2024-2025 District Officers Elected

On Thursday 11 April 2024 by unanimous ballot, District 53 elected its slate of officers for the 2024-2025 program year during the spring business meeting of the District Council.

Serving in the District Leadership Trio are:

  • Bettyann Peck, DTM, District Director 2024-2025
  • Mohan Padamati, DTM, District Program Quality Director 2024-2025
  • Jackie Kessler, DTM, District Club Growth Director 2024-2025
  • Bettyann Peck
  • Mohan Padamati joined Talk It Up Toastmasters in Windsor, Connecticut in 2011. He is also a member of Screaming Eagles Toastmasters club & Talking Tomorrow Together Toastmasters club in Division C. He has completed the Distinguished Toastmaster award twice and he was a Division Director of the year in 2021. He is currently working for Cyient Incorporated as an Associate Vice President (AVP). He collaborates with multiple leaders on daily basis and works with very diversified human capital. He lives with his wife Madhu and their two boys in Glastonbury, CT.  His hobbies are Toastmasters, reading the books and watching Bollywood & Tollywood movies.
  • Jackie Kessler joined Bethlehem Toastmasters in 2016. Her journey has included completing five paths in Pathways; serving in nearly all club officer positions in her home club; being a charter member of New York State Forum Toastmasters; serving District 53 as an Area Director, Division Director, and Club New Source Research Chair; taking first place in two District-level speech contests; and receiving the District 53 Toastmaster of the Year Award for 2021-2022. For more than 20 years, Jackie has worked in marketing and communications, with skills including strategic communications, content development, and editorial. She lives with her husband Brett (also a member of Bethlehem Toastmasters) in Delmar, NY, along with their recent college graduate son, currently matriculating son, and two cats. 

Elected alongside them are four of the five Division Directors. Due to a last-minute withdrawal from the campaign, District Director-elect Bettyann Peck will appoint a suitable Toastmaster to the role of Division C Director, who will then be confirmed by majority vote at the fall business meeting of the District Council.

Serving for the Divisions are:

  • For Division A: Melanie Lee
  • For Division B: Scott R. Davis
  • For Division C:
  • For Division D: Stephanie Roy
  • For Division E: Elizabeth Keeling
  • Melanie Lee  joined Toastmasters in December of 2020 as a member of Greater Stamford Toastmasters in Division A.  She is most proud of being able to serve the membership of Area 11 as the Area Director from 2022 to 2024.  Melanie is a retired NYC certified English teacher having served for 25 years in Brooklyn and the Bronx.  She lives in Stamford with her husband Michael and their canine companion, Blue.  In her spare time, she talks up Toastmasters at her current place of employment, The Ferguson Library, church-Union Baptist Church and, as a member of the board of directors of C.O.N.E.C.T. (Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut).
  • Scott R. Davis
  • Stephanie Roy
  • Elizabeth Keeling joined NYISO Toastmasters in Rensselaer, NY in 2017. She is also a dual member of Capital Advanced Toastmasters in Division E. She was awarded District 53 Toastmaster of the year for 2022-2023 at the District 53 Annual Conference. She is currently working as a Project Manager for the New York ISO (NYISO) and brings experience from the healthcare and energy/utility industries. Elizabeth lives with her husband, Grant, and their two cats in Rensselaer, NY. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing video games, and reading.

The new District Trio and Division Directors will make their promises and be formally installed at the District 53 Annual Conference on May 11, 2024 in the afternoon; and take office on July 1, 2024 at midnight.

The whole volunteer staff of District 53, and all the Toastmasters membership of the District and beyond, wish them great success in 2024-2025!

Thank you

Fellow Toastmasters,

I want to take a moment to thank all the people that brought us to today’s Business Meeting, and the election of our District officers for 2024-2025’s program year: the District Leadership committee members who interviewed a total of ten candidates for Division Director roles and the District trio roles; the members who nominated their fellow Toastmasters to these offices; the functionaries and presenters who helped run Tuesday’s Candidate Showcase; and the candidates themselves, who approached the roles for which they’re running with thoughtfulness and humility.

