Black Swan September 2016






Black Swan Newsletter

September 2016

Toastmasters District 17

Editor: Lisa Martin




Dear Toastmasters,

Welcome to the September edition of your very own Black Swan.  Our top three have safely returned from their international training in Washington DC, and are ‘hitting the ground running’!  You can see some photos in Sue’s story of the three of them in some important company.

Congratulations to all of you who are forging ahead with your awards. I am very keen to hear your Toastmaster stories; so now that you are all developing, practicing and sharing your speaking skills, perhaps it is time for you to turn your spoken words into written words and send an article to me for publication in the Black Swan.  Thank you to Rebecca Taylor of Shell Australia and Mandjar Toastmaster Clubs for doing just that.  Find Rebecca’s story below.

In our District Director’s Update this month, learn about the Washington Convention, the Kalgoorlie Contest and Club Officer Training (COT).  Also read about who has taken on the roles of Eastern Division Director and N23 Area Director, a notification to changes about what it means to be in ‘good standing’ and also about this years District success plan.

Happy reading.

lisa coffee

Lisa Martin
Black Swan Editor
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District Director Update:

District Training and Convention Highlights

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Highlights of the Toastmasters International Convention in Washington

On the second week of August the District 17 leadership trio headed for district training and the Toastmasters International Convention in Washington DC. We travelled for 29 hours. Our training was a busy time filled with lots of learning, entertainment, education and excitement. Then we had the task of interviewing 22 candidates for the positions of Second Vice President and International Directors for the Toastmasters International Board of Directors.

On 15 and 16 August we attended district training for our respective roles. We had the opportunity to speak to many other district trios from around the world. This was invaluable to compare and contrast our successes and challenges. There were several common themes; all the trios we spoke to had the same challenges of membership retention and membership renewals, training for new and experienced members, serving remote locations, personally types and how to work in a team situation, and conflicts and conflict resolution.

After the interviews of candidates, we had the big task of deliberating which candidates to vote for. Our assessments included listening to the candidates giving presentations at the Candidates’ Showcase session.

It was enlightening to witness Toastmasters operating on a global level. This prepared us for the most important event, attending the Annual Business Meeting in which elections were held for the vacant positions for International Directors; and Australian Mike Storkey became the International President, succeeding outgoing International President Jim Kokochi from Canada. We are very honoured to have an Australian as International President. We also were very proud of District 17 Past District Governor Mark Richards who was running for Region 12 International Director and achieved a very strong vote to be runner up. Thank you to all the 80 clubs that submitted their proxy votes to me as District Director. This was an opportunity for your voice to be heard and to have an impact in voting in both elections for the Board of Directors and proposals considered at the Annual Business Meeting.

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During the convention we were invited by our new International President Mike Storkey to visit the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C.


Kalgoorlie Area Contest and TLI/COT

kal area contest ep 2016 

On the weekend of 27 and 28 August, the District trio Sue Fallon, Patricia D’Cruze and I travelled to Kalgoorlie to run Club Officer Training and the Area Humorous and Table Topics speech contests. We were warmly greeted by our E14 Area Director Morrie Goodz at the train station.  It was great to catch up with our Touch of Gold, Golden Gourmet and WA School of Mines club members, some of whom are foundation members, and to meet new ones.  Jess Kinnersly (from Touch of Gold) won the Table Topics contest and Charles Fisher (from WA Governors) won the Humorous Contest. Congratulations to Jess and Charles who will represent the Area at the Eastern Division Final on the 1st October.

After the evening contests, Robin Lonsdale and Morrie Goodz provided us with breakfast the following morning.  By 9.15 am, training was underway for the club officers. Four hours later, after training it was time for us to catch the Prospector train back to Perth.  In just 24 hours we had packed a full day of business. The commitment of Kalgoorlie Toastmasters, and the country hospitality they offer, make these visits truly worthwhile. Thanks to all for your dedication.

New Appointments

During this month we have appointed the following District Officers to replace officers who could not continue for work or personal reasons:

Judith Allen, new Eastern Division Director, and

Christine Hounsham, new N23 Area Director.

Please help me to welcome Judith and Christine to the district team.


