Black Swan October 2020


Black Swan Newsletter




The official newsletter of Toastmasters International District 17.


District News
Mentor Appreciation Month
2020 District 17 Conference Refunds
Off-The-Cuff Toastmasters Club
Workshop: Evaluations for Your Personal Growth
Club News
Fundraising to Support Venue Hire
Up, up and away for Canning Vale Toastmasters
Games Night
Meeting Procedures Club in Action
Victoria Park: Bouncing Back
Member Stories
A minute with Henry Yau
My Story: Advice I’d like to share
Submitting Articles to Black Swan


District news





Mentor Appreciation Month – November

All of us should have mentors and it is our mentors who guide us through our journey through Toastmasters, some for the very first time whilst others are continuing.

They are there to celebrate our milestones and more importantly there when we need them.

Mentors don’t get the recognition they deserve so during the month of November why not contact your mentor and simply say “Thank you for being my mentor”.  You could do more of course but that is up to you.

In District 17 we have many wonderful mentors who go beyond their role to ensure their protégé’s develop and improve in their Communication and Leadership Skills.

Mentors provide us with support, encouragement, knowledge, inspiration and many more.

I am aware of some mentors that meet their protégé outside meeting hours even on weekends and on telephone calls late at night.

Without mentors by our side we would be lost, and it would be far too easy to simply give up.

In my opinion a strong Toastmaster’s Mentoring Program will assist all clubs in maintaining stability within their membership. Mentors and protégé will stay at the club longer to continuing their journey TOGETHER.

So, your club should have a Mentoring Program, and If not, then you should start one immediately and you will see the positive difference for the members and the club itself

I am sure most of you will have some wonderful stories/memories to tell us about your mentors.

I put a challenge to all of us to write an article, with photos if you have them, and tell us why your mentor is so special to you and submitted to the Black Swan for the December issue.

Let’s all give our mentors the recognition they richly deserve.

To my own personal mentors Ian Pickens and Robyn Richards, I would start by saying “thank you” to you both for supporting and believing in me. I would not have been where I am without your guidance and assistance.


Henry Yau, DTM
District Director
District 17, Toastmasters International


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2020 District 17 Conference Refunds

Dear D17 Toastmasters Members, by now you would have become aware that the annual District Conference planned for Bunbury in 2021 will be replaced with a Virtual Conference online. In due course, Bunbury plan to submit an offer to host the Conference in 2024, when we will have it coincide with the June long weekend to allow us to plan a 4-day event.

In the interim, we are now processing refunds for those who had paid for registration and/or accommodation via our website. By now, everyone should have received a personal email from me to organise their refund. Once you receive this, you need to follow the directions in the email for our Treasurer to process your refund.

The first step is to write to me on my personal email at – please DO NOT REPLY to the email that I have sent you as this is from an email server and it is likely that you will get an “Undeliverable” bounce back email – it is unlikely that I would receive your “Reply” email in this circumstance.

Once I have received your email with the requested deposit details, your refund will be processed in batches of 10 by our Treasurer when he can – that refund should be processed within one week approximately of receipt. When processed, we will send you a receipt for the refund. Please allow one week for the transfer of funds.

Please check your emails and please respond to me at your earliest opportunity to start the refund process. If you know that you registered and have a payment receipt and have not received an email from me, then please write to me at and I will follow up. We might have got incorrect or out of date contact details for you.

Please note most people “reserved” Convent accommodation, but did not actually pay for the accommodation. If you feel that you paid for accommodation at the Dardanup Convent, I will need you to provide a receipt.

Thank you everyone for your support and patience. It was with sadness that we had to cancel Conference in Bunbury, but we are looking forward to our bid for the 2024 Conference, and should we be successful, we look forward to sharing that June long weekend with you.


