What I Learned from a Social Media Detox

gabriella gabyr
Photo Credits to Pixabay for social media image

I went on a social media detox. Initially my detox was intended for 30 days. But when I dropped my phone (again), this time I really damaged it and needed a new one. When the data transferred over, my social media apps didn’t. 3 weeks went to 4. 5 weeks went to 6, then 7, then 8. This is what I learned in the 60 days.
Weeks 1 & 2:
The beginning was bizarre. I found myself picking up my phone for no apparent reason. Initially I felt like I was punishing myself. I wondered what my friends were doing and what my colleagues were posting. I experienced guilt that I was not commenting or sharing posts from people in my circle. From a business perspective, I felt irresponsible that I was not responding to comments on my posts that were prescheduled with a social media management tool. My posts were still going up on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and my anxiety increased that the algorithms were being affected by inactivity. I admit that I found myself taking a quick sneak peak at my notifications and scrolling through pictures, but I quickly closed the window when I felt like I was somehow cheating.
Weeks 3 & 4:
My morning ritual used to be that I would scroll through feeds and click on notifications. Once I went through the initial stage of withdrawl, I found myself using that time to meditate and visualize what I wanted my day to look like. When the kids woke up, I was in a better mental state, ready to tackle my day. My absence from social media became easier. This is when I dropped my phone and didn’t bother putting the apps back on. I admit that there were times where I enjoyed social times with friends, but taking our pictures and posting them was no longer a priority. I valued the time with them and didn’t need to post about it.
Week 5 & 6:
People reached out saying, “Gaby, why have you been so quiet?” I had many reasons, too many to list. Ultimately, I needed to focus on my family, my health and unfinished projects. I felt that social media was taking away precious time that I needed to complete my objectives. I made the decision to take the hiatus for my well being and I was finally gaining momentum in my life. I was starting to make progress and my attention span was increasing. Living with a disability can be very challenging at times, but I finally felt like I could focus.
Week 7:
By now, I was able to regain my positive mental state. I completed projects that were lingering and planned for new ones. I was able to keep a clear head and operate at full capacity for my children. I didn’t miss the spammers, complainers or inappropriate posts. I did however miss the community and connection. Being part of a social connection can lower anxiety and help us regulate our emotions and improve psychological well-being.

I apologize to my friends and network for being absent in your exciting posts. I have recalibrated and am slowly making time to be online again. I admit that I couldn’t help to enjoy how much more productive I was.
There was a time where I went through an overwhelming feeling of needing to post pictures within a day of the event and causing myself to be stressed. I ask myself now, but why? I can still post the pictures, but on my schedule. So, if you see images from an event you joined me in several months ago, you will be reminded of how much fun we had. (and thank you for understanding on the late post!)
I no longer feel the urge to be constantly tapped in. I have turned off my notifications and ensure that I hop on social media when time permits, and my daily objectives have been achieved. If you decide to take your own social media detox, I am optimistic that you will experience a greater outlook on how you will manage your time and declutter your mind. I feel grateful that I was able to take this break as it gave me extreme clarity and the ability to manage my time better.
What made me return to social media? I actually think that social media is a good thing. In my case, in moderation. I want to log on when I want to, on my own time, on my own schedule. Control your social media efforts, not the other way around.

Blog submitted by: Gaby Mammone
Gaby is an award-winning business executive recognized as an advocacy leader in the charitable and not-for-profit sectors. She writes blogs and hosts workshops in the topics of inclusion, acceptance and communication. Gaby is the Past President at City Centre Toastmasters, Club 6288.
Gaby can be reached at:

Letting Your Voice Be Heard by Bob Turel, DTM

I am in a situation that allows me to be a different kind of Toastmaster. One that participates silently through serving other TMs remotely, which is necessitated by my medical condition. I was diagnosed with ALS, which has curtailed my ability to speak. However, it has not hampered my competency to see, hear, feel, and type. These capabilities allow me to participate as a Toastmaster in a different manner. Specifically, it enables me to view videoed speeches with the intent to provide supplemental feedback to the presenter. Essentially, I'm advocating the importance of seeing what one's feedback is referring to so adjustments can be meaningful. I am asking Toastmasters to consider videoing speeches, for remote evaluations offered by a slightly hobbled Toastmaster who can still deliver constructive feedback.