Up to the end of August, 80 members have achieved educational awards. It is wonderful to see that you are achieving your personal goals. Also three dedicated members have completed their DTM awards: Catherine O’Brien, Gladys Lavell and Tom Bielski. Congratulations!  What an achievement!

Are your members in good standing?

Modifications to Policy 2.0  (Please click the Policy 2.0 for full description of the modification)were approved by the Board of Directors in August 2015 and went into effect July 1, 2016. These changes included updated terminology to define a member in good standing.

The 2016/2017 District Success Plan

Your District leaders are working on developing this year’s District Success Plan building from the results of the previous year.

There are three main areas which operate as key performance indicators:

  1. Membership growth and membership retention – we all need to ensure that we are upholding our Toastmaster Promise to new members and existing members. Our members are the most important part of our District. Our Club Grow Director, Patricia D’Cruze is working persistently to increase our membership. To maximise our membership goals, we need more volunteers for club sponsors, mentors and coaches. Please contact Patricia at: to volunteer.
  2. Club growth and club stability – we will be supporting the growth of new clubs and assist existing clubs with rebuilding and stabilising membership.
  3. Promotion of the Distinguished Club Program to help our members achieve their individual goals and clubs to achieve their goals. I encourage all clubs to achieve a minimum requirement of Distinguished Club status.

I continue to be inspired by the commitment of our members, our club officers and our district officers. We have a challenging but invigorating year ahead to succeed in achieving our goals and most importantly looking after the needs of all our members.

Leonor Ragan

Leonor Ragan DTM

District 17 District Director 2016-17.

The Passion to: lead, communicate and achieve your goals

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Region 12 District Trios visit to the Australian Embassy in Washington DC

It was an honour to be invited to visit the Australian Embassy in Washington during our recent Toastmasters International Convention.

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Mike Storkey DTM is welcomed by Joe Hockey

Our new Toastmaster’s International Director – Mike Storkey DTM from Queensland, Australia was welcomed to the reception by The Hon. Joe Hockey the Australian Ambassador to the USA. Mr Hockey gave a delightful speech to congratulate Mike on his journey and election to the post. All the District Trios from Australia and New Zealand were welcomed by the Ambassador and his staff to the “Trump Room” at the Embassy. You can see the Red, White and Blue banners which displayed both Trump and Clinton election material along with an interesting mix from other politicians throughout the USA – a good display prior to the actual US Election later this year.

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Joe Hockey with D17 top three L:R Sue Fallon, Joe Hockey, Patricia D’Cruze, Leonor Ragan

The Embassy is located at 1601 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington DC and currently bears a huge picture to the front of the building highlighting Sydney Harbour. Mr Hockey advised that the Embassy will be temporarily relocating and the older building will be demolished and a new building will be built on the same site in the near future, because of the wonderful location in Washington DC!



Sue Fallon District 17 Program Quality Director Perth Australia

Sue Fallon
District 17 Program Quality Director

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Distinguished Toastmaster Awards- August 2016

Congratulations to:

Tom Bielski DTM      Gladys Lavell DTM

Tom Bielski   Gladys Lavell

Congratulations to our two new Distinguished Toastmasters for their fantastic achievement.

Your commitment to the learning and development required to reach this standard is immense and I am extremely proud of both of your endeavours!

Sue Fallon District 17 Program Quality Director Perth Australia

Sue Fallon
District 17 Program Quality Director

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Educational Awards – September 2016

