Black Swan April 2014

Black Swan April 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editors: Judith Allen and Lynne Brighton



There is a distinct sense of urgency and anticipation as April ends.  Area and Division Contests are over, clubs are working towards achieving communication and leadership awards, boosting their membership to reach distinguished status and actively recruiting committee members for the coming year.

This month’s articles continue to celebrate achievements, offer incentives and encouragement, and provide information.


EditorLynne P1000006

Lynne Brighton & Judith Allen
Black Swan Editors

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District Governor Report

Dear Fellow Toastmasters Members, Club Officers and District Officers,

Now is the time to review your goals and achievements and to prepare for the final two months of your term. The majority of your work will take place in the May to June period in 2014.

I am proud to state that many of our Area Governors have embarked on their second round of club visits and are following up on clubs which are still to finalise graced membership renewals and the Distinguished Club Program.
The 2013/2014 District Success Plan
The District Executive has been developing the current District Success Plan.

This is based on the results of the previous year in which District 17 achieved President’s Distinguished Status. The statistics in red indicate our current status.
There are 3 main areas, which operate as key performance indicators.

1)     Membership Payments – our annual goals are as follows:
for District 17 to achieve Distinguished status – 3,038,
Select Distinguished – 3,148,
President’s Distinguished – 3,248.
Current status – 2,814 Membership Payments.

2)     Distinguished Clubs – we need the following number of clubs achieving a minimum of Distinguished Status (5 out of 10 points of the Distinguished Club Program. We need:
28 clubs to achieve Distinguished Status
32 clubs to achieve Select Distinguished
35 clubs to achieve President’s Distinguished.
Current status – 17 clubs have achieved a minimum of Distinguished status.

Gourmet Guns N’ Roses (Select Distinguished) C2
Canning Vale (President’s Distinguished) S31,
Victoria Quay (President’s Distinguished) S32,
Rockingham Toastmasters (President’s Distinguished) S32
Durack (Select Distinguished) C1
Young Guns (Select Distinguished) C1
City of Perth (Select Distinguished) C3
Sandgropers (Select Distinguished) N21
Willeton (Select Distinguished) S31
Murdoch Southsiders (Select Distinguished) S35,
Terrace (Distinguished) C1
Banksia (Distinguished) C5
Curtin GSB Sundowners (Distinguished) C4
Northern Gourmet (Distinguished) N21
Project Managers (Distinguished) N22
Touch of Gold (Distinguished) N24
Victoria Park (Distinguished) N23

3)     New Clubs are an important part of our growth as a District. District 17 needs:
3 new clubs to achieve Distinguished status,
4 new clubs to achieve Select Distinguished and
6 new clubs to achieve President’s Distinguished.
Current status – 2 new clubs has charted so far:

  • 235 Toastmasters in Area C2, Central Division.
  • Deloitte Toastmasters in Area C3, Central Division.

There are several more new clubs progressing towards formation and chartering.

The 2013/2014 Toastmaster Year

As 2014 progresses, we will require an equal commitment and perseverance to maintain the success and growth of District 17. I am proud to be serving alongside a very driven and dedicated team of district officers and club officers.

The four vital areas and goals which are the main focus of this year include:

1      Membership Growth & Membership Retention – we need to ensure that we are maintaining our Toastmaster Pledge and Promise to new members and existing members. The membership is the most important component in our District.
2      Club Growth & Club Stability – we will be supporting the growth of new clubs and assist existing clubs with rebuilding and stabilising membership.
3      Promotion of the Distinguished Club Program to help our members achieve their individual goals, clubs achieve and benefit from the success of their goals. Encourage all clubs to achieve a minimum requirement of Distinguished Club Status.
4      Promote and implement the Mentorship Program into every club within the District. The most successful districts in our global network all have succinct mentorship programs, for both new and existing members.
New Clubs Status Update.
Now that our first two new clubs, 235 Toastmasters and Deloitte Toastmasters, (both in Central Division) have chartered, there is focus on other new clubs which are in the process of formation include:

