Black Swan August 2014

Black Swan August 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen




August is the month for celebrating past successes. This month’s articles reflect success at all levels – from individual, to club and right through to international recognition of our District 17 at the 2014 Convention in KL.  However there is always more we can to do to succeed and articles from experienced Toastmasters provide excellent advice.  Finally, our District Leaders’ Reports keep us up to date with our achievements and their vision for the year ahead.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen Black Swan Editor
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District Governor Report

Goals, Plans and Progress

As we enter spring and the third month of this Toastmasters’ year, I would like to share with you our district vision, goals and the progress so far in reaching those goals. Just as each member sets their own personal goals with Toastmasters, each club prepares a club success plan for the year, each Area and Division Governor establishes goals, so the District is set a minimum requirement by Toastmasters International to achieve success. This goal is synchronised with all the goals above to allow each and every member, club, Area Governor, Division Governor and the District Executive to not only achieve success but also satisfaction of a job well done.

You will know that in the short, three year existence of our District 17, we have achieved Select Distinguished, President’s Distinguished and President’s Distinguished District status. This year we are also aiming for the pinnacle of recognition for you, our members. With this in mind, your District Executive have worked on our District Success Plan for this year and our five year strategic plan up to and including 2019. We see great extension of the Toastmasters experience for Western Australia and invite you to be an element in that expansion and success.

How do I do that? I hear you ask. The most important role for you is to set your personal goals for this year. Have you just joined Toastmasters? You may want to complete your Competent Communicator Manual, your Competent Leader Manual, present a speech with no notes or feel confident presenting a Table Topic.

Have you been a member for a while and completed the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader Manuals? You may want to present a speech outside your club, present an educational workshop to your club members or Chair a speech contest. As experienced members, you may really like to step out of your comfort zone to present a workshop at TLI, assist with a District event, start a new Toastmasters club or take advantage of your learning and apply for that job you’ve always yearned to do. Wherever you are on your Toastmasters journey, whatever that goal is, once you have set it, share it with your Club Vice President Education and your Mentor. Ask them to encourage and push you to achieve. Just by verbalising your goals you are well on your way to achieving them.

Here in District 17 we continually strive for high achievement and every member is your guide, inspiration and celebratory comrade. If you need help, guidance, encouragement or just a swift kick to get you back on track, just ask. For me, Toastmasters is the only organisation where your peers actually want and encourage you to succeed. Every member; the achievers, encouragers, leaders and colleagues are excited to see you achieve your goals.

This year we have the opportunity to achieve another outstanding result for our members. Here are the goals we need to achieve by June 30, 2015:

  •  To have 80 clubs in our District
  • To have 3539 membership payments – these are new, renewing and charter membership payments made to Toastmasters International.
  • To have 38 clubs reach a minimum of Distinguished status

Here is how we are going at the moment:


You can see that we still need more clubs, every club to pay your member renewals in September and March along with quickly adding your new members and EVERY member to realise their own personal goals. Do you have an ambition to start a new club, or help your workplace set up a Toastmasters club for your work associates? With your help, this can be accomplished. By attaining your goals you are influencing others, improving yourself and assisting your club to achieve Distinguished status.


To achieve these goals, we require help from YOU! I encourage you to share in this achievement by achieving your own goals, achieve your Club goals, celebrating with us when you do and celebrating with us as we, together achieve, President’s Distinguished District Status once again in 2014-2015. This will be your celebration and achievement. We will merely be your inspiration, encouragers, colleagues and satisfied leaders to have watched and shared in your development.

As always, if you have a question or need information, I am only a phone call or email away.

Ph – 0407 851 361 email –


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015




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Karratha Toastmasters Club

After nearly 10 years since the last Karratha Toastmasters Club was brought to an end in 2005, a new Karratha Toastmasters Club is once again on the radar of Toastmasters International Chartered Clubs!

