Black Swan Newsletter October 2021

District News

We can learn so many transferable skills in Toastmasters

"I did not know that I could learn so many transferable skills from being in Toastmasters."

This was the feedback from many of the people who attended the workshop organised by Aspiring Leaders club. Attendees heard Matt Kinsey talk about skills learnt in Toastmasters and how so many of those skills are transferable to the work environment.

For those of you who don’t recognize the name, Matt Kinsey is our next Toastmasters ‘boss’, having just been elected as the next International President of Toastmasters International.

In addition to Matt, the online workshop included several local District leaders, at different stages of their own leadership journeys, who passed on tips from their experience in a series of educational presentations and a panel discussion.

Aspiring Leaders is a Toastmasters club which aims to deliver regular leadership education and information sessions, with time set aside for networking with current and past District leaders. 

Interested in finding out more about the club, the education, and information sessions? Or about District leadership opportunities? Please contact Leonor Ragan ( or Ross Wilkinson (

Aspiring Leaders next workshop is being held in conjunction with the Northern Division team on Thursday 18 November. Further details will be available on the District 17 Members Facebook page and the Aspiring Leaders webpage.



Club Growth Director Gavin Hyslop

Gavin Hyslop, DTM
Club Growth Director 2021-22
District 17, Toastmasters International

Speak With Confidence - Kids Speech Competition

Recently I had the honour and intense pleasure of assisting with a Primary School speech competition at the City of South Perth. All primary schools in the city were asked to select a year 5 and a year 6 child to represent their school. Eight schools in the city, public, private, and catholic were represented. The variety and quality of speeches was astonishing. As this competition is virtually costless, I wonder why it is not a part of every city’s youth program.

The City of South Perth Youth Officer, Rene Polleta, asked for assistance from Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters club, and its sponsor Tom Bielski, in 2015 when the club was founded in South Perth.  Since then Tom and members from the club have been asked to assist with organising the Awards every year. Many district leaders have also assisted, together with members of nearby clubs.

This year Geoff Baker, MLA for South Perth attended the semi-finals and presented the finalists with their certificates, while at the Final the Mayor of South Perth, Greg Milner, presented the winners with their certificates and prizes.

This year's assistants included Henry Yau, Tom Bielski, Menuka Somapala, Carole Bruce, Sue Fielding, Mina Cho, John Palmer and Gavin Hyslop.

Toastmasters should grab the initiative, contact all city councils and their youth program coordinator, and sell the idea of a speech competition in each city. Toastmasters could supply the judges, timers, and any other assistance required. Who is up for the task of visiting and selling this idea to the cities within Perth? Look what we could achieve!


John Palmer
John Palmer
Past Gavel Club Coordinator
District 17, Toastmasters International
0429 001 337

World’s first Global Gavel Club Group Table Topics Contest

On Saturday 14th August The Global Gavel Club Group, Division H, held its first Table Topics contest.

Rossmoyne Gavel Club, a member of Division H, was represented by its President, Joshua Woon, and Sasank Parimi. Joshua, who came second in our club contest represented us as a competitor whilst Sasank was the timer for the entire event. Joshua was on screen for his 2 minute table topic as well as to receive his participation certificate. Our timer, Sasank, was on screen for the entire event so all participants could see his timing background. No one had nearly the screen time as Sasank. What a scary experience that must have been for a young man!

Rossmoyne Gavel Club President Joshua Woon with the club Counsellor John Palmer


The competition had 9 participants from 4 counties; Sri Lanka, India, UAE and Australia. Kevin Sansome, our Gavel Club Coordinator, was one of the anonymous judges. Now that the contest is over anonymity is no longer an issue. Well done Kevin for getting us into the contest and helping run the Global Gavel Club Group.


John Palmer
John Palmer
Rossmoyne Gavel Club Counsellor

HELP WANTED – Are YOU interested in helping the District?

Are you interested in helping the District, now or in the future? Do you have a Pathways project coming up that requires you to lead a small team on a project?

The District always needs people to help with various events and projects that it wants to undertake, and some of these opportunities might mean you can complete a Pathways project, or you can practice a new skill, or contribute your expertise to assist the district.

