Black Swan May 2015

Black Swan May 2015

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen






May is Convention month, and District 17 Toastmasters, from club members to District Leaders and Convention organisers fine-tuned their preparations for this important event.  Contestants polished their presentations and registrants finalised their travel and accommodation arrangements for the big event which was held in Kalgoorlie at the end of May.

This month’s issue brings news of Convention from our District Leaders and members, as well as ideas, initiatives and achievements from some of our regular contributors.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen
Black Swan Editor
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District Governor Report

Up, Up & Away!

June is usually the month where we have Convention hang over and hard work ahead to finish the Toastmasters year strongly and this year is no exception. We had a sensational convention weekend in Kalgoorlie for the Gold Fever convention. International Director, Charlie Starrett, our international speakers Ryan and Chelsea Avery and our contestants all entertained, enthralled and engaged us with their workshops and speeches at convention which was bitter sweet to close, however now we are all back down to business to conclude this masterpiece year.

The tempest of a busy year is about to blow over, all members and clubs are marching towards their final goals for the year and this chock a block Toastmasters year is about to wind down. It’s time to examine your plans, goals and progress to determine if you have rounded the critical curve you calibrated at the start. We have scarcely more than two weeks to finish off a historic year. Have you achieved what you set out to do? Will we all achieve the goal of achieving President’s Distinguished District once again?

This year has seen many historic moments, from our training to our convention and later to our leader title changes and arguably the most dramatic, historic event in our short history, the motion to expand to four divisions being carried at our District Council Meeting in May, in the historic city of Kalgoorlie. I believe this will enable our clubs to be better served by your leaders in the future as the workload will be shared by a larger leadership team for our larger, stronger District.

As I write this, we have just tonight, achieved Distinguished District, with our thirtieth club achieving Distinguished status. It is fantastic news for us and now we can continue to fly up, up & away to reach even higher, dizzier heights. The news is so new that even the district summary reports haven’t been updated to show us at this level, however it is official by the Performance Reports.

robyn's graph

I believe there are still members with awards to be submitted and clubs with members’ dues to be paid, which will give us the number of clubs and distinguished clubs to achieve this. Let’s aim for a strong finish which we can all celebrate together.

Our district could not achieve this without dedicated and committed leaders and here in District 17 you have a plethora of these. They support you diligently throughout the year to enable you to achieve your goals, step up to higher accomplishments and be the communicator and leader to aspire to be. It is exciting to be a part of such a dynamic team of leaders who are committed to serving you, our members, with the utmost integrity and honour.

Watch our balloon banner on the front page of our District 17 website as we fly even higher over the next two weeks and join us as we celebrate our success at our Awards night on July 3rd before we head off into the launch into 2015-2016.


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015

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Toastmasters and Blogging

BLOGS?? Blogs originated as a cyber version of the traditional personal diary. They have become a cultural force with the capacity to attract customers, create communities and even launch careers. Bloggers serve as  tour guides to specific interests, passions, or skills, taking their readers on a journey through images, text, video and interactive conversation.

Whatever your talent, voice or perspective, a blog can offer you a sounding board: an instant audience that can give you feedback, advice or support on your topic of choice.

SteveSteve Chatterton from Canning Vale Toastmasters shares his experience in the world of blogging. In May, Steve became a ‘published’ blogger on Tiny Buddha. Here Steve shares his experience:

Toastmasters is a place where people come together and often share their personal experiences and insights. Recently I presented a speech about the challenges of road rage – have you learned to let it go yet?

Through personal stories and advice, I offered my audience an opportunity to overcome the need to judge others. This was a message I was passionate about sharing, so why stop there? I contacted a blogging website known as Tiny Buddha that reaches a large audience of motivated, passionate people.

After a few slight changes to my speech to meet writing guidelines, my very first internet blog, “Overcoming the Need to Judge Others” was accepted to be published in May!

The site receives more than four million page views per month – what better way to share my reflections and insights? If you too are passionate about sharing ideas, and the thought of writing excites you, then I encourage you to also consider contributing to blog sites.

You will be surprised at the similarities between the writing guidelines for blogs and Toastmaster’s speeches. Tiny Buddha asked for a quote, a personal story, practical advice, and a topic related to personal growth. To me, that has ‘Toastmaster speech’ written all over it.