The history of Karratha Toastmasters Club starts back in 1993. A group of locals and workers decided to form a club in this remote area of WA. The club successfully operated for over 10 years, seeing the real transformation of its members’ public speaking skills and confidence. History tells us that the collective spirit of the club was such that a non-conventional committee role was appointed for those days of outdoors summer meetings: The Eski Manager!

But as time went by, the Pilbara’s work style took its toll in the club: working shifts changed to an increased number of hours, making it difficult for members to attend regular meetings. Club membership trickled to a few, which made the operation of the club untenable. The executive committee did not have any other option than to close the club in 2005, leaving Karratha residents without a much-needed avenue to improve their leadership and public speaking skills.

In April 2014, a group of Karratha’s residents and entrepreneurs decided to follow the steps of those who formed the club back in 1993; and what an overwhelming success have they had! The demonstration meeting saw 21 guests interested in sampling a taste of what Toastmasters is about.

The then Toastmasters Lieutenant Governor Marketing, Ian Pickens, WA Governors Toastmaster Maree Pickens, former Karratha Toastmasters Club member Tanya Sholl, recently arrived Sally Culver, previously a Toastmasters member of AECOM Toastmasters Club, and local business consultant Kylah Morrison made up the group.

Group with TM        Ian P and woman

Karratha Toastmasters’ first official meeting was so powerful that 12 people did not hesitate to sign up for membership that night. Subsequent meetings have seen the election of the club’s executive committee and an increasing number of members, currently a total of 24 active members.

Karratha Toastmasters Club executive committee is:  Kylah Morrison, President; Tanya Sholl, Vice President of Membership; Sally Culver, Vice President of Education; Lizeth de la Hoz, Vice President of Public Relations; David Bartley, Sergeant-at-Arms; Brent Collier, Secretary; and Jodie Leahy, Treasurer.
Marketing of the new club spread far and wide throughout the Pilbara region. Facebook group Karratha Toastmasters Club, gained momentum, as people glimpsed fliers while shopping at Karratha Centro or visiting the library. The club continues to be featured in the Small Business Centre West Pilbara and Karratha and Districts Chamber of Commerce and Industry e-newsletters ensure that  the club attracts key influential business leaders.

Two of Karratha’s prominent radio personalities are members of the club. Tangiora Hinaki even features a weekly ‘Grammarian’ segment as part of her popular Saturday morning program.

Just the other week, Tangiora was telling listeners that the word from the last meeting was ‘sagacity’. When she asked if anyone would like to text in and share a new word or how they would use sagacity, one of the listeners said, “yeah, Karratha sagacity”. Followed by, “Get it Karratha is a gas city”.

Every week Tangiora fields new enquiries about how to join the new Toastmasters club in town, as does the facebook group Karratha Toastmasters Club.

Due to the successful promotion efforts by enthusiastic club members ever since the new Karratha Toastmasters Club started, new visitors have accompanied members to every single meeting. As a result club membership continues to grow at a steady rate. Without doubt this is the reflection of the positive energy of the meetings, the high level of professionalism put into the feedback given, and the powerful spirit of Toastmasters.

Karratha Toastmasters Club is preparing for its first speech competition at a special meeting in mid- August to be attended by its Area and Division Leaders. August will also see the club hosting special guest Peter Dhu, professional keynote speaker and public speaking coach, who is one of the club’s mentors.

With a common mindset and the same goal: to support each other to become better public speakers and leaders, Karratha Toastmasters Club has indeed a promising future.

Lizeth Barker(karratha)

Lizeth Barker (de la Hoz)



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The Detective Within

The Toastmaster approach to how manuals are written, workshops designed and members are treated, allows for much self-reflection and inner knowledge, which

  • Leads to the discovery of your hidden abilities
  • Brings your latent talents to life
  • Helps in the integration of different personalities
  • Brings out leadership traits and management skills that prepare us to take office, to sit on committees, become more fully functioning in our daily lives
  • Opens the way for more constructive and creative living for the member who takes full advantage of all the opportunities offered by Toastmasters

TI manuals are a very simple and practical use of the principles of education. Smedley believed that ADULT education can be achieved in a social atmosphere. As Shakespeare said “No profit grows where is no pleasure taken”. The education or training is progressive and the end of the training is better communication.

