Photos from Conference 2024

Conference Co-Chairs Kyle Walker and Amy Moored hosted the DEC meeting with tours of the building and facilities for the upcoming Conference 2024.

Celebrating a great year with District Director Laura St. Louis, DTM3!

Bruce Frandsen, DD Laura St. Louis, Keynote Dawn Frail, Conference Chair Amy Moored, Contest Master Bruce Racalla, CEO Air Zoo Troy Thrash with Toastmaster James Lemke, Toastmaster Taylor Vitale, CGD Kimberly Lynn

Contestants before the contest, International Contest 1st Place Adli Adnon (with headphones), 2nd Place Fred Johnson with Contest Master Bruce Racalla and Toastmaster Taylor Vitale, 3rd Place Acacia Berlin with PRM Julie Gessner. Evaluation Contest 1st Place Robyn Schopp (far right), 2nd Place Yu Liu with Amy Moore and Taylor Vitale, and 3rd Place Alicia Roach (with glasses).

Bottom Left Laura St. Louis, DTM3, Josh Winkelstein, DTM, Owen Monday, Jr., DTM, Margaret Sieh, DTM4, Vicki Harwood, DTM

Anna Donahue, Nathan Hickman, and Crystal Mosher

Tech Gurus: Josh Winkelstein and John Cameron, Improv by Clash Reunion, Take Your Pic with Lisa Waalkes, Kim Lynn, Sienna Mavima, and Pamela Keim, Bookstore with Liz Reynolds and Vicki Harwood.

3 Breakout Speakers at Conference

Nathan Hickman, Crystal Mosher and Anna Donahue will be the Breakout Speakers this year. Here is a breakdown of their bios and presentations.

Nathan Hickman has experience as a Club Officer, Area Director, Division Director and Pathways Guide. He has a weekly 30 minute podcast with a company out of New York. https://taketimeto-be.com/podcast-series and he has appeared on the Shelley Irwin Show 3 times.  

He shared his powerful story about why he became a writer, speaker and podcaster: “I’m proof that you can learn to control your emotions no matter the situation. Through the midnight reflections of my late brother’s life, I discovered three main principles in life.”

Nathan was diagnosed with Anxiety, Depression, and Bi-Polar Disorder in 1996 and in his early ’20s, life was hard enough as a young adult without these challenges. 

At the end of 2012, Nathan reached a critically low part of his life. Paralyzed with anxiety, he struggled to get through each day. Adding to the complexity of Nathan’s mental illness, his only brother died a little over a year later after struggling with physical disabilities.

Nathan was mad and thought about his brother, “He didn’t deserve this life of hardship and pain.” 

Nearly “chained” to his bed, Nathan couldn’t read, watch TV or listen to music. Lost for days in the silence and loneliness of his thoughts, he began to write a journal. “As I wrote about my brother’s life, a change occurred. I started to see my brother’s life and then my life through a lens of gratitude. I focused on what was right and not what was wrong. I began living in the moment more often.” 

“I’m now living my best life. It’s not perfect, and I struggle regularly. Still, I accept life’s challenges and choose to focus on what I do have and what I can do, which allows me to live an imperfect life, perfectly.”

I desperately want to help you stop the “Next Day” roller coaster you may be riding and teach you how to gain resilience and begin enjoying life’s little moments more often. 

The title of Nathan’s Breakout Session is “Leadership through Listening and Empowerment.” His objectives are geared towards leaders who are the first to speak where they should be the last to gain wisdom from the group and to gain credibility while allowing others to feel their opinions matter. 

Nathan plans on sharing:

  • Empowering our group members with the ability to do their best work and stay engaged – using their skills and understanding their strengths. Setting up group members for success. 
  • The art of listening and what it takes to be a leader and how leadership is misunderstood.
  • Creating measurable goals and regular coaching and follow up on success towards goals – often the group is left without direction, guidance and coaching 
  • The importance and art of follow up – that feels empowering to group members instead of feeling top down pressure dynamics 
  • The power of connection to withstand differences in group dynamics 
Crystal Mosher enjoyed a previous career as a pink car driver for Mary Kay Cosmetics. Then she spent an entire decade convincing audiences that“Nothing Tastes as Good as Thin Feels” when she worked as a Weight Watcher Lecturer.

Crystal spent 16 years with Woman’s Life Insurance Society inspiring women to give back to their community as they planned ahead for their secure financial future.

Crystal has a husband, a daughter and 3 magnificent grandchildren. She is recently retired and excelling at doing what she wants when she wants. Right now she wants to talk to you about getting your Toastmaster Club noticed in your community!

