Black Swan Newsletter September 2022

A Word from the Editor

The tables and chairs are all set up, the banner is up, the computers and Zoom are running, and I have a hot cup of coffee in hand. Twenty minutes to the start of the meeting, and everything is ready. Our VP Education takes out the agendas, places them in the waiting area and on the tables.

The Toastmaster of the day and the VP Education check off the names of the members as they walk it, just to make sure we have all the roles filled. With five minutes to go "The person delivering the inspiration is not here yet, can you do it if she does not turn up?"

I have been a Toastmaster for a few years, so I say 'Yes of course I can'. Surely I can either make something up on the spot or remember a recent inspiration and repeat that, no worries.

After a fantastic Inspiration, I sit down ready for my assigned role, that of a speech evaluator. But just before the break the Toastmaster says "Our next speaker, with the Tall Tale is ... " and I hear my name. WHAT?

How did I miss that on the agenda?

When I received the agenda earlier that week, I checked it and saw that I was assigned the role of evaluator, so I stopped looking any further and missed that I was ALSO assigned the Tall Tale.


Two lessons I (re)learned that day.

First: Check the agenda thoroughly. Check it twice, and make sure you are checking the latest version.

Second: Don't prepare. Be prepared.  OR If you stay ready you don't have to get ready.

I remember hearing those words from World Champion Ed Tate, though I am sure others have said them before him.

As a Toastmaster, this is one of the greatest speaking skills. Always have something topical you can talk about. A skilled Toastmaster should have a repertoire of perhaps five topics on which they can talk convincingly for up to 10 minutes without any preparation.

Do you have any favourite topics to talk about? Any subjects about which you are passionate or are an expert in?

Darren La Croix always says that the best way to get better is to keep doing. So let's not allow opportunities to speak pass us by. When you get asked to deliver a speech, short or long, at a moments notice, say YES, I can do that.


The Black Swan


Leader Message

Spring is here and so is the first contest session and dues renewal

Spring has sprung and if you are a morning club member, it might not seem so cold and dark when you drag yourself out of bed to get to your club meeting – where you are warmed up and energised by the great meeting.


Contests and Format Update

We are into the first round of speech contests for the Toastmasters year with the Humorous and Table Topics contests, so challenge yourself and put your hand up to compete or at least offer to assist, as running contests requires a lot of people in support roles.

For the various levels of contests above the club contests, the District Executive Committee recently met and decided on the format of those contests, which was a requirement set by Toastmasters International. While we had hoped that we would be able to have all contests as face to face, we were required to choose between them being ‘hybrid’ or online and the Committee decided as follows:

  • Area & Division – Online
  • District - Hybrid

It was a tough choice but we believe that this choice presents the best option for the District, in giving more flexibility for the District contests but ensuring that the Area Directors and Division Directors were not overwhelmed by a new format and new levels of complexity.

We will still need lots of members to help with these contests, and helping out also allows you to support members from your club. So please reach out and offer to assist your Area Director or Division Director, their details are on the District 17 website.

Clubs can still choose to have a face to face contest or to select a representative in another way or to nominate one, if there is not enough interest from members or the club is lacking in numbers to host a contest.


Dues Renewal

End of September is the deadline for paying the next round of membership payments (or dues) so if you have not started getting those payments in then you still have a couple of weeks to go so no need to panic yet. If you are a Treasurer and when you make your club payments, and something does not look right then I would suggest logging out and then back in, the new website still has a few glitches – this happened to me today paying for one of my clubs, I thought that I had paid for more than 20 members but only 6 appeared on the receipt, logged out and checked a bit later and they all showed as correctly paid and the receipt was then showing for the correct amount.

Good luck to anyone choosing to compete 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


Leadership: Future Engage Deliver (FED)

Recently I revisited a book from Steve Redcliff which provides a simple and plain view on leadership. Leadership shouldn’t be complicated. Keep it simple. Make it count.

In a nutshell, leading always starts in the Future with ideas and thoughts about how you’d like things to be. Second you have to engage people so that they want to build that Future with you. And then you draw the best from yourself and others to make things happen, that is, deliver. It’s as simple as that, Future – Engage – Deliver and all of us can flex these leadership muscles to make an even bigger difference. Check out the website for more details.

The Toastmasters Pathways Level 5 High Performance Leadership (HPL) project provides a great step-by-step approach to put the FED leadership framework in practice. If you have a brilliant idea bigger than DIY and keen to get it done, check out the Level 5 HPL project details from your pathways education program.



