Black Swan October 2014

Black Swan October 2014

The Newsletter of Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Judith Allen




October has been a very busy and exciting month with contests, quizzes, workshops and celebrations to provide a varied and hectic program of Toastmaster events. Reports from our District 17 leaders show that we are on track to achieve District goals.  This month’s issue highlights some of the 90th Anniversary celebrations and once again includes some timely and thought provoking educational contributions.


Judith B Swan

Judith Allen Black Swan Editor
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District Governor Report

Chock-a-Block October

Wow! Wasn’t October the busiest month so far in this Toastmasters year?

We had no less than 10 Area Finals and the Northern Division final for Table Topics and Humorous Contests, our SMAC Workshop for aspiring Sponsors, Mentors and Coaches, our Annual Quiz Night, your District Executive Committee Meeting which included a visit from our Region Advisor, Philip Bendeich from NSW, renewals due at WHQ and to chock October totally full, we celebrated Toastmasters 90th Anniversary. Phew! I feel exhausted just typing all that. I hope you’re not exhausted having attended them?

Congratulations to every contestant at club, area or division level for stepping into the realm of contests where your heart rate increases, your hands moisten and your memory is tested to its limits. I salute you for your efforts and I know you will have grown from your experience. Salutations also to every official at every contest, for without you, no contest would exist. You are champions. If you attended a contest and enjoyed yourself, learned something or met someone interesting, compliments to you for adding texture to your Toastmasters journey. I attended many of these contests and all were extremely well run with high quality speakers and much team fostering.

Lieutenant Governor Marketing, Leonor Ragan and Lieutenant Governor Education & Training, Ian Pickens, put together a superb SMAC Workshop for anyone who aims to become a successful Sponsor of a new club, Mentor of a new club, Coach of a struggling club or Mentor of another member. This workshop was well attended with learning, sharing and collaboration being the order of the day.

Our Region Advisor arrived in Perth on Thursday night in order for him and Leonor to hit the corporations early on Friday morning. They visited many organisations who currently have a Toastmasters club and some others who would benefit their staff by beginning one. They have high hopes of having some new company names on our club list before this year is out. I would like to thank Leonor for all her efforts in organising this day, dragging Philip around the city and ensuring all his expectations were met. Leonor was exhausted after the day but she still attended our Quiz Night that night and was her usual jovial self. What a star!

Once again, our Quiz Night was a triumph. Thanks and congratulations to District Public Relations Officer, Sue Fallon, and her team for a wonderful night. The Ellenbrook team took out the winning table and they were deserving champions, holding the lead throughout the night, I believe. Fun and learning was had by all who attended.

Saturday October 18th saw your District Executive meet all day with training sessions and our District Executive Committee Meeting. Here all Area and Division Governors and the senior leaders report on district issues and make decisions on district matters. They are to be congratulated for their professional reports, attention all day and helpfulness in holding a productive day. I know they are dedicated to you, our members, and I thank them for this from the bottom of my heart. It’s easy to work with team members who all have the same vision; to see our members achieve their own goals and have fun on their Toastmasters journey.

Renewals is a time to reflect on past performance of meeting our members’ expectations. The joy of seeing a member renew their commitment to improve their communication and leadership skills or the harsh reality of a member not renewing is a sure way to judge this. If your club has graced members at this time, I encourage you to reach out to them, encourage them back or to another club, if possible. We have many members who have not renewed and sometimes all it takes is that phone call to reinspire them. I like to think of our district as a family, which reminds me of a quote from the movie Lilo & Stitch; “‘Ohana” means “family.” “Family” means “no one gets left behind.” Let’s not leave any member of our family behind.

October was also the special celebration of our organisation’s 90th Anniversary. This is an opportunity to celebrate, market and promote Toastmasters, our District and your club. If you haven’t already held a celebratory meeting or event, it’s not too late. We have a whole year to do this. Let the world know we are proud of Toastmasters, we are indebted to Dr Ralph Smedley and we are ready to serve every member of the community to assist them to improved communication and leadership. I am looking forward to seeing many articles in Black Swan with photos and descriptions of your festivities. Let’s have a party that lasts the whole year long.

Of course my final message to you is to have a wonderful month where you achieve your own goals on your Toastmasters journey and have fun.

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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Find Your Voice and be Visible

Most people fear getting up on the stage to speak. When I step up to the stage, my greatest fear is that the audience will not see me – on account that I’m not much bigger than a Chihuahua. To add insult to injury I was very shy and very quiet. I was so quiet that when I was young, my parents once left me behind at a shopping centre. As I had not made any noise, they had forgotten that I was with them.

