Go For Bold Challenge Blog

Memoirs of a Toastmaster by Tuula Redditt

The journey in Toastmasters for many of us is like a wild roller coaster ride. You start off with a coin operated pony ride and gradually build up the courage to take a ride on the 'Wild Side' and discover courage within yourself to step foot into the 'Bahemoth' of Toastmasters rides. This was my journey and I have shared this journey with many opportunities throughout our district.

Our Go For Bold challenge gives us the opportunity to benefit from going outside our clubs, outside our districts and outside our comfort zones AND get rewarded. Going through the list of challenges I realized that as I earned my education awards in Pathways, competed in club contests and allowed my message to spread through the district as a test speaker, I achieved many missions. I was rewarded for speaking at other clubs and I received amazing feedback on how I can make my message heard EVEN better.

As the Spring Conference approaches and I feverishly complete the artwork for this amazing event program, I get a behind the scenes look at what's to come. I have to say it will be an awesome event and I hope you all who read this blog take advantage of these great opportunities at your fingertips and make this year a memorable one. As your district blogmaster I look forward to reading some of your memoirs. 

Tuula Redditt DTM
Speak to Inspire Toastmaster Treasurer
D86 2019 Spring Conference Program master

My Personal Growth Challenge with ‘Go For Bold’

ParveenJohalLast week while on a trip to Glasgow, Scotland I had an opportunity to visit Glasgow Toastmasters Club AND give a speech!! Glasgow Toastmasters made me feel hugely welcome, they are an amazing group of people and it felt very familiar. It’s the same kind of welcome I get when going to my own Cambridge Grand River Toastmasters Club in Canada. This is when I really noticed that the room and setup may be slightly different but the agenda and the positive vibe, the structure of the meeting and the fun that we always have at Toastmasters is not different at all! I would like to give a BIG thank you to #GlasgowToastmasters and especially to Alex Lewis (President), Dominika Bugajska, Sabine Munro and Gerry Dunn who was Toastmaster for the evening for making my visit so memorable and giving me an opportunity to give a speech, and to all the members and visitors that evening for the 17 speech evaluations I took home that night!

I originally joined Toastmasters in May 2014 and attended for about 8 months before I stopped as it conflicted with something else I was doing on same evening. I rejoined in May of this year and its been the best thing I could have done. I love my Tuesday night Toastmaster meetings and the amazing group of positive and supportive people that I get to share this with! I would never have thought about or probably have had the courage to speak at another club. So, what changed? Partly because of the confidence I’ve got with taking part in roles at my club and a big part because I was handed a card called ‘Go For Bold Challenge’ being run by District 86 Toastmasters. It’s amazing how much this can make you stretch yourself……. get out of your comfort zone! Why do we feel as though we can’t or that’s not me? Why do we hold back when really this is for our own self development? Don’t do this, cause you CAN! If I can do it, honestly, anyone can! My next goal is to help out at an area contest and attend the District 86 Spring Conference. Looking for inspiration? Check out Toastmasters International for your local club!

Parveen Johal
Grand River Toastmasters (Club 1908)
Area 92, Division T

The Most Beautiful Word

Gaby MammoneWhen involved in a conversation with someone, there is one word that you can say to have the other person feel more respected and valued. In business, this word can help make a difference how the person feels about you and your organization. In school, this word removes barriers and allows children to be themselves. What’s the word you ask? A name.

Using a person’s name in conversation creates a discussion based on respect and consideration. We all have pride in our name as it’s our identity and is used to express our individuality. Personally, if someone pronounces my name correctly, I will be more attentive as I feel that personal touch.

At work, if someone’s name is pronounced correctly, it creates an environment where they can be themselves. If you are uncertain how to pronounce the person’s name correctly, be sure to ask. As they depart, say the name again several times silently to yourself to help you remember. Using someone’s name after you meet them shows how that person has made a positive impression on you. People appreciate when you use their name to greet them such as saying, “It’s nice to see you again, George.”

Using someone’s name is also a great way to grab someone’s attention. If you are having difficulty breaking into the conversation or you need to intervene, saying their name can be an effective way to interject. “Andy, that’s a good point. I would like to add to your thoughts by saying…”.

