D53 Blog

Call for Nominations

Greetings to all of you from the District Leadership Committee!

This notice serves as the official Call for Candidates as mandated by Protocol 9 of Toastmasters International Governing Documents. District 53 seeks qualified candidates for the following offices:

  • Five Division Directors, one or more candidates for each Division: A, B, C, D, and E.
  • Club Growth Director, two or more candidates
  • Program Quality Director, one or more candidates
  • District Director, one or more candidates

Time is of the essence. Nominations are open now. Nominations shall close at 11:59 pm (EST) on February 15, 2024.

All nominations, including incomplete nominations, received after this date and time shall be considered to have been received late and will not be evaluated nor scheduled for interview by the DLC. 

Any Toastmaster who self-nominates or is nominated by another Toastmaster after this date and time MAY have the option of running as a Floor Candidate. There are limiting criteria for running as a Floor Candidate. Don’t delay: submit your nomination today!

A complete nomination will include the following five items:

  1. Candidate Application Form
  2. District Leader Nominating Form
  3. Officer Agreement and Release Form
  4. District Leader Biographical Information
  5. Headshot image (JPG, 225 x 150 pixels)

Be sure to read the role descriptions for District Officers, and the core competencies learned in these roles, in the District Leadership Handbook.

Please direct all questions to me at either nominations@D53tm.org or to IPDD@d53tm.org.

Yours in Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM, IPDD
Chair – District Leadership Committee

Nominations Committee 2023-24

District Director Patti Walter and Immediate Past District Director John J. Hogan are pleased to announce the membership for this year’s District Leadership Committee, which handles the nominations process for elected officers to the roles of District Director, Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, and the five Division Director positions.

You can review this year’s first call for nominations here.

The 2023-2024 District 53 Leadership Committee is complete as follows:

  • Chair John J. Hogan, DTM, IPDD
  • Division A – Sharon Mercado, DTM, PDD
  • Division B – Richard Frantz, Jr. DTM, PDD
  • Division C – David Pelland, DTM
  • Division D – Steve Lanning, DTM
  • Division E –  Mary (Beth) Van Kempen, MS1

Despite these names listed here, all nominations for the listed roles, or inquiries about the nominations process generally, should go either to nominations@D53tm.org or to IPDD@d53tm.org. Do not contact the members of the committee individually about the nomination process or the status of any specific nomination; always send nominations and inquiries to me as the chair of the committee.

Yours in Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
Immediate Past District Director

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.

Preparing for Changes to Pathways!

Pathways Changes – How to Prepare

Fellow Toastmasters,

Long requested and awaited changes to Pathways, the Toastmasters education program, are coming in 2024!  This is great news.  However, there will be a transition period where some patience will be needed.  

Per a recent advisory from the Toastmasters International Education team, Pathways BaseCamp managers (typically the club VPE) have been requested to ensure that all Pathways level completion requests and the associated award requests in Club Central be in sync and up to date by December 15, 2023.  If any level completions or awards are submitted after that or the 2 systems are not in sync, there may be impacts to the DCP credit for member level completion awards.

All members should prepare for these changes as follows.

  1. Submit completion approval requests for any Pathways levels already completed by Monday, December 11.
  2. For any paths completed after December 11, hold off on submitting the completion request until we are informed that it is OK to do so.
  3. Each member should check to make sure their Pathways completions and awards are in sync. Learn how in this short video prepared by Toastmasters International.  Inform your VPE of any discrepancies found immediately.
  4. You can continue to work on your path projects — just don’t submit any new approval requests during the transition period.

More news about the improvements to the Pathways education system will be announced as it becomes available.

Norm Thibodeau, DTM
District Administrative Manager, 2023-2024

Want to learn more?  Here are a few references:

Workshop for Judges

Fellow Toastmasters,

To assist you in running contests, we’ll be hosting a new workshop, When You Are the Judge, on 13 November 2023 from 7 pm to 8:00 pm. Please read about and join us!

As a reminder,

  • Club Contests must end by December 10, 2023. They can be held online, in-person, or in a hybrid format, but they must follow the 2023-2024 Speech Contest Rulebook.
  • Area Contests will take place in-person between December 11, 2023 and February 10, 2024. Locations will be listed below. (results here)
  • Division Contests will take place in-person between February 11, 2024 and March 31, 2024. Locations will be listed below. (results here)
  • The District Contests will take place in-person at the District Conference, with a date still to be determined.

There are a number of existing resources to assist you in the process of running contests:

You can always reach me at DCJ@d53tm.org with any questions or concerns, and I’ll happily answer.

