Last Word Toastmasters: An invitation

Greetings Divisions D & E Toastmasters,

Are YOU a Toastmaster looking for more opportunities to speak?

Hello from the Last Word club! We are the only Toastmasters club in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. We are doing hybrid meetings, both in-person and virtual. 

  • Would you like to be our guest speaker and wow the crowd?
  • Maybe think of having a dual membership with us?
  • Come visit and see what you think.
  • Last Word is friendly and fun!

We meet at our president’s workspace in Pittsfield, Hi-Tech Mold & Tool. It has a nice meeting room, with a big TV screen for the Zoom calls.

Our next meeting is June 20th. We meet on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, 6:30 to 8pm. We are taking July 4th off and returning July 18th.

Drop us a line for more info, address and link at

And check out our website,

With our best,
— David C, VPPR
— Eric, PRES and TRE

Obituary: Eugene Siemiatkoski

The leadership of District 53 Toastmasters is sad to report the death of Eugene Siemiatowski, on January 20, 2023. Brought into Windsor Toastmasters by his wife Wanda, Eugene was a regular competitor in District contests, and also served a term as an Area Director from time to time. He was an excellent professional chef and active in numerous other organizations besides Toastmasters.

His family will receive friends on Saturday, February 4, 1 p.m.-3 p.m., with a Celebration of Life at 3 p.m., at Carmon Windsor Funeral Home, 807 Bloomfield Ave., Windsor. 

A more complete obituary can be found at the Carmon Funeral Home page.

Jennifer K. Mighty, 1969-2022

District 53 is sad to report the passing of a Past Area Director and District Table Topics contest winner, Jennifer X Mighty, a member of Talk It Up Toastmasters #8045, in Windsor, CT.  She was fifty-three years old, and leaves behind a son, Kristian, as well as her mother, a brother and four sisters, and a loving partner John Haywood, Jr.  

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, she moved to the United States at an early age  and graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with a degree in Professional Accounting. She worked for much of her professional career at United Technologies in various Finance departments

Jennifer joined Toastmasters through the Talk It Up Toastmasters club in January 2015, and competed at the fall Table Topics Contest that year in the District contest. She was an Area Director in the 2017-18 year, serving for Area 53 in the Windsor area under then-Division Director Andrew Watt.  She was also heavily involved in helping the Carribbean American Toastmasters Club of Hartford, commonly known as CATCH, #5187872.  A Past President of CATCH, John Rhone, said that while her own busy schedule prevented her from joining the club, she was a constant promoter and supporter of its mission, and a brand ambassador for a club she had not represented.  She also strived to build a woman-centered Toastmasters club  for the many inspiring women of color she met in the African-American, Caribbean-American, and Latino communities around Hartford.

Past President of Talk It Up Toastmasters, and current PublicRelations Manager Mohan Padamati said, “Jennifer was a great woman to work with. She brought lot of value to the Talk It Up Toastmasters club through her unique leadership & communication style. She was very creative in Table Topics speaking and gave such effective evaluations that helped us all improve. My deepest condolences to her family.”

Another Toastmaster, past Division Director Heather Turner DTM, said, “Jennifer Mighty was always a vibrant presence in District 53 and especially in the Windsor-Hartford area. I very much appreciated her help with projects we worked together on over the years in the Divisions she and I were both involved with. I have and always will, appreciate and admire her positive and enthusiastic attitude and her willingness, selflessness and great heartedness to go out of her way to help others. She was a talented speaker and a truly exceptional person. She will be greatly missed.”

Jennifer believed in service to a greater community, and treated her Toastmasters leadership experiences as practice for the other things she wanted to achieve.  Past District Director Andrew Watt DTM, recalled her, “Jennifer was like a stream of fresh lava, or a brand new steam engine — steady, uncompromising, full of fire, and always certain about what she was going to do next.”

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

Conference Committee announced

7 November 2022:

District 53 Toastmasters is delighted to announce the names of the members of the District Conference Committee for the Spring 2023 Conference, “SPRINGBoard to Success”, to be held in Springfield, Massachusetts during the weekend of May 5-7, 2023.

