Black Swan January 2015

Black Swan January 2015

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen




As we start 2015, we look back on our past achievements and forward to exciting new challenges and changes.
This edition covers past achievements, the last of our clubs’ end-of-year celebrations, reports on successes and best practice, and news of coming events.

The range of topics reflects both the diversity of our clubs and the commitment of our members.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen Black Swan Editor
Back to Menu


District Governor Report

Back to Your Masterpiece

January is traditionally a time for continuing the festive season break, enjoying time with family and friends with the outcome of a refreshed and revived energy for the rest of the Toastmasters year. I hope you have attained and accomplished those goals and are back creating your masterpiece: your Toastmasters’ goal.

Already in January we, your District leaders, have been to Dubai to attend our mid-year training and we have held our mid-year District Officer Training to equip and motivate your Area and Division Governors for the next five months of support to you. I would like to congratulate your Lieutenant Governors, Ian and Leonor, our Public Relations Officer, Sue and all the Area and Division Governors for their dedication to and passion for their roles, our District, and in particular, you, our members. They all performed their training to the utmost professional standard we aspire to in District 17 and I feel confident that they will be proficiently able to offer any support your needs as you endeavour to attain your goals, your masterpiece.

I know all clubs had differing lengths of break over the festive season but I believe all are back meeting again now. Therefore, I know you will welcome back with enthusiasm your Area Governor for their second official visit, and head into the contest season once again for the International and Evaluation Speech Contests with zeal. This is a time for Club Officers to review and update your club success plan prior to meeting with your Area Governor. Perhaps some things have changed; you have met some goals or need to reschedule others. This is the time to find out how you are travelling toward your goals set out at the beginning of the year. If you need help to do this, don’t hesitate to ask your Area Governor. They are equipped to look objectively at your club, to guide and advise you. Use their talent; they are only too willing to help.

Club Officers, you now have the opportunity in February to attend your training to reinvigorate and to learn techniques to support all your club members. Please take the opportunity to acquire new knowledge, skills and practices to build your club into a finer masterpiece. At the end of the day, if each member of every club is having their expectations met, success is the only possible outcome. Success creates a beautiful masterpiece.

During January we welcomed a new club, Shell Australia Toastmasters Club, into District 17. To all members of Shell, I would like to say congratulations on your decision to join Toastmasters and that every member of our family in District 17 wishes you well on your journey. If you need help, advice or encouragement at any time, we are available for you so don’t hesitate to reach out.

We are inching ever closer to our District goals for the year and we should be so proud of our efforts so far. This is the time of year where some members are finding it difficult to return to club meetings and may slip through the cracks. It is the time where a friendly email or phone call to remind them of their goals, may be just the prompt they need to draw them back. I encourage every member to reach out to another if you haven’t seen them back at your club yet. It is every member’s duty to nurture fellow members. If each of us does this, we will not leave any member of our District 17 family behind. I know you share my dream to achieve President’s Distinguished District once again without losing sight of ensuring each member attains their own personal objective and we have a stronger more stable District come June 30, 2015. Together we can achieve this if you and every member of your club gets back to creating your masterpiece. Then, as a family, we can be proud and celebrate together.


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015


Back to Menu


Christmas at Noranda

It’s that time of year. Clubs are starting to wind down for Christmas. Toastmasters are looking forward to that all important break and coming back next year feeling refreshed.

On 3 December, Noranda had its last meeting of the year. Members were encouraged to dress up for the Christmas meeting. Those that didn’t, would receive a good-natured punishment. President Mit, decided our punishment would be to write a story for Black Swan. To clarify, I didn’t forget. Unfortunately I ran out of time to put on some sparkles and tinsel.

Most people dressed up. There was sparkling tinsel, flashing ear-rings, reindeer ears and Santa hats. You almost needed sunglasses when walking into the room, it was that bright.

Toastmaster Iona asked members what fascinated them most about Christmas. There were lots of different responses, from buying Christmas presents to spending time with family and friends.

Our first Table Topics session was run by Ann. She focused on the people aspect of Christmas. How do you spend time with people; who do you focus on; are there people you would rather not see at Christmas? Polly said she didn’t worry about not seeing people at Christmas she doesn’t normally see. It’s quieter for her.

Lynne gave her Icebreaker speech. She had a humorous start. People ask here where she’s from because of the colour of her skin. ‘I’m Australian’, says Lynne. “But where are you from?” people ask. Lynne tells people she was born and raised in Australia. Her parents however are from different countries. That’s why her skin is dark.

I gave the second speech. It was the last project from the Interpretive Reading Manual – interpret and read a famous speech. Being Christmas I read the Queen’s first Christmas speech from 1952. In case you didn’t know, the tradition began in 1932 with her grandfather King George V, followed by her father King George VI.

Mit ran the second session of Table Topics. His questions were a bit more out there. Why does Santa portray himself in red? Ian wasn’t sure why Santa did that. Would you prefer to spend Christmas in the heat or the snow? Our guest said she would much prefer the heat – she loves summer.

Members were given a treat by Polly. Dressed as a doll, she sang about being a broken dolly. Dolly was being repaired and hoped to go home in time for Christmas.

As I drove home that night, I thought about the meeting. It was fun and it was sparkly. I also thought it was ironic that Lynne gave her Icebreaker and mine was my last speech for my Advanced Communicator Gold.

 Noranda - Christmas 2014


Nola Haddrill
Noranda Toastmasters Club


Back to Menu


The Individual Member and Change

When we say that an organisation is changing, we are using a metaphor. Organisations don’t actually change themselves; they change when the people in them change. It’s important to remember that change happens at three levels: individual, team, and organisation. Toastmasters is undergoing changes in its approach to what being a Toastmaster means; titles are changing as is the education program.

As members adapt to a change, their actions shift the team, and it is only when the adaptations and shifts work their way up, that the organisation changes.

Because the individual level is the decisive level in the change, getting commitment to the change from individual members is where change management efforts need to be focused. But if you are the one directing the change, you need to be concerned about your individual level, the self. Just as all of us have to come to terms with the change and commit to it, we need to be authentic about our own feelings. We can’t influence the direction of a team or an organisation until we’ve committed to the change ourselves.

There is a frequently quoted set of statistics that puts people’s attitudes toward change on a roughly bell-shaped curve:
15% embrace change.
60% are uncertain about change.
25% resist change.
It is important to understand that the largest group of people is ambivalent.

“The ideal strategy, then, is to applaud the minority who embrace the change and focus on moving the ambivalent group toward commitment”: Courtesy C Hirtz.

Below is a model for change based on the belief that the organisation changes as a result of changes in individuals. The model has three stages:
Assess – determine the current change readiness of individuals, teams, and the organisation.
Customise and Implement – move people toward commitment to the change.
Sustain – help each individual build the “change muscle” that enables success in the next change.

I have devised the Change Leader’s Daily/Weekly Checklist:
Have you…

  1. Mentioned the vision, mission, and values?
  2. Stressed the advantages and benefits of the changes?
  3. Taught anyone anything?
  4. Recognised anyone?
  5. Talked about the impact of the changes on members?

Change occurs one person at a time. When the entire organisation understands the reason and outcome of the changes, they may still be fearful, even distrustful, but if the leaders have proved they are trustworthy, have earned respect, people will follow and the organisation will emerge much stronger. Embracing the proposed changes will ensure more motivated, educated, long term members.


Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club


Back to Menu


It’s On!


textboxesFinancial Assistance can’t be given for expenses like:

Application to organise a new club or Venue Hire.  The key word is “Marketing”. You can claim for radio, newspaper, social media, or flyers etc.

New Clubs can claim up to $600 and Clubs with 12 members or less can claim up $300.

You can borrow if required, any of the District’s Pull Up Banners for marketing at a shopping centre, market day, demo meetings city and community events, etc. Just let us at least one month ahead.

Banners for new clubs are provided by District once the club is chartered.

Please note that All Clubs wishing to claim this financial assistance, must supply the marketing plan, the Funding Application(link below) plus quotes for expenditure, and receive approval from the Lieutenant Governor Marketing or District Governor PRIOR to engaging an outside contractor for goods or services. You can download the application from our District 17 at:

Application form for funding of new club or rebuild


I look forward to approving many of these applications and giving any other assistance.


Leonor Ragan, DTM
Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015
Happy to be of Service to District 17 members

Back to Menu


Who Am I?

In our Toastmasters life, we are often too busy to even get to know members of our own club. Here’s a chance to “right this wrong” as we introduce Southern River Toastmasters Club’s latest President. Read about his colourful and experience-filled life. This is Roger Davenport’s story ……….

Who Am I

I have recently been elected as President of Southern River Toastmasters. Many of you who read Black Swan  will be scratching your heads wondering where I came from and what I am about.

I was born in Cheshire England in 1940. Like most boys of that era, I played Cowboys and Indians running around with a cap gun- yes I had as childhood: no X boxes or mobile phones. We left the house in the morning and only returned for meals. Parents did not have to worry about us. As soon as we were old enough we joined the Cubs and then moved up into the Boy Scouts.

We all carried knives for bush craft activities; funny nobody ever got stabbed. Mid-teens saw most of us join the local or school cadet force in preparation for national service. It was seen as a rite of passage in those days. Six months before I was due for call up, the Government closed the scheme down.

I left school at 16 and went to work for a stevedoring company as a trainee manager. It was not really for me; there was salt in my veins and at 21, I left home and moved to Eire to pursue a career in the fishing industry. The year before I married I purchased my own trawler. Eleven years later, I sold up and moved to Australia. I had learned a valuable lesson in life: “The two happiest days in a fisherman’s life were the day he bought a trawler and the day he sold it”.

Here in Australia I worked in the offshore oil and gas industry, most of the time as a fly in fly out worker within Australia and to the North Sea, America and the Caribbean. The last six years I worked in a Perth office as a purchasing manager. I managed to escape four years ago and am now retired. For those who have not experienced retirement: I have no spare time with minding grandchildren and repeating the magic words “Yes Dear”. This is the reason I have been happily married for 45 years. Yes, I am still very busy, as I am writing my memoirs and researching the family history (The Davenports date back to William the Conqueror). I am also completing a Master’s Degree in common sense at the University of the World, hopefully by 2063 when Halley’s Comet appears again.

What I did realise was that that life’s ever changing list of friends and acquaintances was becoming stagnant after retirement. Ex-work colleagues tend to build a new circle of friends and life moves on. Not being a golf fanatic I started to look for new pastures.

I needed to meet new people from various walks of life!

To cut a long story short, the local paper had run a piece on Toastmasters and with a bit of investigation it ticked the boxes. Apart from making new friends I was able to work on my communication skills.

After 18 months in the Club I decided it was time to give back and relieve the workload that tends to fall into the hands of the old faithful.

The position of President was vacant so I threw my hat in the ring. I will strive to keep up the good work that Past Presidents have done before and see that the Club grows from strength to strength.

Roger D

Roger Davenport
President Southern River Toastmasters


Back to Menu


We Want Your Leadership

The Nominations Committee has sent you a special request. Would you like to express interest in becoming a District Leader commencing July 1 2015? For a year of excitement, submit your completed form.

District leader positions include District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Public Relations Manager, Division Director, Area Director, Finance Manager, Logistics Manager, and the most important (so they say), Administration Manager.

You do notice here there are no Governors commencing July 1, so all successful candidates will be the first in the District. It may not mean much, but as history tells us, the first are remembered. Think about your place in District 17 Toastmaster history.

This point in time will never take away the value and the wonderful work of all past leaders, especially all the Western Division Governors from 1985, and the District Officers from 2011.

7 March 2015 Commencing 2pm
Technology Park   Innovation Centre (C4) 9 DeLaeter Place Bentley

I am sure you have heard people say and maybe said it yourself: “I wish I knew that before I started” or “I was at the end of my term before I really understood what I was supposed to do”.

The purpose of this workshop is to give everyone an idea of what to expect as a District officer. Learn where to search for answers, find out a bit about the District expectations, or about the time that is required to experience a leadership role.

This new workshop is being delivered to help enhance your membership and leadership experience.

You don’t have to be a District Officer candidate for this year, but may want information about the future. However you may be a candidate, and want to start with a bag full of knowledge.

  1. You may want to know what competencies you need to have for leadership
  2. You may want to understand the job description for a role
  3. You may want to know what meetings you have to attend
  4. You may have a myriad of questions

This workshop will address them for you.

By the way, if you are one who has all the answers let me know; I need you at the workshop.

Even if you don’t attend the workshop you can still nominate and accept a role.

Attendance expressions of interest to

How do you get the benefit of the nominations committee special offer? Fill in the nomination form and return it. It is well worth the effort.


Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 LGET

Back to Menu


Transformations at an Early Morning Toastmasters Club

Every second Thursday morning, I am greeted with bleary eyes and confessional groans of “I am not a morning person.” It’s 6.45am and we’re getting ready for another fantastic meeting of Subiaco Early Birds Toastmasters Club.

“Good morning and welcome!” I hear announced from the front of the room.

“Feel free to grab a coffee from the Nespresso machine,” I tell our newest guest for the morning as I proceed to introduce her to the rest of our club members.

I notice a beautiful banner image has been projected onto the back wall, which reads “Welcome to Subiaco Early Birds” beneath a Toastmasters logo. There is upbeat soul music playing in the background, pleasantly greeting our members and guests as they arrive. You can’t help but feel welcomed.


I guarantee that when the meeting’s over, every SEB member and guest will feel transformed. They will literally bound onto the street with renewed energy and enthusiasm for the day ahead. A work colleague once told me she could always tell the mornings I’d been to Toastmasters because of my bubbly mood when I arrived at work!

2014 began a transformation for the Subiaco Early Birds Club. The meeting venue moved from Princess Margaret Hospital to the Subiaco Leadership Centre, corner Rowland St and Barker Rd, Subiaco. Caleb, our VPM, designed and produced a brand new, modern and innovative website – check it out at

Meetings are held in the centre’s spacious auditorium, where seating configurations can be varied. There is a stage and audio visual equipment which we regularly make use of. The centre is easy to find and parking off Rowland St is abundant and free (with ticket) until 9am.

President Chris Wright and the 2014-15 committee, have introduced explanatory meeting role sheets which are emailed with the agenda to the member performing the respective role. This practice has been well received and has resulted in improved pre-meeting preparation and commitment to attend meetings.

A far cry from hoping people turn up to our meetings, we now host high-quality, high-energy meetings averaging 15 attendees each fortnight and receive heartfelt regrets from people who are unable to make it.

2015 is going to be a rewarding year. We have already more than doubled our membership attendance since 2013, so this year improving our mentor programme and ensuring our members attain their public speaking goals are our highest priorities.

P.S. SEB’s renowned dark sense of humour, ability to laugh at ourselves and have fun,are still integral to our meetings.


Liz Fisher
Subiaco Early Birds



Back to Menu


Group Mentoring

Have you considered group mentoring in your club?

At Southern River Toastmasters we had several new members join in a short period of time and all of them wanted a mentor. I suggested that we all meet at a convenient time on the weekend and discussed any aspects of Toastmasters they wanted covered. In fact I invited the whole club, new members and old, to enjoy a cup of coffee and talk about Toastmasters.

The first time slot members opted for was Sunday morning. I would have thought that would be the least popular, but it has become our normal fortnightly meeting time. Every so often we switch to Sunday afternoons to cater for those who cannot make it in the morning. All new members attending have the role the following Wednesday, so we have a chance to practise these roles while having fun doing so.

We still assign individual mentors to our new members and all the mentors take turns leading the group session. That way all mentees have consistent information passed to them and each mentor can complete Project 9 in their Competent Leader Manual after their mentees have completed at least three speeches. Does this sound like a lot of work? I enjoy having a cup of coffee with friends and discussing Toastmasters; I think we all do.

Toastmasters has played an enormous part in my life over the past six years. I have struggled with speeches and with some speech manuals, but always my mentor (who changes from time to time) comes up with just the right ideas at the right time. To me, mentoring is an essential ingredient to a successful Toastmasters career, both from the standpoint of being mentored as well as being a mentor.

I highly recommend that your club try holding group mentoring sessions on a regular basis. Your club will grow and you will grow.

john Palmer

John Palmer
Southern River Toastmasters Club


Back to Menu



An Awesome Start

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”   … Walt Disney
What an inspiring quote by our Sergeant at Arms to kick us off on our inaugural meeting for 2015. In fact the unplanned theme for the evening seemed to echo philosophical adages.

In his maiden Inspiration, Nuwan reminded us to say “Thank You”. We were told that the phrase “Thank You” goes beyond good manners. It conveys gratitude, courtesy and care: vital ingredients to inter-relationships.

Leela G’s Tonic was equally useful on five things to do to change yourself and make 2015 an amazing year:

  • Write down 20 things you want to be acknowledged for and share this with three friends
  • Pen a Commitment Statement to be and do all things in a positive manner
  • List five of your most important values
  • State five goals you want to achieve in 2015 and align these with your core values
  • Be good to yourself

Sound advice from the blitz Inspiration and Tonic then gave way to more profound and thought provoking concepts in the Project Speeches.

chickenCatherine’s reading of “The Story of Why the Chicken Crossed the Road” culminated in an unforeseen twist in the story plot of double cross and stealing of ideas.




robotRoger’s Folk Tale from the 21st Century envisaged a world where robots ran the world. Trust our politically-astute Roger to weave in a story on how a young boy, whose nanny was a robot, restored democracy to the human world.