Are you excited now? Then get to it!

Maybe you have written a speech for a project that could be submitted to a blog site (or maybe start your own)?
It’s time to put yourself and your ideas out there, because you never know what amazing things may come your way!
Here is the link to Steve’s blogged article:

vanessa Chang

Vanessa Chang
VPPR 2014-2-15
Canning Vale Toastmasters

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Collaborative Conversations Build Inspired Teams

The teams for 2015/2016 were elected in Kalgoorlie this past weekend.

We are very fortunate to have an amazing diversity within District 17. This means the District has a head start in creating a diverse, collaborating set of teams.

Here are some pointers, and reminders of how to utilize the rich offerings we have within District 17. Create lean, mean teams.

Tackling complex problems, fostering creativity and positive impact requires well-formed teams. This is the future of business.

Those with the ability to combine innovative scenarios with well-thought-out strategy in a collaborative team setting have the potential for outstanding results. Making the impossible possible will take teams that have a carefully selected communication method, use collaboration not just coordination, and have the ability to recruit members with diverse backgrounds and expertise.

Think back to being part of a team that had problems congealing. What methods of communication were being used? How might this have affected the team’s relational links? Relational links foster “enhanced creativity and motivation, increased morale, better decisions and fewer process losses.”

The best teams quickly build a safe environment of respect and trust where collaboration can thrive. I believe emails and other sensory-deprived methods are susceptible to misinterpretation and interpersonal communication failure. Non-visual cues and voice inflections are essential to deciphering true meaning, all of which are required for successful team collaboration.

Future business collaborations require more face to face communications. Teams, departments, business units, any group formation, needs to be an amalgam of emotions, trust, respect, and desires woven into a collective consensus that fosters sharing and teaching. Collaborating is a dynamic, delicate space that requires attention and skill.

Collaboration and diversity are important ingredients for solving creative, complex problems, and effective communication is the glue that holds everything together. The more diverse, complex, creative and collaborative the team, the faster, more informative and clearer the communication becomes.

We want to be inspired by the people we work with.  Don’t miss the opportunity to ignite passion within yourself and within your clubs.




Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training Group

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Visiting a Club Outside WA

After being a member of Toastmasters for 20 years, I have finally attended a club meeting in another district. I’ve often thought about it, and have even gone so far as contacting a club in Darwin, checking the location of clubs in Penang, and searching for a club in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.   Unfortunately, there was either no reply to my email, the location or time was inconvenient, or there was no club to contact. Perhaps I was just not keen enough to take time away from holidaying and to make more of an effort.

However, when a trip to Brisbane for a family wedding in May was planned, I was determined to visit a Toastmasters club – if it was within walking distance of our accommodation, and on an evening which suited our timetable. I found one: Brisbane Central Toastmasters, which meets on the Monday evening at a restaurant about a 30 minute walk away. Luckily it was a 6pm start, so I was able to walk almost all the distance before it was really dark.

In true Toastmaster style I was warmly welcomed by members of the oldest surviving club in District 69. Brisbane Central celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012 and is very proud of its heritage. Their president, Phillip Bates, who has been a Toastmaster for over 40 years, was full of news and enthusiasm about their District Convention which he and three other members had attended over the weekend.

It was a stimulating and entertaining meeting; very similar in content and format to the community club meetings here in WA. There were a few interesting variations though, that I thought worth a try. The Word of the Night was a 2 -3 minute time slot on the agenda, presented by one member, while the Grammarian role was filled by another who reported on the word usage.   Speech introductions were more formalised, with the evaluator reading the objectives at the lectern and introducing the speaker.   There was very little handshaking; just a nod to the Toastmaster as each speaker left the front.

Two Icebreaker speeches were presented, and as each concluded, the audience stood and applauded. I wondered if this was standard practice for all speeches, but no – just for Icebreakers and Project 10 speeches. The standing ovation was a lovely touch and one I think we will try at my clubs.

Brisbane Central faces the same challenges as many of our clubs. They have recently had a venue change and are working hard to lift their membership to 20. With four visitors, two of whom signed up after the meeting, things are looking promising.