More information on the Conference Committee’s members and their responsibilities will be forthcoming on the Conference 2023 tab, shortly.

John J. Hogan, DTMDistrict Director

Committee MemberRole & Title
David Freedman, DTMConference Co-Chair
Janice Dimock, DTMConference Co-Chair
Norm Thibodeau, DTMRegistration
OpenMarketing (contact conference chairs)
Aaron J. Anaya, LD5 MS5Communication and Leadership Award
Richard May, MS5 PM4 VC3Conference Education
Heather SkaaningDay Program
Stephanie Roy, PI4 VC4Facilities & Operations
Christina LaPerle, MS3 PM4 IP4Volunteers
Melanie Lee, PM2Sponsors & Exhibitors
Maya Bahl, DL5 IP5First Timers
openLead Zoom Master (contact conference chairs)

District Director’s Letter, 11/1/2022

Dear District 53 Toastmasters:

First and foremost, I am grateful to the members of the District Council: District Executive Committee and club Presidents and Vice-presidents: for their participation in the Fall Business Meeting of October 27. Participation was so robust that we easily met quorum. Well done! All business items, including annual budget, District Success Plan, 2021-2022 audit report, and the roster of appointed officers, were adopted with comfortable margins.

The District 53 Trio recognizes and thanks the functionaries who made the meeting run so smoothly and on time. These functionaries include Timekeepers Selina Tourjee and Silva Abadjian, as well as Zoom Masters Steve Lanning and Rick May. District Administrative Manager Norm Thibodeau kept us all on track with displays, meeting scripts, and ballots. Without these engaged Toastmasters, the meeting would not have been possible.

I am instituting a monthly “Coffee Hour with the District Director.” This will be every second Saturday, November, 2022 through June, 2023, from 8:30 to 9:30. Here is the link to copy and paste in your browser:

Finally, this is a great time of the year to revisit, review, and revise your Club Success Plans (CSPs). Are your goals for your club realistic? Do they reflect your members’ interests? Do they support your club’s growth and vitality? Club officers can work with their Area Directors in creating or modifying a CSP that will result in a vibrant program for your members. Be sure to reach out to your Area Director for their support. They are anxious to assist you in succeeding.

Thank you for your kind attention, Toastmasters!

John J. Hogan, DTM
District Director, 2022-23

District 53 announces Contests for 2022-23

District Director John J. Hogan and Program Quality Director Patti Walter have announced the following contest program for the 2022-2023 year:

  • The International Contest, leading to the World Championship of Public Speaking
  • The Tall Tales Contest, ending at the District 53 Conference in May

The contests for each level of competition must occur by the following dates:

  • Club Contests must take place by January 15, 2023
  • Area Contests will take place between January 16, 2023 and March 15, 2023
  • Division Contests will take place between March 16, 2023 and April 16, 2023
  • The District Contests will occur as part of the District Conference in May 2023

All contests at all levels must conform to the Toastmasters Contest Rulebook for the 2022-2023 program year. Questions should be directed to Patti Walter as the Program Quality Director.

Sales Tax Info for Toastmasters

It’s come to the District’s attention that changes in the state sales tax law have gone into effect, and clubs in New York will have to be alert to these changes.

  1. Digital products (new paths, banner files, etc) are currently exempt;
  2. physical products from the Toastmasters store

It’s unclear to us at this point that new members or renewing members are required to pay sales tax on their memberships. There is a new Membership Application, and a sales tax calculator, and at the moment we recommend that New York Toastmasters clubs collect the sales tax from new members until we get better guidance. You can return the extra money to the member if it turns out not to be needed.

You can read more about this at the Toastmasters webpage on US tax compliance at the state level, and a Supreme Court case called South Dakota vs. Wayfair, Inc.: Toastmasters Legal and Tax Compliance in US states

At the moment, neither Connecticut nor Massachusetts have laws that extend sales tax to Toastmasters products or digital resources. We’ll let you know if that changes.

— ABWatt, District Webmaster & IPDD, 12 June 2022