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If you were looking for fun, then you were in the right place at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 3, 2018 “Fun Things to do in the Spring” theme meeting. Speaking of Spring, Susan Storma ACB, ALB acting as our Sgt. at Arms and leading us in the invocation and Pledge; opened the meeting with a quote about Spring from 17th century puritan poet Anne Bradstreet: “If we had no Winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”  Leading our meeting with a Springtime-like sunny disposition was Lily Phuong-Tang. She explained that the weather was so beautiful that it was very hard to come inside, and she loved how everyone seemed to be in such a good mood. Lily also explained that Springtime was not always the” best of times”, for example she noted that the Spring is not a good time to have babies as “babies born in the Springtime have a higher chance of suffering from depression when they grow up.” But Lily loves this season as a happy time for “Plants and projects”.  Table Topics Master Bob Steg ACB also came with some wonderful trivia about Spring. He told us many “factoids” about the Vernal Equinox, the Spring holidays and festivals, Spring weddings, seasonal food and drink and allergy prevention… among other things. He also had some wonderful questions. For Ken Blake DTM he asked what his favorite holiday was. Ken said that he loved the Jewish Passover festival and kosher food. “With kosher food, everything is watched from seed to plate. The [food preparation] standards are the highest they can possibly be.”  Detra Flood CC, ALB was asked when and why she got married. She said that she got married in January, twelve years ago and that her husband simply “swept me off my feet!”  Diana Walley ATMG, CL was asked what her favorite “Spring activity” is. Diana said that she liked to “sleep with her giant teddy bear.” She added that the bear is so “plush and fluffy.” Jacob Soto (asked where he likes to go in the Spring) told about going to Thornton Park in Orlando and enjoying a chili cook-off. “I love chili! You can sample a whole lot of different chilies at a cook-off.” Jose Vela commented on Spring Break. Surprisingly he echoed Diana saying that he likes to “unwind and sleep” but that he has “napped in Cancun during Spring Break.” Susan Storma ACB, ALB ventured a “spring recipe” which featured spare ribs with homemade sauce and hand- churned Ice Cream. Walk Jones DTM gave us allergy advice, speaking from (painful) experience, that left him with an inability to donate blood without passing out. We had three speeches from three excellent speakers. Our first speech was by Renee Ellis CC, ALB who told the story (“It All started in a Garage”) of how a family business started with her uncle Don Ellis baking bread and sweet-rolls in his garage and ended up as a national bakery with ties to the Swanson and Archway companies and a major plant in Fort Wayne Indiana. This “rags to riches” story was told with first- hand knowledge as “the entire family chipped in to make the company a success.” It was impressive, showing that anything is possible with dedication and hard work. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was next with “Don’t Be a Shoe-box Client”. She told about how any business can be a more efficient and competitive business by hiring a bookkeeper rather than keeping receipts in a shoe-box and other dubious  and haphazard financial accounting practices. She explained that hiring a bookkeeper as opposed to a CPA can save big bucks over time and that bookkeepers duties are varied and often just what smaller businesses needs to stay organized and save time. Explained Kara, “Bookkeepers keep ledger accounts, balance check books, do payroll and prepare and submit employee tax payments. “It is important to have a second pair of eyes on cash flow. Bookkeepers catch mistakes and end up saving you more money.” Helpful advice from Kara! The last speaker giving her HPL (High Performance Leadership) results speech titled “Sharing the Vision” was Marie Loeffler DTM. Marie who is the current “Train the Trainer” Chair for District 84 spoke about how there was no set standards for her job other than the advice of “Go to the TI website and pull down the information from there.” Her duties involved preparing speakers to give presentations on office positions at major events such as conventions and the Toastmasters Learning Institute. To solve this dilemma and leave her successor with a solid foundation, Marie has created an on-line version of the Train the Trainer duties, along with pulling together all the information needed, organized and in one easy-to-find place. She has also produced a guide to a more hands-on mentoring of those are coming into the position. Marie is working on her 2nd DTM! The General Evaluator empowered with growing the seeds of wisdom for our speakers was Diana Walley ACG, CL she oversaw three great DTM “word gardeners”; Ken Walley DTM (for Renee), Ken Blake DTM (for Kara) and Walk Jones DTM (for Marie). All grew many flowers of knowledge. The March Madness Express (MME) also contributed with some brilliant reports thanks to Grammarian Joey Jacobshagen, Ah Counter Linda Klein CC, Vote Counter Tina Weiczorek, Timer and Video Mamma Detra Flood ACB, ALB. We did not have any guests for this meeting but here is a list of those who attended: Renee Ellis CC, ALB; Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Ken Walley DTM, Ken Blake DTM, Walk Jones DTM, Jacob Soto, Joey Jacobshagen, Linda Klein CC, Detra Flood ACB, ALB; Tina Weiczorek, Jose Vela, Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Marie Leoffler DTM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Bob Steg ACB, Lily Phuong-Tang, Vincent Son and David Hundeby. If Spring is the “season of love” then there was sure a lot to love about this meeting!

The rumors had been in the air for over a month that Club #28 was about to produce two contests that would be special, maybe even eclipse the legendary contests of Club #28’s past. March 1, 2018 arrived with a wave of anticipation. Well before contest time, the local Toastmasters elite started lining up at the Herndon Branch Library. Extra seating was hastily produced to shoehorn in the overflow crowds streaming in from all over the Central Florida area.