On Monday, 8 April 2024 — I took time off from preparing for today to rush three hours north to see the total eclipse of the Sun. We spent three hours traveling north, before we found a suitable spot on an access road to a field outside Middlebury, VT. There was an unplanned encampment of about 100 cars along this gravel road, where my wife and I sat with a nice stranger named Mary whose brother asked her to go in his place (he was stuck at home with a fever of 100°), and some kids who were much more interested in playing in the mud and their harried parents, and a Indian family of maybe 30 people who had come in at least six cars in a caravan.  There were some teenagers who had road-tripped from Boston.  Together, we watched as the Moon took a bite out of the Sun through our eclipse glasses, and then swallowed the whole thing.  It took no more than two minutes, and it started ending almost as soon as it began.  We hung out another 15 minutes, but mindful of a long drive home getting longer with traffic by the minute, we pulled out onto the highway. Then we drove home, 3 hours of back roads, going the speed limit the whole way and uninterrupted by traffic or delay. 

Those two minutes changed me, even so. Six hours of driving on unfamiliar roads, for a sight — stunning in its majesty — of a ring of light in the sky with a darkness at its heart.  I think that at least one of the ways I’ll subdivide my life in the future is “before I saw a total eclipse of the sun” and “after I saw a total eclipse of the sun.” 

There’s no telling if being a District officer will change you in the same way — but I certainly think of my life as divided in two parts, “before District service” and “after District service.”  Yesterday I went to my town’s Annual Caucus, and agreed to be nominated to run in the election for Select Board, the committee of three that runs my tiny town.  I wouldn’t have had the courage to do that before I was a District Officer — and now I do.  My former fears… have perhaps been… eclipsed by a recognition of both my personal competence, and a desire to be of service.

May today’s Business Meeting, where we elect our slate of District officers for the 2024-2025 program year, be the start of something similarly large, for all of us — and especially our candidates.

Sincerely,
Andrew B. Watt, DTM
Past District Director 2020-2021
Interim Chair, District 53 Leadership Committee 2023-2024

Communication & Leadership Award 2024

For immediate release —

District 53 is pleased to announce the 2024 recipient of its Communication and Leadership Award. The Communication and Leadership Award is presented by the District to a non-Toastmaster in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader.  The recipient will have distinguished himself/herself as a leader or spokesperson for a worthy cause or purpose, especially as it exemplified their communication and leadership skills. 

Alisa Klein, Executive Director of Grow Food Northampton (GFN), manages and stewards access to farmland and healthy food to create what they call a “local food system” in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The organization: 

  • Offers 320 organic community garden plots on six acres to provide gardening space to 400 community members; 
  • Leases prime farmland and provides infrastructure and resources to ten small farms on the 121-acre Grow Food Northampton Community Farm;
  • Manages year-long weekly farmers markets to connect local farms directly with customers;
  • Runs a free mobile farmers market that, weekly, delivers fresh local produce and other quality ingredients to hundreds of individuals and families grappling with food insecurity and hunger;
  • Operates a Giving Garden that grows and donates thousands of pounds of organic produce annually to local food pantries and community meal sites; and
  • Conducts collaborative research projects with academics and others on sustainable and climate resilience-enhancing agricultural practices.
Alisa Klein, executive director of Grow Food Northampton, and recipient of the 2024 District 53 Communication and Leadership Award
Alisa Klein,
executive director
Grow Food Northampton

On the Community Farm, GFN leases land to farmers who have traditionally been denied access to farmland, including refugees from war-torn places like Somalia, women farmers, and others. In addition to its farm-based Community Garden, GFN has established community gardens at nine public housing communities to enable low-income families to have access to green spaces and grow their own food. Working together with local business sponsors, Grow Food Northampton doubles the purchasing power of low-income individuals so they can afford more healthy local foods at GFN’s farmers markets. The organization also collaborates with the local school system to deliver hands-on education about nutrition, cooking with locally grown food, and gardening to all K-12 students, while also offering workshops to adults on a variety of local food system-related topics. 

Ms. Klein is a long-time activist and community organizer working on issues as diverse, yet interconnected, as the climate emergency and peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. She has been deeply involved in bringing restorative and transformative justice models to addressing harm in communities. Between 2014 and 2020, Alisa served as a Northampton, Massachusetts, city councilor where she established a Select Committee on Pesticide Reduction and wrote and sponsored legislation to prohibit the use of pesticides in municipal spaces. She has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a Master’s in International Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Alisa Klein will receive the award at the District 53 Annual Conference in Southbury, CT, on May 11, 2024.

