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 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 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 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 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.

      Officer Updates

      Fellow Toastmasters of District 53,

      We have some updates on District officer assignments.

      I have received notification from John J. Hogan, DTM that he has to step back as the chair of the District Leadership Committee (DLC), although he will remain as Immediate Past District Director.  I have appointed Andrew B. Watt DTM, Past District Director 2020-2021, to lead the DLC until such time as John may or may not resume his duties. Both the resignation and the appointment take effect as of 9 February 2024 at 3:00 pm Eastern Time, to maintain the DLC’s continuity. Please forward all paperwork for the nominations process to Andrew B. Watt at from this point forward — Nominations are due by February 15, this week! John can be reached separately at, although we ask you not to present him with any non-urgent communications at this time.

      I’m also pleased to report that Kate Scarcella CL EC3, has been appointed as District 53’s Club Extension Chair, one of the committees under Club Growth. More information will be forthcoming about her role in the near future. If you know of a possible club location, or would be interested in helping organize new clubs in District 53, please contact Kate at

      In Toastmasters service,
      Patti Walter, DTM
      District Director 2023-2024

      Warning on Spam/Grift

      Hello, fellow Toastmasters!

      District 53 would like you to know that we’ve had a spate of both spam and phishing attacks on members and on District officers. The messages purport to come from District Director Patti Walter, DTM, asking you to buy gift cards to prominent businesses, and then to text or email the activation codes to a phone number or email.


      The District’s finances are governed by the Toastmasters Governing Documents, and specifically Protocol 8.4: District Fiscal Management. Part of those rules says,

      Expenses that are essentially personal gifts must provide no more than “incidental private benefit” and must have a reasonable relationship to activities that directly support the mission. Examples are tokens of appreciation, expressions of sympathy and modest incentives. These items are appropriate if they promote goodwill and a positive atmosphere for the delivery of the Toastmasters program, but must never be lavish or excessive. Cash and cash equivalents, including but not limited to non-Toastmasters gift certificates, gift cards, or any other stored-value products, are not permitted.

      Protocol 8.4.8 – District Fiscal Management, Other District Expenses

      In other words, the District cannot own or purchase gift certificates from organizations or companies other than Toastmasters International’s own internal store; and we cannot reimburse members, even District officers, who purchase such cards.

      We strongly advise clubs to make their members aware of these rules, so that they are not victimized by this kind of predatory scam.

      Pictures from Nassau

      Fellow Toastmasters — 

      It’s a great honor to be representing you at the Toastmasters International Convention, and the District Officers’ Training.  I’ve spent my time getting to know fellow members from around the world — and I even got to eat with the Past International Presidents! 

      It was a great feeling to meet with the World Champion of 2023 public speaking — but I became emotional when I watched the third ranked speaker. Most of the leaders were encouraging me to work with you and make our district distinguished during this Toastmasters year of 2023-2024. 

      I interacted with Club Growth Directors of other Districts from across the world. I also discussed about club building with past international directors. I have returned with lot of energy and confidence to apply my knowledge and experience to work with the team and retain the clubs.

       I have so much to tell you, but in the meantime here’s a set of photographs that documented my experiences.

      Mohan Padamati, DTM
      Club Growth Director 2023-2024

      From the CGD: 12 June 2023

      12 June 2023

      Greetings fellow Toastmasters!

      Bettyann Peck, DTM, Club Growth Director

      Club Officers’ List Submission Deadline is June 30, 2023!

      It’s that time of year again…Club Officer Lists need to be updated by June 30, 2023! If any clubs miss the deadline, they will not be able to access CLUB CENTRAL on the TI website, and cannot carry out any club business, like processing new member applications OR submit any education awards. Additionally, no new officers will receive notices of any required District training.

      If any clubs are currently suspended – they still need to update their club officer list. Because Suspended clubs do not have access to Club central, any current officer needs to email the club officer list to this address (and using this form). . By acting well in advance of the June 30th deadline, clubs will also avoid any possible disruptions on the TI website that could occur around the end of the month, and it also earns the club one requirement of DCP for the next term!

      Thank you for your involvement with building new clubs, which I sincerely appreciate. Our district has chartered more new clubs this year than the last several years combined because of the work you have done. But many clubs have struggled. Many clubs weren’t aware that the most fundamental aspect of good club health starts with a new Club Officer list being updated through Club Central on the Toastmasters website before the June 30th deadline. 

      I wish you all continued success and thank you again for your contributions this past year. If anyone needs assistance with this, please contact your Area Director or call me anytime at (203) 854-5498.

      Yours in Toastmasters Service,
      Bettyann Peck, DTM
      Club Growth Director, 2022-23

      Seminar on Community Forums

      The Division E Public Relations Team is excited to announce that we are hosting a seminar on  how to use and to publicize your Toastmasters Club and help gain new members. Lisa Morahan, of the Saratoga Turf Talkers Toastmasters Club will demonstrate how to use to share press releases with local media outlets (such as the Times Union, Saratogian, etc) and how to get the word out about your club on!  Expected duration of the seminar is approximately 45 minutes.  Zoom meeting information is below.

      Zoom Meeting Link

      Meeting ID: 824 2102 3155
      Passcode: 787497

      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

      District 53 Welcomes New Clubs

      8 November 2022

      Fellow Toastmasters,

      Greetings from Baltimore where I am continuing to serve District 53 Toastmasters and our members.

      Let me extend my congratulations and welcome to our newest clubs:

      • Big Y Toastmasters
        Springfield, Massachusetts
        Chartered 4 October 2022 in Division D, Area 43
        Sponsors: Patt Walter, DL5; Andrew Watt, DTM
        Sponsoring Club: Blue Chip Toastmasters
      • Voya Toastmasters
        Windsor, Connecticut
        Chartered 7 October 2022
        Division D, Area 43
        Sponsors & Mentors: Tom Farrelly, IP5; Steve Lanning, DTM
        Sponsoring Club: Hubble Toastmasters & Housatonic Toastmasters

      Welcome to our new charter members from these new corporate clubs, and we look forward to seeing some of you at District events quite soon!

      Bettyann Peck, DTM
      District 53 Club Growth Director, 2022-2023