The excited murmuring and squeals of expectation were called to order by the Contest Sgt. at Arms Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara introduced Diana Walley ATMG, CL who first joined Club #28 in 1993 to deliver our Invocation and Pledge. Diana choose to pay honor to those who teach by quoting Henry Adams “A teacher effects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.” Contest organizer and Club #28 Vice President of Education Susan Storms ACB, ALB welcomed Toastmasters and guests and introduced our Contest Master. Club #28 also discovered a new talent in first time Contest Master David Hundeby. David created an excitement that enhanced the excellence of this brilliant evening. Although a new Contest Master, David handled his duties as if they were second nature, blending professionalism and entertainment while still letting the speakers have the spotlight. It was worth coming to the contest just to watch David. David called upon Chief Judge Ken Walley DTM to certify the qualifications of the contestants and then we were ready for the first contest; the International Speech Contest. LET THE CONTESTS BEGIN! The first speaker was Linda Klein CC with a speech titled “Make a Habit / Break a Habit”. This exceptionally well-crafted speech, told how as a child Linda picked up a bad habit of swearing that she found that she had carried into adulthood. One day, she prayed to God to help her lose this horrendous habit. Soon after Linda decided to take a vacation. Because it was a short trip, Linda left her cat named Benjamin, food and a clean litter box. She also left her realtor business to an associate named David. When she returned home she called David to find out if any of her clients had needed help and walked into the house to find that Benjamin had destroyed the house and ruined her prized living room rug by “pooping everywhere!” Linda burst into a tirade of anger and swear words. Then she discovered that she had accidentally closed the door to room with the litter box in it when she had left! She pleaded with the cat “Oh I am so sorry for yelling at you Benjamin!” It was then that Linda realized that David was still on the phone and had heard every word! Worst of all, David did not know that “Benjamin” was a cat! God had answered Linda’s prayer about swearing. Her reputation was now in tatters. But she never swore again! The Second speaker was Chi Simons DTM titled “Gold Digger”. Chi told the story of how in Vietnam she and her father possessed a fortune in gold hidden within the walls of her house to keep thieves from stealing it and harming the family. When it was time to retrieve the treasure, Chi convinced her father to help him. Although a young girl, Chi had challenged herself to face the danger. Had they been found they most certainly would have been killed for the gold. Clandestinely, they chose to do this during the day, timing the hammering at the walls to a butcher slaughtering chickens near-by to mask the noise. Covered in dust, striking through concrete, they soon saw the bright yellow of the gold bars. It was their ticket to freedom. Chi encouraged us all to “become gold diggers! Believe in yourself, define yourself and open the possibilities of your life.” The last speech by Bob Steg ACB was a moving powerful speech titled “The Color Doesn’t Matter” about overcoming racism and winning acceptance. Bob started out the speech remembering the recent Olympic games and the first Black Woman US speed skater named Maame Biney. She was born in Ghana and moved to Virginia where she was raised by her father.  Completely beloved by her father, a man who encouraged her every step of the way, he found that she had a real speed- skating talent.  it became apparent that to reach her Olympic dream, Maamie would have to leave him and live with a white family in Kerns, Utah where the US team was training. Maamie was treated like a part of their family. Her father said, “The color doesn’t matter.” Bob told another story of a black man named Wilmot Collins, the only black man in Helena, Montana. When he moved there he was greeted by someone spray- painting on his house a racial slur. The entire community came together to support him, eventually electing him mayor of the town! Bob remembered hearing fellow classmates making fun of Jews in his elementary school. He was Jewish, and he wondered if he should ever tell anyone of his beliefs. This influenced his life until he decided that he was not going to hide who he was anymore. “Hate begets hate” said Bob, “Color does not matter but It is how you treat others that matter.” Thus, ended the International Speech Contest. Soon the Table Topics Contest was set to start. This contest featured four speakers Joe Mangasale, Lily Phuong-Tang, Bethany Johnson and Daniel Gutierrez. All of them answered the same question: “What advice would you appreciate hearing from a happy and successful 80-year-old?”  We got four very different answers. Joe asked a question of his own “if you did not know how old you were and could not find out; how would that change your life?’ He said he had meet people in their 80’s that act much more youthful than they were. “How do you do that?” was what he wanted to ask them. Lily also knows “older people” and said that she often asks advice of them. One bit of advice she got was “If you lose money, you just lose money. If you lose time, you lose a part of your life.” Bethany Said that she would ask the 80- year-old about taking risks. She spoke about a recent trip she took that that ended up being one “of the best things I have ever done.” Said Bethany “Take risks, the more you move out of your comfort zone; the better off you are.” The last speaker Daniel, said he had a friend that was 76-year-old. “Does 76 count? He thought I was going to steal his car! When he realized I was just admiring it, we became friends. One day he told me to ‘just be yourself’ and ‘be creative.’” As the judges attempted to come up with winners for our contests as not everyone can come in 1st place; David and Susan paid tribute to the functionaries who made the contest possible: Timers Scott Maloney ACB, ALB and Kate Murray; Vote Counter Renee Ellis CC, CL and Tina Weiczorek, Sgt. at Arms Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Chief Judge Ken Walley DTM and… of course Contest Chair Susan Storma ACB, ALB and Contest Master David Hundeby themselves. Our Area 33 Director Mona Cherkaoui ACG, ALB was on hand to help hand out the trophies. In the Table Topics Contest coming in second place was Bethany Johnson and keeping it a family affair, her father… Joe Mangasale took the first place prize! In the International Speech Content Chi Simons DTM took 2nd place and… Drumroll please… Bob Steg ACB won 1st Place!


In this 85th year of Club #28 these contests will go down in history as two of the best held. They will be remembered fondly for at least another 85 years.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 22, 2018 “Moments of Truth” semi-annual meeting turned what many consider to be a “business meeting” into what was an exciting and entertaining evening! It began with the invocation by Diana Walley ATMG, CL about the true heroes of our time: teachers. Diana said that “Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions.” This meeting also featured a joyous occasion, the formal induction of 5 new members by Vice President of Membership David Hundeby. Those inducted into the club were (l. to r. in photo with David) Kate Murray, Jose Vela, Kevin Conway, Brandt Reyes and Tina Weiczorek. Congratulations to all.


