Black Swan November 2014

Black Swan November 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen




What an eventful month we’ve had in District 17.   Contests are over and winners are celebrating. Area Governor official visits to clubs are completed and reports have been received by club leaders. Clubs are gearing up to celebrate their last meetings for 2014 as they reflect on their successes and plan for the next round of contests. The November District Council Meeting assured all who attended that we are on target to become a Distinguished District. This month’s issue once again brings success stories, words of advice and important information about events and programs. I wish you all a restful break and a renewed enthusiasm in the new year.


Judith B Swan

Judith Allen Black Swan Editor
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District Governor Report

The Last of the Tempest

November didn’t seem to slow down much after our hectic October, with the last few Area Finals and the Southern Division and Central Division Finals for Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contests, and our District Council Meeting which was preceded by a superb Practical Problem Solving Workshop facilitated by Northern Division Governor and professional Trainer, Maree Pickens.

It was exciting attending all the Division Finals, getting to meet members at all stages on their Toastmasters journey and catching up with other members I’ve met before. It is an honour to be witnessing the growth and fellowship of our District as we develop. All contestants, again need to be congratulated on their presentations and I know you will have all increased in confidence by competing. The final six for our District Final next May are now known and, I’m sure, will be practising at every opportunity to hone their skills. The officials, organisers and Division Governors did an amazing job to run such smooth, fun and professional contests.

Our Area Governors have been extremely busy helping with Division Finals, finalising those club visits, submitting their reports to Toastmasters International and encouraging members to aspire to greater goals. Without these dedicated men and women, our district would not be as successful, so I acknowledge this immense job you have all done with admiration and thanks.

Our District Council meeting was well attended by delegates representing a majority of clubs in our district. It is gratifying to see us exceeding the minimum number of delegates to form a quorum. I would like to thank you for your presence and the proficient manner in which you conducted yourselves at our council meeting. Intelligent questions were raised and discussion was orderly. It would be remiss of me if I didn’t add that everyone was particularly happy to finish ahead of the publicised time. This is outstanding considering the amount of items on the agenda.

The Council Meeting could not have run so smoothly without much work behind the scenes and prior to the day by District Secretary, Sandra Morton. Thank you Sandra, for your dedication to the role and your work to prepare such a big event on the district calendar. Sadly, I had to announce at our council meeting that Sandra has tendered her resignation as of finalisation of the council meeting minutes, due to work and family commitments. I appreciate your efforts and I will miss you being by my side for the rest of this Toastmasters year. On behalf of the district, I wish you well in your Toastmasters journey and hope that life is a little less hectic for you now.

Having said that, I am delighted to announce that Nola Hadrill has accepted the role of District Secretary for the remainder of the year and I look forward to you becoming an integral part of our great team, Nola. Having worked with Nola when she was our Northern Division Governor in 2011-2012 and on our Jewel in the Crown Convention in 2013, I feel safe in the knowledge that she brings impressive experience and will perform the role to the very highest standard. Thank you for accepting the role Nola, and I look forward to working together.

Prior to the council meeting, Maree Pickens facilitated another fabulous workshop for our members on Practical Problem Solving. This was attended by over 40 members and they certainly solved many problems in the centre on the day and gained valuable skills they can take into everyday life as well as their Toastmaster’s journey. Thank you Maree, for presenting a professional, entertaining and life altering workshop to our members.

Now, as December advances, it is the time for winding down from Toastmasters, when we head into the festive season. On behalf of all of our District Management team, I would like to wish every member of our district and your family, a truly joyous Christmas filled with family, fun and festivities. May the season be a safe time for us all to relax, revive and rejuvenate! Celebrate and enjoy your break so that we can all refocus in January where we regain momentum of meetings, club visits, contests and training.

I look forward to new clubs chartering, celebrating milestones and serving you in 2015.

As always, if you have a question or need information, I am only a phone call or email away.

Ph – 0407 851 361 email –


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015


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Once Upon a Time in Contest Land

Southern Division’s Table Topics and Humorous Contests on 9 November were greeted by peak summer type weather. This was a sure sign of things to come as competition heated up amongst the contestants.

The event couldn’t have been better planned. By 12.30pm, Marianne Law the organiser and helpers were already on hand to set up the room. Contest Chairs, Peter Law & Tom Bielski, and the Chief Judge, Leonor Ragan, had completed their briefings with time to spare. Everything was going to plan … like clockwork.

