D53 Blog

New Parliamentarian Appointed

13 September 2022

The District 53 senior team, saddened by the passing of Distinguished Toastmaster Sam Young, also realizes the degree of his participation has left a large gap in district operations.

In true Toastmasters fashion, Tom Farrelly, PM-5, IP-5, has accepted an appointment to the role of District Parliamentarian. Tom will step into the role immediately, providing procedural guidance at the Fall Business Meeting later this fall in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised. It is during this business meeting that his appointment will be ratified.

Please join me in congratulating Tom Farrelly, District 53 Parliamentarian.

In Toastmasters service,

John J. Hogan, DTM
District Director, 2022-23

Sam Young’s Memorial Service Details

The memorial service to celebrate the life of Sam Young, DTM, will take place next week on Monday, 12 September 2022, at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church
346 Butternut Steet
Middletown, CT 06457

The church website is here.

Wake Calling Hours: 9:00 am to 11:00 am, Monday 12 September 2022
Funeral Service 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, Monday 12 September 2022

We Mourn a Giant (9/1/2022)

1 September 2022

Dear Fellow District 53 Toastmasters,

I interrupt my usual bi-monthly schedule to report some sad news.

Portrait of Sam Young, DTM, member of District 53's 2022-23 Officers team as District 43 Director
Sam Young, DTM

Sam Young, DTM, and distinguished member of the District 53 community — a frequent flier among District officers including serving in the present term as Area 43 Director in Division D, the long-serving District Parliamentarian, a Club Mentor and Sponsor or Coach for several clubs, a regular voice and face at District conferences and officer training events — has died unexpectedly at home after a brief illness.

Sam was a great soul and mentor to many of us, and it’s a great loss to this organization and to our community. Sam was an anchor and a rock of support to so many District leaders in the last few years, and he will be deeply missed.

At this time we have only partial news about his passing, but additional information shall be posted on the District website as a separate news item as we learn more. The Memorial Service will be in Middletown, CT at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church at 346 Butternut Street. Please keep him and his family in your prayers and good wishes in the present hour, and let us prepare to mourn his passing as we learn more in the days and weeks to come.

In Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
D53 District Director 2022-2023

Kristi Yablonski interviews John J. Hogan, D53 Distict Director, in Nashville during the International Convention, 19 August 2022

District Director’s Letter- (8/31/22)

 Dear Fellow District 53 Toastmasters:

There are three things that I wish to communicate with you. Interestingly, they are interrelated.

Of immediate urgency is a phishing scheme that is currently being perpetrated on some other districts across the globe. I have posted a screenshot of the phishing letter at right. This communication purports to be sent by District Directors to the Toastmasters of their districts, soliciting funds through the purchase of gift cards. To be absolutely clear, if you receive one of these solicitations, do not respond to it. Do not forward it. Delete it. Do not purchase gift cards in response to it. Additionally, know that Districts are not permitted to spend your funds on gift cards other than to the Toastmasters store.

We do have other resources to access, though, and you as members have a say in how they get used! At the District 53 Fall Council Business Meeting, we’ll be examining the budget of District 53 for the 2022-23 program year. The Business Meeting will be conducted on Thursday, September 22, 6:30-9:30pm. Due to technical difficulties with the budget software and the District Success Plan, the Fall District Council Business meeting has been rescheduled to October 27, 2022, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. All Club Presidents and VPEs, and all DEC members (Division and Area Directors, and senior team) are expected to attend as voting representatives. The meeting is open to interested Toastmasters. On the agenda are the following items.

  • Approval of the May 2022 District Council meeting minutes.
  • Approval of the final 2021-2022 Financial Audit.
  • Approval of the 2022-2023 District Budget.
  • Approval of the 2022-2023 District Success Plan (DSP).
  • Confirmation of appointed 2022-2023 District Officers.

How do we get money for the District Budget? A portion of your bi-annual dues come back to the District to pay for the programs, services, and incentives that we offer to each member and all clubs in our District. When you pay your dues on time, it helps us maintain the services your club’s officers draw on to fulfill your club mission, and the mission ff the whole organization! The October 1 Membership Renewal Campaign helps make sure Dues arrive at World Headquarters (WHQ) by this date. Club Growth Director Bettyann Peck has put together an exciting incentive package to reward those clubs who attain certain paid membership levels by the Earlybird date of September 15. Check the District Newsletter that was sent out on August 29. If you are a gmail user, and cannot locate the newsletter in the Inbox, check the Promotions folder.

In Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
D53 District Director 2022-2023

Kristi Yablonski interviews John J. Hogan, D53 Distict Director, in Nashville during the International Convention, 19 August 2022

Dispatch from Nashville!

