Black Swan Newsletter June 2021




The official newsletter of Toastmasters International District 17.



District News
District 17 Recognition Night
District 17 Masterclass
Talk Up Toastmasters Membership Program
Club Officer Training
Club News
Applecross Toastmasters – Down but certainly not out!
Come And See What The Excitement Is All About With HYBRID Meetings
St Georges Toastmasters Club has turned 35!!!
Kwinana Toastmasters Club celebrated its meeting number 150!!!
Brickbats to bullies
Submitting Articles to Black Swan


District News





District 17 Recognition Night

District 17 Evening of Recognition was held on the 29th of May to celebrate award winners, acknowledge members’ achievements, and commemorate past members.

55 members took part in the celebration on the night and enjoyed the fellowship as we wrapped up the 2020-2021 Toastmasters Year. The host of the night, District Director Henry Yau, DTM, started the event by presenting trophies to the District contest champions and then recognising the recipients of the Distinguished Toastmaster Award for 2020-2021.

We then recognised milestones for members who have been supporting Toastmasters for over 20 years. 42 members’ names were called out and applauded for their commitment over many decades.
Among many long-time Toastmasters, Murray Jorgesnsen DTM, a member of Northern Gourmet and Young Guns Toastmasters, received special acknowledgement as the longest serving Toastmaster in the District, with 41 years of service.
Murray received a standing ovation following his short speech.

In Memoriam
This year, the District farewelled a number of dedicated members. The evening devoted time to commemorate past members which made the night particularly special.
Ross Wilkinson acknowledged the contribution that Rob Turner had made to Victoria Quay.
Emmie Maunder spoke fondly of Peter Joseph who was a member at Banksia Speakers.
Souzy Theophilopoulos remembered Marlene Ward from their Toastmasters time in South Africa and then Northern Gourmet.
Ross Wilkinson also remembered Peter Squire from Applecross Toastmasters Club.
We remembered all our passed members fondly.


Toastmaster of the Year
One of the highlights of the event was the announcement of the nominees for the Toastmaster of the Year Award.
The Toastmaster of the Year award is given to an outstanding member who best exemplifies Toastmasters International values in supporting the District mission, as nominated by members.
District Director Henry Yau announced eight nominees and the positive impact they made to their club and the district. The Toastmaster of the Year award went to Nathan Ellis, President of Touch of Gold Toastmasters, for his leadership and tenaciously positive spirit that has re-energized the Toastmasters community in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.
The night finished with good food, drink, chatting with good company, and good music.

District Contest Champions

International Speech Contest
Winner: Tom Bielski
2nd: Eric Davies
3rd: Vanessa Joe

Humorous Speech Contest
Winner: Souzy Theophilopoulos
2nd: Tim Leen
3rd: Sue Fielding

Evaluation Speech Contest
Winner: Morrie Goodz
2nd: Maree Pickens
3rd: Caleb Tan

Table Topics Speech Contest
Winner: Morrie Goodz
2nd: Rashmi Watel
3rd: Janette Edwards

DTM Awards this year

Member Joined Club No of DTMs
Noor Talpur September 2014 CIL (S31) 1
Emma Kake August 2011 CIL (S31) 1
Liam Palmer December 2018 Piara Waters (S32) 1
Glenis Nicholas November 1995 Victoria Quay (W51) 3
Alan Smith November 1995 Victoria Quay (W51) 3
Judith Allen March 1995 Mundaring (E14) 3
Leonor Ragan April 2004 Leading Lights (W53) 6
David Nicholas November 1995 Victoria Quay (W51) 12