The room filled up quickly. By the time the event started, extra chairs had to be brought out and then again after the break. The turnout and support across Divisions were amazing! We had catered for 50 to 70 people but the final audience count was about 85. Two couples even decided to start their children young on all things Toastmasters, bringing their baby / toddler to experience a Toastmasters’ competition. This was so aptly aligned to one of the Humorous Contestant’s speech on the Toastmaster’s guide to courtship, marriage and family you’d think there was a conspiracy or private cheer squad!

Table Topics Contestants  Table Topics were delivered with great fluidity as contestants sought to answer the question of what failure meant to them. There was no hesitation, no repetition and no deviation in their near perfect speech delivery.

Humorous Speech Contestants

The Humorous Speeches had us all rolling in the aisles. We should have made provisions for a first aider to be present because with so many of us in stitches, we would have needed medical aid if the speeches got any funnier.

Our compliments go to all the Contestants for coming so far in their quest for excellence. Our heartiest congratulations to Yi Choong Liew and Mario Martinez who will represent Southern Division at the District’s Table Topics & Roy Pui and John Palmer in the Humorous Contests respectively.

Table Topics Humorous
1st Yi Choong Liew 1st Roy Pui
2nd Mario Martinez 2nd John Palmer
3rd Holly Buykx 3rd Clinton Cheng


Thanks to the Contestants, Contest Chairs, Organiser, Functionaries, Judges and a very welcoming audience, the Southern Division Contests which commenced with a flying start, also ended on a perfect note. If you were not there, here’s what you missed.

“Really enjoyed the event, grateful for the opportunity to judge, Thank you.” … Anon

“It was well worth the drive to attend the contest finals. A fantastic afternoon with speakers of such immense calibre that I came away awestruck- but with a renewed drive for excellence in myself. Thank you to all who organised the event” … Peta Rakela

“It was a great pleasure to witness such a competition yesterday and I really enjoyed the whole competition. Thank you for you and your team on your great effort” … Hwee Li Lee

“Thank you for organising such a wonderful contest; had such a blast! Really appreciate your efforts and the efforts of others to making it a success. Thanks again for the experience.”… Yi Choong Liew

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Stephanie Chan
Southern Division Governor (2014/2015)

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Is Anyone Out There Listening?

Although the importance of clear speech has long been recognised, it is only in the last decade that listening competence has been linked to being successful in the Game of Life.

The average listener ignores, forgets, or misunderstands 75% of what he or she hears.

If this applies to our average communications, how does this impact on our audiences?

For decades I have facilitated programmes that combine assertiveness and listening skills to solve problems, resolve conflict and build relationships.

Recently there has been increased demand for in-depth listening skills programmes.

When audiences listen they usually use three of the senses – Visual, Auditory, and Kinesthetic. Most people will use one sense more than the others. Presentations need certain elements to satisfy all three senses. For the purpose of this article I want to concentrate on what speakers can do to achieve maximum impact and influence by accommodating those who communicate and absorb information predominantly using their auditory sense.

  1. Cultivate a varied and well-modulated voice
  2. Provide statistics and facts
  3. Give detailed descriptions
  4. Tell stories, use vivid language, and power verbs
  5. Talk out loud; let them hear your enthusiasm; use emotional intensity
  6. Create a clear structure with each point neatly parcelled
  7. Make it easy for the audience to follow your talk. Use signposts that you are moving to the next point; that you are about to wrap up.

As a presenter you take full responsibility for every member of the audience listening to and remembering your talk. Remember, you do not present to convince or inform yourself: you entire focus is on the poor souls who have to sit and listen.


Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club


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Membership Title

In a similar manner to the Distinguished Club Program for Clubs, there is also a Recognition Program for Districts called Distinguish District Program.

As of Thursday, 30 November 2014, our progress against the membership growth in the Distinguished District goal of at least 3,278 is 1,628 (50.34%) membership achieved for the first five months. That number is very inspiring and commendable. District 17 clubs have added 343 new members since 1 July 2014:

  • 32 Clubs have 20 or more members
  • 31 Clubs have added 5 members or more
  • 15 of those clubs have added 8 or more new members

These mean that:

  • 39 Clubs have achieved goal 7 of the Distinguished Club Program
  • 15 Clubs have achieved Goal 7 and 8 of the Distinguished Club Program

A number of clubs have made significant progress in achieving membership growth since the start of the year and are to be praised and congratulated. The most growth has been in the Southern Division.

