Virtual Holiday Party Ideas!

Many of us are inundated with Zoom meetings – some spend a little time in the digital space, but others are online all day! The holiday season provides us with a great excuse to shake things up and make one of your December Toastmasters meetings a “PARTY!”

A specialty themed meeting can be a wonderful reason to invite friends who might be interested in joining your club, or just seeing what it’s all about. Be sensitive to the family, faith, and holiday traditions of your members and guests so as not to put members or guests in an uncomfortable position participating.

Things to consider for your organizing:

  • Select a party committee. Everything is more fun with friends! Does anyone have a Pathways project that would apply?
  • Be sure to set the date and remind club members of it regularly.
  • Set up a Facebook Event, Evite, or Eventbrite to invite the community! Ask club members to help promote it.
  • If you need members to provide anything (see ideas below) be sure to remind them of it often.
  • Ask everyone to bring a guest for the fun! Be sure to plan a way to help guests feel a part of things if members are asked to have any supplies handy – ie provide alternate questions for Table Topics etc.

While a potluck isn’t possible in a virtual world, suggest a common “snack” or snack theme for your club members to bring for themselves.


  • A fancy glass with a favorite beverage
  • A mug of something delicious
  • Favorite holiday snack

While you may be tempted to have no speeches and keep the whole meeting Table Topics—consider seeking out a member to give speech/story on a seasonal topic to set the mood.

Decorating by sharing a Zoom background with your club members so everyone has a common setting! Be sure to send instructions on how to set up a background ahead if your members aren’t able to figure it out.

Host a contest to get your club members excited about the party:

  • Zoom Background Contest: suggest a theme and let everyone come up with their own – ugly sweater patterns, favorite winter vacation spots, family holiday photos….use your imagination! Prize: member is exempt from their least favorite role for 3 months!
  • Ugly Sweater or Hat Contest: Dress to the nines and have members vote on the best ugly sweater! Mail a gift card for a prize.
  • Recipe Contest: Ask members to share fave recipes and have members vote on the recipe most likely to be tried! Winner has to email the recipe out to the club.
  • Gingerbread Contest: Create little gift packages with a few pieces of gingerbread, some squeeze frosting, and candies. Don’t forget to set rules ahead of time- if it’s a “no adding other supplies” contest, you know someone will want to know! Have members share their creations and ask everyone to vote on their favorite!

We’ve gathered a few ideas for Table Topics to get you started, but please feel free to get CREATIVE!

Table Topics Master displays an imaginary Holiday themed word. For example: Schluber Mask or Frosty Cough

  • While in the grocery store I sneezed with my mask on...
  • One cold and frosty morning I was out walking the dog and I inhaled a snowflake...

Table Topics Master asks for household items, and members run to find that object and show it in Zoom. Sometimes the first person producing the item is asked a Table Topics question, other times change it to the last or 6th person – just to keep everyone on their toes! The question can stem from what that item is – where they got it, how they use it, or something else related to it!

While the club may not be able to gather and share a meal or desserts – plan to invite members to bring a favorite snack or food and share the recipe for it with others. Organizer collects all the recipes and cuts and pastes then into a document to share with everyone afterwards.

Table Topics master collects a bunch of random items from the dollar store, wraps them and places them into a big bag. Table Topics will be the gift randomly selected from the bag that the person can talk about whether they know what it is or not. Examples: Dryer balls, giant eraser(For Big Mistakes), Stress Ball...

Prepare ahead by writing up a few “first” sentences for a participants, leaving a noun, verb, or adjective or two blank. Ask the other club members to provide those fill-in-the-blanks words, then that’s the first sentence for the story the participant gets to make up! For example:

  • To celebrate the season this year I plan to (verb) with my friends to the beat of a different (profession)…..
  • When I was a child, I learned to (verb) when the (adjective) holidays came around…
  • Last year’s December was different because my (relative) gave me a (object) ….

