Division D Contest Dates!

Fellow Toastmasters,

The Division D contest will be on Saturday, March 16th at 10:00 am at the Westfield Athenaeum in Westfield, MA.  I apologize for the delay in sending this out.  I didn’t want to announce anything before securing a venue.

The Athenaeum is the same venue as the Area 43 and 44 contests.  It opens at 9:00.  Briefings for the contestants and judges begin at 9:30.

Because we only have 4 areas, both the first and second place winners are invited to participate in the Division D contest.  Only one person per category will be advancing to the district contest.

In the next week or so, I will be sending out more information.  In the meantime if you are a contestant, please respond to this email to let me know you received it.

Sincerely,
Mark Wing
Division D Director 2023-2024

Division A Contest Results

Fellow Toastmasters —

I’m pleased to report the results of the Division A Contest, held 24 February 2024:

Evaluation

  • 1st Jeffrey Bradbury
  • 2nd Christina LaPerle
  • 3rd Andrew Amico

International

  • 1st Jeffrey Bradbury
  • 2nd Sandy Weiner
  • 3rd Oluwafemi Omoyeni

Catch the gallery below of photographs from the Division Contest!

First place winner Jeffrey Bradbury will now advance to the District Contests on May 10 (Evaluation) and May 11 (International) at the District Conference in Southbury, Connecticut. Sign up to attend the conference now and cheer him on, and catch all the great workshops, and our keynote speaker Sheryl Roush!

A reminder that the Winter Club Officer Training season closes this week, on 29 February 2024. While District 53 has held all of its events for this season, you can select one of the events on the District 53 Training website that is hosted by another District, from New York to Hawaii.

March 31, 2024 is the end of the spring dues period, and you’ll need to make sure that all the members of your club have paid their dues to Toastmasters International — or that they’ve paid your club treasurer, and your treasurer has paid!

Please make plans for your Area Director to visit, as well! Their visits and reports should be complete by May 31, 2024!

Yours in Toastmasters service,
Stephanie Anne Roy
Division A Director 2023-2024

Club Officer Training Ends 2/29/2024!

Hello Fellow Toastmasters!

Club Officer Training ends soon — 2/29/2024!

While District 53’s offerings are now over, there are upcoming COT sessions from across the world that remain in order for anyone needing this Club Officer Training before the Feb. 29th deadline. This is part of Goal #9 in the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) to recognize clubs of excellence — and we’d love to see your club achieve that distinction.

It will take communication, a little bit of time, and maybe even a telephone call or two, but if your clubs are not seven-of-seven officers trained, please encourage each untrained officer to attend one of these sessions!!    Trained officers make stronger clubs, stronger areas, stronger divisions, and a stronger district, which makes Toastmasters a better place for every member!  4/7 trained should be an absolute minimum — and you can check which officers are trained in your club!

Please remind officers that, if they are going to attend another district’s COT, to have them fill out the survey with the details of the club officer’s name, club, division, and role and date trained.

Yours in Toastmasters service,
Bettyann Peck, DTM
District 53 Program Quality Director 2023-2024

2024 District 53 Conference is Breaking Barriers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toastmasters District 53 Announces “Breaking Barriers” as Theme for 2024 Conference

Southbury, CT February 13, 2024 – Toastmasters District 53 is thrilled to announce the theme for its highly anticipated 2024 conference: “Breaking Barriers.” This dynamic theme was carefully chosen to celebrate Toastmasters’ centennial year and to reflect on the remarkable milestone of 50 years of women’s membership within the organization.

“Breaking Barriers” holds profound significance as it resonates differently with each individual, capturing the essence of personal growth, empowerment, and achievement. As Toastmasters celebrates its 100th year, the theme serves as a poignant reminder of the organization’s enduring commitment to breaking down barriers to effective communication and leadership.