Currently 486 members have “Graced” status; the concern is that a high percentage of those members may not renew. I know that some members can’t renew for many reasons beyond our control and those reasons are very understandable.

Congratulations to all involved in helping to recruit new members for your clubs. Very special thanks to all our Area Governors for their dedication and commitment and thanks to all the members for their continued support and enthusiasm for their clubs.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m here to help whenever possible.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy time. Enjoy the holiday season.

I wish you all a safe, prosperous and Happy New Year. May all your hopes and dreams become a reality and remember to love those who are special in your life and to let them how much you love them.


Leonor Ragan, DTM
Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2015
Happy to be of Service to District 17

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Southern River’s Post Melbourne Cup Day Open House

After October’s renewals, it became clear to us that our club would lose some 5 to 6 members through natural attrition. It was definitely time for another Open House. With preparations for club contests underway, early November seemed an appropriate time to hold the function to address this gap as soon as possible.

Digging deep for a creative idea for our club Open House on 5 November, “The Race that stops a Nation” was as good a theme as any for this event. As our meetings are held on Wednesdays, we struck upon the idea of a post-race day celebration instead.

Time was of the essence and as push came to shove, the creative juices started to flow and the Open House flyer was birthed within a day. A little tweak here and there and in a little under a week, we had 2000 glossy flyers ready and waiting to be distributed.

We didn’t want to hit the same distribution spots as before and decided to go further afield and to other housing estates in the vicinity. With beautiful weather on our side, a bunch of volunteers took to the streets and accomplished the task over the weekend.

Due to the short time frame, fancy decorations were dropped and we opted for colour and dressing to carry our theme through. Food was also kept simple (although yours truly did sorely miss the tucker that traditionally accompanies our Open House events).

As the day of the Open House approached, despair began to seep in when we didn’t receive any RSVPs and were resigned to the thought of having to carry on with yet another normal meeting. Nonetheless we put on a brave front and remained hopeful. Then, on the fateful day of the Open House, only five guests rocked up. “Five is good”, I thought, “better than none”. We were adamant on having fun in any case.

IMG_20141105_185021 (1)Our Toastmaster came dressed as a jockey; all the ladies were decked in their brightly coloured finery and headwear, while several male members arrived in an assortment of hats. We put on a remarkable show that night, featuring John, an inaugural club member, who elaborated on “What is Toastmasters?”

Lorraine, a member of one year delivered one of her most analytical evaluations and Desiree, who has only a few months experience under her belt, presented an entertaining speech with increasing confidence and panache.

IMG_20141105_190834    IMG_20141105_190113 (1)

We must have all presented with such persuasion that we managed to convert three of the guests. Along with a brand new member who signed up the week before, our new intake came to four. This earned us the promise of sustainability of fun-filled meetings … and one DCP goal. Acknowledged for organising the event, Catherine achieved her ALS making up another educational award / goal. Not bad an achievement for one night which had turned a dismal possibility to deserved success.


There are a few takeaways from this exercise. First and foremost, put in the hard yards and sit back to enjoy a great meeting, knowing that you’ve done your best and roll with whatever turns out. You need to create awareness of your club’s existence. Our experience has shown that even a plan hatched on the fly can bring in results. Sometimes one action can have a multiplier effect and meet more than one need. Even as I tell my story, I’m conscious that this article would mean more PPP points for the club when it hits the next Black Swan issue. The Open House and flyer distribution will add to the PPP points. Upload it into our club website, include it as a resource for our club newsletter, send in our guest attendance and guest-to-member conversion lists and there will be more PPP points that I can count on both hands.

The key word here is “synergy”. By riding on just the one event you can meet a multitude of personal and club goals. With each target met comes a renewed enthusiasm and confidence to go out and achieve even more. Southern River Club still has a way to go but we aim to think outside the box to keep meetings energised and members engaged.

All these can be your achievements when your club members start getting creative and plan for success. Adopt Nike’s slogan and just do it! Good luck!

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Stephanie Chan
Southern Division Governor (2014/2015)

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Celebrating Our Achievements

All I want for Christmas

All I want for Christmas is 5 awards for every club.

I guess I am not going to see that lofty day dream. I will have to rewrap it until about March maybe as a good Easter present.

