Monthly Archives: October 2017

Let Yourself Be Inspired

Each one of us has something to contribute, a story to tell, a life experience to share. Often enough we do not recognize that.  Maybe we think our story is not enough, or that we are not ready.  Perhaps one of the best parts of Toastmasters is having the opportunity to learn how to tell your own stories, whether it is through table topics, speech writing or Chairing a meeting and selecting the topic.

This week our meeting Chair is Rosa Rodriguez and she has chosen the theme, “let yourself be inspired.”

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Rosa has surely inspired members & guests at First Oakville Toastmasters for the past three years.

When Rosa first joined First Oakville Toastmasters she was overwhelmed, scared and uncomfortable.  She remembers being inspired by other members  who spoke with confidence as they shared their own stories.  She was encouraged by all the support and mentoring that our members offered her and it was the combination of support and mentorship that really encouraged her to continue with her own Toastmaster journey.

Rosa has served on the executive as the Club Secretary in 2015-2016 and VP Membership 2016-2017.  Rosa has also recently completed her Competent Communicator designation.

We asked Rosa a few questions about her experience at First Oakville Toastmasters.

  1.  Why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters because I wanted to improve my speaking skills which at the time I was really struggling with.

  1. What have you learned from your Toastmaster journey?

I have learned that it is normal to feel nervous or even scared and being in a supportive and encouraging environment, with a positive and uplifting group makes a huge difference.

  1. What do you like most about First Oakville Toastmaters (FOTM)?

What I love most about FOTM is the support that I receive from our members.  I love our social events throughout the year.  Our meetings are a perfect way to practice the challenges that we face on a daily basis which is to speak from the heart, to be genuine, and to learn how to say it.

  1. Tell us how you have grown since joining First Oakville Toastmaster?

I feel confident now as a public speaker and a leader.  Every time I finish a project the feeling is amazing.  It just motivates me to keep going and to continue growing.

Rosa, thank you for your commitment and dedication to First Oakville Toastmasters.   Your journey is truly inspiring.

IMG-4387 As Toastmasters we have the privilege of hearing our member’s stories, challenges, lessons and it is through them that we make connections and become inspired.  Don’t let fear stop you from using your voice.  Let yourself be inspired, you may be surprised by the impact it has on you and others.

Join us this Thursday at First Oakville Toastmasters.  Guests are always welcome!


Meeting details:  Thursday evenings 7:30pm-9:30pm ( plan to arrive 10 mins early if you are a guest so that we can introduce ourselves), Knights of Columbus Oakville (Marian Hall), 1494 Wallace Rd




President’s Distinguished Club Award

Earlier this year we celebrated our 60th year making First Oakville Toastmasters the longest running public speaking and leadership program in Oakville.  Since February 1st, 1957, First Oakville Toastmasters has been a vital and vibrant part of the Oakville community giving many residents the opportunity to build their public speaking, presentation, and leadership skills.

Last night we had the pleasure of welcoming Kristina Johnston, DTM.   Kristina is currently the District 86 Program Quality Director 2017-2018 and represented District 86 as she presented our Past President, Mark Molder with a Golden Gavel in recognition of  First Oakville achieving President’s Distinguished status in 2016-2017.


President’s Distinguished is the highest level of recognition and it is a marker of a successful and strong club.  What this means is that our club met the membership prerequisite and achieved at least nine of the ten goals.  These goals include earning communication and leadership designations, recruiting new members, attending executive officer training, submitting membership renewals on time and providing a club officer list on time.  This is not accomplished by one person alone, it happens when you have a strong executive team along with a strong club culture.

As your 2017-2018 president I am working with the current Executive Team to ensure that we continue the legacy and rich history that our past presidents, executive teams, and members have worked so hard to build since 1957.

We are currently half-way towards achieving our Distinguished Club Program goals for 2017-2018 and we look forward to continuing our tradition of being a President’s Distinguished Club in District 86.

We would like to thank our 2016-2017 executive for all their contributions towards a very successful year.  Thank you to the 2016-2017 executive:  Mark Molder (President), Petra Dubec (VP Education), Rosa Rodriguez (VP Membership), Zulma Garcia (VP Public Relations), Sameet Batavia (Treasurer), Luke Jin (Secretary), Scott Richardson (SAA), and Peter West ( Immediate Past President).

This is an exciting year for First Oakville Toastmasters as we celebrate 61 years of club history this February 2018.  We have a very strong executive team with fresh new ideas.  Adrian Scott, a long time member of First Oakville Toastmasters has recently launched a brand new Mentorship Program and with Pathways launching very soon this is surely going to be a year of growth.

No matter where you are on your journey towards becoming a better speaker or leader, we welcome you here at First Oakville Toastmasters.

If you would like to know more about Toastmasters, we encourage you to visit our club and meet our members.  We are committed to helping each other grow as speakers and leaders…and we like to have fun too!

Best regards from the 2017-2018 FOTM Executive


Allan Osborne (VP Education), Alonso Mendizabal (Public Relations), Cheryl Etherington (Treasurer), Rebecca Valero (President), Danny Luu (SAA), Samantha Tam (Secretary), Luke Jin (VP Membership) not in picture.


Rebecca Valero, ACB ALB
President, First Oakville Toastmasters, Club 2245

Big Wins At Area Contest

First Oakville Toastmasters walked away with some impressive wins at last night’s Area D-87 Table Topics and Humorous Speech Contests. Our own Cheryl Etherington took first place in the hotly contested Humorous Speech and Samantha Tam took second in Table Topics. Peter West took third in both.


