D53 Blog

Obituary: Eugene Siemiatkoski

The leadership of District 53 Toastmasters is sad to report the death of Eugene Siemiatowski, on January 20, 2023. Brought into Windsor Toastmasters by his wife Wanda, Eugene was a regular competitor in District contests, and also served a term as an Area Director from time to time. He was an excellent professional chef and active in numerous other organizations besides Toastmasters.

His family will receive friends on Saturday, February 4, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., with a Celebration of Life at 3 p.m., at Carmon Windsor Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor. 

A more complete obituary can be found at the Carmon Funeral Home page.

Stephanie Roy Joins Website Team

Area 41 Director Stephanie Roy has joined the team that runs the District 53 website as a member of the editorial and authorship staff. Look for her byline on stories in the near future!

Stephanie Roy, Area Director
Stephanie Roy, Area 41 Director

Stephanie first heard of Toastmasters years ago from author and podcaster, Lewis Howes. Howes credits Toastmasters for a large part of his transformation from a washed-up football player to a Times best selling author and successful public speaker. Despite being inspired by his story, the timing wasn’t right for Stephanie to find a club, but the idea stayed rooted in the back of her mind.

Flash forward to the pandemic, Stephanie, like many of us, found herself with an unexpected amount of free time. As a self-admitted personal-growth-and-development junkie, she began searching for ways evolve her personal and professional skills. The idea of exploring Toastmasters resurfaced.

In October of 2020, Stephanie visited two clubs in her local area: Nathan Hale Toastmasters in Manchester, CT and Talk It Up Toastmasters in Windsor, CT. (Fun aside: because everything was virtual, her first visit to Nathan Hale was actually while in California!) Both clubs had their own unique personality and culture, and she recognized the value in both. Ever the over-achiever, she joined not one, but both clubs officially on November 1st, 2020.

Since then, she has fallen in love with Toastmasters and raised her hand for as many opportunities as possible. She took on the role of President in both clubs for the 2021-2022 year. Because of the shifting landscape for all of us, both clubs lost their VPEs a few months into the year and she stepped in to take on those roles as well. She passed the baton as President for the 2022-2023 Toastmasters year, but stayed on as VPE and picked up the role of SAA in both clubs.

With eyes firmly set on earning her DTM, Stephanie is serving as Area 41 Director this year as well as donating her time as a Club Coach. She has completed the Persuasive Influence Pathway, as well as level four in both the Visionary Communication and Presentation Mastery Paths. She is serving on the District 53 Conference Committee for the second year in a row, assisting with Winter Officer Training, and FebFest. In addition, she will be offering the Youth Leadership Program for a group in the Manchester, CT area beginning in February.

Outside of Toastmasters, Stephanie has spent the last 20 years as an entrepreneur and teacher, specializing in building empowering, community oriented villages within brick and mortar business. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age, she pursued a career as a professional martial arts instructor and quickly established herself as an integral part in the growth of the business.

For the past ten years, she has brought her integrator and systems building expertise to developing personal and professional consulting programs through Momentum Learning Systems, LLC, as well as founding several complementary businesses. Most notable is Questers’ Way, a brick and mortar center that fuses family, fun, learning, and food into an integrated facility that empowers the community to learn and grow together.

Stephanie looks forward to bringing you news from Division D. Watch for her upcoming reports on FebFest and Winter Officer Training highlights!

SpringBoard into action - logo for 2023 Annual Conference

Register for the D53 Spring Conference!

May 6, 2023

Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place, Springfield, MA & Online

 SPRINGBoard to Success

Conference Registration Is Live!

Get the SuperSaver discounted rate for a limited time!  Rate ends January 31, 2023.

Register here.

Call For Presenters still open!

Want to get out of your comfort zone? Share your knowledge with your fellow Toastmasters!
Deadline to submit: January 31, 2023

For information, topic suggestions, directions and the online submission go to https://d53tm.org/spring-2023-conference-call-for-presenters.  

Miss the CFP Q&A Session? Check out the recording here.

Presenters must attend in person.

Stay in touch with conference happenings at the District 53 Conference Page.

Talk Up Toastmasters! from the CGD

16 January 2023

Greetings fellow Toastmasters!

Bettyann Peck, Club Growth Director

We all know Toastmasters love to connect, so take advantage of it — Let’s Talk Up Toastmasters!
This exciting membership program starting February 1, 2023, is the chance to encourage your members to invite guests to a special meeting where prospective members can learn about Toastmasters’ many benefits.

Here’s how it works for your club:

  • When you add five new, dual, or reinstated members with a join date between February 1 and March 31, you’ll receive a special Talk up Toastmasters ribbon to display on your club’s banner.
  • Qualifying clubs can also earn a special discount code for 10% off their next club order.

The discount code expires six months from the date of issue and is not valid with other offers
Applications and payments for members with a join date between February 1 and March 31
must be received at World Headquarters or online no later than March 31. The addition of
transfer and charter members does not count towards Talk Up Toastmasters credit.

Applications and payments for members with a join date between February 1 and March 31
must be received at World Headquarters or online no later than March 31. The addition of
transfer and charter members does not count towards Talk Up Toastmasters credit.
I look forward to seeing the remarkable results of your efforts that will benefit you and your

Yours in Toastmasters Service,

Bettyann Peck
Club Growth Director, 2022-23

Open House: Talk It Up Toastmasters

Talk It Up Toastmasters Club #8045, will sponsor an Open House on Thursday, 16 February 2023, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm online. (Calendar)

You can find them here on Toastmastersclubs.org or on Find-a-Club at Toastmasters.org

Please contact Steve McGuinness, VPPR, for additional information: stevensnewemail@gmail.com

New Year’s Message

5 January 2023

Greetings Toastmasters of District 53,

My family and I wish you the very best, YOUR very best life in 2023!