This deadly combination of being short and shy had put me in a very bad place. It had made me … invisible. Going through life as the Invisible Woman was a painful experience. It was as though I didn’t exist. Around that time, I had received a flyer from a Toastmasters Club asking the simple question, “Do you want to find your voice?” That was exactly what I needed but the thought of speaking in front of people threw me into a tailspin. Immediately negative self-talk convinced me that failure was imminent. However, the pain of remaining invisible forever outweighed the fear of failing in public and I decided to risk it at Toastmasters. That was five years ago.

What I learnt from Toastmasters was that the fear of public speaking was all in the mind. It is a game of perspectives driven by the EGO. The EGO says, “When I’m on stage, it’s all about me and how I perform.” More often than not, this culminates in the three universal fears of “I’m not good enough”, “I don’t belong” and “I’m not liked”.

Change your perspective! It’s not all about you. It’s all about your audience and what they will gain from being entertained, informed and motivated by you. No two perspectives are identical. Take for example your view of what Toastmasters is. If I said it’s a public speaking organisation, most people’s first reaction would be to take three steps back and adamantly say it’s not for them.

What if I said, Toastmasters is a social club where like-minded people come together to improve their communication skills? Doesn’t that feel a little better already? And what if I said, Toastmasters is a social community which comes together to swap stories and share passions?

“I can do that!” I hear you say. Finally for social media aficionados, if I said Toastmasters is a media for verbal blogging, would you say “SOLD!”?

Here is a tip. When you do your “elevator speech” as to what Toastmasters is about, position it from the perspective most comfortable and suitable for your audience. After all, your audience will buy in to what you say if they feel that their need is met by joining Toastmasters.

Ultimately, whatever the perspective of Toastmasters is, the important thing to know is that Toastmasters will help you find your voice and will make you visible.


Stephanie Chan
Southern Division Governor (2014/2015)



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Where Have All The Managers Gone?

Today most companies are over led and under managed. Ever since the distinction was made between leadership and management- leadership somehow being portrayed as the important stuff and management being of secondary importance – attention has focused on leadership.

You only have to trawl through the business section of your favourite bookstore to see that 85% of topics and titles relate to leadership. Management’s importance is under emphasized and often seen as the less glamorous administrative counterpart to leadership.

Management, in one sense is as old as man. The late great, Peter Drucker, known as the guru of gurus on management, pointed out that all great business builders – from the Medici of Renaissance Florence and the founders of the Bank of England in the late 17th century down to IBM’s Thomas Watson in our day – had a clear perspective of the business which informed all their actions and theories.

Drucker was one of the first people to realize that companies are held together by a shared vision of the future – and that it is up to the manager to facilitate and communicate this process.

Indeed Machiavelli (1469-1527) is considered by many to be the first western management theorist. Any executive exposed to corporate politics (i.e. every manager in the world) could do worse than read the “The Prince” with its advice about being “a great dissembler and pretender”.

Most companies are under managed and over led. Management and leadership are two sides of the same coin. Leadership without management is disconnected, because if you lead without managing, you don’t know what’s going on.

By the excessive promotion of leadership, we demote everyone else. In this light, effective managing can be seen as engaging and engaged, connecting and connected, supporting and supported.

The global financial crunch highlighted not only excessive greed but a fundamental inability for individuals and organizations to manage their day to day activities. With too much focus on visions, strategies and long term gain, we forgot to spend time working on the small, important daily issues.

Leadership is currently facing many conundrums. To lead or to manage, to focus on the individual performance or team performance, to fire fight or to fire prevent?

John P Kotter in his book “What Leaders Really Do” makes a clear distinction between the two roles and in doing so helps to clarify for the manager the percentage of time needed for managing, for leading, and for daily activities.

He writes that over the last few decades, literally thousands of managers, consultants, and management educators have developed and refined the processes, which make up the core of modern management. These processes, summarised briefly, involve:

  1. Planning and Budgeting – setting targets or goals for the future, establishing detailed steps to achieve targets, timetables and guidelines: and then allocating resources to accomplish these targets.
  2. Organising and Staffing – establishing an organisational structure and set of jobs for accomplishing plan requirements, staffing the jobs with qualified individuals, delegating responsibility, and establishing monitoring systems.
  3. Controlling and Problem Solving monitoring results versus planning in some detail, both formally and informally, by means of reports, meetings etc; identifying deviations, which are usually called “problems”, and then planning and organising to solve the problems.

These processes produce a degree of consistency and order. Management was created to help keep a complex organisation on time and on budget. That has been, and still is, its primary function. Leadership on the other hand is very different. It does not produce consistency and order, as the word itself implies; it produces Movement. Throughout the ages, individuals who have been seen as leaders have created change, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

What constitutes good leadership has been a subject of debate for centuries. In general, we usually label leadership good or effective when it moves people to a place in which they and those who depend on them are genuinely better of, and when it does so without trampling on the rights of others. The function implicit in this belief is constructive or adaptive change.