District 53 Toastmasters is an administrative unit of Toastmasters International that supports the Toastmasters clubs in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, and the Albany, Hudson Valley and upper triangle of New York State. Clubs are open to all adults 18 years of age and older through the payment of membership fees; all members of clubs are members of District 53 Toastmasters. You can find a club near you through the Find a Club feature, or learn how to Start a Club in your community or in your corporate or government environment.

2023-2024 Candidate Showcase Agenda

Candidate Showcase

9 April 2024 – 7:00 pm

  • Chair: Andrew B. Watt, DTM
    Past District Director
  • Co-Chair: Jeff Sobel, DTM
    Past International Director
  • Functionaries
    • Sergeant at Arms: John J. Hogan, DTM Immediate Past District Director
    • Zoom Master: Norm Thibodeau, DTM
      District Administration Manager
    • Zoom Master: Zachary Fisk, PM4
      District Public Relations Manager
    • Timer #1: Tom Farrelly, DTM
      District Parliamentarian
    • Timer #2: Steve Lanning, DTM
      Area 43 Director, Club Coach Chair

Candidates

  • District Director: Bettyann Peck
  • Program Quality Director: Mohan Padamati
  • Club Growth Director: Jackie Kessler
  • Division A Director: Melanie Lee
  • Division B Director: Scott R. Davis
  • Division C Director:
  • Division D Director: Stephanie Roy
  • Division E Director: Elizabeth Keeling

Candidate Biographical Forms can be found on the web at https://d53tm.org/district-officer-candidates/

Presenters:

  • Morag Mathieson, DTM
    • International President 2023-2024
  • Angela Chute, DTM
    • District Director of District 45 2023-2024
  • Laura St. Louis, DTM
    • District Director of District 62 2023-2024
  • Matthew Storms, IP3
    • Club President of West-Conn Toastmasters 2023-2024
    • President’s Distinguished Club
  • Mary Angel, PM3
    • Club President of Dutchess County Toastmasters
    • Select Distinguished Club

Agenda

TimeEventSpeakers
6:30 pmRoom Opens to All Participants
7:00 pmCall To Order & WelcomeJohn J. Hogan
7:02 pmOpening Remarks by Co-ChairsAndrew B. Watt
Jeff Sobel
7:08 pmInterviews with Candidates
District Director candidateBettyann Peck
– Morag Mathieson, interviewer
Program Quality Director candidatesRick May
– Angela Chute, interviewer
Mohan Padamati
– Angela Chute
interviewer
Club Growth Director candidateJackie Kessler
– Laura St. Louis, interviewer
Division A Director candidateMelanie Lee
– Mary Angel, interviewer
Division B Director candidateScott E. Davis
– Matthew Storms, interviewer
Division C Director candidateRick May
Mary Angel, announcer
Division D Director candidateStephanie Roy
– Matthew Storms, interviewer
Division E Director candidateElizabeth Keeling
– Mary Angel, announcer
Including equipment tests and transitions, each candidate should take approximately 5-6 minutes including 4 minutes of timed responses.
8:05 pm Concluding Remarks by the Co-ChairsAndrew B. Watt
Jeff Sobel
8:15 pmAdjournment
Candidate Corner to follow for approximately a half hour, ending no later than 9:00 pm

The Candidate Showcase is a formal annual event at which candidates for District office have an opportunity to show themselves and answer curated questions before an audience.

The Candidate Corner which follows is an informal event at which candidates for District office may meet one-on-one or meet in small groups with interested Toastmasters and engage in dialogue.

Both the Candidate Showcase and Candidate Corner are governed by rules laid down in Protocol 9.0 of the Toastmasters Governing Documents.

Report of the District Leadership Committee

Dear Patti Walter, DTM, District Director, and to the District —

The District Leadership Committee has completed its work.  I would like to thank the committee members — Richard Frantz, Jr, Steve Lanning, Sharon Mercado, Dave Pelland, Beth Van Kempen —for their dedication and serious attention to the work at hand.

Each year, the District Leadership Committee’s members, representing each of District 53’s Divisions, evaluate the qualifications and interview candidates for the elected roles for the coming program year.  As committee chair, I am expected to moderate deliberations and debate, and call a vote on each candidate who is presented — but not to influence the committee’s decision.