Long-Serving Members Honour Roll

Member Name Years in Toastmasters Current Clubs
Richard Price 20 St Georges
Martin Pearce 20 Swan
Mark Richards 20 Canning Vale
Michael Malone 20 Durack
Mee Chan Wong 21 Northern Gourmet
Nigel Wilson 21 Northern Lights
Kevan Waters 21 Mandjar Speakers
Eric Davies 21 Aspire
Wai Ling Morton 21 Murdoch Southsiders
Jennifer Van Den Hoek 21 Northbridge
Paul Foley 21 Bunbury; Donnybrook Gourmet
Sophy Gotsis 22 Fremantle Gateway
Charles Fisher 22 Como Communicators; Highgate; Inspiring Speakers; Northern Gourmet; West End
Gil Alexander 22 Durack; Terrace
Phillippa Henderson 22 St George’s
Colin Simons 23 Victoria Quay
Souzy Theophilopoulos 23 Butler; Northern Gourmet; Northern Lights; Talkabout
Elizabeth Sheridan 23 Mandjar Speakers
Steve Barry 23 Fremantle Gateway
Peter McDonnell 24 Talkabout
Ted Williamson 24 Northbridge
Robert Price 25 Donnybrook Gourmet
Judith Allen 26 Heritage Town; Mundaring; Swan
David Nicholas 26 Victoria Quay
Glenis Nicholas 26 Victoria Quay
Alan Smith 26 Victoria Quay
Karen Tregenza 27 Jetty; Stirling; Talkabout
Sue Fallon 27 Central Communicators; CPA; Currambine; Northern Lights; Talkabout; Terrace; TLI Training Group
Barry Tregenza 27 CPA; Jetty; Stirling; Talkabout
Alan Mann 28 Sunday Sundowners
Janice Schubert 28 Mandjar Speakers
Vijayakumar Vijayaratnam 28 Murdoch Southsiders
Desai S.S. 29 Stanley College
Gladys Lavell 30 Cockburn; Mundaring; Swan
John Bethell 30 Northbridge
Madeleine Sullivan 31 Sandgroper
Vincent Galasso 33 Sandgroper
Leith Cohoe 35 City of Perth
Ann Rogers 35 Gourmet Guns n Roses; Highgate; Perth Justalk; Subiaco Early Birds
Robert Cockburn 37 CIL; Leading Lights
MURRAY JORGENSEN 41 Northern Gourmet; Young Guns



Mina Cho DTM
Public Relations Manager 2021-2020
District 17 Toastmasters International

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District 17 Masterclass

Toastmasters is a best-kept secret. This year, District 17 decided to keep the secret no longer. With the help of some Distinguished Toastmasters, we spread the word about the benefits of Toastmasters membership.

Tom Bielski organised two free Public Speaking Masterclasses, on the 29th of May at the Curtin University Medical School and on the 3rd of June at the City of Perth Library.

At these Masterclasses, Distinguished Toastmasters, Vijay Vijayaratnam, Peter Law, Maree Pickens and Phillippa Henderson delivered workshops on Developing a Speech, Connecting with Your Audience, Storytelling, and Speaking to Persuade and Influence.

MC Tom opening the Masterclass

Vijay talking about how to construct a speech.

Peter teaching Storytelling

Maree talking about how to speak with influence

Phillippa talks about connecting with the audience

Henry answers What is Toastmasters?

Each Masterclass saw more than 30 potential new members attend and learn the skills of effective pubic speaking, and learning about Toastmasters from Mina Cho and District Director Henry Yau. Several members and officers attended as well, giving them the opportunity to talk to prospective members about their club.

If you would like to take advantage of future opportunities to learn from experienced Toastmasters and promote your club, keep reading this newsletter for future events.

Mina Cho, DTM
Public Relations Manager 2021-2020
District 17 Toastmasters International

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Talk Up Toastmasters Membership Program

The ‘Talk Up Toastmasters’ Membership Program runs from the 1st February to 31st March every year, and it is my pleasure to announce the clubs in District 17 receiving this award this year.
Talk Up Toastmasters is designed to encourage your members to invite guests to meetings where prospective members can learn about Toastmasters’ many benefits.
Clubs are awarded for adding five new, dual or reinstated members with a join date during the program. Congratulations to the following clubs who have met these requirements.

  • Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club
  • Canning Vale Toastmasters Club
  • Aspire Toastmasters Club

The awarded clubs will receive a special Talk up Toastmasters ribbon to display on their club’s banner. You have also earned a special discount code for 10% off your next club order.
Please check the website for conditions.

Vijayakumar Vijayaratnam DTM
District 17 Club Growth Director  2020-2021
Toastmasters International
Where Leaders Are Made
M: +61 415 995 935 |
W: |

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Club Officer Training

Dear Incoming Club Officers,

Club officer training for the 2021-22 Toastmasters year kicks off on 22nd June with a zoom session from 6pm to 9pm.

This year, the breakout rooms for the individual roles will be run as panel discussions. Through this we aim to leverage the experience of our members while providing information and support to new office holders.

If you would like to register for this online training session, please register here.

Other proposed dates for club officer training are:

  • July 24th – Midland (afternoon)
  • July 29th – City (evening)
  • August 8th – Bob Daniels (morning)
  • August 14th – Tech Park
  • August 22nd – Online
  • August 29th – South West & Kalgoorlie

Details and registration links for these will come out at the beginning of July.

Event Details

Date: Tuesday, 22nd June
Time: 6.00 – 9.00 pm
Meeting Registration Link (Zoom)
Registration: Required

Julie Dall
Program Quality Director Elect 2021-2020
District 17, Toastmasters International

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Applecross Toastmasters – Down but certainly not out!

Many clubs are experiencing low attendance at meetings. Applecross Toastmasters Club took advantage of having 5 members present to go through an intense session with plenty opportunities to take to the stage and speak. Bernie, our Toastmaster for the evening, gives his reflections on our evening.

A Journey of Learning

The cold, chilly, winter night could not dampen our spirits for our fortnightly Applecross Toastmasters Club meeting. On the 2nd of June 2021, I had the honour of wearing the Toastmaster hat for the very first time.

I chose the theme Power as I intentionally wanted to keep the discussion broad and open. After the formal welcome, Sheri McCarthy our club president conducted table topics and got us all thinking on our feet. We had the pleasure of hosting a guest on the night, with Jamie even feeling game enough to explain to us how he would power his off-the-grid camp site with alternative power sources!

Tim Leen delivered the first speech of the night, titled Table Topics Techniques as part of the Leadership Development pathway. His speech was delivered with impetus and clarity, sharing with us some of his go-to techniques on how to engage an audience. Tim capped the speech off with a heartfelt story, highlighting the power of personalising your speech.

Our second speaker of the night was the master, Graham MacDonald, who enthused the audience with his speech titled Ain’t It Necessarily So, challenging the notion that Matthew Flinders circumnavigated Australia successfully in 1801-03. Graham’s delivery spoke volumes of his experience – employing the map effectively as a prop to highlight why Flinders feat was near impossible at the time.

Although I found the night to be a challenge for me being the Toastmaster of the night, I felt well supported by my club members. I received great feedback and tips on what to work on. I am enjoying this journey of learning, staying outside of my comfort zone and with other more seasoned members guiding me on this path, I am grateful I am standing on the shoulders of giants.

Till we meet again in a fortnight!

Bernie Wong


Applecross Toastmasters is having an open night to encourage new members to join.
If you would like to come along and help out, please contact one of the officers below.

Open House

Date: Wednesday 30th June 2020
Time: 18.30- 20.15
Venue: The Anglican Church of the HOLY CROSS
56 McLean Street, Melville

RSVP: Friday 25th June 2020 to Sheri

Tim Leen
VP Public Relations
Applecross Toastmasters Club


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Come And See What The Excitement Is All About With HYBRID Meetings

Sunday Sundowners holds the best HYBRID meetings I have ever seen.