Leadership within a complex organisation achieves this function through three sub-processes which can briefly be described as:

  1. Establishing direction – developing a vision of the future, often the distant future, along with strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision.
  2. Aligning people communicating the direction to those whose job it is to implement strategies.
  3. Motivating and inspiring keeping people moving in the right direction despite major political, bureaucratic, and resource barriers to change by appealing to very basic, but often untapped, human needs, values, and emotions.

The IBM web site global/leading illustrates The Individual Management Model which clearly defines how every employee, no matter what their job function or title, would be able to operate an maximum efficiency by apportioning their time between the following three activities.


Professional             Manager                 Executive

graph Marlene

  1. Leading others by setting direction, giving encouragement, or modelling the way.
  2. Managing business and people processes by planning, organizing, directing, and controlling work activities.
  3. Doing the technical, vocational, or administrative work themselves.

This then begs the question: how to allocate the percentages for various levels and functions?

Let us look at an example of a cleaner at an airport. One of the major airlines has allocated a budget for the cleaners to meet as a team each quarter to decide how to spend the money on improved customer service.

The cleaner spends:

85% of the time Doing – washing, floors, toilets, basins.

10% of the time Managing – filing in the roster, ordering supplies etc

5% of the time Leading – deciding on how to improve customer service

The executive on the other hand would spend

10% Doing

40% Managing

50% Leading

The percentages are meant as guidelines and will vary for each job function depending on the outcomes expected, the maturity level of the individual, and the actual situation.

How should managers be developed?

If we are to assume that in our daily lives managing and leading are perfectly natural acts, then are we wasting time trying to create great managers and leaders? Definitely not! The training room is a wonderful place to enhance the comprehensions and competencies of people especially when it draws on their own natural experiences. The training must provide self-assessments, team discussions and activities which will enable the participants to share life and work experiences, to learn and understand what others think and feel, and to build solid lasting colleague/client relationships.

Development programs must be designed and facilitated to help managers experience life changing moments of their experience, by reflecting on it personally and with colleagues.

These interventions, in order to have lasting impact, need to be:

Meaningful – Self-awareness assessments, using sound common sense combined with experience, contain relevant content understood by all, and easy to transfer to the rest of the team.

Motivational – Learning to listen for mutual understanding, how to collaborate, and to show empathy. Appreciating and applying the enormous value of reward and recognition.

Memorable – Combining interesting and challenging new concepts, with company culture and global appreciation, when designing business models.

To be a successful manager and leader, maybe you don’t have to be wonderful so much as definitely emotionally healthy and clearheaded.

“What are the biggest challenges facing business today?”

To provide a new sense of optimism and more confidence building by focusing on:

  1. The Global economy – the implication for leadership extends beyond economics and includes culture. Global leadership means global understanding and collaboration, which suggests that we all conform to the same values, principles, and standards. However cultures, countries, even companies have their unique, individual origins and roots – do we discard these?

Mintzberg in his book “Managing’” suggests that “worldly” might be a better approach. Worldly is identified in the Oxford dictionary as “experienced in life, practical, sophisticated”. T S Elliot suggested that managers should be exploring ceaselessly in order to return home and know the place for the first time.

  1. A changing workforce – many notions of loyalty and job security are extinct. Managers need to provide more ways to reward and recognize, to combat workplace negativity and retain key staff members. How can you build a workplace where people trust each other and the organisation? How can you build a workforce where people believe they will be treated with dignity and respect?
  2. Accommodating the “Millennial” generation – students and younger workers show an intense search for meaning, social responsibility and enhanced degree of global concern – workers believe they can and will make a difference. How can organisations provide a climate for people to bring their souls to work, not just their heads and their hands? Future generations see global forces (other economies, markets, and competitors) as opportunities not threats. Outsourcing must be seen as a strategic solution not as a threat to job losses.
  3. Using technology to develop a culture of speed, and encourage strenuous self-development. Provide effective and efficient communication programmes that will reduce sources of conflict at work and build trust, understanding, integrity and consistency at all levels.


There is no doubt that in today’s work place with a better educated, younger workforce, there is a critical need for everyone to take their place as a manager and a leader. As long as organizations continue to nurture talent, to encourage all employees to take on the responsibility of leadership and management, and to allow for learning from mistakes and successes, we will create a new breed of confident, contributing, competent managers.

Training programmes must be designed to enable all employees to:

  1. Achieve job objectives – the goals their organisation expects them to reach and exceed.
  2. Demonstrate tangible returns – application of relationship skills when added to solid technical knowledge produces a contributing, satisfied employee.
  3. Play a major role in an environment where they can enjoy personal satisfaction – able to work productively with the team, solve problems, and resolve conflicts.
  4. Lead and manage with increased influence and integrity.
  5. Challenge fundamental assumptions about leadership and understand the role of general management.