The District Leadership Committee interviewed the following candidates, and qualified them to run immediately for these roles as Nominated Candidates (links to their photos and biographical forms here):

  • for District Director
    • Bettyann Peck
  • for Program Quality Director
    • Rick May
    • Mohan Padamati
  • For Club Growth Director
    • Jackie Kessler
  • for Division A Director
    • Melanie Lee
  • for Division B Director
    • Scott Davis
  • for Division C Director
    • Rick May
  • for Division D Director
    • Stephanie Roy
  • for Division E Director
    • Elizabeth (Liz) Keeling

The committee met all its deadlines and requirements, with the exception of nominating two (2) candidates for the Club Growth Director role; this makes the report valid but incomplete. As a result, interested floor candidates who meet the requirements of the role, may present their paperwork to the District Director for the role of Club Growth Director in 2024-2025, provided that they do so prior to April 4, 2024 at noon.

All nominated candidates listed in the previous section will be listed on the District website at https://d53tm.org/district-officer-candidates/ by March 10, 2024, along with their photographs and Biographical Information forms.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrew B. Watt, DTM, PDD
interim chair DLC 2023-2024

Communication & Leadership Award 2024

Session 1 Workshops Conference PageSession 2 WorkshopsKeynoteC&L Award

District 53 is pleased to announce the 2024 recipient of its Communication and Leadership Award. The Communication and Leadership Award is presented by the District to a non-Toastmaster in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader.  The recipient will have distinguished himself/herself as a leader or spokesperson for a worthy cause or purpose, especially as it exemplified their communication and leadership skills. 

Alisa Klein, Executive Director of Grow Food Northampton (GFN), manages and stewards access to farmland and healthy food to create what they call a “local food system” in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. The organization: 

  • Offers 320 organic community garden plots on six acres to provide gardening space to 400 community members; 
  • Leases prime farmland and provides infrastructure and resources to ten small farms on the 121-acre Grow Food Northampton Community Farm;
  • Manages year-long weekly farmers markets to connect local farms directly with customers;
  • Runs a free mobile farmers market that, weekly, delivers fresh local produce and other quality ingredients to hundreds of individuals and families grappling with food insecurity and hunger;
  • Operates a Giving Garden that grows and donates thousands of pounds of organic produce annually to local food pantries and community meal sites; and
  • Conducts collaborative research projects with academics and others on sustainable and climate resilience-enhancing agricultural practices.

On the Community Farm, GFN leases land to farmers who have traditionally been denied access to farmland, including refugees from war-torn places like Somalia, women farmers, and others. In addition to its farm-based Community Garden, GFN has established community gardens at nine public housing communities to enable low-income families to have access to green spaces and grow their own food. Working together with local business sponsors, Grow Food Northampton doubles the purchasing power of low-income individuals so they can afford more healthy local foods at GFN’s farmers markets. The organization also collaborates with the local school system to deliver hands-on education about nutrition, cooking with locally grown food, and gardening to all K-12 students, while also offering workshops to adults on a variety of local food system-related topics. 

Ms. Klein is a long-time activist and community organizer working on issues as diverse, yet interconnected, as the climate emergency and peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. She has been deeply involved in bringing restorative and transformative justice models to addressing harm in communities. Between 2014 and 2020, Alisa served as a Northampton, Massachusetts, city councilor where she established a Select Committee on Pesticide Reduction and wrote and sponsored legislation to prohibit the use of pesticides in municipal spaces. She has a bachelor’s degree from Smith College and a Master’s in International Policy from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

Alisa Klein will receive the award at the District 53 Annual Conference in Southbury, CT, on May 11, 2024.

District 53 Toastmasters is an administrative unit of Toastmasters International that supports the Toastmasters clubs in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, and the Albany, Hudson Valley and upper triangle of New York State. Clubs are open to all adults 18 years of age and older through the payment of membership fees; all members of clubs are members of District 53 Toastmasters. You can find a club near you through the Find a Club feature, or learn how to Start a Club in your community or in your corporate or government environment.