“Let’s Get Visible” is the title of her speech. Crystal says, “I’m interested in recruiting new members and teaching others how to recruit with success.”

She will talk about where we find prospects and what we say to invite them to a Toastmasters Meeting and how to follow up.

She will work with the audience to create a 1 minute elevator speech answering the question “What is Toastmasters?”

She will also work with the audience to share succinctly with an interested prospect the price point of Toastmasters, how to give the opportunity to join Toastmasters for a full year instead of only 6 months.

The results are to expand your circle of influence and make new friends in your Toastmasters Club.

Anna Donahue joined Toastmasters to learn how to speak confidently about her experience as a successful commissioned artist. Now, thanks to Toastmasters, Anna has a new coaching business designed to share her knowledge with fellow artists. 
Anna Donahue, DTM

Not only did Toastmasters lead her through the educational achievement for a DTM award but also gave professional experience in leadership skills. She has held the offices of Club Growth Director, Public Relations Manager and Web Administrator.

Anna’s presentation is titled “We Are Creative Creatures; Use Creativity to Engage Your Audience.” Creativity is something that we all process and need to learn how to use effectively. Find out how to tap your creative genius and use it to propel yourself to success and to influence the people you care about. Anna will share her knowledge on using creativity to engage your audience.

Key Takeaways include:

  • How to use your creativity for success
  • Understanding your creative genius
  • How to live creatively to influence the people around you

Division Contest Winners Heading to District 62 Contests

Announcing the Division Contest Winners! See the District Contests at Conference 2024 on April 27

Red Victory Ribbon with Three Gold Stars

Congratulations Division Contest Winners! 1st and 2nd place winners from each Division are eligible to compete in the International Speech Contest and the Evaluation Contest at the District level. Register to watch the Finals HERE! 

C Division Winners

1st Place International and 1st Place Evaluation Alicia Roach
2nd Place International Nyrhe Royal

2nd Place Evaluation David Campbell

E Division Winners

1st Place International Sheila Johnson
2nd Place International and 1st Place Evaluation Kyle Bunnelle

S Division Winners

1st Place Intenational Fred Johnson
2nd Place International Adli Adnan

1st Place Evaluation Raja Krishnan
2nd Place Evaluation Adam King

W Division Winners

1st Place International Acacia Berlin
2nd Place International Matt Walters
1st Place Evaluation Robyn Shopp
2nd Place Evaluation John Salzwedel


Basket Raffle; 2024 Conference Fund Raiser

Fellow Toastmasters, we hope you or your club are able to provide a basket of any size and contents to help with the fundraising for our conference. We look forward to seeing your creative and thoughtful donations.

If you, your club, or an individual in your club, is interested in contributing a basket for the D62 Spring Conference 2024 Basket Raffle, below are the instructions. 

  1. Assemble a collection of items, services, activities, gift cards, or whatever you feel best represents your club or your city. Consider creating a focused basket such as one for cats, babies, a specific hobby, or food. It can be a large basket or a small basket. There are no value minimums. 
  2. Write up a detailed description of the contents of the basket. If so desired, include if it is being offered by a club or an individual.  If there are multiple items in the basket, please make sure that all items are clearly identified including the quantity. (i.e. 1 book – Title).  
  3. You may use any type of container; it does not have to be a basket.
  4. If donating a service, please create a coupon clearly describing the service(s) offered. 
  5. Please include a title for your donation with an approximate value.
  6. Finally, take a picture of the basket or coupon and send the photo, along with the detailed description, to Karen Gabrielse karen_k_gabrielse@att.net no later than April 15th at 6 pm.
  7. There are two ways to have your basket delivered to the conference. First, you can deliver it yourself if you are attending the conference or, second, plan for someone to bring it for you. Please let us know if you need assistance delivering your basket by contacting Karen Gabrielse her email listed below.
  8. All baskets are due to the Kalamazoo Air Zoo by 8:30 am on April 27th, 2024

Below are some examples of two baskets we are currently promoting, including their description and value. 

Speak, Lead, and Inspire

This basket donated by Amy Moored, DTM includes numerous speaking and leadership resources: 

  • Speak with confidence with:
    •  3 resources from World Champion of Public Speaking, Lance Miller.
    • Create Your Own Keynote from World Champion Public Speaking, Darren LaCroix
  • Lead and learn about building clubs from Past International President, Pat Johnson.
  • Inspire with signed copy of “Heart of a Toastmaster” by Sheryl L. Roush
  • Approximate Value: $150

Coffee Array!