  • Ernst & Young, and Bank West Risk Management have both had successful Demonstration Meetings are progressing.
  • Currambine (Northern Division) is progressing and signing up new members at each successive meeting.
  • Golden Gourmet is progressing slowly and WA School of Mines is close to charter, both in Kalgoorlie (Also Northern). Both Demonstration Meetings were successful in attracting 16 guests to each. Special thanks to District Public Relations Officer Leonor Ragan, District Secretary Lisa Evans, Central Division Governor Charles Fisher, Northern Division Governor Sue Fallon and Former District 73 Community Contact and Touch of Gold Founder Eric Davies for accompanying the District Governor to ensure the success of all Kalgoorlie TI Events.
  • We are expanding in the Northwest with Karratha and Port Hedland having run successful Demonstration Meetings. Special thanks to Ian and Maree Pickens for overseeing this.
  • Spearwood and Canning Vale Storytellers are both progressing (both Southern Division).

Lieutenant Governor Marketing, Ian Pickens will be leading the team of New Club Coordinators:  VK Kutty (Central), Martin Lindsay (Northern) and David Nicholas (Southern).

Distinguished Club Program – Educational Awards
Last year, 11 Toastmasters achieved their Distinguished Toastmaster Award.  This is the highest award Toastmasters bestows on a member as it recognises both the communication and leadership skills that the member has completed. An estimated 12,000 of Toastmaster’s 4 million past and present members have achieved the elite Distinguished Toastmaster status. The achievement of the Distinguished Toastmaster award is recognition of both individual’s commitment to Toastmaster’s communication and leadership tracks.

We have 11 Toastmasters who have achieved their DTM. In order of lodgement dates:
01 Greg Lynn of Netmasters
02 David Nicholas of Victoria Quay – This is David’s 7th DTM
03 Meechan Wong of Banskia
04 Anita Adhitya of Young Guns
05 Sandra Morton of Cannington Communicators
06 Robyn Richards of Canning Vale – This is Robyn’s 2nd DTM
07 Sue Voloczi of Fremantle Gourmet
08 David Nicholas of Victiria Quay – This is David’s 8th DTM
09 Bronwen Jones of Northern Gourmet
10 David Nicholas of Victoria Quay – This is David’s 9th DTM
11 Ross Wilkinson of DTM Pathways – This is Ross’s 6th DTM

Congratulations, we are all very proud of your commitments and achievements.

Distinguished Club Status – Congratulations
I will congratulate Victoria Quay for its achievement of becoming the first club to achieve President’s Distinguished Status with 10 out of 10 Distinguished Club Points.

Congratulations to Gourmet Guns N’ Roses, Canning Vale, Rockingham Toastmasters who have also achieved President’s Distinguished Status.
Congratulations to Durack, Young Guns, City of Perth, Sandgropers, Ellenbrook, Willeton and Murdoch Southsiders for achieving Select Distinguished Status.
Congratulations to Terrace, Banksia, Curtin GSB Sundowners, Northern Gourmet, Project Managers, Touch of Gold and Victoria Park for achieving Distinguished Status. We acknowledge your commitment to achieve and setting a positive example for other clubs to follow.
The Mentor For Every Member Program
It is important to retain as many members within your clubs as possible. Take the time to run the Moments of Truth educational to assess your club’s current status. Run another membership survey to ensure that your members’ needs are been met. Be knowledgeable of their goals and pace. Recognise and acknowledge all their achievements. A happy and content member is more likely to remain within the Toastmaster network for a longer period of time.

Dear Fellow Toastmasters’ Members, Club Officers and District Officers, on behalf of the District Executive, we encourage you to continue to pursue the pillars of Toastmasters International; Respect, Integrity, Service to the membership and dedication to the pursuit of Excellence. RISE to every Toastmaster occasion.


Pascale Amberville-Colby DTM

District 17 District Governor 2013-2014

Where Leaders Are Made
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How to Benefit from Toastmasters Meetings

Do you get lost in a galaxy of candidates at a job interview? How about losing a sale … again, because you weren’t convincing enough? Are you short of being inspirational when motivating your team to strive for continuous improvement?  Do you babble on with disjointed thoughts when trying to persuade senior management for a larger budget? How often have you heard a presenter deliver a full day workshop and wished you could deliver a five minute speech with similar ease? Are you stumped for words at networking events only to defeat the purpose of creating relationships there?

COMMUNICATION is the key. Yes, your message is important but most often it’s not what you say but how you say it that gets you the results. That is why I joined Toastmasters – to find my voice (and make witty diplomatic retorts to sarcastic comments).