Management is not to control people. Rather it is to let them collaborate. There is a sense of respecting, trusting, caring and inspiring, and my pet subject, listening. With effective communication at all levels, a culture of reward and recognition, training and development, we will encourage the managers to emerge stronger than ever, willing to embrace challenges, partner with clients for mutual success, collaborate on a global scale, behave in a worldly manner, and create an environment where everyone can earn the right to act empowered.


Marlene Ward DTM
TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club


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Club Membership Building Contest


Division Club Name New Member Total


Canning Vale Toastmasters



Victoria Park



Banksia Speaker Toastmasters Club



Curtin GSB Sundowner Toastmasters


Congratulations to these four clubs for an outstanding effort in welcoming more than 5 new members between August 1st and September 30th.

It is wonderful to see that 72 out of 75 are now “A Club in Good Standing”. Congratulations to the 72 club Presidents, Treasurers and Vice Presidents of Membership for completing your duties and ensuring your club is supporting our members on their Toastmasters journey. Division and Area Governors your continuous support for your club members is very commendable. District 17 recognises your true dedication.

Let’s have all 75 clubs in good standing before the grace period, which ends of the 30 November!

What is the next challenge you may ask? The next challenge is to achieve enough membership for our clubs to be enjoyable and fun with enough members to run successful meetings. That number is 20 members or plus 5 members if your base number at the beginning of the year was less than 20 members.


Annual Membership
Dates: July 1 2014 to June 30 2015

Many Congratulations to David Nicholas for adding 5 new members.

Membership growth is important to ensure club success. As a sponsor of five new members, you will qualify to receive a unique sponsor’s pin directly from Toastmasters International.

5 members pin

Who will be the next sponsor of 5 new members? Could it be you? Yes, I must definitely! I look forward to receiving this news from Toastmasters International.

Leonor Ragan DTM

Leonor Ragan
D17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2105


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Competing On The Big Stage – Kuala Lumpur 2014

Recently I had the honour of representing District 17 (WA) in the semi-finals of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking in Kuala Lumpur in August 2014.  This contest is not just a step up from the contests we run here in our district in WA; it is more like a leap.

After winning the District 17 International Contest in May I knew I had to step up my game.  Olivia Schofield, International Speaking Coach and Keynote Speaker at the District 17 Convention passed on invaluable tips and recommendations that I was able to use and incorporate into my speeches and hopefully step it up a level or two.

Prior to going to KL I attended many local clubs practising and refining my speech based on many of the recommendations received.  My main mentor, Marianne (my wife), must have heard my speech 20 – 30 times solo, also providing me invaluable feedback right up to an hour or two before the contest in KL.

I practised my speech in the hotel room in front of Marianne about 10 -12 times on the day of the contest.  Even on the day I made two changes which enhanced the speech.  It wasn’t all about content either; it was about delivery, body movement, gestures, facial expressions, pauses, stage craft and more.

There were nine semi-finals on the Thursday with 91 speakers competing for one of nine places in the World Championship on the Saturday.  Of course I was in the one with 11 people. The rest all had 10 contestants.  No matter, it is all about your speech, not the others.

I drew contestant number 10 out of 11; a good position.  My contest had six Americans, two Australians, one from Canada, one from Mexico and one from the Bahamas; a good mix.  It was an hour wait for my turn. I was calm and not as nervous as I am when I compete in Division or District Contests.  Just prior to going on I practised my power poses and breathing exercises which helped quite dramatically (I recommend it).

When it was my turn to speak I stepped up and delivered awesomely supported by many of the Australians who were in the crowd, including the NSW group.  I made no mistakes and felt it was one of my best renditions of “The World Needs More Bricklayers” speech.  I had done what I came to do and the decision was in the hands of the judges (tough at that level).  When the winners were announced I had secured third place behind the other Australian contestant, David Griffiths, from Sydney and the Winner Kelly Sargeant from Houston who went on to come third in the World Championship.

This was definitely a journey of experience for me on what it takes to be competitive at the next level. Although I do Toastmasters for fun I want to be the best I can at public speaking and contests certainly provide that environment.  I encourage anybody in Toastmasters who wants to lift their skills, to enter into contests and challenge themselves to take it to the next level. I will continue competing for a while as I have unfinished business and want to challenge myself to be better.  Hope to see you at the contests.

peter law

Peter Law
Armadale Toastmasters



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Celebrating Our Achievements       stars


What a fantastic start to the year we have had. The impetus generated by achieving Presidents Distinguished District last year has carried forward.

