Author Archives: rebeccavalero

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.

you are invited to (2)




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.






On May 3, 2018, First Oakville Toastmasters Club #2245 will hold our Club Officer elections to vote for the next executive team that will guide the club from July 1st to June 30th, 2019.  This is your opportunity to step up and take the lead by being part of the First Oakville Toastmasters executive team.  It is a spectacular way to improve public speaking skills and flex your leadership muscles.  It is also your opportunity as a member in good standing to vote for someone you think will represent our club well.


Serving as this year’s club president has been a tremendous honour.  It has been both a humbling and deeply satisfying year full of growth and I will be forever grateful for the experience.

I have the honour of chairing this exciting and crucial event.  As the Chair of the election process, I would like to share a bit of information about the process for the benefit of our newer members and candidates.

Here are some important points to keep in mind on the voting procedure, especially if you run as a candidate for the next executive team:

  • Only members in good standing may vote.  (guests are not eligible to vote)
  • In order to conduct this very important election, we will need to confirm a quorum.  This means 50% of our membership + 1 (21 members)
  • I will ask any member standing for a position to confirm that he or she accepts the nomination
  • After each nominee accepts their nomination, there will be a call for a seconder
  • A call for any further nominations for the position will be made
  • A call for seconders for any further nominations will be made
  • The seconder for the first nominee will then speak for 2 minutes to the Club
  • Each nominee will then immediately follow his or her seconder, and will also speak from their seat for 2 minutes
  • After all candidates have had a chance to sway the membership, ballots will be filled and collected
  • A quick count will be held and the duly elected member is announced.  If there is a tie, it will be broken by a coin toss.

Serving on the Executive is both a great responsibility and learning experience.  There is still time to add your name to the nomination roster.  The next step would be to secure a seconder that will speak for 1 minute in support of your running.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, Rebecca Valero, Club President, or Mark Molder, Chair of the Nominating Committee.

Good luck to all our nominees!

Rebecca Valero
Club President 2017-2018
First Oakville Toastmasters #2245

And the Oscar goes to…

The 90th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, took place earlier this year on March 4th, 2018.   BUT, did you know that we have our very own Oscar at First Oakville Toastmasters?

You may have noticed that there is a coconut with hair and eyes mounted on a wooden pedestal with the name “Oscar” engraved on it.  If you are a newer member you are likely wondering what that is all about.  We did some digging and this is what we found out thanks to Sharon Jenkins and former member, Loreen Paterick.

The idea of the Oscar was that it be presented and awarded by the Table Topics Master to a Toastmaster who strayed from the Table Topic he or she was given.  The purpose was to encourage members to stay on topic and not just fill airtime.   It is meant to be a very lighthearted way to encourage members to stay focused and to deliver table topic speeches with purpose and especially on topic.

IMG-4600 (1)

The exact date of when the Oscar was introduced to our club is not clear but as I was scanning through our meeting minutes from April 1972, there is a mention that the executive was looking for a new “Oscar” indicating that they wanted to re-institute the award.  It has definitely been around since 1972 (at least).


Our current Oscar is originally from Hawaii and he was picked up by a former member while travelling for business in the early 1990s.

It is not often that we see the Oscar awarded at a First Oakville Toastmaster meeting – but if you ever get a Table Topic question about innovation and you start talking about cats and someone awards you the Oscar, now you know why! : )

First Oakville Toastmasters has a lot of history and traditions and with so many new members, it is important to pass on the traditions and the stories behind them.  We also have another award called the Spark Plug.  Click here to learn more about the Spark Plug award.

** Thank you to Sharon Jenkins and Loreen Paterick for contributing this helpful information.