Most people join to learn how to gain greater self-confidence and make better presentations. These benefits are but the beginning of a journey of self-appreciation, intra perception and how we can, as we advance in our learning, enable others to grow and learn.

We sometimes forget that we are taught management as well as leadership skills. Time management, budgeting, events coordination and planning are management skills. Coaching, mentoring, strategies are leadership skills.

Smedley had a vision whereby he wanted the young men in the YMCA to learn the essential strategies for developing a well-rounded set of skills that are essential to our success as a business professional and in our daily transactions. He knew that by enhancing self-confidence and self-esteem together with the Toastmasters programs, this would be a dream come true. He believed that the ability to communicate is a God given talent, which ought to be used by all for the good of all. We in Toastmasters make a big mistake when we fail to emphasise the management skills and leadership characteristics received at every meeting.

Toastmasters are educators, whether we realize it or not. TI is more than a club – it is an education.


Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training and Northern Gourmet clubs.


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Positive Promotion Premiership

Toastmaster Magazines in Surgery Waiting Rooms/Libraries

This is a simple way to advertise your Club in a variety of medical surgeries and libraries within your Club’s catchment area.
Ask your members for their extra Toastmaster Magazines and attach a mailing label with the relevant details for your club on the front cover.
Make sure that the information is up to date, and if you see older magazines (with old contact details) on the premises you visit, remove them and replace with the newer one.

An example of the Club Information required is:

Would you like to improve your communication skills?

Go Getter Toastmasters Club meets at:

The Yellow Hall

Loud Road

Upper Creek

Every 1st & 3rd Monday at 6:30pm for 7:00pm start

Please contact Jean on 0418 456 097 or Martin on 0412 778 339 or

Email: Your Clubs Contact email address

 Photo of magazines with labels and photos of magazines in situ at surgeries to be forwarded to as proof.

Keep those PPP points coming to    0418 935 091


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer 2014 – 2105



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Marvellous Membership Award

Marvellous Membership

Membership payments must be made to Toastmasters International by 30 September and 31 March each year in order for clubs to retain “Club in Good Standing” status and gain valuable Distinguished Club Program goals.

Please encourage your club Treasurers to send reminders to their members as soon as possible to ensure they receive member fees in time to submit before 30 September. It is vital that these easily achieved Distinguished Club Program goals are met by all clubs.

This year we are encouraging clubs to submit:

1.            20 Member Renewals by 30 September 2014 and
2.            20 Members by 31 March 2015
3.            Achieve both memberships goals of 4 new members (Distinguished Club Program Goal – DCP goal 7) and another 4 members (DCP goal 8).

Clubs which achieve these goal will be rewarded at our ‘GOLD FEVER” Convention in Kalgoorlie in May 2015, with a recognition ribbon to proudly display on their club banner.

Let’s try our best to continue to strive for strong membership for the benefit of all the members.

At your service,


Leonor Ragan, DTM
District 17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015



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Celebrating Our Achievementsstars

Happy New Toastmaster Year

What a fantastic July.  After a mind blowing month of June where we chartered three clubs and delivered a Presidents Distinguished District, the number three is back in the spotlight.

In July we have three DTM’s:  Lisa Evans, Pascale Amberville-Colby and William Placanica. Congratulations on reaching the highest level of achievement possible to an individual toastmaster.

Overall 46 awards have been lodged in July – a truly inspiring effort.  Congratulations and well done to all the Toastmasters who have reached their goal.

Special mention goes to Lisa Evans and David Nicholas, who have lodged four awards each, and to Graham MacDonald following closely with three.

