Black Swan Newsletter July 2021

The Official Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

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District News

Introducing your 2021-22 District Director – Tim Blackburn DTM

WOW what an amazing honour it is to be taking on the role of District Director.

I would like the vision for this year to be “Unlock the Power of Your Voice”.  Every member has a story to tell and we want you to tell your story.

Over 18 years ago, a shy kid wanting to improve his public speaking skills, walked into his very first Toastmasters meeting at St George’s Terrace Toastmasters club. That kid was me.

I realised early that I was surrounded by positive and focus driven peers.  Up until then, I was trying to fit into other people’s worlds, self-doubting my beliefs and feeling that I was not being heard.

This led to me to deliver speeches about my passions and to tell my stories.  It has led to uncovering who I am and what is important to me.  It has unlocked my voice and to making a difference.

Here at Toastmasters, I found club members to be encouraging and supportive always.  I felt that my voice was being heard and my colleagues always supported my speeches.  This support has driven me to take on opportunities to develop as a speaker and as a leader.

I feel very honoured with the support of so many Toastmasters family and has led me to taking on all the opportunities that have come along.  From stepping up and taking on my first committee role, through to taking on Club President through to leadership roles in the District.  Earlier this year I had the privilege to host the very first Virtual District Conference for our District.

Taking the courage to start new clubs, like my home club at CPA Toastmasters Club, has given me the opportunity to take on leadership roles in my community.  In 2014 I was elected by my peers to the position of State President for CPA Australia.  I was regularly presenting and emceeing events on a weekly basis to crowds of 20 to 400 people.

We are here to support your stories your development and for you to take the confidence to take on challenges and opportunities as they come along.  It is time for Toastmasters in Western Australia to be heard and to be seen.

This year we will be working on a number of initiatives that will be aiming at promoting Toastmasters to various media and social outlets to drive home the benefits to the Western Australia community.

Let’s all collaborate and work together to tell our stories and why Toastmasters is a valuable resource in your personal development.

District Director Tim Blackburn

Tim Blackburn, DTM
District Director 2021-22
District 17, Toastmasters International

Introducing your 2021-22 Leadership Team

In the last 12 months we faced a lot of challenges and uncertainties. But we also found out how quickly we can adapt and make changes to continue to thrive.

This is also a period where the leadership really matters.  It is the leaders’ ability to stay on course, see a way through the fog, and lay a clear path to instil confidence and a bright future ahead for the District.

At the District Council Meeting in May we elected two of the six Division Directors for the 2021-2022 Toastmasters year. Thus, in accordance with the Toastmasters International protocols, it passes onto me to appoint the remaining Division Directors, which will be ratified at the next District Council Meeting.

Since being elected, we have been working diligently to build the leadership team for 2021-2022.  I based the selection process on Toastmasters core values of Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence. It is also important in the process to have passion, a can-do attitude and energy to drive and instil a positive message with a desire to achieve results.

It is my great pleasure to introduce the leadership team for 2021-22.

  • Tim Blackburn – District Director
  • Julie Dall – Program Quality Director
  • Gavin Hyslop – Club Growth Director
  • Michael Piotrowski – Division Director, Southern
  • Jeff Zhang – Division Director, Inner City
  • Peggy Leung – Division Director, Central
  • Barbara Coles – Division Director, Western
  • Angela Burchardt – Division Director, Northern
  • Noor Talpur – Division Director, Eastern
  • Mino Cho – Public Relations Manager
  • Darren Law – Administration Manager
  • Dan Franks – Finance Manager
  • Pat King – Parliamentarian
  • Tom Bielski – Webmaster


District Director Tim Blackburn

Tim Blackburn, DTM
District Director 2021-22
District 17, Toastmasters International

Realtime updates, D17 Toastmasters Members Group


Black Swan Newsletter is great because it keeps you in the loop just in case you missed any important information - announcements, training, events or celebrations.


It comes only once a month…

If you want to get updates OR give updates to the WA Toastmasters members in real-time, check out Toastmasters District 17 Members Group. Don’t forget to Like It, so that the news comes to you.

Click here to tour Toastmasters District 17 Members Group.



Mina Cho DTM
Public Relations Manager 2021-2022
District 17

93 Club Officers Trained, and Still Counting

The District is pleased to report that 93 clubs officers have attended Club Officer Training on the first session of Club Officer Training held online on 22nd June.

If you have missed the session on 22nd June, there are more training sessions available throughout July and August. To see the full schedule, please check here and register.