Finally Peter paired up with wife Lorraine to give us a role play on staff motivation, entitled “2015, Respect No. 1”. It was an inspiringly crafted engagement on the act of subtle motivation.

In a stroke of genius, VPE John assigned all the speech evaluation roles to new members. Why do I say genius and not madness? That’s because in December last year, John had given an Evaluation workshop. Back then, the lesson would have sounded more like gibberish than good sense to the new members yet to be exposed to any agenda role. By letting them all attempt an evaluation now, was akin to the objectives of the Ice Breaker speech: to begin [evaluating] before an audience; to discover [evaluations skills] you already have and skills that need some attention. Everyone started on an equal footing so there was no peer pressure. Mostly, it gave me, in evaluating the evaluators, an opportunity to run a mini workshop on the structure of evaluations. Now that the new members have had some hands-on experience, the reminder points will have more meaning for them.

This initial meeting was indeed an awesome start to 2015 and promises a strategised approach to education over the year. Oh, did I mention that VPE John is embarking on group mentoring on a separate plane? But that’s another story …   wink

235 no shadow try again

Stephanie Chan
Southern River Toastmasters Club

Back to Menu



Revitalising Your Club, CEVIM Style

I don’t profess to know the answers… your club is going down the gurgler, you’ve tried every trick in the book (apart from death threats) and still… they leave. It’s a story that happened in my home club, Ellenbrook, not so long ago. And it’s a story that can happen to the best of clubs, anytime: the domino effect.

Within months of my joining Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club, we lost our VPE, VPM, SAA, founder member, and others too numerous to mention. Was it my deodorant, or “poisonality”, I wondered? Whatever the reason, I was getting a complex! Little did I know about t-tidal movements- the highs and lows- the hallmark of many a Toastmaster club.

We few survivors had little choice: sink or swim. Being Ellenbrookians we of course, paddled.. and paddled.. and then paddled some more.

While we were paddling a remarkable thing happened. We got to know each other really well, and we bonded. Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club went from a handful of individuals, to a team, to a family: it became home away from home.

No longer suffering an identity crisis- we were Ellenbrookians – yeah! “the club”, the “ best club”…rah, rah, rah!! We became more comfortable with ourselves, and with each other. And because we were comfortable we became adventurous…not so afraid to leap out of that box!

To spice things up we added variety – lots of it. Members were encouraged to walk on the wild side- to be creative, innovative, and whacky.

This of course brought the fun element to the fore. We relaxed, became less formal in our approach, we experimented…all the while still subscribing to the TMI ethos.

Some things got an Aussie twist too…like the pledge, but hey, you didn’t hear me say that!

Another thing we really went big on was “educationals”. We figured that we’d all joined Toastmasters to learn how to be confident and effective communicators and leaders, so what better way to achieve our goals than regular education focusing on skills.

Ellenbrookians were motivated, became motivated, and became motivators. Members received feedback on the previous night’s meeting, individuals were contacted regularly by committee members, and each other. Our mentoring system notched up a gear or two and individuals raced ahead… the miracles happened.

It soon became pretty clear to the Godfather, aka Martin Lindsay that Distinguished Club status was within our reach. Lady Luck joined our side and guests converted to members, and soon Select Club seemed do-able.

If you’d told us we’d achieve President’s Distinguished six months earlier we’d have laughed our heads off… but Presidents Distinguished Club we became, in 2014. Wow! Back from the brink…out of the drain!

This year we’re well on track to repeat it again – if we can retain our members. I’ve learnt that there are no guarantees despite whatever you do.

One thing I can tell you is that each and every club is as individual as its members, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try every trick in the book… and then, if they still jump ship, too bad, how sad…you tried.

For my money I’d endorse giving the CEVIM approach a go: Care, Educate, Variety, Identity and Motivate – and for heaven’s sake, have fun… lots and lots and lots of it.

You might not pull off that PDC but it may stop you going down the gurgler… and at the very worst you may die laughing.