In the 2013 – 2014 Toastmaster year we started with 69 clubs and achieved 45 distinguished or higher level clubs; a truly fantastic effort.  Your President and committee have really done well with their targets, or in my working life, their KPI’s.

This year we commence with 75 clubs and need to have 38 distinguished clubs to reach the District target.  This has been a wonderful 46 award beginning which augers well for a fantastic year.  I am sure we will not only meet our 38, but also beat 45 distinguished clubs.

These points are not such a number as a way to show that clubs are looking after their members.  Delivery of speeches, promotion of educational material and provision of leadership opportunities are three things Toastmasters do well, and presentation of these prestigious awards is a reflection of successful clubs.

I encourage you to continue being a successful club.


Ian Pickens
LG Education & Training

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Murdoch Southsiders July Celebrations.

July was an eventful  month at Murdoch Southsiders – the Quiz Night, the Awards Night, Committee Club Officer Training and Change-Over Dinner!

Tamil Association Quiz Night – July 5WP_20140705_001tamilteam

On 5 July the club participated in the Tamil Association’s Quiz Night for the first time. What a fantastic idea! It was a fun night. The Quiz covered a range of topics from questions on general knowledge to entertainment, science and food.

From the very first round, Murdoch Southsiders became one of the leading teams, scoring seven out of 10 points. As the game progressed, the gap started to narrow. However, Murdoch Southsiders are fighters! With a few perfect scores the Quiz was won! More importantly, we had beaten the team that had won five years in a row – Look out for the Toastmasters Quiz night on October 17.  THANK YOU to all who participated and contributed to the win!

Club Awards Night – July 15

Probably the most prominent event has been the Awards Night held at the Bull Creek Community Centre on 15 July. It was a fantastic night with many awards been handed down.

As the awards ceremony was held on the club’s meeting day, everyone had an opportunity to listen to some excellent speeches. A lot of new members attended that day and were given an opportunity to speak. Alex delivered his first inspiration talk, while Mario was a Topic Master for the first time. Participants were asked some very interesting questions on the theme “Success”, which was appropriate on such a special day. Jordan then delivered his very inspirational speech.

The Award Ceremony itself was organised by the matriarch of the club, Ling Morton. Not surprisingly, she did an excellent job. The award categories ranged from awards for the number of speeches delivered in the preceding year to the Toastmaster of the Year. CONGRATULATIONS to all the award receivers!

10462584_350559295091605_7085113129510107996_n Graham with award                  10304701_350559211758280_7643579779184806819_njohn with awards

However, the stars of the night were John Haynes and Graham Macdonald.  Graham became the club’s first Distinguished Toastmaster, while John was awarded the Toastmaster of the Year. In fact that was one of John’s eight awards received on the night.

It was also a great opportunity to thank the outgoing committee members for their excellent work. BIG THANK YOU to all of the former committee members.

TLI Training – July 17 & 20

On 17 and 20 July it was time to attend the Committee Officer Training. All of the club’s committee members attended the training. It was a very well organised event.  We are proud that all of our club officers attended one of the sessions of training and everyone who attended got some useful information and tips.

Club Change-Over Dinner – July 26

The Change-Over Dinner was held on 26 July at Foo Wah Seafood and Chinese Restaurant in Willetton. The event was excellently organised (Thank you Timothy) and a great success. It was great to see some familiar and some new faces. We were honoured with the attendance of VK Kutty, the current S35 Area Governor.

10526012_359206630893538_4354373294969532086_n changeoverdinner             983755_359206694226865_5199425810840708009_n girl with Kutty

The night started with great excitement as everyone had a chance to catch-up and order drinks. The choice of venue and food was fantastic, and a great evening was had by all See our Facebook page – for more photos.

10488049_350562018424666_5352152450400472969_n club members0771177elena

Elena Mikhaltsevic
Vice President – Public Relations


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Plan for your DTM

Have you got a plan for your Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Award? I received the DTM award on 1 July 2014 which was the date I planned to do so almost four years ago.  There is no denying that the DTM award involves hard work, commitment and persistence.