93 Club Officers Trained

Program Quality Director Julie Dall

Julie Dall DTM
Program Quality Director 2021-2022
District 17, Toastmasters International



Club Officer Training (Not just for Club Officers)

Club officer training for the 2021-2022 Toastmasters year kicked off with a great online session on 22nd June with over 90 participants.
For those who missed the session – or who would like to attend again – please see below for the registration links for the other metro sessions.
A session is being planned for the South West details will be released later.

Date  Time  Registration Link
Sat – 24/07/2021
9 – 1pm Link
Thu – 29/07/2021
6 – 9pm Link
Sun – 8/08/2021
9am – 12.:30 pm Link
Sat – 14/08/2021
Tech Park, Bentley
9 am – 12.30pm Link
Sun – 22/08/2021
9 .am – 4 pm Link

I Hear You Say…

It’s TOO Long …

We have received many comments about the length of the training sessions. This is dictated by Toastmasters International, and to reduce it to the minimum pre-reading is required.

When you register for the session, a link to the pre-reading will be sent to you. If you’re interested in checking it out now, you can check the pre-reading here.

There’s a TYPO in the 22nd August session.

Nope, 😊 the online session on the 22nd August is an all-day event.
We’re planning on using a different approach, where the club officer sessions are run consecutively to allow dual officers to attend full sessions on their roles.
At the same time, we will be running other sessions that hopefully are of interest to our Club Officers and members.
This session (like all sessions) is open to all members.

If you are a club officer, we ask that you attend at least two sessions in addition to the session for your club officer role(s). However, non-club officers are welcome to attend any and all sessions of interest.

(Note: there might be a few changes to the program depending on interest).

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me (click on my name below).

Program Quality Director Julie Dall

Julie Dall DTM
Program Quality Director 2021-2022
District 17, Toastmasters International

District 17 Annual Awards Night

Our annual awards night to recognise and congratulate members and leaders on their successes during 2020-21 will be held on 24 July 2021 at the Tompkins Club, 632 Canning Highway, Alfred Cove from 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start.

Tickets are $55 per head with drinks available from the bar at your own cost.


This is our night-of-nights and we hope to see as many of our members there as possible, however, numbers are limited, so be sure to book your tickets by Sunday 18 July.

Clubs which achieved Presidents Distinguished, Select Distinguished or Distinguished Status in the 2020-21 Distinguished Club Program will be entitled to one free ticket per club.

Event Details  

Date: Saturday 24 July 2021
Time: 6 pm reception for 6.30 pm start
Venue: Tompkins Club, 632 Canning Highway, Alfred Cove

Cost: $55
RSVP: Reserve your ticket here by Sunday 18 July..

ContactCherie Wallace

Cherie Wallace DTM
Event Organise

Registration Open for Toastmasters International 2021 Virtual Convention

Bringing the Toastmasters International Convention to your home is one of the benefits that COVID has brought us. Now, I have an opportunity to enjoy educational sessions from world leaders in public speaking without having to budget a fortune to attend the convention.

Registrations are open for Toastmasters International Virtual Convention 2021. Join world leaders in public speaking and communication to make an investment in yourself.

The 2021 World Champion Will Emerge

Each year, thousands of Toastmasters from over 100 countries battle for the title of World Champion of Public Speaking. This months-long competition culminates at the Toastmasters International 2021 Virtual Convention as the 28 semi-finalists compete for the title that transforms lives.

Register now for the Toastmasters International 2021 Virtual Convention, held Monday, 23rd August through Saturday, 28th August, and make a world of difference by investing in yourself.

Check out the six-day full agenda and the Education sessions.

Or register your seat from here.

Mina Cho
Public Relations Manager
District 17

How to Easily and Effectively Start a Mentoring Program in Your Club

Is your club struggling with declining membership, losing both members AND guests?

Are new members struggling to fit in your club and understand the Toastmasters Educational Program?

Have members asked for mentoring, but ended up not getting it, because there’s only a couple of experienced members doing and answering everything?

Do you lack time and energy to even think about a mentoring program?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the questions above, then come join us for a 25-minute panel discussion with Ross Wilkinson, Ronnie Giandzi, and District Director Tim Blackburn, to learn:

  • How the best Toastmasters clubs are using Mentoring to drive membership growth and retain current members.
  • How to save more time and effort when running your mentoring program.
  • The biggest mistakes people always make when starting a mentoring program and what to do about it.
  • Why mentoring programs don’t last long and how to make them run forever.

As a bonus, see and experience how our club DTM Pathways conducts mentoring during the meeting after the panel discussion!  Learn how the club known as the ‘Masters of Mentoring’ puts their money where their mouth is!

Running a Mentoring Program in your club is not as hard as you think, but the benefits are exponential!  Learn from the ‘Masters of Mentoring’ and enjoy a club where more guests become members, existing members stay, and everyone benefits and grows from their Toastmasters journey!