Alisa Klein, executive director of Grow Food Northampton, and recipient of the 2024 District 53 Communication and Leadership Award
Alisa Klein, 
executive director 
Grow Food Northampton
Communication & Leadership Award
The Communication and Leadership Award

The Communication and Leadership Award is given to that non-Toastmaster individual or organization that best exemplifies successful communication and leadership in a district. It is the highest award that Toastmasters gives to non-members. Read more about the award


Growing the Club Growth Team

Fellow Toastmasters,

I am happy to introduce you to the Club Growth Team I’ve assembled over the past several months. The  Club Growth Team helps me to carry out the District Marketing Plan with the support of District Director Patti Walter, DTM and Program Quality Director, Bettyann Peck, DTM.

Kate Scarcella is the Club Extension Chair. In her regular work, she is a Project Director in Renewable Energy at GE Vernova.  She is currently serving as the Vice President of Education for Talk It Up Toastmasters in Windsor, CT and has a passion for Continuous Improvement.  Toastmaster Scarcella has been appointed as the Club Extension Chair to provide guidance over the Club Sponsor Program and Club Chartering Process to ensure that prospective clubs are chartered successfully and that interested D53 Toastmasters are matched with appropriate Sponsor credit opportunities.

  • The Club Extension Chair oversees our District’s objectives for growing new clubs, and mentoring them to success. In addition to providing sponsors for prospective clubs, the club extension committee arranges club sponsor credit opportunities for members who seek it.
  • You can reach Kate at ClubExtChair@d53tm.org if you want to help.

Liz Keeling is now serving as the Club Demo Chair. She joined Toastmasters in November 2017. She is a Project Manager at the New York ISO (NYISO). She is currently serving as Division E Director for the 2023-2024 club year. She is a member of NYISO Toastmasters club and a dual member of the Capital Advanced Toastmasters club. She was awarded District 53 Toastmaster of the Year in 2022-2023 at the Spring District 53 conference. She put together a strong team and organized a Demo Meeting for the prospective members of a new club prior to the club charter.

  • The Club Demo Committee is responsible for one of the most important aspects of the District’s marketing strategy—qualifying, managing and tracking leads. It also plans and executes the Demo Session prior to chartering a club. 
  • You can reach Liz at clubdemochair@d53tm.org if you want to help sponsor or mentor new clubs.

      Steve Lanning is serving as the Club Quality Chair. He has been a Toastmaster since 2014, served as Club President six times, Area Director five times, Division Director twice, and District Administrator once. He is currently a member of three clubs, and all made Distinguished status last year. Steve is currently the District Club Coach Chair with six assigned Coaches, all of whom are working to get their assigned Clubs to Distinguished status this year. Steve’s motto is, ‘Always do the next hard thing, whatever that is for you.”

      • The Club Quality Committee focuses on establishing a club mentor committee to provide this service through the club mentor program. Club mentors are the advisors and tutors for new clubs and have a great effect on the degree to which a new club succeeds. The Club Quality Committee also helps pair interested coaches with clubs having 12 members or less.
      • You can reach Steve at clubcoachingchair@d53tm.org if you want to be a Club Coach

      Jackie Kessler is serving as the New Source Research Chair through June 2024. She lives near Albany, NY and joined Bethlehem Toaastmasters in January 2016. She has served the club as Vice President Public Relations, Vice President Membership, Vice President Education (two consecutive terms, as D53 transitioned from our legacy learning program to Pathways), President, Immediate Past President, and most recently as Secretary. In addition, she was a charter member of New York State Forum Toastmasters (#6606749). 

      • The Club New Source Research committee works closely with the Club Growth Director to develop the District’s marketing plan, which is a series of steps to help the District grow healthy new clubs. In addition to assisting with the marketing plan, the club new source research chair generates new club leads at the District level.
      • You can reach Jackie at newsourceresearch@d53tm.org if you have an idea of where to market and advertise our organization.

      I hope that, by building teams for Club Growth and Club improvement, we can make our club growth programs successful in the rest of the 2023-2024 program year, and build on that success in 2024-2025. We always must remember that, whatever we do as Toastmasters, we never achieve success alone — it is always in partnership with others.

      Yours in Toastmasters Service,
      Mohan Padamati, DTM
      Club Growth Director 2023-2024.

