Black Swan Newsletter October 2022

A Word from the Editor

Lazy Susan

I joined Toastmasters because I wanted to be a stand-up comedian.

I thought that getting some experience speaking in front of a friendly crowd would help me. I didn't really know what Toastmasters was about, I just heard from a friend that you get to speak to a bunch of people about anything you want. Exactly what I was looking for.

From my first meeting I realised that there was a lot more to Toastmasters than my friend told me. The evaluations in particular were such a novelty. I had never experienced receiving feedback in such a positive manner from someone who really wanted me to improve. I was soo hooked on Toastmasters that for two years I completely forgot what made me join.

So I decided to finally try my hand at stand-up. I got in touch with Lazy Susan at the Brisbane Hotel and booked my spot. With six weeks to prepare, I thought I had it in the bag.

Then came the big day. I could not eat all day. I could not concentrate on anything, I could not even do my work. I could only think of my routine and whether it would be funny or not.

Finally the night is here. The first act was really funny. So was the second, and the third. Time for me to go to the green room as I am number five.

The MC calls my name; I walk onto the stage; the bright lights hit my eyes. I can only see people in the first few rows, the rest is all dark under those huge hot spot lights. Focus, this is just like being at Toastmasters.

Except it is not. At least not always. Luckily on my night the audience was very supportive and I got a few laughs. Not every joke landed, but most did and I was happy with my performance.

Buoyed by my first go, I returned a few months later. This time the audience was in a different mood. There were a lot of hecklers, people interrupting, generally giving the acts a bad time. I received very few laughs.

Watching the video recording of my show I realised it was not the audience's fault. Most of the acts, including Me, were not funny. We did not deserve the laughs.

So I was exuberant when Toastmasters introduced the Engaging Humor Path. I jumped with on it; this is my chance to get funny.

I started the path three years ago. And I have recently completed level 4. I have started three other paths since starting Engaging Humor and whenever I feel daunted whenever I think about delivering the level 5 project. The level 3 and 4 projects were tough already, but delivering a 22-minute keynote, with humour, is something I dread.

But then I think back to my whole Toastmasters journey. All the successes I had: completing a High Performance Leadership Project; running a Speechcraft course; sponsoring a new club. They all involved some level of fear, dread and trepidation. When I think back to my Icebreaker, even that was scary.

But all those things made me grow, they made me a better speaker, a better communicator, a better leader.

So I have decided, I am going to deliver my 22-minute level 5 keynote, before the end of the year. This year. I think.


The Black Swan


Leader Message

Spring is here and so is the first contest session

The first quarter of the 2022/23 Toastmasters year is already over; time certainly flies when we are busy and having fun.


Contests Underway

Many of the Humorous and Table Topics contests at Club, Area & even Division have already been held, congratulations to everyone who challenged themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone and choosing to compete. Also a big thanks to all the members who helped out in running the contests, it takes a lot of people to run a contest, and a big thanks to everyone who has volunteered their time.


Dues Renewal

The September dues renewal date has passed but it is not too late to renew if you have forgotten.


Good luck to those still competing in contests, have fun and please offer to help out in running those contests.



Gavin Hyslop
District Director 2022-2023
District 17 Toastmasters International

Club Growth Director Gavin Hyslop



District News

Online Contest Training

Online Contest training

Our Program Quality Director, Peggy Leung, recently organised a training session for online contests. Ian Pickens presented a session for chief judges, voting judges, tally counters and timers, while Tom Bielski presented a session for contest chairs and zoom masters.

The session was attended by almost 20 people, who learned many new skills for the upcoming online contests.

Ian went over some of the rules from the Contest Rulebook, and explained how we can adapt them efficiently to the online format. He explained the best practices for exchanging information between the voting judges and the tally counters, and the best way to show the timing to contestants.

Tom showed participants how to set up breakout rooms and the various options available, and how to move people in and out of them. He also highlighted features such as spotlighting, hiding non-video participants and how to follow host's order for video tiles.


If you missed this presentation and would like to watch it, you can watch the Chief Judge session and the Contest Chair session on YouTube. The links are also on the Help for Contests page of the Club Officer Resource page.