DTM 8/01/2016 Bielski, Tom Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club
DTM 08/23/2016 Lavell, Gladys Doreen City of Cockburn Toastmasters
CC 8/01/2016 Guzek, Agata Curtin GSB Sundowner Toastmasters Club
CC 8/03/2016 Davis, Roger Harold Stanley Bunbury Club
CC 8/03/2016 Tan, Yue-Li Subiaco Early Birds Club
CC 8/08/2016 Gandhi, Milan Sandgroper Toastmasters Club
CC 8/11/2016 Rickert, Lauren Kwinana Toastmasters
CC 8/12/2016 McAuliffe, Brenda Plain Speakers
CC 08/19/2016 Thanthirige, Chanaka UWA
CC 08/23/2016 Volodina, Elena West End Toastmasters Club
CC 08/24/2016 Leong, Rachel M K Banyandah Toastmasters Club
CC 08/30/2016 Griffiths, Tecwyn Fremantle Gateway Toastmasters Club
CC 08/30/2016 Sharma, Krishna CPA Toastmasters
CL 08/15/2016 Hughes, Colin Netmasters
CL 08/16/2016 Hinscliff, Ross G. Banyandah Toastmasters Club
CL 08/30/2016 Monteiro, Darrell Victoria Park
ACB 8/02/2016 Yong, Poh Lain Victoria Park
ACB 8/08/2016 Jung, Yeon Su Victoria Park
ACB 08/15/2016 Rea, Pauline Victoria Quay Club
ACB 08/30/2016 Monteiro, Darrell Victoria Park
ACS 8/09/2016 Akilan, Chandrika Murdoch Southsiders Toastmasters Club
ACS 08/19/2016 O’Brien, Leon P Rockingham Toastmasters
ACG 8/02/2016 Sansome, Kevin Neil Applecross Toastmasters
ALB 8/08/2016 Tierney, Olga Touch of Gold Toastmasters Club
ALB 8/12/2016 Telenta, Chris John Sunday Sundowners Toastmasters Club
ALB 08/26/2016 Richards, Robyn A. Canning Vale Toastmasters
LDREXC 8/02/2016 Sequeira, Andre J. Canning Vale Toastmasters

Sue Fallon District 17 Program Quality Director Perth Australia
Sue Fallon
District 17 Program Quality Director

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Marvellous Membership Award

Every club in District 17 can win the Marvellous Membership Award. All you have to do is meet following criteria

  1. Achieve both membership goals of 4 new members by 30 September 2016 and 31 March 2017 ((Distinguished Club Program Goal 7 and 8).
  2. Submit 20 membership renewals by 30 September, 2016.
  3. Submit 20 membership renewals by 31 March, 2017.

Clubs which achieve these goal will be awarded the Marvellous Membership Award at our District 17 Convention in Fremantle in May 2017, with a recognition ribbon to proudly display on their club banner.

Let’s try our best to continue to strive for strong membership for the benefit of all the members to make our meetings fun and vibrant.

Patricia D'Curze D17 Club Grow Director

Patricia D’Cruze DTM
Club Growth Director 2016-17

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Membership renewal

renew picClub Treasurers must send membership renewal dues reminders to their members to ensure they receive members’ fees in time to submit before 30 September. Sample invoices and receipts are available on the District 17 website.

With Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests in full swing, it is extremely important that contestants, clubs and even judges are in ‘good standing’ to be eligible to compete or assist in any contests held post 1 October 2016.

What does ‘good standing mean’?

A club is considered paid and in ‘good standing’ when its dues have been received by World Headquarters for the current dues period (1 October 2016-31 March 2017).

If the money is sitting in your club bank account, and the Treasurer has not paid your dues to Toastmasters International you are considered to be a ‘graced member’ or, put simply, an unpaid member. This could have a negative impact on all contestants who wish to compete in the upcoming Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contests held post 1 October 2016.

How to Submit Renewals?
To submit renewals online, go to and log in with your username and password. Next, follow these steps:

  1. From the Club Central home page, select the club name and number you want to pay renewals for.
  2. On the Conduct Club Business page, select ‘Pay dues’.
  3. On the ‘Pay Dues for My Club Members’ page, select ‘In the future’ and click ‘Submit’. All orders with a future membership end date will appear.
  4. Select the members you wish to pay for, provide your payment information and follow the prompts to process your payment.

TIP – Treasurers, if you have not received all your member renewal dues, pay the minimum of eight members — at least three of whom were members of the club during the previous renewal period first and then pay the rest of the dues before 30 September 2016.

Remember there are over 15,400 clubs in 135 countries around the world all submitting their renewals online, so get in early to avoid the rush!


Patricia D'Curze D17 Club Grow Director

Patricia D’Cruze
Club Growth Director 2016-17

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Quiz night

Grab your Crazy Hats and get your tickets now! The quiz night is coming.