Ask club members to prepare a list of two TRUE holiday facts (short sentences) about themselves, and one FALSE one, and share them by email with the Table Topics Master. The three items are read aloud and members guess who it is -and which of the three things is false! Once the person is identified, they have to tell one of the true stories as their topic. (Recommend 1 minute stories so you can get in as many of these as you can.) Examples:

  • I was once a mall elf for Santa, I was carried off a mountain when skiing, I once met Jimmy Stewart.
  • Santa gave me a vacuum cleaner hose, I spent New Years in the hospital in 1994, I own 47 strings of holiday lights.

So there you have it folks, please enjoy the holidays safely and virtually and most of all ... Have FUN!


Corporate Toastmasters Showcase! Membership Drive! A D86 club growth initiative!

Use the opportunity to promote & introduce Toastmasters in your corporation!

Grow your membership in your corporate club. 

Quality demo meetings for potential corporate club members joining from participating companies.

Key Features:
50-minute meeting for visitors to have a flavor of Toastmasters in the corporate environment.
Centrally organized, locally promoted and follow-up by participating clubs which means minimal work for the clubs involved, and they would focus 100% on membership recruitment.

Corporate clubs can use the attached flyer to promote to their corporation on the dates of their choice to build membership

Corporate Showcase dates:
9-Nov-20 Monday Eventbrite link  Click HERE to download poster for this event

10-Nov-20 Tuesday Eventbrite link  Click HERE to download poster for this event

18-Nov-20 Wednesday Eventbrite link Click HERE to download poster for this event

19-Nov-20 Thursday Eventbrite link Click HERE to download poster for this event

20-Nov-20 Friday Eventbrite link Click HERE to download poster for this event

Above are the 5 posters (one for each Open House), and the 5 respective Eventbrite Links for advance registration. You would need them for your own promotion, please save them. The Zoom meeting link will be shown and given when you register.

fir more information check out this PDF Fact sheet


Iona Rodricks, B.Com, DTM
District 86 Club Growth Director 2020-2021 (current)
üD60 Division Governor of the Year 2006-2007

Forever With Us-Remembering Cindy Tate


Collage created by graphic artist Lucia Yglesias

On September 27th, 2020 District 86 lost one of its biggest and brightest stars. Our beloved Cindy Tate passed away and has left a huge hole in the hearts of all of us here at Toastmasters. Her light was one of the brightest beacons we have seen with that infectious smile and that willingness to do anything possible to make life easier for others.

Cindy wasn’t just a Toastmaster, she was a mother, daughter, sister, a bride-to-be and a friend. She always gave her undivided time and energy to help others and now it’s time that we do the same for her and her family. Today we honour her life, her legacy, and her spirit.
Let us keep Cindy Tate’s bright Star light shining forever!

Past District Director Jacklyn Payne, DTM: "Our beloved Administration Manager, Cindy Tate left us quietly on September 27th. Cindy was serving her 2nd term when it was cut short. We will be holding a special tribute to Cindy in honor of her contribution towards the success of District 86 at the Annual Awards presentations on Oct 17th, 2020. Cindy gave unselfishly and has touched many lives throughout her 10 years with Toastmasters. We will miss her dearly."

District Director Jocelyne Vezina, DTM: “Cindy has been the pillar against which I leaned when things got stressful. Whether it was preparing for a DEC meeting, our regular weekly meetings, getting medals and trophies engraved, distributing the Minutes, mailing awards or ordering supplies, Cindy never said “no”. Her contagious smile and her support will be missed by all. Rest in peace Cindy, wherever you are.”

Roger Caesar, DTM: "We have lost one of the brightest and biggest stars this district has ever known. Cindy Tate was the true example of what Toastmasters and a friend is all about. Her infectious smile and her willingness to help in anyway that she can allowed many of us to witness her greatness and she will be greatly missed.

From the minute I came into Toastmasters I have known Cindy and she has been instrumental in many ways of helping me grow as a communicator but more importantly as a leader. She has been a mentor to me helping to develop my skills tremendously. As Division Director last year I leaned heavily on Cindy as she was the past Division Director and Division Director of the Year. Without hesitation she became my right hand, guiding me and nurturing me to make positive decisions that were necessary to continue to make our division successful. Our division contest would not have been a success if it weren’t for her guiding hand in helping me to organize and orchestrate bringing in all of the past winners and providing Isabel Hershaw with the new Division B Trophy in her name. Her desire to see others succeed was why I consider her one of the greatest people I‘ve ever known.

