Train the Trainer Events announced

District 53 is pleased to host two events for Toastmasters who want to learn to be facilitators of Club Officer Training (COT) events, either this summer or in the future.

The two events are scheduled for:

Training will be led by David Freedman, DTM.

Members can register here directly.

Please note, attending this training does not guarantee that you will be asked to take a facilitator role. IT also does not qualify as Club Officer Training in itself; you must attend one of the other Club Officer Training events either as a facilitator or as an attending club officer, for your club to receive credit for your training.

First Summer 2024 Club Officer Trainings announced

Program Quality Directors Bettyann Peck (2023-2024), and Mohan Padamati (2024-2025) invite you to Summer Club Officer Training (COT)!

All District 53 COT events are online via Zoom!

Please see more information and register at

Summer Club Officer Training is targeted for incoming club officers for the 2024-2025 program year, but all club members are welcome to attend.

The June COT dates have been scheduled, as listed below.  July and August dates will be announced soon.

2024 Conference: Workshop Session 2

Session 1 Workshops Conference PageSession 2 WorkshopsKeynoteC&L Award

 Philip Pape, PhD, is a high-performance nutrition coach, physique engineer, and the engaging host of the popular Wits & Weights podcast, a show for skeptics of the fitness industry who want to live longer by getting stronger with evidence-based strength training and sustainable nutrition. Philip is passionate about helping listeners and clients get unstuck inside and outside the gym to discover the knowledge and confidence to reveal their ideal physique. Philip joined Toastmasters in 2011 and started podcasting in 2021 as a Toastmasters Pathways project, growing his show Wits & Weights to over 100,000 downloads and ranked in the top 2% of all shows and top 100 on the Nutrition charts, listened to in over 100 countries. He knows a thing or two about how to start and grow a successful podcast!    Philip combines his expertise and science-backed approach to health and fitness with a talent for storytelling and audience engagement, making him a unique voice in the podcasting world. He loves to share practical podcasting strategies on all things podcasting, from creation to launch to technology to discoverability so YOU can grow your dream show. 

The Passion Podcast Playbook:
How to Craft, Launch and Grow your Dream Show:

A step-by-step walkthrough designed for aspiring podcasters and seasoned creators alike, focusing on the art and science of podcasting. This presentation teaches you how to create and deliver a podcast that resonates with both the creator’s passion and the audience’s interests. It outlines practical steps for launching a podcast, from choosing the right hosting platform and crafting a unique name to designing compelling cover art and producing engaging content. The presentation also emphasizes the importance of aligning your marketing approach with the different growth phases of a podcast, focusing on the first two phases: Exploration and Engagement. Attendees will learn how to navigate the challenges of each phase to build their community, learn from feedback, and gain more exposure to expand their listener base. This playbook is not just about starting a podcast; it’s about nurturing and growing a podcast into a successful, impactful show that stands out in the ever-expanding podcast landscape!

remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

Mary Cheyne in a red dress against a white background

Mary Cheyne, MBA began as a socially awkward, self-conscious computer programmer. Today, as a World Champion of Public Speaking first runner-up, out of 35,000 contestants from 14 countries, she is proof that transformation is possible.  She got there by understanding that becoming GREAT at public speaking isn’t just about technique, it starts with trusting yourself. Through her training and coaching, she has taught over 30,000 people in 30 cities internationally.  Mary is a TEDx speaker. Her talk has over 539,000 views. Mary is a best-selling author of: “Tell Your Inner Critic to SHUT UP! And the Real You to SPEAK UP!”. Two fun facts about Mary are: She holds a karate second degree black belt rank and plays the ukulele.  

PLAY in Public Speaking:
How to infuse FUN into your talks

Speaking does not have to be a drag if you know how to make it fun! Turn even the driest, most bland topics into opportunities for interactive fun, whether you are presenting in person or virtually. Your audience will learn more, and you will have a blast speaking. In this fun & interactive session, you will discover a profound method used by the pros, to speak outside the box so you can PLAY with your audience AND be excited to give your talks. The attendee will also learn three well-tested techniques that ensure that their audience will have more fun & be fully engaged & entertained the entire time! Discover the most common barriers that make a speaker boring so that you will not make those mistakes.

remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

Donna Peterson is the CEO of World Innovators, a renowned B2B family-owned marketing agency with over four decades of experience in the industry. Her passion for fostering authentic relationships among individuals and businesses is the cornerstone of her success.  Moreover, Donna has played a pivotal role in guiding individuals to find their authentic voices and become influential leaders.  Lover of the outdoors. If she is not at her desk you will find here outside Skiing, Paddle Boarding, Swimming . . .   