“We are incredibly excited to unveil ‘Breaking Barriers’ as the theme for our 2024 conference,” said Bettyann Peck, DTM, Program Quality Director. “This theme encapsulates the spirit of Toastmasters as we honor our rich history while embracing diversity, inclusivity, and the limitless potential of our members.”

The conference will feature a diverse range of workshops, keynote speeches, and networking opportunities designed to inspire and empower attendees to overcome obstacles, seize opportunities, and reach new heights in their personal and professional lives.

“We invite Toastmasters members and guests from across the region to join us for an unforgettable conference experience,” added Bettyann Peck, DTM. “Together, let’s break barriers, shatter limitations, and embark on a journey of growth, discovery, and transformation.”

The Toastmasters District 53 “Breaking Barriers” conference will take place May 10-11, 2024 at The Heritage Conference Center, Southbury, CT. Further details, registration, and updates can be found at https://d53tm.org/district-conference/

For media inquiries or more information, please contact Zachary Fisk, Public Relations Manager at prm@d53tm.org.

February Check-in

Greetings Fabulous Toastmasters,

What a year so far! The Winter session of Club Officer Training is almost over — they have been amazing! These sessions have been amazing — focused on club leaders sharing their experiences and ideas to help others benefit from what they are learning about your roles, as well as very interactive sessions that concentrated on Developing Membership strategies and Increasing Membership Engagement in Pathways.  A huge thanks to the training team that has worked diligently to provide focused and inviting sessions. Don’t miss the last Club Officer Training session on Monday, February 19th at 6pm and don’t hesitate to bring your club members to this event as well, we encourage it!

Area Contests results are announced and the winning contestants are moving on to the Division contests now taking place throughout the district. Watching the continued growth of the contestants, applying what they have learned as Toastmasters, stretching outside comfort zones is incredibly inspiring. It’s a thrill to be part of these exciting events in our District and we welcome all members to be part of it, not just as a contestant. Consider being a judge, ballot counter, timer or a Sargeant-at-Arms! You can volunteer by contacting your Division Directors (ABCDE) Winners of the Division Evaluation & International Speech Contests will move on to compete at the District level happening at our Annual District Conference on Friday, May 10th and Saturday May 11th!

Conference Co-Chairs Richard E. Peck, DTM, PIP and David Freedman, DTM have announced “BREAKING BARRIERS” as the theme for our 2024 Annual Conference celebrating 100 Years of Toastmasters, that will feature Accredited Speaker Sheryl Roush, DTM as our Keynote Speaker! The District Evaluation Speech Contest  will be held on Friday evening, May 10th. The events on Saturday, May 11th will include breakfast and lunch in conjunction with our Keynote Speaker Sheryl Roush, DTM AS, a wide variety of Education Sessions and Workshops presented by members of District 53, The Hall of Fame, Inductions of newly elected District Officers, the presentation of the Communication and Leadership Award (nominations still being accepted) and of course the District International Speech Contest in the afternoon on Saturday, May 11th! Early Bird specials are still available for you to attend!

The District Leadership Training session I attended in January, along with District Director Patti Walter and Club Growth Director Mohan Padamati, along with District leaders from regions around the world was an amazing learning and development event. It was jam-packed with two days of intense workshops for the sole purpose of helping us, to help our members succeed in this second half of our Toastmasters year. What we learned and strategized over, reinforced the reasons we all choose to serve in our varied roles, and we are always just a phone call away!

Yours in Toastmasters Service,
Bettyann Peck, DTM
Program Quality 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 nomination@d53tm.org from this point forward — Nominations are due by February 15, this week! John can be reached separately at ipdd@d53tm.org, 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 ClubExtChair@d53tm.org.

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

February Update from the DD

Hello District Members,

Can you believe that it is February already?  I hope that the New Year is treating you all well… but this is a busy time of year for everyone, and Toastmasters is no exception!

Our second round of Officer Training is just about to wrap up: If you haven’t attended you can join us on 19 February 2024.  If you are an officer, please make attempt to attend a training.  It is proven clubs are more successful when their officers attend training. You do not need to be an officer to join us.  These sessions are open to all.