Even though Club #28 was having a Moments of Truth meeting, space on the agenda was left open to have one speech, a very special speech… Kate Murray’s Ice Breaker. The intriguing title of her speech was “Moments are the Things That Matter.” Kate told us of poignant moments that she said had a powerful effect upon her life. The first was when she had to rely upon a total stranger, in a foreign country, late at night to watch all of her possessions in a desolate train station. When she came back, her worldly goods were intact. Kate had learned a valuable lesson about trust. She was able to do the same for the stranger. Another personal story, was her reflections on the time after her father had suffered a devastating brain injury. Coming to grips with the reality that her life would change drastically, she realized that “It was the truth of a profound moment.” Said Kate, “The truth changes. Or I should say that time changes the truth. Those life-transformations, those momentous times in our life are the ones that give us the insight as to who we really are.” After Kate’s Ice breaker Toastmaster Renee Ellis CC, CL led the club in the Moments of Truth segment of the meeting. Asking for the feedback from our members the Club rated highly in almost every section of the MOT worksheet: First Impressions, Membership Orientation, Fellowship, Variety, Communication, Program Planning, Organization, Membership Strength and Achievement Recognition. Every area received grades of “4” or “5” (out of 5) from our members. Issues that were discussed were getting more people involved in the meetings (inclusion in Table Topics), raising money for the club treasury, the upcoming Club #28 contests and having an open house (or if that is even necessary). The bottom line: this was a wonderful feedback session for a very successful club! Ken Walley DTM served as the General Evaluator as well as giving Kate’s evaluation. He had many wonderful things to say about both Kate… and the Club. We also heard from our only guest Martin Cook who was happy that he attended even though this was a different meeting than our usual meetings. Those who attended were Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Detra Flood CC, ALB; Renee Ellis CC, CL, Diana Walley ATM, CL; Lily Phuong-Tang, Linda Klein CC, Daniel Gutierrez, Tina Wieczorek, David Hundeby, Kate Murray, Jose Vela, Brandt Reyes, Kevin Conway, Martin Cook (guest), Chi Simons DTM, Ken Walley DTM and Ken Blake DTM. Incredibly, the meeting ended five minutes early which is a first for a MOT meeting!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 moved to the Southeast Library to host a special February 15, 2018 Speech marathon meeting. To start the meeting Tina Wieczorek quote Greek tragedian Sophocles: “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is Love.” Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC, CL served as our Toastmaster and she immediately introduced our first speaker, the first of THREE Ice Breaker speeches! Bethany Johnson’s introductory speech titled “My New Beginning” told how she met her husband Bobby, which in turn told us a lot about herself. Bethany started by admitting that that she had “never felt like she was ‘enough’; always having to change to please others.” She got a job working in a gym, as her life had always had an athletic focus, even playing woman basketball. She seems stunned that a “really good- looking man” took interest her. Her explanation of their first (sometimes awkward) date showed her that maybe with Bobby, she could just “be herself”.  After that first date she started to see butterflies everywhere she went. “I just knew this was a sign from my grandmother that he was the ‘right one’. I felt that even more when he didn’t run away after I told him that!” They have been married 8 years now and he is “the love of my life!” The next Ice Breaker speech came from Bethany’s father Joe Mangascle with a speech titled “The Defining Moment of My Life.” Joe grew up in New York with the cold, frigid winters and a tough, blue collar father. Father and son were able to find common ground through their love of sports. Joe’s dad lived vicariously through his son’s exploits that eventually earned him a basketball scholarship at Georgia Southern University. Fast forward a few years and it was Joe’s turn to sit in the stands and cheer his own children as they played High School sports. Then one night, before the start of a game, his daughter’s basketball coach came up to talk with Joe in the stands! “This can’t be good” he thought. As it was, his daughter had unknowingly to Joe “volunteered” him to do the loud-speaker announcement of that evening’s game! Joe became hooked! He found out he had a talent for calling sports events and soon became the “Voice of the Boone Braves!” He admitted though that his “defining moment” of his life was the joy of announcing his daughter Bethany at the start of each of her games.  The third Ice Breaker speech was by Jose Vela which he called “The Mystery of Me”.  Jose admitted that he often wondered himself “Who am I”?  Though years of self-definition he began to narrow some of the things down. “At 37, I know I am a musician, a Christian and a salesman.” He spoke about his love of music inspired by the TV show “California Dream” and his father’s gift to him of a guitar. He spoke about finding a God who “you can come back to, even though you have gone wrong at times.” Lastly, he found out that he had his father’s gift of salesmanship and is now a Realtor trying to open his own office. “But are these things who I really am?” Jose’s advice now is that when you hear the question “’Who am I’ …Don’t answer it!” Said Jose, “life is too short to put limits on yourself, just enjoy the ride!” Our next speaker was Renee Ellis CC, CL herself with a project from the Advanced Storytelling Manual titled “Dare to Dream”.    Renee told a personal story that started with her watching a National Geographic TV special about deep sea diving among the Turtles, Dolphins and brightly colored fish in the ocean. Although growing up in land-locked Indiana… she felt compelled to go SCUBA diving! In a few years she would get the chance when she moved to Florida. While talking to friend she was made to believe that she could really do this! Once she started SCUBA classes her “Yes I can!” attitude became “What have I gotten myself into?” She completed the classes and then was trying out the equipment in a pool. Her final test was to go into a dark, murky lake and find her place on a slimy, slippery platform at the bottom where her instructor checked her time and diving abilities. She passed the test! Now with her SCUBA license, she found herself in full gear looking down into the ocean from the back of a boat, just like in the National Geographic special. The last speaker was Susan Storma ACB, ALB with a speech titled “Saving Money” that used humor and common sense to show us a path towards a more fulfilling future.  Some of the excellent advice Susan gave us was “Treat your savings account like your electric bill”, “every time you get a raise put 50% of it in savings” and “use the ‘free money’ the bank gives you, 3% or 5% from each deposit level and re-invest it.”  She told how a janitor saved over $35,200 a year and then invested wisely in stocks and earned a million dollars in less than 20 years! Great advice! We had 5 brilliant evaluators under the tutelage General Evaluator Lily Phuong-Tang.  Giving wonderful instruction were Bob Steg ACB (for Bethany), Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Joe), Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Jose), Ken Walley DTM (for Renee) and Ken Blake DTM (for Susan).  The Marathon Event Staff (MES) also helped to make this meeting even more special thanks to Timer Chi Simons DTM, Photo Measurement Coordinator Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter David Hundeby. Not everyone was able to speak tonight and stand and take a speaking “victory lap.” Here is a list of those who attended our marathon (* denotes guests): Deflin Murillo*, Toyin Adefala*, Omar Otero*, Christine Clark*, Cristine Rivers*, Lashanda Saunders*, Ken Blake DTM, Tina Wieczorek, Linda Klein CC, Kevin Conway, David Hundeby, Daniel Gutierrez, Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Jose Vela, Bethany Johnson, Joe Mangascle, Renee Ellis CC, CL; Lily Phuong- Tang, Bob Steg ACB, Chi Simons DTM, Kara Newcombe ACG, ALB; Diana Walley ATMG, CL and Ken Walley DTM. What a fantastic turnout for a different meeting place! Even better is that Kevin Conway joined our club! Welcome Kevin! Even though this was a speech marathon meeting, I wish it could have gone on forever.

