2024 District 53 Conference is Breaking Barriers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toastmasters District 53 Announces “Breaking Barriers” as Theme for 2024 Conference

Southbury, CT February 13, 2024 – Toastmasters District 53 is thrilled to announce the theme for its highly anticipated 2024 conference: “Breaking Barriers.” This dynamic theme was carefully chosen to celebrate Toastmasters’ centennial year and to reflect on the remarkable milestone of 50 years of women’s membership within the organization.

“Breaking Barriers” holds profound significance as it resonates differently with each individual, capturing the essence of personal growth, empowerment, and achievement. As Toastmasters celebrates its 100th year, the theme serves as a poignant reminder of the organization’s enduring commitment to breaking down barriers to effective communication and leadership.

“We are incredibly excited to unveil ‘Breaking Barriers’ as the theme for our 2024 conference,” said Bettyann Peck, DTM, Program Quality Director. “This theme encapsulates the spirit of Toastmasters as we honor our rich history while embracing diversity, inclusivity, and the limitless potential of our members.”

The conference will feature a diverse range of workshops, keynote speeches, and networking opportunities designed to inspire and empower attendees to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and reach new heights in their personal and professional lives.

“We invite Toastmasters members and guests from across the region to join us for an unforgettable conference experience,” added Bettyann Peck, DTM. “Together, let’s break barriers, shatter limitations, and embark on a journey of growth, discovery, and transformation.”

The Toastmasters District 53 “Breaking Barriers” conference will take place May 10-11, 2024 at The Heritage Conference Center, Southbury, CT. Further details, registration, and updates can be found at https://d53tm.org/district-conference/

For media inquiries or more information, please contact Zachary Fisk, Public Relations Manager at prm@d53tm.org.

Mastering Communication: Why Your Toastmasters Email Matters

Many of us joined Toastmasters in an effort to become comfortable with public speaking. Along our journeys, we learn that Toastmasters helps us become better communicators overall. Today, we are confronted with many modes of communication, and one of the tried and true methods over the past couple of decades is email. Email is the primary mode of communication between Toastmasters International and you, District 53 and you, and many clubs and their members. An email address also serves as half of your Toastmasters International account credentials. This is particularly crucial for accessing associated websites.

Losing access to an email address can quickly disrupt communication, making it challenging to be notified of opportunities and restricting your access to your Toastmasters education records. In this post, I would like to encourage you to consider changing to a personal email address for your Toastmasters email if you are using a work-assigned address. Additionally, I encourage you to check your spam/junk folders to ensure that communication from Toastmasters International, District 53, and your club are not getting trapped in those folders.

Now, let’s explore several benefits of using a personal email address for your Toastmasters correspondence.

1. This safeguards your ability to access education records, even if you no longer have a connection with the company providing your email account. Having a network of other Toastmasters may help you land another opportunity or at the very least help you continue to prepare for future interviews.

2. Using a personal email address ensures you have privacy over your professional development from an employer. A corporate account is company-owned and may be reviewed by management.

3. It can offer you personal branding by choosing a vanity domain address, or how your username and signature are displayed. This can set you apart and show others your involvement with Toastmasters and commitment to personal growth.

4. It ensures that you have control over accessing news from Toastmasters International and District 53. Both sources provide many opportunities to continue your growth such as news of upcoming training, or interesting articles with valuable insights.

We’ve noticed when sending out District 53 news that some company accounts are completely blocking our newsletters. It may be difficult to convince IT departments to adjust firewall settings to allow newsletters to flow in. Many personal address providers such as Gmail allow all subscribed information to flow in but may filter to promotion or spam folders. In these scenarios, a simple search will enable access to the email, and it can then be marked ‘safe’ for inbox delivery in the future.

Uninterrupted access to this information is helpful to you, and your club, which benefits each of the members, “you”.

As you continue your Toastmasters journey, consider the power of a personal email address — a gateway to uninterrupted education, a shield of privacy, personal branding, and a key to unlocking Toastmasters communications. Take control, update your Toastmasters profiles, and share the wisdom with your Toastmasters friends and peers.