The AI Advantage:
Transforming Marketing for Clubs, Personal and Corporate Brands

Marketing is evolving at warp speed, and for brands to keep up and form deep relationships, they will need the help of Generative AI tools.  This session will talk about the evolution of marketing and why you need to change your thinking to grow your brand in the future. Then, we will discuss what catapulted us into this world of Artificial Intelligence. Define what generative AI is and the strategic uses of AI to understand and know your audience. The session will explore the delicate balance of selling and educating so that prospects see you as a thought leader and start to trust the brand. With strategic messages across different channels, brands will create a personal connection with their prospects and customers.

remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

2024 Conference: Workshop session 1

Session 1 Workshops Conference PageSession 2 WorkshopsKeynoteC&L Award

Armelde Pitre

Armelde Pitre is a former large pharmaceutical company executive and current small business owner for pharmaceutical industry consulting services and beekeeping.  She is passionate about quality, continuous learning and development in myself as well as in others via active mentoring.  As a gardener and beekeeper, she has become more observant and aware of both the force of nature and its ability to solve most problems. She believes that the lessons she has learned from nature are applicable to the struggles we face in Toastmasters. In her session she’ll be sharing these lessons.

Club Environment Lessons from Mother Nature

In nature’s ecosystem, we can observe its harmony and perfection. Nothing in nature operates in isolation, everything is interconnected and orchestrated to create optimal conditions for survival as well as adaptation to inevitable change. What if we mimic those concepts to create solid foundations and healthy ecosystems in our clubs? Using analogies and lessons learned from nature, this session will challenge attendees to adopt a different perspective in managing their clubs.

remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

Chad Babcock

Chad Babcock is a training facilitator at Electric Boat in Groton, CT.  He joined his first Toastmasters club (a corporate club) in January 2014. Over the past ten years, Chad has been a member in four different clubs, served District 53 in a number of leadership roles, enjoyed competing in contests and attended many district conferences. Chad loves to meet new members and guiding them through their Toastmasters journey.

Connect to Others Through Your Journey Line

Where are you at in your Toastmasters journey and how did you get there? For most of us it has been a lot of hard work that did not occur overnight. Take a moment to reflect on all the hard work and triumphs that contributed to this journey. Learn how to create your own journey line that maps out all the milestones that have led you to where you are today. Your journey line becomes your story!

remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

Courtney Haedke

Courtney Haedke is from Monroe, Connecticut, and a new member of Toastmasters joining her Southbury, CT club in 2021. While working in the IT field for the last 10 years, Courtney found her needing to deliver presentations to many different audiences, and she struggled with her confidence in public speaking. Fortunately, her Dad, who is also a member of the same Toastmasters club, informed her about the benefits of the organization and she joined right away.  Initially, she expected the club to solely focus on improving her speech delivery, however she has gained much more from it.  As the Vice President Education, Courtney has honed her leadership skills, challenged herself with Pathways, and built meaningful relationships with other members. Through this journey, Courtney has come to realize that her Toastmasters club is a truly special place.  

Jacquelyn Kingsley

Jacquelyn Kingsley is from Oxford, Connecticut, and serves as the Senior Director of ESG at Rexel, embodying a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship and acting as a force for positive change. With a robust background in engineering, Jackie holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Master’s degree from Rensselaer.  Passionate about promoting responsible custodianship of our planet, Kingsley has set ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions. Since joining her Toastmasters club in Southbury, CT in 2021, Jackie has actively utilized the platform to refine her public speaking skills. Regularly participating in Toastmasters meetings, she delivers impactful environmental speeches, earning valuable feedback from her peers.  In her role as Vice President Public Relations, Jackie has showcased exceptional leadership. She has significantly boosted the club’s visibility by creating spotlight video interviews with members, shedding light on the transformative impact Toastmasters has had on their public speaking skills and personal growth. Beyond her professional achievements, Jackie, a devoted mom and recently a new dog mom, exemplifies the notion that she can conquer anything with dedication and skillful communication. Her remarkable commitment to environmental advocacy establishes her as a standout figure in both professional and Toastmasters circles.

Challenge Yourself with Pathways

As you embark on a new year, consider setting a goal. It’s common to express intentions to start something new, but often the challenge lies in completing it. What if there was a way to motivate both yourself and your fellow Toastmasters club members to achieve their Pathways goals in a brief period of time? Reflecting on our experience at New Dawn Toastmasters, at the end of 2023, our club initiated a 90-day Pathways challenge, resulting in remarkable accomplishments: 5 Paths Registered, 2 Icebreaker projects completed, 3 Levels achieved, and one path fully accomplished. In this session, we will guide you through the steps we took to design and implement the 90-day Pathways challenge, sharing insights on how we actively engaged members in participation. Additionally, we will showcase anecdotes from challenge participants who found a deeper connection with Pathways, unveiling stories of professional and personal growth. Join us to discover the strategies that made our Pathways challenge successful and learn firsthand from fellow members who have reaped significant benefits from their Pathways journey. It’s an opportunity to inspire and motivate each other as we strive for personal and professional development.

remember to watch on ‘full screen’ setting after starting.

Division A Contest Results

Fellow Toastmasters —

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


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


  • 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

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

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 to offer your assistance as a contest judge, functionary or audience member!

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. Please read Form 450b, the Official Toastmasters Call for District Officer Nominations

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.

Call for District Candidates

If you are interested in leading your District in building new clubs and supporting all clubs in achieving excellence, watch this video from 2023-2024 International President Morag Mathieson.

Please direct all questions to me at either or to

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

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: