Current News

Current news

Click on the “Club Articles” and the “More Club Articles”  sections above  for the following stories: Area 30 Humourous Speech & Evaluation Contests !! New Pathways Levels Reached! David Hundeby, Joey Jacobson, Lily Phuong-Tang, LINDA KLEIN and Renee Ellis earn CC;  Daphne Hart, Chi Simons, Susan Storma earns  ALB, ALS, ACB, ACS, ACG and DTM Awards!!!!!!    Follow the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28’s Distinguished President’s Award progress!  Follow your first 10 speeches progress! Meet our new officers… and much, much more!


By Kenneth H. Walley DTM (January 2019)

This year 2019 will be not only Club #28’s best year ever,  but no doubt about it, the best year any Toastmasters club could ever have, EVER! Yes you read that correctly, THE MOST WONDERFUL YEAR IN THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF ALL TOASTMASTERS CLUBS ANYWHERE.

Last year I made a similar boast… and 2018 proved me (sigh) right… again. Yes, yes, we did earn President’s Distinguished, win more awards that any other Toastmaster Club in Florida, grow our membership, tackle Pathways improve the community, improve leadership, help our members reach their goals, change lives. You know, the usual amazing things that Club #28 always does.

Being the very best is just what we do. It is who we are. 2019 will be better than the best.

2019 is going to be special. Really special. Never has Club #28 gathered together such a warm, caring, concerned, focused group of people who truly want to help each other succeed.

I can not remember a year with more potential for Club #28 that 2019. Everyone in this club goes out of their way to see that each member is being taken care of, reaching their goals, getting out of Toastmasters just what they were seeking.

By helping each other we are helping ourselves. No personal goal is out of reach. Pathways levels 1,2,3 or beyond? Piece of cake! DTM? It can be done! Club officer? We will see that it happens! District officer? International leadership? Club #28 is here for you! No dream is to big for Club #28!

Did I mention officer support? If you are a member of Club #28 we have an amazing set of officers ready to serve you! They will not let you down. They will work hard to see you succeed. Not just the officers but EVERYONE in Club #28 from the newest member to the most senior member of our club is determined to make dreams come true. Really, with the talent we have in our club… I really do not see anything we can not accomplish. Nothing.

I’ve seen a lot of Toastmasters Clubs. I know an exceptional club when I see one. 2019. Best. year. ever.

Be dedicated. Show up. Every Thursday night get ready to improve your communication and leadership skills. Offer to help out, ask questions, sign up, practice your assignments but most of all… have fun… it’s easy to be a part of the most wonderful Toastmaster Club in the universe.

The sky is the limit.

Happy Toastmastering & Happy New Year,

Kenneth H. Walley DTM




By Kenneth H. Walley DTM (December 2018)

WOW! It seems hard to believe that the year is almost over, and Toastmasters Club #28 has added another exceptional chapter to our long history. Looking back at our 85th year, 2018 was filled with great challenges and even greater successes. This club once again exceeded all expectations! Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 is continuing a renaissance that can only guarantee that 2019, our 86th year will be our best year ever!

Looking back: We celebrated our 16th Presidents Distinguished Award in the last 18 years in June as well as for the ten year in a row. We had great officer attendance in January and July at the Toastmaster Learning Institute… a perfect “7 or 7” … our fourth year in a row!

It was with great pride that Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 would see in 2018 Marie Leoffler DTM earn her 2nd Distinguished Toastmasters Award!

Speaking of Marie, as our VPE she led us through our first full year in the Toastmasters Pathways program. Marie was also one of the District 84 Pathways “guides” who help many clubs through the new program transition. Serving as our President for the entire year was Renee Ellis CC, CL. She helped in no small part as Club #28 produced some of its most impressive meetings in its existence along with growing our membership and becoming one of the most respected clubs in Florida. As we leave 2018, Club #28 is on the verge of it’s 17th President’s Distinguished Award.

Club #28 is beyond proud to see one of our own, Lily-Phuong Tang CC become our Area 31 Director!

Chi Simons DTM earned our 2018 “Toastmaster of the Year Award”!   