Former District 10, Area 23 Director, Karen Gabrielse, still considers West Michigan home.  She invites you to try coffee from one of the finest coffee roasters in West Michigan – Ferris Coffee and Nut.

The winner of this basket will receive:    

  • Four (4) – 12 oz bags of coffee (see coffee types below)
  • One (1) – electric blade coffee grinder
  • Ferris Coffee and Nut – all coffee was roasted to order to ensure the freshest cup of coffee! 
  • Prize donated by:  Karen Gabrielse, former District 10 Area 23 Director
  • Approximate Value:  $100.00

Watch for the ONLINE site to purchase raffle tickets and Please be sure to check them out as you may find the perfect basket that you would like to win!

Thank you for your time and effort assembling a basket for contribution to the Spring Conference Basket Raffle. 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Karen Gabrielse karen_k_gabrielse@att.net

Amy Moored amymoored@gmail.com

Lisa Howard legalisa1@charter.net

International Director, Region 6 Dawn Frail, DTM

Where Leadership Takes Flight!

Our Keynote Speaker for District 62 Conference, Where Leadership Takes Flight is Dawn Frail, DTM

Dawn Frail, DTM, of Toronto, Ontario, is the owner and president of Athena Executive Education, a leadership development and consulting firm, where she has worked for 17 years. Through consulting and coaching projects, she works with senior leaders and leadership teams to help them become more cohesive and less dysfunctional, resulting in an organizational culture that drives competitive advantage. She also facilitates a senior executive peer advisory group with Canadian business leaders. 

Frail earned a master’s degree in leadership from the University of Guelph. She also holds certifications in several methodologies, including Myers-Briggs Master Practitioner, Organizational Transition Management, and Balanced Scorecard. In 1983 she established and led a support organization for military women and wives on a Canadian Air Force Base, and in 2010 the Calgary Foundation recognized her with the Kathryn Huget Leadership Award. Frail is a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. 

A Toastmaster since 1991, Frail is a member of her home club, Speaking From Experience Advanced Toastmasters. 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. 

Frail reflects that Toastmasters has significantly impacted her career because it has helped her find her voice and develop the confidence to express it. She says, “Toastmasters can help people gain clarity of thought around messages they wish to convey and build the skills they need to become a confident communicator. For business professionals, the ability to listen, think, and speak more effectively can give a major boost to a career, especially for a leader.” 

As a member of the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, Frail 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.

Spotlight on Josh Winkelstein

Young Life

I was born in Buffalo New York in 1958 and lived there until the tender age of 10 when I was ripped away from my friends and school and transported with my family to Oakland California.  There I completed grade and junior high school before open enrollment allowed me to attend Berkeley High School in, well, Berkeley.  The BHS mascot was the Yellowjacket and like we always said: “take the High out of BHS and all you have left is …well, you get the picture.

Josh with IPDD Stefan Jenssen, his motorcycle, relaxing after retiring from I.T., and showing off his very large lizard.
Work and Volunteering

Recently I retired from 25 years in I.T. and now keep myself busy with Toastmasters and the American Brotherhood Aiming Towards Education (A.B.A.T.E.), a motorcyclist’s rights organization. For Toastmasters, my volunteer work includes W Division Director as well as Area 2 and Area 20 Director. For A.B.A.T.E. I am Region 8 Treasurer and Area Coordinator. As you can see, if it is volunteer labor I am wildly successful at it. Nevertheless, I work hard to ensure the members get what they pay for.

Hobbies

I play the guitar, like to tinker with anything with moving parts and wonder how I ever found time to work with all these clubs and hobbies. My wife and I have 2 cats and one very large lizard.

Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge I have faced as W Division Director recently is getting volunteers from the clubs to fill spots in our COTs and speech contests.  It seems to me that most of the time it is the “Usual Suspects” who volunteer.  They tend to be experienced Toastmasters who have filled the roles before so they bring a lot of knowledge with them.  That’s a good thing but I’d still like to see new faces filling these important leadership roles.  What we need is a mix of newer and more experienced members so we can share the work together while learning new skills. Then more people will benefit and continue to share their knowledge. The more involved you get with Toastmasters, the more you get out of it.

Life Changing

Toastmasters has given me the opportunity to try out leadership roles that I neither sought nor experienced in my work career.  In the last 25 years I was primarily a “rube in a cube staring at a tube” which is the real life of a Software Developer. The job lead to a healthy dislike for meetings and I found that it was easier to do the work myself as opposed to trying to get help from others. Toastmasters taught me leadership skills and then given me the opportunity to develop those skills. I now really enjoy mentoring individual Toastmasters and working with clubs and even attending meetings!

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.”

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