You can contact Peggy on if you have any questions.




Your District Needs You

Yes, your District needs you.

Members who volunteer for roles are what makes the District run - Speech Contests, Training, Conferences, helping struggling clubs. Without members stepping up to fill the various roles, some of these things might struggle to be delivered or delivered well.

So we your help to fill the roles BUT it is also an opportunity for you to try new things and to learn new skills, or practice skills you already have.

There are still a number of vacancies that we need to fill. These are opportunities for you to help you fellow members and the District, while gaining some great skills and experience that are transferrable into your professional and personal life.

  • Division Director - ALL FILLED
  • Area Director
  • Administration Manager
  • Public Relation Manager
  • Logistics Manager
  • Newsletter Editor
  • Events Coordinator

Training and support will be provided for ALL roles.

So come on, members. Your District needs you!

Any questions reach out to an experienced member in your club and if cannot help you directly then they will be able to point you in the right direction.


If you would like to volunteer, please contact



Meet Comedian Emma Krause at Mundaring Toastmasters

Emma Krause

Stand Up comedian, mum and past member of Mundaring Toastmasters Club, Emma Krause will be the guest speaker at our 15 November club meeting.

Emma began her new career three years ago and is a member of The Motherhood Comedy, a hilarious look into motherhood with FRINGE WORD Weekly Award-winning show MUMS GONE WILD.

You may recognise Emma as the face of the ‘Tuesdee Lotterie’ ad on TV.

She also appeared on Australia's got talent. You can see here audition here, and the semi-final performance here.

Take a trip to the Hills and join past and present club members in a meeting with a difference.

Watch Emma's invitation here.

Date: Tuesday 15 November 2022
Time: 7pm – 9pm
Venue: The Hub of the Hills Community Centre   8 Craig St, Mundaring
Cost: free
RSVP: Friday 11 November  to

Contact: Judith Allen

Mundaring Toastmasters Club

Poetry and Bush Ballad Cancelled

Poetry and bush ballad cancelled

Events Hub Toastmasters club wish to advise that due to low registration
numbers we have found it necessary to cancel the Poetry and Bush Ballad event.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Thank you to those who have registered.
Your support is appreciated

Patricia (Pat ) King DTM
Events Hub Toastmasters Club


Club News

Sunday Sundowners visit Parliament House

parliament House

On the 21st of September several members of Sunday Sundowners, a club based in South Perth, visited the Western Australian Parliament House at the invitation of South Perth MLA Geoff Baker.

Geoff is the Member of the Legislative Assembly (Lower House) of the Parliament of Western Australia. He is very active in his support of the local community and clubs base in South Perth. A few month earlier he visited Sunday Sundowners at the invitation of Carole Bruce, a charter member of Sundowners.

He participated in table topics and at the end of the meeting he reported that he loved our meeting and wished he had joined our club when he first became a Member of Parliament; we could have helped him with his early speeches.

In return he extended an invitation to local members to join him for lunch and to observe the proceedings of Question Time from the visitors' gallery,

Carole Bruce, President Menuka Somapala, Mina Cho, Des Moran and Tom Bielski joined Geoff in the Members' dining room for a scrumptious lunch, followed by a tour of the House and Question Time.

Members L-R Des Moran, Carole Bruce, Mina Cho, Menuka Somapala, and Geoff Baker MLA

It was fabulous to see the functioning of our legislative system first hand. If you have never been, the House has regular tours. It is definitely worth seeing the workings for yourself, and if you can score an invitation to lunch, that would be even better.


Tom Bielski
Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club

webmaster Tom BIelski


Education Awards: Recognising our Educational Award Recipients


In September, 30 members from District 17 lodged 43 awards! Congratulations to everyone who earned an award.

Five members completed their level 5, Judith Allen, Nyasha Mutete, Christina Ng, Ian Pickens and Member 05998129. Congratulations!

Graham Watson achieved an incredible four awards this month, however he still trails Julie Dall and Janice Schubert with six awards for the year so far.