Our International Speech and Table Topics contests in February were considered two of our best because of the high quality of the competition.  International Speeches by Linda Klein CC, Chi Simons DTM and Bob Steg ACB were all brilliant. Bob’s speech (“The Color Doesn’t Matter”) would later see him compete in the Area 31 Contest. Lily-Phuong Tang CC, Daniel Gutierrez, Bethany Johnson and Joe Mangasale all competed in the Table Topics Contest and excelled but Joe won 2nd place at Area! By all accounts it was a remarkable evening for Club #28.

Even more success followed in September with the Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests! proved to be just as magical an experience where every contestant in both contests excelled. Jeremy Bennett DTM gave a memorable speech for the Evaluation Contest that was reviewed expertly by Ken Blake DTM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Ken Walley DTM and Dickson Mo. Ken won the Club #28 contest with an excellent evaluation.  Ken would go on to win the Area 31 Evaluation contest as well.

Brilliant Humorous Speeches were given by Ken Walley DTM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB and contest newcomers Dickson Mo and Kate Murray VC3.  Kate beat out the rest of the competition with a very funny speech “Paris… It Depends” Kate has gone on to win the Area 31 contest and the Division C contest and will compete next March at the District 84 Humorous Speech contest! CONGRATULATIONS KATE!

2018 brought us the return of the “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show” thanks to Diana Walley ATMG, CL. We had six truly excellent Speech Marathons meetings, two “Moments of Truth” meetings, an Open House meeting, a Pathways Training workshop and even a fantastic Auction!  

Our regular meetings were second to none with some very interesting themes such as “Birthdays”, “Fall is in the Air”, “Salt”, “Orlando”, “Temperature”, “Marshmallows”, “Bucket List”, “Fear”, “Shark Week” “Pecan Pie” “Music” “People I Admire”, “Memories” even “Gun Control” and my favorite meeting theme of the year… “Sarcasm”.

Of course, we had our traditional “New Beginnings” theme meetings, “Thanksgiving” and some wonderful Holiday Celebrations & Passing of the Gavel ceremonies. Each of these wonderful meetings treasured and cherished memories.

It would be a great mistake to overlook those who served as club officers over the past year and worked so hard to create a truly positive learning environment such as is Club #28. Our President over the past year was Renee Ellis CC, CL. She proved herself a leader of the highest rank. Our Vice Presidents of Education were Susan Storma ACS, ALB and Marie Leoffler DTM and they made the “toughest officer position” look easy. The Vice Presidents of Membership were David Hundeby CC and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. The club gained many new members thanks to their efforts. “Getting the word out” as Vice Presidents of Public Relations were Lily-Phuong Tang CC, Daniel Gutierrez and Kate Murray VC3. Handling the money were the invaluable Chi Simons DTM and David Hundeby CC, as our Treasurers. Ken Walley DTM and Kate Murray VC3 served as Secretaries. We also had amazing Sergeants at Arms in 2018: Daniel Gutierrez and Tina Weiczorek. From all the members of Club #28, both past and present, we sincerely thank you for your leadership!

From those who gave their Ice Breakers, to those who earned Advanced Awards; thank you for preparing the brilliant speeches that made 2018 a joy. Thanks to everyone who counted votes, dinged a bell, served as Grammarian, timed the shortest Table Topic answer or the way-over-time- presentation. Thank you to those who gave their best advice, mentored others and led us as officers or just by example. You made 2018 a special year.

I wish everyone at Orlando Toastmasters Club #28, its members, past members, guests, friends and family; along with all of those on the Herndon Library staff, a very merry and a very happy holidays and the most wonderful and joyous of new year’s!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Happy Toastmastering!


(December 2018)

On Saturday, December 8th at the Hart Memorial Central Library in Kissimmee Club #28’s own Kate Murray added to her contest winning resume by coming in first at the Division C Humorous Speech Contest! She had started her streak winning the Club #28 contest and the Area 30 Contest in September and November.

She will be presenting her award winning speech “Paris… It Depends” next at the District 84 Contest in March. Congratulations Kate!