Event Details:

Date: Thursday 15th July 2021
Time: 6.30 – 7.00 pm
Venue: 2nd Floor Balmoral Hotel, 901 Albany Highway East Victoria Park, WA 6100  Australia

Cost: Free!
RSVP: Wed 14th July 2021 to Rey Lacson


Notes: All guests are welcome to stay for the rest of the meeting following the panel discussion.  Please arrive at 6 PM and optionally order dinner from the Balmoral for free delivery to the meeting room during the break.


Rey Lacson

Rey Lacson
Vice President Membership
DTM Pathways Toastmasters


Club News

How to be a Distinguished Club!

Northern Gourmet Toastmasters Club has experienced the ups and downs of the widespread social drama over the past year! However, despite the issues of loss of members, having to go online, and personal challenges, we’ve managed to build up again thanks to the dedicated work of members. Here’s how it’s done!

The Club changed nights and moved location. At our previous we weren’t seeing an increase in numbers. So the decision was made, based on a Moments of Truth exercise, to both move meeting days and get a new venue more centrally located for the population.

That’s been a good decision. We’re still a hybrid Club and meet on the 2nd Tuesday of the month on Zoom and the 4th Tuesday of the month at Wanneroo Tavern. We’ve had more guests since moving to the Tuesday evenings and seen an increase in membership.

And there’s more! Thanks to Jeremy Del Pino, VP Education, who organised Speechcraft, (with another one coming up); and a workshop – we were invited to run a workshop for the City of Wanneroo artists, which saw a wonderfully engaged audience.

Thanks to Club Coach Kevin Sansome who’s been instrumental in boosting our numbers to get us over the line to become a Distinguished Club!

I’m very much looking forward to another interesting and fun-filled year with more Pathways being completed by all members!

Division Director Northern Angela Burchardt
Angela Burchardt
Vice President Public Relations
Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
Northern Division Director 2021-2022

Top 5 Reasons Why I Joined Zoom-Masters Club

There are thousands of Toastmasters clubs around the world, but there is probably only one club that suits you best. For me, I chose the Zoom-Masters club. Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. Great social network.

Zoom-Masters’ online meetings allow me to meet like-minded people around the world that I might not otherwise reach out to. I love meeting them, hearing their stories and learning about—well, everything.

2. Great place for developing online presentation skills.

Zoom-Masters’ regular Zoom meetings provide a great opportunity for me to learn how to deliver effective speeches via and online platform I could not have expected to use only a year ago.

3. Easy to access and no more commute stress.

The Zoom meetings are a huge time saver for me. I can join the meeting from the comfort of my home and no need to worry about being stuck in traffic.

4. Suitable meeting time.

Most Toastmasters clubs’ meeting times are either in the evening or the weekend. As a full-time working parent, the precious “me time” is when my little one is asleep. Zoom-Maters’ meetings are based on Perth time, which is two hours behind my local time (Brisbane time). That allows me to get everything done before attending the meetings.

5. Great learning environment.

Just like any other Toastmaster clubs, Zoom-Masters’ supportive and positive online environment effectively empowers members to develop communication and leadership skills.


Looking back to the first time I attended the club meeting as a guest, I’m developing my leadership skills as a club officer, and I have no regret about joining the Zoom-Masters club.

If you like to develop your online presentation skills and meet other like-minded people from around the world, why not join us and book your next meeting here 


Lyn Beaumont

Vice President Public Relations
Zoom-Masters Toastmasters

Wait, What? Speak Off the Cuff?!

The ability to give an impromptu speech or an unprepared/unrehearsed talk at a moment’s notice is a skill that requires considerable practice to achieve.

Giving Table Topics is good practice, but how frequently do we get that chance? Once a month for 2 minutes?

Hardly enough to give you the necessary skill to confidently present a coherent talk or argument without preparation.

So what’s the answer? More Table Topics?

That will help but coming to a club that specializes in impromptu speaking will give you the skills you need.


Off-the-Cuff Toastmasters Club is the one club that can assist.


We meet on the first Thursday evening of each month in a central location, 20 minutes from the City Centre and about 25 minutes from Canning Vale and neighbouring suburbs. It is 2 minutes from the corner of Great Eastern Highway and Roe Highway.


Come join us in improving speaking off the cuff, while enjoying plenty of laughs. No preparation required. Please contact John Palmer DTM or any friendly fellow Off the Cuffers below to enquire about your visit.


