. “There’s a great amount of talent there, such accomplished speakers. They show you something to aspire to, yet they are not intimidating. They encouraged me right from the beginning. The club observes the Toastmaster formalities, but yet it has a casual feel. We have lots of laughter, teasing, joking.”

Wade joined Kelowna AM Toastmasters in November 2015 because he wanted to take the stress out of the frequent presentations he had to give as part of his job at the head office of Remax Western Canada. Along with a co-worker he came to Toastmasters to hone his skills and to become a more effective speaker. 

Part of his learning to become a more effective speaker came from observing other speakers and learning from experienced evaluators. This education culminated in Wade’s winning the District 21 Evaluation contest at the recent Spring Conference.

Wade tries to organize his evaluation by offering comments on three aspects of a speech that were done well, one or two ideas for improvement and a summary that reiterates what he has said. Almost always he will offer specific examples of the points he is making. He likes to focus on body language and vocal variety. The rest, he says, is mostly about the topics covered in the Competent Communicator (CC) manual, noticing what the speaker needs to work on and improve.

“It’s a challenge, to find the appropriate evaluation, whether the speaker is new or advanced. I try to tailor advice very specifically so that I leave the speaker feeling inspired and wanting to prepare another speech. I feel for new speakers; I remember my nerves before my Ice Breaker. I try to leave each speaker I evaluate feeling motivated.

“One thing I’ve noticed is that some people try to power through that CC manual quickly. This means their growth may not keep up. I suggest that they respect that first manual more and give their speech preparation more time, not doing last minute planning.

“In the contest the test speaker, Rob Evans from District 96, was such an elite speaker, it was difficult to find areas to suggest where he could improve. His body language was incredibly effective, he engaged the audience, injected humour in all the right places and his speech was expertly organized.

“His speech was so strong – as I watched it I was thinking ‘What can I tell him to work on?’ He had no glaring weaknesses so I had to be more nitpicky. I acknowledged his strengths and gave him a couple of minor suggestions for improvement. When I walked off the stage I felt I had given it my best effort. I was proud of my performance whether I won or not. It was an incredible feeling to win a District award. Hearing my name called out was the highlight of my Toastmaster career to date.

“I feel that Toastmasters has given me a lot, so in the next year I’m going to look at ways I can give back through leadership opportunities within the club.”

Submitted by Valerie Adolph

Contest Season wraps up for Div E

~ submitted by Yuhan Chen (originally posted March 9, 2017)

Barb Westlake, Ambassadors Tsawassen

Rome Gallardo, Richmond Toastmasters

April 12, 2017 saw the culmination of District 21’s Division E Spring contests. Shawn Gold (International Speech contest) and Yuhan Chen (Evaluation contest) were co-chairs for the event, held at Richmond Nature Park.

We had around 60 people attending, including D21 Director, Alan Warburton; D21 Program Quality Director, John Sherber; Past D96 Governor, Gene Vickers; and D96 Division B Director, Mark Zuberbuhler.

The contest started at 7:00 pm sharp and finished at around 9:50 pm, because we had 8 contestants in the International Speech contest and 7 contestants for the Evaluation contest!

There was humor, sadness, joy and excitement from all the stories shared by our fabulous International Speech competitors. There was impactful, creative and mind-blowing feedback provided by our highly observant Evaluation contestants.

Congratulations to all our winners! Rome Gallardo from Richmond Toastmasters won the International Speech contest and Barb Westlake from Ambassadors Tsawwassen won the Evaluation contest.

Div E Evaluation Contest winners (L-R): Katherine Praski, Rome Gallardo & Barb Westlake, with John Sherber (D21 PQD)

Div E International Speech Contest winners: (L-R) Jas Bhopal, Barb Westlake & Rome Gallardo with Alan Warburton (D21 District Director)

Looking back on an exciting eight weeks of club and area contests…

Dear D21 members and guests,

Division E cordially invites you to our club, area and division contests for the International and Evaluation Speech Contests throughout March and April. There will be many memorable speeches and impactful evaluations.