Are You interested in, have the skills, or would like to develop skills in any of the following areas?

  • Social Media
  • Websites
  • PR Campaign
  • Writing
  • Data Analysis
  • Event Planning & Management
  • Strategic Planning
  • General – anything else where you think you can contribute


Then please email Gavin Hyslop at and we can see how you might be able to help the District and how the District might be able to help you.

Club Growth Director Gavin Hyslop

Gavin Hyslop, DTM
Club Growth Director 2021-22
District 17, Toastmasters International


WANTED – People to help set up the District 17 Hall of Fame


Recognition of members achievements is important for both clubs and the District.

The District currently has annual awards that recognise the District Toastmaster of the Year, but it does not recognise members who contribute to the success of the District over an extended period of time.

The District Council at its recent meeting agreed to set up a Committee to examine how a District Hall of Fame might be set up to acknowledge the long-term contributions and achievements by members.

The District Trio is now looking for people to be part of the Committee, with the intention of the Committee will represent all parts of the District.

If you are interested in being part of the Committee, please submit an Expression of Interest to by 31 October 2021. Expression of Interest to list why you believe you can make a valuable contribution to the Committee.


Club Growth Director Gavin Hyslop

Gavin Hyslop, DTM
Club Growth Director 2021-22
District 17, Toastmasters International


Getting to know your Servants

Getting To Know ... District Parliamentarian, Pat King

Hi there, I’m Pat or as many at Toastmasters call me, Patricia. I have been a Toastmaster for almost 5 years.

I am your Parliamentarian for 2021-2022, a role I am settling into and enjoying immensely.

Contrary to popular belief, I do have a life outside Toastmasters. I live in a small farming community called Waroona in the South West. Most of my clubs are an hour’s drive away but when you love what you do distance doesn’t matter.

My husband Charlie and I live on a 5 acre property along with our border collie Sophy, and my faithful steed, Creek Lodge Peacemaster a.k.a. MP.
MP is now 20 years old and I have had him since he was a foal, competing extensively with him in Tassie and Victoria. When I moved from Tasmania I brought him over with me and competed with him in WA. He is now retired and lives a pretty good life.

I am also a mother of 2 grown children who work and live closer to Perth. One of the pleasures of my life is my grandson who I meet up with for coffee at any opportunity we can both manage.

When I’m not home on the farm, I love to read. I am also a member of our local Historical Society where I help type and record the lives and stories of long standing members of our community. When I’m not too busy I offer my time to drive our Community car and take some of our elderly residents to doctors and hospital appointments. From time to time I take road trips for lunches, long walks and morning tea with friends, to explore our rural towns.

As you can see I have plenty to keep myself occupied but thoroughly enjoy my Toastmasters life and the friends I have made along the way.


Pat King
District Parliamentarian 2021-22
District 17, Toastmasters International



Ask the Parliamentarian

Conflict - friend or foe?

Conflict exists in all aspects of our lives and can manifest in different ways. We don’t have to agree with each other all the time. It’s how we disagree that matters.

Individuals tend to lose control of their emotions and overreact, hurting the sentiments of others; when that happens, problems can arise. However, disagreeing can actually have a beneficial outcome if presented in a positive way. Further misunderstanding can often be avoided by choosing a good time to talk directly to the person you have the problem with, don’t blame or name call, talk it through and try to find a resolution, From the initial disagreement and sharing of words, new and exciting ideas are often produced. Our members and club can benefit from these ideas. As Toastmasters, we know that being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important skills in life. It is communication that allows our clubs to flourish.

Unacceptable Conflict

Generally, unacceptable behaviour can be defined as behaviour that creates, or has the potential to create, risk to the club dynamics or the health and safety of the members. It can include bullying, harassment, offensive language, belittling or threatening behaviour. These are all not acceptable.

How do we go about resolving an unacceptable conflict

The District is unable to interfere in the business of any club. Assistance is available to find the correct way to address the conflict by contacting your Parliamentarian, who will steer you in the correct direction for which Governing Documents cover these issue or any others that may arise.