For as long as I am physically able, I would love to participate in my fellow Toastmasters' growth & development as communicators and leaders. Videoing speeches can be a brave new world for many, but, as we know from being Toastmasters, trying something new, that makes sense, can only offer enhanced learning and progress. If you are interested in how the process works, please send an email to bob.turel@gmail.com.

Bob Turel, DTM - District 48

Members Making a Difference and Distinguished Toastmasters

On November 23 2019, District 86 honoured all it’s Of The Year Award winners. We had an amazing night of celebration recognizing the successes of our leaders and members from the 2018-2019 Toastmaster year. In addition to the Of The Year Awrds we also recognized Members Making A Difference, Distinguished Toastmasters and Directors who's areas and Divisions received Distinguished status. 

Members Making a Difference Awards

Members Making a Difference

Starting from the left: Ken KlunderACG, ALB | Dennis Bartel, DTM | Gaby Mammone ACB, CL, PM4 | Louisa Steele, DTM | Tuula Redditt, DTM


High fives went around the room with so many Distinguished Toastmasters being recognized, Congratulations!

Distinguished Directors

Check all these Distinguished Directors representing Distinguished Areas and Divisions for 2018-2019

Congratulations to all these inspiring members!

Of The Year Awards 2018-2019

OTYAwards 2

On November 23 2019, District 86 honoured all it’s Of The Year Award winners. We had an amazing night of celebration recognizing the successes of our leaders and members from the 2018-2019 Toastmaster year.

This year we had many nominees, I would like to identify each nominee before naming the winners of each category:

Alvin Abawan | Aurie Contosta | Brian Patton | Cal Lockhart | Candu Toastmasters | Cindy Tate | Confidentially Speaking TM | Deridor Collier |  Felicia Ketcheson | Firdaus Walele | Grant Bouchard | Halton Hills TM | Leslie Benfield | Margaret Waechter | Matthew Ogbulafor | Nancy Movrin | Peter Day | Ram Lakhanpal | Shamela Shah | Tim Douglin | Tuula Redditt | Vasu Desikachary

District Publicist of the YearMatthew Ogbulafor
Our District Publicist of the Year award celebrates the individual who made the biggest impact in helping promote Toastmasters in the community. Public Relations is challenging for some people and this year we were blessed with a wide range of novel ideas. We had clubs reaching out to their local media, we had several cities recognize Toastmasters Month and so much more. Matthew Ogbulafor has helped the District is a wide array of formats. Heplayed an integral part in Emailing all District members, was responsible for the distribution of the Newsletter, was a key coordinator in arranging the interview and subsequent promotion of the video of our International 1st Vice President Richard Peck DTM, managed some of our social media content on Facebook, and created 8 Press Releases and distributed them to the media.

Club Coach of the YearRam Lakhanpal
Our Club Coach of the Year submissions this year were amazing. I was amazed at how many awesome people were submitted. It makes me feel all warm inside knowing we have so many great coaches supporting our clubs. This year, club coaches were asked to submit a club recovery plan so that the Club Growth Director knew the coach and club were a good match and had a plan to achieve success. Ram Lakhanpal identified that new members needed a 10-step plan to their success in Toastmasters provided to them on the first day of membership, that additional Pathways support was needed, there were several opportunities to promote the club in the community using posters, Facebook, Meetup, as well as identifying many different little ways the club could take things they were doing to the next level. Evidently, they succeeded. Seven different club members with many of them being new achieved multiple educational awards, the club added 12 new members, the club achieved President’s Distinguished status, its club officers were trained in both rounds of training, hosted workshops on Pathways, Evaluations, Member Engagement, Motivating People, Meeting Roles, and Beginning Meetings with a Bang. Wow it made me out of breath just saying all this when I presented the award.

Club President of the YearLeslie Benfield
Leslie Benfield left me breathless with everything he has achieved. He has helped take their club to new heights. This club has 80% of its members enrolled in Pathways now, grew its membership by 18%, and has been promoted in many unique ways to promote its presence and establish relationships with clubs in many different locations in order to learn and adopt as many best practices as possible. Leslie earned seven educational awards on his own, coached a club to success, travelled all over to promote his club including Kitchener, Sudbury, Ottawa, Miami, Chicago, Dominican Republic, Georgetown in Guyana, was on television, attended multiple marketing expos, multiple contests, District 86 conference, the International Convention in Chicago, created a Gavel Club, the list could go on. Most importantly, Leslie led his club to President’s Distinguished status for the first time in the Chez Nous Toastmasters club history.