Division E includes 18 clubs (13 community clubs and 5 corporate clubs) in Richmond and south Delta (Ladner and Tsawwassen), spread over four Areas: 40, 41, 42 and 43.  We offer local toastmasters one advanced club, Spotlight Speakers, and one specialty club, First Mandarin.

In our division, there are 14 contests in total! Please check your calendars and consider visiting our Div.E contests.

All our club, area and division contests are FREE OF CHARGE and open to the general public. So bring your friends and families!

In Division E, there was one club contest every day from March 6 to March 10!

  • Leading Edge: first club contest in two plus years! (Friday, March 10, 7:30pm to 9:15pm)
  • Sage: the only community club contest hosted during lunch hour (March 9)
  • Comp-Talk: the winners of this club usually finish very strong in Area and Division level (March 8)
  • Richmond Toastmasters: the strongest club in Division E with 30+ members, and 6 contestants for each contest! (March 7)
  • Global Speaker: offers speakers from wide diversity of background (March 6)


Tsawwassen Ambassadors Club Contest – Tuesday, March 14 
   1st: Barb Westlake
   2nd: Katherine Praski
   1st: Katherine Praski 
   2nd: Barb Westlake 

Deltones Club Contest –  Thursday, February 16
   1st: Richard Nash
   2nd: Lorna Boyle  
   1st: Lorna Boyle
   2nd: Ellen Liboriussen

Sage Richmond Toastmasters Club Contest –  Thursday, March 9
   1st: Wing Kwong  
   2nd: Assinta Fung 
   1st: Ana Lay
   2nd: Ian De Leon

AREA E40 Contest – Wednesday, March 29

   1st: Assinta Fung (Sage Richmond)
   2nd: Barb Westlake (Tsawwassen Ambassadors)
   1st: Katherine Praski (Tsawwassen Ambassadors)
   2nd: Barb Westlake (Tsawwassen Ambassadors)


Comp-Talk Toastmasters Club Contest – Wednesday, March 8
   1st: May Soo Tveita  
   2nd: Jim Horne
   1st: Allan Heinrichs
   2nd: May Soo Tveita

AREA E41 Winners – Thursday, March 16

   1st place, May Soo Tveita (Comp-Talk)
   2nd place, Jim Horne (Comp-Talk)
   1st place, Allen Heinrichs (Comp-Talk)
   2nd place, May Soo Tveita (Comp-Talk)


Global Speakers Toastmasters Club Contest – Monday, March 6
   1st: Adolfo Ibarguen 

Leading Edge Toastmasters Club Contest – Friday, March 10
International & Evaluation
   1st: Ernie Hamm

Richmond Toastmasters – Tuesday, March 7
   1st: Rome Gallardo
   1st: Carolina Abramovich 

AREA E42 Contest – Wednesday, March 22

   1st: Rome Gallardo (Richmond Toastmasters)
   2nd: Jas Bhopal (Richmond Friendly)
   1st place, Jas Bhopal (Richmond Friendly)
   2nd place, Rome Gallardo (Richmond Toastmasters)


Spotlight Speakers (Advanced) Toastmasters Club Contest – Friday, March 17
   1st: Jasmine Hunter
   1st: Alain Cardez

Rich-Del Toastmasters Club Contest – Thursday, March 2
International & Evaluation
   1st: Shawn Gold

Macdonald Dettwiler & Associate (MDA) Contest – Wednesday, Feb 22
   1st: Patsy O’Conell
   1st: Edward Huang

AREA E43 Contest – Tuesday, March 21

   1st: David Lee (Rich-Del)
   2nd: Patsy O’Conell (MDA)
   1st: William Mok (Rich-Del)
   2nd: Alain Cardez (Spotlight)

Division E Contest
Wednesday, April 12, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm at
Richmond Nature Park, 11851 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC V6X 1B4

Our Evaluation Contest winners will advance to the final round at the District 21 Spring Conference in Surrey, April 21 to 23.

