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INSPIRATIONS VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

DTM BIOGRAPHIES FROM DISTRICT 42

EDITOR/WRITER SHAILA KHAN D42.ORG

MICHAEL CONRAD, DTM

MICHAEL CONRAD

1

FREDDI DOGTEROM

2

GENESH CHARIYIL

4

KAMRAN AKBARZDEH

5

BOB GIBBENUS

6

KEITH LEE

8

MARCH 2014

MICHAEL CONRAD, DTM

When Michael Conrad writes speeches, one of his favourite themes is inspiration. When asked who inspires him, he simply says “My father.” Michael’s dad was a World War II veteran and was involved in the Legion and Poppy Campaign. He always wanted our youth to know why we remember. His dad led by example and awas always learning. When he was 93 years old, he learned how to email and Skype! He never felt it was too late to learn. (Sadly, Michael’s dad passed away two weeks ago.) Another theme Michael likes to use is “Perseverance”. And why not? He’s definitely had his share of interesting adventures in his Toastmaster’s career.

IN THIS ISSUE

March 2014

Michael first joined the Twin Rivers club in Calgary in January 2005. During his job evaluation (he was a Warehouse Manager at Schneider Foods), his boss asked him to work on his communication skills. His first meeting was quite a shock – members heckled during Table Topics! He left feeling uncomfortable since no one at the club took the time to explain Table Topics to him or even how the meeting worked. Luckily he decided to give it a try again in February. During his second year at the club, things fell apart. Many members belonged to companies that were downsizing and membership fell from 35 members to only 10. At the time, Michael was a Sergeant at Arms – but since most of the executive was wiped out – he quickly stepped into the President’s role. Quite a feat considering he hardly knew anything about club roles and

area or division structures. He counts this an invaluable learning experience. (Now when he conducts Officer Training, he ensures executive know their roles and understand the structure of Toastmasters.) Surprisingly that wasn’t all! The club’s Treasurer completely emptied the bank account and vanished! The club owed money – since it was a dinner club – and Michael paid out of his own pocket. It took him three years to rebuild the club. With such dedication, it’s no surprise he’s won President of the Year and Area Governor of the year. Michael made it his mission to help other clubs, so apart from the Twin Rivers Club, he also helped the Westwind Club. And if that wasn’t enough, he also helped start Calgary Advanced Toastmasters. At one point, Michael found himself part of five Calgary clubs since he found it hard to complete roles in clubs with a large membership base. Although he wanted to complete his DTM quickly, he doesn’t recommend this path to new members. He says, “Don’t go too fast – it’s too fast to get a DTM in two years. Go slow. Don’t give speeches for the sake of giving a speech – learn how to do it properly.” He advises while it’s important to get involved in leadership, it’s more important to get a handle on the communication aspect first – especially the first ten

speeches in the Competent Communicator manual. When he moved to Saskatoon, Michael joined the Spirit of the West Club in Saskatoon - which at that time was only two years old. Due to the club’s location, membership was weak and soon the club started having issues. At one point it only had three active members. Mike took on the role of a Club Coach but was too busy with his new job and his role as Area Governor. He found himself stretched too thin. However, perseverance seems to be Michael’s middle name! The company he was working for gave him access to a free meeting room and this changed the location of their meetings which proved to be beneficial for the club. “There’s always a way to save a club.” (Plus, he confides, they were able to offer free beer!) He encourages new members to “Get over your fears.” He knows members will feel nervous doing their Icebreaker and it will be the toughest speech they give - but as time progresses, they feel more comfortable with their group and each step becomes easier. His favourite part of the meeting is – and this is the first time I’ve heard


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INSPIRATIONS

this – Table Topics! Michael used to feel frazzled at first – but he didn’t give up and kept practicing. He would ask his teenage daughter and her friends to give him random topics to talk about. Now when his name is called – he knows if you have 3 thoughts or ideas – it is very easy to talk for 2 minutes. Before Michael joined Toastmasters, he was told he sounded like an auctioneer - his voice was staccato and regimented. The program

helped him put his thoughts together which created fluency in his speech. Toastmasters also taught him confidence and leadership skills “LIVE something he would never have learned on his own. He says people don’t realize this part of program since it can be sold short.

