Highlights from the 2018 International Convention

Members of District 42 travelled to Chicago Illinois to attend the Toastmasters 2018 International Convention… including:

  • District Director, Catherine Secundiak, DTM
  • Program Quality Director, Dunstant Taylor, DTM
  • Club Growth Director, Christina Kruis, DTM
  • District Speech Contestant, Russ Dantu, DTM
  • Past International Director, Jacquie Schnider, DTM, PID
  • Past District Director, Carolyn Kaldy, DTM
  • Club Extension Chair, Ryan Rupchan, ACB, ALS (First-Timer)
  • Club 13 Treasurer, Mathew Ratch, DTM (First-Timer)

Here are a few of the highlights:

District Leadership Training (Aug 20-21)

District Leaders attend training with the rest of the 106 Districts from around the world.

District Leaders receive certificates of recognition for completing District Leader Training.

Catherine, Dunstant and Christina attended two days of leadership training.  Topics included:

  • How to connect, collaborate and work as an effective team – Try out the Work Styles Assessment Scoring Form to find out your work style.  You may be able to guess but just in case you can’t, Catherine is primarily an Owl, Dunstant is primarily a Peacock and Christina is primarily a Dove.
  • ValueSelling – we were taught a simple sales process (ValueSelling Framework) and how to use Open, Probe and Confirm questions to manage the dialogue with a prospect – Click Here to request a free book!  Click Here to find out more about the framework.
  • How to set District Goals and manage District Finances.
  • We worked as District teams but also worked with our District counterparts to learn leader tools and share best practices.

International Convention (Aug 22-25)

Day 1: Board Briefing, Leadership Panel, Educationals, First-Timers Event, Opening Ceremonies

Board Briefing Notes (unofficial, subject to errors and ommissions) – official minutes will be posted within a month here.

CEO, Dan Rex, informs us at the Board Briefing that service standards have been unacceptable but are now returning to normal levels.

  • Pathways adoption around the world is 42% (52% in District 42)
  • Slow growth in membership over the past 2 years (2.1% in 2017, 1.4% in 2018)
  • Some pain in fulfilling orders due to outsourcing, but it is getting better now.  Customer service calls are now within normal standards.
  • Sally Newell Cohen (COO) is leaving Toastmasters International.  She had attended the District 42 2018 Spring Conference virtually with George Marshall… Sally will be dearly missed.
  • Future International Conventions will be 2019 in Denver, Colorado; 2020 in Paris, France; 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee; 2022 in San Antonia, Texas.
  • Addendum of Standard Club Options will be updated to allow for other currencies and separating club dues from international dues.
  • A Global advertising test will be conducted in California and Florida in early 2019.
  • Detailed Communication Plan is now developed for District Public Relations Managers and the Marketing Plan will be updated for Club Growth Directors.  There are plans to automate and put online the District Success Plan (no date provided).
  • The Distinguished Club Program will be updated, for July 1, 2020, to include membership satisfaction and member retention.  There will be a fourth level of recognition beyond “President’s Distinguished” called “Smedley Distinguished”.

More highlights…

District Leaders attend the Board Briefing

First Timers – Ryan Rupchan and Mathew Ratch from Regina

District Director, Catherine Secundiak, was honoured to carry the flag of Mali during the Opening Ceremonies.

Opening Ceremonies – 106 countries represented

Day 2: Hall of Fame, Educationals, Speech Contest Semi-Finals

Hall of Fame

District 42 achieves the “Excellence in Program Quality” award for outstanding achievement in Distinguished Clubs. Catherine Secundiak accepts the award from International President, Balraj Arunasalam.

Celebrating the educational achievements of members from around the world.  Recognition of Distinguished Districts, Presidential Citation Winners (congratulations to George Marshall, who attended our 2018 Spring Conference, for receiving a Presidential Citation award, joining our very own Carolyn Kaldy who is a past recipient), and Excellence in Program Quality and Club Growth.  Click Here to read more about the Excellence in Program Quality Award.

Speech Contest Semi-Finals

Russ Dantu – intense and captivating performance!

There were three rounds throughout the day, covering 10 speech contests.  Our District 42 Speech Contestant, Russ Dantu, was in Round 3 (starting at 8:00 pm local time) in Contest #9.  The competition was fierce in this round and all of District 42 was out to support Russ, including Toastmasters viewing parties happening back home in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  We are very proud of Russ for placing third in his semi-final.  He was in the zone, on top of his game, he left it all out there.  Way to go Russ!

MVP and other members, in Calgary, cheering on Russ.

District 42, in Chicago, cheering on Russ.

Russ Dantu contestant questions.

Winners of semi-final #9.