In September 2010 I joined Toastmasters and I set my first goal: to achieve the Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership awards within 1 year.  I happily accepted as many speaking slots as my club could offer me and I committed to turn up to those meetings; rain, hail or shine. I completed both the Competent Communicator and Competent Leader manuals in less than 12 months.

“Speak at every opportunity” were the wise words given to me by a veteran Toastmaster friend. In order to be ready to speak at every opportunity, I always had a “back pocket speech” and if a member cancelled I would volunteer to fill the spot (VPE’s love volunteers who jump into vacant speaking slots at short notice!)

It took me a while to understand the communication and leadership track; it’s complex for new members to navigate. No one told me that it wasn’t necessary to complete every single project in the CL manual! Once I fully understood the requirements for each award I set myself a goal to achieve the DTM in less than four years. I then made a plan and committed to it.
I selected six advanced manuals and planned a timetable of when I would do each speech.  Human nature dictates that we tend to choose first what we like the most, so  I picked out the projects that appealed to me. I had four or more manuals on the go at any one time.  I left some of the more challenging roles until the final year of my plan which also coincided with having a busy role on the leadership team as District Secretary.   I would recommend getting some of the tricky projects out of the way earlier on.

The highlights of the DTM journey for me include – being a Speechcraft coordinator, setting up the Northern Gourmet Toastmasters club, being a speaker at Club Officer Training and serving on the District Executive Committee.

My advice is simply:
Speak whenever you can.  Make a plan and work the plan.


Lisa Evans DTM
VPE Northern Gourmet
VPM TLI Training Group

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Membership Payments

All Toastmasters clubs need new members. Even though your club may currently enjoy a healthy membership, a few months from now that could change as members move, change jobs, or reach their objectives.

By adding new members, your club will benefit by:

  • Increasing meeting participation
  • Improving learning opportunities
  • Adding chances to hone new skills

Conducting a membership-building contest is an easy way to gain new members.

Currently the “Smedley Award” contest is still in progress until the 30 September.  It’s simple—add five new, dual or reinstated members to your roster/club within the month to win this award. I will be listing the names of the winners in the upcoming Black Swan Newsletter. Is your club one of the winners? I certainly look forward to the results!!!

At your service,

Leonor Ragan, DTM
District 17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015




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Fourth Birthday For Willetton Gavel Club

The Willetton Gavel Club is celebrating its 4th birthday. In August 2010 Mrs Chris Kelly, the year 8 Coordinator, asked John Palmer to establish a Gavel Club at Willetton Senior High School. It was not long before we had 20 new Gavellers and the club was up and running.

Willetton Gavel Club meets weekly on Monday afternoons in school terms. As with Toastmasters clubs the turnover rate is quite high. Each year we lose 8 to 10 members, many of whom enter higher years at school where the workload is so great that participation in the Gavel club is no longer practical. Despite this loss we consistently have about 20 members of which perhaps 16 attend each week. We have now had over 50 members come and go from the club.

Over the four years we have had 12 members complete the Competent Communication manual and achieve the award. In addition 4 members have gone on to complete the Advanced Communication Bronze award and two, Ravi Dodi and Josh Scoles have completed the requirements for the Advanced Communication Sliver award. Ravi’s ACS was presented in 2013 and Josh’s award is still in process but should be awarded later this term. Both Josh and Ravi are in the front row, Josh in the white T-shirt and Ravi beside him.

Ravi was our inaugural club President and he is currently completing year 12. He hopes to go into medicine next year. Josh was our Vice-President Education and it was through his endeavours that all members were on the agenda performing the roles they desired.  Simran Vijayakumar, the girl in the front row on the right, has also been a President of the club. Her father is a member of Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club and was runner-up in the District 17 International Speech competition in 2014. Simran has the ability to do equally well if she joins Toastmasters when she reaches 18 years of age.