Division Director Inner Jeff Zhang
Jeff Zhang
Club Growth Director
District 17, Toastmasters International


District News

September is the month of Renewals

It seems quite recently (was it March?) that club officers asked members to renew their membership with their club for another six months.

And now it is September, it is time again to renew our membership with our clubs. Don't forget, that if you do not renew by the 30th of September, you will lose access to Pathways on the 1st of October!

This is also  a great time to consider your Toastmasters goals. Have you achieved what you wanted to in the last year? Do you have new goals? IS there something in Pathways, that you had not considered before, but would like to develop that skill? A blog perhaps, or a podcast?

Time to identify your new goals, track your progress and renew with your club so that you can keep achieving your learning goals.

If you are an officer, how does your club track renewals? Do you use the Free Toast Host Dues Renewal tool? Free Toast Host 3 makes tracking renewals and sending invoices a breeze. If you have not used this tool, try it out.

WordPress for Toastmasters (ToastMost) also has a handy feature for membership renewal as part of their RSVPMaker plug-in. If your club has a WordPress website, try this excellent plug in from David Carr.

With some clubs having members outside of WA, did you know that PayPal offers a discount to non-profits?

Talking about discounts, some clubs offer reduced dues for 12-month membership. This may be worth considering, especially in September 🙂

Wishing all members and clubs success over the next 12 months.


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
  • 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



Poetry and Bush Ballad: A Poetry Competition

Poetry and Bush Ballad

If you enjoy poetry and bush ballads, or write your own poetry, this is the event for you!

Events Hub Toastmasters Club is excited to host this wonderful competition for poetry and bush ballads. You are welcome to attend as a competitor or as part of the audience.

Competitors will present a published poem or something they have written themselves up to seven minutes.

Section 1: Poetry of your choice

Section 2: Bush Ballads (Bush Poetry) - rhyming verse

There will be a prize for the best dressed, so come along as your favourite bush ranger, swaggie or even a poet!

We will also have a prize for first place in each section, as well as a door prize.

Tickets are $15 person, with tables of six.

Gather your friends, grab some tickets and BYO food and drinks along for a great night out.

Date: Saturday 22 October 2022
Time: 6:30pm to 10:00pm
Venue: Shenton Park Community Centre, 240 Onslow Rd, Shenton Park

Cost: $15 per person

RSVP: Ticket sales close 1:00pm on Saturday 22 October but don’t leave it too late!

Patricia King





Club News


Member Stories

Speaking on Style

Confidence Presence Style

Young Guns Toastmaster Adele Leahy is a personal wardrobe stylist and image development coach. Leading people to feeling their best in the clothes they wear is what she does and on Tuesday September 20th, she will be speaking all about this at Woman Up.

Woman up is networking for women in Perth...with a difference. The group meets every quarter over a drink (or 2 or 3!), and delicious food, and they offer genuine support & encouragement to each other. At each event they discuss a topic that matters to women. At this event the topic is talking about style! Enter, Adele.

“Often, we feel that good style is something outside of ourselves; only for celebrities or people born with a sense of style. The truth is, however, that each of us has the things we like and don’t like that form our signature look. It is my role to help everyone build confidence to know how to shop, dress and manage their wardrobe so they are connected to their own style, which we develop through the styling process.”

Adele sees her mission as enabling people to feel good in their daily lives by connecting with their style, so they can feel good in what they're wearing. She shares:

"I'm here to guide you to having a wardrobe that lets you level up, dress up and move up... helping you step into a new, more confident version of yourself."

Adele has been part of Young Guns Toastmasters since March ’22 and although she has confidence on stage, she seeks to always enhance her skills. Adele loves being in the company of the Young Guns, who are constantly demonstrating courage to develop and learn; the members inspire her to keep being brave and sharing her story and skills to add value to others.

If you’re a lady, would like to be in a fun and safe environment to hear about the styling process, come along on Tuesday night. There will be about 30 ladies coming, bring a friend and book your ticket below!



Adele Leahy
Young Guns Toastmasters


Education Awards: Recognising our Educational Award Recipients

August was a bumper year with 57 awards lodged! Congratulations to everyone who earned an award.

Special Congratulations go to Patricia King and Michael Piotrowski for earning a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award; and to Ross Wilkinson for earning his 9th DTM.

Very special recognitions go to Gil Alexander, Janice Schubert, Sanjeev Saran, Leonor Ragan and Julie Dall for completing (another) path.


