Monthly Archives: March 2015

Serving The Club

Every year our Toastmaster club elects a new executive to serve in the upcoming season (Aug. 1 to July 31).

How this works is a few weeks before the election date the current president asks the nomination committee (composed of former past presidents) to approach potential candidates for office and create a slate of members who agree to put their name forward for the offices of president; VP of education, membership and public relations; treasurer; secretary and sgt.-at-arms.

You don’t have to be nominated by the nomination committee to run for any office and you can put your name forward for any office.

The elections are not a popularity contest. The members vote for those members who (a) they think will do the best job and (b) who will benefit the most from serving.

So how do you make yourself into a good candidate?

First you’ve got to want to serve. It helps if you think you can do the job but there is on-the-job training provided by Toastmasters International by way of training sessions and a manual for each position.

It also helps if you’ve been attending meetings on a regular basis and that you’ve made yourself available whenever there’s been an opportunity to help out.

Responding quickly and efficiently when you’re asked to confirm your role on the agenda and then completing the role is one way of indicating your willingness to be on the executive.

Ask anyone who has served on our club’s executive and it’s likely they will tell you how rewarding the experience has been for them. Your work on the executive is recorded and benefits both the club but also your own leadership track within Toastmasters.

This service work is something that of great value that you will find helpful in your own workplace.

To serve is an honour and an obligation that only a few Toastmasters each year get to realize.


Bronte Creek Area Contest

There was a full house at last night’s Bronte Creek Area Contest with members from four area clubs showing up to support their contestants.

There was a noticeable absence of newer members from First Oakville who did not attend last night and this is something mentors might wish to discuss with their mentees.

When we miss any meeting and especially contests where our own members are competing we let down our contestants and deprive ourselves of another learning opportunity.

Last night’s results were not predictable and newer members could have benefitted from attending and seeing for themselves how a contest is run and how the judging may go.

Now this is not to ignore those new members who did attend and there was about half a dozen and good on you for supporting the club and the area.

Those of you who did not attend might wish to speak with your mentor about what you missed and if you’re mentor didn’t attend, you might want to ask why?

Having said that here are the results as sent in an email from Area 36 Governor Carol Todd-Sauce:

Thank you all Toastmasters who helped to make last night’s Evaluation and International Speech Contest a success: the contestants, chairs, judges, counters, ASA, timers, greeters and photographer.

I would like to give special recognition to our Division Governor, Lorna Miller, our test speaker, Michael Bonnick, and our tie breaker judge ( who will remain anonymous ) These Toastmasters, joined us to help our contest. Thank you.

The Evaluation Speech Contest winners were Mike Kozak ( 1st place ) and Jean McCaig ( 2nd place)

The Winners of the International Speech Contest were Gary Ford ( 1st place), Mark Molder ( 2rd place ) and Firdaus Walele ( 3rd place ) There was one time disqualification.

It is special that all 4 of our clubs are represented in the “winner’s circle” Congratulations everyone, contestants and members of the clubs, whose support helped develop the skills and confidence of these competitors.

The 1st place winners will compete at the Division B Contest on Tuesday,February 24th 2015 at the Clarkson Community Centre, 2475 Truscott Drive, Mississauga. Registration will be at 6:30, starting at 7:00 pm.
Gary and Mike will appreciate seeing encouraging, supportive smiles in the audience. Come out and enjoy the competition. I hope to see you there.


IMG_0125(In Photo left to right: In the International Speech Contest third place went to Firdaus Walele; first place to Gary Ford; and our own Mark Molder took second. Chair Shelley Orchin handed out the hardware.)

How Toastmasters Actually Works

(This post originally appeared on my own blog The Toastmaster.)

Over my working career of 50 years or so, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many interesting people. These managers, bosses, owners and associates came with their own management styles and their own foibles and mannerisms.

Some were inspirational leaders. I had a mentor back when I was a young man who literally changed my life for the better. I’ve also had some managers who did everything they could to make everyone’s life around them as miserable as possible and, for the most part, usually succeeded at least until they too were terminated (nice word!).

I’ve recently taken on a new role in Toastmasters as a mentor of a new club and my recent experiences got me thinking about management styles and how we approach leadership in the Toastmaster program.

At my own club, First Oakville Toastmasters, the management style might best be described as we leave no Toastmaster behind.

What does this mean?

Without identifying anyone let’s put it this way: Sometimes new members need a lot of mentoring.  I sure did when I joined. It’s not because they’re incompetent or difficult but they’re new and they can be new in many different ways. They aren’t aware of the Toastmaster culture of supporting each other in Toastmasters and then, there’s mentoring as done at First Oakville.

I’ve seen actions and progress with new members at Toastmasters which could only happen under the direct monitorship of one senior member helping a newcomer to achieve. It is so heartwarming to witness and the results, as you might imagine, are amazing. And, they’re amazing not just for the new member or the mentor but for the entire club and dare I say all of Toastmasters.

One of management processes I’m learning (after 50 years of essentially being my own worst enemy as someone who works very independently of others – with both good and bad results) emphasizes that the people are much more important than the process.

Any driver manager can get results (and often get results that far exceed their peers) but the human wreckage left behind is enormous and not something we should tolerate as Toastmasters, as workers, as citizens and as just plain people.

Often new members come to Toastmasters seeking education, positive experiences and new ways of moving forward in their lives. It doesn’t take that new member long to realize there is so much more to our program and the sincerity of our welcome at the door never ends. And that’s why so many of us keep coming back – it works.

The Loyalty Toast

For as long as I can remember we’ve offered a toast to the Queen at our annual Charter Party.

It always seemed somewhat quaint, sort of old-school to me but I went along with the ritual.

This week one of our members at Toastmasters and her family took the oath of citizenship and became Canadian citizens. They were all very pleased and our club members were just about as excited.

The occasion got me thinking about becoming a citizen. I’ve always been a Canadian and with that comes citizenship but doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve been a good citizen who always votes and pays taxes and is loyal to the Crown.

So what is this loyalty that requires pledging allegiance to the Queen and loyalty to the Crown?

The editorial in today’s (Monday, March 2, 2015) Toronto Sun sums it up pretty well.

Quoting Judge Karen Weiler who wrote the Ontario appeal court ruling on a recent case where three applicants for Canadian citizenship wanted to recite the Canadian citizenship oath without pledging allegiance to the Queen where the judge wrote:

“The oath is secular and is not an oath to the Queen in her personal capacity but to our form of government of which the Queen is a symbol.”

The editorial then goes on to quote former Toronto Sun columnist, the late MacKenzie Porter who wrote:

“The Queen, figuratively speaking of course, is of course every Canadian. As a head of state born to her office, and free from obligation to any political organization, the Queen symbolizes the existence and interests of all the people, regardless of their party affiliations. When the prime minister bows to the Queen or to the Governor General, he affirms that the government is the servant, not the master, of the people.

“The government rules but the Queen, representing the people, reigns….One cannot be loyal to the Canadian Constitution without being loyal to the Queen.”

And thus at our Toastmaster Charter Party we stand for the loyalty toast: “The Queen.”