Area Director of the YearAurie Contosta (Area 44)
Aurie Contosta can be summarized in many different ways-a ray of sunshine, the Energizer Bunny, and someone who is always on the go. She has taken the role of supporting her clubs and Division to a whole extra level. The Area grew its membership by 3%, has 67% of its officers enrolled in Pathways, found a corporate sponsor for their Division’s Marketing Expo, provided an extra level of support to their fellow Area Directors, and supported their clubs so well that for the first time their area had two President’s Distinguished Clubs and one Distinguished Club. Additionally, she demonstrated the value of Toastmasters by earning 5 different educational awards, being a member of 3 different clubs-one of which is a French club, serving as a club officer in two of her clubs, , serving as a club coach, and more. Aurie enjoyed her Area Director role so much, she’s stepped up and is now serving as a Division Director.

Division Director of the YearCindy Tate (Division B)
Cindy Tate can be described as always willing to help and go the extra 100 miles to support her team. She had substantial Pathways support amongst her Division Leadership with 55 % of the club officers and members enrolled, earned two levels in two different paths herself, had several Area Directors earn levels in Pathways, had substantial Area Director Representation at all District Executive Council meetings and Division Council meetings, led 5 of 7 Area Directors to achieve Distinguished or better status, hosted the most successful Marketing Expo in District 86 as Division B’s was the only one to have many guests, served as a successful club coach, supported the oh-so-close creation of a club that added 21 new members to other clubs, created a second corporate club at their company that charted a few weeks late due to a few key individuals being on vacation, served as Assistant Area Director to one of their Area Directors going thru some very serious medical treatments, mentored members across 4 different clubs, is a member of 3 different clubs, had 21 clubs achieve Distinguished Status or better, and did all this while also serving as the District Alignment Chair where she also contributed well over 100 hours of service in addition to being the Division Director.

Toastmaster of the YearTuula Redditt
Tuula Redditt is always seen with a smile on her face and extending a helping hand. Tuula has shown dedication and leadership in regards to membership, education, and leadership. She has developed membership by providing workshops for their club Speak to Inspire, conducting membership building campaigns, sponsoring 3 new members, and supporting the marketing expo initiative throughout the District. In terms of education she has helped develop it throughout the District by providing club officer training, coordinating three different Speechcraft Programs,  a Youth Leadership Program, volunteering at club, area and Division contests, She earned 3 different levels in the Pathway program, and facilitating communication of all District education communication on the website. Tuula has served as a strong leader throughout the District by serving as a vital part of the District PR team last year as an assistant to the Public Relations Manager, serving on the Conference Committee, serving as a mentor and coach to multiple Area Directors in her Division, serving as a club officer, and mentoring 5 different members. In terms of public relations, she is immensely valuable. Tuula served as the Blog & Newsletter editor for her club and the District, served as the graphics coordinator for all District created materials for contests, business cards, the Go for Bold program, website banners and modules, and more. In addition she helped promote the District through her local Rotary club, her local Senior’s Center, and her local YMCA. Over and above all this, she went far beyond her own boundaries and learned how to help manage the District website so she could make updates to various forms, the District calendar, banners, modules, events, and more. When I presented the award, I was out of breath just thinking, never mind saying how Tuula Redditt has influenced people throughout our District.

Club of the Year Awards
For Club of the Year for District 86, this award is split into three categories – Membership Leadership, Education Leadership, and Overall Club of the Year. This award is based solely on the total number of points and we had fantastic candidates this year.

Clubs of the Year

Membership Leadership AwardHalton Hills Toastmasters Club
Our Membership Leadership Award recognizes overall membership growth and retention, District Support, Membership Years of Service, Community Programs, and Club Officer Training. Halton Hills has 11 members with 3 or more years of membership, 21 new members, two members served on the District Executive and on District Committees, one member served as a Club Coach and had all its club officers trained in both Phase 1 and Phase 2.

Education Leadership AwardCandu Toastmasters Club
Our Education Leadership Award recognizes overall Education Achievement in terms of the number of awards by combining the total number of awards in the Legacy and the Pathways programs. Candu had 26 awards last year between the Legacy and the Pathways programs with 21 of them coming from Pathways. They are a true leader in the adoption of the new Toastmasters Education program.

Club Of the YearClub of the YearConfidentially Speaking Toastmasters Club
Our Overall Club of the Year recognizes achievement in both the Membership and Education categories. This is the third time that Confidentially Speaking has earned this award and this year they earned 40 awards between the Legacy and the Pathways programs and they are a club that believes in maintaining its members with 18 having three or more years of membership and they also had 40 new members. They also had all seven club officers trained in both Phase 1 and Phase 2.

