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 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

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

Announcing Contest Season!

Mark your calendars because the Club Contest season is just around the corner, starting from October 15, 2023, and running through to December 10, 2023. This is your chance to showcase your communication and leadership skills on a club level. Our two contests this year are the International Speech Contest culminating at the World Championships of Public Speaking at the annual Toastmasters International Convention in August 2024; and the Evaluation Contest, culminating at our own District 53 stage.

Here are some important dates to keep in mind:

  • Club Contests 🏆 (October 15, 2023 – December 10, 2023): Clubs will kick off the contest season, providing members with a platform to shine and compete.
  • Area Contests 🌐 (December 11, 2023 – February 10, 2024): Winners from the club level will move on to compete at the area level, taking their speeches to a broader audience.
  • Division Contests 🌟 (February 11, 2024 – March 31, 2024): The competition will intensify as the best from the areas face off. It’s all about leveling up!
  • District Contests 🌍 (Date to be determined): The ultimate stage, where champions from each division will compete. Stay tuned for the date announcement, tentatively targeting the 3rd weekend in April!

You can follow the development of the contest season by bookmarking the Contest Schedule Page — and if you’d like to list your own club’s contest dates, please contact our webmaster!

We’ve adjusted the contest calendar to ensure that Division Contests are wrapped up before April 1st, avoiding any conflicts with dues renewals.

The Club Contest format is entirely up to each club’s discretion. You can choose to hold your contests online, in-person, or even opt for a hybrid format. Flexibility is key, so adapt to what works best for your club.

Please note that all Area, Division, and District Speech Contests will be held in-person.

Get ready to embark on this thrilling journey of self-improvement, competition, and growth. Stay tuned for more details and instructions on how to participate in these contests. 

Greetings from Nassau!

Hello, fellow Toastmasters!

It was a busy week for the D53 District Trio on-site in Nassau, Bahamas for District Officer Training and the Toastmasters International Convention. Just like the training our Club officers, Area and Division Directors are required to attend, we too have completed our training as well and it was amazing. I’m super excited to bring back to our district the things needed to help our clubs achieve excellence in District 53!

District 53 Program Quality Director Bettyann Peck, DTM, in front of the Toastmasters logo and holding a portable Toastmasters logo, at the 2023 International Convention

Member engagement, quality club meetings and education excellence was the forefront of our PQD sessions along with building new clubs. District Conferences were on everyone’s agendas as well during several days of intense PQD training sessions. Meeting with Program Quality Directors from around the globe was immensely helpful to gaining insight on what we all need to do: We build new clubs and help existing clubs to achieve excellence!

Congratulations to the Club Officers that attended the required Summer Club Officer Training (COT) sessions held in June, July and August and a huge thanks to all the facilitators that conducted the sessions over the last three months. As you know, the updated club officers list required by June 31, 2023 is the way officers can be notified about training. We have added makeup COT sessions to assist those clubs that missed it and that can be found on our website d53tm.org. You can also attend in other districts!

I’m thrilled to announce that our SC2024 Conference Co-Chairs Richard E. Peck, DTM, PIP and David Freedman, DTM have already started preliminary steps to provide you with a great District conference and we will provide additional details as things progress. Be on the lookout for “Save the Date” notifications from Public Relations Manager Zahary Fisk in the district newsletter as well as on our website.

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

Bring Out our Best

Hello Fellow Toastmasters!

It’s an honor to serve the district as your Program Quality Director for the 2023-2024 Toastmaster year. My team and I are excited and committed to provide training for all District and Club officers, helping them to lead our members and achieve their club goals. I’m thrilled to announce that the Area, Division and District Speech contests this year will all be in-person, and I look forward to an amazing Conference next Spring as we celebrate our successes.

Since joining Toastmasters in 2015, I have served in numerous club officer roles and continue to be an active and passionate member of three clubs. My home club is Park City Toastmasters. I’m also a charter member of New England Advanced Toastmasters. Both are located in in Fairfield, CT. I’m also a member of World Travelers Toastmasters in District 80 (Singapore). Through this I have been motivated to earn Distinguished Toastmaster awards in both the Legacy and the Pathways education programs.