Peta Rakela
VPE Ellenbrook Toastmasters

Back to Menu


2014/2015 Positive Promotion Premiership Ladder

Southern River ABx14(13×25,1×75), Hx1, Dx1, Gx19, Cx6, Nx1, Ux3 544
Canning Vale Ux6, Nx4, FEx5, Cx4, Mx1, Gx53, Cx14, Bx1 319
Armadale Ux9, ALx1(75), Sx3, FEx6, ABx2, Nx2 275
Victoria Park Ux2,Nx6, FEx5, Gx32, Cx15 252
Noranda Ux2, FEx1, ALx1(75), Gx13, Cx6 163
Guildford Stars Ux10 FEx5, ABx1 (1×75) 150
Touch of Gold FEx9, Sx1, Ux4, Ox2, Gx7, Nx1 147
Ellenbrook Ox1, Ux4, FEx1, Mx1, Rx1(90) 145
Northern Gourmet ABx3, Ux5, FEx7 135
Electric Toasters ABx3, Fx1, Ox1 100
Mundaring Ux3, FEx1, Gx10, Cx5 80
Swan Ux6, FEx4, Sx1 70
WA School of Mines FEx2, Sx1 30
Northern Lights Ux5, FEx1 30
Curtin GSB Sundowner Ux4, 20
Subiaco Early Birds Ux2, Mx1 20
Murdoch Southsiders Ux1, FEx1 10
WA Governors Ux2 10
Curtin GSB Ux2 10

PPP Update

First place is still being held by Southern River, with Canning Vale now coming second and Armadale running third at this stage. It is excellent that the leading clubs keep on changing as more points are forwarded for consideration

I love to get the feedback on the promotional work you are undertaking, so if you have not been in touch as yet, my email awaits. Don’t forget to get your points in each month.

Five clubs have now claimed their triple points challenge! (Given to VPPR’s at COT in July).

Triple points have been awarded to Armadale, Southern River, Noranda, Guildford Stars and now Ellenbrook…

Ellenbrook Club was awarded triple points for 2 members being interviewed on Community Radio, which was their challenge issued at Club Officer Training in July last year.

I am sure that lots of you are doing wonderful things to promote your club and I look forward to receiving more advice (along with the necessary proof) hitting my email in the coming months. My email address is


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

Back to Menu



Second Time Around

When you join Toastmasters, it can seem a bit daunting: 10 speeches to get through and that’s just the Competent Communicator Manual. Just when you think you’ve finished, the VPE asks “Which advanced manuals would you like?”  You then start on the Advanced Communication series.

Then there’s the leadership side. The Competent Leadership Manual – not a problem, attend meetings and make sure you got your roles evaluated. You move on to the Advanced Leadership. What are all these other roles though, club officer district officer? What’s that about?

Yes, it can be daunting; however you persevere. It’s easy to keep track of where you are, what you’ve done and what you still need to do. Finally, after years of hard work, you’re there.   That goal of your first Distinguished Toastmaster is in sight. For first timers, it is exhilarating: “I made it. I know I have achieved something.”

What’s it like getting your second DTM? For me it seemed to just happen. After doing a year as a District Officer, I did the calculations. Without even realising it, I had completed the requirements for the Advanced Leadership Silver Award. That’s half a DTM – tick.

My Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Communicator Silver were done. I was part way through my Advanced Communicator Gold speeches. Some of the criteria had already been completed. Having recently done the last speech, my ACG was ready to be lodged.  That’s the second half of a DTM – tick.

In what seemed to be in the blink of an eye, my second DTM was completed and waiting to be lodged.

For members working towards their first DTM, keep at it. You’ll get there and before you know it, your second one will be almost done. I applaud those who have a lot more than two.


Nola Haddrill DTM
Noranda Toastmasters Club

Back to Menu


Celebrating Australia Day

Channel 7 TV promises us our history in epic proportions in their program “Australia: The Story of Us”: the people, the events, the story of how our ancient land became a modern nation.

On Australia Day, we reflect on the special meaning of what we are celebrating. Like most, we may be enjoying the summer scorch with a tinnie or stubby in hand, firing up the barbecue with friends by the poolside. Turn on the radio and we can be sure that a series of patriotic Australiana songs will be played on a loop. Amongst them will be favourites “Advance Australia Fair”, “Waltzing Matilda”, “I am Australian”, “I Still Call Australia Home” and “True Blue” etc.

It’s a great day to be patriotic. We pat ourselves on the back and remind each other of how lucky we are to live in this blessed country. Indeed there’s much for us to be proud of, emerging from our penal origins which gave us infamous bush rangers to a modern metropolis that boasts of greats like Edith Cowan, Dr. Victor Chang, Dr. Fred Hollows, Dame Nellie Melba, Saint Mary MacKillop and “the Don”.

But what are we celebrating on Australia Day? Are we celebrating present Australia and the potential that she will continue to be; or are we celebrating an idealised version of the past, an exercise in nostalgia?

