Black Swan Aug – Sept 2013


Black Swan
August-September  2013

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editors: Judith Allen and Lynne Brighton

Select the link to go to the story




Toastmasters offers many challenges, and during August and September, speech contests provide the opportunity for members to lift their communication skills to a higher level.   Not everyone thrives under the pressure of competition, but most of us recognise that contests are a great learning experience and can be fun.

Contests also present the challenge of finding officials – judges in particular.  This is one time when Toastmasters must choose between a leadership or communication role.  In contests, both components – the contestant and the official are essential.

August is also International Convention time, and our District Executive Officers and Champion Speaker represented us in Cincinnati Ohio as leaders and communicators.

This month’s issue brings news of both International and District events and achievements, the first in a series of online business secrets, as well as a timely offer to enhance our use of humour in speeches.

EditorLynne P1000006

Lynne Brighton Judith Allen

Black Swan Editors

Back to Menu



District Governor Report

International Convention 2013 – Cincinnati

Toastmasters is a unique organisation. When I first joined over eight years ago, my scope of this organisation did not go beyond my home club. As each year passed, through the leadership opportunities, I developed an understanding of its great dynamics.

I was fortunate to travel with Lieutenant Governor Education & Training, Robyn Richards and Lieutenant Governor Marketing, Ian Pickens to the Toastmasters International Conference which in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States.

We departed on Thursday, 15th August. We had a five hour flight to Sydney, followed by a 16 hour flight to Dallas and a connecting flight to Cincinnati. We had the opportunity to acclimatise over the weekend. Several days of intense training for our respective roles followed. We had the opportunity to speak to many other District Trios from around the world. This was invaluable to compare and contrast all our successes and challenges. There were several common themes; all the Trios we spoke to, had the same challenges of membership retention and membership renewals. World Headquarters specified the most important function is to be of service to the member. The member always comes first.

We interviewed 20 candidates for the International Director positions. It was enlightening to witness Toastmasters operating on a global level. This prepared us for the most important event, attending the Annual General Meeting in which seven of the International Director positions were elected and the incoming International President George Yen succeeded outgoing International President John Lau. We were very proud of Mike Storkey, who won the 2nd International Vice President seat by a major landslide. Mike had completed his two years of service as Region 12 International Director over a year ago.

Our proudest moment was being welcomed onto centre stage and acknowledged by Outgoing International President John Lau, as one of 12 Districts to have achieved President’s Distinguished Status.

Cicinnati 3 034

Thank you to all the clubs that submitted their proxies. This was an opportunity for your voice to be heard and to have an impact in voting in both International Officer elections and Proposal A.

I have been humbled and inspired by the commitment of our members, our club officers and our district officers. We still have a long year ahead to succeed in achieving our goals and most importantly looking after the needs of all our members.

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.

There are 3 main areas, which operate as key performance indicators.

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

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): 28 clubs to achieve Distinguished Status, 32 clubs to achieve Select Distinguished and 35 clubs to achieve President’s Distinguished.

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.

Your service to District 17 as a member, club officer and district officer will have a positive impact on the lives of our members, in the growth of our clubs, areas and divisions, and contribute to the expansion and success of the District 17 empire.

The 2013/2014 Toastmaster Year

The year ahead 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:

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 and 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 mentorship programs, for both new and existing members.

The First New Club Charters

I am proud to announce that our first new club for the year, 235 Toastmasters (Central Division) has chartered. Congratulations to Robyn and Mark Richards who are the driving force in making this success a reality.
Other new clubs, which are in the process of formation include:

Currambine (Northern Division)

Golden Gourmet and WA School of Mines, both in Kalgoorlie (Also Northern)

Munster and Canning Vale Storytellers (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 (DTM) award. This is the highest award Toastmasters bestows on a member and 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 an individual’s commitment to Toastmaster’s communication and leadership tracks.

Congratulations to Greg Lynn of Netmasters who became the first DTM of the year and to David Nicholas of Victoria Quay, who has achieved his seventh DTM. Congratulations to Meechan Wong who is the third Toastmaster to achieve DTM status this year. We are all very proud of your commitments and achievements.

Distinguished Club Status – Congratulations

I congratulate Victoria Quay for its achievement of becoming the first club to achieve Select Distinguished Status with 8 out of 10 Distinguished Club Points.

Congratulations also to Canning Vale for achieving Select Distinguished Status. We acknowledge your commitment to achieve and setting a positive example for other clubs to follow.

Membership Payments – Immediate Attention Required

I will recognise and acknowledge all clubs who have submitted their October membership renewals on time. There are still many clubs that need to act upon this immediately.

Please remember that if renewals are not submitted, you will not be a club in good standing. This could have a negative impact on all members who wish to compete in the Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contests, and the International Speech and Evaluation Contests.

If a member or club is not in good standing, the contestant is ineligible to compete in any contest at any level. If you have any challenges, speak to your Area and Division Governors.

We are fast approaching the Central, Northern and Southern Division Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests. I look forward to seeing all of our members in attendance to support their clubs, areas and divisions.



