Contest Season Is A Wrap

Woot! Woot! Congratulations to all the Toastmasters who challenged themselves at the Club, Area, Division and District levels to be their very best. It’s not easy to dive deep and gather your courage to compete. The act of saying yes, and showing up, made you a winner.

As the District 42 Contest Chair, I had the privilege of escorting these brave souls through the final, and perhaps the most stressful part, of their contest journey. It was my goal all year to provide a safe, and comfortable arena for our contestants. I wanted the contestants to know that all the little details were taken care of, so they could focus 100% on their performance.

Why Me?

When D42 Program Quality Director Eugene Sicat called me unexpectedly last August to take on this role, my first question was “How’d you get my number?” I’m not one to go out for District roles, so I was very surprised. Toastmasters has given me so much, so when I’m asked to turn around and lend a hand, I said yes immediately.

Team Work

Not having a lot of Contest experience, I immediately turned to my mentor, Past District Director Christina Kruis for guidance. She not only joined the Contest Team immediately but then gathered the best Technical Team in the District. She also continued to mentor me by teasing out the nuances of managing a high-level contest. I am forever grateful to you Christina, and you are a major reason why I said yes. If Toastmasters is where leaders are made, it’s in large part because YOU find future leaders and mentor them to success.

The Technical Team was anchored by my old friend Irma Goosen and my new friend Cheryl Dust. Irma and I understand each other intuitively, so we don’t have to talk much to get the job done. I miss you already! Cheryl is the Rock Star I didn’t know was missing in my life. A tech whiz, when Cheryl talks, I listen. The entire Tech team drilled down to the smallest detail to ensure nothing was overlooked. When you’re streaming a Contest live on YouTube or for a District Conference, the technical side must be perfect. Cheryl and Irma have the knowledge and dedication to deliver. Without the Tech Team, there’d be no contest.

I was also supported by the creative team of Tanice McMinnis and Vesna Ivkovic. Together with Christina, Tanice developed our theme of “Dive Deep to Discover Your Potential” as well as stunning visuals. She also created the slide deck, and her work as Slidemaster was flawless. Both the Contests were promoted by my fellow Calgary Pace Setter Vesna. Past D42 PR Manager and current Dispatch Editor, Vesna had the website updated with contestants and winners, sometimes before I even knew who was competing. In the fall, she promoted the Humorous and Table Topics contests online and on social media. No job was too small, and her willingness to dive in and help was a blessing.

Our Chief Judge was Joyce Allen. Joyce’s dedication to excellence was felt by all, especially as she had to make last-minute adjustments to the judges when the contestants changed. It was a joy getting to know you, Joyce. To all the judges that gave their time and expertise – thank you! You know who you are, and you are appreciated. 


Over the entire contest year, the team was enhanced by several people in various support roles. I have to commend everyone that came on board. It’s not easy joining a team that’s going full steam ahead, but everyone jumped in and gave their very best performance.

I am so incredibly proud of the work the Contest Team did this year. Four successful contests went off without a hitch due to the time and dedication of these amazing volunteers. It was my privilege to be a part of this team and to help our fellow Toastmasters achieve their contest dreams. As for Eugene, I wish you the best of luck as our new District Director, and please, go ahead and lose my number 😁

Respectfully submitted,
Alisen Dopf
2022-2023 D42 Contest Chair 

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