This year’s quiz night is open all Toastmasters, their families and friends. No need to dress up, but if you wear a crazy hat you may win a special prize. It will be an evening of entertainment, fun and games, with several rounds of questions and multiple raffles. There will also be a wine wall, auctions and much, much more.

Please bring your own food and drinks. Soft drinks, wine and beer only are allowed.

Individual tickets are priced at $15, but if you book a table of 8 for your club there is a special discounted price of only $100 per table. The evening promises to be loads of fun.

In 2015 the trophy was won by Electric Toasters. Will the defending champions keep the trophy? Or will another club get to have their name engraved as evidence of their superior knowledge?

Save the date: 29 October at 6:30pm. Venue: Karrinyup Community Centre, Davenport Street.

Buy your ticket here:

This link can also be used to buy raffle tickets to win free entry to the 2017 District Convention which will be held in Fremantle. You can buy raffle tickets to go into the draw even if you cannot attend the quiz night in person.

For more information on how to contribute to the quiz night or to donate money or prizes on behalf of yourself or your club, please contact our Quiz Night Committee Chair Charles Fisher or send an email to


Almarie Meyer
District 17 Public Relations Manager


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Positive Promotion Membership

Keep those PPP entries coming! We are entering the first contest season now and every club contest is an opportunity to take some photographs and submit an article to your local newspaper.  Remember to write a personal story about the winner. Newspapers are always looking for news about local residents. Don’t forget to mention the club and how readers can find and participate in club meetings.

It is not too late to enter the Toastmasters International Video Brand Contest that is running till December 2016. I’m sure you can do better than the recent winners.  See the current winning video at:

If you need any help at all with writing press releases, speaker biographies,  or any promotional activity then please contact me on If I cannot help you myself I will find someone who can.


Almarie Meyer
District 17 Public Relations Manager
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Have you ever thought of joining an advanced Toastmasters club?

Are you one of those Toastmasters keen to progress through the manuals as fast as possible? Or have you become so comfortable in your home club that nothing scares you anymore? Do you know what your evaluator is going to say before they even start speaking?

Here in District 17 we have a wide choice of advanced clubs and there is sure to be one that will be the perfect fit for you. You can join an advanced club even if you have only done a couple of speeches as long as you maintain your membership at another club.

When I learned about advanced clubs I got so excited that I joined two and helped start another. Every advanced club has a different purpose, so the club you join will depend on what you want to achieve as your next goal.

I first joined WA Governors, because that is where you will find a current, previous or upcoming district leader to share ideas with you and be your mentor. Any club officer is welcome to join and any current or prospective area directors are strongly encouraged to join or at least to come along to a few meetings. Every club meeting has a focus on some aspect of leadership.

The second advanced club I joined was the TLI Training group. This club exists to help the district prepare and present training sessions and workshops. If you are a trainer or interested in adult education then this is the club for you. Aren’t you curious about what happens behind the scenes at club officer training?

The third and final advanced club I joined is Competitive Speakers. I’ll answer the question I know you want to ask. No, you do not need to compete in speech contests to be a member or to get value out of this club. Here you will be evaluated by the group whether you give a speech, a table topic or an evaluation.  It is a great place to practice contest speeches, but also a place where you can get top level feedback and enjoy presentations on the art of public speaking.

DTM Pathway is a club I visited, but did not join due to being slightly overcommitted to other clubs already. This club will asset you in achieving your DTM and provides group mentoring.

Whether you want to meet new people, challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone or find somewhere to give some of those longer speeches in some of the advanced manuals, the perfect second club may be just around the corner.

If you need more information you can either visit the District website to find a club or speak to your Area Director and/or Club President. Come visit. You will be welcome at whichever club you decide to visit.


Almarie Meyer
President WA Governors
VPE Competitive Speakers
VPM TLI Training Group

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Sharing Gold

It was an intense moment in the 2016 Rio Olympics 200m Butterfly Finals when an unknown 21- year old from Singapore pipped the great Michael Phelps to win the first Olympic medal ever for the nation.  Joseph Schooling’s Gold medal performance was sterling but what was more amazing came days after the championship win.