Pascale Amberville-Colby DTM
District 17 Governor 2013/14

Back to Menu

Laugh out Loud


Toastmasters might be interested in a book by former member Alison White (Talkabout, Gateway, Gourmet and Mandurah) who has written a book on humour, which devotes a considerable portion to the use of humour in speaking.

Alison said that she set out to write a book about the use of humour in speaking, but as she worked she realised that trying to help speakers to use humour in speaking when some people would have limited personal humour, she decided to broaden the task.

“I wrote the first half of the book to assist anyone with a limited sense of humour, speaker or non-speaker, to develop one,” she said. “I then moved on to its use in speaking.”

Alison says that she does not possess a good personal sense of humour herself but such was her love of humour and comedy, that she set herself the task of making a study to improve her personal deficit.

“I take the view that there is an art and science associated with humour that can be learned by those with a minimal gift,’ she said, ‘and my book is written for people who want to acquire this most invaluable of personal qualities – humour.”

She continues:  “I found that when I was a speaker, any speech that contained humour had me hooked; not just speeches for the Humorous Competition, but every club speech. I now firmly believe that every speaking event, even the most serious of topics, should contain some humour – and in fact, must contain humour. The driest lecture on economics, the annual report to shareholders or the funeral eulogy, are all enhanced by humour. It is my belief that every presentation or speech should have at least three humour interludes – at the beginning, the middle and the end. “

Any club interested in having Alison attend a meeting and give a short presentation on the use of humour in speaking, can contact her at She will also make the book, “LOL (Laugh Out Loud) ‘The science and art of humour’”, available for purchase at $15 per copy.

1 copy

Alison White

Formerly of Talkabout, Gateway, Fremantle Gourmet and Mandjar Toastmasters Clubs

Back to Menu

Rockingham Club Goes From Strength to Strength

 RTM Photo July 2013

Rockingham Toastmasters has seen a steady flow of new members in 2013, with an average of 17 – 21 members from the Rockingham area, attending meetings on a weekly basis.

Two members have recently achieved Competent Communicator status: Tina Tuira-Waldon and Sharn Bruere.  Both from New Zealand, Tina and Sharn supported each other to achieve this first award of the Toastmasters International Communication program. They will now continue to work towards achieving their Advanced Communicator/Leadership awards. More success will be seen from Michael Foster as he leads the way with achieving his Advanced Communicator Silver this year. Go Rockingham!

July 1st has seen a change of Executive Officers for the club. Founding member Helen Thistlethwaite is Club President. Former President, and also a founding member, Michael Foster is Vice President Education/ Membership and Treasurer. Tina Tuira-Waldon, is Vice President Public Relations, Josh McNess Club Secretary, and Michael Gorman, Sergeant at Arms.

Rockingham Toastmasters meets every Wednesday night at the Gary Holland Centre, 19 Kent Street, Rockingham 6.15pm-8pm.


Tina Tuira-Waldon

Vice President Public Relations

Back to Menu

Kalgoorlie Commitment and Hospitality

District Governor Pascale  Amberville-Colby and I thoroughly enjoyed our train trip to Kalgoorlie for Touch of Gold Toastmasters’ contests and Club Officer Training over the weekend 10 – 11 August.

Arriving on Saturday afternoon at 2pm we were met by Area Governor Ian Henderson and his wife Dawn, and whisked off to the club’s meeting room at the Chamber of Commerce in time for the Club Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests.   It was great to catch up with old Touch of Gold members, some of whom are foundation members, and to meet new ones.  Congratulations to contest winners Olga Tierney (Humorous Speech) and Paul Browning (Table Topics) who will represent the club at the Area 24 Finals in September.   A highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of the Club Toastmaster of the Year Award to club president Bertie Suwardi.

In true country style, Ivan and Dawn had organised the evening’s dining and entertainment for us.    With a number of others we had a delicious meal at a local Chinese restaurant, then across to the Town Hall for a bit of dancing to a fantastic band playing 70’s music. Kal COT

Robin and Morrie provided us with a bed for the night, breakfast the following morning, and the venue for Club Officer Training.  By 9.15am training was underway, not only for the committee, but for other interested Touch of Gold members.     Four hours later, after covering the TLI and COT components, the exciting prospects of new clubs and hosting the District Convention in 2015 were covered.

It was time then for us to catch the Prospector back to Perth.  In just 24 hours we had packed a full day of business and pleasure.  The commitment of Touch of Gold Toastmasters and the country hospitality they offer, make these visits truly worthwhile.

The trip back was relaxing, with time to recap on the work covered, watch a movie and enjoy the comfort of train travel – who would want the hassle and expense of driving!


Judith Allen DTM



Back to Menu

Cincinnati  Convention Experience – a Contestant’s Perspective

The International Convention in Cincinnati Ohio is the biggest event in the Toastmaster year. Cincinnati is in the mid west of USA.  Country music, chilli and baseball were prominent. The weather was warm to hot and humid, and people were friendly.