(December 2018)

At the December 5, 2018 meeting The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 elected our new officers for the January- June 2019 Toastmasters term:

President Daphne Hart ACG, ALB

Vice President of Education Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB

Vice President of Membership: Maria Son

Vice President of Public Relations: Kate Murray VC3

Treasurer: David Hundeby CC

Secretary: Marie Loeffler DTM

Sergeant at Arms: Vincent Son

It takes courage to step up into a leadership position. All of these offices deserve our support and encouragement. Please congratulate the when you see them!



(October 2018 Update)

Photo: What a Club #28 turnout! Phuong-Lily Tang CC, IP1; Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Maria Son, Ken Walley DTM, Ken Blake DTM, Kate Murray, Dickson Mo and Vincent Son.

Club #28 was everywhere at the Area 30 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests. Our host was none other than Area 30 Director Phuong-Lily Tang CC, IP1. Lily had a lot of help from other #28 members filling in as functionaries to guarantee the contest’s success.  The contest held at the Siemens Corporation headquarters near UCF, drew a large crowd which included many Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 members.

Club #28 also sweep the awards as Kate Murray won first place with her Humorous Speech “Paris… It Depends“. Kate had to win over three other very funny speeches. She is going to the Division C Contest to be held on December 8, 2019 at a location to be determined.



Photo: Area 30 Director  Phuong-Lily Tang CC, IP1 awards Kate Murray with the 1st Place Humorous Speech medal.

Ken Walley DTM also finished first in the Evaluation Contest. Ken had to evaluate a very well delivered speech by Lee Rushin titled “Fear Major” about being faced with situations of Fear. In Lee’s case, being attacked by an angry dog. Ken praised Lee’s ability to tell a story and serve as an example to other Toastmasters.


Photo: Second Place Evaluation Contest winners Cindy Paulsen and Ken Walley DTM with Phuong-Lily Tang CC, IP1.

Congratulations to all of the Club #28 members who helped make the Area 30 Humorous Speech and Evaluations Contests such a success. See you at Division!


(By Kenneth H. Walley DTM October 2018)

The highly anticipated Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests were held on September 13, 2018 at the Herndon Branch Library amid a flurry of oratory brilliance and masterful organization. “The meeting room filled up with guests, members and dignitaries faster that anyone thought possible.” Noted one Club #28 member, “We kept scrambling to bring in more and more chairs!” The library had brought in police reinforcements in case the large crowd became frenzied while clambering for viewing space. Fortunately, no incidences of unruly behavior were reported.





















As the throng settled into a hush, Club #28 Sergeant at Arms Tina Wieczorek called this extraordinary event to order. Proud Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC opened the contests with a quote from Emily Dickinson: “Forever is composed of nows.” She also welcomed the mass of friends, guests and Toastmasters luminaries that packed the room.

Our Contest Master on this evening was rising Club #28 superstar Jose Vela. Jose put his usual flare for showmanship and leadership of display. Having a full program Jose kept the contest on time and enraptured us with humor and insight throughout the evening. Even though this was his first time as a Contest Master, one was given the impression that he was born to MC contests!

The first contest was the Evaluation Contest. The test speaker for our Evaluators was Jeremy Bennett DTM who was presenting a speech titled “Health Care Without Insurance”. Jeremy explained that through the control of diet, sleep, exercise, poor posture and avoiding “negative intakes such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine and sugar” that we could add years to our life and reach a higher quality of living. “Health care cannot stop you from dying but caring for your health can richly extend your life.” Said Jeremy.

After the speech, our four Evaluation contestants were escorted out of the room to prepare their speech reviews. They were given only five minutes and then brought in one-by-one to deliver their individual evaluation of Jeremy’s speech. Ken Blake DTM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Ken Walley DTM and Dickson Mo all managed to come up with inventive, insightful and proficient speech assessments. The main topic of conversation during the short break that followed the first contest was: “How in the world are the judges going to choose a winner?”

After the break, Tina called our second contest, the Humorous Speech contest to order.

It started with Dickson Mo’s “Just do It!”. Dickson admitted that he had a problem with procrastination and told us of his challenges with getting prepared to write this very speech. Each time something came up (“Clean the car!”) it would lead to something else (“adorable cat videos! “…” Vitamins and minerals on Amazon!”) in the end, he never got the speech started… or did he?

