Message from the President

Welcome back Fellow First Oakville Toastmasters to the 2018-2019 season.
One of the most humbling experiences so far as Club President has been to see how many members are returning for another awesome season. The new executive team is grateful for our members and has been very busy learning and growing into our new roles.  In addition to meeting over the summer, we have been busy planning a very exciting year ahead.  As the President of this club I want to share with you a
little of what to expect for this upcoming year.

1. Club Culture
One of our most important goals is to preserve our club’s culture. We have an awesome club with a number of special traditions (Christmas Party, Charter Party, Summer Party) and friendships that have been built over the years. As we prepare to celebrate our club’s 62 years we will do our best to protect this and to ensure that we help create synergy at our meetings together with our membership and guests.

2. Education
This year we will continue what we do best as a club and that is to provide quality speaking and leadership opportunities in a fun and engaging way.  As Ralph C. Smedley, Founder of Toastmasters believes, “We learn best in moments of enjoyment.”
We have also organized a very special Gold Speaker Series featuring three very talented speakers in District 86 for our three open houses this Fall.  Our first Gold Speaker was
Hassan Wadi who shared his winning Humorous Speech and a workshop on “The Art of Storytelling- 10 keys to telling a great story.”

Our second Gold Speaker is Roger Caesar, DTM, three time Toastmasters District champion in public speaking and he represented District 86 at the World Championships of Public Speaking in Chicago, IL, on August 23, 2018.  He will be joining us on October 25, 2018.

Our third Gold Speaker is Gregory C.N Smith, DTM author of the book, “Life’s loudest secrets” and he will be presenting a workshop on how to write a winning speech. He will be joining us on November 22, 2018.  The Gold Speaker series is intended to provide our members with excellent workshops and to inspire our members to write their own winning speeches, whether they are considering entering the International Speech Contest, or completing their Competent Communicator designation, or maybe a persuasive sales pitch at work.

We are also very lucky to welcome back our good friend, Dennis Bartel, DTM who will be delivering a workshop on Parliamentary Procedure in order to help our members understand the proper procedure during the Business Session of our meetings. (October 4th , 2018).

3. Collaboration
We have all the ingredients lined up to cook up an amazing new Toastmaster year.  The executive looks forward to working collaboratively with all our members, to learn from all of you as we continue our  journey of becoming better leaders, better listeners, and better speakers.  As we begin this new year of growth, let’s support each other, let’s lift each other up.  Use your mentors; if you don’t have one – get one! Let’s be patient with one another, let’s be understanding, let’s be positive and inspiring.

While I have only been a member since 2016, my journey with the club has been rich and rewarding on both a personal and professional level.  While I have never had a fear of public speaking,  as someone who works in sales it has been tremendously important for me to learn how to sharpen my skills.  Toastmasters is not just for those who have a fear of public speaking.  It is also for professionals who want to learn how to deliver concise messages, learn how to inspire and motivate your audience/team.  While I recently completed my 10th speech earlier this year, I recognize that I have so much more to learn and I look forward to it.

It is an honour to serve as your FOTM Club President 2018-2019. I look forward to serving the club and to working collaboratively with our executive team, our members and our guests.
To another successful year of growth, friendship and leadership. Cheers to good times ahead.

Alonso Mendizabal
Club President 2018-2019



Be A Winner

First Oakville Toastmasters Club’s Humorous and Table Topics Contests are schedued for Thursday, September 27 at our meeting being held at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1494 Wallace Road in Oakville, Ontario. (Guests are always welcome.)

If you’re a paid up member of First Oakville Toastmasters you are eligible to be a contestant!33282101026_c0e93c5024_k

For the Humorous Contest you need to present a speech that’s five to seven minutes in length, of essentially original material and it helps if it’s funny.

But being funny, is a funny thing. Some presentations that don’t sound funny can be hilarioius when delivered. Some speakers are funnier than others regardless of the content of their speech. Some speakers use props that help while others don’t.

My point is you can’t predict what will work until you try it.

Last year I won the club level Humorous Speech Contest with a speech about a near-fatal car-bus crash out on the QEW that almost killed Marion and myself (I ended up with a fractured spine and a week in hospital.) so there’s no telling what some people will find funny.

The Table Topics Contest, which requires zero preparation, has always been one of my favourites and back a few years ago I won the District Table Topics Contest which is as far as you can go in this event.

Everyone who is a member in good-standing (in other words paid up) in First Oakville who isn’t a judge, chair, timer or counter should be a contestant. The idea is not to win (although in Table Topics you’ve got as good a chance as the next person) but to compete so as to build your experience as a contest participant. Participation helps to less anxiety and fear of speaking and it’s fun to do.

If you’re interested in participating in either contest let either chair know right away. I’m chairing the Table Topics Contest and Marion is charing the Humorous Contest and we’ll both be at this week’s meeting.


Congrats First Oakville Toastmasters

According to the dictionary, awesomeness is an inspiring and overwhelming feeling of reverence, an admiration that induces awe.

Awesomeness is ALSO the following:

Since September 7th, 2017 we have had 871 members and guests walk into our meetings.

We have had a cumulative total of 142 guests (includes repeat guests) and not one week where we haven’t had a guest join us.

119 speeches were delivered

13 new members

10 educations awards

We earned our President’s Distinguished status as of February.   We hosted 2 open houses with guest speakers John Ribeiro, DTM and Gregory C.N Smith, DTM, 5 education sessions and a very cool Parliamentary Procedure workshop led by Dennis Bartel, DTM.

