Black Swan August 2020


Black Swan Newsletter

The official newsletter of Toastmasters International District 17.



District Director's Update
A few words from our District Director
District News
D17 Online Awards Night
Club News
Vic Park celebrates 10 years
WA Gaveliers goes Global
People in Toastmasters
Deborah, the Dancing Queen of Piara Waters
Useful Tips for Toastmasters
Understanding Meeting Procedures
Submitting Articles to Black Swan


District Director Update

A few words from District Director Henry Yau, DTM

It is indeed an honour to be your District Director for 2020-2021.

This year's theme is "United In Harmony" which I strongly believe. If we work together in a positive way, we will perform much better. Successful clubs have a positive and fun culture.

It is this culture that I would like to see for our entire District.  All of us are proud and love our own club(s) so we should be, however we are all part of this wonderful District (District 17) and we all should be just as proud of this.

The new District Team has already started working hard to serve you, the members of this District. Our District Mission is "We build new clubs support all clubs in achieving excellence". Every decision or plans we make will be aligned with the District Mission, also ensuring we adhere to the Core Values of Toastmasters which is Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence.

The year ahead will provide us with many challenges and uncertainties but also presents us all with new opportunities.

It is these opportunities that we need to embrace and tackle head on.   We all need to learn to adapt to changes, when arises.

I have encouraged our new Team to "Think outside the square" and seek better ways to add value to our members.

Last month at our virtual awards night, we recognised our high achievers for our District for last year and this year the challenge is set to all of us to better the result. To start with, if every member were to complete a Pathways path this year, we would be much better than last year. In saying this, please ensure that EVERY member is now on Pathways.  We need to be at 100%.  Toastmaster's International provides us with a regular report that shows which members are not yet on Pathways. If a member is not on Pathways please find out the reason and assist them.

Our Club Mission is "We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth". If your club follows the Club Mission, you are providing service and value to your members.  A quote from one of our Past International President is "Remember The Member" which is very true.

We have many clubs that are starting to go back to face to face meetings and some are still are on line meetings. Please ensure that you follow the proper process and ensure that your members’ wellbeing is looked after. We have clubs that are currently in need of support. I would like to advise that support is available and the Team is ready to assist. All you need to do is to request assistance.

To all District Leaders and Club Executives I thank you for your service and look forward in working with all of you. I wish all of you and your clubs every success for this year.

Take care of yourself and "Remember The Member"

Henry Yau, DTM
District Director 2020-2021
District 17

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District News

District 17 - Online Awards Night

District 17 - Online Awards night was held on 24th July via online and was attended and celebrated by D-17 members from all over Western Australia. It was great to see our members getting recognised and rewarded for their exceptional commitment and dedication to D17 fraternity.

District 17 comprises of one-third of Australian land mass and over 80 clubs in Perth and regional Western Australia. During these challenging times we did extremely well and 2020 Awards night was a testament for our continued success. The winners of the District 17 - Toastmaster Awards were announced on 24th July 2020 via a live-streamed virtual show that celebrated the most outstanding members throughout the District.

The virtual ceremony delivered over 80 awards across 8 different areas and awarded a further 34 Distinguished Toastmaster Awards and 52 Triple Crown awards. Julie Dall was awarded the Toastmaster of the Year for her dedication, determination and drive. All other award winners were accoladed for their exemplary courage and commitment for achieving their Toastmasters goals.

Past and present District leaders played a major role for our current success and I appreciate their visionary foresight, boundless enthusiasm and relentless hard work that led to the successful completion of District 17 Awards night 2020. Further I would like to thank District 17 District Trio, Juliana Kelly and Cherie Wallace for their continued support to make D17 Awards night a success and wish all our D17 Toastmasters members’ successful Toastmasters year ahead.

Pasan Ganegama
Public Relations Manager - District 17

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Club News

Victoria Park Toastmasters celebrates 10 years!

After being locked up in our homes, it was a refreshing change to meet our fellow Toasties at our 10th anniversary on the 4th July 2020. We enjoyed a relaxed and delicious brunch at our local café on Albany Highway, and our long-standing members Keith, Vaughan, Denise, Vicky, and Eugene shared with the newer members the trails and delights of the club’s evolution over the years. With physical meetings returning at Victoria Park Toastmasters we are excited about the months coming up ahead. Here’s to 10 more years!


WA Gaveliers going Global thanks to the Positives of the Virus

We are all devastated by the effects of the Coronavirus on the word’s health and economy and quite rightly so. However there have been positive outcomes as well. It has brought us to a fuller understanding of the power and possibilities of Zoom.

At the beginning of this year I was contacted by Dhanu Rajwani DTM of Mauritius who was interested in establishing a world-wide gavel club meeting after having witnessed the 6 Clubs 6 Continents Toastmasters meeting run by our own Henry Yau. Dhanu and I had the same idea of running a global Gavel Club meeting, but she beat me to the punch. She contacted our international President, Deepak Menon, and arranged for him to give us an inspiring opening address. We had close to 500 visitors watching the meeting, and two of the participants were from our Rossmoyne Gavel club. We had Haajrah Alam give her Harkmaster report at the end of the 2 ½ hour meeting, 11:30pm on a Saturday night. Jamie D’Mello was a table topics speaker, fortunately a bit earlier in the evening. But none of this would have happened without Zoom or the virus sending us to Zoom.