Touchdown! Grand Slam! Gooooaaaalllll! Whatever sports metaphor you want to use the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 February 8, 2018 “Sports” theme meeting was a hit! Leading off the meeting was Ken Walley DTM who had three sports quotes “Winners never quit and quitters never win” by Vince Lombardi; “You can’t put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get.” By Michael Phelps and “Sports is the toy department of life.” By Howard Cosell. Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC, CL lit the torch to start our meeting by introducing first time Toastmaster David Hundeby. David came ready to play with a lot of impressive research about the wide world of sports. He noted that sports can be decisive also unifying at the same time. “While we chose favorites between the Patriots and the Eagles; millions of us came together to watch the Super Bowl.” David also gave us some of the history of sports including the tidbit that wrestling as a sport was recorded in cave drawings. Later, he declared that Curling is “not a sport” said David, “it’s just sweeping.” Winning the gold medal for Table Topics was Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB who set the bar pretty high with some tough questions. Kara admitted that she was not a sports fan but did watch the Super Bowl last Sunday. She asked if Chi Simons DTM had watched it as well. Chi told about how watching sports had consumed her family when she was young. “We would stay up until 3:00 in the morning cheering our team, until the neighbors complained.” Now she prefers to actually take part in sports. Ken Blake DTM was asked to tell us about a sporting event that impacted his life. He first mentioned Karate, a brief focus until he got injured. Now he watches women’s Martial Arts & Boxing from the MMA and UFC, recording the fights on his TV. His wife has yet to understand his fascination with the sport. Daniel Gutierrez spoke about a sports hero that had inspired him. He chose Andres Galarraga, 19 years MLB veteran, who hit 399 home runs, batted .288 and had 1,425 RBIs. He also told about how he tried to go to “baseball school” in baseball-crazy Venezuela when he was 10 years old only to be told that he was “too old”! Said Daniel, “You have to start by the age of four to get in!” Our guest Jose Vela was asked what sports he played as a kid. He lamented that because of his size, he rarely got picked for a team, but he dreamed of being a “hall of fame softball player.” Instead, he ended up a musician. Another guest Rodeline Santana, spoke about an early sport memory that she had. She told how she was a cheerleader starting at the age of nine. “Cheerleading is harder than you might think, and it really is a sport!” Said Rosalyn. The next event was our prepared speeches which featured an Ice Breaker speech by Maureen Premo titled “Small Town Girl at Heart.” Her speech told about growing up in Allegany, New York in the shadow of “the enchanted mountains.”  She told of the bitter cold and how she was expected to ignore it. “My gym class worked out no matter what it was like out there.” Her class even taught cross-country skiing! Another story involved her dad fending off a bear to protect a birdfeeder! After Allegany she moved to Washington DC where it was a culture shock living in a city of over 6 million people! There she learned Ice Hockey and survived the “Snowmageddon” storm of 2010. After living in Austin Texas, she came to Orlando and Club #28! Our second speaker Lily Phuong-Tang gave her 9th speech titled “Who Is He?”. She told about how her life was “missing a direction”. Lily said that she felt like she was “swimming in the ocean without knowing where the shore was.” A friend of hers took her to church where she started to understand that “God was personal.” When she first put her trust in God, he rewarded her with finding a perfect but “desperately needed house.” Her journey discovering “who is he?” has led her to become a youth leader and finding a richer meaning for her life. Our last speaker Diana Walley ATMG, CL was doing a project from the Public Relations Advanced manual titled “Why Cats are Better than Dogs.”  First, she gave many reasons for her support of cats over dogs including “Cats smell better than dogs”, “Cats are rodent repellents”, “Cats are quieter”. “Cats purr and dogs do not”, “No body ever sang ‘Soft dog, Pretty dog, Little ball of furr’…”, “Cats make funnier videos for the internet”, “Cats take care of their own ‘business’” and many other reasons. Diana then took on questions from the audience. This whole presentation was fun… and funny! Our team of evaluators scored perfect 10s for their advice to our speakers. Coach and General Evaluator Linda Klein CC cheered on evaluators Marie Loeffler DTM (for Maureen), Chi Simons DTM (for Lily) and Joey Jacobshagen (for Diana). Turning in their reports were the Olympic Toastmaster Testing Committee (OTTC) of Grammarian Joe Mangascle, Timer Tina Wieczorek; Verbal Games Documenter Daniel Gutierrez, AH Counter Susan Storma ACB, ALB and Vote Counter Bethany Johnson. Our guests Jose Vela, Brant Reyes, Ramon Reyes, Vicuna Parks, Rodeline Santana and Felisha Geneus were all cheering fans of the meeting. Three of our guests joined: Jose Vela, Ramon and Brant Reyes! We are setting a record for new members in February. If Toastmasters meetings were an Olympic event… You might say this meeting would have won the gold!