Our founder, Ralph Smedley said “Ours is the only organization I know dedicated to the individual, we work together to bring out the best in each of us and then we apply these skills to help others.” It is my goal to help and encourage our members to engage in Pathways and apply the skills learned. We will strengthen our engagement with the members through increased communication. These efforts will allow us to support all members of our District to achieve excellence throughout their Toastmaster journey.

Remember to get your club officers trained!

With my best,
Bettyann Peck, DTM
Program Quality Director 2023-2024

From the PQD – 22 May 2023

D53 had its first successful hybrid conference.  SPRINGBOARD to Success. What a great weekend! If you were not able to join us, let me recap what we did.

After a continental breakfast at the Springfield Sheraton — Monarch Place hotel on Saturday 6 May 2023, we jumped right in with our Keynote Speaker Joe Grondin. Joe spoke about developing our signature: how do you develop your own unique voice and presentation style?

Our members then were able to choose one of our three great breakout sessions to attend. Thank your Mary Cheyne, Ann Canfield and Heather LaPierre for your great sessions. 

We continued after our breakout with our tall tale contest. Boy do we have members who can tell some tales.  Our D53 Tall Tales Winners were:

  1. Christine Austin
  2. Poonam Hassija
  3. Kevin Haven

Then at lunch we presented our Communication and Leadership Award to Patricia Nicolari, founder and executive director of PROUD Academy.  Patricia spoke about the work that she does with passion and conviction, demonstrating again why she deserved our recognition and honor.

After lunch we continued on with our second set of breakout session. Again we had great sessions from Heather Turner, Steve Lanning and Stephanie Roy.  Thank you all.

After a break, Joe Grondin returned to the stage as he talked to us about Mrs. Elliot’s  Lessons. Joe shared with us the four leadership lessons his favorite teacher taught him at a time he needed it most.   Joe also shared some great memories he had with his students and family.  Both his sessions were educational, relatable and entertaining.

We concluded the afternoon session with the hall of fame awards for both the 2022-2023 and 2021-2022 program years. Congratulations to the following recipients of the awards for 2021-2022

  • Division Director of the Year Beth Van Kempen
  • Area Director of the Year Elizabeth Keeling
  • Toastmaster of the Year Jackie Kessler

We also announce the 2022-2023 award winners. They are:

  • Division Director of the Year Chad Babcock
  • Area Director of the Year Stephanie Roy
  • Toastmaster of the Year  Elizabeth Keeling

At the conclusion of the Hall of Fame, our International Director for Region 9, who represents us to the Toastmasters Board, Jeff Sobel DTM, swore into office the following District 53 officers for the 2023-2024 Toastmasters International program year:

  • Patti Walter, DTM  — District Director
  • Bettyann Peck, DTM — Program Quality Director
  • Mohan Padamati, DTM — Club Growth Director
  • Stephanie Roy — Division A Director
  • Ebru Unal — Division B Director
  • Selina Torjee — Division C Director
  • Mark Wing — Division D Director
  • Elizabeth Keeling — Division E Director

Congratulations to all!

A happy hour followed, then a wonderful dinner.  Our after-dinner entertainment was brought to you by our Division International Speech Contest Winners, as they competed for the title of District 53’s International Speech Contest championship.   These five came to the contest ready to go! Congratulations to all our contestants at club, Area, Division, and District levels.

Our winners were:

  1. Michael Whitehouse
  2. Donna Plen
  3. Craig Moore

We concluded on Sunday with a warm breakfast, out of this park networking and a final keynote from Joe,  who left us all dancing in our chairs.

You might be saying, “Oh, I missed you all!” Don’t worry… we were having to much fun to notice you weren’t there. But you can join us in May 2024, when the next amazing conference rolls around! Buy your ticket in February, and I’ll see you there!

In the meantime please join us for some officer training coming up in June and July, or join us for Train the Trainer sessions if you’d like to be a facilitator this year.  Psst— you don’t need to be an officer to go to training!  It is open to all.  

Yours in Toastmasters service,
Patti Walter, DTM —
Program Quality Director, 2022-2023