See you there!

Rootin’ Tootin’ Open House

March 8, 2017

Submitted by Beverley Steeves, VP Education

Professional Edge Toastcrumbs 

The morning was ambushed  by  twelve rootin tootin six shooters, a number of Calamity Jane’s and Jesse James’s.  Amongst the unsavoury gang,  there were clearly cattle rustlers, bank robbers, drinkers, gamblers and saddle bums.  The mob came from the either Tombstone or Early Edition Toastmasters.  Their goal was to retrieve their banner, which they accomplished peacefully, with no gunshots fired.  Being the bandits they are, they galloped off with our banner.   READ MORE

SAA Ken started off the meeting with his usual enthusiasm, energy and professionalism.  All  eighteen guests were introduced.   With fun & humour he turned the meeting over to the Chairman, President Noel.

Noel provided a warm welcome to all the guests and members.  He clearly outlined the agenda and made changes where needed.  In his calm composed manner,  the meeting unfolded in a structured and organized manner.

Introducer, John provided a thorough and inviting introduction to our first speaker.   He set the audience up with anticipation and prepared the stage for Rhona & her second speech in her CC manual.

In  Rhona’s  speech, Sticky Tags and Labels, she started off by painting  a picture of a lovely little child sleeping, with his arms to his side and his little bottom sticking up in typical fashion.  Except, his name was Alan Kurdi,  and he was the little Syrian refugee boy washed up on the shore.  Rhona spoke from her heart of labels & tags we  assign to people.  She reminded us to think of people as fellow human beings and forgo classifying, or categorizing people.  Her confidence and sincerity allows her audience to connect with her.  She set out to challenge us and that was accomplished.  

Rita provided a thoughtful & insightful evaluation.  ‘Wow,’  Rita’s first words, ‘can you believe this was Rhona’s 2nd speech…and without notes’.  She emphasized the very effective use of the pause that Rhona had  mastered and said she had been moved by the speech.   A suggestion for improvement to Rhona  was to raise her voice.  The group evaluation was given.

Introducer Gary used his typical warm sense of humour  with his introduction to Karen.  Gary’s introduction of Karen was very complete and provided a sense of her accomplishments.  He as well, set the stage for Karen.

Karen started off her speech Head Forward by taking off her shoes, walking into water and easing onto a paddle board.   You could see her bliss  & feel she was reliving her time of boarding.  The calmness of the sea was clearly felt with her descriptive words and the motion she created with her demonstrating  paddling.  A vivid comparison was laid out with the difficulties one has in life, with meeting  waves head on when the water gets rough.  How the ‘board of life’ can get us  washed back & forth, and danger can prevail, if not met head on.   She shared a gleeful time when in a boat with her family.  The sparkle and smile on  Karen’s face was engaging.  Karen’s relaxed manner is always enjoyable to see & feel.

Duncan presented an energetic evaluation in which he provided a demonstration on how to help  improve an aspect of  Karen’s speech.   He thought  the analogies Karen used throughout her speech made for a  powerful statement.   Duncan mentioned Karen’s ease and comfortableness.  A group evaluation was given.

We all moseyed into the saloon for 10 minutes for some grub;  baked goodies, fruit tray  & firewater….Starbucks coffee.

The meeting was called back to order by SAA Ken and skillfully passed over to Chairman Noel.  Noel provided a clear guide on the format for the 2nd half of the meeting with Jamie & Alan, both being on the world stage.

Jamie shared a video of his winning speech,The Power of Spit, as delivered at the 2010 Semi Finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking.  How fortunate for us to be transported  there. The speech packed the essence of human emotions into 5-7 minute speech. It was humorous, tender, light hearted, and serious.  A  story of love, kindness, sadness, and passion.  Not a sound could be heard throughout the room.  After the speech, Jamie shared his speech’s development, how it came to be, the important factors to have in your speech &  other tips.