I came away from the meeting well fed, entertained, inspired, and very pleased that I had made the effort to include a Toastmasters’ meeting as part of my holiday. My only regret was that I had waited 20 years.

I know many Toastmasters who visit clubs at every opportunity when they travel. If you are not one of them, I encourage you to make the effort. Don’t wait 20 years as I did; put it on your itinerary next time you travel.

Judith B Swan

Judith Allen DTM

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Worried About Alzheimer’s?

I was suddenly struck with the most amazing idea. I am a high risk candidate for Alzheimer’s; my Dad, two of his sisters and my grandfather all suffered from the disease so I thought I had better reduce my risk of contracting it. The trick is to outsmart the disease; make it think you are smarter than you really are. How can you accomplish this amazing feat? The answer is, as most answers to difficult questions are – Toastmasters, but stretching the boundaries a bit more than one would normally do at Toastmasters. What aspect of Toastmasters stretches you the most? Possibly Table Topics. Here is my proposal, directed to those of you who have completed your Competent Communication manual at least once.

As you know, and as you have promised to do, speeches from the Competent Communication manual must be prepared and hopefully practised. But for the second, third or “nth” time through the manual perhaps you could try something new, different and exciting. Take Table Topics to a new level. Give a 5-7 minute speech on a topic the audience gives you at the time the Toastmaster introduces you on stage. If you want the speech evaluated for a CC project, it must meet the objectives of that project. However, the evaluation will also concentrate on how fluently you spoke, how seemingly prepared you were, and how closely you were able to stick to the speech title.

If you enjoy Table Topics, you will find impromptu speeches challenging, rewarding and exciting. If you don’t like Table Topics, then this is something you must try to push yourself even further. Warning! It can become addictive. If you have not given 5-7 minute truly impromptu speeches before you will be amazed at how much fun they are. You can talk to your club’s VPE and have this incorporated into your club’s agenda or you could join the advanced club “Defeat Alzheimer’s Toastmasters Club”. That may be difficult as the club doesn’t actually exist but if it did this is how it might work.

The new Defeat Alzheimer’s Toastmasters club meets monthly at a restaurant chosen by the Sergeant at Arms. This changes each month. Just before the start of the meeting the Toastmaster for the night passes around a hat containing slips of paper, six of which contain the words “Speaker No. n” and six which contain the words “Lead Evaluator No. n”. A few blank papers are added so the hat contains the number of papers equal to the number of attendees. There is a separate hat containing the speech titles which were submitted to the Toastmaster by the previous month’s 6 speakers. Just as the Toastmaster is to introduce the speaker he or she selects a topic from the topic hat and introduces the speaker with his speech title. The speaker begins immediately the Toastmaster is seated. And that’s how it works – or would work if there were such a club.

If you would like to be a part of this club contact me at and we’ll set it up. Let’s defeat Alzheimer’s.

John Palmer DTM


John Palmer DTM
Southern River Toastmasters

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Award Winners in May 2015stars

Award Date Member Name
CC 03/05/2015 Naidoo, Sidhen CPA
CC 04/05/2015 Selvakumar, Sathya Willetton
CC 06/05/2015 Ghanad, Iman Victoria Park
CC 06/05/2015 Miitel, David Kalamunda
CC 10/05/2015 De La Cruz, Paul Applecross
CC 14/05/2015 Spencer, Dave Project Managers
CC 18/05/2015 Pavic, Anita Highgate
CC 19/05/2015 Rodrigo, Maria CPA
CC 19/05/2015 Knight, Paul UWA
CC 21/05/2015 Rogers, Ann Perth Justalk
CC 23/05/2015 Kaushal, Rashmi Project Managers
CC 25/05/2015 Dupreez, Shireen Sandgroper
ACB 01/05/2015 Lavell, Gladys Mundaring
ACB 14/05/2015 Meyer, Almarie Electric Toasters
ACB 20/05/2015 Gudka, Mit Noranda
ACB 21/05/2015 Sweetman, Bonnie Terrace Club
ACB 27/05/2015 McCue, Vaughan Victoria Park
ACB 27/05/2015 Brandt, Laura Currambine
CL 02/05/2015 Zhang, Nero WA School of Mines
CL 04/05/2015 Hartig, Krystal Willetton
CL 27/05/2015 Katavatis, Cybele Stirling Club
ALB 05/05/2015 Zhang, Nero WA School of Mines
ALB 08/05/2015 Owen-Griffiths, Meriel Applecross
LDREXC 01/05/2015 Hughes, Colin Netmasters
LDREXC 04/05/2015 Coles, Barbara Gosnells Foothills
LDREXC 11/05/2015 Foster, Michael Mandjar Speakers