EVERY

While he found the communication part of Toastmasters to be easier than the leadership portion, he finds these skills not only help him at

DAY LIKE work – but at home with family as well. IT’S YOUR

Michael completed eight Advanced Manuals and while some of them include, Speaking to Inform, Specialty Speeches, Special Occasion

Speeches, and Communicating on Video – his favourite manuals are The Entertaining Speaker and Humorously Speaking. He enjoys LAST.”

sharing funny stories from his life. He says his most memorable speech was Speech 10 from his Competent Communicator Manual where he shared lessons he learned as a Toastmaster. Michael has held every executive position in Toastmasters – including Area Governor and District Governor. He was involved in the Speechcraft program in Saskatchewan (This program allows experienced Toastmasters to present the fundamentals of public speaking to non-members.) and in the Toastmasters Leadership Institute.

DON’T GO TOO FAST – IT’S TOO FAST TO GET A DTM IN TWO YEARS. GO SLOW. DON’T GIVE SPEECHES FOR THE SAKE OF GIVING A SPEECH – LEARN HOW TO DO IT PROPERLY. He has never competed in a competition – he laughs and cites luck in that matter – since he was in a Leadership or Governor role when contest time came around. Michael is currently recovering from a heart attack he suffered in December and he even counts that as a life lesson. Before he used to enjoy his beer and cigars, and now Michael has now lost weight and changed his eating habits. He hopes to be back at work as a Manager for Great Western Brewery in March. And hopefully his pursuit of golf and skiing will follow soon after. Retirement is only a year and half away for Michael. His daughter is in her fourth year of Nursing and being a wonderful father, he’s going to give her a year to settle down. Once she does, he will be moving to his place in Nelson BC. And he already has plans to join the Nelson Fresh Tracks Toastmasters. “They meet Thursdays twice a month!” Success to Michael is not financial – it’s family, friends and life. For him it’s how people will remember him. A teacher once told him if you can only impress only one person, it will be enough to make a difference. I’m sure with all of the amazing work Michael has done within District 42, that number has certainly been much greater!

FREDDI DOGTEROM, DTM If you’re not the lead dog – the view never changes. When Freddi Dogterom was growing up, Toastmasters was a world of men and suits. Eventually a group for women formed called – Toastmistresses and soon after transitions began enabling the creation of the blended clubs we enjoy today. As a child she was introduced to public speaking via 4H and later was part of the drama club in high school. She chose a career in corporate speaking and training and felt relatively competent. She was invited to a meeting by her co-worker, but after attending several meetings, the new club didn’t get off the ground. It was only after Ken Livers, a DTM, came to the meeting, she decided she wanted to be like him when she grew up! She didn’t know what she was missing“If it’s not in your life you don’t miss it!” - and being a part of Toastmasters helped her realize she could be more than average. Freddi joined Dynamically Speaking in 2001 and when asked to comment on her growth in the program, she answers “Once I was lost and now I am found!” The program gave her tools to become successful. Today she is a Professional Speaker and owns her own business “Freddi Speaks!” She is also a Registered Retirement Planner and attributes her successful retirement lifestyle planning workshops/coaching sessions to Toastmasters. Belonging to Toastmasters allowed her to have access to people who are on a learning/self-improvement track – they not satisfied with status quo and they offer ongoing encouragement and support. The program gave her the opportunity to live her vision of building people up since it provided a safe environment to practice her professional material.


Volume 1, Issue 1 A pivotal moment came early in her Toastmaster’s career after her speech entitled “I always wanted to be somebody – but I should have been more specific”. The feedback she was received was invaluable – members offered advice such as “I couldn’t hear the closing sentence” while another said “That sentence made me feel uncomfortable. Could you rephrase it yet keep the same message?” She values good, solid evaluations that help her grow.

Page 3 formed. A member, who never spoke, was watching everyone set up for the meeting. Suddenly he shouted “Toastmasters”. This was the first time anyone had heard him speak! A year later, when they asked for volunteers to speak, he spoke for 5 seconds. Another time, Freddi was visiting the club and a member, with profound disabilities, came up to her and said “You know what Toastmasters has done for me? I can speak up for myself.”