The Club with the most awards this month is Mandjar (15) which now shares the lead for the year with Canning Vale, at 17 awards each.


The most awards by a single member in the month of August is shared by Janice Schubert and Julie Dall (6 each) who also now lead with the most awards for the year.


The most popular path so far is Presentation Mastery with 24 awards, while Effective Coaching and Strategic Relationships have only 5 awards each. Come on all Coaches and Relationship builders! Let's work on getting some awards.


Here are all the awards for August 2022.


Member Club Path Level
Louise Esplan, EH1 Durack Engaging Humor 1
Gil Alexander, DTM Durack Presentation Mastery 1
Matthew Palmer, LD3 Mandjar Leadership Development 1
Olaf Schubert, DTM Mandjar Persuasive Influence 1
Janice Schubert, PM3 Mandjar Presentation Mastery 1
Matthew Skipworth, EH1 Jetty Engaging Humor 1
06983790 - Name unavailable Jetty Team Collaboration 1
Isabelle Khoo, PI1 UWA Persuasive Influence 1
04179522 - Name unavailable Stirling Strategic Relationships 2
Kym Godfrey, VC2 Swan Visionary Communication 2
02016535 - Name unavailable Mandjar Engaging Humor 2
Matthew Palmer, LD3 Mandjar Leadership Development 2
01989593 - Name unavailable Mandjar Presentation Mastery 2
07917244 - Name unavailable Mandjar Presentation Mastery 2
Janice Schubert, PM3 Mandjar Presentation Mastery 2
Mark A. Richards, DTM Canning Vale Team Collaboration 2
07866341 - Name unavailable Noranda Leadership Development 2
Giulietta M. Dall, DTM Southern River Engaging Humor 2
Juliana Kelly, PI2 Zoom-Masters Persuasive Influence 2
Cassie Walraven, MS2 Piara Waters Motivational Strategies 2
06729903 - Name unavailable Durack Dynamic Leadership 3
Gil Alexander, DTM Durack Innovative Planning 3
Cassandre Hubert, MS3 Durack Motivational Strategies 3
00382097 - Name unavailable Murdoch Southsiders Effective Coaching 3
Janice Schubert, PM3 Mandjar Innovative Planning 3
Matthew Palmer, LD3 Mandjar Leadership Development 3
01989593 - Name unavailable Mandjar Presentation Mastery 3
Janice Schubert, PM3 Mandjar Presentation Mastery 3
Daniel Morris, DL3 Young Guns Dynamic Leadership 3
Mark A. Richards, DTM Canning Vale Team Collaboration 3
Ross Wilkinson, DTM TLI Training Group Leadership Development 3
Paula Kosowitz, VC3 Noranda Visionary Communication 3
Giulietta M. Dall, DTM Southern River Engaging Humor 3
Denise J. Rhodes, LD3 Victoria Park Leadership Development 3
Ethel Bwakura, PM3 Sunday Sundowners Presentation Mastery 3
Lyn Beaumont, PM4 Zoom-Masters Presentation Mastery 3
07834996 - Name unavailable Toasting Human Energy Innovative Planning 3
Zachary Anning, SR4 Piara Waters Strategic Relationships 3
Giulietta M. Dall, DTM Byford Team Collaboration 3
Janice Schubert, PM3 Mandjar Innovative Planning 4
01989593 - Name unavailable Mandjar Presentation Mastery 4
Leonor Ragan, DTM TLI Training Group Effective Coaching 4
Giulietta M. Dall, DTM Southern River Engaging Humor 4
Jian Liang Wee, DL4 Sunday Sundowners Dynamic Leadership 4
04789721 - Name unavailable Sunday Sundowners Team Collaboration 4
Lyn Beaumont, PM4 Zoom-Masters Presentation Mastery 4
Vijaya Ethirajan, DL4 Piara Waters Dynamic Leadership 4
Zachary Anning, SR4 Piara Waters Strategic Relationships 4
Giulietta M. Dall, DTM Byford Team Collaboration 4
Gil Alexander, DTM Durack Dynamic Leadership 5
Janice Schubert, PM3 Mandjar Innovative Planning 5
Sanjeev Saran, IP5 Canning Vale Innovative Planning 5
Leonor Ragan, DTM TLI Training Group Effective Coaching 5
Giulietta M. Dall, DTM Byford Team Collaboration 5
Ross Wilkinson, DTM Fremantle Gateway DTM DTM
Patricia King, DTM Jetty DTM DTM
Michael Piotrowski, DTM Young Guns DTM DTM


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