They say people come into our lives for a season or reason. I believe Cindy has come into our lives for a reason and that is to shine her infinite light and humility on all of us and allow us to understand how blessed we were to have had her here with us. She will be sorely missed but never forgotten."

D86 Virtual Annual Awards Presentation & Tribute 2019-2020

Awards table

On Saturday, October 17, 2020 District 86 celebrated the Third Annual “Of the Year Awards”. During these awards the District congratulates its members for their contribution and achievement inside and outside of Toastmasters.

Jacklyn A. Payne DTM, Past District Director 2019-2020 of District 86, writes:

I am very proud of our members for stepping up when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Thank you for acting quickly to move on line so we could complete the rest of our Toastmasters year successfully. We appreciate every one of you for helping the district achieve its goals as well as your personal goals, those of your clubs, Areas and Divisions. It is your efforts that keep Toastmasters alive. Let’s celebrate the results of your labour. 

Feel free to down load the Program with winners listed in this printable PDF for a keepsake!

Here is a list of awards and winners for 2019-2020:

Cindy TateToastmaster Of the Year Award: Cindy Tate DTM
Nominees: Lisa des Vignes | Roger Caesar | Cindy Tate
Winner: Cindy Tate DTM- Cindy was always on speed dial for District requests and always delivered on time. Helping out wherever she could, outside her regular busy profession at the City Of Brampton, she managed to nurture several clubs and was instrumental in helping the District, Divisions, Areas, Clubs and Members.

Fiancé Corwin Wills accepted this award on her behalf. Doing so, he stated,"It's not what you take away but what you are willing to give to others that makes the difference." 

When Cindy was collecting the paperwork for this award, she was more concerned about meeting other deadlines for the District. She was very humble and always put the needs of others before her own. She made the impossible ... possible! Little did she know that she would be receiving this prestigious award.
Cindy exemplifies the true Spirit of Toastmasters. Congratulations Cindy!

Patricia WilliamsPeter Crabtree President Of The Year Award: Patricia Williams
Nominees: Patricia Williams | Iqbal Sandhu
Winner: Patricia Williams (Region of Peel Toastmasters Club) -Patricia successfully led her Club to perform at a high level in both Education and Membership. This also led to this Corporate Club to receive the Club Of The Year Award. Congratulations Patricia!




Howard BishanskyArea Director Of The Year Award: Howard Bishansky
Nominees: Liz Rea | Howard Bishansky
Winner: Howard Bishansky (Area 23 Director) -Howard successfully helped his Area 23 move online during the pandemic and deliver his Area reports on time. Congratulations Howard!




Millie Leng DTMDivision Director of the Year Award: Millie Leng DTM
Nominees: Millie Leng DTM | Roger Caesar DTM | Iona Rodricks DTM
Winner: Millie Leng DTM (Division G Director) -Millie went above and beyond to meet the Division's goals and helped the Areas to achieve their goals as well. Millie stood by her Area Directors to ensure all reports were submitted on time. Congratulations Millie!




Brahm Memone DTMClub Coach Of The Year Award: Brahm Memone DTM
Brahm succeeded in coaching his assigned club from a very low membership to Distinguished status. Brahm was also proactive in moving online during the pandemic. Congratulations Brahm!




Tony Bratschitsch Club Of The Year Award
All clubs in good standing are eligible. There are three levels to this Award.
The Education Leadership Award is awarded to the club with the highest number of points in the Education Leadership category. Winner: Confidently Speaking TM Club
The Membership Leadership Award is given to the club with the highest number of points in the Membership Leadership category. Winner: Glen Abbey TM Club
The Club Of The Year Award is given to the club with the highest total number of points in ALL three categories.
Winner: Region of Peel TM Club 

Somnath Bhattacharjee

Publicist Of The Year Award: Somnath Bhattacharjee
Sommath went above and beyond promoting Toastmasters using Speechcraft inviting international and people outside our District86. Som also delivered workshops to help clubs move online during the pandemic. Congratulations Som!