If you have ever been evaluated by Freddi you might have heard her say “I’m wondering for another time if you might try…..” because she wants fellow members to grow as well. She is extremely proud of her club because they pay 100% attention to each member’s goals regardless if they are new or advanced. .

The members of this club use Toastmasters as a pathway to success. They might only be able to answer simple questions or do a one minute speech but they are finding their voices. Today the club has over 40 members! These are the reasons why Freddi continues to stay involved with Toastmasters.

Freddi draws upon her wonderfully diverse life experiences as she prepares her speeches. It could be stories of being the first female ice road trucker in the Arctic or her cooking stories or even about the explosions in her kitchen from the science experiments she conducts with her grandsons! She will also to use current world news but only if she can convey a helpful message after examining the event with her “life glasses”.

Freddi has completed all of her advanced manuals and is currently working on her second DTM. She also has set a goal to become an Accredited Speaker.

As a charter member for Naturally Speaking (a Club for Special Needs Adults) and Club Coach for Off the Cuff (Pincher Creek), Freddi says there are advantages in belonging to more than one club. For one, it expands your circle and secondly, it enables you to make phenomenal contacts and increase your sphere of influence.

Even today Freddi has mentors. A mentor, and now friend, she is grateful for is Florence Littauer. (Florence is one of only a handful of women to have earned both the CSP and CPAE from the National Speakers Association.)

While she does say it requires more time and commitment – she does feel you see counter by saying you create benefits when you invest time. Anyone would agree with me if I call Freddi successful for becoming the 2004 Division 42 champion in both Table Topics and the Evaluation Contest but for her, success lies in the little things that help build up and support people. The experience of being a mentor for Naturally Speaking, created a huge impact in her life. She recalls an event about three months after the club was

For new members she wants to say “Congratulations!” She advises them to look at club members and find someone to emulate. Then ask him/ her to be your mentor. “It’s important to have someone beside you on your journey.”

Freddi with World Champion Jim Keyes after her 2004 win for Table Topics.

“ONCE I WAS LOST AND NOW I AM FOUND!”

When she’s not busy with Toastmasters, Freddi loves spending time with her grandsons who are 11 and 13 years old because they give her an opportunity to look at life again through a child’s eyes. (Her youngest grandson, by the way, can’t wait to grow up and join Toastmasters!) No matter what Freddi does, she lives her vision of building people up and helping them become the best they can be.

Race car driver? Is there anything she won’t do?


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GENESH CHARIYIL, DTM Genesh Chariyil never wanted to push himself for DTM – he felt “When I become a DTM I should act like a DTM – you need that confidence.”

Humour Tips 

Comedians don’t randomly

come up with punch lines. They spend a lot of time on research to see which ones work for their audiences.

To have a successful humorous speech, you need a laugh a minute. i.e. For a 6 minute speech, you

need 6 laughs.

He joined Toastmasters in 2000 in Dubai, UAE to improve his English skills and face his fear of public speaking. “If I got onto a stage and there were 25 people in front of me – I would only see 2 of them.” He would forget lines and let fear control his speeches. When he was encouraged to join Toastmasters, Genesh didn’t realize it was an International Organization. “I thought I was getting an opportunity that no one knew about!” Today he’s lost his fear and lets knowledge control his speeches. Genesh got involved in his club starting off as Sergeant of Arms and soon became Area Governor. He laughs since his wife started to get suspicious about his involvement. To quell her curiosity, he took her to a meeting and she was hooked! He jokes his escape from home was over because she joined the club and began beating him in club contests. His son also joined the Gavel Club (for ages 12 to 18) in Dubai and soon they became known as a Toastmasters family. As a family, Toastmasters helped them understand the value of good and effective communication and opened up new opportunities for them. The family moved to Red Deer, AB in 2005 and Genesh joined the Kitowin Toastmasters Club where he continued his involvement in leadership - moving quickly from President to Area Governor. In 2012, they moved to Calgary because their son was accepted into Medicine at the University of Calgary. Genesh is now a member of Station 29 Toastmasters. Toastmasters, Genesh says, made him more confident and

as a Project Manager), he organized a Speechcraft Program for the Women’s Network in the company.