For those of you who are new to Toastmasters, do you know how you can benefit from meetings?

Short one to two minute speeches (like a Tonic or Inspiration) teach you how to deliver a powerful message to people with an equally short attention span. This is perfect for an “elevator speech” in describing your work.  It can also be an appetiser for a new idea to sell to your boss.

Impromptu speaking provides you with an opportunity to think on your feet while maintaining an organised speech structure with an introduction, body and conclusion. This is a commanding skill to take with you to your networking events.

Prepared speeches of four to 15 minutes allow presenters to synergise on voice variation, gestures, stage-presence, vocabulary and speech structure to entertain, persuade, inspire and motivate listeners. Keep these practical skills in your kitbag to achieve results at work, sooth a delicate situation with your partner & children and be the life of the party at social gatherings.

Workshops are practice runs for individuals having to make presentations at work and for those inspired to be seminar presenters and trainers.

Toastmasters also offer tips and practice for assuming leadership roles. An Evaluator, using the Commend – Recommend – Commend (- Summary) method is no different from a leader evaluating and motivating team members on their performance.

Needless to say, the Grammarian role will keep you adept in your vocabulary and turn of phrase. Being Timer makes you aware of the timeframe in delivering a powerful message within any allotted period.

There’s always a takeaway for each of you at your Toastmasters meetings. All you have to do is to be consciously aware of how and where to apply these lessons. The next time you attend a meeting, tune in to that awareness and start picking up tips that will help you grow exponentially in the real world.


Stephanie Chan

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Evaluation is an Honour Not a Burden – Evaluate to Motivate

Why do so many evaluators view evaluation as a chore rather than a challenge? Yes, an evaluator has a thin line to follow. Too judgmental/critical and the speaker can be discouraged, annoyed, offended and not want to speak again. Too soft and the speaker has no guidelines for improvement.

The evaluator is obligated to observe the speaker, making notes on their strengths and areas requiring attention. The next step is to put these observations into a coherent shape or message.

Your job is not to dazzle your fellow members with your eloquence or take home the best evaluator trophy. Your main purpose is to assist someone to improve on their unique talents, abilities and style of presentation.

Start with some aspect that made you sit up. Delivery, a statement, a question, an AHA moment!

Next focus on some improvements! Once again be specific, PROVE YOU WERE LISTENING.

For example, in starting, “You might want to speak more slowly?” Instead say “Your humour works, but because you are not pausing after your jokes, the audience didn’t have the opportunity to fully appreciate your wittiness.

When you have completed your constructive remarks, look for the statement you have marked as your concluding comment. Finish with a positive and encouraging statement; reiterate the strongest part of the speech, comment on the speaker’s continuous improvement.

Then silently congratulate yourself for an insightful, organised, caring, and well-articulated evaluation. The speakers in any club only become as good as the quality of the feedback they receive.


Marlene Ward DTM


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Confessions of an Area Contest Organiser

Southern River Toastmasters Club hosted the S31 Area Finals for the International Speech and Evaluation Contests. That was a first for our club! As far as I could remember since joining Toastmasters, Canning Vale had always been the stronghold for organising this event. Hence we applaud our Area Governor, William Placanica for his bold move to rotate this leadership opportunity to other clubs in his Area.

Perhaps it was the honour and prestige that made me volunteer to organise the event. Truthfully, I think it was more like a moment of temporary insanity and involuntary hand jerk that saw me physically raising my hand in an unhesitant move.

In self-evaluation, our strong suit was first and foremost a team of dedicated committee members. Another must for any project to be successful is in the organisation. My pet love is LISTS! What marvellous wonders these are, especially checklists, which guide us through an Action Plan, step by step. This checklist formed the backbone of our meeting agenda and Action Plan. Getting consensus on assigned roles was much easier when members could see what input was expected of them and the blueprint and resources put before them.

Where could we have saved ourselves some stress? Undeniably, that was in putting down and sticking with TIMEFRAMES – another invaluable tool in organising. After all, we were all adults and adults should know how to manage their time … right? ROTFL (roll on the floor laughing) here. If I had a dollar for every such assumption made, I’d be rich beyond imagination. Instead, it is probably a general human trait to do things at the last minute – like scramble for a test speaker, judges and functionaries; realise that the special clear labels for the award certificates cannot be printed on inkjet; impossible to predict last minute apologies from members earmarked for specific roles.

