Blog

Spotlight on Kimberly Lynn

I owe much of my success today to Toastmasters! In early 2015, after completing a Dale Carnegie course, I was eager to continue my personal growth journey. It was then that I discovered my company (Zoetis) was starting a toastmaster’s program. Without hesitation I became a chartered member to further refine my communication and presentation skills.

Toastmasters played a pivotal role in pushing me beyond my comfort zone.  I took on new challenges such as leading project teams, hosting webinars and hosting a panel discussion on Building Multi-Cultural Relationships. I even became a DISC training champion. Through my Toastmaster experience I found my passion for leadership and helping others reach their full potential.

The connections I have made and the continuous learning opportunities at Toastmasters have kept me engaged and motivated. The opportunities within Toastmasters are endless!!

One of my most significant roles has been serving as the Club Growth Director for District 62 Toastmasters this year. My focus has been on revitalizing struggling clubs, ensuring their sustained growth, and facilitating the establishment of new clubs. I have an outstanding team alongside me to help make it all happen!

Beyond Toastmasters I enjoy supporting my beloved Michigan State Spartans, relaxing by Lake Michigan to watch sunsets, training for triathlons, and traveling. Walking my dog, Max, and spending quality time with my family and friends bring me immense joy and balance in life.

By honing my skills through Toastmasters and embracing new challenges, I have been able to grow personally and professionally.  I look forward to continuing my journey of self-improvement and making a positive impact on those around me.

Call for Educational Presenters!

The District 62 Spring Conference is seeking skilled and passionate presenters to conduct 45‐minute educational sessions on Saturday, April 27th at the Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Qualified presenters are:

  • Current Toastmasters International members.
  • Have an appealing topic which imparts Distinct Knowledge.
  • Able to connect with poise and confidence with a Toastmasters audience.
  • Leaves Attendees with new insights which help further their communication and leadership goals inside or outside of Toastmasters.

Submit your proposal in an MS Word or PDF document file by March 15, 2024 with the following information:

  • Name, mailing address, email address, and cell/other phone numbers.
  • Your club’s name(s) and your Toastmaster leadership positions, if applicable
  • Your workshop title.
  • Your presentation format (lecture, interactive, etc.) and audio-visual needs; for the AV equipment, please specify which equipment you need to have provided.
  • The objectives of your presentation (3 to 5 objectives that your audience will take-away for future use)
  • Your speaking credentials for 45-minute workshop
  • A recent jpg photo and a professional biography

You need to Present in Person on the Day of the Event!

Please reach out to Amy Moored (amymoored@gmail.com) or Kyle Walker (klwalker2@hotmail.com) for more information.

Spotlight on Robin Kaczanowski

Robin Kaczanowski is a dedicated nurse practitioner with nearly 20 years of experience. Her passion for nursing began over 30 years ago and around 2018 she recognized the importance of enhancing her communication skills and sought out opportunities to develop in this area. Her Father was a Toastmaster in the late 1980’s and listening to his speeches piqued Robin’s interest in the program.  

This led her to her first meeting at Saginaw Harvey Spaulding Toastmasters where she soon became a member on July 1, 2018.  She vividly remembers her first speech, the famous ice breaker.  She had it all typed out, her whole life story, which went everywhere and sideways. She read it verbatim without looking up, shaking the whole time as she spoke.  Then she was amazed when the evaluation for her speech did not start out with “you don’t belong here”, or “where the heck did you come up with that?” 

Toastmasters provided Robin with confidence and opportunities to learn leadership skills. She has learned more about herself taking on several leadership roles over the last five years and has definitely grown in her work environment as well.

As Division E Director, Robin is grateful for all the learning opportunities which include motivating and engaging members and learning to balance her responsibilities in Toastmasters along with her responsibilities at work and family life.  

An important initiative she is working on is a succession plan to make sure that there is a smooth transition for leadership in toastmasters for next year. One of her favorite memories this year is helping with a Youth Leadership Program with the Dow Treasure Academy.

Spotlight on John Cameron, PQD

John Cameron Milestones: International Leadership in Korea and Japan, Local Leadership with Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer, Outlander Style Wedding in 2023.