Caption describing picture or graphic.

contributed to overall personality and leadership development. “Public speaking is last thing you learn at Toastmasters!” He also developed a great network consisting of wonderful friends. “People come (to Toastmasters) with one purpose – to learn – to gain knowledge – very rarely you find politics.” Genesh calls himself a great student of Toastmasters - he learned so much! For him success is defined as giving your maximum effort. “You might not be successful since other factors might be involved – but ask yourself, what will you do differently next time?” He encourages everyone to take responsibility for their actions and says it’s easy to find fault and to find reasons not to do something. If you decide to take action, influences will appear to give you confidence. You just have to take that first step. He puts his philosophy to practice through his favourite activity – starting new Toastmasters clubs. While in Dubai, he started many clubs – including ones in schools and colleges. After he moved to Canada, he started a club in Sylvan Lake and also another club for Nova Chemicals. At ConocoPhillips (where he works

Genesh likes to draw on family experiences in his speeches and loves talking about his birth place – a village in Kerala, India. While he likes to share both positive and negative life experiences, he enjoys delivering humorous speeches. But, he says, he learned about humor the hard way. Genesh was participating as a contestant in the Humorous Speech contest at a Divisional Contest at GTAC (GTAC Gulf Toastmasters Annual Convention). He thought he was well prepared - after all he had good body language and speech delivery but he didn’t take time to research humorous speeches. After hearing six speeches before him, he felt defeated. Nervousness set in and he forgot to be natural in his speech delivery. Except for his son and friends, no one laughed. And they only laughed to support him. Genesh didn’t give up and used the opportunity to grow. The winner of that contest came to his club and taught them how to give humorous speeches. If you speak from the heart and are natural in your delivery, it (humour) will come easily.” He learned to focus on his natural speaking skills and the fear went away. Since then, he has won many area contests for humorous speeches and Table Topics. Taking this knowledge a step forward, he prepares for speeches by writing them, yet he never takes notes on stage because he gets distracted. Even if you forget a line, he says, you are the only one who knows. Members will try to change their style based on manuals or evaluations, but never forget your natural method of delivery and focus on your instincts. For Genesh, his most memorable speech, was one entitled “Knowing


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your True Self, a speech based on realizing what you are and why you are here. Ask yourself, “What is my purpose?” It definitely rings true for our purpose at Toastmasters too. Genesh’s favourite part of Toastmasters meetings are Icebreakers. He says, “Even if you have spoken to that member before, in that 4 to 6 minutes you learn so much about that person.” And for he record, he only likes Table Topics when he is the Table Topics Master! When he’s not at Toastmasters, Genesh loves to read managent books, listen to Malayalam music and watch movies chosen by his wife. In the evenings, he always goes for an hour walk, irrespective of the weather. He is very committed to developing people and utilizes the qualities he possesses for the benefit of others. Hence he is involved in mentorship programs at Toastmasters, APEGA and ConocoPhillips. Genesh says his mother is the most inspirational person in his life. Because his father was in the military and was often away, his mother had a lot of responsibilities, including raising three children. She only was educated till the tenth grade in a village in Kerala, but she held a blind belief and confidence in him – even when he was facing lows in his life. He has always had a great connection with her and she is a true friend. “It takes a lot of courage – to encourage others. “ Genesh definitely possesses his mother’s courage!

KAMRAN AKBARZADEH, DTM Be the change you want to see in the world – Gandhi. Kamran Akbarzadeh loves inspirational quotes. In Toastmasters, he always begins his speeches with them, and this passion led him to a career of motivating and inspiring individuals to live their dreams. Success for Kamran lies “in the small things.” Small things are achieved by taking one step forward and if fail, stand up. Massive success comes by amassing small successes. Keeping this thought in mind, Kamran offers the following advice for new Toastmasters.

Join a club that feels right.

Don’t shop around too much but join a club where you feel comfortable. When Kamran joined Riverbend Toastmasters in 2006, the club’s culture felt right for him since it was a casual club where members liked to have fun.

Know why you are joining Toastmasters and create a vision for yourself.

People come and go in Toastmasters without realizing their potential. For most members, joining isn’t just about enhancing communication skills – there is a need for progress in life. If you don’t find your why – you won’t benefit from your experience and will leave the program. Kamran’s initial motivation to join Toastmasters was to enhance his public speaking skills. He had experience with technical presentations but knew he needed work on his body language. However over the years, he fell in love with leadership aspect of the program. Currently as a Division Governor for Areas A and H, Kamran created the acronym SHINE for his vision. S - Share our strengths with each other and clubs; H - Help one another; I - Involve our members in different levels in and outside of club; N - Nuture and renew our membership’s leadership skills; and, E – Earn Distinguished status. Area governors took this vision to heart and created their own acronyms for their club’s vision.

Small things are achieved by taking one step forward. If you fail, stand up. Massive success comes by amassing small successes.


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Get involved and be open to opportunities. Don’t stop at small roles and leave your comfort zone. Kamran grew because his club

encouraged him to take roles. As an evaluator, he learned how to evaluate effectively and using this knowledge, he teaches others via his business Dream Achievers Academy. When he was a new member, the President of his club asked him to be Secretary, and when he hesitated, she said “You will learn.” After that, for each role he took on, he received support and guidance from members and this enabled Kamran to grow as a leader. In 2009, Kamran attended a Fall Conference in Grande Prairie and presented an educational seminar called “Leadership Soup”. Fifty people attended his session. They were energized by his presentation and encouraged him to write a book. He knew at some point he wanted to but because of encouragement from fellow Toastmasters, he completed his book in one year! He says encouragement appears at every level of the program – from club to Division.

Do your prepared speeches. Over the years, Kamran has seen many members who read from notes or were shy

during their Icebreakers become confident speakers. Members don’t feel ready, start to delay and will take on other roles. “If we don’t do speeches, we cannot grow.” Kamran has many accomplishments. He completed many advanced manual including Specialty Speeches, The Professional Speaker, Speeches by Management and Speaking on TV. He has also won many awards - Rookie of the year (club level); Toastmaster of the Year; and Area Governor of the Year (Division level for Division F). He also went to the Division level (Division A) for the International Speech Contest. For his ALS credit, he sponsored a new club – Lingo Advanced Toastmasters in 2013. An opportunity for a new club arose since members of his home club, felt there were not enough opportunities to complete advanced manuals. So instead of leaving, members created a new club. Kamran is very creative at making his speeches memorable. His club still remember his Speech #10 because while a song played in the background, he shared a story about giving, sharing and love. At the end of the speech, he gave everyone a rose. Apart from quotes, Kamran has other sources of inspiration. The Brahma Kumaris inspire the spiritual aspect of his life. For leadership, he finds inspirations in books by John Maxwell about putting your dream to the test. This made him serious about his business. From Robin Sharma’s books, he learned to find his destiny by leaving his comfort zone. After completing his DTM (it took him seven years) and term as Division Governor, Kamran plans to rest a little. His future doesn’t hold a second DTM, since he would rather focus on sharing his knowledge. He wants to encourage people to join Toastmasters and shares leadership experience via webinars, conferences, blogs and training sessions. (His wife, who initially had introduced him to Toastmasters, teases him about his three wives – her, his daughter and his laptop!) He doesn’t enjoy watching TV and instead spends his time reading, writing, playing ping pong or by going on walks. Originally from Iran, Kamran definitely loves his soccer. He currently resides in Houston, TX and works as a Senior Research Engineer (R&D Lead). His family will be joining him in June. The family loves exploring new places so they choose a new vacation spot every year. Final words from Kamran? “People have potential – they can do more than they think.”

BOB GIBBENUS, DTM Over 15 years ago, Bob Gibbenus was asked to join Toastmasters because he his job required him to train people. He began his journey with the Kakwa Club in Grande Prairie, AB. After moving Calgary, he now belongs to the Westhills Club and To the Point. From his Toastmaster’s experience, Bob has taken away many important concepts.

Never missing an opportunity.