First Oakville Toastmasters & Area 87 Table Topics & Humorous Club Contest

Have you heard the news?

It was quite an auspicious evening for First Oakville Toastmasters at the Area 87 Table Topics & Humorous Speech contest.

We laughed, we laughed so hard we cried, and we certainly cheered!  It was a full-house at the contest and First Oakville Toastmasters had a cheering section there to support and represent our club.  Congratulations to our FOTM contestants.  Your bravery as speakers was incredibly inspiring.  Thank you for your dedication to Toastmasters and for being examples of growth.

Our Table Topics contestants Samantha Tam and Peter West competed amongst seven contestants and spoke about how wisdom is strength.  Samantha Tam won second place and Peter West won third place.  Congratulations!


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From left to right:  Peter West (Third Place), Samantha Tam (Second Place), Amory Alleko (First Place), Table Topics Contest Chair Cathy Ryan


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Table Topics Contestants:  Coral Courtney, Kelly-Lynne Spettigue, Samantha Tam, Sarah Pollard, Jane Wilson, Amory Alleko, Peter West and Contest Chair Cathy Ryan



Our Humorous Speech contestants Peter West and Cheryl Etherington filled the room with roars of laughter.  Cheryl Etherington won first place and Peter West won third place.  Congratulations!

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From left to right:  Humorous Contest Chair Kelly-Lynne Spettigue, Cheryl Etherington (First Place), Rich Panetta (Second Place) and Peter West (Third Place)


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Humorous Speech Contestants:  Erin Cleary, Cheryl Etherington, Victoria Oswell, Peter West, Amory Alleko, Sarah Pollard, Rich Panetta and Humorous Contest chair Kelly-Lynne Spettigue


Congratulations to Cheryl Etherington, Samantha Tam and Peter West.  Cheryl will advance and compete at the Divison D -Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contest October 18th, 2017.


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From left to right:  Area 87 Director Lou Mulligan & Cheryl Etherington First Place Winner of the Humorous Speech Contest



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A big thank you to our Contest Chairs, Chief Judge, Judges, Counters, Timers & Sergeant-At-Arms, and last but not least to our FOTM cheer section:  Adrian Scott, Linda Rossi, Allan Osborne, Alonso Mendizabal, Robert Gillespie, Marion West, Luke Jin & Cheryl Etherington’s family.

First Oakville Toastmasters is ABSOLUTELY where leaders are made.  Guests are always welcomed to attend our meetings and to learn about how First Oakville Toastmasters can help you reach your public speaking goals.




Toastmasters Pathways Coming Soon

PathwaysPathways is coming to First Oakville Toastmasters!  This Thursday October 5th, 2017 we will have a very special Pathways Presentation.  Our Pathways Ambassador, Lindsay Kueh and Pathways Guide, Mikael Gatje will join us for an hour-long presentation.  This presentation is very important because Pathways will be launching in District 86 as of October 24th, 2017.  What this means for us as a club is that any new member who joins FOTM after October 24th will automatically start with the Pathways Program.

It is very important for us as members to understand the program, ask questions, and most importantly attend the information session.

We spoke with our Pathways Guide, Mikael Gatje and Pathways Ambassador Lindsay Kueh over the weekend and asked them some questions regarding Pathways.

 What is the difference between a Pathways Ambassador and Pathways Guide?

The Pathways Ambassador plays a major role in ensuring that Pathways launches successfully in our club.   We will present an overview of the Pathways Program and we will be encouraging your members to get excited about the change while supporting and motivating your club.    The Ambassadors consist of approximately 1, 500 volunteers.  There is one Ambassador for every 10 clubs within a district.

The Pathways Guide will work with First Oakville Toastmasters and the Executive Team, especially the VP Education.  As the First Oakville Toastmasters Pathways Guide, Mikael will be there to support the club during this very exciting transition.  The Pathways Guide is our club’s first point of contact for all Pathways questions and will help with training.

What are you most excited about with the new Pathways Program?

There is so much new technology available since the last review of Toastmasters Educational program which affects the way we are leading.  The new educational program pays homage to the current education system and those competences while at the same time embracing the new technologies and the advanced new ways of operating.

Our Pathways Ambassador likes that Pathways will bring evaluations and mentoring to the forefront.  It also emphasizes leadership more than the previous program.

 What is the most common asked question about Pathways?

The most common question is, “What will happen to the manuals I am currently working on?”  The answer is that we will have a two-year transition period to complete our current program if we wish to do so.

Will the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation still exist?

Yes, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) is the highest individual honour you can achieve in Pathways.  You can earn your DTM by:

  • Completing two paths
  • Serving as a Club Officer for 12 months
  • Serving as a Club Mentor or Coach
  • Serving as a Club Sponsor or conducting Speech craft or a Youth Leadership Program
  • Serving as a District Officer for one year
  • Completing a DTM project

For more information about achievements & awards click here.


When will members of First Oakville Toastmasters have an opportunity to try Pathways?

First Oakville Toastmaster members will have an opportunity to learn more on October 5th, 2017 and it will officially launch October 24th, 2017.

For more information please attend the Pathways Information Session at First Oakville Toastmasters October 5, 2017  1494 Wallace Rd, Oakville, On  

Additional Resources:  Pathways FAQ