Black Swan June 2015

Black Swan June 2015

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen






Here we are at the end of another Toastmaster year and the end of my role as the editor of Black Swan. It has been a very busy and successful year with many contributors sharing their news, achievements and ideas with Toastmasters across District 17.

Thanks to our District Leaders for their monthly reports and updates,  to the regular contributors for sharing their expertise and news, and to each one of you who has  shared a milestone, an achievement or a personal story.  Your contributions have helped make Black Swan Newsletter a success.

Finally a thankyou to Black Swan readers, who have made it all worthwhile.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen
Black Swan Editor
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District Governor Report

The Final Flurry

After a year of hard, determined work, I am extremely excited to share the news that with a final flurry, we came through to achieve President’s Distinguished District, on the last day of the Toastmasters year. Our team of Area Governors, Division Governors and the District Executive have worked tirelessly to achieve this phenomenal result. I couldn’t be more proud of the team.

We began June knowing that we had several items which need to be monitored and encouraged to achieve before the end of the year and I must say, everyone rolled up their sleeves, got down and dirty, pulled their weight and came through with the results on the board. Our membership payments had almost taken care of themselves by the beginning of June. We did need to encourage our last few clubs to charter and one low membership club to lodge more members to enable us to reach our goal of 81 paid clubs and members to complete awards in order for club officers to lodge those awards required to achieve Distinguished status or above. As a District we needed 38 clubs at this level, but at the end of the day it is all about our members achieving goals, so this was our focus.

It was always my goal to leave the District in a stronger position than on July 1 last year and I believe we have done this ethically with the best interests of our members and clubs at heart. All our goals were exceeded because our members achieved their own personal goals and most of our clubs grew stronger throughout this year. We still have some clubs with low membership, but all have dedicated Toastmasters guiding and encouraging them to build and become more vibrant as we head into a new year. We have expanded our regional clubs by one more and we are looking to expand even more in the future. We grew the membership payments and gained seven new clubs. Almost all of these new clubs have a plethora of brand new members to Toastmasters, which really builds and strengthens our District.

During this year we had some history making moments which need mentioning. For the first time, we held our convention 600kms outside the metropolitan area in Kalgoorlie and it was more successful than we could have imagined when this was decided at our November Council Meeting in 2013. At our May District Council Meeting in Kalgoorlie, we voted to realign our District into four Divisions for the year 2015-2016. This has long been the goal for our district from day one and it is exciting to see this a reality and it is a testament to the growth and leadership from day one. On the day of our Awards Night on July 3rd, we had bright sunshine and a beautiful day. This is the first time in the history of our annual awards nights and I think a sign of a bright future for the District.

As this is the final report for 2014-2015 from me, I want to thank the mentors I’ve had supporting me, not just this year but throughout my Toastmasters journey. From the very first time I walked into a Toastmasters meeting, David and Glenis Nicholas have encouraged, supported and mentored me with controlled dedication and I will be forever grateful for this. Throughout this year, our International Director, Charlie Starrett, was my “go to” man for everything from guidance with Toastmasters protocol to keeping me sane when things turned a little sour. Charlie was the rock that held me up so many times and I cannot thank him enough for his support. Every member of our District, and many beyond our shores, have encouraged and mentored me this year. It is astonishing how much of this I received and I would like to thank you all. Lastly, I know no one has supported me more than my husband, Mark. He was the first and the last person I discussed things with and always guided me with respect of the fact that it was my journey and that he does things a “little” differently than I do. We often had long and sometimes heated discussions, but Mark always allowed me the choice to make my own decisions. It must have been so hard to be a Past District Governor and live with the current District Governor but still not inflict your ways. I could not have seen the year through with such dignity without his resolute and unwavering support.

I would also like to express my gratitude to so many of you who sent cards, emails, messages on facebook or phoned me with condolences and the 10 or 12 members who attended the funeral, when my Mum passed away just a week before convention. This showed me the true meaning of our Toastmasters family and I will be forever lifted by your support.

Now that the final flurry is over, the year’s results are a reflection of the dedication of the leadership team who followed my dream of achieving President’s Distinguished District throughout the whole year, even when they didn’t always believe it could be achieved. I hope you have all gained a trust that the universe sends you only what you can deal with and dreams can come true if you are committed to achieving them. With the introduction of our new banner to show our progress towards our goal of President’s Distinguished District, we all learned to aim for the sky and fly hot air balloons.