19 August 2022

As you’re no doubt aware, the Toastmasters International Convention is currently taking place in Nashville, Tennessee.  Thousands of Toastmasters members from around the world — including many of the District Trios — are participating in person and on-line.  We’re here to improve our public speaking skills, to receive training in the leadership roles we’re holding this year, to participate in workshops, to network and share ideas… and to witness the World Championships of Public Speaking, live, for the first time in two years.

Kristi Yablonski interviews John J. Hogan, D53 Distict Director, in Nashville during the International Convention, 19 August 2022
Kristi Yablonski interviews John J. Hogan, D53 Distict Director, in Nashville during the International Convention, 19 August 2022

Shortly after the opening ceremonies today, Kristi Yablonski, a member of World Headquarters staff in Colorado, interviewed me.  I spoke to her about the tremendous challenges ahead, the great occasion that surrounded us — and my faith in your ability to see those challenges as the open door of possibility. The members of District 53 are well-positioned to grow personally and to succeed as clubs, Areas and Divisions in the next years, thanks to your vision, your heart, and your willingness to work together.  I believe that our collective commitment to this great organization over the last two years will be rewarded — that guests and visitors will see our dedication, and our mutual respect, and want to take a role in this work we do together.

Here in Nashville, I continue to speak with Toastmasters from around the world who are similarly inspired, and inspiring.  I look forward to sharing their stories with you soon! 

In Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
District 53 Director 2022-2023

Panel: Why Be An Area Director?

Fellow Toastmasters,

District 45 is conducting a panel discussion, The Best Role Ever!, on the benefits of becoming an Area Director on Wednesday, August 10th at 7 PM EST.  Jim Kokocki, DTM, Past International President, will be moderating this discussion with their Immediate Past District Director and former Area Directors from District 53 serving on the panel.  

This is a great opportunity to have members ask questions and hear why so many leaders value their experiences as an Area Director.  

If you have members who are interested in attending, please send them here to register; they can also submit questions in advance to panel moderator Jim Kokocki, DTM. Their goal here is to create a “pathway” for leadership and leadership development and create interest in this vital role, and District 53 is delighted to assist them in calling up a great audience for their session.

Please let me know if you have any questions!


Patti Walter
District 53 Program Quality Director

Club Officer Training Elsewhere

What if you can’t attend any of District 53’s training dates this summer? You can look into attending in one of the other Districts in Region 9, thanks to the marvels of videoconferencing. Check out training dates in some of our partner districts in Region 9, covering the northeast US and maritime Canada!

District 31:

District 31 Officer Training

District 45:

District 45 Toastmasters Leadership Institutes

District 46:

DIstrict 46 Officer Training

District 61:


As well as these additional trainings…

District 65:


District 83:

District 83 Register for Training

District 119:

Register for specific events under individual calendar items.

District Director’s message (7/18/22)

Dear Toastmasters of District 53:

Our program year is off to a robust start. Round 1 of Club Officer Training is in full swing. If you receive a call from Chad Babcock, District 53 Training Chair, won’t you please consider accepting the opportunity to be a trainer at one or more of the sessions?

One area where I am focusing my attention is the Toastmasters Annual Business Meeting (ABM). This is your opportunity to participate in Toastmasters’ democratic process. Your Club President and Club Secretary each have a vote, a vote for the International Director Candidates as well as the International Executive Committee and the various proposals to our bylaws. In a separate communication, I will be reaching out to your Club Presidents with information on exercising their proxy votes. At the heart of this is the opportunity for you and I to be informed and knowledgeable regarding candidates and proposals. Keep an eye on the website for an opportunity for you to meet with Bettyann, Patti, and me to have your questions answered.

In Toastmasters Service,

John J. Hogan, DTM, District Director 2022-23

District Officer Training Dates

July 2, 2022

Just like Club Officers, your District Officers (senior team, Division Directors and Area Directors) go to training as well! The following is the calendar and brief descriptions of each training that the District Officers are expected to participate in over the next several weeks.