Thank you


Morrie Goodz  DTM
Bunbury Toastmasters 2021 District 17 Conference Ex Co-Chair
M: 0429-834-912


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Off-The-Cuff Toastmasters Club

A great new advanced club is starting up on 5th November in Midvale. Why start another advanced club? For FUN and CHALLENGE! This club specialises in impromptu speeches, longer Table Topics, and a couple of surprises. We will order supper at half time, and drinks are BYO. We meet at the office of Real Estate Plus Commercial in Farrall Road, Midvale right across from Dingo Brewery. Don’t worry, you can still bring wine. Initially we will start at 6:30pm but that might be changed depending on how everyone feels.

Impromptu speaking is vitally important in everyday life, and the practice of this skill is both challenging and fun. Although your speeches will not be prepared, they can still be used for credit in your Pathways path as long as they meet the purpose statement for that speech. So why not try something different?

How will the evening work? When you arrive you will be given an agenda. The only people who know what they are doing beforehand is the Toastmaster and the Topics Master. Other roles will be assigned on your arrival, and will include inspirer, speakers, evaluators, timer, and General Evaluator. Bring along the evaluation sheets for your next speech in case you are selected.

Any questions, please contact John Palmer on 0429-001-337. Also kindly let us know if you are coming.


Event Details

Date: Thursday, 5th November 2020
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: Real Estate Plus Commercial, Unit 3, 14 Farrall Road, Midvale
RSVP: John Palmer on 0429-001-337

Contact: John Palmer on 0429-001-337 or

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Workshop: Evaluations for Your Personal Growth

TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club is very pleased to announce our next workshop, Evaluations for Your Personal Growth which will be facilitated by Caroline Devenish-Meares, DTM.

Caroline will share with participants the benefits of evaluations, both for the evaluator and the evaluated. Learn how to evaluate effectively and what to look for when you are evaluating a person’s presentation or speech.

Sometimes we don’t like the thought of being evaluated or worry about what the evaluator will say, but Caroline will cover the reasons why evaluations are good for us.

The workshop will be delivered online via Zoom and participants will receive a workbook prior to the workshop and a certificate following the workshop.

Event Details

Date: Thursday 10 December 2020

Time: 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Venue: Online via Zoom

Cost: Free

RSVP: To register for this workshop, go to

Once you have registered, you will receive an email with the workshop Zoom link and your workbook.



TLI Training Group Toastmasters Group meets monthly of the 1st Thursday. If you are interested in developing your presentation and facilitation skills, we would love to welcome you to our club. See our website for more details:


Cherie Wallace
VPPR – TLI Training Group Toastmasters Club


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Club News





Fundraising to Support Venue Hire

Aspire Toastmasters hosted a Bunnings Sausage Sizzle Fundraising event on Sunday 4 October 2020. A group of volunteer club members worked hard together to help raise funds to enable the club to continue meeting at The Palms (Palm Community Centre, Rokeby Rd, Subiaco WA 6008) every other Saturday afternoon from 14.30pm to 16.30pm. ️ The venue is both convenient to travel from different areas of Perth and in a central location.

As Club President Maree Pickens said, “We’re very happy with the venue and hope to continue to provide a pleasant club meeting experience in every aspect to our members and visitors without increasing club membership fees. Bunnings Sausage Sizzle fundraising provides us a good alternative and supports our strategy for club development.“

During the day, we also got the opportunity to chat with many people regarding Toastmasters and how we’re helping people to develop their public speaking, communication and leadership skills. It was a great way to promote both Aspire Toastmasters as a club and Toastmasters International as a whole.

Thanks to Toastmaster Eric Davies for organizing the event! Eric is a veteran member of Aspire Toastmasters and a consistent contributor to the development of our members.

Thanks to Area Director Dyzan Maroef for his support. Thanks to all the committee and volunteer members who made the event a great success! We got to know each other outside the club meetings even more. A marvelous team-building experience!

Vice President, Public Relations

Aspire Toastmasters Club



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Up, up and away for Canning Vale Toastmasters

It was a meeting to challenge the great Comic-Cons of the world as members of local public speaking group, Canning Vale Toastmasters, celebrated its 600th meeting on Tuesday night.

With the Roman Numerals for 600 being DC, members could not miss an opportunity to don their superhero outfits and celebrate in style with a DC Comics theme.