Violation Reporting

If an ethics or conduct violation arises, it is to be handled initially at the closest practical level to the incident.  (This is the President or if the President is part of the issue then the Immediate Past President takes control, and then the next officer in line, VP Education, etc )

The person receiving the report shall conduct a confidential investigation and shall initiate appropriate action to resolve the matter.

Club Procedure to Discipline a Member

Disciplinary actions conducted by a club relating to an individual member are addressed in Article II Section 6 of the Club Constitution. Each club is responsible for handling its own matters following Toastmasters Policy and Protocol. District leaders have no club-level authority and shall not be involved in club-level disciplinary matters


Conflict when it presents itself as positive, can be turned around and used as a useful tool.
Use those opportunities to collect new ideas and enhance your meetings.
Dissension in clubs can affect members and destroy clubs so resolution is the first step whenever possible.

When the conflict results in Unacceptable behaviour, where possible, try to resolve it.
1.Think about whether it is worth fighting about.
2. Remember the other party doesn’t have to agree all the time.
3. Cool off first if you are too angry to talk calmly.
4. Respect the other persons point of view by listening and paying attention.
5. Try to find common ground.
6. Agree to disagree.

For more information and more in-depth explanations see the following articles:
Or contact your Parliamentarian for assistance on where to find documents.

Parliamentarian Q&A Tip for September

QUESTION: Which officer calls the meeting to order?

Answer: Contrary to common belief only the Presiding Officer can call the meeting to order.
The Call to Order is the first section of your meeting under Robert’s Rules of Order. This is a fancy way of stating the beginning of a meeting. It’s essentially the opening act of a President or senior member of the team (who is facilitating the session).
The Presiding Officer starts the meeting and also adjourns the meeting.


If you require any information or clarification on Parliamentary Procedure, please contact me on

Patricia King
Parliamentarian 2021- 2022
District 17

What’s new in the Speech Contest Rule Book

Zoom in on Thursday the 14th October to find out the changes in the Speech Contest Rule Book for 2021-22.

Ian Pickens will review the changes in the 2020-21 rule book and outline the ones for the 2021-22 speech contest season.

There will also be the chance to ask questions about the Speech Contests.


Register at:


Program Quality Director Julie Dall

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

Do you want learn how to help clubs grow and thrive?

Leadership and Club Growth Training Workshop
Formerly the Sponsors, Mentors and Coaches (SMAC) Workshop

Helping clubs, new or existing, to grow and thrive is an important Toastmasters skills to learn. It is also a strong leadership skills applicable outside of Toastmasters. Would you like to learn this skill?

The District is running a series of sessions on Sunday 31 October 2021 at Technology Park to help pass on these skills and show you the types of opportunities that exist for you to put these skills into practice. Some of the sessions are more focussed towards new clubs and other to existing clubs so you can choose which sessions you want to attend or you can come along for the whole workshop.


Event Details

Date:  Sunday, 31 October 2021
Time: 9.30am – 2.30 pm (individual sessions can be attended separately)
Venue: Technology Park Function Centre

Cost: FREE



Club Growth Director Gavin Hyslop
Gavin Hyslop
Club Growth Director 2021-22
Toastmasters International, District 17

Learn how to create speeches!

TLI Training Group would like to invite all members, but particularly new Toastmasters who are still learning how to put together their first speeches, to a TRIO OF SPEAKING Workshop.

Join us on Thursday 4 November 2021 at 6:20pm for a 6:30pm start and learn how to begin, organise and conclude your speech. This one hour workshop will be presented by very experienced Toastmasters Sue Fallon DTM, Ross Wilkinson DTM and Tim Blackburn DTM.

Delivered online via Zoom, you are also welcome to stay on after the workshop and join our club meeting which will follow. Your confirmation email will include the Zoom login details. Register at Eventbrite

TLI Training Group specialises in developing presenters and facilitators, if this is a skill you would like to develop we welcome you to join our club.