But that is only the start. The first global meeting was such a success that the Global Youth Gavel Clubs Group was founded by Dhanu and a few others including myself. The aim of this group of 108 clubs world-wide is to hold global meetings where members of about 10 clubs will split an agenda with 2 or 3 members from each club participating. After these joint meetings, the group is planning a debate contest and eventually a world championship Gavelier contest. One of the major problems facing the organisers is arranging clubs so they can meet via zoom at a time convenient to all clubs. The one thing we hoped to avoid was grouping clubs by country because we were looking forward to the international aspect of these meetings. Most of our clubs are in the Middle East and sub-continent, with 6 clubs from Australia (5 from Perth and 1 from Sydney), and 7 from Ontario, Canada. There is a 16-hour time-zone spread between the clubs and it will only get worse if either New Zealand or the West Coast of North America comes on board. This could be quite a challenge if we get finalists in a competition from countries where the time zones are incompatible.

None of this would have occurred were it not for the intense upsurge in the user of Zoom as a result of the Virus. I’ll keep you posted on the results of the world champion Gavelier – possibly an Aussie!

John Palmer DTM
Gavel Club Coordinator
District 17

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People in Toastmasters

Deborah, the Dancing Queen of Piara Waters

Deborah was born with Rubella Syndrome which has caused her to lose her vision and hearing throughout her life. She joined Piara Waters Toastmasters Club in February 2020 because she is passionate about presenting for Deafblind Awareness week and on White Cane Day. She has delivered a few presentations and wants to develop her presentation skills even more, so she joined Toastmasters.

Deafblind Awareness Week marks the birthday of Helen Keller, a truly inspirational deafblind lady whose work has changed the world for people with sight and hearing loss. During Deafblind Awareness Week, the aim is to continue to inspire those living with deafblindness and to raise awareness of dual sensory loss in the same way that Helen did.

The mission of White Cane Day is to educate the world about blindness and how the blind and visually impaired can live and work independently while giving back to their communities, to celebrate the abilities and successes achieved by blind people in a sighted world and to honour the many contributions being made by the blind and visually impaired.

Deborah, a  proud Deafblind client of Senses Australia was involved in the prototyping, testing and development of the Be My Guide App. Be My Guide is an app specially designed for people with a vision impairment, encouraging them to access their community and helping to increase confidence, independence and participation. The app allows the user to invite friends and family to be their guides via a video phone call. Deborah feels it will give her the confidence to travel independently and not rely on the kindness of strangers to point her in the right direction. “The Be My Guide App is just fantastic.” Deborah said at the launch of the app.

Recently Deborah made a video regarding her NDIS plan where she mentioned she had joined Toastmasters to improve her presentation skills and is in the process of making a second video about White Cane Day.

Since joining Toastmasters, she has grown in confidence and skill whilst having so much fun at each meeting. Recently when Deborah was our Toastmaster, her dancing and wonderful sense of humour thrilled and entertained the members. She has begun to learn Auslan and taught us the alphabet in her Inspiration a few meetings ago.

We are so lucky and proud to have Deborah and her Support Worker, Cassie as members of our club. They are both flourishing as members and in their Toastmasters skills. A passion for life is extremely evident in Deborah and we see her being a shining light for Deafblind Awareness, White Cane Day and Piara Waters Toastmasters Club.

Piara Waters Toastmasters Club.
Club 7519719 of Southern Division in District 17

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Useful Tips for Toastmasters

Understanding Meeting Procedures

Does meeting procedure confuse you? Are you unsure what you can, can’t and are expected to do at the upcoming District Council Meeting?

Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club is an Advanced Club that meets on the fourth Monday each month and is there to help you! The other resource for you and your club is the District 17 Parliamentarian who, for 2020/2021, is Janette Edwards DTM.

For clubs, the most important things you need to know, at this stage, for the Virtual District Council Meeting to be held in September are:

  • Only Club Presidents and Vice Presidents Education can attend and vote
  • You must be a member in good standing (paid) in a club in good standing (at least 8 active members) to be eligible to vote. If either one of these matters are not in place, you are not eligible.
  • Virtual District Council Meetings do not allow proxy voting. If you cannot attend, you cannot ask someone else in your club to attend in your place, or give your vote to the other voting person.

Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club welcomes any member who is interested in meeting (parliamentary) procedure. If you would like to come along, meeting information can be found on our website at

Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club is aiming to be a regular contributor to Black Swan News, along with our District Parliamentarian, to help members and clubs navigate the various rules, policies and procedures. In the meantime, the Toastmasters International governing documents can be found here

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Submitting Articles to Black Swan

Want to submit an article next month?

If you have any news, stories and tips that would like to share with your fellow Toastmasters within District 17, write to us by the end of the month! Complete the submission form and email to

Black Swan Submission Form

  • Articles must have a relevant news category
  • Articles must be relevant or of clear interest to Toastmaster members.
  • Articles must reflect the TI core values; Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence.
  • Length must not exceed 300 words
  • Please supply images with the best picture quality available
  • Supply names of people shown in images.

Mina Cho, DTM
Black Swan Editor