I do want to applaud the members and their clubs who have lodged awards in this year. It is great to see so many Competent Communicators (67) and Competent Leaders (24) developing in Western Australia. These members are not listed but every one of you knows who you are and I extend my congratulations to you all.

Triple Crown

It is particularly pleasing to see so many new names on all the lists. What a fantastic effort in the first six months of the TM year to have 13 members successfully completing three or more awards.

Member Count Award
Bielski, Tomasz 3 ACB, CL, ALB
Evans, Lisa 4 ALS, DTM, CC, CL
Grogan, Patrick 3 CC, CC, ACB
Law, Marianne 4 ALB, CC, CL, CL
Lloyd, Robyn 3 ACB, CC, CC
Macdonald, Graham R. 3 DTM, ACB, ALS
Nicholas, David R. 8 LDREXC, ALS, ACS, CL, ALB, CC, ACB, CC
O’Brien, Catherine 3 CC, ACS, ALB
Palmer, John Alexander 5 CC, CL, ACB, ALB, CC
Pearce, Estelita 3 CC, ACB, CL
Pickens, Ian A. 3 ALS, DTM, CC
Placanica, William 3 ALS, DTM, CC
Wilkinson, Ross Phillip 3 ALB, CC, ALB


I encourage you to support your members to achieve at every level. There is great benefit to be gained setting your goal, and achieving the target. The life skills you are leaning will follow you and be available whenever you need to pull out knowledge gained from Toastmasters.

The new Toastmaster International website is now functioning and if you have not yet had a look it is easy to navigate around and see member and club success records. I encourage you all to have a look through the many pages, visit the shop and browse the free stuff. It is a great resource.


Numbers for our District Convention in May are gradually building. Consider the best Christmas present of all – a ticket to Convention for family and friends. It will be a great weekend away and Ryan and Chelsea Avery will supply some absolute gems to take home with you. No, I am not talking about gold, diamonds or sapphires, but pearls of wisdom from our keynote speaker.


Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 LGET

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There’s Gold in Them There Hills

Congratulations on making the decision to join the gold rush to Kalgoorlie for the District 17 Convention in 2015.

Early Bird Registrations for Toastmasters District 17 ‘Gold Fever’ Convention 2015 have closed with an outstanding 65 people putting aside their procrastinations to register.

Debbie Hewitt from Kalamunda Toastmasters and Janette Edwards from Mundaring Toastmasters were the proud winners of the Early Bird registration prizes for the Gold Fever Convention to be held in Kalgoorlie next year.

Debbie was the first winner of the draw that was conducted at the Quiz night held at the Osborne Park Bowling Club in October. She won the much coveted prize of a gold nugget encased in a bottle of fabulous wine. Yes, you read it – gold and liquid gold!
DSC_0005 gold nugget drawTracy Browning with registration co-ordinator Connie Klaasen

Janette was the lucky winner of the 3.3g gold nugget drawn at the Touch of Gold club to mark the end of the early bird registration period that closed on the 1 December. After winning the nugget Janette said, “I am very honoured and pleased to win this coveted prize. However this was not the only incentive to register early. I just can’t wait to head out to Kalgoorlie to attend the convention. With all the fantastic venues, guests and activities arranged for the weekend I might even be able to drag my twin sister (who lives in Kalgoorlie) along to a few events so she can see the fantastic people that I get to hang out with whilst developing my leadership and speaking skills. My fever is rising in anticipation”.

Was it Debbie and Janette’s luck in winning due to their clubs proximity to Kalgoorlie, or the positive proactive nature of organised Hills Toastmasters that has caused Gold to be showered on them? Alternatively could it be because they are both married to a Bill? That is for us to ponder…. but never to know.

But our hunt for gold doesn’t end there. We would like to recruit you to become a ‘Gold Fever Ambassador’.  If you have decided Convention in Kalgoorlie is the place to be in 2015 and have registered, we invite you to recruit others to join us. We will put your name in a draw to win yet another gold nugget (we’ve been out fossicking) which will be drawn at the District 17 Convention. The more people you convince to purchase a full registration the more chances you have to win.  Just make sure they let us know who recommended them to register.

What we do know is that Debbie and Janette would want to see as many Toastmasters register and join them in the fabulously planned Gold Fever Convention extravaganza to be held in Kalgoorlie from the 29 May to 1 June 2015, so get in your registrations now!

The gold rush continues.