Event Details

Date: Thursday 4 November 2021
Time: 6:20pm for 6:30pm start, to 7:30pm
Venue: Online via Zoom
Cost: Free
RSVP: Register at Eventbrite


Cheri Wallace
TLI Training Group


Club News

Celebrating a Decade of Applecross Toastmasters

11th August 2021 - What a night it was, as Applecross Toastmasters celebrated its 10th anniversary as a club! We heard so many inspiring stories.

As a newer member at the club my takeaways were:

  • Applecross Toastmasters and its members overcame various struggles in its early days as a club. The founding members had a can-do, will-see-it-through attitude, trees were planted in those early years and they continue to provide shade for more and more members!
  • The club has evolved over the years - many have come and gone but the friendships that have been forged at Applecross Toastmasters through overcoming adversity together and supporting and learning from each other remain STRONG. Time flies when you are having fun!
  • Looking forward - The present members are all raring to go. The club will continue to provide a safe, supportive and conducive environment to nurture the next generation of leaders and speakers.

It was good to see both familiar and new faces! Special thanks to Sheri, Tim and Graham for their hard work behind the scenes in making the night possible.


Applecross Toastmasters meeting is held every 2nd Wednesday , 6.30pm at the Applecross RSL Hall.

October’s meeting dates: 6th and 20th October 2021. Visitors welcome.


Bernie Wong
VP Public Relations
Applecross Toastmasters Club

Off-the-Cuff Toastmasters is moving to Canning Vale

Off-the-Cuff Toastmasters club is a unique club allowing members the opportunity to develop skills speaking off-the-cuff. Each month, three members deliver 5-7 minute impromptu speeches. If you like table topics, you would love this. We also have two Mystery Sessions where facilitators present various impromptu speaking sessions.

In an effort to widen the membership base of this unique club, it was decided to alternate venues from Canning Vale to Midvale each monthly meeting. The November 4th meeting will be held at Jacaranda Gardens, 7 Clere Pass, Canning Vale.

The agenda contains only the names of the Toastmaster, and the two Mystery Session Facilitators. The rest of the roles are assigned during the meeting. The Toastmasters pulls out a name out of a hat (or a jar, or a biscuit tin) and then a topic from another hat. How is that for high voltage public speaking

Members Dennis Chong, Mina Cho and Tom Bielski

As you can see, after the meeting we have a few drinks and a bit of food, this month provided by Tom and Mina. The club is yet to charter so if you would like to get in at the start, then come along to one of our meetings. Check with Tom Bielski on 0404 843 895 or John Palmer on 0429 001 337 if you would like to come along or would simply like more information.


John Palmer

John Palmer
Sponsor, Off-the-Cuff Toastmasters Club

Importance of recognition and celebrating success

St Georges Toastmasters Club recently held their annual dinner, with an important part of the dinner being recognising achievements of the club and individual members. At the dinner, St Georges celebrated their 35th year as a club and  a member, Alison Wong, being a member for 10 consecutive years.

The club has two annual awards to recognise individual members' contributions and achievements during the year, the Toastmasters of the Year award and the Club Contributor of the Year award, which went to Gavin Hyslop and Juliana Kelly respectively.

Members Alison Wong, Juliana Kelly and Gavin Hyslop

In addition, past member Lynette Delane was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame, which recognises outstanding achievements and contributions of members to the club over an extended period of time.

The club’s annual dinner brings together present and past members as well as members' partners in an opportunity for everyone to recognise achievements and to have a good time celebrating club success.

Hopefully your club also recognises members achievements and celebrates the club’s successes.


Club Growth Director Gavin Hyslop
Gavin Hyslop
St George's Toastmasters Club
Toastmasters International, District 17

Byford Toastmasters Club charters into District 17’s growth journey

Communities around one of Australia’s fastest growing Local Government Areas will now have easier access to Toastmasters’ impact with the Byford club achieving chartered status on 28 June 2021. The club charter ceremony took place at the idyllic Byford Dome venue on 15 July with the Immediate Past District Director Henry Yau in attendance, and it was a celebration that every charter member will remember & relish.

The inaugural office bearers for the executive committee led by President Michael McGregor were sworn in by the Immediate Past Club Growth Director Vijayakumar Vijayaratnam. The beaming charter members inducted that night include a diverse mix of sponsors, returning members and brand new Toastmasters who are also geographically spread across the Perth metro, Darling Range, hills and southern regions!

