From the desk of District Director Patti Walter, DTM

Hello District Members,

I hope this message finds you well.

I am excited to extend a special invitation to all District 53 members to join me at our upcoming “Breaking Barriers” District Conference on May 10th and 11th in Southbury, CT.

You will have access to 2 great contests, 2 education sessions, lunch, breakfast and much more. We are also blessed to have Sheryl Roush, DTM and Accredited Speaker join us not only for a keynote session but a second educational session and networking event.

Spend some time investing in your own personal growth.

Did I mention we are extending our pre-sale price to May 4th?

Hope to see you there…you won’t be disappointed.

Register and check out more details at https://d53tm.org/district-conference/

Patti

PS: We’re rallying 100 members to stand alongside us as we celebrate Toastmasters’ 100-year legacy and the vibrant spirit of District 53. Will you be one of them? Join us and make history!

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

From the District Director

September 26th, 2023

Dear District 53 Members,

As you may or may not have heard there was a phishing attempt made against me that affected the senior team.

Patti Walter, District Director 2023-2024
Patti Walter, District Director

Someone posed as me from two outside email accounts and asked the leaders to respond when it was a good time to chat. If they responded to the email they were asked to go and purchase gift cards for a secret recognition program. Once I was notified of this senior team members were notified to not respond and delete the emails.  We thought that was the end of it.

A few days later some of our clubs’ executive committee members received the same email this time with the hackers posing as the club’s president.  The emails appeared to be coming from them through Free Toast Host.  We have notified them of this. To date we are not aware of any one purchasing any tickets. We took these attempts very seriously and made attempts to contact all club presidents so that they could share with their members.  

We are not stopping there. District 53 will be holding a Cyber Security Fraud Workshop on Wed. Oct 4th from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. The link to the meeting can be found on the district 53 Website on the front page under Recognizing Cyber Fraud Workshop.

You can never be too safe. 

Let me also remind you that the International Dues deadline is fast approaching on September 30, 2023.

Thank you for all you do. 

Patti Walter, DTM
District 53 Director 2023-2024

July 24 from your District Director

Hello members!

We are almost one month in, and time is going by so fast. Your Senior Team has been busy interviewing candidates, preparing for training, creating success plans and revising our annual budget.

Just like we have asked our officers to attend training, your District team will also be attending training in the upcoming month.  Our team of Area Directors and Division Directors will be attending a four hour session in August, and your District Trio will be attending a two-day session in August just before the Toastmasters International Convention in Nassau in the Bahamas!  The District Trio are there to attending the Annual Business Meeting on your behalf. At this meeting voting will occur electing ten new members to join the International Board of Directors, and the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors.  Your district officers have interviewed all candidates and are ready to share what we have learned with you on August 2 and 3 at 8 pm.  You can find the link on our district calendar.

We are not the only ones who get to vote.  Each club has 2 votes in this election.  Clubs have responsibility to either attend the Annual Business meeting and vote, or proxy their votes to the District Director. We will talk about how to do this on August 2 and August 3.  Information on this process can also be found at https://d53tm.org/proxy-assignment/. Reminder the last date to assign proxies in August 11th.

Also remember that members’ international dues are $45 for the October 2023 to March 2024 period — when paid before July 31, 2023. After that time, dues rise to $60 per six months. Encourage your club’s members to pay early, and help them use the new self-pay feature (if your club has voted for it) to do so quickly and easily.

I can’t wait to share with you what we learned during our August training. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

Keep Speaking!!!  

Patti Walter, DTM
District Director 2023-2024

Happy New Year from District 53!

Happy New Year District 53 members…actually Happy Toastmaster New Year.  My name is Patti Walter and I am your new District Director. First, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity.

Patti Walter, District Director 2023-2024
Patti Walter, DTM
District Director 2023-2024

I would like to take a moment to introduce your new district team. I have been a Toastmaster since May of 2013.  I have also been your Program Quality Director, Club Growth Director, Division Director, and Area Director for 2 terms.  I reside in Ludlow, Massachusetts, and I am a recent retired Learning and Development Consultant.   I enjoy spending time with my children and six grandchildren.

Our Program Quality Director this year is Bettyann Peck, DTM.  Bettyann was previously our Club Growth Director and Public Relations Manager.

New to the trio, in the position of Club Growth Director is Mohan Padamati DTM. Mohan was our previous Public Relations Manager, and a prior Division D Director and Area Director before that. 

Zachary Fisk will be joining us as the new Public Relations Manager. Zachary also has been a Division Director. Administration and Registration manager Norm Thibodeau. Also on our team is Webmaster Andrew Watt. We are still recruiting for Finance Manager and Executive Secretary.  Please feel free to let me know if you are interested in either position. 

I am so grateful that these members have stepped up to assist with running District 53 this year!

I want to conclude by sharing a little bit about my goals this year. First, I want to make sure the District grows! I hope to see that we are in a better place on 30 June 2024 then we were on 1 July 2023.  I want to continue to get out to the clubs and see what we as a district can do better.  I want our members to understand what our district does and the enormous number of opportunities that are out there for our members to grow as communicator and leaders.  I have said in the past that it takes a village.  

The District Team cannot do it by themselves.  We are always looking for new people to step up and assist in and share their idea.  Please reach out if you have questions or idea.  Finally, I am open to visiting clubs, attending open houses, giving speeches or provide an ear for concerns.  Reach out to me at dd@d53tm.org. Let’s become distinguished together this year.  Together we can do this.

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

From the DD – 1 June 2023

1 June 2023

Greetings Toastmasters of District 53,

John J. Hogan, District Director

District 53 Toastmasters,

Here is an opportunity for you to meet with incoming District Director Patti Walter and outgoing District Director John Hogan.