Thank you for having faith in me to lead the District and the opportunity to represent you many times throughout the year. I’m proud of our achievements and the development of our District. As we head into the new Toastmasters year, I wish the new team every success they dream for and as always, offer my support to help them achieve these. I am confident Ian will lead the District admirably and his team will support him as strongly as our team this year supported me.


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015

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Award Winners 2014 – 2015

Our award winners for 2014-2015 were all truly deserved and I would like to once again congratulate them for their achievement and thank them for their role in the success of District 17.



President of the Year Club of the Year
Central Division Central Division
Deon Van Aswegen – Perth JusTalk Electric Toasters
Northern Division Northern Division
Mit Gudka – Noranda Currambine
Southern Division Southern Division
Sebastian Davies-Slate – Victoria Park Victoria Quay

Mike Helm Award   Toastmaster of the Year

Central Division

Almarie Meyer

Marion Barnes Memorial Award Toastmaster of the Year

Northern Division

Lisa Evans

David Nicholas Award Toastmaster of the Year

Southern Division

John Palmer

District Toastmaster of the Year

Peter Law

President’s Distinguished Division Governors

Henry Yau – Central Division Governor

Maree Pickens – Northern Division Governor

Stephanie Chan DTM – Southern Division Governor

President’s Distinguished Area Governors

Allen Hahn – Area C1

Jasmine Kaur – Area C4

Melinda Brennan – Area N21

Paul Browning – Area N26

Marianne Law – Area S32

Tom Bielski – Area S33

Successful Club Coaches

Auriole D’Souza – ToastiES

Colin Hughes – Netmasters

Marianne Law – Netmasters

Beat the Base Award for Established Clubs

W.A. School of Mines

July 1, 2014 Base – 20

June 30, 2015 – 32

Beat the Base Encouragement Award for New Clubs

Shell Australia

Charter Base Jan 14, 2014 – 22

June 30, 2015 – 40

Area Governor of the Year

Marianne Law – Area S32

Division Governor of the Year

Henry Yau – Central Division

District Officer of the Year

Leonor Ragan DTM

Lieutenant Governor Marketing


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015

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A Toast to Success

Kwinana Toastmasters opened its doors on 27th May 2014, taking nearly 10 months to charter. We started off slowly with a minimum of 5 to 6 people at meetings, but learned skills very quickly as we were forced to do more than one role at each of these meetings. We welcomed new people and often pounced on them as soon as they entered the room, surrounding them with all the attention we could give them. It paid off because they not only joined, but these members have developed into confident, enthusiastic members of Kwinana Toastmasters.

We soon found out that a new club cannot just come together as a group and get started. It needed a lot of care and support by our experienced Toastmasters from other established clubs, some still members today, others not.

Our Sponsor club, Rockingham Toastmasters, came through with flying colours, supporting Kwinana whenever called upon to help. Tina Tuira-Waldon gave up her time to be the best vibrant Toastmaster at our demo meetings and more, bringing along members who came to do speeches and sharing their experience and knowledge. Michael Gorman, as the driving force, also gained a lot of experience with guidance from Robyn Richards (District Governor 2014-2015), Peter Law, Michael Foster and myself.

Kwinana Toastmasters finally chartered at the end of March 2015 and had a great celebration on 9th June 2015 when our banner finally arrived with all the certificates for our charter members. So excited, we had a celebratory supper shared by our delegates, members and guests to share in the momentous occasion. The Mayor of City of Kwinana, Carol Adams, remarked that she was glad that she was invited as she knew little about Toastmasters.

It all became worth it at the end of the night when guests commented on this being an ‘excellent meeting’, ‘brilliant’ and ‘really great fun and worth coming to”.

Comments like these, the smiles and laughter in the camaraderie at the end, only brought more pride we already had to be part of this club. Together, Kwinana Toastmasters will be going far in the future. Just keep your eyes peeled out for us as we will continue to “Dream Big”!

Kwinana TMHolding the club banner: from left to right: Kwinana Mayor Carol Adams, Toastmasters District Governor Robyn Richards, and Club President Michael Gorman surrounded by members and guests.