In the end, what drove us to success was sheer determination to see the project through to fruition, flexibility and creativity in identifying replacement resources and that same glorious checklist that ensured that all our bases were covered.

The event came and went smoothly thanks to important lessons learnt along the way.

Would I volunteer for such another opportunity again? That will surely have to depend on my sanity level and hand jerk tics.



Stephanie Chan, ACG, ALB
Southern River Toastmasters Club


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Talkabout Toastmasters Club Celebrates Milestone

In its 5th April issue, local newspaper, the Subiaco Post, recognised Talkabout Toastmasters Club’s 800th meeting celebration, held the previous Wednesday night at the Victoria League building on Onslow Road, Shenton Park.

Talkabout Toastmasters, one of WA’s oldest clubs, was chartered in 1976 as an official member of Toastmasters International.  The first official meeting was held in a restaurant in Matilda Bay on the Swan River.

Marlene Ward, a former member of Johannesburg Toastmasters, the oldest club in the southern hemisphere, attended as a guest and spoke at the meeting.

Over the years a wide variety of men and women have benefitted from their time at Talkabout.  These include medical and engineering university students who  joined to improve their lecturing skills and to prepare their theses, foreign students wishing to improve their English speaking skills, property developers and builders who wanted to improve public speaking skills.  A senior public servant who writes speeches for politicians has also been a member of Talkabout Toastmasters.

New members are always welcome to join and anyone interested contact Peter at


Peter McDonnell
Talkabout Toastmasters

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Swan Toastmasters  – A Community Asset

How much is your club worth to the local community?  In its annual report on community volunteer organisations, the City of Swan valued Swan Toastmasters’ contribution for 2013 at $4600.00. How did we manage that?

Swan Toastmasters was one of over 50 local community groups recognised for their volunteer services.  Each organisation was asked to list their activities, and a monetP1000345ary value was put on the number of hours spent by committee members providing service to the community.  For us that included time spent preparing for fortnightly meetings and manning a number of promotional stalls at community events – a total of 184 hours.

In recognition of their contributions to the City of Swan, a Volunteer Families Recognition Day was held at the Woodbridge Riverside Park on Sunday 13 April for committee members and their families, with free food, entertainment, activities for children and a presentation ceremony.

Lynne Brighton and I, spent a pleasant few hours  at the park before proudly accepting the framed certificate on behalf of Swan Toastmasters.

Registering your Toastmasters Club as a community group with your local council means your details are available to all members of the community.   It is an excellent means of promoting your club, and like Swan, your club’s contribution might be recognised for what it is worth.



Judith Allen
Swan Toastmasters VPE



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Awards Celebration picture    Our Stars of the Month!    stars

Congratulations to all of these members who achieved educational awards during the month of March. These members are presenting speeches, educational workshops and leading their club. District 17 salutes you!





CC 05/04/2014 Kunzel, Cathy DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club
CC 05/04/2014 Kunzel, Cathy DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club
CC 07/04/2014 Atkins, Ian Victoria Park Toastmasters Club
CC 08/04/2014 King, Baldy City of Perth Toastmasters Club
CC 09/04/2014 Zaman, Maksud Canning Vale Toastmasters Club
CC 11/04/2014 Long, Andrew Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club
CC 14/04/2014 Varley, Janine Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club
CC 14/04/2014 Pich, Samith Sandgroper Toastmasters Club
CC 16/0342014 Swain, Peter Southern River Toastmasters Club
CC 20/04/2014 Cannell, Michael Kalamunda Toastmasters Club
CC 23/04/2014 Newman, Michael St George’s Toastmasters Club
CC 29/04/2014 Thakur, Manoj WesCEF Toastmasters Club
CC 30/04/2014 Jain, Bhavesh Durack Toastmasters Club
ACB 06/04/2014 Lindsay, Martin Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club
ACB 25/04/2014 O’Brien, Catherine DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club
ACB 28/04/2014 Voola, Diwaker Rao Rising Stars Toastmasters Club
ACS 09/04/2014 David Nicholas Netmasters Toastmasters Club
CL 02/04/2014 Owen-Griffiths, Meriel Applecross Toastmasters Club
CL 02/04/2014 Suwardi, Bertie Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club
CL 05/04/2014 Kunzel, Cathy DTM Pathway Toastmasters Club
CL 05/04/2014 Bielski, Tomasz Victoria Park Toastmasters Club
CL 08/04/2014 McLean, Fiona Willetton Toastmasters Club
CL 13/04/2014 Wilkie, Meredith DESperados Toastmasters Club
CL 15/04/2014 Palmer, John Cannington Communicators
CL 20/04/2014 Fisher, Diana Kalamunda Toastmasters Club
CL 20/04/2014 Toleman, Ian Kalamunda Toastmasters Club
CL 30/04/2014 Burki, Andre Northern Lights Toastmasters
CL 30/04/2014 Horton, Rosemarie AECOM WA Toastmasters Club
ALB 28/04/2014 Voola, Diwaker Rao Rising Stars Toastmasters Club
ALB 28/04/2014 Hardie, Cameron WesCEF Toastmasters Club
LDRX 03/04/2014 O’Brien, Catherine Southern River Toastmasters Club
LDRX 03/04/2014 Chan, Stephanie Southern River Toastmasters Club
LDRX 21/04/2014 De Heus, Annemarie Mundaring Toastmasters Club



Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 LGET 2013-2014

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Workshop-Parliamentary Procedure in Action


As a lead up to the District 17 Council Meeting



             will be run during WA Governors Club meeting.

Appropriate rules of order are a must in most organisations, and the ability to understand and apply parliamentary skills is a much sought-after quality among managers and leaders.

Experienced WA Governors Members led by Liz Fisher, will present the workshop.

Join us at our next meeting and be part of the action.

WHEN: 15 MAY AT 6:30PM



Please RSVP by Monday 12th May To: Judith Allen Email:

Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan, DTM
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2013-2014


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Beat the Clock

LGM’s quote for the Month of May:

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.

The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives.

It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

Andrew Carnegie

What that means to me is if you work as a team you can Beat the Clock

BEAT     egg-beater  3     THE                       CLOCK  Alarm_Clocks_20101107a

Is membership getting a little low?

Or maybe you just need to add new life to your club? This is the perfect opportunity for your club to not only build membership but also receive recognition for its efforts.

Beat the Clock is a membership-building contest for clubs.

Add five new, dual or reinstated members to your club between May 1 and June 30 and receive a special Beat the Clock ribbon to display on your club’s banner.

In addition, your club will be eligible to select one item from:

The Successful Club Series

The Better Speaker Series OR

The Leadership Excellence Series-

Free of charge

Start planning now how your club will…

Beat the Clock!

Membership building campaign, web site advertising, bring a friend, mentor to retain members, meeting buddy system- just a few tips to either increase your membership.

There is a District 17 bonus sponsored by WA Governors.  One club in the District that will be awarded a perpetual trophy clock just because they beat the clock and added at least five new members between 1 May and 30 June.


Ian Pickens
LGM District 17


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You Are Never Too Old to Learn Something New

Interview with John Palmer, Southern Division Governor (2013/2014) –

There’s an adage which says that you cannot teach old dogs new tricks. “Poppycock!” exclaims John Palmer, a 73 year-old retiree.  John is a member of seven Toastmasters clubs, founder and mentor to Gavel clubs (public speaking for students) at six schools and the Southern Division Governor of District 17.

John first got involved in Toastmasters when he attended a meeting to support his son in a speech competition. That was five years ago. He was so impressed that he joined as a member and was proudly mentored by his son.

John recalls his first assignment as an assistant lecturer some 40 plus years ago. All he had to do on his first day was to mark attendance. He ended up doing this with a pencil because he was so nervous that he could not get the pen cap off to write.  Lecturing to students proved to be even scarier and more stressful.

JohnPalmer_1311As a former Associate Professor, John is finally no stranger to public speaking. Toastmasters has helped hone his communication skills further, adding more zing into his orations. Today, 10 years after his retirement, John is a consummate public speaker who can whip up an entertaining 10-minute speech on any topic at the drop of a hat. John has also achieved his Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) award, the highest educational recognition in Toastmasters International. “I have found it an enormous challenge in completing all 15 advanced speech manuals so far,” confesses John. It is his goal to complete the last two of the 15 manual series by 2014.