With his speech from the 2009 District 21 Humorous Speech Final, Recalculating, Alan had us laughing right out of the gate.   Although not actually knowing Margaret and Ian, we GOT to know them through their drive to Safeway.   With his use of accents & his body language, he touched our funny bone throughout.  His sense of humour, glint in his eye, and expressions, helped him became a comedian telling a story.  Before and after the speech Alan shared his view on what makes a speech humorous, the impact of accents & other tips.

A wonderful meeting was adjourned by the Chairman with a closing by the SAA.

When The Door Is Closed, Look For A Window

Submitted by Letty Louie, Area 52 Director

The Kwantlen Toastmasters meet every Wednesday from 5:30-7:00 pm, at Kwantlen Polytechnic University Surrey campus. On March 1, 2017 the KPU Surrey campus was closed in preparation for the upcoming KPU Surrey Open House, making the Kwantlen Toastmasters’ usual meeting room unavailable.

As a result, the Kwantlen Toastmasters took advantage of this opportunity and visited the White Rock Evening Edition Toastmasters.

Ten Kwantlen Toastmasters surprised the Evening Edition Toastmasters during their Evaluation contest and walked away with their club banners. It was a fun and exciting night full of educational speeches, winners and surprises.


District 21 Program Quality Director John Sherber made a surprise appearance during the raid as well. This banner raid opened a window for future joint club events.

On March 22 2017, nine Evening Edition Toastmasters stormed the Kwantlen Toastmasters’ Open House at the KPU library to reclaim their club banners in style. Kwantlen and Evening Edition Toastmasters will organize more activities in future.

With its educational and entertaining values, every club should do a banner raid!

When the door is closed, remember to look for a window.



Speech Evaluation

Article based on interview by Val Adolph


Noel Bentley DTM, is known in his two clubs, White Rock Toastmasters and Professional Edge as a consummate speech evaluator. Here he shares some of his thoughts on that valuable Toastmaster skill – Speech Evaluation.


Every single Toastmaster is more than capable of evaluating a speech. No-one should say, or be allowed to say “I’m not good enough to evaluate yet”. Even if you are not experienced give yourself permission to evaluate someone’s speech. Look at it this way – they are asking for your help to improve. Do you really want to turn down a request for help? They are waiting for you to do just that – to help them. Even the newest Toastmaster can find something good in a speech and something that might be improved.



Decide how you will structure your evaluation BEFORE you stand up to present it. The speaker and the audience want to hear your feedback, not watch you assemble your points while standing at the lectern.

Structure is such an important part of an evaluation. You shouldn’t be trying to figure out how to put your thoughts together as you’re standing up to present them.

Find a structure you can work with – there are lots of them, find one you can work with comfortably. Make yourself a template from it to use each time you evaluate. Many people like the sandwich method (a good point, a suggestion for improvement, and what you liked best.) Others adapt this to a 3-2-1 method (three good things, two ideas for improvement, one great point). There are many more structures to choose from and most have enthusiastic advocates. Try different ways to see which works best for you. The only right way is the way that helps you give the strongest and most supportive evaluation.


Get familiar with the different types of evaluation – how an Ice Breaker evaluation differs from, say, an evaluation of a speech being prepared for a contest. Different speakers have different levels of needs for encouragement and for being spurred on to greater efforts. It’s not helpful to simply guess what the needs are, it’s important to talk with the speaker ahead of time and to ask them.

A ‘before talk’ is very helpful to discover precisely what a speaker needs or is looking for. An ‘after talk’ to give greater depth and a more personal understanding of your evaluation helps too. It’s not only about having listened well, it’s about communication.

The evaluation is based on the needs of the speaker; the evaluator tries to deliver whatever is needed at the time. Sometimes you need to add in a challenge. For instance, if a speaker makes the same mistake each time they speak it’s good to give them a challenge to address that issue.