Dale Carnegie, legendary author of How to Win Friends and Influence People once said: “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

A person’s name is the one word that creates a strong connection. Using someone’s name in a conversation is a skill that you can master with self discipline and resilience. It may take time and effort, but the results in cultivating true relationships will be worth it.

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 for many publications in the topics of adversity, communication, diversity and inclusion. Gaby is the President at City Centre Toastmasters, Club 6288.

Gaby can be reached at:

Fortunate Failure

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” ~ Inago Montoye in The Princess Bride

The word referred to in this quote is “Inconceivable” but another word to which this quote could be applied is “failure”. Over the many years I have been a part of the Toastmasters organization, I have seen many people take on the role of Club Officers. Some did amazing jobs and others . . . . not so much. The point of taking on the role isn’t that your Toastmaster club will rise or fall based on your performance. The point is to grow as a leader, a communicator and a person.

As human beings, we have a tendency to compare ourselves to others. If you are taking the role of (as an example) President of your club this year, you may compare how well you do to past Presidents. If, in previous years, the President has led the club to be a President’s Distinguished club and you do not see that happen during your year, this does not make you a failure. If you then quit Toastmasters because of that experience, that might qualify as failure.

The only failure in life is really the failure to learn something.

When I had been a member of my first Toastmaster club for only 2 years, I was asked to be the Vice President of Membership. At the time, my club had 34 members and the literature suggested that a healthy club should have at least 20 members. I thought, “Cool! I could do a terrible job and still will be very likely to wind up with more than 20 members.” I did almost nothing in my role as VP of Membership that year. I was unaware of the statistic in Toastmasters that suggests that an average club will lose about 1/3 of it’s membership at each renewal due to moves, changes in situation, and just plain losing interest. When the end of that Toastmaster year came around, my club had only 16 members. I hadn’t just blown it. I had blown it spectacularly!

But I had learned something! I learned that in order to survive, a Toastmasters club needs to constantly be growing. I learned that, even when a whole year of ignoring that fact, had decimated my club, we could come back to being a strong club again. Most of all, I learned that the point of being a club officer is not just to help the club. It is to learn lessons about leadership.

We learn by taking Club Officer Training. We learn by watching and learning from other officers both at the training and in our own clubs. Mostly, we learn by making mistakes, seeing the results of those mistakes and adjusting our course.

When I was a little boy, I conceived the idea that I could sneak out of my second storey bedroom to go and play by climbing out of the bedroom window, edging along a 5 inch wide ledge below the window and shinnying down the downspout from the roof. I had a harrowing experience which saw me dangling out of the window terrified for my life and being hauled back in by my mother. When I was safely back in the house I fervently asserted, “I’ll never do THAT again!”

Sometimes, that may be the lesson we learn: that the position we took on, was not a good fit for us. Perhaps, instead of “I’ll never do that again” we can say “I won’t do that again until I am ready for it” but it is still a lesson learned. It is a lesson learned without costing us anything but a little pride.

Did you join Toastmasters to get a club officer pin? or did you join to become more effective in business and in personal life? Don’t miss the opportunity to grow. Try something new in Toastmasters today.

By Bud Brown DTM

In Memory of Veronica Crick CL, CC

Yellow… Her Favourite Colour

I would like to share a poem I wrote on behalf of Speak To Inspire Toastmasters Club. Veronica Crick will be deeply missed after losing the battle to cancer Friday Oct 26th 2018. by Tuula Redditt

As she walked through the doors,
The room filled with light,
Dressed in beautiful yellow,
And a smile so bright.

As she walked up on stage,
For the very first time,
We saw her great strength,
And we knew she’d be fine.

Have you ever had lemons,
Thrown at your head?
That day we had caught them,
And made … Lemonade!

She spoke of life challenges,
So powerfully sour,
Adding sugar and ice,
To give her the power.

Yellow… her favourite colour,
I see everywhere I go,
like the large yellow maple,
Shining through the front door.

Her magnanimous spirit,
Will always live on,
In all who were touched
By her spirit so strong.

We will never forget,
Her message she made,
When life throws you lemons,
Then make lemonade!


