Past meetings 2018

THIS PAGE CONTAINS 2018. FOR OTHER TIMES CLICK ON A LINK.

Past meetings 1996-2006

Past meetings 2006-2011

Past meetings 2012-2014

Past meetings 2015-2016

Past meetings 2017

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 17, 2018 “Happy Birthday” theme meeting was a wonderful “SURPRISE!” Susan Storma ACB, ALB Started the meeting off with a very appropriate invocation for our theme quoting Abraham Lincoln: “In the end it is not the years in your life that count, it is the life in your years.” The room was festively decorated with streamers and balloons. Cupcakes graced every table placement and a large cake was in front of the lectern. The occasion? It’s Ken’s Birthday! Ken Blake DTM admitted that he chose the theme because it was his birthday and that “this meeting is going to be all about me!” Ken told us that his Zodiac sign is Taurus, “not ‘tourist!’” He noted that Taurus are independent and that he enjoys overcoming obstacles. Ken noted that “I have never worked for anyone else in my life.” He mentioned that he was born on the same day as Simon Fuller, Derek Hough and Sugar Ray Leonard; admitting that he is a little bit like all of them in some ways. He also said that 2018 in China is the “year of the dog”  and that he has a Chihuahua that is 17 years old which according to Ken, “would be 339 in dog years!” [Editor’s note: Actually it’s only 119 dog years.] Ken B. also told us historical May 17th events as well as his family’s genetic makeup. Ken’s joyfulness turned our meeting into a real birthday party! Another gift to Club #28 was first time Table Topics Master Linda Klein CC who brought us presents in the form of questions. The first question for Susan Storma ACB, ALB was “How do you plan for a surprise birthday party?” Even though she admitted that her husband once found out in advance when she tried to surprise him, Susan still had excellent advice. “Have it at your house, so you have more control” Another idea was to plan early. “Have the cooking, decorations, balloons and party hats ready to go. Most of all… keep it a secret!” Next Linda asked Ken Walley DTM what he would like to do for his 100th birthday. First Ken jokingly wished Ken B. a “happy hundredth!” Then Ken W. spoke about doing the things he loved to do “like jet-skiing and rock climbing!” More seriously, he mused about being surrounded by friends and family, “or whoever happens to be at the nursing home.” Most of all, he would like to spend the day “cherishing the wonderful memories of the past 100 years.” Question number three found it’s way to Marie Loeffler DTM: “What would you write on top of a cake?”  She said ironically, “Don’t eat this cake!” She explained that cake is really-bad for you. Marie also commented on Susan’s question. Marie remembered a 40th surprise Birthday celebration for her husband. “It went off without a hitch” she said but she had to contact his friends and family living out of state and have them secretly flown in! Due to a full slate of speakers Linda had only one more question for, who else, but Ken Blake DTM! The question was “What theme park would you like to visit on your birthday?” Ken said he has never been to Universal but a fellow Toastmaster plans to take him there soon. He admitted that he would love to go to Disney World, because he has only been there once, and he has very fond memories of that visit. David Hunbedy giving only his Third speech titled “Running Though It”, used just about every lessons from the basic manual to create the marathon runner’s experience. David told us how he first became interested in long-distance running at a Tae Kwon Do Tournament weigh-in. When David saw his number come up on the scale, he exclaimed “What? There must be some mistake!” Running seemed to be the answer. At first, he was just determined to lose weight but soon it became an obsession. Using the Jeff Galloway method of marathon training, David was able to build up his endurance to the point where he could run 10 miles without rest! David also described the horrible feeling of “hitting the wall.”  We also learned about setting a schedule, working core exercises into a training routine, self-discipline and even the proper equipment. This could not have been a more perfect introduction to the sport, craft and art of running. Diana Walley ATMG, CL, gave her first speech from her new Pathways Project, her Ice Breaker speech titled “The Child Bride”. Unlike many Ice Breakers, Diana focused only on a small section of her life. She told about a man manipulating her into getting married at 15 years old. “I wanted to get away from my sadistic step-father, but my emancipation came at a very high price.” This speech had everything for a made-for-TV movie: a villain, an angry mother, a gun in the car, a frantic police search and a midnight elopement. “You think that life is going to be better because of all of the promises,” she said. The boyfriend turned out to be an abusive and controlling thug. The marriage short-lived. “I left him for good and got an apartment of my own.” Diana warned about the dangers of marrying young and the emotional scars it can carry into later life.” This was a powerful and moving personal speech! Our last speaker Walk Jones DTM has been taking on a Public Speaking Improvisation project while trying to perfect his skills at extemporaneous delivery. His speech today titled “Adlibbing Topics” featured inventive ways to create speeches based on experience, adaptation and location.  