Mike Proudlock DTMDouglas Barclay Award 2019-2020: Michael Proudlock DTM
Nominees: Fely Ragudo | Mike Proudlock | Joyce Scott
Winner: Mike Proudlock DTM -Three years following Mike's role as Program Quality Director and the Lieutenant Governor of Marketing, he continued to serve Toastmasters in many ways. He has taken on roles as Conference Chair and District Contest Chair just to name a few along with many roles at the club, Area, Division and District levels. Congratulations Mike!



Spirit Of District 86 Award 2019-2020: Ryan Roach, Lisa des Vignes, Nikolina Ivankovic, Leslie Fitzgerald, Karen Reese,  Anne Dockeray

Spirit Award lineup
This year the district has decided that moving forward will be changing the name of this award to ‘The Cindy Tate Spirit of 86 Award’ in memory of Cindy Tate DTM.

Here are the winners of the D86 Spirit Award for 2019-2020:
Ryan Roach- Ryan could be called on anytime for a technical software challenge. Ryan was supportive of many Club, Area and District challenges. Congratulations Ryan!
Lisa des Vignes DTM- Lisa took on many roles in our District. She accepted the role of Club Extension Chair helping out at Club launches and many other Division and District events. She became the District Go-To-Person. Congratulations Lisa!
Nikolina Invankovic and Leslie Fitzgerald- Both worked closely with the Program Quality Director to help with all requirements for the TLI training sessions. They also volunteered to help with challenges that COVID-19 brought to the Toastmaster Program. Congratulations Nikolina and Leslie!
Karen Reese DTM- As Public Relations Manager for the Division ‘S’ team, Karen helped with Training and support with all aspects to help D86 to achieve its goals. Congratulations Karen!
Anne Dockeray DTM- Anne could be called on anytime to help support her Division and District with TLI training sessions and many other District events, working tirelessly behind the scenes. Congratulations Anne!

The MMAD Awards 2019-2020: Nancy Movrin, Ethel de la Penotiere, Richard Lewis, Melanie Taddeo

MMAD Awards

Here are the winners of the Members Making a Difference Award for 2019-2020:
Nancy Movrin DTM - Nancy took on many roles in her community including MC for Cultural Events and speaking to communities at different levels. She volunteers as the Social Media Manager for many Arts programs in the Cambridge area. She spoke to local and Ontario governments on behalf of small businesses and communities in the Kitchener Waterloo area. Congratulations Nancy!
Ethel De La Penotiere DTM - Ethel served as the representative and spokesperson for those affected by Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder(FASD). This disorder affects the fetus from mothers who use alcohol during pregnancies. In 2010 she advocated for her granddaughter who suffers from this disorder, speaking to women's groups across Canada. The Ontario government awarded $3 million for prevention and treatment to families affected by this disease. Congratulations Ethel!
Richard Lewis DTM - Richard saw hope in the young people participating in the Cadet Program. Richard invested time and mentoring with Youth Leadership programs towards these future leaders. Congratulations Richard!
Melanie Taddeo - Imagine using eye contact when you are blind or body language when paralyzed. Melanie's help with the ‘Connect For Life’ Program helps those with disorders like blindness, autism and other physical disorders communicate more effectively. Thank you, Melanie and congratulations!

Communication & Leadership Award 2019-2020: Anna Silgardo
Anna SilgardoThe Communication and Leadership Award is by the District to a non-Toastmaster in the community who is an outstanding communicator or leader - and who best exemplifies Toastmasters values. Read more about our recipient Anna here:





 Distinguished Toastmasters:
Congratulations to all our members awarded the Distinguished Toastmasters award! High Five!
DTMs2019 2020

A Toastmaster’s Journey To Make a Difference

Neil Dunsmore walk2

A new "Support Local Centre Wellington” sign can now be seen on both sides of the Trestle Bridge on Wellington County Road 18 in Aboyne! The Township of Centre Wellington's program encourages residents to shop local, and help support small business owners in overcoming the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Left Photo)
September 17 at 7:56 AM · Just heading to the trail starting my day with a smile! Do something today that makes you smile! (Photo Of Smile Cookie)

Bio: Neil Dunsmore DTM ia member of Centre Wellington Toastmasters. Neil is a Motivational Speaker at Neil Dunsmore and Associates. He actively presents motivational speeches at other clubs and venues. 