Higher levels of analysis are needed when you are evaluating a speech that is being prepared for a contest, so you may be providing more suggestions for improvement than usual. Still, it’s important to remember that encouragement is part of the package too.

Evaluation is all about listening. If the speaker indicates that you have nailed the evaluation, then they know you were listening very deeply. It shows that you have taken an interest in the speaker and you care about his progress.

The more you evaluate the more you see its many facets. A strong evaluator:

  •       builds the speaker’s self-esteem as well as motivating and counselling the speaker.
  •       uses concrete examples to illustrates  the points made
  •      makes it clear by using phrases like “it seemed to me…” that this is just one person’s opinion.

Every Toastmaster has a suggestion for improvement for even the best speech, World Champions included. We all have unique insights and perceptions. Offered constructively these can help another Toastmaster along their path.


Every once in a while, an email arrives that makes our work on this newsletter-  and the work of all Toastmaster leaders – all worthwhile. This short article from Hersh Kalles, President of Island Excellence Toastmasters,  is just such an inspiring email.  It features the ToastCrumbs from Island Excellence – it is incredible what they have done since Ted’s visit on January 22nd. Enjoy!


I wanted to take a moment out of our normal ToastCrumbs to recognize everything that our club has done recently and give kudos to all of you who made it happen. There are also some of you whom I have sent this email to because you have inquired about us in the past. Maybe you came once or maybe it just never happened but hopefully we will get a chance to meet you soon or see you again as there are some really wonderful things happening at Island Excellence Toastmasters and which I’d love to share with everyone below…

First off welcome to Simon who officially joined our club last night. Simon, Laura, Kat, Lou, Norman and Brad have all joined our club since February 1st and I believe that Shelly will be next! If we are really fortunate, we will also have Casey and Karen, two amazing and highly experienced Toastmasters join us again as well perhaps even as incoming members? 😉 For those of you receiving this email that have yet to take the leap. This is a great time to get involved as we have some many members of different backgrounds and experience levels and you would be able to come onboard with many people, who like you, are brand new to the Toastmasters experience. Plus our next 6 month membership dues renew in March so it’s an easy transition time to get started!

All this exciting growth in our club means that we have achieved the “Talk Up Toastmasters” Incentive which we accomplished by bringing on 5 new members between February 1st and March 31st. At this rate we may triple that expectation by the end of March. Michael & Alan… chock us up for our big win please!

At the meeting tonight we also gave out our brand new ribbons to new members
Laura, Brad and Norman for having done their ice breaker speech recently and while I know Lou missed this evening and was supposed to do his ice breaker, I imagine he will be back soon and achieve his first ribbon as well. I also had the pleasure of honouring Janice who received her competent communicator certificate for completing all 10 of her manual speeches!!! Time to get on those advanced manuals Janice, LOL!   ((Hersh presenting Janice with her Competent Communicator Award, left).  Finally I want to congratulate Charlotte as, only yesterday, I put in for her Advanced Communicator Bronze which means she completed her Competent Leadership Manual, performed 2 educational sessions, attended COT training, filled and executive position for at least 6 months and also participated in our clubs succession plan. Lots of hard work and a well deserved certificate on the way for you Charlotte.

Tonight’s meeting was abuzz with energy as Norman, exemplifying our commitment to full participation, stepped up to be Toastmaster this week even though he’s only been with us for 3 weeks and with Charlotte’s mentorship he did a fantastic job. It was a full meeting filled with 3 speeches. Dani started us off with her 2nd manual speech about the cat crisis and what we can do to help. Brad gave speech #9, also his second manual speech in only a few weeks, as he practiced for a work presentation on helping people with disabilities with their financial circumstances and then I “bravely” gave speech #4 in the persuasive speakers manual, which addressed the opposition, taking the often dismissed viewpoint that the net result of a Trump presidency could be a positive thing for the world. I believe I even opened up a few minds to a new perspective on what is happening with our neighbours to the south 😉