Tracy Browning, Touch of Gold Club
Janette Edwards, Mundaring Toastmasters

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Northern Gourmet Toastmasters are Stepping Up When it Comes to Feedback

Northern Gourmet Toastmasters club’s main focus is on speeches and evaluations. At every meeting we have six speakers and six group evaluations. Every person gets to speak at every meeting.  We take pride in the way that we give and receive feedback, and we are now taking the whole experience to a new level.
The club have raised some funds and in the spirit of serving all members we are injecting the funds back into the club to meet the members’ needs and provide a challenge!
After a survey it was decided that a video camera would be a good addition to our club equipment box.  We purchased an inexpensive Panasonic video camera with case and tripod. Each member has to bring in their own SD card.  In the future we may create a You Tube channel just for our club members’ speeches, but for now each member takes the card home to edit and upload their video as they wish.
We meet in a tavern and it can be noisy, which is all part of learning to speak in different environments. We decided to firstly hire and try before buying some microphone and amplifying equipment.  The committee spent time discussing  ideas and getting quotes and information on the best set up for the club.

At our November meeting, we had both the video camera and the microphone set up ready for use.  It was a great success!

The majority of speakers chose to have their speeches recorded and all were encouraged to use the microphone.  At the start of the meeting a demonstration talk was given on how to use and care for the equipment.  The sound equipment is capable of recording the speaker as well as amplification so in the future we also have the capability to produce a high quality audio of the speech which can be added to the video.
We will continue to practise our microphone skills to add another level of competence to the club experience.

We like to be known as the club that has fun but also challenges members to step up, get out of their comfort zone and try new things.
If you would like the added dimension of recording you speech on video and using a microphone please consider coming along to the Northern Gourmet Toastmasters club.  The Kingsley Tavern does a pretty mean sausage and mash too!!

Lisa Evans DTM
VPE Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
VPM TLI Training Group
Mob: 0438 902042

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To Debate or Not to Debate? That is the Question

When Roger Davenport first mooted the idea of a debate for his Leadership project, I was not particularly swayed by the idea. I had watched live and televised inter-school debates as a teen and it never really appealed to me in any way. As a matter of fact, neither did oratorical contests. Isn’t this ironical, since Toastmasters is all about orating? But I digress…

We’ve held an impromptu debate in lieu of table topics long ago. Except for the topic, that session was organised on the fly/ but it was enjoyable trying to demolish the opposing team’s arguments. However, this time round, Roger wanted to organise a REAL debate with pre-selected (i.e. volunteered) team members and anchors, fixed timing, evaluators and judges. In other words, he had rules and procedures, a thought that unsettled my familiar routine of ad hoc Table Topics. Those who know me may not believe this but I am a creature of habit. Nonetheless who am I to stand in the way of progress and creative agenda rendition? Needless to say I didn’t volunteer to be a debater, only to be chosen as an evaluator.

Roger had been most cheeky in pitting spouses against each other in opposing teams. I don’t know why, but the couples seemed to relish this idea. The topic was Driverless Cars, the pros and cons. Both teams had to prepare for the two sides of arguments in advance. Their ultimate position was to be determined by the toss of a coin.

Team Leader Emma O’Hehir won the toss and chose to speak against the topic. She was in her element as usual, confidently spouting argument after argument. Her logical flow of facts were all so convincing you’d think she had singlehandedly already won the debate. Then William Placanica stood up to deliver his opening arguments. William was equally eloquent and convincing as he got into character and passionately spoke about the merits of driverless cars. At that point, it had become increasingly difficult to decide which team was ahead. Team members took their turns speaking before the team leaders anchored with concluding rebuttals.

The arguments were fully rehearsed and were mini speeches in their own right. Therein lay the source of their debating skills. Team members delivered their thoughts as a prepared speech, reframing similar points but missing out the rebuttals that all debates encompass. It was then left to the anchors to provide the refutations. But what a glorious attempt it was by all debaters! Once members have the awareness of the style that a debate requires, I think the Southern River Debating Team will be a force to reckon with.

Guest Toastmasters Robyn & Mark Richards and Vanessa Chang from Canning Vale Toastmasters Club accepted our invitation as Judges and unanimously ruled in favour of the proposition. Vanessa provided a succinct summary of the Judges’ decision and with it invaluable tips for the members’ future attempts at debating.