Our second speaker was Ken Walley DTM with a speech titled “A Day in the Life of Ken Walley” In this speech Ken told about a “typical day” in his life… and in the world of his alter-ego. We drove along in a James Bond car, fed mountain lions, “Milked” poisonous snakes, roped cattle and saved Orlando from a crime spree as a super-hero… It was quite a ride!

Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB in her speech “Embarrassing moments” told us of some of the most, well embarrassing moments of her life. As well as some of the funniest. A building was evacuated due to burnt toast, an incident involving yellow smiley-face underwear underneath silk pants and softball injuries that made people think Kara was homeless were just some of her most embarrassing moments.

Lastly it was Kate Murray VC1 who presented a speech titled “Paris… It Depends!” Kate told how at times re-visiting Paris might seem like a fairy-tale type thing to do. But after living there for six years she began to remember the things that were not so wonderful… the smells… the attitudes of those who live there… the inconvenience… the bureaucracy…All of it sidesplittingly uproarious.

These were four extremely hilarious speeches! At times the laughter seemed to shake the walls and many laughed so hard they almost passed out from forgetting to breathe. Before the results could be announced, recognition was given to those who made this night so very special: The Vote Counters Lily Phuong-Tang CC, Vincent Son and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB; Timers Tina Wieczorek and Orion Craig; Chief Judge Marie Leoffler DTM, Contest Sgt. at Arms Chi Simons DTM and Chris Alvarez; Contest Chair David Hundeby and of course Contest Master Jose Vela!

At last our Area Director Lily Phuong-Tang CC handed out the beautiful trophies to our winners: In the Evaluation Contest Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB came in Second Place and Ken Walley DTM took the 1st Place prize. The Humorous Speech 2nd Place winner was Dickson Mo and the winner of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech Contest was Kate Murray!





This was a fun meeting that Club #28 will bring a smile to our faces the entire year ahead!



By Kenneth H. Walley DTM

THE Orlando Toastmaster’s Club #28 has reached its “SWEET 16th” President’s Distinguished Award! This is an amazing accomplishment as it marks the sixteenth time in the last nineteen years that Club #28 received Toastmasters International’s highest club honor! To achieve this award, it takes the efforts of the entire club. Congratulations to all of our Club #28 members for they are well deserving of this award due to their hard work and perseverance that goes into capturing such a celebrated honor!


                                                                                                                              Club #28 at TLI

From the years 1999 to 2005, Orlando Club #28 won six consecutive President Distinguished awards. After 2005, Club #28 had to overcome some tough challenges. The club would return to the top of the Toastmasters world during the 2008-2009 TM term. With this award in 2017- 2018, the club has now set a record of TEN consecutive years as a President Distinguished Club! Throughout all of this time, the aim of Club #28 has been to produce quality meetings and the creation of a super-supportive environment for its members, giving them the best chance to succeed with the Toastmasters program.


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                         Daphne Hart DTM receiving the “Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster Award” from Ken Walley DTM and Chi Simons DTM

Club #28 became one of the few Clubs in Florida to achieve all ten DCP goals!

Between July 2017 and the end of June 2018, earning Competent Communicator Awards were: Detra Flood CC, Renee Ellis CC, Walk Jones DTM and Linda Klein CC.  Another Club #28 member who also earned his CC during this time was Lily Phuong-Tang CC!

Earning Advanced Communication awards were: Susan Storma ACB and Daphne Hart ACS.  

Earning their Leadership Awards were Renee Ellis with a CL and Detra Flood also earning her CL and an ALB! Chi Simons DTM became a DTM this year! Not quite finished yet…

Daphne Hart DTM also earned her DTM! OK, this might count for next year, but still… Congratulations Daphne!

Other awards were the “Triple Crown Award” by Detra Flood, Daphne Hart and Chi Simons. The “League of Volunteers” Award was earned by Chi Simons DTM. Another standout,  Marie Loeffler DTM was a District Pathways Rollout Guide and the winner of the Prestigious “Toastmasters Award of Excellence”. Congratulations!

The club also had all its officers trained at the Toastmasters Learning Institute winning the “7 for 7” Award for both training sessions… and now for an amazing six years in a row!!