I find myself amazed that half of the 2022-2023 program year is written in the past. Immediate Past District Director Ishii told me that this year as District Director would occur as passing quickly. 

John J. Hogan, District Director

He was spot on!

Nevertheless, there is much to come in the next six months! Your Club Speech Contests are in full swing. Area and Division Speech Contests will follow, culminating with District Speech Contests, conducted at the Spring Conference in May. Club Officer Training events are happening too, throughout January and February. FebFest 2023 planning for February 4 is in the works! Program Quality Director Walter is busy with her conference (“SPRINGBoard Into Action!”) and contest committees, putting together the high quality programs that District 53 Toastmasters cherish. Club Growth Director Peck is making great strides with placing Club Coaches, and supporting new clubs through the chartering process. 

And finally, fellow Toastmaster, what is YOUR personal goal that will be realized through your participation in one of our 11 Pathways educational opportunities? I’ll share mine in my next newsletter. 

All for now!

In service,

John J. Hogan, DTM
District Director: 2022-2023

Chief Judge appointed; Rules Clarification

District 53 has appointed a Chief Judge for the 2022-2023 contest season.

Andrew B. Watt, DTM will serve in this role until and unless a member of his club disqualifies him from contest participation. Questions may be directed to him.

With regard to Rule 3.B.3 and 3.B.4 in the Toastmasters Contest Rulebook 2022-2023, the District has decided that only one (1) contestant from each contest at club, Area, or Division will advance to the next level of competition, regardless of whether that contestant is the winner or the runner-up.

All contests at Area level and above must be held, even if there is only one (1) contestant competing, in order to ensure that minimum and maximum time rules are respected.

District 53 appoints Leadership Committee

10 December 2022

District 53 is pleased to report the appointment of the District Leadership Committee (DLC) for 2022-2023.

Akihiro Ishii, IPDD 2022-23
Aki Ishii, Immediate Past District Director

The DLC interviews and recommends candidates to the senior elected roles of District Leadership: the five Division Directors (DivDs), the District Club Growth Director (CGD), the District Program Quality Director (PQD), and the District Director (DD).

Immediate Past District Director Akihiro Ishii DTM will chair the committee, as previously reported. All other seats on the committee are filled according to the rules set forth for the committee in the Toastmasters Governing Documents, namely that each division be equally represented. The Committee’s guiding rules are found in the District Administrative Bylaws, and the protocols and policies governing District elections. The DLC Handbook and the resource page at Toastmasters.org are an important set of guides to the work of the committee.

The committee representatives are:

  • For Division A: John Lewis, DTM
  • For Division B: Rich Dirksen, DTM
  • For Division C: Bette McIntire, DTM
  • For Division D: Roger Brown, DTM
  • For Division E: Donna Sobel, DTM

A page explaining candidate nominations and committee processes is found here. Interested candidates and persons wishing to nominate others may write to nominations@D53tm.org. Elections will be held at the Spring Business Meeting, currently scheduled for May 2023, and officers elected will serve from July 1, 2023 until June 30, 2024.

The deadline for nominations is 28 February 2022.

Jennifer K. Mighty, 1969-2022

District 53 is sad to report the passing of a Past Area Director and District Table Topics contest winner, Jennifer X Mighty, a member of Talk It Up Toastmasters #8045, in Windsor, CT.  She was fifty-three years old, and leaves behind a son, Kristian, as well as her mother, a brother and four sisters, and a loving partner John Haywood, Jr.  

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she moved to the United States at an early age  and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Professional Accounting. She worked for much of her professional career at United Technologies in various Finance departments

Jennifer joined Toastmasters through the Talk It Up Toastmasters club in January 2015, and competed at the fall Table Topics Contest that year in the District contest. She was an Area Director in the 2017-18 year, serving for Area 53 in the Windsor area under then-Division Director Andrew Watt.  She was also heavily involved in helping the Carribbean American Toastmasters Club of Hartford, commonly known as CATCH, #5187872.  A Past President of CATCH, John Rhone, said that while her own busy schedule prevented her from joining the club, she was a constant promoter and supporter of its mission, and a brand ambassador for a club she had not represented.  She also strived to build a woman-centered Toastmasters club  for the many inspiring women of color she met in the African-American, Caribbean-American, and Latino communities around Hartford.

Past President of Talk It Up Toastmasters, and current PublicRelations Manager Mohan Padamati said, “Jennifer was a great woman to work with. She brought lot of value to the Talk It Up Toastmasters club through her unique leadership & communication style. She was very creative in Table Topics speaking and gave such effective evaluations that helped us all improve. My deepest condolences to her family.”

Another Toastmaster, past Division Director Heather Turner DTM, said, “Jennifer Mighty was always a vibrant presence in District 53 and especially in the Windsor-Hartford area. I very much appreciated her help with projects we worked together on over the years in the Divisions she and I were both involved with. I have and always will, appreciate and admire her positive and enthusiastic attitude and her willingness, selflessness and great heartedness to go out of her way to help others. She was a talented speaker and a truly exceptional person. She will be greatly missed.”

Jennifer believed in service to a greater community, and treated her Toastmasters leadership experiences as practice for the other things she wanted to achieve.  Past District Director Andrew Watt DTM, recalled her, “Jennifer was like a stream of fresh lava, or a brand new steam engine — steady, uncompromising, full of fire, and always certain about what she was going to do next.”