Stay Cyber Safe

Dear Members of District 53 Toastmasters,

We heavily rely on emails for communication, especially within our Toastmasters family. Cyber threats plague us everywhere from Social Media hacks that overtake profiles and various tried and true promises of inheriting wealth from foreign princes. Various email scams are referred to as phishing, these are attempts to gain access to financial resources. Such as asking for Bank Account numbers and other personal information or requests to make purchases. Regrettably, the latter recently occurred in our community. I would like to use this space to help you be diligent within your Toastmasters correspondence and elsewhere.

Our recent incident was a phishing attempt that began with an innocent email asking the recipient for a favor or a few minutes of time. A reply then progressed into requests for the purchase of gift cards. Toastmasters officers will never request the purchase of gift cards via email. Furthermore, in compliance with our bylaws, the purchase of non-Toastmasters’ gift cards is strictly prohibited. This same phishing attempt has been deployed all over the world in each Toastmasters district.

How to Identifying Potential Phishing Attempts

Here are best practices for identifying potential phishing attempts:

  1. Check the Sender’s Email Address: Examine the sender’s email address closely. Beware of addresses that appear suspicious or mismatched. Do you have the sender in your contacts, or a previous email which can be compared to the recently received message?
  2. Examine the Content: Phishing emails often contain spelling or grammatical errors, an urgent tone, or vague requests for personal information or financial transactions.
  3. Verify Links and Attachments: Hover over any links before clicking on them. Ensure they lead to legitimate websites. Do not download attachments unless you are certain of the sender’s authenticity. Do not click on any suspicious links.
  4. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off about an email, trust your instincts. If you suspect a message is a phishing attempt, take precautions. Reach out to the recipient with a new email, or better alternatives such as text and phone calls.

What to Do When You Encounter Phishing Attempts

In the event, you identify a potential phishing email:

  1. Do Not Respond: Avoid responding to the email or clicking on any links within it.
  2. Report the Incident: Notify your club officers immediately. If necessary, escalate the issue following the chain of command – Area Director, Division Director, and finally, District Officers.
  3. Educate Fellow Toastmasters: Share your experience with your fellow club members, encouraging them to remain vigilant.

External Resources for Further Information

For more information on recognizing and combating phishing attempts, review these sources:

  1. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC offers guidance on recognizing and reporting phishing scams on their website: FTC Phishing Scams.
  2. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA): CISA provides valuable insights into protecting against phishing attacks: CISA’s Phishing and Spoofing.

In Conclusion

By familiarizing yourself with these best practices, you can protect yourself and your fellow members from phishing attempts.

Stay safe and informed.

District 53 Announces 2022-2023 DTM Awardees

July 29, 2023 – Toastmasters District 53 is proud to announce the following members who have been awarded the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) designation for their outstanding contributions to Toastmasters International:

  • Patricia H. Walter, DTM, Blue Chip Toasters Club
  • Thomas Farrelly, DTM, Hubbell Shelton Toastmasters
  • Elizabeth J. Reed, DTM, Housatonic Toastmasters
  • Steve Lanning, DTM, Toastmasters of Downtown Springfield, MA

The DTM designation is the highest award that can be earned in Toastmasters. It is awarded to members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, communication, and presentation skills.

The four awardees were recognized for their dedication to Toastmasters and their commitment to helping others. They have all served as club officers, mentors, and volunteers, and they have helped to inspire and motivate others to achieve their goals.

“We are proud to have these four outstanding members as part of the D53 family,” said Zachary Fisk, Public Relations Manager of Toastmasters District 53. “Congratulations to Patricia, Thomas, Elizabeth, and Steve on their well-deserved achievements!”

About Toastmasters International


Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

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DISTRICT 53 ANNOUNCES 2023-24 LEADERS

Patti Walter, District Director 2023-2024
Patti Walter, DTM
District Director
Bettyann Peck, DTM
Bettyann Peck, DTM
Program Quality Director
Mohan Padamati, DTM
Mohan Padamati, DTM
Club Growth Director

SPRINGFIELD, MA, MAY 6, 2023 (June 27, 2023)

Toastmasters International announces the District 53 Leaders for 2023-2024. The
District serves Toastmasters members in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and
Eastern New York.

The 2023-24 District Officers were sworn in at the District 53 Annual Conference held in
Springfield, Massachusetts on May 6, 2023.