I have a suspicion that many backyard “barbies” will not be commemorating present Australia on January 26. Current day Australia doesn’t seem to hold the appeal that our golden years of ages past seemed to represent. Today, our nation is deep in debt, jobs are at threat from emerging Asian nations, competition for skilled jobs is fierce, and free trade has given local manufacturing a proverbial swift boot up the backside. Alas this reality, this modern Australia is not what flag waving, backyard patriots are celebrating. Rather, Australia Day for many is not a declaration of love for their country but a yearning for “the good ol’ days”. Certainly it is much easier and gentler to reminisce and rejoice the past.

However, if we want this day to be a true reflection and celebration of our nation, we need to recognise the Australia we now inhabit, and there is much to celebrate. We need to change gears! This is a sorry state of mind that we have to overcome.

Why not celebrate our resilience to overcome struggles; be proud of our humanity; the richness and diversity in our morphing identity of multiculturalism and pluralism. Why not celebrate a hope that in adversity WE WILL SURVIVE and become BETTER.

Furthermore, Australia Day is not just for citizens. It’s for everyone who has come to make this great South land a home. We who are not yet citizens do not need to tie our loyalties to a certificate that promises a passport or the right to vote. We too are part of this great nation and celebrate our identity in the land, the people, the cosmopolitan and melting pot culture and the shared challenges and successes of its peoples.

Perhaps our nationalistic sentiments are best phrased by these lyrics:
We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come.
We’ll share a dream
And sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian

Happy Australia Day!

235 no shadow try again

Stephanie Chan
Southern River Toastmasters Club

Back to Menu


Should Santa move to Perth from the North Pole?

If this title makes you wonder what this can possibly have to do with Toastmasters, think no further than the Annual Christmas Comedy Debate organised jointly by the Curtin GSB Toastmaster Club and the Curtin GSB Alumni.

This time the debate was held on the 12th December and what a great success it was! We had two teams representing Toastmasters and Alumni respectively, debating on whether Santa Claus should stay comfortably where he is now at the North Pole or make a move and start living in our warm climate.

Alumni team

            Alumni Team: Carmel, Steve and Peter and Toastmasters Team: Ayesha, Joe and Thierry

The discussion between the two teams was incredibly entertaining to hear, giving the audience a chance to experience a wealth of humorous stories and witty remarks. There was no doubt that both teams took their preparations very seriously, and had a lot of convincing, and at the same time, amusing arguments to support their respective sides, putting on a great show for the audience.

Their performance was greatly entertaining and there is no doubt they managed to put everyone in a holiday mood. The audience cheered both sides, but ultimately the Toastmasters’ team gained a louder support and were pronounced winners, having been successful in persuading everyone that Santa should stay at his current location, as neither Santa, his wife nor his elves would thrive in the heat of Perth.

The debate has become an annual tradition and for years members have been able to participate in this great event. However it is not just for participants’ enjoyment that it is being held. The main purpose of the debate is to raise funds for Parkerville Children and Youth Centre (Inc.), an organisation dedicated to protecting and caring for WA’s most vulnerable and abused youth.

While the attendance at the event was free of charge, this year as in the past, a ”Curtin GSB giving tree” was set up and the participants were asked to bring gifts or cash donations for the Parkerville children and youth. The fundraiser was a great success and thanks to the generosity of the attendees we hope to have helped make Christmas of the kids who need it most a little bit merrier.

A special thank you for putting the tremendous effort into organising this wonderful night goes to Leonor Ragan DTM, Michael Startling, the president of the Curtin GSB Alumni Association, Murray Jorgensen DTM who was the MC on the night, and to all the volunteers who kindly offered their time to help make the event run smoothly. It was a fantastic night!

Group 3 Group 2 group 1

Agata Guzek
Curtin GSB Sundowner VP Public Relations 2014-2015

Back to Menu






District 17

                  LGET Report January 2015

Where has the time gone? Already I am saying not enough time to achieve my personal goals. How is it for you? Did your New Year resolution drive you to greater success and deliver for you more Toastmaster enjoyment? Did your resolution make it obvious you had again insufficient time to achieve? Planning and goal setting make all the difference. I am going to try it one day.

Triple Crown recipients have now risen to 15 members. I believe this to be less than half the number we will have at the end of June. I am looking forward to your name appearing on the list and awarding you a recognition pin.

Six members have achieved their DTM. You will see Nola Haddrill our recently nominated District Secretary, the new addition to this long standing list. Congratulations to all especially Nola on both the DTM and her new role.