Our Area Director, Lou Mulligan handed out the Area trophies and recognized First Oakville Toastmasters for winning 3 of the 4 Area 87 contests this season.  Congratulations to Cheryl Etherington (1st Place Humorous Contest), Marion West (1st Evaluation Contest) and Fei Sun ( 1st International Speech Contest).    Congratulations on your awesome achievements.


Congratulations to Alonso Mendizabal for winning Toastmaster of the Year award.  Alonso served as VP Public Relations; he earned his Competent Communicator and Competent Leadership education awards.  He has delivered several speeches and an education session about Delegating to Empower.  He has served on the Charter Party, Christmas Party, and the summer party committees and he has attended 34 of our meeting on missing two this year!  In addition to all this awesomeness, Alonso is also our club’s incoming president for the 2018-2019 year.


We also had the pleasure of recognizing our members who have achieved education awards.  Cheryl Etherington and Scott Richardson earned their Competent Communicator.  Mark Molder earned his Advanced Communicator Silver.  Veronica Costa earned her Level 1 Pathways award and Tanouja Rama earned Level 1 and Level 2.  Congratulations to all!

As you can see this year has been full of awesomeness and it would not have been possible without all the hard work and dedication shown by our outgoing executive committee.  Toastmasters:   Danny Luu, Samantha Tam, Cheryl Etherington, Alonso Mendizabal, Luke Jin, Allan Osborne, and Rebecca Valero.

Thank you to our awesome membership.  Wishing you an AWESOME summer break.  Soak up the sun, get outside and we look forward to seeing everyone on Thursday, September 6th to continue another year of awesomeness.



Lou Mulligan Area 87 Director 2017-2018, Shelly Orchin Incoming Area 87 Director and Incoming Club President, Alonso Mendizabal 







The theme for our meeting  tonight is AWESOMENESS.  When I reflect on our club there are many things about us that fall into this category.  It has been a great honour to serve as the 2017-2018 First Oakville Toastmasters Club President.  I am looking forward sharing with our members and guests just how AWESOME we truly are!

We have a special evening lined up as our VP Education will present one of our members with the Toastmaster of the Year award.  This trophy is awarded at the end of every Toastmaster year to an individual who has earned the highest points accumulated according to a number of different categories that are tracked.  There are points that are awarded for attendance, participation in contests, participation on committees, # of speeches given, education achievements.  This award is not a popularity contest, there are no judges, it is simply the sum of hard work.  Who will win this year’s Toastmaster of the Year award?  Only these two know and their lips are SEALED!


Congrats Firas! (1)


A big thank you to our VP Education, Allan Osborne and Madame Secretary, Samantha Tam for maintaining impeccable tracking sheets all year long.  thank you!!

See you tonight!

Cheers (1)


On your marks, get set, ready, GO!!!!

Public Speaking is not a spring, it's a marathon!

Tonight First Oakville Toastmasters will be hosting a Speech Marathon Night like no other.

10 speakers, 10 evaluators, 2 hours.  10 of our members will be one speech closer to reaching their goals.  We have had a very busy and successful year at First Oakville Toastmasters and just when you would think we’d start winding things down, we’ve turned up the heat a bit.  Tonight speaker order will be selected randomly and members will be delivering projects from the Competent Communicator, Advanced Specialty Speeches manual, and many Pathways speeches.

Guests are ALWAYS welcome, in fact, we are pleased to welcome two very special guests with us tonight from, Own The Moment Oakville Toastmasters.

Ready, set, SPEAK!

Running is the great metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it.


Mary Heary Tall Tale Speech Contest

Last Thursday we hosted our Club Tall Tale Speech Contest!  It was an evening of exaggerated truths and unbelievable stories with a few twists and turns leaving us in awe.  We traveled from the busy streets of Vietnam to overcoming Parliamentary Procedure troubles with a quick fix, back to Vietnam and then back to Oakville to solve the mystery of the missing containers.

A big thank you to Adrian Scott our contest chair and Fei Sun, Chief Judge.  Thank you to all our officers who kept the contest and election running smoothly.

Congratulations to our 4 contestants Danny Luu, Rebecca Valero, Peter West and, Vishal Kapoor.IMG-6314 (1)

Special congratulations to our winners:

First Place:  Rebecca Valero, “Parliamentary Procedure Help”
Second Place:  Peter West, “Good Morning Vietnam”


The Area Tall Tales Contest will be hosted by Trafalgar Oakville Toastmasters on Monday, May 28th, 2018.  Please come out and support our winners and get to know other Toastmasters from the Oakville Community.  We will share contest details as they become available.

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Election Results!

This past Thursday we voted in our 2018-2019 First Oakville Toastmasters executive.  A group of dynamic and enthusiastic members who will steer our club through the next season.

It is hard to believe this year has gone by so quickly and we’re now beginning to turn our attention to next year.  With a new Toastmaster year around the corner, we will have a new executive, with new goals, new challenges to face, new ideas and we look forward to celebrating their successes and supporting them through their challenges.

The newly-elect executive that was voted in this past Thursday will officially commence their term on July 1st, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

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From left to right:  Firas Farah (Incoming SAA), Eric Bastien (Incoming VP Public Relations), Alonso Mendizabal (Incoming President), Fei Sun (Incoming VP Education), Tanouja Rama (Incoming VP Membership), Roy Campbell (Incoming Secretary), Missing from photo: Cheryl Etherington (Incoming Treasurer) 

Congratulations to all of you!  A big thank you to everyone who stepped forward and ran in this election, whether you won or not, you are giving back to this club and your efforts are greatly appreciated.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.  – John Quincy Adams.