This is the final “Coffee Hour With the District Director” for the program year.

In this informal and unstructured Zoom event, Patti and I are available to answer your questions. The only agenda is your interest and concerns.

Please join us for this Zoom call on Saturday, June 10, from 8:30-9:30 am.

Thank you!

Yours in Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
District Director 2022-2023

From the District Director

I begin by sharing something very personal to me. I am typing this letter from the DaVita Dialysis Center in Norwich, Connecticut. For the past four years, I have been managing a diagnosis of end stage renal disease. This requires me to spend approximately four hours, three days a week, connected to a machine, known as a dialyzer, to remove toxins from my blood, and excess fluid from my body. What is needed to manage the disease is a transplanted kidney.

I am scheduled to receive a donor kidney from my elder son, Greg. This surgery will be performed on May 2 in Hartford. There are many moving parts to this process, and Greg and I have created powerful teams of family, and others who love us, to manage the myriad details.

Of note is that I will not be with you, physically, in Springfield on May 6 for the spring conference. I do, however look forward to joining you via Zoom, from isolation at Hartford Hospital, as I am able.

I cannot join you, if you’re not there. I urge you to register for the in-person spring conference experience. We are providing masks, if you care to wear one. We are providing color coding for your nametags (G, Y, R) for your physical contact preference. Green? Handshakes and hugs (if you are comfortable with being hugged). Yellow? Let’s keep it to fist bumps or elbow bumps. Red? Social distancing please. We will have hand sanitizer. The Sheraton has upgraded the ventilation system with improved filtering and more rapid air exchange. David Freedman and his committee have prepared a stellar program. Presenters and many District 53 Toastmasters will be there. Please go to the District 53 website now, click on the conference link, register, and join them in Springfield.

Club Officers: There are several clubs who have not submitted dues for the renewal period of April 1 through September 30. There are other clubs who are not in good standing because they have not submitted dues for at least eight (8) members for the same renewal period. I urge you to attend to this immediately. Check your club’s status using the Toastmasters dashboard. Additionally, your Area Director stands ready to assist you. If you have difficulty in reaching your Area Director, your Division Director is also available. If you are still stuck, contact me. We’ll get your club moving in the direction of Active Status very shortly.

Annual Business Meeting: District 53’s Annual Business Meeting (ABM) is Thursday evening, April 27. The starting gavel is at 7:00 pm, and we shall complete by 9:00. The ABM is on-line, so there is no need for you to travel away from home to participate. Club Presidents and Vice presidents – Education are voting members of the District Council. Your participation is vital. Be on the lookout for a “Call to Meeting” from District Administrative Manager Norm Thibodeau. I look forward to seeing you.

District Speech Contests: This year, the International Speech Contest and Tall Tales Contest will be conducted at the spr ing conference in Springfield, MA, and they will be conducted in a hybrid manner. Be sure to join us in cheering on the best of the best in your divisions who have moved to this level of competition. PQD Patti Walter has much more to communicate on this topic, so I shall leave it to her to do so.

And finally…

District Director’s Coffee Hour: Every second Saturday, through June, I am on Zoom from 8:30-9:30 am. Join me for an informal visit. There is no agenda beyond your curiosity.

Yours in Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
District Director 2022-2023

Kristi Yablonski interviews John J. Hogan, D53 Distict Director, in Nashville during the International Convention, 19 August 2022

District Director’s Letter- (8/31/22)

 Dear Fellow District 53 Toastmasters:

There are three things that I wish to communicate with you. Interestingly, they are interrelated.

Of immediate urgency is a phishing scheme that is currently being perpetrated on some other districts across the globe. I have posted a screenshot of the phishing letter at right. This communication purports to be sent by District Directors to the Toastmasters of their districts, soliciting funds through the purchase of gift cards. To be absolutely clear, if you receive one of these solicitations, do not respond to it. Do not forward it. Delete it. Do not purchase gift cards in response to it. Additionally, know that Districts are not permitted to spend your funds on gift cards other than to the Toastmasters store.

We do have other resources to access, though, and you as members have a say in how they get used! At the District 53 Fall Council Business Meeting, we’ll be examining the budget of District 53 for the 2022-23 program year. The Business Meeting will be conducted on Thursday, September 22, 6:30-9:30pm. Due to technical difficulties with the budget software and the District Success Plan, the Fall District Council Business meeting has been rescheduled to October 27, 2022, from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. All Club Presidents and VPEs, and all DEC members (Division and Area Directors, and senior team) are expected to attend as voting representatives. The meeting is open to interested Toastmasters. On the agenda are the following items.

  • Approval of the May 2022 District Council meeting minutes.
  • Approval of the final 2021-2022 Financial Audit.
  • Approval of the 2022-2023 District Budget.
  • Approval of the 2022-2023 District Success Plan (DSP).
  • Confirmation of appointed 2022-2023 District Officers.

How do we get money for the District Budget? A portion of your bi-annual dues come back to the District to pay for the programs, services, and incentives that we offer to each member and all clubs in our District. When you pay your dues on time, it helps us maintain the services your club’s officers draw on to fulfill your club mission, and the mission ff the whole organization! The October 1 Membership Renewal Campaign helps make sure Dues arrive at World Headquarters (WHQ) by this date. Club Growth Director Bettyann Peck has put together an exciting incentive package to reward those clubs who attain certain paid membership levels by the Earlybird date of September 15. Check the District Newsletter that was sent out on August 29. If you are a gmail user, and cannot locate the newsletter in the Inbox, check the Promotions folder.

In Toastmasters service,
John J. Hogan, DTM
D53 District Director 2022-2023