We had 2 guests, one who became a member last night (Simon) and the other was Janice’s very own husband, a once-upon-a-time Toastmaster who truly enjoyed our meeting and we hope to see him again next week at our club contest. Speaking of which NEXT WEEK IS OUR CLUB CONTEST. I believe we have one contestant for the International Speech contest so far and 4 people in our Evaluation contest. Ashawni is stepping up as our Chief Judge and Anne and Janice are co-chairing so if you are competing please email them and offer to help out. Timers, Ballot Counters, Sgt At Arms, Judges, are all roles that we need filled and if you have any questions about what those roles do don’t hesitate to ask them. Also please invite your friends, family and strangers off the street as it’s going to be an amazing night that’s unlike our regular meetings. Perhaps some of our past guests like Cody, Danny, Ami & Ben will make it out to see the spectacle themselves! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

See you all next week… gotta go prepare my speech now!

Hersh Kalles




Toastmaster Contests: “To speak… or not to speak?” That is the question”

Submitted by Jamie MacDonald, DTM


Hamlet wondered about the value of life and the mysteries after death, with his “To be or not to be” soliloquy.

Toastmasters at this time of year wonder about overcoming a similar fear.  We ponder not just death and public speaking, but speaking in a contest!  That is a “life altering” experience to contemplate!

Many people step back, not forward, at contest time.  “Oh, I don’t do contests.”  “I am not competitive.” “I wouldn’t know what to speak about.”  “Contests are silly.”

If you are hanging on to these or similar beliefs, they might be robbing you of one of the greatest growth opportunities in the Toastmaster system.  I believe that contests have contributed to my growth as a speaker and a person, more than any other experience I have had in Toastmasters.

Contests helped me learn to run toward danger, not away from it.  No one wants a leader that runs away from problems or difficulties.  As emerging leaders, we need a laboratory, a simulation, where we intersect with fear safely.  Enroll in a contest and we show ourselves, more than anyone else, that we can access courage when we need it.  Courage, after all, is acknowledged as a key trait of leadership in life and business.

Contests reveal when I take myself too seriously.  What am I afraid of?  The Toastmaster audience is always warm, supportive and even forgiving, so that is not the issue.  Am I afraid of looking bad?  Forgetting my speech?  Or do I just hate losing?  Yes, all of these thoughts apply to me! 

These fears and emotions are evidence that my “self-focus” is out of balance.  This distressing condition can be cured with one thought: “Am I speaking for myself, or for others?

If I am thinking about myself, of course I am going to be overcome with nerves and avoid competing like the plague.  If I focus instead on the value of each person in the room, then I can’t wait to share a valuable message, to entertain with a story or encourage them.  I can be genuinely there for others.

Contests are my “growth on demand.”  Contests are self-improvement with a deadline!  Don’t you remember all those term papers and exams we had in school?  At the end of the course I often had mixed emotions: I was glad to have it over with, and I wished I had started earlier, because I learned so much!  What if there was no deadline?

There is nothing like a deadline to force me into action.  The day after participating in a contest you will look back and see how much the experience impacted you.  Your skill development is exponential compared to regular week by week Toastmaster activities.

Contests stretch us and bring out the best in us.  Ultimately, we volunteer to compete or we support others, by performing one of the many contest roles that make a great contest happen.  Both of these activities are essential for a healthy club and growing speakers.

See you in the contest!


The ACT of renaming COT

Submitted by Area 54 Director Leah Cheyne

When I saw the email from our District’s Quality Program Director, John Sherber, requesting assistance with changing the name of Club Officer Training, the first thing that traipsed across my mind was, “Why the push to change the name of Club Officer Training now?” Ever since I became a Club Officer the training has always been known as COT. I did not understand the point of the exercise.