Roger, thank you for suggesting a debate. You have opened my heart to a new appreciation for this art. Thanks to all who participated. The meeting was for sure highly pumped and successful. As for whether inter-club debates are the way to go? I say, “Game on!”

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Stephanie Chan
Southern River Toastmasters Club

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Theme Nights

Does your meeting have a theme?

A theme for the night can add interest and spice up a meeting.

Guildford Stars’ meeting recently had a theme of “Back to the 70’s”. It was a blast from the past with team members dressed in 70s clothes and music from the 70’s. It captured the feel and the time and for some us old enough to remember the era was a blast from the past.

The array of clothing was authentic with flairs, tie died clothes and colourful shirts, afro wigs and teased hair. Unfortunately no platform shoes – a fashion best left in the past. Members got into the “swing’ of things using the language of the era and even the speeches were of stories from the time.

Gstars 70's group2

Martin told us of a trip in the seventies from South Australia to the north coast of NSW to surf and hang out with friends, and maybe a bit of smoking (a little)….was done.  He used body language, phrases from the time and humour to convey an entertaining story and capture the time of a carefree trip and surfing culture.

Our Toastmaster Pascale Amberville-Colby enthusiastically embraced the theme, making a program with the music of the 70’s on one page; events and fashion on the other. At the interval the music of the 70’s as members enjoyed the supper. The Table Topics were questions about the 70’s and we learned about member’s first computers, starting of national parks, equipment and microwave experiences. It really was a blast from the past.

The theme brought excitement to the night and was a good way to help open conversations, giving members an opportunity to get to know each other. The use of the theme for speech and table topics provided structure, discipline and a challenge for speakers. This theme allowed some dressing up and a bit of fun. It was a great way for our three new members to be introduced to public speaking, not a chore or challenge, but as a time to have fun and share a bit of ourselves with others.

My message to fellow Toastmasters is to choose theme nights at your club meetings that will bring excitement and fun and challenge your members.

Ann Scoullar

Ann Scoullar
VPM Guildford Stars

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Northern Gourmet Toastmasters make International Connections

At Northern Gourmet we are always on the lookout for fun things to add value to our meetings.

Recently we have reached out internationally!

Firstly, our club recently had the privilege of having a visiting Toastmaster from Singapore attend our meeting.  Mrs Mary Soon, CTS, CL is the current Area Governor of B3 in Division B of District 8. Mary belongs to two clubs; Leng Kee Advanced Toastmasters and Bukit Merah Toastmasters club.

mary visitMary with Pascale and Lisa

We had a fantastic meeting with six speakers and six group evaluations. We had time to catch up with Mary over the dinner break and she said that she was very impressed with the level of speaking at the club and how much fun we have.  Mary provided feedback to all our speakers in the group evaluation and her observations and suggestions for improvement were very well received.  As Mary has strong connection to Perth with her daughter living here, we are hoping she will join us again in the future.

Secondly, some of you will know Bertie Suwardi, who was a member of the Kalgoorlie clubs and helped set up the club in WASM. Bertie is now living in Sweden and is a mentor for Lulea Toastmasters.  Lulea TM is a fortnightly club which meets at the university campus and holds part of the meeting in English and part in Swedish. The club has got off to a great start and hopes to charter early in 2015.  Bertie and I, as well as the other committee members have been in contact over Skype and we are keen to jointly host a virtual Toastmasters meeting in March 2015 between the clubs.

This is a great opportunity for experienced Toastmasters in Perth to connect with a young club across the other side of the world; to reach out and share ideas and great speaking!!

I promise we will only be participating in the English speaking part of the meeting. If you are interesting in being part of the virtual meeting please contact me via email or phone. As the meeting is virtual there are no boundaries!! Some of the Kalgoorlie crew are keen to join in the fun too!



Lisa Evans DTM
VPE Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
VPM TLI Training Group

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Are Toastmasters like the Australian Christmas Tree?

christmas-treeAustralian Christmas tree (species Nuytsia floribunda) is a parasitic tree of the mistletoe family Loranthaceae. Native to Western Australia, they produce many yellow-orange flowers during the Christmas season. Its dry fruits have three broad feathery wings. The Australian Christmas tree forms connections to the roots of small plants such as grasses, through which it obtains water and nutrients. New Christmas trees may sprout from roots at some distance from the original plant.

When I was doing research on this topic, it suddenly dawned on me that except for the description of parasitic, Toastmasters are pretty similar to the Australian Christmas Tree.