How To Become A Conference Sponsor

Conference Sponsorship

An excellent way to gain exposure for your organization and support Toastmasters
Would you like a chance to get your direct message to a group of influential Business, Financial and Education leaders? 

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Our membership is 358,000 strong with members attending 16,800 clubs in 143 countries. Globally, Toastmasters network in clubs located in Business, Financial, and Educational organizations and in communities. It’s no wonder so many Fortune 500 companies have Toastmasters clubs!

Toastmasters has been active in Ontario for over 60 years. In particular, District 86 works with like-minded organizations to help build vibrant communities through better leadership. We hold one conference a year that highlights our Communication and Leadership Program. Consider sponsoring our conference events and help us empower individuals to become more effective Communicators and Leaders.

The Toastmasters Brand attracts talent. Members are above average income earners (27% make $100,000 or more) with above average education (78% have a Bachelor degree, 39% have a Masters degree). Our members serve their communities and workplaces by providing training, workshops, and keynotes. Countless business leaders have benefitted from the Toastmasters program since its inception in 1924.

There are many levels of sponsorship from Corporate sponsorship of members to attend the conference to Business sponsorships to boost your business and network. More information is available on the below downloadable links:

Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner Sponsorship >>

Bronze, Silver, Gold and Workshop Sponsorship >>

Club Executive Sponsorship >>

Program Ad specifications >>

For more information on how to become a sponsor contact Carl J Naus, D86 Spring Conference Sponsorship Chair 

The Conference Experience by Carl J Naus

Are you getting the most from Toastmasters?

You can get added value by attending the District’s Conference where we come together to compete, learn, network and socialize. You will see inspiring keynote speakers, learn through educational workshops and experience fantastic speech contests. (The speech contest may inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and compete yourself). You will learn from each other's best practices and how to enhance your club experience (practical ideas that you can take back to your club). Corporations can sponsor their members who will be invigorated by the great speakers they will see. Personally, I have attended over 10 Conferences and have always enjoyed myself. I have gained so much from the workshops and have been inspired to become a better speaker.

The Conference is at the Hilton Meadowvale April 24-April 26, 2020 and is valued at $299.00 until Dec 31 when prices will rise!

Register NOW! >>>

Find out more about becoming a sponsor HERE>>>

Carl J Naus
District 86 Spring Conference Sponsorship Chair

D86 Douglas Barclay Award 2019-2020

The Douglas Barclay Award is given annually to a Past District Officer who continues to exemplify Toastmasters values of integrity, respect, service & excellence and for their contributions and continued service as well as promotion of Toastmasters to the outside community.

The Douglas Barclay Award committee is made up of past recipients. The award began in 2009 after the split of District 60. Past recipients are:

2019 Tony Bratschitsch, DTM PDG
2018 Carol Dowell, DTM PDG
2017 Karim Premji, DTM
2016 Avis Brodie, DTM PDG
2015 John MacDonald, DTM PDG
2014 Eric Solowka, DTM
2013 Doreen Hillier, DTM PDG
2012 Eva Britton, DTM
2011 Joan Binetti, DTM PDG
2010 Isabel Hershaw, DTM
2009 Jean McAllister, DTM PDG

Each Club in good standing is entitled to nominate one member in good standing that continues to demonstrate our Toastmasters values and who meets most of the criteria. The nominee must agree to attend the Spring Conference (Full or Option 2), and the recipient must be present to receive the award.

Download the following application for more detailed information 

D86 Douglas Barclay Award Recipient 2018-2019

Tony Bratschitsch, DTM is the most recent recipient of the Douglas Barclay Award. He is a Past District Governor (2013-2014) in which District 86 achieved Distinguished District status. As well, for over ten years, Tony has been very active in the community as a volunteer. Some of his experiences are:

Royal Canadian Legion

Legion Exec 2015
The Royal Canadian Legion was created by an Act of Parliament two years after the founding of Toastmasters. The Legion has official responsibilities for supporting veterans and their families and in honouring Remembrance of the men and women who served, suffered and died doing their duty to our country.

Tony Bratschitsch has been a member of the Legion for twelve years and he has been the Dundas Branch's Chair of the Youth Education program for six years. Tony has been a member of the Branch's executive for five years. He is also a member of the Colour Party which is always front and centre of any Remembrance or other Legion public activity. His participation in the Legion is related to that of Toastmasters because the two organizations in the Town of Dundas have supported each other in many ways.