Within seconds of this question floated another idea, and suddenly I saw his email for what it was. An opportunity, a challenge to make a small but significant change. It provided a chance to put on my creative cap and have a field day playing with acronyms. After all, what difference can three little letters make from three other little letters, right? With my computer on and ready to go, I sat down and thought about what COT means to me and what would sell me on the fact that attending these training meetings would be beneficial. Then I created some acronyms.

It struck me that MELE as our Toastmaster neighbours have called their training sessions is far too close to melee, and our district needs fewer melees, not more.  The main recurring thought that struck me was this: If you really want to change the acronym, then it should be changed to one with a positive vibe, something like UP, LIFT, ACT, or TURN. Something that indicates positive change through movement or action. In short, it needed to be motivational.

Accredited Club Training (ACT) was the only one that resonated with me when I finished brainstorming. On a professional level, it spoke to the very heart of the matter. We need club officers to know that their training matters to the health of our members, our clubs, and our district. It is a stepping stone to ensuring that we leave the district in better shape than when we entered into it. We need club officers to know that in exchange for eight hours of their precious time over a Toastmaster year, they would be working on their own leadership success and helping their club to receive credit towards the Distinguish Club Program.

“Now is the time for all club officers to ACT and help the clubs achieve distinguished status. Find out what it takes to make your club distinguished and get the resources you need to get your club there. Register now and don’t miss out!” I could see how changing three little letters could widen the range of promotional possibilities for advertising these events to Club Officers in our district. And then came this, “ACT for success because every Toastmaster deserves to be part of a Distinguished Club, their success starts with you, the Club Officer.”

Even though I thought it was the best acronym with the widest promotional possibilities it did not necessarily mean that everyone else would agree. At District Officer Training on February 11th, about 20 acronyms from all over the district were put on a board and the officers in attendance voted on the name change. It was great to see democracy at work.

Now I am looking forward to seeing exactly how this new name will be used in upcoming promotional material for the training sessions. May it be successful in obtaining the highest attendance rate for all our future ACTs as we all work together towards becoming a Distinguished District.

Editor’s note:   The contest  challenge went out at the Fall Conference, and the winner was picked  at DOT (District Officer Training).   Alan’s submission, HOPS-‘Helping Officers Prepare for Success’ set the bar, and the brainstorming session generated a flurry of highly creative possibilities.  Congratulations, Leah, for winning the $50 TI  incentive for your club.

GOTCHA! Caught in the Act of Leadership


Have you ever been part of a dream team that exuded passion, excitement and energy?  

Then you know it’s an amazing experience.  

In 2004, I co-chaired a highly motivated, committed 7-person team intent on raising funds for holistic treatments for a colleague diagnosed with Stage One Cancer.  Less than one month later, we had raised over $30,000.


There were no ‘buts’, or ‘what if’s’ when the team discussed ideas and plans.  It was only ‘how can we get this done” and “how soon’.  Once the team flew into action, resources, volunteers and donations flowed in. One goal, a passion for a shared vision, outstanding results. Awesome.   


Everyone should have the experience of being part of a Dream Team at least once in a lifetime.  The place to start is within ourselves.  Dream Team Players exemplify the Toastmaster values of Integrity, Service, Excellence and Respect, create excitement and have a lasting impact.


D21 is on a mission to bring back the glory days…the trio has a  shared vision, set a high bar of expectations, and brought in a master of inspiration all the way from Ireland to ramp it up some more.  The recent whirlwind tour with Ted Corcoran represents a momentum shift for us.  He asks each of us: “Are you ready to bring the buzz back?  Are you all fired up?  Are you ready to go?” It’s up to each of us to make it happen.


It’s true that we can do great things on our own, but a group of people committed to a shared vision is an awesome force (refer to story of the Goose).  It’s time to step up our game. The world is desperate for strong leaders.   Together, we can do more.  Together we’ve got what it takes to inspire the District and achieve our dreams.

How about using some  GOTCHA’s  to recognize and celebrate our great D21 leaders in the making who are doing the work to make it happen?



D21 Newsletter Coordinator, Ros Hansen DTM