Speaking of training… your District trio — Bettyann Peck, Mohan Padamati, and I — attended District Leaders Training the last weekend in January in Dallas, TX!  We spent all day Saturday and Sunday working together, and with others across the world, strategizing to have a successful second half of the year! We brainstormed about membership retention, new members, hybrid meetings and business meetings. We had discussions around accountability and reviewed our plans to help YOU achieve success. We even had a snowball fight!  I am including a few pictures of our weekend.  See if you can find your leaders in the group picture.

On top of coordinating training, your PQD Bettyann Peck is working with David Freedman and Richard Peck to bring you a great Annual Conference in May“Breaking Barriers”. We are fortunate to have Accredited Speaker Sheryl Roush DTM, as our keynote speaker!

All of our Club and Area Level Contests are now over. My thanks to our Area Directors who did a great job recruiting functionaries and judges; a number of people applied their participation in these events toward completion of Pathways goals, too! In all, twenty-three Areas held live, in-person contests, sometimes in conjunction with other Areas — What a great feat! This has not happened since January 2019, before COVID. You can find Area Contest results posted here.

The next step is our Division Contests.  Our Division Directors have found facilities to hold their division contests, and a schedule is available here. I hope that you will be able to attend one or two of them.  We have some great speakers in our district; I am sure they would love your support. Also, there are many judge and functionary roles that still need to be filled out. Contact your Division Director through their pages (ABCDE) for more information. 

A special thank you to our Chief Judge, Beth VanKempen who has been diligently review all material and ensuring that our Area and District Directors had the proper scripts and paperwork available.  Thanks Beth, we appreciate all the time you put into this position.

Our CGD, Mohan Padamati is also busy creating a great team of people to support him with establishing new clubs, and club coaching.  

I also would like to take a minute to thank some of your other district team on a great job that they are doing.  Eleni Solar has taken on the challenge of being Audit Committee chair. She is working with her team and our District Finance Manager Glendalys Ramos to make sure our finances are all in tack. Our Technical Team, consisting of Public Relations Manager Zachary Fisk and webmaster Andrew B. Watt DTM, work daily to make sure you as members are informed of what is going on in our district and all around us.  Thank you Zach for updating the newsletter and for keeping it and our Facebook site up-to-date.   Andrew thank you for you quick turnaround to get things posted on the website and also keeping the pages looking fresh.

My special thanks go out to to Immediate Past District Director John J. Hogan DTM for creating and leading the District Leadership Committee by looking for and interviewing candidates to serve as elected district officers for 2024-2025. for next year.  It is not to late for anyone who is thinking of taking a leadership position to apply.  Is this your next hardest thing???  Information on this can be found here, or reach out to John if you have any questions. 

I have always said it takes a village and we have a very special villager, that keeps the Sr. Team on point. He makes sure all our deadlines are met; he does all the pre-work to get our business meetings running smoothly; and he also assists with every district Zoom meeting we have:  Norm Thibodeau DTM , thank you for your countless hours you donate to help us all.

The team is looking forward to ending the season strong.  Reach out if we can assist you in  any way.

Most Sincerely,
Patti Walter DTM
District Director 2023-2024

January Update

Greetings Division C Area Directors, Officers, and Club Members,

It’s now halfway through the Toastmasters year.  I am proud of our five Area Directors and the division’s clubs, and the members who have achieved Pathways designations in the first half of the year.  Let me also congratulate the Area Directors, who completed their first round of club visits on November 30, and are getting ready for the second round of visits.

Officer Training sessions are still going on with 2 more sessions left.  Every club needs to get at least 4 officers trained before February 28/29, 2024.  You can also find training in other districts if you miss these dates; just be sure that our Program Quality Director learns of your attendance from the other District’s leadership!

Area Speech Contests – I’m happy to report that all Area Contests in Division C were completed on 1/10/24.  Congratulations to the winners!  