We arrived Tuesday night and went to “meet the champs”, where five past world champions gave a workshop on improving your speech. Wednesday for me was pretty nerve wracking, with the semi-final contest looming on Thursday, but I made it to the opening ceremony, and strutted the stage with our district leaders, while being recognised as a Presidents’ Distinguished District. There was lots of camaraderie with district 69, 70, 72 and 73 Aussies and Kiwis.

The semi-final contest was awesome and although I did not place, the experience was invaluable. Finally able to relax and enjoy the convention, I made it to some educational workshops and the Golden Gavel dinner, where Susan Cain spoke of being an introvert in our busy modern world.

Saturday morning was the International Speech Contest and we were treated to some excellent speeches, including Kingi Biddle from New Zealand who had us laughing so much with his speech. Presiyan Vasilev gave a humorous rendition about how changing a tyre changed him, complete with sound effects from a squeaky jack. This was judged the winning speech, with Kingi coming in second. During the interviews Kingi gave us the Haka and more laughs.

At the business session, Mike Storkey from Queensland, was elected second vice president, giving him a three year path to International President. The President’s Dinner Dance, with all its pomp and ceremony, concluded the convention.

Convention - martin

Next year the convention is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, so put it in you diary, start saving and don’t miss it.

Martin Lindsay DTM


Back to Menu



Netmasters Secret #1

Warning: This one mistake can cost you big money in online business!

Have you ever had the experience of talking with someone by email or phone …and been willing to buy something from them, hand over your hard earned money, and work with them…until you see them online in a really appalling sales video or amateurish webinar… and suddenly you think “OMG! They are not even professional!”… and straight away you change your mind about dealing with them?

The truth is that you are not alone in doing this. We all react to our impressions of other people – good and bad…so the trick for us to learn is this – “How can I make a good impression in MY online communications?”

This is important because if you are doing business online and you look amateurish in your communications then you are like the unfortunate person that we were just talking about…the one who everyone thinks is OK until they see them online…and then suddenly they run away and do business elsewhere…and you don’t want to be THAT person, do you?

That one mistake could cost you big money in lost sales and opportunities.

How much better it would be to have the doors of online success open up for you in the same way that good grooming and good communication skills open up the doors of traditional business success.

This is where Netmasters can help you develop your skills so that you appear professional online.

We are an advanced Toastmasters club specialising in online communication skills.

We help Toastmasters develop skills in online communication. We can help you

  • understand the technology and equipment needed
  • conduct live webinars around the world in a professional manner
  • film, edit and post your own videos online
  • adapt your offline communication skills to the internet

We have members all around the world including Europe, South Africa and of course Australia. Our club meetings can be attended online from around the world. We also have the option of meeting in person in Perth. The world really is our oyster! We are a dynamic club that is open to everyone wherever they are!

Our Netmasters Secret #1 is that we can help you develop the online communication skills that you need to be successful in today’s business environment.

If you are a Toastmaster who would like to learn more about online business communication, or you know of someone else who does, contact David Nicholas and attend our next meeting as a welcome guest.  Email;

Phone; (08) 9331 4158

Netmasters is an advanced Toastmasters club which helps members communicate professionally online. We help take the frustration and expense out of learning it all on your own. Members have the convenience of attending meetings from home, or on mobiles, through any device that connects to the internet.

Do you know any Toastmasters who want to learn online communication skills for business or online networking?

For more information contact David Nicholas


Image courtesy of bplanet/

Netmasters  (submitted by VPPR Michelle Goodwill)

Back to Menu



SMAC Is Not a Dirty Word

Sponsoring, Mentoring and Coaching (SMAC) is more a roadmap to success and to reach your DTM.

A Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest personal award in Toastmasters, must have sponsored, mentored or coached a club to success.  The first two are for new clubs, and the latter is for an existing club that is having difficulties with members and success.

The date for the SMAC workshop is Saturday October 26th at Technology Park in Bentley beginning at 1pm, a not-to-be-missed information sharing session that will help with your journey to the peak of Toastmasters.

Opportunities arise frequently to be at the ground level of club development; in fact on Friday I was talking at my office about my trip to LGM training and the International Convention.

The man I was talking to, (this is coffee machine chat, you never know when the chance will pop up) said “That’s interesting, my son wants to start Toastmasters in the company he works for.”  Do you know how long it took to say “Here’s my card; ask your son to contact me”?

One hour later I received a message from the company contact.  I e-mailed the contact, cc’d to the man’s son, that we are looking for people who have the passion for success and the desire to achieve if not for this opportunity but for others.

If I were reading this I would be thinking “Yeah right, it doesn’t happen like that”, but believe me I have a great speech being built around this real life moment in time.

WIFM? (What’s In It For Me) you may well ask.

I want your name and contact details on my list of people who genuinely want to be involved.

I want to see you at SMAC training

I want to stand and applaud at Convention when you are presented with your club banner and again at Convention when you are presented with your DTM award.

The excitement of a new club, or a struggling club improving, the good feeling from seeing people develop confidence and realise their potential. The absolute joy from knowing you are part of someone else’s Toastmaster journey.