[Meeting Details]

Date: First Thursday of the month
Time: 6.30pm
RSVP:  John Palmer DTM or 0429 001 337


John Palmer

John Palmer

Club Mentor, Off-the-Cuff Toastmasters

And his fellow Off-the-Cuffers: Henry Yau DTM, Kutty VK DTM, Pasan Ganegama, Dennis Chong, Tom Bielski DTM, Mina Cho DTM, Frank Crisafio, Katrina Pereira, and Vanice Tay


Member Stories

Introducing Henry Yau

Henry Yau Interview

The 2020/2021 District 17 Director, Henry Yau, DTM, has been a friend of mine since 2006.  Over the years, Henry has been a massive support for me and has been a fabulous friend. He is also the reason that I joined Toastmasters!

I recently interviewed Henry to get some insight about his experience with Toastmasters.


How long have you been a member of Toastmasters and what prompted you to join?

I have been a member for just over 11 years and still thoroughly enjoy it.  My old boss suggested I join to improve my presentation skills.  Still today I am learning more about myself and am also helping others to grow.


You are the outgoing District Director. Tell me about your time in that role and also what the highlight was?

I loved the challenges and the Teamwork. I have learnt so much. To be elected to this position and then have the support of all officers and members is truly an honour.  I love the fact I am learning with a group of fantastic fellow District Directors in our region. Friends for life.

The highlight of my year was developing initiatives that had not been tried in previous years. For example, presenting incoming District Officers a gift bag at the start of their year. Reintroducing the “Black Swan” newsletter. Having a recognition event to recognise our long standing Toastmasters and paying a special tribute to members who have passed away.


What was your main challenge?

The uncertainties of the pandemic. We needed to learn to adjust very quickly, and plans  changed as we went along.  Clubs that are losing members and clubs that are urgently in need of club coaches were our main priorities. The other important aspect from day one was the health and safety of all our members, something we monitored regularly.


What do you think the next year will hold for you and your Toastmasters journey? 

As the immediate past District Director, I will support the incoming team and be there to listen and offer advice if required. I will also continue to support the clubs that I am a member of and continue working towards my second DTM award.


Tell me about the things you like to do outside of Toastmasters?

The only thing I love to do to relax is to watch sports or a nice movie. This is my “me” time.

Note from the author:  Henry also enjoys drinking Coke, BBQ’s in the park with friends … actually anything to do with food, Karaoke and bowling.  He owns his own bowling ball that I have watched him polish endlessly on many occasions!


Stay tuned for more in the next edition.


Katrina Whittred

Leaders Focus Author/Coordinator
Black Swan Newsletter

Author's Bio

Since joining the City of Perth Toastmasters in 2014, I have been actively involved with Toastmasters.  Each month I will be interviewing a leader in District 17 for the Black Swan.  Watch this space, we have quite the line-up!

Travelling Toastmaster

Travelling Toastmaster

I have always loved travelling. Visiting new places and connecting with people from other countries has always been an adventure for me. Every year, I travelled to a different place for business, conferences, or pleasure.

In 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, I was stuck. For the first time in years, my passport was not stamped!

We were in lockdown and my Level 3 Strategic Relationship path required that I “Make Connections through networking”. I didn’t know how to fulfil the project until an idea was birthed after Toastmasters International advised clubs to meet virtually. I decided that I would attend virtual networking events. Toastmasters’ meetings sounded like a great place to start. I visited clubs in the United States of America, Canada, Europe, Africa then landed in Australia at Sunday Sundowners.

It was love at first sight. I liked the club culture, the structure of the meeting and immediately connected with the members. Before long, I invited two fellow Zimbabweans and we decided that this was one great club to join. Through this club, my toastmasters experience has been phenomenal. I was encouraged to participate in the humorous speech contest; something I would not have ordinarily done. I enjoyed the experienced and stretched my humorous muscles. I have become a better leader as a result.

Thanks to Toastmasters, my love for travelling s continued to thrive during a pandemic. Toastmasters transforms lives and it has transformed mine.


Viola Dondo, DTM
Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters


Education Awards: Recognising our Educational Award Recipients

District 17 wants to acknowledge those people who have received Level Completion awards in Pathways, along with those who have completed the Pathways Mentor program and for June only, Traditional Awards.


Congratulations to all.


We would love anyone who has a story about what benefits they've received from their Pathways journey to submit it to the Black Swan for future editions.



Program Quality Director Julie Dall

Julie Dall, DTM
Program Quality Director


Submitting Articles to Black Swan

Want to submit an article next month? If you have any news, stories and tips that would like to share with your fellow Toastmasters within District 17, write to us by the end of the month! Complete the Black Swan Submission Form and email to

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

Mina Cho, DTM
Black Swan Editor