“Toastmasters enthusiast John Cameron takes the spotlight this month, showcasing the transformative power of our community. Joining Toastmasters in 2019, John’s journey actually began during his time in grad school at Yonsei University, where he found the platform after being introduced by his friend in Shinchon in 2013.

John’s career is marked by impactful contributions, from receiving accolades for concise policy analysis at the Michigan House of Representatives/Senate to handling international responsibilities at the Korean Olympic Committee during the 2012 Olympic Games. Aside from working in politics and international sports, he’s had gigs in corporate training at Yonsei University, Hanwha Chemical, and more! As the Program Quality Director of District 62 Toastmasters, John led cross-functional teams, enhancing program quality for over 1,800 members. A testament to Toastmasters’ influence is the 2023 AF Group Pinnacle Award John received at his current job for his passion for training and building leaders.

Beyond professional achievements, John served as the treasurer for the Ingham County Equal Opportunity Committee, advocates for diversity, equity, and inclusion in HR. He manages political strategies and PACS funds as the Secretary of the Eaton County Democratic and Michigan 7th Congressional Parties. In the past he contributed to the leadership board of the Mid-Michigan Red Cross as a state disaster responder.

In his homelife- John holds a personal highlight from Toastmasters—he toasted his new wife at their wedding reception when he got married last October 15, 2023! This joyous moment emphasizes the role Toastmasters plays not only in professional development but also in life’s significant milestones. John’s story is a testament to the multifaceted impact Toastmasters can have, shaping both careers and personal celebrations.

If you’re curious to learn more about John’s journey or connect with him, feel free to reach out. John is always happy to hear and celebrate your life and story over a coffee!”

John gave this reply to a question about challenges in his Program Quality Director Position in the Trio at District 62 Toastmasters:

“The most significant challenge in the PQD role lies in fostering a culture of embracing change – especially while prepping for that new LMS! It can be initially challenging to encourage individuals to step out of their comfort zones, but witnessing the transformative impact when they do is incredibly rewarding. Guiding members toward realizing the benefits of change ultimately enhances the overall Toastmasters experience within the district.”

He also answered a question about juggling a full time job, PQD role and experiencing newlywed status: 

“Juggling a full-time job, serving as the Toastmasters Program Quality Director, and navigating newlywed bliss is a whirlwind, but it’s a joyful one. Balancing my passion for my wife, Toastmasters, and politics with a bit less sleep makes each day uniquely fulfilling. Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t trade this dynamic and rewarding experience for anything in the world.”

Are You Hosting an Open House? 

Open Houses give potential members an opportunity to learn more about your club in a fun and relaxed setting. With the right planning and tools, open houses can be a great marketing strategy.  Open houses highlight the benefits of Toastmasters for potential new members and they also allow current members to grow in new skill sets.  Read more about Open Houses Open Doors to New Members 

Do you have an Open House planned? Be sure to add your event to the D62 Calendar. Once that is complete send the details to PRM@62toast.com to advertise in the newsletter and the D62 Facebook Page.  

Unleash the Champion Within: The Toastmaster’s speech contest 

Speech contests are annual events that push individuals to their limits and challenge them to excel. These friendly speaking competitions are designed to help individuals improve their public speaking and leadership skills in a supportive environment. By participating in the Pathways program, speaking frequently, and learning from skilled evaluators, Toastmasters members equip themselves with the skills and competence needed to tackle challenges. The Pathways program also offers instruction on the essential leadership abilities required to effectively manage a successful competition.

Contest Levels

Each year, thousands of toastmasters compete in the International Speech Contest. There is also involvement in the Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, and Table Topics competitions as set by your district. The competition begins with Club Contests from January to early February. Those winners continue competing through to the Area Contests, which are held February to early March. The the winning contestants proceed to Division Contests which take place at the end of March. Then the winning contestants compete at the District level Contests in April. The Humorous, Evaluation, Tall Tales, and Table Topic contest as chosen by your district will stop at the District level. The winners of the District level International Speech Contest proceed to the Regional level, where the recordings of the contestants are sent for review by International Judges.

Are You Ready to Participate?

By participating in these contests, Toastmasters members have the opportunity to unleash their potential, gain valuable experience, and showcase their speaking leadership skills on a larger platform. These contests offer a supportive and challenging environment for individuals to grow and excel in their public speaking journey.