Tony was asked to be the Chair of the Youth Education program because he was a Toastmaster. During his duration as Chair, Tony has promoted the venerable Annual Poster & Literary Contest to the students and schools in the Dundas, Ancaster and West Hamilton area. This was something that he experimented with by trying different techniques in getting the Grade 1 - 12 students involved and excited about participating in the contests with their poems, essays and posters.

The way it's turned out, unknown to Tony at the beginning, is that he got involved, because he was a Toastmaster, the following has developed:

  • more students, teachers and their families got involved
  • many more students blossomed with recognition for their submissions
  • He had to make different types of presentations to the students
  • sometimes as many as eight in one day in individual classes
  • sometimes if front of large assemblies of approximately 650 people 
  • uniquely, at one exceptional family's home (home-taught students) for five straight years. Their mother recently told Tony that her kids no longer consider him as "the Legion guy" but as "their friend" - a very high compliment presentations made at Legion award ceremonies

Tony came home one day and found himself on the front cover of the Dundas Star. This is just one of many media news releases that the local newspapers have provided. Three years before, the Ancaster News posted another separate picture of Tony with students on its front page.

Of the seven Legion Branches in our Zone (Hamilton, Burlington, Dundas, Stoney Creek), Tony's Branch students win 70% of the awards, consistently.

Mohawk College
Eleven years ago, Tony was contacted by a professor at Mohawk College to provide a 45-minute presentation on public speaking. Since then, members of his club, Valley Town Toastmasters, have made such presentations every year - except for the year of the provincial strike - in which they also heavily promoted the Toastmaster program. One year, Tony and his club members made nine separate presentations at Mohawk. This past February, Tony and two more members presented to a packed-room audience of 73 students. Over the years, Tony had personally received plenty of "thank you notes" from students. One of his newer neighbors was a student in one of the presentations five years ago and she clearly remembered Tony and Toastmasters.

Air Cadets
Ten years ago, Tony was referred to the Southern Ontario Air Cadet organization because he was a Toastmaster. Since then, every year near the end of April, local Toastmasters have been judging their annual debates at Mohawk College. Last April, Tony was recognized by the Chief Judge in front of 30 other judges for his contributions. There is a photo of Toastmasters posing with Air Cadets attached to this email.

Cactus Festival Parades
In 2008, Tony initiated his club's participation in the annual Cactus Festival Parade during August in Dundas. Other local clubs have supported this initiative as well. This has brought great awareness of the Toastmaster program in the area and members have learned over the years that some people joined various clubs because they saw Toastmasters in the parade. There is a photo from the most recent parade attached.

Arthritis Society of Canada
Eleven years ago, a coordinator from the Arthritis Society of Canada sent emails to local Toastmaster clubs looking for volunteer presenters. Since then, Tony has done approximately 30 two-hour presentations on managing chronic pain. In 2015, he received the Ontario Provincial award for excellence (see the photo of him with the bouquet and trophy with the young lady). A few years ago, the Society's HQ asked for Tony, the "Toastmaster", to be the MC at a local fundraising walkathon.

Hamilton SMOG Hockey Team
Team SMOG Champions 2016This may appear to be unrelated, however, it was significant for older hockey players. As captain of the Hamilton SMOG, Tony facilitated co-ed (male and female) participation in a men's league. One year, his team won a tournament in Newmarket with a good mix. See the two photos. Activities like this are important to "social" improvement.

Young Taiwanese Merchants Association
This is one of Tony's favourite stories. At the last minute, he was "promoted" to be the primary keynote speaker at a conference for the Young Taiwanese Merchants Association of Toronto. Instead of presenting to a smaller group in a classroom, Tony made a longer presentation on "Overcoming the barriers to multi-cultural communication" in a large ballroom in front of 160 attendees, television, radio and newspaper crews. There is a photo of a newspaper article in a Chinese newspaper attached. Tony was also personally interviewed on the radio.

Over the years, Tony has also made presentations to the City of Hamilton Health Unit (6), Free Masons of Hamilton and the Women's Institute of Canada. He has also been called upon to provide advice on many speech contests and debating activities by volunteer organizations.

Toastmasters International Values:  Integrity • Respect • Service • Excellence
Our Principles:   Lead By Example • Work / Play as a Team

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