Bob had just moved to Calgary, and was asked to do a speech at a demo meeting in Silver Springs for people who wanted to learn about Toastmasters. He only had a day to prepare but he accepted. What a great example of not missing opportunities – “The best looking guest became my wife!” (And she is still part of Toastmasters!)

Developing Self-confidence.

Before Toastmasters, Bob says “I was even shyer than I am now.” He credits the program for improving self-confidence has improved dramatically! He has won many awards over the years, including the Division J Toastmasters speech contest in 2002. His speech “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – was about his personal life experiences and is one of his favourite speeches.


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Another memorable speech for Bob was the one he gave at a Speaker’s Showcase for Darlene Davies. The speech was about finding magic outside of your comfort zone – and he got a really good response from the audience.

loves being a grandfather to 7 grandchildren ranging in age from 1 year to 15 years old. They inspire him because they are honest and easy to love. His wife inspires him because “she is smart, wise and a great teacher of life.” And his mother-in-law inspires him by being a role model on how to be a loving, kind and thoughtful person. “Like her name, Grace, she lives up to it. Love comes so naturally for her.”

In 2009/2010, Bob also won President of the Year (Division J) and in 2012/2013 won Toastmaster of the Year (Division J).

Making lasting friendships.

Bob had always had good friends, but it was always a limited network. Now he has a huge network of good friends from Toastmasters – and they are friends he can count on.

Table Topics!

Leadership skills.

The evaluation portion of a Toastmasters meeting was pivotal in helping Bob with his managerial skills In 2006, Bob suddenly found himself at a land surveying company. Before in the hospital undergoing surgery for the program, he used old school a cancerous tumor. The timing techniques of leading with fear. After, couldn’t have been worse because he learned how to lead with around the same time his son was encouragement and this method about to get married in Houston TX. enabled him to help his team Thanks to this incredible network of members. friends - he was able to create a video message for his son. “I wore a jacket When it comes to evaluations, he and tie on my hospital gown!” reminds both new and experienced members, that “we are Gratitude reflects in his voice as he all learning.” Look for recounts how one friend accessed a opportunities to give positive club’s video equipment and everyone feedback and be very careful of the came to the hospital to help film his language you use. message. Then they sent the video down to Texas in time for the When Bob sits down to write wedding. “It means a lot to me.” speeches, he likes to incorporate a message to will help people change or Becoming a better speaker. improve their lives – and he looks to Bob credits his Toastmaster’s training his own life for lessons learned. for being able to create a video When asked if he was successful in message for his son – as opposed to his life, he says just an email message. “In terms of a successful life – when it’s time to say goodbye to this life – For Advanced Manuals Bob you (need to) 1) to love and been completed Storytelling, Interpersonal loved; 2) to have done meaningful Communication, Facilitating work; 3) to have experienced Discussion, Interpretive Reading, something greater than myself (i.e. Special Occasion Speeches and The God or Universe (spiritual Entertaining Speaker. relationship)”. He learned the most from the Storytelling manual because he didn’t have a clue how to tell stories! The projects taught him a lot and he got the most out of it in terms of improvement. But, he confesses, he still doesn’t like

At Toastmasters, Bob enjoys listening to prepared speeches since “people choose fascinating topics – and it’s fun to hear things about different experiences.” Bob is also grateful for the many sources of inspiration in his life. He

He loves to cook and is the cook in the family. While Bob enjoys reading novels written by 19th century authors such as “Oliver Twist” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, his favourite book is “Les Miserables”. In the summer, he loves to golf. Currently Bob is a Club Coach for a struggling club. The club had gone through a club coach a few years ago, and even though all goals were met, it needs coaching again. Bob doesn’t need the “tick mark” since he is a DTM already - but he wants to help and is working hard to help the club become strong and sustainable for the long term rather than just the immediate future. It’s his way of giving back to a program that has given him so much.

Before the program, he used old school techniques of leading with fear. After, he

learned how to lead with encouragement .

“It will alright in the end and if it’s not alright it’s not the end.”

“The best looking guest became my wife!” (And she is still part of Toastmasters!)