Originally chartered in March 2008, Canning Vale Toastmasters is a local public speaking club that focuses on communication and leadership development.

President of Canning Vale, Christina Ng, who joined as a member of the club in 2016 explained that the club is more like a family, which is credit to its longstanding success and popularity with local residents.

“Canning Vale Toastmasters is a community of likeminded people who aspire to be leaders and learn leadership skills through public speaking,” Christina said.

“Communication is a fundamental part of being a great leader, and skills like listening, delegation, negotiation and time management are all taught in the Toastmasters curriculum.”

The event on Tuesday night was spearheaded internally by members, who formed a committee and planned the celebration as part of their leadership training.

“The success of our meetings is credit to our members’ training as confident, professional leaders,” Christina said. “Everyone pulls together to make the club thrive and our 600th milestone is proof of this.”

Like almost every social club or sports club, Canning Vale Toastmasters was not immune to the national Covid-19 lockdown that happened in March 2020. But the resilience of the club meant that Canning Vale Toastmasters continued to meet online through Zoom before returning to face-to-face meetings in September.


Canning Vale Toastmasters now meets every Tuesday from 6:15pm-8:00pm at Last Drop Pub & Brewery, 507 Nicholson Rd., Canning Vale.  All guests welcome.




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Games Night

Having a game night at a Toastmasters meeting was such a success! Sunday Sundowners had a game night with six different games.

We had a debate game, where there were three affirmative speakers and three negative speakers on a topic at the Toastmasters pick. The topic for this particular debate was American Cheese is better than Swiss Cheese. The affirmative speakers had to state why American cheese was better and the negative debaters spoke on why Swiss cheese is better. The audience voted on the cheese and team which gave better points and which cheese and team won. Sadly, Swiss cheese won.

We had a Tall Tales contest, A tall tale can have one small part that is true or it can totally unbelievable (untrue).

We had three people get up on a soapbox and we voted on the best rant.

Meaning of a word was played, where the toastmaster states a word that hopefully no one ever heard of and only tells one contestant the true meaning. The other two contestants make up a meaning and then the audience voted on who they thought gave the correct meaning.

Dear Abbey Advice Column was another game where the toastmaster stated a problem they were having and the contestants had to try to help them come up with a way of fixing the problem to make it go away.

The final game was This is My Friend… . One person gives the toastmaster a paragraph on themselves and only one of the contestants knows the truth and the rest of the contestants make something up. Everyone in the audience votes on who is the real friend.

We had four guests in attendance and everyone had a great night. We are all looking forward to having another games night again soon. Please join us.


Linda Mann, DTM
Vice President, Public Relations
Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club


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Meeting Procedures Club in Action


Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club supported District 17 recently to plan and run an extremely successful District Council Meeting.

Club President, Allen Hahn, DTM, was appointed the Credentials Committee Chair by District Director, Henry Yau, DTM. The Credentials Committee assisting Allen consisted of Ross Wilkinson, DTM and Leonor Ragan, DTM. The Committee members are all members of Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club and spent many hours in the lead up to the District Council Meeting checking the credentials of each club and District Council Member, refining their methods for quickly establishing a quorum on the day, and simplifying and testing the way in which votes were cast and counted.

Other Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club members in the District Council Meeting nerve centre on the day were Sue Fallon, DTM as the Chat Monitor and Cherie Wallace, DTM as the Administration Manager.

In the photograph above District Director, Henry was presiding over the meeting while surrounded by his support team: Parliamentarian, Janette Edwards, DTM; Timer, Saminda De Vas, DTM; Meeting Host and Tech Support Team Leader, Michael Piotrowski; Tech Support Team Member, Dzyan Maroef, the Credentials Committee and Chat Monitor.

Meeting Procedures Toastmasters Club welcomes anyone to the club who is interested in meeting and parliamentary procedure. There are opportunities to assist the District with high-level meetings and club meetings are both robust and educational.

The Club meets monthly on the fourth Monday. For details go to our website at

Cherie Wallace
VPPR – Meeting Procedures


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Victoria Park, Bouncing Back

After some setbacks during the Covid-19 period, Victoria Park Toastmasters is bouncing back and now meeting in a large hall in East Victoria Park.

