Category Archives: News

Toastmaster News

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.






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.

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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.

What Was That All About?

Last night the members at First Oakville Toastmasters were treated to a two-hour workshop by Dennis Bartel, DTM on parliamentary procedure. For those of us who have struggled to understand parliamentary procedure, Dennis’s workshop was fabulous.Dennis-Bartel2

Dennis has been giving this workshop at District conferences so we were very fortunate to have had this private session.

One thing I think we should remember is not all of our members come from western nations with a history that includes a heritage of western democratic processes.

So where does parliamentary process come from?

Back in 1215 King John of England was facing a rebellion by his barons who were the wealthy landowners of the day. They didn’t want to pay for any more of the king’s costly wars in Europe.

Drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury in an effort to make peace between the barons and the king a document called Magna Carta (or Great Charter) was signed at Runnymede, England on June 15.220px-King_John_from_De_Rege_Johanne

Among other protections including church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, it also limited the king’s ability to demand feudal payments from the barons.

While the charter was annulled (which resulted in a war), it was reinstated by John’s son Henry III and over the centuries to follow it began to be considered as the basis of English Common law from which Parliament itself finds its origins.

Essentially the Great Charter made it clear that the king and his agents are not above the law.

So what does this mean for our business sessions at Toastmasters?e21a5820e52bf3f7c880c4d6c55bffde

It means that the business session and indeed the entire meeting as reflected by the agenda does not belong to the chair of the evening or even the president of the club. It belongs to all of us at the meeting. (And perhaps we should accept the agenda as presented at the start of the meeting as suggested last night.)

It also means that as a club member you have the right to be heard and to vote on matters of interest to the club. How you do that is by using parliamentary procedure.

Our leaders in Toastmasters serve the club and they do not govern. And while they are responsible for the smooth running of the meetings, they only do so with the express approval of the members.

Parliamentary procedure also includes the concept that every member should be treated with respect and every member must have the opportunity to express their opinion. It also holds that the majority opinion should rule but the minority opinion should always be heard.Centre_Block_-_Parliament_Hill

The actual rules of parliamentary procedure aren’t all that complicated.

Essentially everything begins with the chair recognizing a member who moves a motion that is expressed as “I move that…”.

Most, but not all, motions require somebody else to agree that the motion should be debated and this person is called the seconder (who doesn’t necessarily agree with the motion but thinks it is in the club interest to hold a debate even if they plan to vote against).

Once a motion is moved and seconded, the chair usually invites the mover to speak to their motion. From there on any member who is recognized by the chair can stand and then state whether they are for or against the motion and why. Each member gets to speak once and may speak again if all the other members of the club have been given an opportunity to speak.

Sooner or later someone may “call the question” which is an informal request to the chair, which they can ignore, to go to a vote. The chair can ask at any time whether or not the members are ready to vote.DSCF5000

During the debate, any member may amend a motion but the amendment must not change the main motion in any substantive way. In other words, a motion to buy a new gavel might be amended to include the word “black” gavel.

Motions can have a second amendment and no more and again the second amendment can not substantially change the newly amended motion “to buy a new black gavel” so adding “at a cost not to exceed $50” would likely be considered okay.

There are a whole bunch of other procedural motions but newcomers only need to know a couple more to join in the fun.

The next one I’d recommend is to rise to a point of parliamentary inquiry.

Closely associated with rising to a point of order (where you’re offering an opinion that something is not being done correctly), rising to a point of parliamentary inquiry allows you ask the chair a question. Perhaps you might wish to ask if now is the time to add an amendment?

The other motion I think every member should know and practice is how to appeal a decision made by the chair. Remember the chair doesn’t make rulings that can’t be appealed.11174246

If the chair does something (say declaring the end of debate), any member can rise immediate and state: “I appeal from the decision of the chair” and this forces an immediate vote by the assembly.

Any chair who ignores the wishes and will of the assembly will quickly discover that folly of that decision.

Every member will someday get to chair a meeting and conduct the business session. Every member will also get the opportunity to be the parliamentarian.

We learn these roles by doing them. The good news is everyone is eager to see you succeed.

As a new parliamentarian, it’s not a bad idea to sit beside a member who is experienced in parliamentary procedure and allow them to whisper in your ear. (That’s how I learned from one of our club’s great members the late George Pay. His whisper in my ear was called “the voice of God” which would precede any opinion I would offer to the chair.)

As a new chair it’s a good idea to speak with your mentor beforehand and use your parliamentarian anytime you’re not certain what to do next. Take your time and ask for help and all will go well.DDC-Ramban-MH-Malik-chairing-SBI-RSETI-meeting-on-tuesday21

Parliamentary procedure is used to get things done in Toastmasters; in local, provincial and national government; in public companies; by boards of directors, in non-profit and charitable agencies; by school boards; and anywhere were groups of individuals want to work together for the betterment of them all.

Also, it’s another opportunity to hear your own voice during your Toastmaster meeting.


Last night the Dynamic Division D delivered what turned out to be a very competitive Evaluation and International Speech Contest.  The talent last night was nothing short of inspirational.

We are so proud of our competitors last night from 1st Oakville Toastmasters!  Marion West placed 3rd in the evaluation contest and Fei Sun placed 2nd in the International Speech Contest.

A few weeks ago we had the privilege of having Gregory C. N Smith as a guest speaker and if you remember, that night Gregory shared the story about P.B aka Personal Best.

I want to thank both Marion West and Fei Sun for showing us last night what aiming for P.B and crushing your Personal Best goal looks like.  They both took their skills to the next level leaving us with pride and admiration because we know what taking it to the next level looks like thanks to Marion West and Fei Sun.

I’d like to thank the 1st Oakville Toastmasters cheering section.  Together we filled up the room with support and applause for our dynamic duo Marion and Fei.  I’d like to thank Allan, Eric, Rosa, Catherine, Luke, Sharon, Tanouja, Rebecca C., Sam, Peter, Alonso.  In total including friends of these Toastmasters; we were a group of 17.  That is something to be proud of!




1st Oakville Toastmasters Cheering Section!  L to R:  Rebecca Valero, Alonso Mendizabal, Samantha Tam, Rebecca Cao, Peter West, Marion West, Fei Sun, Tanouja Rama, Sharon Jenkins, Catherine Li, Luke Jin, Eric Bastien & Allan Osborne.




Parliamentary Procedure Workshop

I now call this blog post to order.  *bangs an imaginary gavel*

First Oakville Toastmasters is excited to announce that we will be hosting a Parliamentary Procedure Workshop on Thursday, March 29, 2018. FIRST OAKVILLE tOASTMASTER'S PRESENTS (1)

Our guest speaker for the evening is Dennis Bartel, DTM.  Dennis is a Graphic Designer and Software Developer who focuses on the User Experience where rules and procedures guide the process.  He credits being “that rule and procedure guy” with his success in business and Toastmasters.  Dennis has been a Toastmaster for over 10 years, serving as a President’s Distinguished Club President twice.  He is a current President and Founder of a newly chartered club, Brampton Talks, and has been a District Officer for 7 years.

Dennis will be hosting an interactive workshop that will give you the tools to better understand Parliamentary Procedures and dispelling the myth that rules mean less fun, and less productivity.  This is the perfect opportunity to participate and learn in a casual setting by making motions, amendments to the motions and understanding the process by participating.  Through this workshop, you will learn how to this with respect, order, and fun.

For more information please check out the new Parliamentary Procedure section on the blog!  

Orders of the Day!

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