Yours in Toastmasters service,
Beth Van Kempen
District 53 Chief Judge, 2023-2024

Scammers are Back

Dear fellow Toastmasters,

I’m sorry to inform you that the scammers are back. They are again attempting to connect you, your email and your cellphone number to go after your bank accounts or other sources of funds.

Patti Walter, DTM District Director ’23-’24

In the current scam, someone emails you and asks you if you’re available for a quick call… email me back and confirm your cellphone number, please? This email comes to you with my name on the bottom of the email, and if you’re not careful about double-checking the email address, you’ll think it really is from me. These emails have targeted club officers and district officers alike — be alert to these and other scams, and maybe watch Joe Audet’s presentation on common types of internet scams!

Fortunately, there is some positive news.

This year’s District Chief Judge Beth Van Kempen is available to answer all your questions about this year’s speech contest season, and how to run the Evaluation contest and the International Speech contest. You can watch her presentation on running contests as well, to help get you up to speed.

Bettyann Peck has also launched the sequence of Club Officer Training (COT) for the winter season of the Toastmasters Leadership Exchange (TLE). Clubs seeking recognition from the Distinguished Club Program will want to send their club officers to one or more of these sessions. Learn from other clubs and make friends with other officers, so your club can achieve this year!

I wish you all a great November, and I look forward to seeing you at one of our training events this winter!

In service to you all,

Patti Walter, DTM
District Director 2023-24

Winter 2023-24 Training Dates Announced!

Link to Registration: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D53COT-Registration

Club Officer Training (Winter Season) has started and will conclude at the end of February. Several sessions have been scheduled throughout the period for your convenience. District 53 has recruited a great selection of officers from high-performance clubs to facilitate and guide your workshop sessions this year. In your sessions you’ll…

  • Attend a breakout session based on your officer role.
  • Experience quality time with other officers in the same role, sharing strategies that work.
  • Work with diverse officers in many roles across the district to get proven tactics for membership, club quality, contest programs, open houses, and other club operations.
  • Attend at least 80% (120 minutes) of any 2.5 hour session to receive training credit.

The schedule of available training dates is as follows:

  • Wednesday, November 29, 2023, 6-8:30pm
  • Thursday, December 7, 2023, 6-8:30pm
  • Saturday, December 9, 2023, 9-11:30am
  • Saturday, January 13, 2024, 9-11:30am
  • Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 6-8:30pm
  • Saturday, February 3, 2024, 9-11:30am
  • Monday, February 19, 2024, 6-8:30pm

To register for any District 53 Club Officer Training event, use the link below. All training sessions are online by Zoom. The Zoom link is provided at the end of the registration page and is also included in your registration confirmation email and the reminder email that will be sent two days before the event.

If you’d like to know which officers still need to attend officer training, you can view the current TI training report for District 53 at this link. The deadline to attend a Club Officer Training (COT) is the last day of February.

Register Here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D53COT-Registration

If you’d like to know which officers still need to attend officer training, you can view the current TI training report for District 53 at this link. The deadline to attend a Club Officer Training (COT) is the last day of February.

November Greetings

Greetings fellow D53 Rock Stars,

The weather is getting colder, and sunsets are coming way too early now, but bright and exciting things in our District continue to unfold for our members when it comes to Program Quality.

BREAKING NEWS on our SC2024 Conference; Co-Chairs Richard E. Peck, DTM, PIP and David Freedman, DTM have been visiting site locations throughout Connecticut and Eastern New York to find the perfect location and dates that work best for our members for an epic conference, and we are very close to a final decision! Stay tuned for official announcements to come VERY soon in the district newsletter as well as on our website. For up to the minute news on what has occurred up to now with past conferences, take a peek on our website here.

Our second round of Club Officer Training (COT) sessions begin this month and unlike our Summer COT sessions, the winter COT sessions are focused on club leaders sharing their experiences and ideas to help others benefit from what you are learning about your role. These trainings will continue up to February 29, 2024. Register here

Speech Contest season, featuring the Evaluation and International Speech Contests is in full swing with our District Chief Judge Beth Van Kempen leading the charge with a fabulous team presenting deep dives into Contest Training for all members of our district. These sessions are a great opportunity to learn how to run AND judge a contest! Join the Judges training session on Nov. 13th at 8pm here.  For more specific questions or volunteering at an Area, Division or District contest, reach out to Beth directly at: dcj@d53tm.org

Yours in Toastmasters Service,
Bettyann Peck, DTM
Program Quality Director 2023-2024