When you can stand and say, “I remember when, I think I was part of their growth, I had a part to play in what they have grown into today” -that is what is in it for you

It is your leadership growth, your communication development, your Toastmaster experience and development, it is your DTM.

That is What’s in it for You!



The Sponsors Mentors And Coaches workshop will be held at Technology Park Bentley

Saturday 26 October commencing at 1pm.

Register your interest with Ian Pickens at   or 0418 945 958


  Ian Pickens DTM

Back to Menu



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





CC 08/20/2013 Liew, Yi-Choong Willetton Toastmasters
CC 08/20/2013 Owers, Cris Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club
CC 08/19/2013 Vindevoghel, Cole Project Managers
CC 08/16/2013 Liddle, Jason Phoenix
CC 8/09/2013 Haynes, John H Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club
CC 8/08/2013 Fawell, Phillip D Applecross Toastmasters
ACB 08/20/2013 Watson, Graham Paul Southern River Toastmasters
ACB 8/08/2013 Small, Mark Anthony Applecross Toastmasters
ACS 8/01/2013 Foster, Michael Patrick Rockingham Toastmasters
ACS 8/01/2013 Wong, Mee Chan Banksia Speakers Toastmasters Club
ACS 08/31/2013 Sequeira, Andre J. Canning Vale Toastmasters
CL 08/13/2013 Vijayaratnam, Vijayakumar Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club
CL 8/11/2013 Hornby, Lizze Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
ALB 08/30/2013 Fox, David Allan Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club
ALB 08/21/2013 Golden, Elizabeth Young Guns
LDREXC 08/28/2013 Fisher, Elizabeth Subiaco Early Birds Club
LDREXC 08/14/2013 Evans, Lisa Northern Gourmet Toastmasters


Robyn Richards DTM

District 17 LGET 2013-2014


Back to Menu


How to Organise a Successful Open House

Open House is an event that can help promote membership, foster goodwill in the community, educate prospective members on what the Toastmaster program has to offer and provide leadership opportunities for your club members. Planning the Open House for a Toastmasters club should be well organised to maximize the potential benefits and ensure overall success of the event. This is an opportunity for the VP Public Relations Officer to publicize and promote your club and fulfil requirements for some of the projects in the Competent Leadership manual.

The main benefit of this kind of event is to recruit new members. However there are many other benefits:

  • Existing members can be given the opportunity to develop and practice leadership skills.
  • Members can use the planning stages as a project in the Competent Leader manual.
  • Newer and less experienced members of the club can be given important roles in helping with the Open House.

The above benefits will motivate your club members to take part in the event.

Here are some other suggestions for what to include and for what to consider in the planning of a Toastmasters Open House:

  1. How many helpers does the VP Public Relations have? Are there some tasks that can be delegated to the other club members?
  2. Is there a meeting theme for the Open House to help with promotion and PR campaign?
  3. Will there be refreshments, a potluck, or just bottled water served? If so, how is it being paid for, and is the workload of preparing or buying the snacks fairly distributed to more than one member?
  4. Will the printed agenda have more information on it than usual to allow guests a better understanding of what is going on during the meeting? Will the agenda have nice graphics or additional contact information?
  5. Are there enough guest packets prepared for the influx of multiple guests?
  6. Are there enough name tags, enough pens, and a guest book to greet the guests?
  7. Will most or all of the club officers be attending the Open House? Will there be a good turnout of regular members as a show of strength for the Open House meeting?
  8. Is there a good mix of newer and more experienced speakers to showcase the diversity of a Toastmasters club?
  9. Does the Table Topics Master understand that the questions should not be too difficult or controversial for the guests when invited to participate?

These are just some tips and suggestions to help make the planning and execution of a Toastmasters Open House a successful event, no matter how the club decides to measure that success. The key is to allow for enough planning. Good luck with your upcoming Open House!!!

Don’t forget to send me a proof for the PPP at: I like to hear from you.

Useful links to help you:

Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan, DTM

District 17 Public Relations Officer

Back to Menu


See the World Champion Speech

How would you like an opportunity to evaluate Toastmasters International’s 2013 World Champion of public speaking, Presiyan Vasilev?

I would like to say that he is coming to Fremantle Gourmet, but I don’t think he has yet descended from the cloud upon which he has been celebrating his good fortune. We will in his place have a large screen and a video to play the speech for you. It will be a group evaluation with plenty of time for discussion.

At the same meeting you have the opportunity of hearing John Palmer talk about music, accompanied by keyboard.

You are in for a real treat at the same meeting: a fabulous poetry recital. I won’t ruin the surprise by telling you by whom, so come along and hear and see for yourself.

The icing on the cake is a fabulous meal cooked by the excellent staff at Rosie OFGTC-2-120913’Grady’s in Fremantle, with which you can enjoy an alcoholic beverage if you choose.

The meeting takes place on Thursday 10th October, at 6pm for a 6.30pm start. It is essential that you book in advance, as we need to organise the right size room. Last year we had 40 members and visitors and a fabulous atmosphere.

Please join us.