Take the plunge and participate in your Club Speech Contest. You can be a contestant or help out as an official. Every contest needs several Toastmasters to help with officiating as judges, vote counters, tech support, Sergeant at Arms, and Contest Master.

What the World Needs Now! Talking Up Toastmasters In Your Community.  

Communities are the building blocks of society. However, despite the widespread belief in the idea of community, there are signs that society often falls short of realizing the ideal of true community. By effectively communicating the value of Toastmasters, we have a better chance of changing this narrative.

Promote by Encouraging

Toastmasters not only fosters personal growth and career development but also provides a safe space where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together with the shared goal of supporting each other. Encouraging participation in your club is a wonderful endeavor, but it’s important to acknowledge that your club may not be the best fit for everyone due to factors such as time, demographics, and club culture. therefore, it’s crucial to promote the benefits of Toastmasters in other ways.

Share The Excitement

When sharing the exciting activities and events of your club, consider using phrases such as “I had a fantastic time at my club meeting today. You should consider exploring a club membership too!” Don’t forget to include the link https://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club.

Another approach could be, “Toastmasters is a fantastic place to connect with others while learning and growing. Let me help you find a club too.” Using these words can significantly contribute to the growth of your community. By doing so we are not only helping each other but also demonstrating to the world collaboration, encouragement, and working together are essential elements for an ideal community.

Check out the Talking Up Toastmasters article for more great tips.  

Conference Chair Positions are Open!

Fellow Toastmasters,

As we embark on a new year that celebrates 100 years of Toastmasters, the District 62 team is on the lookout for passionate volunteers ready to collaborate in orchestrating an extraordinary historic Spring Conference. If you, or a fellow Toastmaster, possess exceptional leadership skills and are enthusiastic about contributing to the success of one of our most memorable conferences, we invite you to explore the possibility of becoming a committee chair.

Please take a moment to discuss this exciting opportunity within your respective clubs. Let us know if any of you are interested in assuming a committee chair position from the dynamic list below:

  • Finance/Budget
  • Public Relations
  • Fundraising (Sponsorships and/or Silent Auction)
  • Registration
  • Facility
  • Decorations
  • Education (Involves securing speakers, facilitators, timers, etc.)
  • First-Timers
  • Contest Helpers (Guided by John Cameron!)
  • Toastmaster of the Day
  • Program Book Design
  • Printing (Programs, Speaker handouts, Educational Materials, Banners, etc.)
  • Appreciation Gifts Chair
  • Tech Chair (Zoom master/Onsite Tech needed)
  • AV Chair

Feel free to explore the potential of co-chairing these roles to share the workload effectively. Moreover, don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn High-Performance Leadership (HPL) credit(s)!

Amy and I are eagerly anticipating responses from those interested in playing a pivotal role in the success of our conference. Should you wish to take on a role or have any inquiries, please reach out to us directly. We are committed to personally following up with each and every one of you.

Your kind consideration means a lot to us, and we can’t wait to witness your enthusiastic response as we collaborate on planning another remarkable and successful conference!

Best Regards,

Kyle Walker, DTM: klwalker2@hotmail.com

Amy Moored, DTM: amymoored@gmail.com


Call for Nominations: District Leaders for the 2024-2025 Term

Dear Toastmasters Members,

I hope this message finds you well and thriving in your Toastmasters journey. As we embark on a new chapter, the time has come to nominate dedicated individuals for key leadership roles within our district for the 2024-2025 term.

The elected positions include the District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, and four Division Directors. To be eligible for nomination, candidates must meet specific qualifications at the time of taking office, as outlined below:

District Director:

  • Six consecutive months as Club President.
  • Twelve consecutive months as a Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Division Director, or a combination of these.        

Program Quality Director:

  • Six consecutive months as Club President.
  • Twelve consecutive months as a Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Division Director, Area Director, or a combination of these.      

Club Growth Director:

  • Six consecutive months as Club President.
  • Twelve consecutive months as a Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Division Director, Area Director, or a combination of these.       

Division Directors (All Four):

  • Six consecutive months as a member of a District Council, consisting of club Presidents, Vice Presidents of Education, and District Executive Committee members.   