As Justin Beiber or was it George Orwell; once said: “I know a lot of famous People.” The February 1, 2014 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Central Florida Dead or Alive / Famous People” themed meeting featured name dropping at an amazing rate. Starting with Toastmaster Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB quoting Norman Vincent Peale: “Change your thoughts and you change the world.” Tonight’s Toastmaster Ken Walley DTM did not have time to randomly bring up Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt, Plato or Drake; but he did tell a story involving Ronald Reagan, about an accidental brush with fame. Tonight Club #28 presented the long awaited “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show” brought back by popular demand and hosted by Diana Walley ATMG, CL! The last CFDOAS featured Mother Teresa, Hugh Hefner, Walt Disney and Lady Gaga being interviewed by our club members. This time was every bit as star-studded, starting with Leonardo da Vinci being played by Bob Steg ACB and interviewed by David Hundeby. David asked many excellent questions of the Renaissance master but his questioning about “The Mona Lisa” uncovered that “Mona had lost her dog” during the painting of her portrait! Next was the “Maureen Premo Talk Show” which had her questioning the late movie icon Marylin Monroe as played by Chi Simons DTM. Chi told us the “real story” behind the dress and subway grate photo and that Marylin “only sang slowly to President Kennedy so that I could remember the words.” Bill Gates was impersonated by one of our guests Adam Isenberg and quizzed by Tina Wieczorek. Tina and Adam truly gave us an informative, if very funny interview with the financial genus. When asked about giving half of his money to charity; “Bill” responded “Yes, half… all 33% of it!” We had two prepared speeches tonight which included a first speech tilted “My Ice Breaker Speech” by Rene Jacob Soto. Jacob gave a brilliant speech about growing up in rural Florida and the frustration of having to “find something to ignite my imagination and give meaning to my life.” While a student at UCF he discovered “the world of arts and crafts” and cosplay, or costume design. Through these mediums, he has been inspired to travel abroad and see how far his talents can take him. Our next speaker Susan Storma ACB, ALB presented “Choosing a Cruise for Your Vacation”. In this speech she gave us many different options for a cruise vacation. From sunbathing in the Caribbean to watching glaciers fall on a cruise to Alaska. Susan also noted the differences in ages and cultures as well as “tailored” trips such as gambling cruises, hip hop cruises, comedy cruises, nudist cruises and cruises on wooden ships. Joked Susan, “Cruises lasting more than 7 days, expect to be with a lot of older people. They are the only ones who have the money and time. They are also some of the wilder cruises!” By the end of her speech, we were ready to go! These speakers had some Club #28 celebrity evaluators to guide them led by General Evaluator Renee Ellis CC, CL. Departing wisdom tonight was Bob Steg ACB (for Jacob) and Kara Newcomb (for Susan). The Don Rickles Memorial Functionary Festival (DRMFF) added some more knowledge to the proceedings thanks to Howard Cosell inspired Grammarian Mike Adams, Timer Daniel Gutierrez, The Steven Spielberg Award for Cameraman of the Year Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter Linda Klein CC and Vote Counter Tina Wieczorek. But wait! We had enough time to do ONE MORE celebrity interview. Called up to the lectern were Daphne Hart ACS, ALB as Oprah Winfrey being interview by Joe Mangascle! He questioned her on her success. “I don’t fly chartered” said “Oprah” “I fly on my own jet but I wouldn’t mind flying with others.”  Joe pressed “Oprah” on running for president in 2020! “I think I might be able to do better than the ‘other guy’” she said. This interview was priceless. Our guests Adam Isenberg, Vilmarie Figueroa, Janairis Figueroa, Kevin Conway and Ramon Reyes all were united in praise for this meeting. We also learned that Kate Murray became our newest member! Welcome Kate! Other famous people who would agree that this was our best meeting ever (if they had been here) were Ludwig Beethoven, Pele, Angelina Jolie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Bob Dylan, Usain Bolt, Steve Jobs and Justin Timberlake. Heck, this meeting made Club #28 famous!