Eight Toastmasters have achieved their Triple Crown award already which is excellent. Congratulations :

Lisa Evans 4
Marianne Law 3
Robyn Lloyd 3
Graham Macdonald 3
David Nicholas 5
Ian Pickens 3
William Placanica 3
Ross Wilkinson 3

Five Toastmasters have achieved their DTM. Congratulations to the following:

DTM 07/01/2014 Evans, Lisa Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
DTM 07/01/2014 Amberville-Colby, Pascale C. Perth Justalk
DTM 07/03/2014 Macdonald, Graham R. Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club
DTM 07/21/2014 Placanica, William Willetton Toastmasters
DTM 09/23/2014 Pickens, Ian A. City of Perth Toastmasters Club


52 members have achieved their Competent Communicator, and 20 members achieved their Competent Leadership. Add in the 23 Advanced Leadership and 16 Advanced Communication awards already achieved, and we are well on the way to having 30 – 38 Distinguished Clubs by the end of June 2015. There are nine clubs that already have five or more awards lodged.

Congratulations to everyone who has achieved an award this year. Congratulations to the clubs who are ensuring their members obtain maximum benefit from their membership.


Our next TLI and COT dates are 7, 12 and 15 February 2015 and if you can’t make the Perth training, you can join us as we take TLI on the road to Kalgoorlie, Karratha, or down south.

TLI Training Group has already presented the “From Speaker to Trainer” workshop. The next opportunity, open to everyone, is “Parliamentary Procedure in Action and How to Conduct Productive Meetings” on 15 November. There is one more workshop planned for March. All these workshops are presented for your benefit and I encourage you to register early.

WA Governors (WAG) Club is presenting a series of meetings to assist Area Governors (AG). It is not a training workshop as such but WAG identified a need and is facilitating the opportunity for AGs to pick up some additional information as they deliver specific and targeted information on club nights.

In my view District 17 is delivering a series of diverse opportunities and alternate options to provide training; different venues, different times, and subject matter. All are delivered by expert Toastmaster and non-Toastmaster presenters. I am excited to see so many club leaders and members attending different training sessions.

The District will continue to deliver training and workshops and continue to look for ways to add value to your membership by offering quality training and training opportunities. One of these will be an “Emerging Leaders” workshop on 7th March 2015, a valuable insight into what a District leader does and needs to do.   This workshop focuses on Area Directors, Division Directors, Public Relations Manager and Club Growth Director.


Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 LGET

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Emerging Leaders Workshop 7 March 2015

Are you stepping up as a District Leader 2015 or 2016?


  • Investigate and explain the role of Area Director
  • Investigate and explain the role of Division Director
  • Investigate and explain the role of District Public Relations Manager
  • Investigate and explain the role of District Club Growth Director.

Why this workshop?

At the end of every year and beyond we all say one or all the below:

  • “It was not until the end of my role I really understood it”
  • “I did not know what to expect but I am so glad I accepted it”
  • “I learnt so much from my year it would have been nice to have been told???   before I started”

This workshop is a workshop to prepare you; to offer some guidance to what the role is all about, how we do what we do; to answer questions.

This Workshop is not an application or declaration of intent to run for a position.   This is not a workshop to tell you how to do your role; that will be reserved for the elected or appointed few at the training session in June 2015 after the Convention.

I know the challenges that are being faced and would like to see that we accept our role with eyes wide open.

Believe me, I have heard: “You would make a great AG or DG” or “I want you to apply for the role of….”   I have even heard: “I am really stuck, will you please be….?”

It is very hard to say no, or to find out just what is expected.

This workshop will help to make a decision; help to prepare you for the role; help you to know what the leader does; help you to understand what I know you can do.



Ian Pickens DTM
District 17 LGET 2014/2015


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MadCHATTERS Celebrate TI’s 90th

Chatter, chatter, bang, bang… what an electrifying, enchanting and edifying night of madness, merriment and chat, chatter, chattering it was, as the terrific Toasties from N23 donned their crazy hats and celebrated Toastmasters’ 90th anniversary in what is to be, we hope, the start of widespread fellowship, teambuilding and interaction within our area.

Peta the TM

Jennifer set the scene with her inspirational mini education on the value of whatzits as conversation icebreakers. Before long everyone was exchanging hat whatzit stories to partners, and then to the wider audience, just to make sure everyone had used their listening skills effectively.

Judith took us on the journey, Toastmasters USA to WA, and all were hushed, albeit momentarily, as she skilfully spun the story that Toastmaster elders must pass on in order that the appreciation, understanding, and commitment of the next generation to Toastmasters continues.

Top hatted Bill showed what it takes to make the perfect Toast and no doubt Ralph Smedley would be proud to know he was represented so eloquently, in situ, by one our Area’s most dedicated Toastmasters. Although no alcohol was used for the toast, the chocolate and blue iced celebratory cakes, and array of lollies, chocolates, and the usual supper fare, well and truly compensated, and conversations flowed like a rapid river during the break. The atmosphere was exhilarating, I kid you not!