I have been a Toastmaster for 17 years, and during Covid, I attended over 50 clubs all over the world.
If you have never seen how well the meetings are run, then come and visit our club, Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club.
We hold weekly online meetings and fortnightly hybrid meetings, with members living locally meeting in South Perth, while members from Adelaide, Melbourne, Japan, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, California, New York and Florida, joining via Zoom.
On top of fours speeches and evaluations, table topics and a table topics evaluation, Sunday Sundowners meetings include Inspiration, Soapbox, Tall Tale, Tonic, and a Master Evaluator. All of our roles run on time (sometimes) and (always) very smoothly! Come to a Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club meeting and see how successful our meetings are. Especially the HYBRID MEETINGS!!

We even vote for the Best Speaker, the Best Evaluator, the Best Table Topics Respondent, and the overall Toastmaster of the Meeting.

Best Speaker: Joe Wee

Best Evaluator: Sue Fielding

Best Table Topics Respondent: David Drebsky

Toastmaster of the Meeting: Sheridan McCarthy

We meet every Sunday from 4.00 pm, Hybrid meetings every fortnight. Contact us for meeting links or hybrid dates.



Linda Mann
VP Public Relations
Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club

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St Georges Toastmasters Club has turned 35!!!

St Georges Toastmasters recently turned 35 and continues to go from strength to strength. While none of the charter members is still with the club, a few long-serving members have recently returned to the club after a few years in the wilderness.

Phillippa Henderson, Damian Day and Richard Price were club members in the early 2000’s and have rejoined, each bringing their memories of the good-old-days; while their skills might be a bit rusty, they have all slipped back into the swing-of-things.

While no big birthday celebrations are planned for this milestone, we will be saving up for our 40th; all the members will be celebrating the milestone at the club’s June meetings.

Gavin Hyslop
St Georges Toastmasters

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Kwinana Toastmasters Club celebrated its meeting number 150!!!

Kwinana Toastmasters Club celebrated its meeting number 150 last Tuesday 1st of June 2021.

The Club was founded in early 2014 and achieved its chartered status by mid-June 2015. Since then it has been meeting continuously at the John Wellard Community Centre, and online during the COVID lockdown.

Our VP Education organised a special theme for the night which involved sharing a plate and delivering a 2-minute speech about it, then eating it – YUMMY!.

We enjoyed a variety of delicious hot and cold food and all the amazing stories behind every dish. We also enjoyed a very enthusiastic and positive environment surrounded by friendly team members, guests and our leaving Toastmaster, Area Director Peter Darangwa. The theme of the night was so inspiring that everyone agreed not to wait another 150 meetings to have another ‘bring a plate celebration’. Kwinana Toastmaster Club is now committed to holding a ‘bring a plate theme’ every quarter!!!


Nataly Fernandez
Kwinana Toastmasters

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Brickbats to bullies

David Mazzotti, VPPR of Murdoch Southsiders, shared a member’s story with a local paper, and it was published as below.

Bullies will one day become “just another brick in the wall” says a former target of schoolyard jerks who’s left them behind to become a rising star.

Melville resident Vanessa Joe (21) recently out-talked some of the state’s best speakers to win the Toastmasters Divisional final in the Southern Division, and earn a place in the state finals this weekend. If she wins, the next round will pit her against international competitors.

A member of Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club in Bull Creek, WA’s biggest Toastmasters club, Ms Joe has only been taking the floor for the last two years but has already won three levels of Toastmasters competitions.

Her speeches centre around bullying, body image, racism and women’s rights.
“It isn’t about winning the title, it’s about two things: number one – To raise awareness on issues that will not only be affecting my generation but future generation as well, and also for WA to finally get some level of international recognition for its talents and capabilities.” Ms Joe said.

Her father Joe, who coaches her, said the competition has only been won three times by an Aussie since the first was held in 1938 – all were eastern staters.

Due to Covid the competition will be held on Zoom.

Murdoch Southsiders meet every Tuesday at the Bull Creek Community Centre (behind the library) at 6.45 pm.

As for the bullies, Ms Joe told the Herald: “I know it sounds extraordinarily chiche, however, it really does get better. The people that are causing you this pain are not going to be in your life forever.”

(as published in the local news paper)

David Mazzotti
Vice President Public Relations
Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club

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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

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