A rare Wednesday edition of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting was held on January 24, 2018 with the theme of “Memories”. This meeting created some wonderful memories of its own! Who could forget Daniel Gutierrez’s stirring invocation of Robert Teague’s quote: “If you don’t take responsibility for your own actions, you will never be given responsibility over others. It’s called Leadership!” Lily Phuong-Tang’s first time as Toastmaster was also a memorable experience. Lily talked about how places evoked different memories. Lily told us of how when she was younger she set off to California simply because she was told it was “the best place to be”. Even though she arrived with little money and no plans, she was taken in by a couple, complete strangers who treated her like she was their daughter! Lily shared many other memories and quotes throughout the evening. “Memories” said Lily, “are not the key to the past as they are more the key to the future.”  When we recall this meeting fondly, another gem that will shine is David Hundeby’s first time as the Table Topics Master. David was ready with some questions that brought out unforgettable answers from our members and guests. Ken Walley DTM was asked about how “Smell effects the memory.” Ken remembered his Grandmother Julia A. Rainie who died in 1965 at 91 years old. “She always loved the smell of lavender and now, even after all of these years; whenever I smell lavender, my first thought is of her.” The second question, for Tina Wieczorek was about the effect of music. Tina said that certain music brought back her childhood. “My mom loved Elvis Presley. I grew up listening to Elvis. I even like Elvis now.” Alphaeus Flood could not come up with “an earliest memory” but did speak about his “most important memories” of falling in love with his wife and when his children were born. New member Randy Cadely was asked to speak about how places re-kindled forgotten thoughts. He remembered his grandfather’s house in New York. Whenever he thought about that place it gave him the comfort of the wonderful times that he spent there. Detra Flood CC, ALB when asked about a toy from childhood that bring back joy and happiness, told us instead that she had an extreme terror of dolls. “I had a phobia! I thought that my dolls were plotting to eat me soon as I fell asleep! I believed that cabbage-patch dolls are ALIVE! I had to throw them away!”  We were offered three speeches this night, each one with something we will treasure and carry with us for a long time. The first was by Vincent Duong who’s speech title was “K-pop” about a trendy music scene becoming fashionable on the internationally.  “K-pop is Korean pop music,” explained Vincent, “the reason for its recent craze is three things: dance, fashion and completely fanatical fans.” Vincent explained in the world of K-pop, most songs have their own dance, that the musicians go to fantastic lengths to out-do each other with makeup and clothing and the fans give them an undying, all-embracing, unequivocal love. It was a fascinating look into another cultural world. Our second speaker Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke about a completely different subject: “Mindfulness”, a Buddhist-based meditation practice. Diana explained how finding time to reflect upon the present will bring peace by pushing away the brooding of the past and the fear of the future. She also gave us quotes on mindfulness from Buddha, The Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, Audrey Hepburn and others. Diana reflected a light of enlightenment on us. Our third speaker was Linda Klein CC with her 10th speech “Making Your Bed!” earning her Competent Communicator Award. Using the analogy, and the literal meaning of “making your own bed”, Linda inspired us to take control of our lives by overcoming procrastination and setting high standards. “What starts here changes the world!” Linda said about making your bed in the morning and creating a “template for success”.  “Each action you take effects your mood, the room itself has an effect on your mood. Making a bed is one of the simplest forms of happiness! When you make your bed, it is a statement of accomplishment. When you come home, a small source of pride.” These speeches all received the valuable lessons and guidance of General Evaluator Renee Ellis CC, CL and her evaluation team.  Helping her to mentor these excellent orators were two DTMs and a soon-to-be DTM: Chi Simons DTM (for Vincent), Marie Loeffler DTM (for Diana) and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (for Linda). The functionary group “The Forget Me Nots” (TFGMN) also added reflective magic… thanks to Grammarian Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Timer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Video Scrapbook Keeper Daniel Gurierrez, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Maureen Premo. Our guests Jose Bayla and Mohammed, Both had uplifting words of encouragement for the club! This truly was a night to remember.

The weather outside might have been frightful but the January 18, 2018 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “extemporaneous weather” theme meeting turned out to be delightful. Originally planned to be a speech marathon, we ended up with two open speaker slots and thus giving us a chance to have a table topics session. The meeting started with an inspirational message from Michael Adams who quoted James Cash (JC) Penny: “I am grateful for all my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.” Renee Ellis CC, CL was our Toastmaster and had to pick a theme from out of thin air. She chose the theme of “weather” and spent the meeting coming up with interesting facts about the weather and personal stories that she had to share. For example, we learned the coldest recorded temperature on earth was -89.2 Celsius (-128.5 F) at Vostok, Antarctica on July (?!) 21, 1983. We learned that worms wiggle up from the ground as a storm approaches and that mild Autumn weather creates bigger spiders. Renee was also our Table Topics Master and had to come up with the questions off the top of her head as well; thus, the meeting theme of “extemporaneous weather”. Renee’s first question was perfect for the weather we have had lately in Orlando: “What is the coldest you have ever been?” Detra Flood CC, ALB responded that that she had some bone-chilling days in New York and remembered having the family move to a motel room to get warm. On the way to the motel, the family car slid on ice and almost fell off a cliff! Our newest member, Tina Wieczorek spoke about her favorite season of the year. She said good things about each season, but spring was the time she liked most as it signified “renewal”. One of our returning guests Bethany Johnson was asked about what she wears in the winter to stay warm. She replied that this was her best time of the year for clothes. “I can wear all kinds of different things and still stay cool.”  Walk Jones DTM was asked about his worst “car story”. He admitted that the car he now drives, a Toyota Prius never breaks down unlike another car he owned. That car had to have the water pump replaced every 30,00 miles! Latisha Simpson was asked if she could get away from the cold snap we were having, where would she go? She said that she “loves cold weather” and would go to Alaska… just to be colder! That is if she had the clothes for it. Maureen Premo when asked what her favorite winter sport was, answered “hockey” to which she admitted being a big Tampa Bay Lightening fan. She also mentioned that “I would never play it because I am terrified of the puck!” Even though we had some speaker openings we still had three fabulous speeches! The first speech by Alphaeus Flood, titled “My Addiction” threw us completely off track when Alphaeus told us of how he struggled with alcohol while serving in Afghanistan. While deep in depression he was ordered to “find a pet to cheer him up.” Then he was again ordered, this time by his wife… to make that pet “a fish.”  Soon Alphaeus found himself addicted to “salt water fish!” He told us about the joys and benefits (and expense) of having a salt water fish aquarium. “It brought me an inner peace and a new meaning to my life.” The second speaker was Bob Steg ACB with a speech title taken from his book: “How Do I Know If I’m Fat?”  Bob explained some simple ways to lose weight and keep it off using two guidelines: “’The Big 3’ (Workability, Accountability and Consistency) and ‘The Big 5’ (Wise choices, Portion control, Water, Eat often and Exercise).” His common-sense, healthy and easy to accomplish steps towards weight control had guest and members clamoring for his book at the end of the meeting. The last speaker, Marie Loeffler DTM returned with an encore presentation of “Pathways: The New Super Enhanced Toastmasters Program!” Marie explained about the exciting new Toastmasters educational program coming to our club in May! She explained that while our meetings would remain the same, TM modules would be more flexible, member-tailored and applicable to the “real-world.” Marie pointed out that the Pathways program would contain “better assessments, online availability and the blending of the communication and leadership paths. There will be over 300 skill competencies to choose from!” All of us at #28 enthusiastically await the arrival of Pathways! Our speakers eagerly awaited their evaluations from a review team head by first time Master Evaluator Lily Phuong-Tang. She featured two of Club #28’s most celebrated evaluators Derta Flood CC, ALB (for Alphaeus) and Chi Simons DTM (for Bob). There was no evaluator for Marie’s informational speech. Another group bring warmth and sunshine to the frozen Florida tundra were the Word Weathermen Underground (WWU) of brilliant functionaries Grammarian Walk Jones DTM, Timer Ken Walley DTM, Meteorvideologist Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter Latisha Simpson. There was no AH Counter tonight. Our guests were as ecstatic about the meeting like they had seen rain after a long drought. Thanks to the super-kind comments from guests Vincent Duong, Ellone Ellick, Evan Smith, Jacob Soto, Bethany Johnson, Joe Mangascle and returning past Club #28 member, Jamie Waters ACB, ALB. Tonight we added FOUR new members to the club: Vincent, Jacob, Bethany and Joe! Welcome All! No matter what the weather was outside of the library… This meeting made for one beautiful day!

Hear ye! Hear ye! Club: The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Date: January 11, 2018. Theme: Free Speech. Sgt. at Arms Daniel Gutierrez called the meeting to order. Invocation and Pledge was led by Linda Klein. Linda quoted Norman Vincent Peale: “Shoot for the moon and if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” The Toastmaster was Alphaeus Flood. Alphaeus posed the question: “Is Free speech dead in America?” He invited members to give their opinions on this and other topics about free speech during the meeting. Question raised during the meeting were “Does freedom of speech give you the right to say anything you want without repercussion?”; “When is free speech considered ‘hate speech’?” We also discussed Staffan De Mistura’s quote “Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom of offending culture, religion or tradition” and another quote from Voltaire; “I do not agree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The Table Topics Master was Ken Walley DTM, he asked 7 questions of our members and guests. 1. “Should America put certain limits on Freedom of Speech?” Answered by Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Susan said, “No. When you start making limits it becomes a slippery slope.” She also mentioned that “what we have lost in the past few years is a respect and courtesy for other people’s opinions.” “Should false ‘conspiracy theories’ such as the ‘birther movement’ be allowed in the mainstream press being upheld as the truth?” Latisha Simpson emphatically said “no!” She said that they should build trust with the public instead of rating and that the press should be held accountable. Given the choice of Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion, The Right to Bear Arms and the Right to a speedy trail and jury of your peers; new member Tina Wieczorek was asked which one would she “give up” for America if forced to. She chose “press” but thought these rights were all essential to a free society. “Should America have an ‘official language’?” was the next question asked our guest Kevin Conway. Kevin was very opposed to that proposition saying that “to force people to speak in a certain language, takes away their ‘voices’. It keeps people from becoming a part of the process.” “How doe we make American Great?’ was asked of returning past Club #28 president Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara spoke about working together to find common ground and make progress “for all’.  She spoke about the deep divisions in this country and how a focus should be on how we can bridge the gaps rather than find “reasons for alienation.” Noting the recent #MeToo movement, Ken asked guest Michele Gross for here opinion of the resistance towards sexual harassment and abuse of women in the workplace. Michele supported the idea of ending the harassment and abuse, say it was “extremely important” but warned that we “must be carful with the accusations.” The last question asked of Diana Walley ATMG, CL was “Do you feel that you have the freedom to speak out in America, without government repercussions?” Diana believed that she did. She said that she once changed the laws in her state and that it was possible for the “average citizen” to make a real difference. There were three speeches all of them from the Basic Manuel and one of them an Ice Breaker Speech. Michael Adams 1st speech was simply titled “My Ice Breaker”. Michael told about the things that had brought him “through tough times in his life.” He admitted that he had struggled with self-confidence and anxiety, his reason for joining Toastmasters. One of the things that helped him overcome theses issues was being a server at a popular restaurant. “My fellow workers supporting me and forcing myself to “speak with random people all day” has made a big difference moving him out of his comfort zone. Other things that helped included taking a real interest in his classes at UCF. “All through my life I was content with ‘C’s and just getting by. For some reason, a light went on and I started making straight ‘A’s! I surprised myself at what was possible!” He spoke about how he was moved by music as a force that pushed him to have “faith in myself”. Not only did we learn a lot about Michael but we too, were inspired! The second speaker Joey Jacobshagan gave a more subject driven speech, from the “research a topic” project titled “Standardized Testing in America.” Joey gave the pro and cons of standardized testing and concluding that it was not very good for either the student (“who learned more about taking a test than about any subject”) or the teacher (“who were being held to produce test results rather than actually teaching.”) Joey brought out many excellent examples of school systems without uniform testing that have far surpassed USA standards, such as Finland and England. He also paid tribute to a school board supervisor, Rick Roach who had inspired him to write his speech. Our third speaker Lily Phuong-Tang closing in on her CC award with her 7th speech titled “The Project”. Spoke of encouraging youth to become leaders in their community. She also talked about a community project to help young adults 18-25 years old; to create a stable and enriching lifestyle that gives back to the community. The focus of this project was to get young people involved in productive jobs, education and create a stable support group in the community. She had a ‘call for action’ to the audience to give a donation to help her get this organization off the ground. The Evaluation section of the meeting was led by General Evaluator Bob Steg ACB. Bob was ability assisted by evaluations from Renee Ellis CC, CL (for Michael), Linda Klein (for Joey) and Detra Flood CC, ALB (for Lily). Besides excellent evaluations, brilliant support came from the brave functionaries who called themselves the “Free Speech Brigade” (FSB) which was made up of Grammarian Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Ah Counter Susan Storma ACB, ALB; Timer & Free Speech Documenter Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter Latisha Simpson. Our guests used their free speech to unanimously praise our meeting. Our guests were Michele Gross, Tamala Ellingwood, Parechay Mathode, Keven Conway, Bethany Johnson, Joe Mangascle and Kobina Amoo! Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 did justice to Free Speech tonight!