President Michael appreciated the great efforts put in by the club sponsors that went into establishing the new club, while also calling for the club to build a unique identity for itself in the community going forward.

The club recently held its first Contests and its first Speech Marathon.

If you know of any residents in the southern metropolitan or regional areas who are looking for a friendly and homely club, steer them towards Byford. Meetings are held every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month at the warm & cosy Byford Dome, commencing at 6.30pm.

Visitors are welcome!



Meeting Details

Date: 1st & 3rd Thursday of the month
Time: 6.15 – 9.00 pm
Venue: Dome, Byford





Sindhu Sathyanarayanan
Vice President Public Relations

Laughter, Learning and Networking – The Toastmasters meeting that had it all!

“With teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved”.

Keeping this quote and objective in mind, on Tuesday, August the 24th, a special meeting was held at Canning Vale Toastmaster’s club. This meeting was the first time Murdoch Southsiders and Canning Vale Toastmasters Clubs held a joint meeting. The thought behind this combined meeting was that we had all been so isolated for the last year with no face-to-face Area, Division or District events, it would be appealing to have some inter-club interaction, and in this process, learn from each other and become better public speakers.

Of course, a joint meeting takes much planning and preparation to be successful. Both clubs meet on Tuesday evenings, which made one decision easy. The meeting would be held on a Tuesday evening, for sure. Compromises needed to be made and role players chosen from both clubs. This could not have happened without the organising team of Ling Morton, Christina Ng, Sarah Fogarty, Bandula Rodrigo, Chris Houston and Frank Crisafio.

As the planning began the previous Toastmasters year, both outgoing and incoming Presidents were involved. They decided to hold the meeting at the Canning Vale venue and the agenda would have speakers from each club to give the meeting an edge and provide members exposure to different styles of speaking and presenting. Sarah and Bandula, the two Vice Presidents Education, worked on deciding role speakers for the night. They all did an amazing job in nutting out the compromises, setting a balanced agenda for the night and inspiring members of both clubs to attend.

A special Toastmasters event is not special without food, glorious food. Members from each club were asked to bring a plate to share for supper after the meeting. The assortment of gastronomic delights was outstanding and it lived up to all expectations of the food buffs in each club. Food brings people together, and members and guests who attended the meeting walked out of the venue content from eating all of the wonderful food and the amazing chats that came from it.

The room was packed, and excitement sizzled the air. The meeting opened at 7 pm with a welcome to all by our Toastmaster for the night, Canning Vale President, Frank Crisafio. The Inspiration was given by Mark Richards, who had been an Area Governor in the 2006-2007 Toastmasters Year. Southsiders Toastmasters Club as it was known then was in his area and Canning Vale hadn’t been conceived yet. Mark reminisced about the club and particularly about the Area Final that was held in a “cupboard” because the venue had been double booked.

Ling Morton facilitated the Table Topics with a twist, which was a hilarious, “Who done it?”. Poor old Richard Rich had been murdered with the kitchen knife after dinner with eight of his closest friends. The speakers had to explain themselves and plead their innocence after being grilled by Inspector Morton.

Speeches were given by a member from each club and the evaluator was from the other club. It certainly was interesting getting an evaluation from someone you hadn’t met until the night. The General Evaluator for the night was Murdoch Southsiders member and Southern Division Director, Michael Piotrowski. He was extremely congratulatory to all participants and congratulated the two clubs for a magnificent meeting.

After every member who attended, including two guests, were asked to speak, the supper was brought out and much merriment, mingling and munching followed. The consensus of the night – Let’s do it again at Murdoch Southsiders venue!


Eleen Bhatia
Vice President Public Relations
Canning Vale Toastmasters Club

The New and Reformed Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club

It’s been a busy couple of months at Speak Easy Ellenbrook.  The new committee for 2021-22 was voted in, and a surge of enthusiasm lifted the club.  A monthly executive zoom meeting gives direction and accountability.  Led by President Elaine it encourages goal setting and organisation. Secretary Gaye brings security and knowledge, takes minutes and promptly posts them online.