Distinguished Toastmaster Patti Walter, DTM, a Learning and Development Consultant,
has been a recipient of the District Toastmaster of the Year Award and previously served on
the Executive Committee as Club Growth Director and Program Quality Director.
Toastmaster Walter has been elected as District Director and will coordinate all of
the Division and Area Directors to help the members of all the clubs achieve the
Districts mission.
Distinguished Toastmaster Bettyann Peck, DTM, owner of a Design &
Renovation Company has served on the Executive team as the Public Relations
Manager and Club Growth Director. Toastmaster Peck has been elected Program
Quality Director and will oversee all of the Districts Club, Area, and Division Officer
training as well as Speech Contests held throughout the year, along with the annual
Conference next Spring.

Distinguished Toastmaster Mohan Reddy Padamati, DTM, is a Senior Director of
Business Development at Cyient, Inc. He was a recipient of the Division Director of the
Year Award, and previously served the district as the Public Relations Manager.
Toastmaster Padamati has been elected as Club Growth Director to establish marketing
strategies, build new clubs and help existing clubs achieve excellence over the
coming year. 

We invite you to learn more about Toastmasters International www.toastmasters.org
and our District at: https://d53tm.org/guest/

About Toastmasters International
Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Englewood, Colo., the organization’s membership exceeds 280,000 in more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.

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Our District’s Facebook Page and Group: What’s the Difference?

Toastmasters District Facebook Page vs. Your Facebook Group: What’s the Difference?

District 53, like many other districts, has both a Facebook page and a Facebook group. We plan to utilize these resources differently when promoting our members, clubs, and the district as a whole. As the PRM, I worked with our Social Media Chair, Heather Turner, to rename our Facebook group. The new name helps us all to better identify it as a group and distinguish it from the Facebook page. Our group is now named “D53 Toastmasters – A Place to Share,” while our page is called “District 53 Toastmasters.”

So, what’s the difference between the two?

The Toastmasters district Facebook page is a public page. Anyone can view our district’s Toastmasters page, regardless of membership. District leadership will share news, upcoming events (such as open houses), resources, and achievements of clubs and members. We encourage readers to like and share our posts to help spread our message.

The District Facebook group. Group members can view and engage with posts. This is a great place to connect with other club members, ask questions, receive feedback on speeches, and support each other in their public speaking journeys. We will also share upcoming events here that are intended for members of the District. If you are not a member, please follow the link below to join and participate.

So, which one should you use?

In short, both! If you want to stay up-to-date on District 53 news and events that are relevant to your Toastmasters journey, join our group. If you have news and events that may be of interest to the public, reach out to me and our social media team to publish a post on the District page.

On a Toastmasters Note,

Zachary Fisk prm@d53tm.org

Heather Turner socialmedia@d53tm.org

My Goals as D53 Public Relations Manager

Hi everyone, my name is Zachary Fisk and I’m the new Toastmasters District Public Relations Manager for District 53. I’m excited to be a part of this organization and I’m committed to helping us achieve our goals.

As the District Public Relations Manager, my goals are to:

  • Increase awareness of Toastmasters in our district and beyond
  • Promote the benefits of Toastmasters to potential members
  • Generate positive publicity for Toastmasters
  • Build relationships with the media and other community organizations

I believe that Toastmasters is an amazing organization that can help people improve their communication and leadership skills. I’m committed to using my skills and experience to help us reach more people and make a positive impact in our community.

Some of the specific strategies I plan to use to achieve my goals include:

  • Having a Public Relations page on the District website.
  • Creating and distributing press releases about Toastmasters events and activities
  • Writing articles and blog posts about the benefits of Toastmasters
  • Using our Facebook pages more effectively.
  • Developing social media content that highlights the work of our members
  • Partnering with local businesses and organizations to promote Toastmasters
  • Attending community events to represent Toastmasters

I’m confident that with the support of our members, we can achieve our goals.

If you have any ideas on how I can achieve my goals, please don’t hesitate to contact me at prm@d53tm.org. I’m always looking for ways to improve and I appreciate your feedback.

I also ask:

I’m excited to get started on my new role as Toastmasters District Public Relations Manager. I’m committed to helping us achieve our goals.

Thank you for your time.