Club #28 won both the “Smedley Award” and the “Talk Up Toastmasters!” membership awards. Club #28 added an impressive 20 (as of this writing) new members since July of 2017 including our newest members Owen Bryan, Kel Germain and Lauren Crane (first new member of July 2018!)… and we are still growing!


Still it took a good deal of effort by Club #28 Presidents Detra Flood CC, ALB (July -December 2017) and Renee Ellis CC, CL (January –June 2018) to achieve this award. Both Presidents were constantly going far beyond the call of duty to ensure that our meetings lived up to the lofty expectations for Club #28.

They had to deal with finding alternate meeting places as well as seeing to the needs of each and every one of our members even while living up to enormous expectations.  They succeeded and surpassed the highest of Toastmaster’s standards. For Detra Flood CC, ALB, her role as President must have looked daunting. Not only was she becoming the president of the oldest club east of the Rockies, she had only been a Toastmaster for little over a year. She handled a serious treasury crisis with deft leadership and competence. She kept club growth a priority and turned our club towards its next President’s Distinguished Award.

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                                                                                                                                    Detra Flood

Renee Ellis CC, CL was at the helm while we had some of our most impressive meetings, leading the club into the Pathways era. It cannot be understated the importance of these two leaders in keeping alive the vaulted legacy of Club #28. Not to mention the Club’s 16th President’s Distinguished Award.


       Club #28 President Renee Ellis (Far left) and fellow officers Installed by Division C  Director Edwin Mercado-Rivera on June 28, 2018

The administrations of both Detra and Renee are certainly a part of this perpetual “Golden Age” in Club #28’s long and storied history, they now join a growing list of Distinguished Award-winning Club #28 Presidents: (+)

Ralph Cowell ATMB* and Dorothy Day Otis DTM (1999-2000)

Helen Joseph DTM and Kenneth H. Walley DTM (2000-2001)

Michael Joseph DTM* and Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL (2001-2002)

Deborah Ryan ATMG, CL and Diana Walley ATMG, CL (2002-2003)

Adam Scoggins CC, CL (2003-2004)

Dr. Ross Thomson ATMB, CL and Edward A. Carmona ATMB, CL (2004-2005)

Dennis Gola ACG, CL* and Barbara Cusack ACS, CL (2008-2009)

Edward Dimayuga CC, CL and Deepti Dhiman – Sharma CC, CL (2009-2010)

Wilner Luders CC, CL and Steve Wood CC (2010-2011)

Ryan Dick CC and Malita Clarke CC (2011-2012)

Malita Clarke CC and Walk Jones DTM (2012-2013)

Mike Heidmann CL and Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (2013-2014)

Eddy Cezalien CC, CL and Marie Loeffler DTM (2014-2015)

Marie Loeffler DTM and Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (2015-2016)

Chi Simons ACS, ALB and Jack Wharton ACB, ALB (2016-2017)

Detra Flood CC, ALB and Renee Ellis CC, CL (2017-2018)

(+ Last known Awards achieved *deceased)


The news just keeps getting better for The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28! The new officers for the club were selected in May. Renee Ellis CC will be serving a second term as club president, back by popular demand. Her new officer staff is a wonderful mix of new officers and seasoned pros: Vice President of Education Marie Loeffler DTM, Vice President of Membership Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Treasurer David Hundeby and Vice President of Public Relations Daniel Gutierrez all have proven successful leadership skills. Secretary Kate Murray and Sgt. at Arms Tina Wieczorek are two of the brightest leadership stars in Club #28’s horizon. This is a fantastic mix of capable and experienced officers and a “new generation” of Club #28 leadership!


With the new Pathways program now in full swing, every one of our members is working hard on achieving new goals. It would be hard to imagine a club in a better situation to succeed for a 17th President’s Distinguished Award. Pathway guide and Club #28 VPE Marie Leoffler DTM has a plan to use all our experience and all of Toastmasters International’s resources to reach that goal. More importantly President Renee Ellis CC, CL, the rest of the officers and every member in the club pledge to support each other to attain our personal goals at Toastmasters. It is the Ultimate win-win situation! Let’s go get our “Super Seventeenth President’s Distinguished Award!”


Happy Toastmastering!

Kenneth H. Walley DTM


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