Special thanks and recognition go to Sugan Kumar, Area 33 Director, who organized the contest initially for Area 33 and ended up adding Areas 32, 34 and 35.  I’m proud to say that all the Area Directors attended the contests and played key roles in making the contests successful.   Special thanks to One State Street Toastmasters club members who assisted too. Results for the Area Contests are posted here.

The Division C Contests, in conjunction with the Division B Contests (refer to D53 website for more details), will take place on 9 March 2024 at Manchester Church of Christ; the contest gavel comes down at 9 am! I’m grateful to Katie Vrabel, Area 32 Director, for agreeing to serve as chief judge (a32dir@d53tm.org); and to Paul Randolph, DTM for acting as contest chair. Please contact me at divcdir@d53tm.org, or Division B Director Ebru Unal at divbdir@d53tm.org, for answers to general questions.

 Membership Dues season is almost upon us, with a deadline of March 31, 2024 for payment of the second dues from each club. Corporate clubs should get a head-start if their company’s finance office pays the dues of any members of their club, to ensure a successful on-time payment.

Finally, plan to attend the District 53 Annual Conference on May 10-11, 2024, at the Heritage Conference Center in Southbury, Connecticut. You’ll be able to see the end of the contest sequence, attend the Toastmasters District 53 business meeting, and participate in some great workshops on speaking and leadership.

Meet your goals in 2024!

Yours in Toastmasters service,
Selina Tourjee,
Division C Director 2023-2024

Areas 11 – 12 – 13 -14 Contest Results

Four Areas of Division A held their contests at Bethel Public Library on 20 January 2024. The speech contests held were the Evaluation Speech Contest first, followed by the International Speech contest which culminates in the World Championship of Public Speaking® at the Toastmasters International Convention held each August. Area Directors and District Director Patti Walter were in attendance.

Congratulations to all these members who stepped out if their comfort zone and participated in the Rea 11 through 14 Evaluation and International Contests.

Moving on are:

Area 11

  • Andrew Amico – Evaluation
  • Sandy Weiner – International

Area 12

  • Jeff Bradbury – Evaluation and International

Area 13

  • Oscar Romero – Evaluation
  • Scott Mason – International

Area 14

  • Christina LaPerle- Evaluation
  • Oluwafemi Omoyeni – International

Thanks to all our functionaries, contestants and guest for making this such a great afternoon. And special thanks to our Contest Toastmaster Debbie Froehlich.

Mark your calendars for February 24 when these contests advance to the next level, at the Division A speech contests (more details here). Please volunteer for a role and contact divadir@d53tm.org to offer your assistance as a contest judge, functionary or audience member!

Area Contests Are Happening Near You!

Fellow Toastmasters,

Are you enjoying the whirlwind?  Not the icy winds of winter, those fantastic, energizing whirlwinds that are speech contests!

In the next three weeks, all area contests will be conducted, and our Area Directors need your help as judges and functionaries.  Take the training, the When You Are the Judge video, and volunteer for these roles at upcoming events — so you can grow as a better judge of speakers.

When You Are the Judge“, a webinar on judging from Toastmasters District 53 (click if video not visible)

After that, the division contests will take place, and some have already been scheduled (see below).  If you’ve been a judge at the Area level, that may help qualify you to be a judge at the Division level… so volunteer and grow again.

The speech contests do not end at the division level, come observe (and volunteer for) the District 53 Speech Contests on May 10-11, 2024. The District 53 Evaluation Speech Contest is on Friday, May 10th in the evening and is a bonus (free) event for the May 11th Annual Conference!  The District 53 International Speech Contest will take place at the Annual Conference on May 11th in the afternoon. Register now for the conference! 

You can see the division and district speech contests taking shape by viewing the area and division results pages.  Instead of being drained by the wintry winds, come to speech contests at the area, division, and district levels — be invigorated by the brilliant warmth of this year’s contestants!

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