      2024 Conference: Workshop Session 2

      Session 1 Workshops Conference PageSession 2 WorkshopsKeynoteC&L Award

       Philip Pape, PhD, is a high-performance nutrition coach, physique engineer, and the engaging host of the popular Wits & Weights podcast, a show for skeptics of the fitness industry who want to live longer by getting stronger with evidence-based strength training and sustainable nutrition. Philip is passionate about helping listeners and clients get unstuck inside and outside the gym to discover the knowledge and confidence to reveal their ideal physique. Philip joined Toastmasters in 2011 and started podcasting in 2021 as a Toastmasters Pathways project, growing his show Wits & Weights to over 100,000 downloads and ranked in the top 2% of all shows and top 100 on the Nutrition charts, listened to in over 100 countries. He knows a thing or two about how to start and grow a successful podcast!    Philip combines his expertise and science-backed approach to health and fitness with a talent for storytelling and audience engagement, making him a unique voice in the podcasting world. He loves to share practical podcasting strategies on all things podcasting, from creation to launch to technology to discoverability so YOU can grow your dream show. 

      The Passion Podcast Playbook:
      How to Craft, Launch and Grow your Dream Show:

      A step-by-step walkthrough designed for aspiring podcasters and seasoned creators alike, focusing on the art and science of podcasting. This presentation teaches you how to create and deliver a podcast that resonates with both the creator’s passion and the audience’s interests. It outlines practical steps for launching a podcast, from choosing the right hosting platform and crafting a unique name to designing compelling cover art and producing engaging content. The presentation also emphasizes the importance of aligning your marketing approach with the different growth phases of a podcast, focusing on the first two phases: Exploration and Engagement. Attendees will learn how to navigate the challenges of each phase to build their community, learn from feedback, and gain more exposure to expand their listener base. This playbook is not just about starting a podcast; it’s about nurturing and growing a podcast into a successful, impactful show that stands out in the ever-expanding podcast landscape!

      remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

      Mary Cheyne in a red dress against a white background

      Mary Cheyne, MBA began as a socially awkward, self-conscious computer programmer. Today, as a World Champion of Public Speaking first runner-up, out of 35,000 contestants from 14 countries, she is proof that transformation is possible.  She got there by understanding that becoming GREAT at public speaking isn’t just about technique, it starts with trusting yourself. Through her training and coaching, she has taught over 30,000 people in 30 cities internationally.  Mary is a TEDx speaker. Her talk has over 539,000 views. Mary is a best-selling author of: “Tell Your Inner Critic to SHUT UP! And the Real You to SPEAK UP!”. Two fun facts about Mary are: She holds a karate second degree black belt rank and plays the ukulele.  

      PLAY in Public Speaking:
      How to infuse FUN into your talks

      Speaking does not have to be a drag if you know how to make it fun! Turn even the driest, most bland topics into opportunities for interactive fun, whether you are presenting in person or virtually. Your audience will learn more, and you will have a blast speaking. In this fun & interactive session, you will discover a profound method used by the pros, to speak outside the box so you can PLAY with your audience AND be excited to give your talks. The attendee will also learn three well-tested techniques that ensure that their audience will have more fun & be fully engaged & entertained the entire time! Discover the most common barriers that make a speaker boring so that you will not make those mistakes.

      remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

      Donna Peterson is the CEO of World Innovators, a renowned B2B family-owned marketing agency with over four decades of experience in the industry. Her passion for fostering authentic relationships among individuals and businesses is the cornerstone of her success.  Moreover, Donna has played a pivotal role in guiding individuals to find their authentic voices and become influential leaders.  Lover of the outdoors. If she is not at her desk you will find here outside Skiing, Paddle Boarding, Swimming . . .   

      The AI Advantage:
      Transforming Marketing for Clubs, Personal and Corporate Brands

      Marketing is evolving at warp speed, and for brands to keep up and form deep relationships, they will need the help of Generative AI tools.  This session will talk about the evolution of marketing and why you need to change your thinking to grow your brand in the future. Then, we will discuss what catapulted us into this world of Artificial Intelligence. Define what generative AI is and the strategic uses of AI to understand and know your audience. The session will explore the delicate balance of selling and educating so that prospects see you as a thought leader and start to trust the brand. With strategic messages across different channels, brands will create a personal connection with their prospects and customers.

      remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

      2024 Conference: Workshop session 1

      Session 1 Workshops Conference PageSession 2 WorkshopsKeynoteC&L Award

      Armelde Pitre

      Armelde Pitre is a former large pharmaceutical company executive and current small business owner for pharmaceutical industry consulting services and beekeeping.  She is passionate about quality, continuous learning and development in myself as well as in others via active mentoring.  As a gardener and beekeeper, she has become more observant and aware of both the force of nature and its ability to solve most problems. She believes that the lessons she has learned from nature are applicable to the struggles we face in Toastmasters. In her session she’ll be sharing these lessons.

