That’s Magical!

Speech Group Pic

 There’s something magical about the start of a new year that brings excitement and fresh hopes. We make new year resolutions, create plans and aim to improve ourselves in all sorts of wholesome ways. But do we always take the time to reflect on what’s already inside us - what we’ve learned, how we’ve grown, people we’ve met on our journey and the experiences we’ve had? This year, for the first time in my life, I did. And its been one of the most rewarding exercises I’ve had. I sat down one Saturday morning in December with my coffee and journal and started writing.

I had an incredible year with travel, my son got married in June, and I started an amazing course that I’m absolutely loving. I’m learning to grow vegetables in my garden and deepening my meditation practice, so many things to be grateful for including my toastmaster journey!

There were so many firsts for me – I attended the 3-day District 86 conference and was inspired by the dedication, commitment, quality and courage of the speakers and evaluators, the powerful energy from the audience, the networking and the workshops.

I was honoured to accept the role of Area Director, albeit a little hesitantly, to be honest I wasn’t sure I had the skills, but so thankful I accepted! It’s given me the opportunity to witness incredible leadership, teamwork, courage, perseverance and hope from members to support a club that was struggling.

My biggest fear this year was chairing the Division T Open House, delegating, marketing, media and so much more! But I survived and learned new skills!

Go ahead, make plans for the coming year, seek out new opportunities for growth, but also take a moment to acknowledge and feel gratitude for all you’ve already done! That’s Magical!

Parveen Johal
Grand River Toastmasters (Cambridge)
Club 1908

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, DTM - District 48

High Performance Leadership

The High Performance Leadership Project continues to take our Toastmasters program to new levels by expanding our leadership skills into the public eye. David Lozowsky did just that by embarking on spreading the news about Toastmasters to the public.

14 members from 7 different clubs pitched in to help publicize Toastmasters in Brampton at the Downtown Farmers market on September 14th 2019. We distributed 500 color trifold pamphlets. This was a great opportunity for clubs to talk about their clubs and draw in new members. The lovely collage below has glimpses of this event.


Top Left to Right: David and Mayor Patrick Brown | Pam from Hershaw accepting the flyers to distribute | Michael from Brampton and Dharmesh from Brampton Talks ready to promote their clubs 
Bottom Left to Right: Felicia from Speak to Inspire excited to be speaking with someone | Matthew from Rogers Park listening to a prospect

How a Carrot Helped Me Grow as a Toastmaster

There’s nothing like dangling a carrot in front of Toastmasters to encourage them to expand their experiences and skill set. That carrot for me was the Go for Bold Challenge.

As the Area 62 Director, some of the tasks I was expected to do anyways. Why should I be rewarded for doing what I was expected to do? We’re all volunteers here in District 86. Clearly, we don’t do what we do for the pay! However, a reward is always appreciated.

It’s more than this, though. I was expected to help plan our Division W Marketing Expo. I didn’t have to present a workshop, but the “carrot” encouraged me to do so.

I was expected to attend the Spring Conference. I didn’t have to volunteer to be an Activator and help with the contests, but the “carrot” encouraged me to do so.

The Go for Bold Challenge helped me to go all out to do things I hadn’t done before or not for a very long time: Attend a meeting outside District 86, visit a club that has less than 12 members, give a speech at a club outside my own club and more (including this blog!).

. The “carrot” may have been the initial motivator, but the satisfaction of seeing other clubs in their many and varied cultures, of making new Toastmaster friends, and exchanging ideas for club growth, meeting themes, and retaining members became its own reward.

You don’t have to be an Area Director to take on the Go for Bold Challenge. In fact, taking it on as a club member just might entice you to go to the next level and take on a District role.

What is that carrot, anyway? Shopping! Time to visit TI and make a decision. Shall I go for a blue tooth speaker or the dress shirt?

Sue Wright

Sue Wright
Area 62 Director

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:

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