Like Nuytsia floribunda, young and growing Toastmasters form connections with other established and thriving Toastmasters. They draw their inspiration, motivation and “nutrients” from these hardy examples. Unlike the Christmas Tree however, Toastmasters harbour no parasitic tendencies. Instead, there is a symbiotic relationship between the two. While the experienced Toastmasters (grasses) provide the nurturing mentorship, the young Toastmasters (Christmas tree) draw their education from the former to feed their own growth potential. While the tree grows to be a magnificent specimen in its own right, it then provides the shade for the grass beneath it. By this, I see the parallel as when the young Toastmasters become proficient they give to their mentors the pride of having nurtured a new group of hopefuls. Finally, when mentored Toastmasters perpetuate the growth cycle and in turn nurture their mentees, new “progeny” Toastmasters may sprout from roots at some distance from the “parent”.

Now here’s an analogy for consideration!

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Stephanie Chan
Southern Division Governor (2014/2015)

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Reward, Recognise and Celebrate -The Power of the Pin

Organisations who prioritise recognition understand its power. Toastmasters International has the tag line “Where Leaders are Made”.  One of the things that effective leaders do well is to create an environment in which people feel valued and appreciated.
Recognition is a powerful motivator!
In the corporate world it is well documented that increasing motivation through recognition naturally leads to increased productivity.
Volunteers are a different bunch; recognition is the currency by which we are paid. It doesn’t matter what position we hold in the club or the committee, we are all volunteers in the public relations and marketing of the organisation. The reward and recognition we receive from our clubs and district motivate us to become productive volunteers.
Recognition for progress, achievement and success is not just “a nice thing to do” for people. Humans crave recognition and for many people it is often as important as monetary gains. Any reward program should be simple, immediate, consistent and powerfully reinforcing.
When an organization recognises people effectively the very actions and behaviours that the organisation wants to achieve are reinforced.
An effective reward program should serve as a win:win situation. The individual is rewarded by following the desired action that is aligned with the goals of the organisation. In turn the organisation is recognised for valuing its members or employees.
Toastmasters International has a fantastic awards and rewards program that every member has access to. When a member has completed the required steps in the program, or has reached a certain criteria, the award will be given to that member. Toastmasters International takes care of the process; it is up to the Clubs and the District to make it personal. Simply having the letters printed after your name when you next log in is not enough!

The actual presentation of a pin, plaque or other recognition is mainly down to individual Toastmasters Clubs and Districts who make the call whether or not to adopt all the Toastmaster awards that are available.
The Triple Crown Award is for Toastmasters who submit three or more awards in the year 1 July to 30 June.
Toastmasters International sets the criteria and publishes the names of the recipients on the Dashboard, but it is up to the individual District whether they chose to recognise the Triple Crown Award members and present the pin.
Last year I earned the Triple Crown Award and was advised that at that time the District chose not to award pins to those who qualify for them.  This year, Ian Pickens the LGET is awarding the Triple Crown Pins to those members who meet the criteria.

Since being awarded my pin for being a current Triple Crown Award member I have worn it with pride. I have encouraged friends to try out a Toastmaster’s meeting and I have posted, Tweeted and celebrated with other Toastmasters around the world. That’s the Power of the Pin!
It may only be a small shiny metal pin but the power to reward, recognise and celebrate is huge.
For an organisation that faces the challenges of recruitment and retention, this simple act of acknowledging members who put in the effort, lead by example and embrace the Toastmasters program, can make a difference.

For every pin that is proudly worn on a jacket it’s another conversation: “What did you get that pin for?” I love talking to people and my favourite thing to talk about is Toastmasters.

Reward, recognise and celebrate at every opportunity and never underestimate the Power of the Pin!!


Lisa Evans DTM
VPE Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
VPM TLI Training Group

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Congratulations to the Clubs!!

The following District 17 Toastmasters have volunteered to be coaches for the following clubs:

City of Cockburn: Fiona McLean and Robert Cockburn
Netmasters: Marianne Law and Colin Hughes
Riverside:Pascale Amberville Colby

Every one of these clubs is making steady progress. New members have joined the clubs and coaches are working with club members to make the clubs better off because of their leadership, educational workshops and guidance. Well done, Fiona, Robert, Marianne, Colin and Pascale!