Our first order of business was to identify ourselves with a new name, and after a secret ballot and voting, Ellenbrook Toastmasters is now called Speak Easy.  

VP Public Relations Raph has recreated our FB page and is regularly recording speeches to upload onto our site. It raises our profile, increases our visibility, and adds value to our members.

VP Membership Heather is also our social event coordinator.  We meet socially every few months which is fun, raises our profile and supports local businesses.

The Treasure’s role is now shared by Chris and Katrina. Past experience of the size of the VP Education role it was decided to support VP Education Toni when needed. While still VP Public Relations, she set up a weekly radio show with VCA88.5fm specifically for the Toastmasters. Members read Community events and news to a global audience.  Past VP Education Elana has now taken over as host of “Elana and the Toastmasters”.  Tune in or live stream every Tuesday 2-3pm. 

SAA John starts our meetings with flair. A joke, a fanfare, a quiz question gets us involved and focused from the first minute.  Speak Easy has also included a monthly guest speaker.

Our first speech contest was successful.  Thank you guest judges Angela, Noor and Kevin and congratulations to winners Gaye (Table Topics) and Heather (Humorous speech) who will proceed to the next level.

Ellenbrook Speak Easy District 17 meets weekly at the Ellenbrook Library, visitors welcome.  Doors open 6.30pm for a 7.00pm start.



Event Details: Speak Easy Ellenbrook Toastmasters Club Meeting

Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 6.45 – 9 pm
Venue: Second floor of the Ellenbrook Library, 90 Main Street, Ellenbrook, WA, 6069

Cost: Visit us for free. Membership cost to be discussed in-person.





Toni Heaton
Vice President Education

Melville Toastmasters Award Night and Special Guest

On the 26th August, Melville Toastmasters Club had a special agenda. It was the first award night for our club. The award categories were for the most prepared speeches and The Most Meeting Roles Filled. We had 3 winners for each category and the members were so excited to get their certificates. The hard work doing the speeches and roles paid off!

At this meetings, the charter members' badges were finally ready. They were handed out by our special guest, Area W53 Director Nataly Fernandez, , who visited our meeting that afternoon.

Lastly, VP Education Rozmery's 30th birthday was celebrated with a little candle and a cupcake! Woo Hoo!

What a memorable meeting #16 for Melville Toastmasters Club!


Member Stories

Leaders Focus: Introducing Peggy Leung

In August I interviewed Toastmasters newly appointed Central Division Director for District 17, Peggy Leung.  Peggy has also joined the Conference Committee as a chairperson for the 2021-22 conference.   Peggy is an accomplished speaker and she will tell you that Toastmasters is an opportunity, an opportunity that is right in front of you.  Take it, enjoy and share with others.

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

I have been with Toastmasters for seven years.

My background is in accounting, and I want to communicate and translate financial data into story telling effectively.  Back then I realised that I seem to have problems getting the message across which I could tell from the faces of my colleagues, so I decided to find a way to improve my communication skills.  I used to get so nervous when I walked into a meeting room and my face would turn red instantly if I needed to speak in front of people at a meeting. That is the reason that prompted me to join Toastmasters.

What are the current roles that you hold with Toastmasters and why did you choose to take these roles on?

Interesting, love the question.  My current roles are Central Division Director for District 17 and Conference Chair for 2021-22.

Let’s go with the Central Division Director. I wanted to take on the challenge and find out what I can do to support the district, the clubs, and the members.  I also like to help to develop more leaders for Toastmasters, such as giving support and guidance to my current area directors who have a total of 14 clubs to look after, and they will also give support and guidance to the committee members in each club.  And this is a rewarding experience.

And for conference chair it will be another exciting challenge for me to work on this year.  I am familiar with the operation of a Toastmasters meeting so therefore would like to challenge myself to run a meeting on a bigger scale and provide more opportunities to nurture and develop more leaders for the organisation. I want members from different clubs to have the opportunity to participate in this once a year, unique project to better further their potential.

Since joining Toastmasters what has been a highlight?