To submit a nomination, please complete the District Leader Nominating Form and forward it to the District Leadership Committee: DLC@62toast.com. You may either self-nominate or have someone else nominate you for a leadership role. The nomination form can be accessed HERE.

Remember, this is an incredible opportunity for personal and professional growth. As Helen Blanchard, the first female International President of Toastmasters, wisely said, “If you get out of Toastmasters all there is to get out of Toastmasters, you will never get out of Toastmasters.” Embrace the chance to contribute to the Toastmasters community and enhance your own skills

We look forward to receiving your nominations and witnessing the positive impact our leaders will make in the upcoming year.

Best regards,

Why Take a Role in a Speech Contest?

Speech Contests are a Chance to build Community.

Speech contests provide a platform for individuals to develop and showcase communication and public speaking skills as well as leadership skills. Leadership Roles and Speaking can be daunting, but through participation, you can learn to overcome fears and express yourself effectively and learn to present your ideas with conviction.

The experience also sparks new ideas, provokes critical thinking, and can ignite a passion for personal and collective improvement. A speech contest offers an opportunity to showcase and spotlight talents of not only the speakers, but the members who develop the event. The speech contest also helps to promote the values, mission and commitment of Toastmasters. Toastmasters has many resources to educate on how to put on a successful Speech contest, as noted in the following link.

Contest Master

A Contest Master plays a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth execution and success of a speech contest. They are responsible for assisting in coordinating the event, setting the tone, engaging the audience, managing time, ensuring adherence to contest rules, facilitate judge briefings, handling unexpected situations and concluding the event. The Contest Master helps to keep participants and the audience engaged and upholding the integrity of the contest.

Contestants

Contestant Participation is essential in creating a meaningful and impactful event. Contestants not only inspire and motivate the audience and develop their own skills. They serve as role models who inspire others to step out of their comfort zones and share their voices. Contestants also have the potential to impact the audience through their words and ideas. A powerful speech can leave a lasting impression and prompt individuals to reflect, act, or make positive changes in their lives.

Chief Judge, Judges, and Tie Breaking Judge

The role of Judge is crucial. Judges ensure each participant is assessed fairly and impartially. They help to maintain the integrity of the contest and provide all speakers with an equal opportunity to succeed. The Chief Judge is responsible for appointing, and advising contest officials, pre-contest briefings, and delivering winners names. The judges actually choose the first, second, and third place winners. The tie breaking judge ranks all speakers. This ballot will only be used in the event of a tie. A dedicated and knowledgeable panel of judges can greatly enhance the overall impact and success of the speech contest.

Timer and Ballot Counter

The two timers are responsible for ensuring each participant adheres to specified time limits for their speech. By signaling when the allotted time is coming to an end, the timer helps to maintain consistency and fairness across all speeches. This not only ensures the event runs on schedule but assists the judges to evaluate speeches fairly and consistently. This ensures the audience experiences a well-structured and engaging event.

The Ballot Counters ensure accuracy in the judging and facilitate organization of collecting the judges’ evaluations and scores. They play a key role in maintaining the confidentiality of judges’ evaluations and scores, and ensuring the results are kept secure until officially announced. The ballot counters and timers are important to maintain fairness, discipline, and professionalism of the contest.

Sergeant in Arms

This person assists in managing the venue and maintaining order during the contest. They also assist participants with logistical matters such as providing them information about the contest schedule, directing them to the speaking area, and helping participants to adhere to the contest rules.

Tech Support

Tech Support plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of a speech contest, especially in a Hybrid Contest. Tech Support is responsible for recroding equipment, ensuring the livestream runs smoothly and also allows remote viewers to participate in the event. The Tech Support also is able to quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues which may arise with the audiovisual equipment. They also set up and ensure the contestants can deliver their speeches effectively and the audience and hear and see them clearly.

Call to Action

Are you ready to inspire and motivate others while honing your public speaking skills? Participating in a speech contest can be rewarding and transformative experience. Are you ready to inspire positive change and enhance your leadership skills? Embrace this opportunity to share your message and be part of a community dedicated to positive change. Become part of collective impact of growth not only in yourselves, but in the overall growth of all of us in District 62.