You can join these Zoom meetings at this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86899388575?pwd=U9q3YxXSLszSdWOjOmbrPMo1Y3uMM6.1

Program TitleMain DateAlternate DateAudience
Area Director ExpectationsSat, 7/23/2022
9:00 – 10:30 am

Mon 9/19/2022
8:00-9:00 pm

Wed. 9/21/2022
noon-1:00 pm
Tue 7/19/2022
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Effective Area Council MeetingsSat 7/23/2022
10:30-11:30 am

Mon. 9/19/2022
noon-1:00 pm

Thur.. 9/29/2022
noon-1:00 pm
Tue 7/19/202
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Effective Division Council MeetingsSat 7/23/2022
10:30 am – 11:30 am

Mon. 9/19/2022
noon-1:00 pm

Thur.. 9/29/2022
noon-1:00 pm
Tue 7/19/2022
7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Successful TeamsSat 7/23/2022
11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Mon 9/26/2022
8:00-9:00 pm

Tues. 9/27/2022
noon-1:00 pm
Tue 7/19/2022
8:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Successful Club VisitsThur 8/25/2022
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Sun 8/27/2022
9:00 am – 10:30 am
(rec’d for DivD)
Coaching Clubs to Enhanced QualitySat 9/10/2022
9:00 am – 10:30 am
Tues 9/20/2022
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Establish and Support New ClubsSat 9/10/2022
10:30 am to 12:00 pm
Tues 9/20/202
7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Organizing Speech Contests Sat 10/1/2022
9:00 am – 10:15 am
Thur 10/6/2022
6:30 pm – 7:45 pm
Thrive in the District Recognition ProgramSat 10/1/2022
10:15 am – 11:30 am
Thur 10/6/2022
7:45 pm – 9:00 pm

What’s in these educational sessions?

Area Director Expectations: The role of Area Director is that of visitor, coach and guide to the officers of four to six clubs in a geographical area. For some Area Directors in District 53, this can be five clubs in the same city. For others, it can be widely spread clubs more than two hours apart. In this session, you’ll learn what’s expected of Area Directors in District 53, and how to create a successful experience for yourself and for the officers of the clubs in your care.

Effective Area Council Meetings: The Area Director has a team of people to help them coordinate the work of clubs when they work together — the President and the three Vice Presidents of each club are voting members of the Area Council, which decides local matters of importance to those clubs. How can you get them working together where it matters?

Effective Division Council Meetings: The Division Director is a “coach of coaches,” lending support and guidance to the Area Directors that make up their division. How can you lead effective meetings for this group, and how can you work together to bring clubs to success, together?

Building Successful Teams: If an Area Director or Division Director did everything they were supposed to by themselves… they’d be exhausted. An Area or Division Director needs a team, and as a Toastmaster you have to know how to build a successful team to achieve your objectives.

Successful Club Visits: Twice a year, a District officer is required to visit a club and to report on its conformity with the Toastmasters brand, its successes, and its opportunities for growth. This officer is usually the club’s Area Director, who files a written report on the Toastmasters.org website (under District Central) by the end of November and the end of May. We’ll talk about how to conduct yourself during this visit, and what kinds of things you should be alert to, and report on, to your District’s other officers.

Coaching Clubs to Enhanced Quality: Many clubs don’t just want to be clubs; they want to be distinguished clubs, or select distinguished clubs, or even president’s distinguished clubs. We’ll talk in this session about the strategies for achieving that goal.

Establishing and Supporting New Clubs: The District Mission is “We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.” Creating — chartering — new clubs is the first part of our mission. We’ll learn how that goal is accomplished in this session, and what each officer can do to support this mission-critical goal.

Organizing Speech Contests: In order to be a champion, a speaker in the International Contest or one of the other Toastmasters contest cycles (Humorous, Table Topics, Tall Tales, and Evaluation) has to advance from a club contest to an Area Contest, a Division Contest, and a District Contest. In this session, we’ll learn how to create a fun and exciting Speech Contest experience for contestants and functionaries alike.

Thriving in the District Recognition Program: Just as clubs have the metrics of the Distinguished Club Program (DCP), District officers have their own metrics for success to be designated as a Distinguished, Select Distinguished, President’s Distinguished, or Smedley Distinguished Area, Division or District. We’ll talk about what those metrics are, why we’re aiming for them, and what we can do on a personal level to help the District achieve these goals locally and regionally, for our own success and the success of others.


If you’d like to be an Area Director, contact the District Director or your Division Director. If you’d like to attend one of these sessions as an observer and for your own learning, you’ll need permission from a member of the senior team (District Director, Program Quality Director, or Club Growth Director).

Farewell from Aki Ishii, DTM, DD 2021-22

Akihiro Ishii, IPDD 2022-23
Aki Ishii, IPDD 2022-2023

As we have come close to the end of Toastmasters year 2021-2022, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate your achievements and thank you for your hard work and commitment to the District 53 Toastmasters.  I am fortunate to serve as the District 53 director with enthusiastic leaders and members and make this year a success.  Now, I am excited to turn the gavel over to the new team and support behind the scenes.  I wish you a Happy New Toastmasters year and strive for new goals and achievements, and get a lot of new experiences.

My final report of the year is below.

Aki Ishii, DTM, IPDD 2022-2023