John’s greatest love in Toastmasters is in introducing it to primary and high school students. “To see children as young as eight years old gaining poise and confidence is the highlight of my Toastmasters’ journey. I have only scratched the surface and have a long way to go before this educational process becomes self-sustaining in Perth schools.” Undoubtedly, his involvement in nurturing the children and youths keeps him young and vibrant. John intends to carry on in Toastmasters and has absolutely no desire of slowing down or retiring from this interest.

John has this piece of advice for everyone and especially for his peers: “You are never too old or young to learn something new. You have all heard the slogan to Act, Belong and Commit to keep yourselves healthy. I strongly recommend you to try out new activities in your own journey.” John Palmer has indeed embraced this wise counsel and is living life to the fullest.

Check out one of the Toastmasters Clubs John sponsored where he is now the Treasurer.

Southern River Toastmasters Club meets every Wednesday at Bletchely Park Primary School, in Balfour Street, Southern River from 6.30pm. Call John on 0429 001 337 or email for more information. Website


Stephanie Chan


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If You Think You Can, or You Think You Can’t, You’re Right!

This has been an adage that I have used myself many times over the years.  I am all for clever little ditties. Recently this phrase was used by one of the teams in the most recent My Kitchen Rules.  They were a positive couple, who would place a power circle, in this instance, usually flour, around their work area to trap positive energies and vibes. That may be a little extreme, and it didn’t really help those two ladies as they were eliminated weeks before the semi-finals.

However, it does beg the question how much power does our mind have over our lives.  I am one of those people who states emphatically “IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN TO ME!”  That statement gets greeted with a plethora of responses from “That is a good attitude” to “Don’t say that or it will happen”.  Again I don’t know.  We have had bad things happen, for example, when we brought a Commodore many years ago, it was stolen three times in the first five years.  Bad things and good things happen to all people.

People will state that bad things do happen to us and yes they do, but what I have learned is it is all attitude.  It is not a question of what, when or if anything will happen but a matter of how we respond to life’s curved balls.

Having the car stolen was an inconvenience, but we were insured; the damage was repaired and we continued on with our life.

Don’t you love Google? I did a Google search today on positive mental attitude and I would like to share some of the main points that I learned.  None of these are new to me, as I already practice several of them and those I don’t, I knew about.


  • Do not wait for happiness to come to you  – It is already there within you.  It will all work out in the end; if it hasn’t worked out it is not the end.  The end of this phrase was one I heard many years ago, we often quit before we reach the end of our situation. Don’t quit!
  • Clarify and prioritise – I tell my husband he has no sense of priority as he gets upset about things that he has no control over. the Alcoholic Creed is: change the things you can, accept the things you can’t
  • Be resilient – A tall willow only grew as big because they bend in the wind when they are saplings.  Be adaptable and bend with the wind
  • Self pep talk – would you let anyone else talk to you the way you talk to yourself? I very much doubt it. Then why do you listen to yourself putting yourself down and telling yourself you are hopeless and cannot do the things you wish you could?
  • Laugh away – Watch an episode of the Three Stooges or anything else that makes you laugh; sit at a park and watch children at play.
  • Be an optimist – I would much rather believe that something good is coming my way and find out that it wasn’t than waste my life believing nothing good was coming and find out it had.  Life is short; seize the day

The internet is full of pages like .  If you cannot change your attitude or your perception alone, then mix with positive people who will show you how.

A final lesson from My Kitchen Rules: one of the teams in the grand final was convinced they were going to win, because in their words “We know good food”. A lot of people found them to be arrogant and I wasn’t a fan until that last episode and I took my hat off to them for believing in themselves.  They did not win the prize either, but I have no doubt they will achieve their dreams and goals.

How about you?

Cathy Kunzel

Cathy Kunzel


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PPP After-thoughts

As the Positive Promotion Premiership (PPP) draws to a close today, I am reminiscent of how I have personally benefitted from the program.

At the onset, admittedly the PPP promotion held little interest for me. Perhaps it was a self-defeatist prophesy of “I’m not good enough to make an impact” or maybe (and most likely) it was just indifference against a myriad of other top priorities. Even when our Southern River Toastmasters Club launched our own contest I was still sceptical and nonchalant over my ability to contribute effectively.

Yet, I did eventually win our club PPP competition, not because there were few contributors but rather because I got off my chair and made an attempt. What did it take to move me from uninspired to top scorer? I attribute this to three factors.