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Finally, a 'Q & A' with District Governor (2013-2014) Keith Lee. Interviewed by Janet Olson, CTI Techtalkers Why did you join Toast Masters? I joined the SAIT Sayers club in 2002 as I was finishing a diploma at SAIT in Calgary. A friend of mine noticed an ad on a campus bulletin board and we decided to check out a meeting together. What do you like about Toast Masters? The people, the opportunities, and the personal challenge. There are so many ways that I have grown through my time in the organization. I met my wife through Toastmasters, I have gotten jobs through Toastmasters, and I have been able to expand my communication and leadership skills exponentially through the new contexts that District Leadership affords. Are there any stories you would like to share with us? Actually, one of my proudest achievements over the years was completing the “85 Stories” project, where we celebrated the 85th anniversary of Toastmasters International by collecting the stories of 85 different Toastmasters from across Calgary and sharing them online. It was very cool to hear about the difference that the organization has made in so many lives. Also, it is interesting how my first bid for District Leadership led me to meet my wife! We met at the Grande Prairie convention a few years ago but all we did was play Mega-Jenga in the hospitality room. I was so shy I didn’t actually talk to her during the game – we just played the game. It wasn’t until the next convention six months later that we actually had our first conversation and I asked her for her number! What have been the highlights of your journey to DTM? I remember attending a cracker-barrel session led by Rhys Davies many years ago and promising to complete my DTM that year. It took me a while…. I didn’t finish until five or more years later! Initially I wanted to complete my High Performance Leadership project on coordinating Youth Leadership programs in Calgary. Although I did accomplish a lot with Youth Leadership, it fell to the wayside as an HPL. Ultimately, I decided to pursue a project in my year as Lieutenant Governor of Marketing that I finished for my HPL. I had an outstanding guidance committee – Darlene Davies, Charles Mohammed, and Ray Mulvihill – and I really enjoyed our conversations. I also have to thank Doris Henn for motivating me to cross the finish line in the end. Another highlight has been the joy of writing Thank-You cards to members who have achieved their DTM and other educational goals. It takes a lot of commitment and focus to complete goals within the program, and you can never have enough recognition! How has Toast Masters helped you? It has helped me with my career, expanded my social circle, and helped me discover myself as a leader and communicator. Helping to organize projects and events in service of others has provided so many opportunities for growth and contribution to my community – I would truly say that Toastmasters has helped me define myself more sharply as a person and find my voice. I want to build and share my knowledge, and Toastmasters has helped that process immensely. Why would you recommend TM to others? Definitely! It provides a fantastic opportunity for people to expand their skills, expand their network, and discover opportunities to grow as a leader, communicator and citizen of the world. You meet so many people and have the chance to contribute in so many ways both within and beyond the club. What are your future plans? Following completion of my District Governor year, I will step back a bit to focus on my family and my career. I still plan to contribute as Immediate Past District Governor – Chuck Leblanc, Greg Gazin and Ken Tanner have been huge inspirations and great mentors – and I look forward to seeing our District be Distinguished for many years to come.

I would truly say that Toastmasters has helped me define myself more sharply as a person and find my voice.


INSPIRATIONS INSPIRATIONS INSPIRATIONS

TOASTMASTER’S PROMISE

As members of Toastmasters International and our Clubs, we promise . . . To attend all Club meetings regularly; District 42 Alberta and Saskatchewan

To prepare speeches to the best of our ability, basing them on projects in the Communication and Leadership Program manual or the Advanced Communication and Leadership Program manuals; To prepare for and fulfill meeting assignments;

Contact: Shaila Khan Editor/Writer Inspirations, VP PR, Speaker’s Edge Toastmasters E: inspirations@d42tm.org Geetha Nicodemus, DTM Public Relations Officer pro@d42tm.org

To provide fellow members with helpful, constructive evaluations; To help the Club maintain the positive, friendly environment necessary for all members to learn and grow; To serve our Clubs as officers when called upon to do so; To treat fellow Club members and our guests with respect and courtesy; To bring guests to Club meetings so they can see the benefits Toastmasters membership offers;

D42.ORG

To adhere to the guidelines and rules for all Toastmasters educational and recognition programs;


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