The January 4, 2018 Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 “New Beginnings” meeting got the club off to a tremendous start for the new year. Daniel Gutierrez called the meeting to order for the first serving as Sgt. at Arms. Ken Walley DTM led us in an invocation and the Pledge to the Flag. Ken quoted an apropos quote from famed singer Taylor Swift: “This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.” Change was evident when new Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC, CL opened the meeting for her first time as the organization’s leader. Renee proclaimed our new motto for the next six months: “Be Diligent! Be Prepared! Be Invested!” Ken Walley DTM Returned to the lectern as our first meeting toastmaster for 2018. Ken pained a very positive and upbeat prognostication for the new year: “I see another President’s Distinguished Award, an amazing group of talented officers, tons of Individual leadership and communication goals being reached and a growing membership. The future of this club is brighter than it has ever been and that is saying a lot for a club celebrating it’s 85th year!” Ken recited number of quotes about “new beginnings” and “fresh starts” from C. Joy Bell, Mary Pickford, Oprah Winfrey, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelly, Albert Camus and Carly Simon, among others. One proverb Ken quoted was “Every end is a new beginning” And from David Weinbaum; “The secret to a rich life is to have more beginnings than endings.” Table Topics Master Alphaeus Flood kicked off a fresh 365 days with some thought-provoking questions. Starting with Detra Flood CC, ALB, he asked what her new year’s resolution was. Detra said after eating “a whole of” food over the holidays, she was thinking of maybe losing some weight. Her main resolution however was to “get to know herself better.” She said that being the past Club #28 president had opened her eyes to what was possible for her to achieve. Latisha Simpson was asked if there was anything she was willing to “risk in 2018 to improve herself?” Latisha said that it was “her comfort zone” by moving to Atlanta in February. She admitted that living in Orlando, where she has been since she was five, had been a “wonderful experience.” Latisha admitted “I love Orlando! But Atlanta is in my future.” Joey Jacobshagen was asked the last time that he had tried something new.  Joey told us about a trip to Colorado where he saw snow for the first time. “It was also the first time I saw water freeze right in front of me.” He spilled water on a table and it froze instantaneously. Michael Adams answered the question “Tell us about something that you learned about yourself recently.” Michael said that he found out… by going to Toastmasters… that he hates speaking in public and that he wants to get over that! “I never really thought about it, but now I get nervous driving over here.” Michael said that he ready to take up the challenge to improve. Daniel Gutierrez was questioned if there was something that he “can’t let go of?”  He admitted that he has a truck and a trailer that goes with it, that is 8 years old and that he does not use very much. “Everyone says I should sell it but I just cannot bring myself to do it.” The last question for returning Club #28 Member Maureen Premo, was “what goals are you setting for yourself in the new year?’ Maureen said that she was setting “intentions instead of goals.” She said that she was committed to doing acts of “kindness and grace” without expecting anything in return. “If one day I pay for the coffee of the man behind me in line at Starbucks; I suppose that am making the world a better place.” We had two speakers who made the world a better place with their speeches, starting with Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Daphne, on her quest to reach her DTM delivered her High-Performance Leadership (HPL) planning committee speech titled “Past, Present, Future”. Daphne told the story of the non-profit Daughter of Valor project that she helps found to provide disadvantaged at-risk girls with social skills and educational opportunities they might not be able to receive anywhere else. Daphne noted that the brothers of those girls in the program often wanted to take part as well. So she proposed a new mission: the Acorn Project, which is more inclusive for both boys and girls. Daphne even explained how Toastmasters has played an important part in the success of this new program which has included the use of the Toastmasters Youth Leadership program to teach interpersonal communication skills! Even while the Acorn program is still somewhat new, it has already shown to be making a difference in the community. Our second speaker, who also has been compiling an impressive speaking resume was Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Susan gave an “after dinner” speech from the Entertaining Speaker Advanced manual titled “My Public Speaking Journey”. Susan traced her often challenging history with public speaking from the time when she was just a small, shy child, through college and up to the present with Toastmasters. Throughout her speech Susan returned to the theme that you never know when you might be called upon to speak publicly, recalling a time when she expected only to be having a conversation with her boss that turned out to be a full presentation in front of a “whole room full of CEOs.” As for Toastmasters she was thankful that she was finally getting feedback on her speaking as well as becoming comfortable with shaking hands with others. Even through there was no actual dinner served, we were served a feast! The evaluation team was led by first time General Evaluator Lily Phong-Tang who made her task look easy. She was given excellent support from seasoned evaluators Renee Ellis CC, CL (for Daphne) and Bob Steg (for Susan). The big apple was not ready to drop just yet as the Happy New Reporters (HNR) spread joy & cheer thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Latisha Simpson, Photo Cork Popper Daniel Gutierrez, AH Counter Diana Walley ATMG, CL and Vote Counter Detra Flood CC, ALB. Besides Maureen returning to the club after an extended absence, it was also good to see #28 legend Marie Leoffler DTM at this meeting as well.  Also starting out this new year in an awe-inspiring way was Vice President of Membership David Hundeby who inducted four more members into the club: Maureen Premo, Eric Howard, Michael Adams and Bob Steg!


Maureen Premo, Eric Howard, Michael Adams and Bob Steg are inducted by VPM David Hundeby.

All three of our guests Tina Wieczorek, Ray Rwong and Randy Cadely were jubilant and ecstatic over this evening’s event, much like a New Years crowd at midnight.  Tina even announced that she had joined our club after the meeting! 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1… HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2018: The best year ever for Club #28!