Importantly, our Club President, Cathy put her full weight behind the project. Her enthusiasm became my guilty conscience. After all it would not be in the Toastmasters’ spirit to not try. Even then, I was determined to only do the minimum of distributing magazines at public places; 50 magazines and a sore hand later (from handwriting labels instead of investing in a printed label sheet), I was pumped. I started competing, not against fellow participants but as a challenge to myself to see how far I could go. I found out that competition can be a very powerful motivator. Lastly, the contest prize was tantalising enough. I shall stay mute on the award. Suffice to say that it helped “seal the deal”.

At last count, I have penned eight Black Swan articles including this, three Community Paper articles, two articles in outside publications, an article in the Southern River Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA)’s website, distributed 50 Toastmaster magazines and 70 bookmarks, helped distribute 2000 flyers and co-organised our club Open House.

What did I get out of it (apart from aching limbs and brain)? Total satisfaction of knowing that I can achieve what I set my mind to, re-discovery of a love for writing and a renewed verve from adrenaline pumping competition.

Toastmasters, the next time you face inertia, think about this story and hopefully it would inspire you to “give it a go” and amaze yourself at what you are capable of when you make up your mind to try.


Stephanie Chan


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Nominating Committee Report to District Council April 2014

The Nominating Committee, chaired by Judith Allen DTM, met on Sunday 6 April 2014 to complete its deliberations.  All nominations for the seven District 17 Executive positions were considered.

After clarification from World Headquarters of the rules regarding nominations for more than one position by a nominee, the Committee recommends the following nominations:

District Governor:                                                           Robyn Richards DTM

Lieutenant Governor Education and Training:    Ian Pickens DTM

Lieutenant Governor Marketing:                             Leonor Ragan DTM

Cole Vindevoghel  CC  CL

District Public Relations Officer:                               Sue Fallon ACS

Henry Yau ACB  CL

Division Governor (Southern):                                  Stephanie Chan ACG  ALB

Michael Foster ACG  ALB

Candidates nominated for one office and not elected to that office may nominate from the floor for subsequent offices.  All further candidates are able to stand from the floor at the District 17 Council Elections at the District Council Meeting in Mandurah on Saturday 24 May 2014.

Please Note:      Due to unforeseen circumstances, Henry Yau has since withdrawn his nomination for office.     

Area Governors are appointed by the District Governor.

The following Expressions of Interest for Area Governor Positions were received:

Area C2:               Patricia D’Cruze CC ALB

Area C3:               Baldy King CC  CL;                             Veluthakkal Karunakaran Kutty ( Kutty VK)  ACS  ALB

Area S31:             Colin Hughes  ACG  ALB;                Baptist Lobo  ACB  CL

Area S32:             Marianne Law ACS ;                        Helen Thistlethwaite  ACB  ALB

Area S33:             Cathy Kunzel ASC  ALB;                  Barbara Coles ACB  ALB

Area S35:             Cathy Kunzel ASC  ALB;                  Veluthakkal Karunakaran Kutty ( Kutty VK)  ACS  ALB;

Vijaykumar Vijayaratnam ACS  ALB

Judith Allen DTM
Nominating Committee Chair


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Opportunity is Knocking

Have you registered for our Power up on the Peninsula Convention yet?

Would you like to “Power Up” your presentation and communication skills?

At our Master Class presented by our International Guest Speaker and European Champion of Public Speaking, Olivia Schofield, four lucky members will be given the invaluable opportunity to present a four minute speech and have Olivia evaluate it right there on stage. Olivia’s forte is stage presence and voice. The coaching you will receive will change your presentations for the future. Who knows, it may be you representing District 17 in the World Championship of Public Speaking in Las Vegas in August 2015?

Are you ready to accept this challenge?

The Master Class will take place on Sunday May 25th at The Sebel Hotel in Mandurah, commencing at 3.30pm and concluding at 5pm.

If you would like to participate in this once in a lifetime opportunity, please send your speech title and outline to LGET, Robyn Richards, by COB Friday May 10.

I will then forward these on to Olivia, who will hand pick the lucky members. If you are selected, you will be notified ASAP, in order to practice your speech.

Only four will be selected. Will it be you?

Don’t delay, seize the moment and submit your details!


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 LGET 2013-2014


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