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015

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District 17 Club Newsletter Contest


1st Prize

Mit GCongratulations to Noranda Toastmasters Club – for winning 1st prize in our District 17 Club Newsletter Competition. Terrific job Noranda! The certificate was accepted by Mit Gudka, Noranda Club President at the Gold Fever Convention on 1 June 2015.




2nd Prize

2nd placeCongratulations to Armadale Toastmasters Club – runners up in the District 17 Newsletter Competition. Great job Armadale! The certificate was accepted by Catherine O’Brien, Armadale VPPR at the Gold Fever Convention on 1 June 2015.






Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

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District 17 – Gavel Club Promotion

The School Curriculum and Standards Authority has formally endorsed the Toastmasters International award of Competent Communicator. This endorsement is for the period 2015 to 2019 and means that students who successfully complete the Competent Communicator award while they are in Years 10, 11 or 12 can count it towards meeting the requirements for the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE).

One of the WACE requirements is that a student must study a minimum of 20 units, or equivalents, over their senior secondary schooling. Completion of the Toastmasters Competent Communication manual which leads to the award of Competent Communicator, offers these students two unit equivalents towards this requirement. In addition, successful completion of this award will be reported on a student’s WA Statement of Student Achievement which is issued to all students at the end of Year 12. This is an acknowledgement of the value of extracurricular and lifelong learning and may well give a student a competitive edge in their search for employment or further education or training.

What does this mean to Toastmasters International, District 17, and our clubs? Firstly, all schools in W.A. will be made aware of Toastmasters International and the Competent Communicator program and award. Since the only way of achieving this award is through membership in a Gavel club, there will likely be an increased demand by high schools to have Toastmasters clubs establish Gavel clubs within their schools. Secondly, once a Gavel club has been set up in a school, the fact that it offers students a program leading to 2 equivalent units of study, should encourage many students to join the program. I can see great demand for the program by the schools, the students, and the parents.

How can we meet this potential demand? Currently we have Gavel clubs established in Willetton Senior High School, Rossmoyne Senior High School and a request from Applecross Senior High School. This request has not been acted upon yet as we are still looking for a Toastmaster to run this program.

What the District needs are Toastmasters who a) have a burning desire to help children gain the skills that the Toastmasters Educational program can provide, and b) have about two hours, once a week after school, to manage a club in your area. The rest is easy. There is a plethora of material available from your District’s Gavel Club Coordinator (me) to market the concept to parents and schools; to set weekly agendas; to run training exercises on stance, voice projection, eye contact, speech preparation, topic selection etc. This material will be a set of Word documents that can easily be emailed to any interested Toastmaster and hopefully will soon be available online from the District 17 web site.

A look into the future: It is June 2019 and time for the District 17 Gaveliers’ Convention being held at a University in Perth. It is being opened by our District Director, with a keynote address from the Minister of Education. We are having four speech contests, the General Speech contest, Humorous Speech contest, Table Topics contest and Evaluation contest. Our contestants are from each of the six areas and include speakers from Albany to Port Hedland.

Let’s make it happen!


John Palmer DTM
Southern River Toastmasters

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District 17 Positive Promotion Premiership

Thanks to all clubs that took part.

1st Place

PPP JohnI am pleased to announce 1st Prize in the Positive Promotion Premiership goes to Southern River Toastmasters, with a grand total of 814 points in the contest. The trophy was accepted by John Palmer of Southern River Toastmasters at the Gold Fever Convention on Monday 1 June 2014.



2nd Place


Phil PPPI am pleased to announce 2nd place in the Positive Promotion Premiership goes to Canning Vale Toastmasters, with a total of 456 points in the contest. The certificate was accepted by Phyll Lightbody of Canning Vale Toastmasters at the Gold Fever Convention on Monday 1 June 2015.




Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

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Marvellous Membership Winners

This year we had 10 very worthy recipients. They are:

club list


Photo Winners MM 2015The above Clubs are the winners of this year Marvellous Membership Award and members were presented with a beautiful ribbon for their banner at the closing ceremony of our GOLD FEVER CONVENTION IN KALGOORLIE May 2015.


mm ribbon

To earn this award clubs needed to achieve both new member goals in the Distinguished Club Program (Goal 7 and Goal 8) before 30 April 2015  and submit 20 member renewals before the due date at both renewal periods: 30 September 2014 and 31 March 2015 before 30 April 2015.


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

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WA Governors Club Invitation to New Area Directors

area director ribbon

WA Governors Club Where leaders are…   invites you to their next meeting:

Thursday 18 June 2015

6.15pm for 6.30pm start

Shenton Park Community Centre

240 Onslow Rd, Shenton Park

Learn from the experiences of an outgoing Area Governor

Hear all about the benefits of being an Area Director

Identify key issues and challenges you are likely to face

Learn how to do the job effectively without burning out

Meet with experienced WA Governors Club members and participate in the facilitated discussions.

Find out how WA Governors can help YOU

Supper provided.

RSVP:   Wednesday 17 June 2015 to Judith by email:

             or phone: 9294 4206

LR             Judith B Swan

Leonor Ragan, DTM             Judith Allen DTM
President                                         VPPR

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Flight 1609! Delayed!

With Convention farewells ringing our ears, the intrepid Toastmasters boarded Flight 1609.   Suddenly through the airways came the message:

“Apologies Ladies and Gentlemen, please disembark. Your flight is delayed.”

2.30pm grounded!

And with the words of World Champion Ryan, “push past it” ringing in our ears, the Toastmaster troupe swung into the inaugural meeting of the Kalgoorlie Flight Lounge Toastmasters Club.

mike  debbie  John

Grahame, Mike, John, Debbie, Henry and Catherine were taunted with trivial Table Topics from Robyn. John, with 6 flying lessons, provided an innovative response to getting things moving, while Debbie dealt with the problem of blocked toilets on the plane. Yes, Debbie evoked all our senses, particularly smell!

20150601_154956_resizedNext, Graham entertained the group and bemused bystanders on the topic of “Delayed”. Graham shared his experiences as a train driver in Melbourne, delivered with conviction and passion.


The power of persuasion: Henry’s powerful thoughts and discussion “We want free food vouchers” transcended into announcements for passengers to collect a free canteen voucher. Well done Henry! Now for the lotto numbers!

Mike Palmer put his spin on 93/4. Mike’s imagery was vivid describing a zig- zag scar across his forehead, Hogwarts and Harry, presented in three stories.


Toastmasters were keen to share and practise tips gained from the Convention Masterclass. Between toilet and food breaks the troupe held two more meetings and were joined by “virgin” flyers, Martin, Almarie and Meriel.



In a Round Robin, Martin and Almarie dealt with dead bodies, John described snip, snip, off to hospital, followed by Robyn opening red and green doors and Catherine speaking on her marketing strategy. Mike found another body just as the red light came on!

Martin           catherine

Impromptu speeches followed. In this segment Catherine entertained with her 3 – 5minutes response to the title, “Evil Twin Sister”. The tale twisted and turned and the audience was left wondering who in-fact was the evil sister!

As in all Toastmaster meetings, everything was evaluated and timed. Multitasking came to the fore, with Catherine’s TM phone app a bonus.

Always have a speech ready! This is Robyn’s mantra, and with a Storytelling #4 she opened with bars of “Stand By Me!” In her speech Robyn paid tribute to the singer and movie then took the audience on an emotional journey, as she compared the movie’s main character Chris to her school friend Victor; a reflection of childhood memories that still remain vivid. CRC presented by Mike provided food for thought.

On that note: Delayed!

When you find yourself stuck, “push past it”. If you are a Toastmaster, never miss the opportunity to speak out! Toastmasters 1609 didn’t!

As the boarding call came at 6.45pm, it was farewells and we were homeward bound, Simon and Garfunkel ringing in my ears!!

Robyn Lloyd DTM
President Terrace Toastmasters 2014/15

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