Call or email John Palmer on 0429 001 337or



Vicky Post, DTM

VPPR Fremantle Gourmet
Back to Menu

Postcards from Cincinnati

During August, the District Trio attended District Leader Training and Toastmasters International Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. We travelled to Cincinnati on the same planes but were not always seated together. Our 15 hour flight between Sydney and Dallas lead to us all standing in small spaces, with two other Toastmasters from Victoria and New Zealand, discussing our respective Districts, expected outcomes of the upcoming training and the World Championship of Public Speaking. The captain brusquely reminded us that US law prohibits the gathering of three or more individuals and we were dispatched back to our seats, as the plane is under the jurisdiction of US law en-route to Dallas! This lead to a rather boring rest of the flight and many movies to whittle the time away.

On arrival in Dallas, we spent more than two hours traversing the many switchbacks of the lines in the Immigration Hall. We met the Trio from District 70 (NSW) in several of these switchbacks. Finally exiting with minutes only to spare before we had to board our connecting flight, we ran the length of Dallas airport and arrived just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, our suitcases did not and in Cincinnati we waited in vain for them before we were told “Oh, they’re still in Dallas. We’ll get them to you by the morning.” We were graciously given a toiletries bag for our trouble and waved off to the taxi rank for transport to our hotel. With no clean clothes, but able to at least wash our faces, we ventured out into the city for dinner. Twenty eight hours of travel had not erased our appetites. We ate heartily and then hit the sack for our first night in Cincinnati.

IMG_0109    IMG_0110    004

During the next day and a half of shopping and exploring, we discovered that Cincinnati is the pork capital of the US, affectionately known as “Porkopolis” and it is famous for supplying not only the US, but international markets with pork and all its byproducts. As these products are flown around the world, they say “Pigs fly in Cincinnati!” Hence, the many statues of flying pigs throughout the city, inspired by Chicago’s series of cow sculptures. Numerous shops and gardens have highly decorated statues of pigs adorned with flowers, jewellery, art-work and of course, wings.

IMG_8458                                                                         IMG_8519


Sunday afternoon saw us begin our extensive interviews with candidates for International Directors, Vice Presidents and International President. Over the next few days we interviewed 23 candidates on your behalf to choose whom we deemed best to represent our District on the board of directors and who would work best to steer our organisation into a healthy future.

We then headed to intensive training that began at 7am and concluded at 5pm for the next two days. During this training we planned our year ahead, networked with leaders from all over the world to learn their best practices, learned our strengths and weaknesses as leaders, discussed “hot topics”, met experts from past leaders and walked many miles as we changed rooms often. The trainers were staff from Toastmasters World Headquarters and the Region Advisors from around the world. These are dedicated leaders and we learned much from them, were inspired by them and encouraged to stretch ourselves as well as our goals for your District.
065 062  053

After these two exhausting days we headed to “A Night with the Champs” where five former World Champions shared their wisdom about preparing great speeches. I think Martin was particularly excited about this event. He told me much later that he used some of their suggestions in his semi-final speech.

089      086       081

Wednesday saw the beginning of the International Convention with the Board of Directors briefing where we heard a little about the upcoming changes to the educational program and the board’s deliberations from the past year. Whilst we really didn’t get told much at this briefing, it gives insight into the committees within the board. That night we kicked off the Convention proper with the Opening Ceremony where we saw District 73 District Governor, David Murphy, proudly bear the Australian flag into the ballroom. The Aussies were out in force and the loudest cheer of all went up at this.

Cicinnati 3 033

Early next morning the Hall of Fame was a frenzy of activity as we took the stage to accept our awards for achieving Presidents Distinguished District. It was also another opportunity for the Aussies and Kiwis to unite and cheer each other on as each of the other districts took the stage. Here the ANZAC spirit lives on! There were educational sessions to tide us over until the Speech Contest Semi Finals, which began at 2.30pm. During 1 of these semi finals, Ian carried out the very important role of Tally Counter and I experienced the role of a judge. We can’t tell you which semi final these were, but we can tell you that we watched two different contests at 7.30pm. At last the long awaited time of 9.30pm arrived where our representative, Martin Lindsay competed. Martin presented his speech spectacularly where he had the audience almost in tears over his house being on fire and the dog being missing and then laughing out loud when Vicky scolded him for putting 50 candles on her birthday cake. We were so proud of Martin for the way he represented District 17 and in our minds he was the winner. It was wonderful to watch Vicki support Martin from the second row with love being transmitted to him on the stage. Unfortunately, Martin didn’t place but he could not have presented that speech any better than he did that night. Martin, you are a star!

IMG_0216    IMG_0231     IMG_0214

Friday morning was the Candidates showcase where all the candidates are given a series of “Table Topics” questions by one of the International Directors. We needed to listen and watch carefully to this 3 hour session to make our final choices for voting There were more educational sessions before the Golden Gavel Dinner where the Distinguished Districts are again recognized and we heard TED speaker and author, Susan Cain, tell us all about introverts. This was enlightening for us all to learn: introverts are essential to a great team.