Seventy three members have achieved their Competent Communicator, and 28 members achieved their Competent Leadership Awards. Add to these the 31 Advanced Leadership and 36 Advanced Communication Awards achieved. These numbers are gradually growing.

Congratulations to everyone who has achieved an award this year. Congratulations to the clubs who are ensuring their members obtain maximum benefit from their membership.


Our next TLI and COT sessions are on

  • Saturday 7th February , 1pm start – 5pm
  • Thursday 12th February , 5:30pm start  – 9:30pm
  • Sunday 15th February, 10am start – 2pm

All will be held at (Technology Park) 9 De Laeter Place Bentley. The building is marked E3.

The Emerging Leaders Workshop on Saturday 7th March will be a new workshop to WA, intended to help you take the next step into District leadership. Register your intention to attend with Ian Pickens.
All held at Innovation Centre (E3) 9 DeLaeter Pl Bentley.   2pm start

At this workshop we will provide a valuable insight into what a District leader does and needs to do.   I look forward to sharing this gateway to leadership with you.

I very much look forward to the next five months of education and achievements in District 17 and seeing your success rewarded.


Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 LGET

Back to Menu


District Marketing Incentives

Your Club won’t want to miss these special encouragements to boost membership before the end of the upcoming Membership Renewal period. Proof must be send to me:

  • February is the “Bring a Friend/Guest Month”. The club that brings the most visitors from 1st February to the 28th February will receive a set of “The Better Speaker Series” (Set of 10 Manuals). A copy of the visitor’s book must be forward to:
  • March is the “Convert Guests to Members Month”. The club that converts the most guests to members from 1st March to the 31st March will receive “The Successful Club Series” (Set of 11 Educational Modules). Proof of membership must be provided to:
  • The club that has the most members renewing for one full year will receive a set of “Advanced Communication Library“(Set 15 Manuals). Proof of yearly membership must be provided to:
  • Clubs with a Membership Base of 20 or more members: The first 10 clubs that submit 75% of membership base renewals to Toastmasters International by 26th March 2015 will receive a “Moments of Truth” manual and a “Finding New Members” manual for their club library.  Example: Club A has a membership base of 22 members. This means that 17 (75% x 22 rounded up) membership renewals are required to be submitted to Toastmasters International by Thursday 26th March 2015.
  • Clubs with a Membership Base of 13 to 19 members: The first 10 clubs that submit 100% of membership base renewals to Toastmasters International by 26th March, 2015 will receive a “Moments of Truth” manual and a “Creating the Best Climate for Your Club” Example: Club B has a membership base of 14 members. This means that 14 membership renewals required to be submitted to Toastmasters International by Thursday 26th March 2015.
  • Clubs with a Membership Base of 12 members or less: The first 10 clubs that submit 100% of membership base renewals to Toastmasters International by 26th March 2015 will receive a “Moments of Truth” manual and a “Creating the Best Climate for Your Club”

If you have any queries, please contact me:  I will be delighted to be of assistance.

Host a Demo Meeting in February or March in order to build membership before March dues payment time comes around.


Leonor Ragan, DTM
Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015
Happy to be of Service to District 17 members

Back to Menu


Writing for Black Swan – Some Ideas that May Interest You!

Why don’t you have a try at writing an article for Black Swan sometime in the next few months? Your club will also gain points in our Positive Promotion Premiership (PPP).

What could you write about? – well anything relating to members’ links with Toastmasters, personal triumph, Mentors, Club Leaders; the list goes on.

Member links with Toastmasters can assist them in a variety of other ways and lead them down many paths. It could be a personal triumph of one of our fellow members; many members have other interests that could be of interest to our readers. The Toastmasters experience is often found to help our members in other pathways in their life and becoming a competent speaker can often be the impetus to seek a different path, start their own business or experience a sea change.

Mentors can have a big impact on your journey through life and especially in Toastmasters. Write and tell our members about your experience with your mentor, how they assisted you in getting started and progressing along the many pathways you can follow with either Communication and/or Leadership challenges. Share your experience.

Club Leaders and members can often have interesting lifestyles or backgrounds that you could write about. The new President of Southern River Toastmasters, Roger Davenport recently sent in an article on his journey and how he came to be in Western Australia and what he has gained from Toastmasters to date. You can read the article in this edition of Black Swan. We have many members and many stories just waiting to be told.

Give it a go and forward to Judith Allen, our Black Swan editor at


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

Back to Menu