Too many, Katrina! Too many highlights over the years.  From my first speech where my brain went blank halfway through the speech to running a presentation in front of sixty people in person and eighty people online.

I will pick my top two to share with you today.

Firstly, for personal growth. From a club member who wants to communicate financial data into story telling effectively to become a central division director who wants to give back and provide opportunities to develop and nurture more leaders for the organisation and the community. This is what keeps me going every day, my commitment to Toastmasters. I want others to see how much I have grown and benefited from this organisation, and I want to tell them this opportunity is right in front of you.  Take it, enjoy and share with others.

Now for professional growth, I had down time with my career last year, so I have engaged in many interviews with companies and recruiters to try and secure a job.  Without my Toastmasters public speaking experience, I would dare to say that I would not be able to enjoy the interview experience due to the nervous breakdown when speaking in front of meetings or people.  Because I have years of practising speaking in front of different people, I now have a job that I like, and I am able transfer my communication skill and leadership skills and experience that I learnt from Toastmasters into the job that I really like.


What was your main challenge?

In the beginning it would be the preparation of the speech. I remember the first speech took me six hours to prepare from idea, content, structure, body language, and how to present it to the audience etc. As time goes by, I have overcome the previous challenges and other challenges have come.  At the moment my biggest challenge is time.  I need to master myself on time management so I can make the most of my time to enjoy the journey at Toastmasters.

What benefits does Toastmasters have for you?

Well, there is too many!  I would like to share one of my favourite quotes with you today. I have heard this quote somewhere, but I cannot confirm who the original author is. I would like to dedicate the credit to this person.

And today I want to share that joining Toastmasters made me realise that if you can speak you can influence, and if you can influence you can change lives.

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

Next year I will continue my Toastmasters journey to support other members in their development and continue my self-discovery journey in this space.

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

Besides Toastmasters I love my day job, so I devote most of my time to my job.  on top of that I love to spend time with my family and friends. I love exercise. I like cycling, yoga, walking and the latest addition which is badminton. In my down time I like to read and listen to TED talks.


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!

Beyond my Dreams

This week I achieved a major goal, and more - I ran a two-day Leadership course.

I joined Toastmasters in February 2017 as I wanted to move from IT Training into Professional Development training and to do that I needed to be able to stand at the front of a room and talk to people.

At the time I thought that the type of Professional Development courses that I would be teaching would be Time Management, Conflict Resolutions, or Having Difficult Conversations.

Over my four and a half years in Toastmasters I have overcome my fear of standing in front of a group of people and developed a “What’s the worse that can happen” mentality.

However, I haven’t had the opportunity to run more than the occasional Time Management with Outlook Course, which is half a day working on Time Management skills and half a day using Outlook to put some of this into practice.

Then a few weeks back I was asked to present a two-day leadership course.  This is a course that I never dreamt of presenting.  Leadership was never anything I had aspired to and running a course on it seemed totally out of my reach.

But Toastmasters has given me more than public speaking skills, it’s also provided me the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills.  And this last week I ran the course.

It was challenging.  But I found that I could deliver not only the ‘information’ but also real life experiences, situations and stories from the past couple of years as I’ve grown into the leadership position I am now in.

The other thing that surprised me is that I wasn’t totally terrified of presenting a new course.  In the past when I’ve had a new course to present – even an IT course – I have been terrified to the point of vomiting.  I found however, that while I was mildly nervous I wasn’t terrified – I mean, “what’s the worst that could happen?”

Toastmasters has not only taught me public speaking skills and helped me grow in self-confidence, it’s allowed me to develop my leadership skills and now I’m doing things that I didn’t even dream about.

Program Quality Director Julie Dall

Julie Dall, DTM
Program Quality Director 2021/22


Education Awards: Recognising our Educational Award Recipients

District 17 wants to acknowledge those people who have received Level Completion awards in Pathways in August 2021.

Congratulations to all and especially to Tom Bielski on his DTM.


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

Education Awards: Recognising our Educational Award Recipients

District 17 wants to acknowledge those people who have received Level Completion awards in Pathways in September 2021.

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