Back at his alma mater, Schooling was swamped by the immense attention from students and teachers alike. 9-year old Darion was selected to present a bouquet to Schooling’s mother, May.  Upon completing his task, young Darion made a quick U-turn to exit the stage. He was stopped in his tracks by Schooling. Putting his hand into his pocket, Schooling pulled out his Olympic Gold medal and asked if the boy would like to wear it. A stunned Darion nodded sheepishly and Schooling personally placed the medal around the lad’s neck. Having posed for photos, young Darion took off the medal and passed it to schoolmate Marcus, who was on stage to hand out a certification to Schooling. Glory won is glory shared, perpetuated by the selfless act of these 2 young people.

As we move into the start of Club competitions, take a leaf from this story about “sharing”. Club Contest winners, you have put in the endless hours of crafting, revising, practising and finally delivering your script. You deserve the win. These are only the heats. As you ascend up the ladder to reach Area, Division, District (or even the coveted International) stage, remember your beginnings at your respective clubs. Like a sports training program, your Toastmaster program has been put in place to discipline and hone your skills. Every accolade you achieve is also the result of the support from your fellow Toastmasters and their guiding evaluations. Share your moment of glory with your Toastmaster family. Single out individuals who have been instrumental in your progress. They may just pass on that acknowledgement to someone else thus cascading the motivation all around.

Sharing is the responsibility of all Toastmasters members. Whether you are competing against a fellow member or as part of the audience, impart your thoughts and evaluations to the participants. Give tips to each other on how they may improve their speech. Never let fear (of not being as “good” a speaker) overrule your ability to communicate your personal reception of their speech and remember to use the CRC method! J

As members, we help build up our representatives through encouragement and feedback. As runners-up, be a legend like Michael Phelps, who showed no hints of negative emotions when he congratulated the man who upstaged him. As contest winners, divvy out your Gold medal to acknowledge your supporters. For such are the moments of encouragement, inspiration and motivation that will make District 17 and all its members … CHAMPIONS.


Stephanie Chan
VPPR, Southern River Toastmasters Club

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My 60th birthday speech for my Mum

My goal is to be an effective speaker. When I have something important to say, I want my message to be clear and understood. That’s why I joined Toastmasters. In June this year, I completed both my Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership manuals. The certificates look very official and I enjoy feeling a sense of achievement and excitement about the challenging new projects ahead. But my highlight so far has been the way I applied my Toastmasters learnings to my Mum’s 60th Birthday speech this July.

Preparation started in April. I emailed all the guests in advance and asked them a few questions about my mum; their favourite memories, what makes her unique and how she makes them feel. Essentially I was seeking the “essence” of my Mum rather than attempting to tell everyone’s stories. I really wanted to find out how people related to her so that my audience would feel connected to my speech. I thoroughly enjoyed talking to old friends and family members and I found each story had a common thread – my Mother’s life was a musical! Consequently, I framed my speech using song lyrics as reference points for the different aspects of her personality.

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During the speech, I used palm cards and spoke (and sang!) comfortably into the microphone. I had a prop – an elephant costume she had made my daughter. I made eye contact with everyone and paused to allow for laughter. When the audience made heckling comments throughout my speech I shared these so everyone could hear and that aroused even more laughter. On a more serious note, I shared the lessons that my mum has taught me and reflected on how others have had the same sort of experiences with my mum.

Collating the responses was a lot of fun so I presented the emailed responses to her in a framed poster as well. My Mum found it very interesting to have her personality reflected back to her and later said things like “yes, I do jump between thoughts as I speak” or “I do feel strongly about taking things one step at a time.” It gave me a lot of joy to thank my mum for some of the ways she has influenced me to break tasks down into manageable bite-sizes and be brave enough to go on adventures in my own journey.

Following my speech, I was regularly asked if I speak professionally or do this sort of thing for work. Everyone commented on how skilfully my speech was crafted and how well prepared I was, demonstrated by being able to present with minimal notes and with effective expression. Most importantly, I was confidently able to present for my family and both my brothers and my Dad thanked me for speaking on their behalf.

Toastmasters helped me to share a story about someone who means the world to me. I am confident that my message was received, understood and appreciated.

Rebecca Taylor_edited-1

Rebecca Taylor
Shell Australia
VP Public Relations Mandjar Speakers
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