Bright and early Saturday morning there was a mad scramble to get the closest seats possible in the Grand Ballroom for the World Championship of Public Speaking. This is exciting and thrilling to watch nine speakers deliver heartfelt and candid stories, which expose their soul. We were delighted to see our Kiwi cousin from District 72, Kingi Biddle, place second. Presiyan Vasilev, from District 30 in the US, was judged the winner for his speech recounting changing a tyre in Chicago. Saturday afternoon was electric as we voted in the new International President, President Elect, First & Second Vice Presidents as well as the seven new International Directors. We were excited to witness our own, well almost – from Queensland, Mike Storkey elected Second Vice President. Mike now has a four-year road to International President. I know many of you already know Mike as he loves District 17 Conventions and has attended our last three here in WA. I hope he gets the approval to keep attending now he also has to share himself with other districts around the world. Congratulations Mike! District 17 is proud of you. We also salute his lovely wife, Lesley, for all her solid support and work as Mike’s campaign manager. Team Storkey were awesome! After a long business meeting with technical difficulties, dancing and a long farewell speech by John Lau we finally got to meet with all the other Region 12 members as we congratulated Kingi and Mike and discussed the region business. We hurried back to our hotels to prepare for the President’s Dinner Dance, which is the swan song of the convention. Now the elected officers and directors are officially welcomed before we danced the night away and farewelled all the friends we had made or reunited with over the last week.  Pascale got to showcase his dance moves to YMCA, Ian got to sharpen his networking skills and I got to take photographic evidence of it all.

IMG_0288   IMG_0286  IMG_4230


It was an amazing week filled with industrious activity, hectic handling of our time and successful scurrying between our hotel and the convention centre but the friendships and bonds we forged, the remarkable knowledge we gained and the beautiful city we discovered have given us indelible memories to share with you.


Robyn Richards DTM

Lieutenant Governor Education & Training 2013

Back to Menu

Victoria Quay Achieves 900th Meeting Milestone

As a former member and now as District Governor, I feel privileged and honoured to acknowledge and congratulate Victoria Quay in achieving the 900th meeting milestone. This achievement has culminated from the enthusiasm, commitment and drive of all the club’s members past and present.

Victoria Quay chartered in November 1995.

The club has contributed to the growth, stability and future of District 17 for the following reasons; Victoria Quay has:

  • Sponsored 23 clubs throughout the District during its 28 years.
  • Run more Speechcraft courses than any other club.
  • Produced half of the District 17 Formation Team, which resulted in the creation of District 17 – David Nicholas and Mark Richards (the other team members were Mike Helm, of Rising Stars and Michael Malone, of Durack).
  • Provided the most Distinguished Toastmaster Awards – David Nicholas leads District 17 with 7 DTMs
  • Produced the Inaugural District Governor of District 17 – Mark Richards
  • Provided the first International Speech Contestant to represent District 17 in Orlando USA, 2012 – Peter Law
  • Is the only club to have produced two District Governors so far.

Victoria Quay has the distinction of been one of 47 clubs worldwide to achieve the President’s Distinguished Status of 10/10 Distinguished Club program points every year since 2002 and the only club in District 73 prior to our independence. (This information is courtesy of American Toastmaster, Mike Rafferty, who has been charting all these statistics since 2002). In Region 12, District 70 is the only other District which has 7 clubs that have achieved this.

I joined as a member in August 2005 after meeting David Nicholas at a book launch for Cliff Boer. Victoria Quay provided my foundation stones in my eight year Toastmaster journey.

I first met the Victoria Quay Awesome Foursome who have had a positive impact on the Toastmaster journeys of many of its members- David and Glenis Nicholas, Alan Smith and Mark Richards.

Victoria Quay- I am very proud of the club and each and every member for the milestones achieved so far.  As the club has currently achieved eight Distinguished Club points, the ninth point is approaching quickly and once again you will savour the reward of achieving President’s Distinguished Status again.

I regret my absence on the 900th meeting, but am secure in knowing that this message will be delivered by the Lieutenant Governor of Education & Training, Robyn Richards, as we acknowledge and congratulate you all on behalf of the District Executive.

Respect Others, Maintain Integrity, Be of Service to your members and always dedicate yourselves to the pursuit of Excellence.


Pascale Amberville-Colby DTM

District 17, District Governor 2013/2014

Back to Menu

Free Offer for District 17 Members

I’m Excited…

Some of you may remember Bob Hooey from Canada who visited us a couple of years ago to present a training session on Speaking for Success.

Bob-Hooey-portrait Speaking for Success Book

Bob has just released an e-book and as a special offer for District 17 members, you can download it for free. Here are the details:

Legacy of Leadership free kindle promotion via Amazon:

 Legacy of Leadership Book

 This is a very limited offer so don’t hesitate to download it for yourself or your club.


Robyn Richards DTM

Lieutenant Governor Education & Training 2013

Back to Menu


Humour Workshop

Think You’re Funny?

laughterIf you think you’re humorous or, you think you’re not, then you need to be at our The Science and Art of Humour Workshop on Saturday October 26th at 11am in The Innovation Centre, 9 DeLaeter Way, Technology Park, Bentley.

District 17 presents a Humorous Workshop to help you add more humour to every speech as well as getting started on humorous speeches.