Martin gave the good oil on preparing and conducting impromptu speeches, and nifty Neville, ever so graciously- if you’d seen the splendiferous blue hat- gave an illuminating impromptu eulogy on behalf of some group for a concocted fellow who had blown himself to bits playing with chemicals.  Bill, Jennifer and Neville

And not to be outdone, Pascale’s educational on the art of conversation from the Toastmaster perspective, with role play and audience feedback, provided food for both thought and appropriate future dialogue.

Janette, using Fierce Conversations as a point of reference, was able to convince fellow Toastmasters of the negating power of the word but …always has been one of my pet peeves too, but… to the point where Guildford Star president Ros declared she is going to trial it in the um err role – a practice I strongly advocate we all emulate…” your speech was great, but…”- who amongst you does that?- no buts, people!

Amid the many effective educationals were hilarious Table Topics segments that, given half the chance, I would have cheerfully listened to for another hour or so; and a speech from Karen, who, tongue in cheek, revisited some of the things she had learnt from fellow Toastmasters- which, by the way, had some members of the uninitiated, non Ellenbrookian audience, speechless.

All in all we were out there to have FUN, and fun we had. We were out there to have VARIETY, and variety we had. We were out there for FELLOWSHIP, and fellowship we got. We were out there to HONE our skills, and hone our skills, we did.

And we were out there to CELEBRATE Toastmasters, to pay homage to those who paved the way for us, and to inspire each other to CONTINUE the Toastmaster legacy …and this, we did, and will continue to do.

Special thanks to Swan for hosting the event, Judith, for the inspiration and promo, and to all those members who supported the event.


Peta Rakela – Area Governor N23

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WA Governors Visit Kalgoorlie

On the weekend of Saturday, 4th October, eight WA Governors Club members conducted a very successful visit to Kalgoorlie to attend the Area N26 Humorous and Table Topics Contests. WA Governors is part of Area N26.

We travelled by train, leaving Perth at 7:00am and arriving in Kalgoorlie at 2:30pm with enough time to make it to the contests. At 6:30pm after the contests, we held a special WAG meeting with 20 people in attendance. We took the opportunity to celebrate Toastmasters International’s 90th Anniversary” in style and a friend of one of the Touch of Gold members made even a cake and it was a sight to behold (and to taste!). Every member of our team had a role at the meeting and one aspect that was very meaningful was the camaraderie, enjoyment, and the educational opportunities.


To Touch of Gold, WA School of Mines and WA Governors Club members: many thanks for your contributions. It was an amazing opportunity for all of us to share such a special event. That weekend in October will be one that we can look back on and appreciate the learning and networking experience. Many thanks to our wonderful host clubs and to our N26 Area Governor for their hospitality. The invitation was terrific and I feel very privileged.

wag at Kal

Leonor Ragan DTM

Leonor Ragan
D17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2105


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90th Anniversary Celebrations

I’m sure many of clubs have celebrated 90th Anniversary of Toastmasters International in the past month. Those I had the pleasure of attending, made this a very special part of their regular meeting.

Mundaring Toastmasters held a double celebration on 7 October – the club’s 5th and TI’s 90th Anniversaries. We had a wonderful meeting with past, present and prospective Mundaring Toastmasters and our Area Governor attending, and were in a festive mood after the cake cutting and a tasty supper. A highlight of the evening was the innovative Table Topics (pass the parcel).

AG and charter member

Guildford Stars Toastmasters Club meeting on 13 October was the first held in their new venue, The Hall at Wesley Uniting Church, celebrating 90 years of Toastmasters and new beginnings for Guildford Stars. In addition to our members, we welcomed former members, two visitors and Peta our diligent Area Governor, as always a supportive presence. Ann toasts Toastmasters


Table Topics was great fun, with questions relating to being 90 years old: How would you celebrate your 90th? What would be important to you at 90? How would you like to be remembered at 90?  We had a second set of Table Topics devoted to the Anniversary. We had a second set of Table Topics devoted to the Anniversary with questions involving how Toastmasters would have looked if it was Australian founded and still all male.





WA Governors’ 16th October meeting was attended by members, visitors and special guest Region12 Advisor Philip Bendeich.  After an informative meeting on “Effective Area Governor Club Visits” we celebrated TI’s 90th Anniversary with the cutting of our Anniversary cake, before mingling over supper.  This is an integral part of each meeting when members and guests network and discuss issues raised during the meeting.

Leonor cuts cake                       Mike, Maree, Phillip, Patricia

Swan Toastmasters Club was host to Area N23 Clubs on 22nd October and the “MadcHatters” theme was embraced enthusiastically by everyone there. Led by Area Governor Peta Rakela, members from all five Area N23 clubs presented speeches, responded to table topics and engaged in conversations. The meeting was a great success with a great deal of chatter, camaraderie and food over supper.

club leaders cut cake

Judith Allen

DTM Pathway Celebrates TMI   90th Anniversary

23 October 2014



 TM_90thWhen people hear the word “basement” they’re more likely to picture mold and spiders than the birthplace of a global communication and leadership training organization. But a basement in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California, is exactly where, in 1924, Ralph C. Smedley held the first meeting of what would eventually become Toastmasters International.