      Club Environment Lessons from Mother Nature

      In nature’s ecosystem, we can observe its harmony and perfection. Nothing in nature operates in isolation, everything is interconnected and orchestrated to create optimal conditions for survival as well as adaptation to inevitable change. What if we mimic those concepts to create solid foundations and healthy ecosystems in our clubs? Using analogies and lessons learned from nature, this session will challenge attendees to adopt a different perspective in managing their clubs.

      remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

      Chad Babcock

      Chad Babcock is a training facilitator at Electric Boat in Groton, CT.  He joined his first Toastmasters club (a corporate club) in January 2014. Over the past ten years, Chad has been a member in four different clubs, served District 53 in a number of leadership roles, enjoyed competing in contests and attended many district conferences. Chad loves to meet new members and guiding them through their Toastmasters journey.

      Connect to Others Through Your Journey Line

      Where are you at in your Toastmasters journey and how did you get there? For most of us it has been a lot of hard work that did not occur overnight. Take a moment to reflect on all the hard work and triumphs that contributed to this journey. Learn how to create your own journey line that maps out all the milestones that have led you to where you are today. Your journey line becomes your story!

      remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

      Courtney Haedke

      Courtney Haedke is from Monroe, Connecticut, and a new member of Toastmasters joining her Southbury, CT club in 2021. While working in the IT field for the last 10 years, Courtney found her needing to deliver presentations to many different audiences, and she struggled with her confidence in public speaking. Fortunately, her Dad, who is also a member of the same Toastmasters club, informed her about the benefits of the organization and she joined right away.  Initially, she expected the club to solely focus on improving her speech delivery, however she has gained much more from it.  As the Vice President Education, Courtney has honed her leadership skills, challenged herself with Pathways, and built meaningful relationships with other members. Through this journey, Courtney has come to realize that her Toastmasters club is a truly special place.  

      Jacquelyn Kingsley

      Jacquelyn Kingsley is from Oxford, Connecticut, and serves as the Senior Director of ESG at Rexel, embodying a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and acting as a force for positive change. With a robust background in engineering, Jackie holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s degree from Rensselaer.  Passionate about promoting responsible custodianship of our planet, Kingsley has set ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions. Since joining her Toastmasters club in Southbury, CT in 2021, Jackie has actively utilized the platform to refine her public speaking skills. Regularly participating in Toastmasters meetings, she delivers impactful environmental speeches, earning valuable feedback from her peers.  In her role as Vice President Public Relations, Jackie has showcased exceptional leadership. She has significantly boosted the club’s visibility by creating spotlight video interviews with members, shedding light on the transformative impact Toastmasters has had on their public speaking skills and personal growth. Beyond her professional achievements, Jackie, a devoted mom and recently a new dog mom, exemplifies the notion that she can conquer anything with dedication and skillful communication. Her remarkable commitment to environmental advocacy establishes her as a standout figure in both professional and Toastmasters circles.

      Challenge Yourself with Pathways

      As you embark on a new year, consider setting a goal. It’s common to express intentions to start something new, but often the challenge lies in completing it. What if there was a way to motivate both yourself and your fellow Toastmasters club members to achieve their Pathways goals in a brief period of time? Reflecting on our experience at New Dawn Toastmasters, at the end of 2023, our club initiated a 90-day Pathways challenge, resulting in remarkable accomplishments: 5 Paths Registered, 2 Icebreaker projects completed, 3 Levels achieved, and one path fully accomplished. In this session, we will guide you through the steps we took to design and implement the 90-day Pathways challenge, sharing insights on how we actively engaged members in participation. Additionally, we will showcase anecdotes from challenge participants who found a deeper connection with Pathways, unveiling stories of professional and personal growth. Join us to discover the strategies that made our Pathways challenge successful and learn firsthand from fellow members who have reaped significant benefits from their Pathways journey. It’s an opportunity to inspire and motivate each other as we strive for personal and professional development.

      remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.