Center Wellington Councillor Neil Dunsmore and Distinguished Toastmaster is embarking on a heart felt journey, to raise awareness for mental health issues in our community and across our country. He will walk from the Center Wellington Councillor Chamber’s in Elora to the Peace Officer’s Memorial in Ottawa, which is held this year on Sunday September 27th.

The total journey will be approximately 500 km and Neil's goal will be to keep a pace of 30 km a day.

Its Neil’s goal to not only raise awareness but to bring our community together and raise funds for the Cody Shepperd Project in support of their mental health initiatives. 

September 23rd as Neil's journey continues we will update the post with new pics. Go Neil Go! You are making a difference!

Read more about Neil's personal story published in the Wellington Advisor

Presidential Citation Award

RossMackay resized 600W573

Aurora Toastmaster to receive the Presidential Citation at Toastmasters International Hall of Fame Ceremony

Ross Mackay, DTM, PID, AS, a seasoned Toastmaster will receive the Presidential Citation at the Hall of Fame ceremony during the 89th Toastmasters International Convention slated for August 27, 2020.

The Presidential Citation, one of Toastmasters highest awards, is given for outstanding and continued contributions to Toastmasters International's organizational growth and excellence.

Mackay, a Distinguished Toastmaster, professional speaker and trainer, started his Toastmasters Journey 29 years ago when he joined the Towns of York Toastmasters Club in Aurora, Ontario. Over the years, he sharpened his communication and leadership skills by taking full advantage of the Toastmasters educational curriculum and by helping others in his community.

His excellent oratorical skills helped Mackay place 3rd in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking in 1995 from a field of over 20,000 contestants. He is also the only Toastmaster in District 86 to have earned the Accredited Speakers Award for professionalism and outstanding achievements in public speaking.

Mackay has also served on the Board of Directors of Toastmasters International.

Toastmasters District 86 Director, Jocelyne Vezina expressed her excitement over the recognition. "Ross has spent many years guiding young Toastmasters members to excel in their professional careers", she said. "He also was instrumental in creating our District over ten years ago during the Reformation phases. This award is well deserved. We rejoice with him and his family."

Mackay's desire to help others succeed has been his driving force since he became a Toastmaster. "From my early days as a member, it became increasingly apparent to me that Toastmasters can change the lives of those who may never have a chance of doing so by any other means", he said. "It continues to be particularly relevant for all people who want to develop their self-confidence, and their communication and leadership skills."

Mackay, an author of 5 non-fictional books and 3 audio books including "Humour is No Laughing Matter." He is happily married to his wife, Margaret for over 50 years.

For more information about Ross Mackay, please contact Lisa des Vignes, District 86 Public Relations Manager.

Stabilizing & Strengthening Clubs Workshop

Reflections on the workshop by Matt Kinsey, DTM, PID

MattKinseyBlog imageOn July 29, 2020 Matt Kinsey delivered a Masterclass workshop in membership building.

We learned how to increase the members in our clubs  | "How to" attract, retain and grow our clubs membership | We learned membership Growth Strategies | CPR membership techniques and how to breathe life into our clubs | and we learned about Club Growth Initiative 

"I found some fantastic ideas to help with membership building and issues that our clubs face especially during the pandemic. The workshop was very informative and useful. Matt is a great educator with valuable experience."_Tuula Redditt 

A recording of this event is now available. Check it out!

About Matt Kinsey, DTM, PID

ENGLEWOOD, Colo., Aug. 23, 2019 — Matt Kinsey, of Coral Springs, Florida, has been elected Second Vice President of Toastmasters International, the world’s leading organization devoted to communication and leadership skills development. Kinsey was elected to the one-year term at the organization’s 88th annual International Convention, held Aug. 21-24 in Denver, Colo.

As a member of the Toastmasters International Board of Directors, Kinsey is a “working ambassador” for the organization. He works with the Board to develop and support the policies and procedures that guide Toastmasters International in fulfilling its mission.