Currently we have at least eight clubs that need coaches. Being a coach is very rewarding experience. Your enthusiasm and experience can bring life into the club. Getting involved in helping the development of others is always immensely satisfying.   You will be recognised for helping the club to succeed. Coaching a club is a requirement for your Advance Leader Silver award.

Further information can be found at:

If you have the experience and time to become a Club Coach please let me know at: I’d love to hear from you.

Club Coach       Coach forms



Leonor Ragan
D17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2105

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Positive Promotion Premiership Points Ladder


Armadale Ux9, ALx1(75), Sx3, FEx6, ABx1, Nx1 240
Southern River ABx4(3×25,1×75), Hx1, Dx1 195
Canning Vale Ux6, Nx4, FEx5, Cx4 115
Noranda Ux2, FEx1, ALx1(75) 90
Touch of Gold FEx8, Sx1, Ux4 90
Mundaring Ux3, FEx1, Gx10, Cx5 80
Ellenbrook Ox1, Ux4, FEx1, Mx1 55
Guildford Stars Ux6, FEx3, 45
Swan Ux4, FEx2 30
WA School of Mines FEx2, Sx1 30
Victoria Park Ux1,Nx2 20
Northern Lights Ux3, FEx1 20
Curtin GSB Sundowner Ux3, 15
Murdoch Southsiders Ux1, FEx1 10
WA Governors Ux2 10
Curtin GSB Ux1 5


Well done clubs, with the promotional work you are undertaking, but don’t keep it to yourselves!

The top three contenders have changed again, with Southern River and Canning Vale making a surge this month. Don’t forget to get your points in each month. It’s also fantastic to see that three clubs have claimed their Triple Points Challenge (given to VPPRs at COT). I am sure that lots of you are doing wonderful things to promote your clubs and I look forward to receiving more advice (along with the necessary proof) hitting my email in the coming months. My email address is

I wish you a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

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Building Relationships Between Toastmasters and Corporations

During the visit of our Region 12 Advisor Philip Bendeich to District 17 last month, we visited Bankwest – Risky Toastmasters Club, Water Corporation, Water Corp Toastmasters Club, and Western Power – Electric Toasters. I thank these clubs for their enthusiasm and for welcoming Philip and me.


The purpose of the visits was to reinforce the relationship between Toastmasters and the above corporations. We also visit other corporations.

Risky Toast’s new banner was presented to the club members. A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Marie Hoy, the Water Corporation’s Internal Communications Manager, and to Bruce McCowan, Head of Human Resources in Western Power.


Our District aim is that the above recognition and understanding of Toastmasters will bring some positive changes to our relationships with the corporate clubs. Changes are necessary to have full support from upper management to build strong clubs that will last for years to come. I truly hope that our Corporate Area Governors will benefit from this outcome and in turn, our District 17 will too.


Leonor Ragan
D17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2105

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Ode to Toastmasters

Oh master of masters
Oh what wondrous gifts thou hast bestowed on me.
With much gratitude I thank thee.

Thy gift of connection
Thou hast given me.
By standing in front of an audience
Eager to speak and just be.

Thy gift of understanding
Thou hast given me.
By taking on leadership roles
Willing to learn, grow and just be.

Thy gift of confidence
Thou hast given me.
By stepping out of comfort zones
Embracing the new and learning to just be.

Thy gift of resilience
Thou hast given me.
By continuing when all else falls apart
Accepting the lesson and letting go to just be.

Thy gift of camaraderie
Thou hast given me.
By sharing and interacting with others
Allowing the space and moment to just be.

Oh master of masters
Oh what wondrous gifts you have bestowed on me.
With much gratitude I thank thee.


William Placanica
Canning Vale Toastmasters Club

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Past District Leaders Committee

Hi District 17 Toastmasters

Are you a past Division or Area Governor or past member of the District 17 Executive Committee?
Are you interested in helping with the successful expansion of the District into new parts of WA?
Are you interested in working as part of a dynamic team?
If you can answer YES to these questions then I’d like you to join the Past District Leaders Committee and help me as the Committee Chair to make it a big success!

Some of the activities the committee will be involved in are to:
Create a guide for clubs in remote Areas. Clubs in the remote areas of WA have unique challenges and need our ideas and help to become established.
Update the Area Governor’s Handbook.
Create a Division Director’s Handbook. (Yes – next year we will have new titles)
Develop criteria for deciding upon the Area Governor and Division Governor of the year.

Interested? If you are then drop me a line at


Charles Fisher DTM

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