Smedley began working as director of education for a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) after he graduated from college. He observed that many of the young patrons needed “training in the art of public speaking and in presiding over meetings” and Smedley wanted to help them. He decided the training format would be similar to a social club.

During the early 1900s the word “toastmaster” referred to a person who proposed the toasts and introduced the speakers at a banquet. Smedley named his group “The Toastmasters Club” because he thought it suggested a pleasant, social atmosphere appealing to young men.

A series of rented office spaces in Southern California served as Toastmasters International’s “home office” until 1962. That year the staff moved into its first World Headquarters building in Santa Ana, not far from the YMCA where the first Toastmasters club met.


90 years and 1 day ago, on our meeting night, the first Toastmaster meeting was held in Southern California.

Our esteemed President and 6 times DTM, Ross Wilkinson led proceedings for this special event. This was an excellent opportunity to meet our members and find out how DTM Pathway can help you on your journey to becoming a DTM.   Group evaluations, lovely food, and a glass of wine, what an excellent networking opportunity. What more could you ask for?

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Leonor Ragan

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Speaking In Praise

Toastmasters is like one big family. We meet new people, we make friends and we learn and grow together. People come and go and many leave a positive impact on their fellow members. I have met many Toastmasters who have helped, empowered and motivated me to succeed.

One Toastmaster stands out among the crowd – for all the right reasons! This Toastmaster does not talk about personal leadership or values; he puts them into action – consistently. The Toastmasters’ values of RISE – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence are implemented by this member at every meeting. He does every role to a very high standard. He is also a VPE’s dream member as when I make a short notice call requesting someone to “step up” the answer is always Yes!

Warm, witty, loyal and always there when you need a role filled at short notice or when you need someone to let off steam to (great listening skills too!). Who am I talking about? Charles Fisher is this Toastmaster.

I want to share with you a recent positive contribution that Charles made to my personal Toastmasters’ development as well as to our club Northern Gourmet.

At Northern Gourmet our meeting format is six speeches and six  group evaluations. At last month’s meeting I did a speech on how to run an effective group evaluation as we had some new members and guests. I asked Charles to lead the evaluation as I knew he would do a great job.

This is how Charles went about this task – the gold standard of speech evaluations!!

Charles made contact with me well before the meeting and asked me to provide details on the manual, the project, speech objectives and title (this should be standard practice but in most cases it doesn’t happen).

Charles then emailed club members and gave them the objectives of my speech, so that on the night they would come along prepared to give some useful feedback. Charles facilitated the group evaluation perfectly, drawing out of the audience plenty of feedback – both commendations and recommendations.

After the meeting, I received a comprehensive written evaluation that went far beyond the key points in the manual. Charles has developed his own template for this.

I am sure there are many other Toastmasters who have appreciated Charles’ exemplary service and leadership. I believe that we don’t reward and recognise enough in Toastmasters and that is why I want to share this with the rest of District 17.

I believe the attention to detail and the extra effort that Charles puts into the evaluator role demonstrates exemplary commitment to the learning and development of fellow Toastmasters and I want to publicly acknowledge Charles for his continued efforts.


Lisa Evans DTM
VPE Northern Gourmet Toastmasters
VPM TLI Training Group

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Youth Lead the Way With Halloween Meeting

Halloween is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. A Youth Leadership Program running for students from St Benedict’s Primary School in Applecross, presented the entire meeting, including Table Topics, on the theme of Halloween.

The group of eight students, two from Year 6, four from Year 4 and two from Year 2, would at first glance seem to be impossible to manage. However, having such a diverse range of ages is actually very rewarding. The youngest ones really try to emulate the older ones, whilst the older ones support and nurture the youngest ones. It helps that they are all friends and have supportive parents who also get involved in Halloween theme and participate in table topics.

Our Youth Leadership Coordinator, Libby Perruzza, on the right above, is the mother of one of our group and a former Toastmaster. She set up the group at the start of the year and despite the fact that the course was completed months ago, the kids and parents just want it to continue. What a blessing to have such supportive parents.


John Palmer DTM

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Banner Parade

Your District Executive has invested in some stimulating banners to display at our District Events for your information and inspiration. You will have seen our Gold Fever Convention and our District 17 – Where Leaders are Made Banners displayed earlier in the year, but we now have others to complement these.

Leonor has organised two banners which help with our celebrations of the 90th Anniversary of Toastmasters. If you were at the Northern Division Final you would have seen them. They are fantastic with great photos and the anniversary logo.

We also have a new hot air balloon banner that is bright to catch your attention. These three balloons represent the three goals we need to achieve as a District to become Presidents Distinguished and we hope they will also serve to help each member understand our District goals.