Mrs Kelly, far left of picture, and Mr Chris Carmody, between Josh and Ravi in the second row, are the two teachers who have assisted with the Gavel club for four years. If it were not for their continual support and encouragement to both the kids and me, the Gavel club would not have lasted this long. Next year the school and the club will be accepting year 7 students and the club should continue its strong and continued growth.

gavel club


John Palmer DTM


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Electric Toasters Lunchbox Meeting

lunch box

Electric Toasters are holding a special ‘Lunchbox’ meeting in Western Power, 363 Wellington Street on Thurs 11th September, 12.10-12.50pm.

Visitors and members from other clubs are welcome to attend. There will also be an educational session at this meeting.

Sandra Henry

Electric Toasters Club


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District 17 Acknowledgement and Recognition of Achievement

Toastmasters International has always ensured that all within its global organisation are acknowledged and recognised for all their achievements. The 2014 Toastmaster International Convention in Kuala Lumpur was an historic event. It was the first convention to be held outside of North America in its ninety years of existence. As your District Governor, I was inspired and humbled by the selfless efforts, commitment and loyalty of the District 17 membership.

D17 on stage

Each and every one of you contributed to our District achieving President’s Distinguished Status. Every time you

  • Welcomed guests and signed them up as a new members
  • Lodged a communication award
  • Lodged a leadership award
  • Submitted your club officer list
  • Submitted your club membership renewals
  • Encouraged club officer training attendance

You all contributed to this success.

I was reminded of all your efforts every time a Toastmaster from another District or Region approached me to congratulate District 17 as one of the eighteen Districts that achieved President’s Distinguished Status. Every time I was congratulated and acknowledged and recognised for this achievement, I verbally acknowledged the commitment and loyalty of the District 17 membership for making this possible.

D17 TrioMy proudest moment was being called to the centre stage during the Golden Gavel Ceremony. I stood with your LGET Robyn Richards & LGM Ian Pickens as we were acknowledged and recognised for the achievements of District 17 by a fully packed venue. As I stood gazing at the crowd, my only wish was that the members of District 17 were all present at this event, for it were all of you who made this possible.

For the District 17 membership: thank you for making this one of the most memorable and special years of my life. I will always look back at this event and my year of service to you as your District Governor with both affection and gratitude.


Pascale Amberville-Colby DTM
District Governor 2013 – 2014


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Highlights of my KL Convention Experience

As a first timer at an International Convention, I was looking forward to being part of a huge event – and I wasn’t disappointed.  Over 3000 Toastmasters including more than 1800 first timers, attended the four day event, and among them were about 37 of us from District 17.flags

The Opening Ceremony was impressive, especially as each country’s flag was proudly carried in by a Toastmaster representative in the traditional Parade of Flags.

The Convention presenters were inspirational.  They included the key note speakers, the workshop presenters, contenders for accredited speaker status and the Golden Gavel recipient, Dato Rohana Rozhan.  Her acceptance speech for her contributions in the field of communication and leadership in the Malaysia television industry was the most memorable.

The International Speech Contest was awesome.  Ninety one District winners were randomly placed into nine semi-final contests which were held over three rounds.  Our D17 contestant, Peter Law did himself and us proud, winning 3rd place in a field of 11.

peter law

The winner of each semi-final went on compete in the Toastmasters International Championship of Public Speaking, and this for me was the absolute highlight of the convention. The nine finalists had won their heats with the speech which had probably won them their District title, and now, less than two days later, they had to present an entirely new speech.

WC of PSWhat struck me was the simplicity of their message; the power of their storytelling and their connection with the audience.  All were wonderful, but the seventh speaker was the audience favourite, and thankfully the judges agreed.   With his speech “I See Something”, Dananjaya  Hettiarachchi, from India and  Sri Lanka’s District 82, was declared World Champion of Public Speaking.

Overall, attending my first International Convention was a wonderful and worthwhile experience; one I would recommend to all Toastmasters.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen DTM

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