Last Monday, the 5th of October, we had 6 guests. The guests that come have mainly been generated as a result of people looking online, and the location of Victoria Park has always attracted lots of guests in the past – our future growth looks promising! We had a great enthusiastic meeting last Monday, and with the potential of new members, we look forward to many more vibrant club meetings. 

Keith Green
President, Victoria Park Toastmasters Club


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Member Stories



A minute with Henry Yau, DTM

Henry Yau DTM is the 2020/21 District 17 District Director. As well as shouldering the responsibility for the successful operation of our District, Henry is also an active member of Toastmasters Club: City of Perth, Electric Toasters, Terrace Speakers, Zoom-Masters, and Banksia Speakers.

Henry joined Toastmasters on 1 September 2009 after a previous boss asked him to attend to help improve his presentation skills. I wonder if his boss knew that Henry was destined for great things within the District?

Henry gets a lot of satisfaction from being a Toastmaster and said that the reason he nominated for the District Director role is that he loves giving back to an organisation that has taught him so much.

There have been a lot of proud moments for Henry over the past 11 years, but he says that his proudest moment was seeing his protégé achieve her DTM.

Just when you thought you knew Henry well; did you know that he is an identical twin? He also has a twenty-six-year-old son and an eighteen-year-old daughter.


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Advice I’d like to share

Hello Fellow Toastmasters

Hi. I thought I’d share some of my experiences in Toastmasters and tell you about how it has helped me. I think that you could benefit from the Toastmasters experience.

When I first attended Toastmasters Northern Lights Club in 2003, I didn’t join straight away. I just wanted to be there to enjoy a social event. I didn’t want to become a better speaker or anything in Toastmasters. It was about 2 months later that I joined.


Not long after I started to do my speeches, a member after the meeting took me aside and said “you’re a stutterer”. I just looked at him not wanting to answer. Then I said yes, he then gave some tips on how to control the stuttering that I use to this day. Two of the tips are to pause and breathe, compose myself, and then continue with the speech. The thing was when the speech was evaluated It was often said that I pause too long. Little did they realise that was my coping mechanism.

One memory I have is of the last speech of my Competent Communication manual. The speech was titled ‘The Trophy’, an 8 to10 minute speech. It took me about half an hour to try and complete the talk. I didn’t finish it, my mentor stood up and said that I worked hard and struggled with the speech, I received a standing ovation, for trying and not giving up, which was very humbling.

Over time I became more confident not only in Toastmasters but personally as well. I have held Club Executive Positions in Toastmasters. I was one of the founding members and a Club President of Electric Toasters, and have held Executive positions at Northern Lights.

I’m also with Parents Without Partners where I was State President, all this thanks to Toastmasters where I built and honed my confidence to hold these positions.

The advice I’d like to share.

The advice I would give someone who is looking for the first time at a leadership position. Go ahead and do it; you never know where the journey will lead you. You will never know unless you give it a try.

In life, you need a goal, a trophy to aim for. In Toastmasters when you are doing a project speech, you start with your icebreaker then all the way to completing your CC manual, or now, a path. Your motivation is that goal or trophy that you are aiming for. It doesn’t matter how long it takes; never lose sight of the trophy. Paint it larger than life, and strive to achieve it.

Having all members actively involved is important in having a healthy club environment for all members to have the opportunity to learn and grow both in Toastmasters and personally.

Yours in Speaking.

Ray Brestovac
Northern Lights Toastmasters Club


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Submitting Articles to Black Swan

Want to submit an article next month?

If you have any news, stories and tips that would like to share with your fellow Toastmasters within District 17, write to us by the end of the month! Complete the submission form and email to

Black Swan Submission Form

  • Articles must have a relevant news category
  • Articles must be relevant or of clear interest to Toastmaster members.
  • Articles must reflect the TI core values; Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence.
  • Length must not exceed 300 words
  • Please supply images with the best picture quality available
  • Supply names of people shown in images.

Mina Cho, DTM
Black Swan Editor

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