The Club with the most awards this month is Fremantle Gateway with 7 which brings them into the top 5 clubs for the year, with Canning Vale still with the most awards  at 19


The most popular path so far is Presentation Mastery with 34 awards, while Effective Coaching, Strategic Relationships and Motivational Strategies have only 7 awards each. Come on all Coaches, Motivators and Relationship builders! Let's work on getting some awards.


Here are all the awards for August 2022.

Member Name Club Path Level
Jill Kadota Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club Dynamic Leadership 1
Ishani Subaharan Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club Leadership Development 1
Ay San Tjia Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club Persuasive Influence 1
Graham P. Watson Southern River Toastmasters Leadership Development 1
Graham P. Watson Southern River Toastmasters Strategic Relationships 1
Natascha Turner St George's Toastmasters Club Innovative Planning 1
Colin Thompson St George's Toastmasters Club Engaging Humor 1
Lance D'Antoine Toasting Human Energy Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 1
Sophie Jolob West End Toastmasters Club Effective Coaching 1
Sophy Gotsis Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Dynamic Leadership 1
Kevin Sansome TLI Training Group Effective Coaching 2
Ay San Tjia Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club Persuasive Influence 2
Graham P. Watson Southern River Toastmasters Visionary Communication 2
Valeriy Bychkov Kwinana Toastmasters Innovative Planning 2
Sophie T. Paraeana Amat Aspire Toastmasters Leadership Development 2
Isabelle Khoo UWA Persuasive Influence 2
Xin Hou Durack Club Motivational Strategies 2
Sophy Gotsis Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Dynamic Leadership 2
Scott Wovodich Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 2
Luke George St George's Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 2
05617288 - Name unavai Canning Vale Toastmasters Presentation Mastery 2
Samantha Craig Harrisdale Piara Waters Toastmasters Club Visionary Communication 3
Ay San Tjia Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club Persuasive Influence 3
Glenys Blackett Noranda Toastmasters Club Innovative Planning 3
Tom Bielski Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club Leadership Development 3
Judith L. Allen Swan Toastmasters Club Engaging Humor 3
Kevin Sansome Aspiring Leaders Effective Coaching 3
Sophy Gotsis Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Dynamic Leadership 3
Luke George St George's Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 3
05617288 - Name unavai Canning Vale Toastmasters Presentation Mastery 3
Graham P. Watson Southern River Toastmasters Presentation Mastery 4
Tim M. Leen Applecross Toastmasters Presentation Mastery 4
07409867 - Name unavai Noranda Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 4
Undugodage Rodrigo Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 4
05601829 - Name unavai Young Guns Presentation Mastery 4
Stephen Ashworth Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 4
05998129 - Name unavai Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Strategic Relationships 4
Luke George St George's Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 4
Judith L. Allen Heritage Towns Toastmasters Club Presentation Mastery 5
Nyasha Mutete Southern River Toastmasters Innovative Planning 5
Christina Ng Canning Vale Toastmasters Dynamic Leadership 5
Ian A. Pickens City of Perth Toastmasters Club Dynamic Leadership 5
05998129 - Name unavai Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club Strategic Relationships 5


What does "Name Unavailable" mean?

When a member decides to not make their name public, it will appear as "Name Unavailable".

If you wish to change your privacy options, log into and go to your Profile. You will see a section called Privacy and Consents. The last part is Your Name on Public Reports. You can set that to display your name or not.


Help with the Website

This is my second year as the webmaster for District 17. This year I would like to dedicate more effort to updating our website, and I am looking for Contributions from You!

Do you have any District 17 memories to share? Do you have any stories you can contribute?

I am looking for any and all of the following, and more:


  • Photos and videos from district events, like District Conventions/Conferences;
  • Fliers, brochures, marketing material from past events;
  • Videos of great speeches, from contests or from your club;
  • Toastmasters Success Stories;
  • Testimonials/ Good news stories;
  • anything else relating to the district.


Any of these materials will make our website rich in content for our members as well as for any visitors and prospective members.

Please send any material to

Tom Bielski, DTM


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!

You can now submit your article online! Click here to submit using Google Forms.

Or, 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 400 words
  • Please supply images with the best picture quality available
  • Supply names of people shown in images.
  • Attach your profile picture

Gavin Hyslop, DTM
Tom Bielski, DTM
Stand In Black Swan Editors