Day 3: Candidates Showcase, Educationals, Golden Gavel, Accredited Speakers

Candidates Showcase

On Sunday, August 18 and Wednesday, August 22, Your District Executive Leadership Team interviewed 18 candidates for the offices of 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President and International Directors for Regions 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14.  Each Candidate participated in the Candidates Showcase the morning of August 24, by responding to a series of questions for 6 min.  Very strong candidates this year, everyone did an amazing job with their extreme table topics, the pressure must have been enormous!

Golden Gavel recipient – Keith Ferrazzi

Golden Gavel Recipient, Keith Ferrazzi, presents on Co-Elevation.

Keith Ferrazzi receives the Golden Gavel award from International President, Balraj Arunasalam

Keith is an inspiration to all those who meet him.  He emotionally shared with the audience that his late father was a Toastmaster and he would have been so proud of this honour.  He introduced the concept of co-elevating, contracting with each other to help all of us reach higher.  You can read more about this concept here.  It makes me think of the “Circle of Gold” groups around our district; how we work together in a way that elevates everyone in the group.

Accredited Speakers

2018 Accredited Speakers

Want to become a professional speaker?  Learn more about the Accredited Speaker program here.  On Friday, we watched 9 contestants go for their Accredited Speaker designation.  Six individuals join our very own Freddi Dogterom, DTM, AS as an Accredited Speaker (AS):  Valda Boyd Ford #81, Terry Watson #80, Tamara Hamilton #79, Maurice DiMino #78, Greg Wood #77, Edwin W. Ettinghausen #76.

Day 4: Annual Business Meeting, Region Gatherings, World Championship of Public Speaking, President’s Inauguration Reception and Dance

Annual Business Meeting

The races for office were all pretty close.  In particular, the office for 2nd Vice President.  After 4 ballots, Margaret Page, from British Columbia, came out on top, and will/may be our International President in the future.  Much of Margaret’s success can be attributed to her Campaign Manager, our very own Jacquie Schnider, DTM, PID.

Jacquie Schnider (left), Margaret Page, Russ Dantu

Running a campaign takes a lot of work and having a team beside you, lead by your Campaign Manager, is essential.  It is great to know that we have expertise in our District to help anyone reach the highest office in Toastmasters International.

We enthusiastically support our Golden leader, Lark Doley, as International President.

International President, Lark Doley

Catherine Secundiak had a chance to talk with Lark Doley earlier in the year and she shared what she wanted the Districts to focus on this year:

  • Club Excellence – focus on the District Mission (We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence) but inparticular on supporting our existing clubs by strengthening the Area Directors and building club-to-club support and relationships.
  • Awareness, Participation and Engagement – Public Relation Managers have been underutilized in the past.  Strengthen the Public Relations teams this year.
  • Teams – Focus on running the district with teams, including finding assistants for Area and Division Directors.
    • F – Future – Develop leaders for the future
    • O – Opportunities – Provide opportunities to learn and grow
    • C – Challenges – Work together to overcome challenges
    • U – Unity of Purpose – One shared vision for the District
    • S – Strategy – Have a plan

World Championship of Public Speaking

1st Place – Ramona J. Smith (centre)
2nd Place – Sherrie Su (right)
3rd Place – Anita Fain Taylor

Toastmasters International made history, the first time ever the top three positions in the competition were won by women!  The contest was amazing!

Members in Regina watched the contest live on demand!

Congratulations to the 30,000 plus members who competed in the International Speech contest last year.  We are looking forward to another successful competition this year.  You could be the next World Champion of Public Speaking!

International Convention was fun too!

Although the Educational sessions were exceptional at the Convention, we also had an opportunity to meet and learn from leaders around the world, including Past International Presidents.  It wasn’t all business, we had some fun too!

We participated in the “Sing A Long”.

Ryan Rupchan, Christina Kruis and Catherine Secundiak at the “Sing a Long”

An Irish tradition, headed up by Past International President, Ted Corcorgon, where members are invited to get on stage and sing while audience members are encouraged to join in.  It is a place to meet people, sing together, and enjoy each other’s company.  It took place every night of the Convention, usually ending around 1:00 am… and usually resulting in continued discussions well past 3:00 am (we didn’t get much sleep at Convention).

President’s Inauguration Dance – Toastmasters really know how to party!  On the last day of the Convention is a dance party, it is non-stop dancing with an amazing DJ – props included!  We’ve heard there may be a video of Catherine Secundiak and Russ Dantu rocking out on stage to AC/DC – head banging, air guitar and the works!

Join us for the 2019 Toastmasters International in Denver Colorado, home of the new Toastmasters International World Headquarters.

Toastmasters World Headquarters, located at 9127 South Jamaica St., Englewood, CO 80112 (PRNewsfoto/Toastmasters International)

The host District is now located in Region 4, the same Region District 42 is located in.  They will be looking for people from throughout the Region to help out.  If you have ever wanted to be a part of the planning committee for an International Convention, now is your shot!  Message Catherine Secundiak (csecundiak@d42tm.org) for more information.