Former Toastmaster and author, Alison White, will be presenting this workshop to help you add humour to every speech. This interactive and entertaining workshop will run for one hour with tea and coffee at 10.30am to get you awake, ready to begin at 11 am sharp.

Be prepared to learn how to find humorous incidents for your speech topics and the mechanisms to use to get laughs when you present your speeches.

Don’t miss this hilarious workshop on Saturday October 26, 2013 at Technology Park, Bentley.

To register, please email Lieutenant Governor Education & Training, Robyn Richards at ASAP. Seats are limited so don’t delay!


Here is a link to a map to help you find your way.,+Bentley,+Western+Australia&hl=en&ll=-31.993164,115.890613&spn=0.007953,0.016512&sll=-31.968884,115.931338&sspn=2.036384,4.22699&oq=9+de+laeter+way&hnear=9+De+Laeter+Way,+Bentley+Western+Australia+6102&t=m&z=17



Robyn Richards DTM

Lieutenant Governor Education & Training 2013

Back to Menu

First Quarter Update of the Positive Promotion Premiership (PPP)

Take a look at the latest results and see how your club is progressing towards the Premiership. If your club is not listed is it because you have put it off the PPP? or is it because you have forgotten about sending me the proofs? Tell me how many new members have you gained for your club. Don’t delay any further forward me your PPP to: Congratulations to all the clubs that are keeping in touch. Keep the promotions going and enjoy telling the world about your Toastmasters club.





Rockingham N,Gx12,6×6,AMx2,QN


Curtin GSB Sundowner Gx7,Cx2,W,Ux2,CI,QN


Electric Toasters AB,O,Gx1,Ux1,C1,QN


Guildford Stars S,B,AL,QN


Matilda Gx4,Cx2,M,B,QN,


Western Founders W,Gx5,M,AL,0


Southern River N,U,FE,QN


Touch of Gold Gx3,CX2,Ux2,Fx3,AL,AB


WAG Cx4,Ux2,AB,


Mundaring Gx3,U,FE,S,H,AL,QN


Curtin GSB Gx4,CX2,Ux2,CI,QN


Victoria Quay B,0,Mx2,


Banksia Speakers Gx4,Cx2,W,Ux2


Swan S, QN


Kalamunda QN


Netmasters QN


Victoria Quay Cx2,Mx2


DTM Pathway W,Ux1,


Ellenbrook AL


DTM Pathway W


Canning Vale FE,N




Fremantle Gourmet Ux2



Promotion Award Legend




Produce a club FIRST newsletter


10 per edition
Article in Black Swan


Article in local newspaper


Article in the West Australian


Bookmarks in local library or bookstore


Convert guest to member


10 per member
Corporate Clubs Intranet


5 per updates
Flyer Drop


Create a club Facebook page


Facebook a club event


5 per significant event
Have guests at club meeting


5 per guest


Toastmaster magazines in library/surgery waiting room


Quarterly / Monthly club newsletter


5 per edition
Your own creative publicity


Hold a club Open House


Radio interview


Stall at local fair or shopping centre


Create a club Twitter account


Tweet a club event


5 per significant event
Hold A Table Topics Social


Update your club website


5 per significant update
Create a club Website


Quiz Night Flyer




Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan, DTM

District 17 Public Relations Officer

Back to Menu


Victoria Quay Meeting 900 was on September 18, 2013

Meeting 1 was on April 17, 1995

The first meeting of Victoria Quay Toastmasters was held on Victoria Quay, in the CY O’Connor Centre.  The 900th meeting was held in the Fremantle Bowling Club, at our Venue for more than 10 years.

900 Cake

It was a great meeting.  Here is a brief report with some photos.

We had hats.

Thanks to recent member Josef – he bought along about 50 hats he just happens to have.  Everybody could choose one – a very few declined and others took them off again during the meeting, but they certainly gave it style.

900 Cake

Josef gives former member Nicky her hat

Peter Carrie, our Sergeant at Arms, opened the meeting.
The Meeting opens

That’s Josef again, Timer for the night, with a few members and guests


Alan Smith DTM

Glenis Nicholas DTM

Alan Smith was Toastmaster.  He is a Founding Member, there on Victoria Quay on April 17, 1995.  He has attended almost, but not quite, every one of the 900 meetings.  And he has a Double DTM.  Wow! Alan.

Glenis Nicholas gave the Inspiration.  She also is a Founding Member, there on Victoria Quay on April 17, 1995, and like Alan she has two Distinguished Toastmaster Awards.

Christine Bonser

Cliff Boer

Christine Bonser presented the first set of Table Topics.  Christine was our President last year when she led us to our thirteenth successive President’s Distinguished Toastmaster Award.

Then Cliff Boer gave the first formal speech – My Victoria Quay.  Cliff is a former Victoria Quay President too, but as well he has the distinction of being the only West Australian to win his way through all the heats to the World Championship of Public Speaking.  That was when we were in District 73.

Theatre Sports

Cliff followed his speech with a presentation of his Theatre Sports.  He only had 20 minutes on our packed program but that 20 minutes was surprising, challenging and entertaining.  Members and visitors responded to his challenges.  There are many photos.