Marianne Law
Vice President of Education
Kwinana Toastmasters

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Dream Big (Thanks to Ryan and Chelsea)

For 5 years now I have dreamt big. It was at District 73’s Creswick 2010 Convention that I was ready to start a leadership role in the emerging District 17 leadership team. It was not until two years later I started my first district role.

It is a privilege and honour to be your District Director, leading a wonderful team of leaders. Leonor Ragan accepts the Program Quality Director role and will lead us through training with the help of TLI Training Group and WA Governors.

Sue Fallon, as Club Growth Director, will assist the Area Directors with club growth. Club growth commences at area level, supported by district. Building new clubs is the District Mission, and I am very pleased to know the Area Directors and Sue are ready to start the fun stuff of building new clubs.

Division Directors Patricia D’Cruze, (Central), Peta Rakela, (Eastern) Peter Harrison, (Northern), and Cathy Kunzel (Southern), are all very good leaders and available to assist anyone in whatever way they can.

Public Relations Manager Tom Bielski, Administration Manager Leith Cohoe, Finance manager Alison Wong and Parliamentarian Melinda Brennan, are other team members supporting your membership and the district. It is fantastic to have such a strong team supporting Area Directors and Club Officers. I very much look forward to working with them and sharing in everyone’s success over the year.

There has been an extensive realignment of clubs this year due entirely to our club growth. Some areas were at maximum capacity resulting in the opportunity to establish Eastern Division. Some of you may have heard of 4 x 4 x 4, which means 4 (divisions) x 4 (areas each) x 4 (clubs in each area). If you have not, it was a formula developed prior to us being District 17. This year we established the 4th division with five areas in three of the divisions. Many of these areas have five clubs in them, well surpassing the big dream.

In 2011 the leadership team returned from training with a five-year plan to have 100 clubs in D17. If every one of our 19 areas adds one club we will reach 100 in four years. Needless to say, we are very much on track to meet the five-year target.

The challenge is to dream big and force success to come to you.

I want to welcome and congratulate the Area Directors who are ready to lead your clubs to success this year. They will have the usual challenges, the usual successes. 2015 is not going to magically transform Toastmaster fortunes, but together we can achieve anything.

Please support them in their roles.



C1 Barbara Coles
C2 Ann Rogers
C3 Lynette Delane
C4 Anna Sloboda
C5 Kevin Sansome
E11 Asvin Bhudia
E12 Sebastian Davies-Slate
E13 Peter Petrich
E14 Nero Zhang
N21 Almarie Meyer
N22 Jessie Channell
N23 Cybele Katavatis
N24 Ross Hinscliff
N25 Catherine O’Brien
S31 Andre Sequeira
S32 John Drake
S33 Ling Morton
S34 Michael Foster
S35 Brett Watson

Don’t say he’s dreaming. Dream big, achieve everything, and force success to come to you.


Ian Pickens  DTM
District 17 Director 2015 – 2016

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Black Swan Editor – Position Vacant

I know – it is hard to believe there is a position available for a District 17 newsletter editor.

Don’t believe what you hear. Even though it is a great opportunity, tremendous satisfaction after doing a great job, and contacts across the entire state, not everyone wants the opportunity.

During this year all newsletter articles are to be directed to Public Relations Manager Tom Bielski, who will forward them to District Director for approval. It may be another link in the chain but I believe allows the PRM to be focussed on one of our written communications to the district.

I would like to say you need exceptional written communication skill, ability to edit documents, ability to format and layout articles into a newsletter format.  In reality, all you really need is the ability to say yes and then to do the monthly work. Full training will be given. Do not hesitate. Do not fear rejection.

The most important selection criteria will be given to anyone prepared to say YES I WILL DO IT.

Please don’t hesitate to apply by contacting Ian Pickens Tel: 0418945958.

Apply now. Position must be filled within ONE month.


Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 Director 2015 – 2016

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Help  Needed  at Talkabout

Karen's article

  • Are you working through any of your manuals?
  • Do you want to fast track your progress?

If you answered yes to one or both of the above two questions then Talkabout Toastmasters would be delighted to welcome you as a guest speaker.

We would be very pleased to have you join us at one or more of our meetings to perform any of the roles in the Toastmaster schedule.

Talkabout is rebuilding its membership and we would appreciate it if you would assist us in the challenge to hold presentable, worthwhile meetings.

We meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month (6.15 for a 6.30pm start until 8.15pm – supper included). Our venue is at 276 Onslow Road, Shenton Park.

Our meeting dates for the next three months are: 8 July and 22 July, 12 August and 26 August, 9 September and 23 September.

If you can assist us in any way please contact me on:


Karen Tregenza
President, Talkabout Toastmasters

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CC 5:  Your Body Speaks

RobTurner_150624_5B-253x300Now what does that mean?

Victoria Quay members found a new meaning at a recent meeting.

Rob Turner had handled Projects 1-4.  They were all very interesting speeches and very competent. They were all fascinating stories of his experiences as a child in England in the Second World War. Yes, a fair while ago.

But Project 5:  Your Body Speaks – Title Communication.  Wow!


In the first four minutes Rob mimed speech and action but no sound issued out of his mobile mouth.  Fairly quickly we worked out he was putting some things up on the wall. Two of them. Big pictures? No – were they?  Yes! mirrors  – because when they were completed he admired himself in one of them and was appalled at his expression in the other.

RobTurner_150624B      RobTurner_150624_2B

Where was this going?

Then we found out as he “stepped over the window sill” and addressed us.

Body language!  Unless you are a mime artist on stage like Charlie Chaplin or Marcell Marceau, if you want to communicate you have to use words as the basis of your communication.

In the next two minutes Rob discussed the relationship between our words and our body language.  Obviously the ideal relationship is of a harmonious cooperation where our bodies enhance the message.  Then Rob stepped back over the window sill and cleaned the mirrors, until he was satisfied and gave a final silent message to the audience before he signed off.

We always have the Evaluation straight after the speech.

Evaluator Antony Svilicich carried on the project by miming his first sentence before stepping forward, over the window sill, and delivering audible speech. But he didn’t step back into the room!

No-one present had heard – no, experienced, a speech like that before.

David N

David Nicholas DTM
Victoria Quay Toastmasters

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Dynamic Speakers Club Meeting – Monday 15 June 2015

It was a cold and wintry night, but the lights at Tom Dadour Community Centre shone brightly on our hopeful faces.

It was our first meeting and there was a bit of sorting out to be done, decisions to be made on how the tables and chairs should be arranged, and where the stage area should be. The meeting started at 7:10pm. The Sergeant-at-arms, Ian Hart, made us all feel welcome and also delivered our inspiration for the night. His message was that you do not have to be great to start, but have to start to be great. He has high hopes that Dynamic Speakers will become a great club now that the first step has been taken.

IMG_0945Almarie group

Jasmine Kaur entertained us with a speech that explored whether money can buy happiness. She had us hooked from the opening where she defined a smart man as a man who can make more money than his wife can spend. After sharing a few stories about the art of happiness and unhappy billionaires, she came to the conclusion that happiness comes from wanting what you have rather than having what you want. Gerald Stack, as evaluator, complimented Jasmine on bringing excitement to a well -structured speech and for her use of humour.

Hanh Ngo was the Table Topic Master and used the power of three as her theme. Gerald got to go first and was asked to describe himself in three words. He cleverly used his feelings about the new club to answer and chose Nervousness due to it being a new group, Confidence that both he and the club will do well and finally, Hopeful that we were off to a great start. Ian had an easier question and had to tell us the three essential items to carry when travelling. The first was obviously his passport, the second money as you can’t have much fun on a holiday if you have no money, and thirdly he also chose confidence that he was going to enjoy the holiday. Finally Leonor had to tell us about three places she would like to live and she chose Australia, Spain and Italy.

Peter Dhu , the general evaluator, decided to evaluate on the theme of non-verbal communication. There followed some talk about fiddling with clothes, milking the cow and standing on one foot. Peter also educated us about using our hands with palms up to show approachability or palms down to establish credibility.

Leonor, as President and Toastmaster of the night, closed the meeting with a question and answer session and encouraged us to invite guests along to come and experience the excitement of building a new club. After electing Ian as main key carrier for future meetings we adjourned to some snacks supplied by Leonor.

IMG_0947 AlmarieCome and visit us on the 1st and 3rd Monday of every Month at 7:00pm

Tom Dadour Community Centre, 363 Bagot Road, Subiaco.

Almarie face

Almarie Meyer
VPPR, Dynamic Speakers

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