We encourage all Areas, Divisions and clubs to use the banners for special events so don’t be shy in asking to borrow them for your celebrations.

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Each year, by each of you achieving your goals, you know that you help your club to achieve goals. Each club supports the members by helping them to set and achieve their own personal goals. These goals manifest into the club achieving its goals which are represented by the Distinguished Club Program. Along with the clubs achieving goals, each Area Governor has tasks they need to perform in order to achieve Distinguished Area. Similarly, each Division has another set of goals and so does the District.

Pre-requisites for the District to achieve our goals are reporting items the District Executive must furnish to Toastmasters International to render us eligible to participate in the Distinguished District Program. These have all been completed on time so we are ready to continue with the goals. This is where you come in. By you reaching your goals and your club reaching Distinguished status, will ensure the District attains the status we have come to expect, Presidents Distinguished!

You will see we are required to achieve a minimum number of membership payments. This means dues paid to Toastmasters International by each club in our district and it is always higher each year to ensure we are growing as well as retaining members.

Then we need to reach a minimum number of paid clubs or “clubs in good standing”. These are clubs who have paid the minimum number of membership payments to Toastmasters International.

Finally we need a minimum number of clubs to achieve at least Distinguished status. This is ascertained by the Distinguished Club Program.

You can see that each of these goals is directly linked to good management by your District leaders, each club’s leadership team and each individual member achieving their goals.

It is so inspiring for me to watch new members grow from the first time they speak with shaking, sweaty hands, into confident communicators and leaders in our district and beyond into the home, workplace and community. That is why it is my aim to encourage every member to set a goal for the year; tell your club members and your Area Governor so it is “out there” and you can’t forget it. Then as you and others around you achieve these goals, you will be able to watch our balloons aim for the sky as the current status numbers edge ever closer to our goals. Check out the banner at every District event you attend and be proud to know that you are a big part of District 17 flying high!


Robyn Richards DTM
District 17 Governor 2014-2015

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The Marvellous Membership Award


Previously I have announced the Marvellous Membership Award and as of the 30th of September 2014 the following clubs are in the running for this meaningful award:

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Congratulations to these 12 clubs officers and their members. You are well on your way to achieving the Marvellous Membership Award. Don’t forget to claim credit in your Competent Leader manual if you have personally worked in this club membership contest (Project 6, 8 and 10). Thanks for your commitment to keep our membership strong and healthy.

Leonor Ragan DTM

Leonor Ragan
D17 Lieutenant Governor Marketing 2014-2105

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Positive Promotion Premiership Points

Well done Clubs, with the promotional work you are undertaking, but don’t keep it to yourself!! It’s fantastic to see that three clubs have claimed their Triple Points Challenge (give to VPPRs at COT). I am sure that lots of you are doing wonderful things to promote your club and look forward to receiving more advice (along with the necessary proof) hitting my email in the coming months. My email address is fallon1892&


Armadale Ux7, ALx1(75), Sx2, FEx1 155
Southern River ABx2(1×25,1×75) 100
Noranda Ux2, FEx1, ALx1(75) 90
Touch of Gold FEx5, Sx1, Ux4 65
Canning Vale Ux6, Nx3 45
Ellenbrook Ox1, Ux4 40
Guildford Stars Ux4, FEx2 30
Swan Ux4, FEx2 30
WA School of Mines FEx2, Sx1 30
Mundaring Ux3, FEx1 20
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


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

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Public Relations (PR) for your Club – Getting published in the Local Papers

PR is based on building relationships and generating goodwill, which leads to credibility.
If a newspaper article mentions Toastmasters training as a great way to enhance one’s career, that article carries more credibility than a Toastmasters International paid advertisement on the same page.
From PR we can create free publicity within local media:

• A project that relates to a topic of interest for local residents and/or business members in the community
• Speech contest – local person moving up to a higher level after winning at club/area/division level
• Club anniversary and/or Toastmasters 90th anniversary

The most important PR tool you can use to connect with members of the news media is a human one.
Editors are looking for stories of interest to their audience. Supplying info is fairly straightforward.

The key is to be absolutely certain of your facts, and have all the info they need so they can tell the full story. Journalists often use this formula when gathering information for a news article:
1 Article = 5Ws + 1H

Who is it about? What happened (what’s the story)?
When did/does it take place? Where did/does it take place?
Why did/does it happen ? How did/does it happen?

Making sure the relevant points above are covered, write your story and submit your article with any supporting photos in .Jpg format.
You can either look inside your local newspaper for the “Contact Us” info which is likely to be on page 2 and select a reporter to contact.
Alternatively visit this website and select your local newspaper and follow the prompts for Press Release submissions

When y ou article gets into print, don’t forget to send the proof to me on and this can increase your PPP points.


Sue Fallon
District 17 Public Relations Officer

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