Kinsey is the CEO of MK Tech Group in Coral Springs, Florida, which he started in 2007. Kinsey oversees all aspects of his IT consulting firm that services small and medium-sized businesses in the South Florida area.

Kinsey holds a master’s degree in computer information systems from the University of Phoenix, Arizona. He has a certificate in strategic management and was recognized with the Silver Beaver and Vigil Honor awards for his work with the Boy Scouts of America. As a Boy Scout volunteer for 23 years, he has held numerous positions within the organization including district chairman, event chairman, and currently serves as the council’s camping chairman.

A Toastmaster since 2003, Kinsey is a charter member of his home club, Outspoken Toastmasters, in Coral Springs. He has held a number of high-profile leadership positions within Toastmasters and has attained the Distinguished Toastmaster designation—the highest level of educational achievement in the organization.

“I have learned that to be most successful, you need to lead with your heart and not your head,” he says. “There is no finer program than Toastmasters for helping people build their self-confidence, communication and leadership skills.”

Toastmasters Branding Advanced CANVA Workshop


Toastmasters District 20 and Resources for Toastmasters (RTF) Facebook Group hosted a first and unique Toastmasters Branding Workshop from Kuwait City on Wednesday, 27 May via the ZOOM video conference platform. On the heels of that very successful workshop, Training Team conducted an Advanced CANVA Workshop on Thursday, 11 June. These passionate CANVA Trainers were: DTM Cajetan Barretto, TM Roshan Lewis, TM Naram Alaradi, and TM Bijal Karia. One interesting feature was the inclusion of Jess Ruyter, London-based CANVA Product Design Manager to ensure CANVA was used appropriately. The audience were fellow Toastmasters from Toastmasters Districts, in a Public Relations role and function at the Club level, at the District level worldwide.

Workshop Learning Objectives include: (1) CANVA Elements (2) CANVA in Action (3) CANVA Tools (4) CANVA App in Mobile (5) CANVA Hands-On. The entire workshop was conducted using tools from the basic free CANVA. Even though there are far greater tools, features and storage with the subscription CANVA PRO, it is not essential to go for that expensive option. The Learning Objectives for the Experienced Users includes: Start creating branding program for participant own District, and respective Clubs.

Training Team continued with their novel learning model by getting the participants to join a specially created WhatsApp Group 10 days prior to the workshop. There were such interest that the number was limited to a maximum of 256 participants, a feature of WhatsApp upper limit. The participants were users with some exposure, experienced users, and those in between. There were many opportunities for the group to share thoughts and experience in Toastmasters branding, content creation, and everyday challenges. The WhatsApp Group Members benefitted greatly from the feedback that the trainers provided to the participants individual attempts or submissions. Training Team went beyond the call of duty, by being available before and after the workshop!

All in all, the Training Team displayed leadership by providing exceptional initiatives and services to the Toastmasters Community. So proud to be experiencing first hand - Toastmasters Helping Toastmasters, previously in a basic CANVA Workshop, and now in the Advanced CANVA Workshop. We can all learn and aspire to become a better brand ambassador, to strengthen the brand and be compliant. To summarise on the impact of the Basic CANVA Workshop and Advanced CANVA Workshop - It has ripple effects on Toastmasters Branding worldwide.

For those who miss the workshop, as well as those who were at the workshop and want to go back and try the hands-on, there is indeed opportunity to learn from watching (and re-watching) the 2-hour workshop, that was recorded (

Acknowledgements: (1) Trainer DTM Cajetan Barretto, Division F Director Elect, District 20 (2) Trainer TM Roshan Lewis (3) Trainer TM Maram Alaradi (4) Trainer TM Bijal Karia (5) DTM Ali Shabaz Region 11 Advisor, Past District Director 20 (6) DTM Noor Mohammad, Resources for Toastmasters Facebook Group Administrator (7) DTM Wafaa Salman, District Director 20 (8) DTM Mohamed Saleem, District Director 20 Elect (9) TM Priscilla Dias, Workshop Chat Monitor & Quality Assurance (10) Jess Ruyter, CANVA Product Design Manager, based in London, UK.

George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM
OTM Oakville Toastmasters, Club Founder
Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017
Blog Submitted June 15, 2020

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

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