Cliff Boer presented a new version of his Theatre Sports. These shots show him in action.

Cliff05B TheatreSport05B

Here are some shots from our members practising various Theatre Sports

[simplerotator width=”810″ height=”540″ order=”random” ],,,,,,, [/simplerotator]

Cliff’s clear message, repeated from his earlier speech, is that effective communication works best through entertainment.  And we were entertained.

Mark Richards DTM

Dean Humphrey

Mark Richard then gave the second speech – Bye Bye Fear – Hello Fun.  Mark joined Toastmasters and Victoria Quay in 2001 and has worked his way through club membership,  club officer roles, and successive District Leader roles culminating as the first District Governor of District 17 when we left District 73 to become a District in our own right in WA.  Mark’s speech material revealed clearly that he has learned a lot from Cliff Boer.  Mark has received 3 DTM awards.

Dean Humphrey presented a second set of Table Topics.  Dean is our Club Secretary

Kjersti Vinje

Kjersti Vinje ran the Hats Contest.  Kjersti is a member of our Celebration Committee which organised the meeting.

She joined Victoria Quay in June this year. She has been very active and besides attending most of the regular Wednesday night meetings, she has also taken part in most of the Thursday evening Overflow sessions.

“Volunteers” explained why they chose the hat they were wearing, and why their choice should win the contest.  It was won by Nicky, a past member who had the distinction of being the eldest person present.


There were 8 contestants. There was only space for 5 here. The others will be part of the big rotator at the end of this post.

Anders Liveroed

Anders Liveroed delivered his Icebreaker Speech – Ambitious Cyclist to Chiropractor.  Anders has come from Norway to study Chiropractic at Curtin University.  He joined the club two weeks earlier.  Anders has the distinction of being the tallest member ever to belong to the Club.

Victoria Quay has had a rapid increase in membership in calendar year 2013. An amazing list of 26 new members joined the club this year and took our September total to 47. Some didn’t stay long, which is always the case. Of course we regret losing relatively recent arrivals, but that is part of the cycle of growth and renewal which we have mastered.


Robyn R
Robyn Richards DTM

Robyn Richards delivered the final formal speech – Me!  Do That?  Robyn is the Lt Governor Education & Training for District 17.  She is the second ranking District 17 Leader and represented District Governor Pascale Amberville-Colby.  Pascale was unable to attend but sent a very warm appreciation to our Club, which will appear in the current District Newsletter.

Victoria Quay was the first Toastmaster Club Robyn visited, checking up on what Mark did every Wednesday night.  She has attended many of our special events.


Peter C
Peter Carrie

Greg Lynn DTM

Peter Carrie, our Sgt At Arms, presented Highlights & Phrases, a Victoria Quay alternative to Grammarian.  At Victoria Quay we rigorously avoid all negatives.  We only focus on positives and how to improve, so we dont use Grammarian or its even worse cousin, Um and Err Counter.

Greg Lynn Evaluated the Evaluators.  This is another Victoria Quay initiative which is being adopted by quite a few clubs.  Instead of one person Evaluating the Meeting for 10-12 minutes, we give 6 minutes each to two members who Evaluate the Evaluators or Evaluate the Meeting.    Last year Greg was the S32 Area Governor and received his DTM in July this year.


Josef Hewber was Timer and he presented his very lengthy report.  Of course he had a rather spectacular hat

President’s Distinguished Club with 10 Goals – again!!

900 Cake

Christine Bonser made a special presentation.  As last year’s President she handed over to Dave Finnimore, this year’s President, our President’s Distinguished Ribbon, for our thirteenth such award.   Our first was in the year 2000/2001, which was the year the Award was first set up.  Glenis was our President that year, and we have achieved that award every year since. Since 2002, Toastmasters International have a kept a list of the clubs which have received the award with all ten goals each year and among almost 14,000 Clubs in the world, we are one of only 48 Clubs to achieve that.

Founder David Nicholas

Finally David Nicholas, that’s me of course, Evaluated the Meeting.  Instead of dealing with the many individual parts of this particular meeting, I commented on the distinctive elements which our Club has introduced over the years.  We have an Inspiration at the beginning of the meeting instead of a President’s address.  Evaluations are given immediately after the prepared Speeches.  The Table Topics Evaluator does get a one minute Tonic to prepare the Evaluation.  The Highlights and Phrases section replaces Grammarian, Word of the Day and Um and Ah Counter.  And of course we split the meeting evaluation into two sections – Evaluate the Evaluator and Evaluate the Meeting All these changes have been tested over time and are part of the reason  we have been so successful as a club.


Davd & Cliff
President Dave and Cliff

Dave Finnimore, our dapper President, acknowledged our former members, our visitors and our eminent District Officers, Robyn Richards and the Public Relations Officer, Leonor Ragan.  He closed Meeting 900 on time.


David Nicholas

Story by

David Nicholas DTM
Victoria Quay and District 17 Webmaster
and Vice President Membership

Back to Menu