The Travelling Toastmaster

Felicia KetchesonTravelingToastmaster, Felicia Ketcheson, ACS, ALB, of London, Ontario, Canada, explores the 700-foot deep magma chamber of dormant Thrihnukagigur Volcano near Reykjavik, Iceland.
#Toastmasters #Travel #TravelTuesday #Volcano #Iceland

Visit the Traveling Toastmaster page

Toastmasters Member Supports Nipissing Voters

Arlene Phillips, North Bay OPS Toastmasters incoming Secretary, used her Toastmasters leadership skills to organize a very impactful all candidates debate in North Bay in the week prior to the provincial election.
The event was sponsored by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union’s (OPSEU’s) Vote Better Campaign and the target audience was OPSEU members and their families. Ken Steinbrunner, OPSEU local 642 President, provided opening remarks.
As the Vote Better Campaign Mobilizer for North Bay, Arlene’s challenge was to host a public debate with the riding’s provincial candidates that included an opportunity for each candidate to speak, respond individually to audience questions asked by moderators, and debate issues with one another. Moderators were Natalie Rondeau, Vote Better Mobilizer, Sudbury and Jamie Kensley, We Own it Mobilizer. Melanie Alkins, North Bay OPS Toastmasters incoming Sergeant-at-Arms, played an important role as timer and also photographed the event. Five of the six local candidates accepted the invitation.

Nippising Voters
Nipissing candidates Vic Fedeli -Conservative Stephen Glass - Liberal, Trevor Holliday - Northern Ontario Party, Kris Rivard – Green Party, Henri Giroux – NDP, absent Bond Keevil – Libertarian

Candidate questions focused on public services and were specific to North Bay and Northern Ontario concerns. This was a one-of-a-kind event for the city where local voters could hear directly from most candidates in the Nipissing riding.
The event was a runaway success with about seventy people in attendance, almost double the number expected!
With four media outlets participating, the debate had print, TV and radio coverage. To quote the North Bay Nugget, Arlene explained “What we’re trying to do is get a higher percentage of our members out and voting. From my point of view, I get to vote for my employer. This is such a unique opportunity. When I go to the polls, I want to make an educated vote. And that’s important for the people of Ontario as well as the people across OPSEU.”
Despite an exchange described as “heated” between several candidates, Arlene is to be commended for her role in running a very informative, orderly and respectful event!

Submitted by Sandy Bell-Murray
Photo credits, Mel Alkins

Establishing Your Why

Why do the people do the things they do? Its because there is a reason. This idea came from me the other day after someone said “establish your why”.

Welcome Toastmaster readers....

Establishing your why is important. It gives you a reason to keep on going or maybe that decision to try something new.

My name is Shelly and I have been a Toastmaster since January 2016. I decided to join Toastmasters because I wanted to improve my communicating skills and I love talking!!

Toastmasters has given me the ability to become a more confident person and I have slowly applied what I have learned in my life. Fellowship with a great group of people, a better understanding of people and a great team work environment has been an added benefit of being a Toastmaster.

Working hard has always helped me find my way. I think we need that or at least I do. To have a purpose and even making/checking off lists. WORK IS DEFINITELY PART OF MY WHY!! As a Toastmaster I am here to work on my goals. I joined because I wanted to work on my public speaking. I didn’t realize that it would change my world.. Recently I was told by a fellow Toastmaster that “ we have one mouth and two ears and we need to listen twice as much”.... that has always been a challenge for me. What challenge you say? Thinking before I speak. I get excited most times and not think before I speak. Has Toastmasters helped with that? Yes it has but it has been a slow process in other aspects of my life. A saying by lots of people” keep it simple” and that is another goal I am working on.

Establishing your why is an important question in life. Its what keep you going. Having a goal and even if the plan changes the goal should not. That’s why establishing your why is important!!

Establishing my why? I need to work to make money, pay my bills, Toastmasters is a necessity so I can keep working on my communicating skills through listening/speaking. Fellowship with past, present and future people in my life.

Establishing your why is an important question one should ask themselves in starting a new venture!!

Establishing your why whether just to inspire yourself to become a better well rounded person is a last thought to leave you fellow Toastmaster readers.

Shelly Grant (1603 club secretary)


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

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