Starting with a verbal bike ride through New York City at night, taking us to a famous comedy nightclub where he was lucky enough to watch comedian Amy Schumer prepare her opening monologue for an upcoming Saturday Night Live show. He commented on the way that “she practiced her craft, always going where her audience lead her.” Walk has learned from this project about staying in one time-frame and using relevant characters, “you never want to paint yourself in a corner where you have to create ‘time-machines’ or ‘fairy tale magic’.” He had many other wonderful ideas for inventive speech as well. The Evaluation section of the meeting was presented by Ken Walley DTM as the General Evaluator who unwrapped and excellent session featuring evaluators Walk Jones DTM (for David), Ken Walley DTM (doing double duty for his wife Diana) and Susan Storma ACB, ALB (for Walk). The “Parturition Party Perfecters” (PPP) team included Grammarian & Party Paparazzi Renee Ellis CC, CL; AH & Vote Counter Marie Leoffler DTM and Timer Tina Weizcorez; all were brilliant. The icing on the cake however was the number of guests that we had at our party, oops, I mean meeting. Ivan Possamac, Veronica Bautista, Kathryn Ross, Kel Germain and Owen Brian all expressed very positive things about the evening. This meeting was as if we had made a wish, blew out all of the candles on the cake… and our wish came true!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 10, 2018 “What are your future plans/goals?” theme meeting was well planned with the goal of being the best meeting ever! As a tribute to the upcoming Mother’s Day, Tina Weiczorek started the meeting with a quote from Abraham Lincoln, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Ken Walley DTM seeing there was a quorum present, took the opportunity to confirm our incoming officers for the upcoming 2018 July-December term. President Daphne Hart ACS, ALB; VPE Marie Loeffler DTM; VPM: Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Treasurer David Hundeby, Secretary Kate Murray and SAA Tina Weiczorek were confirmed unanimously as our new officers. Our Toastmaster was Lily Phuong-Tang. Lily spoke about how the best of plans do not turn out like expected. She spoke about how the success of a plan does not always depend on the amount of care and thought that goes into it but that to have a plan or goal is much better than not having any at all. Lily also spoke about how her plans as a parent have come to fruition seeing her children achieve their goals and make plans for their lives. Said Lily, “It is a good thing to be always making plans, trying to reach goals, trying to challenge and improve yourself.” Table Topics Master Kate Murray had some excellent quotes and questions for our Club #28 members! She quoted the famous actor Jeff Goldblum as once saying “No pay. No Goldblum”. She asked Linda Klein CC if she had ever worked for free. Linda said that “work” was hard to define and that she got immeasurable meaning and joy for volunteering by helping the homeless and lending a hand to friends now and then. “Soccer star Lionel Massi” quoted Kate, “once said ‘I would rather be remembered as a decent guy than being the best player in the world.’”  David Hundeby commented on this with the astute observation that “it is the love that you get back from being a loving and giving person that makes things worthwhile.” He said “Ask yourself… what do you want to be? Answer it with your heart.” Kate next said the quote: “Confidence is not: ‘They will like me.’ Confidence is: ‘I’ll be fine if they don’t.’” She then asked Tina Weiczorek if she had ever had a situation where she adapted to a tough situation. Tina told about how she was the nanny for a family for years but did not get along with the mother. “The kids loved me but my relationship with the mom was tough. I just did the best that I could.” Kate also quoted another nanny, Mary Poppins: “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.”  Susan Storma ACB, ALB said that she agreed and that at work she often plays “mind games, having fun in my head by seeing the silliness around me.” She admitted that this often leads to her” going home and giggling.” Ken Walley DTM was asked if he ever accomplished something that he did not think he could do. Ken said earning his Distinguished Toastmasters Award was one thing. “It took me 15 years to do it, but I did everything that was asked of me. Surprising yourself with your own abilities is the most delightful thing about learning.” Chi Simons DTM was asked about doubting herself. “If you have something overwhelming” said Chi “Break it down into pieces, take one bite at a time. Planning is the highest standard for success.” Our last question was for our returning guest Owen Brian. He was asked what he would write in a children’s book about “When all else fails I ask myself, ‘What do I know?’ My book would be about trusting yourself. Seek advice, but work it out on your own.” Our first speaker, Jose Vela giving only his third address before Club #28 titled “Build Your House”, produced what many considered to be very close to a “perfect speech”. Jose told the tale of a home builder who had established through decades of hard work and perfectionism a reputation for professional excellence. But he grew tired towards the end of his career and when asked to build “one last house” he was uncharacteristically sloppy, cutting corners and rushing the job just to get to his retirement. It was not the same high quality expected of him. Later… the builder was surprised to find that his boss had planned to give him that very house as a gift for his many years of hard work!  Jose told some personal stories of how he had “settled” for less than he was capable of doing. “I built my own house of misery!” It was only when Jose found his “dream job” that he found real joy, although it took commitment and sacrifice to attain it. “It is important that you love what you do. To build your house right.” Said Jose. We might see this speech in a future International Speech contest. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was the next speaker, giving a reading from the “Interpretive Reading” Manual. Kara choose a story based upon the book “True Height” written by David Naster. Kara brought to life the amazing narrative of Michael Stone, a pole vaulter attempting a national record of 17’6” after just breaking his own personal best. Feeling overwhelmed by reaching for a goal far beyond anything he has ever done; Michael remembered lessons and encouragement from his family that inspired him to go on and succeed. Only at the very end of this inspirational tale did we find out that Michael was blind! Kara’s reading of this story was riveting! Susan Storma ACB, ALB in her quest for achieving her Advanced Communication Silver, presented a presentation from TI’s “The Better Speaker Series” titled “Creating an Introduction”. Susan gave us many ideas on how to produce speech introductions that are creative and interesting. She also used numerous examples of real life introductions. Using her usual professionalism, Susan brought life to this Powerpoint educational series. “The introduction is often overlooked but it can bring an exciting and new dynamic to your speech” said Susan. Her useful advice had many Club #28 Toastmasters take note. David Hundeby had been planning in the future to be a General Evaluator and today he made those dreams come true! It was not however without the help of an impressive team of speaker-educators. Linda Klein CC (for Jose), Chi Simons DTM (for Kara) and Ken Blake DTM all stepped in to help David with excellent advice! It must be noted that David got the meeting time caught up from a giant deficit. The Future Goals Accomplishment Planners (FGAP) was a team of purpose-driven enthusiasts made up of Grammarian Diana Walley ATMG, CL, Timer Daniel Gutierrez, Idea Trapper Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter David Hundeby and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM, they inspired! Our guests Owen Brian, Kel Germain and David Turpin all gave glowing reviews of the meeting. All three pledged to return and said they were very interested in becoming part of our Toastmasters family.  With the meeting theme of “What are your future plans?” it’s clear that the future plans of Club #28 is to remain the best club in the universe.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 3, 2018 “Mental Health Control” meeting tackled a highly important and meaningful subject. Ken Walley DTM started the meeting with a quote from Shinji Moon “You are beautiful because you let yourself feel, and that is a brave thing indeed.” Joey Jacobshagen led the discussion as our Toastmaster bringing up many of the things we can do to maintain a “mentally healthy outlook on life” including ideas on lowering stress, reducing gun violence, improving treatment facilities, increasing mental health program funding and expanding staff education. He also used the mental health benefits of European and Asian countries as a model, noting that in many countries including France and Spain: “the more a country has paid vacation time per population, the less violent crimes are committed.” He urged us to vote for those running for office who would improve our own mental health system here in America.  Our Table Topics Master Diana Walley ATMG, CL also brought out some useful responses on the subject with her questions. She started with “What can be done to reduce stress-related problems in the workplace?”  David Hundeby admitted that he often wished he could “lose his phone” to get away from constant calls at work. He suggested “to find a way to get out in the sunshine. Go take a run, or even a short bike ride.” He noted it was “often simple as just having a non-work-related conversation with someone.” Diana asked her husband Ken Walley DTM “How important is taking time off from work, or having a vacation, to you?” Ken admitted that he has gone over two years without a vacation and that he plans to take one at the end of this month. He told about his plans to visit Daytona Beach for a few days and do nothing. “That’s what vacations used to be about… I see some parties at Disney World who burn out on their own vacations!” Ken Blake DTM was asked about the benefits of an exercise routine. Ken said that he had wished that he had followed an exercise routine because now that he is older, a litany of physical problems has tormented him. “The worst of all is my bad back. Now it is almost impossible for me to exercise.”  Diana next asked our guest Steven Ramos “What can you do to improve your own mental health?” Steve suggested “Do interesting stuff. Stay busy with things you like to do but also take some time off just for yourself. Take a vacation.” Linda Klein CC was asked about how local government can come to grips with a prescription drug epidemic. Linda suggested working with the addicts, getting the families involved and overcoming addiction denial. “Then support groups and professional care. The experts are having a hard time themselves coming up with what needs to be done.” The last question for Renee Ellis CC, CL was “What is the happiest memory that you have?” She remembered growing up in a big house and “sliding down the 17 steps in the front porch.” She also remembered the horses and big field that she played in as a child with friends and family. In keeping with our theme, our first speaker Kate Murray expanded on the psychological subject of her last speech “learned helplessness”. This speech titled “Doing the Work”, was based on the work of Byron Katie, who’s teaching focuses on how to recognize and examine beliefs that cause hurt and self-loathing. By asking four questions: 1. “Is it true?” 2. “Can you absolutely know it is true?”  3. “How do you react when you believe that thought?” and 4. “Who would you be without the thought?” the process leads to finding “turnarounds” through understanding and embracing reality without fear. Kate’s speech was not only enlightening but practical in facing life with a new-found confidence. Our second speaker was Vincent Son with a speech titled “Bob and Chaffer”.  Introducing two characters “Bob the albino bear” and “Chaffer the red panda” Vincent took us on a 7- minute steam-of consciousness journey worthy of James Joyce on LSD. Holding two small toys, each representing Bob or Chaffer; he acted out their conversations and inter-relations as they dealt with mistaken identity, eccentric personality flaws, fear, abandonment, miscommunication, sleeping arrangements and general confusion. It was an interesting story reminiscent of the theater of the absurd. Our third speaker Lily Phuong-Tang CC earned her Competent Communicator with a speech titled “My Story”. Lily inspired us with a glimpse of her past while living in the Philippines and her traveling to America. She explained about the social and economic differences of living in a country where the things we take to granted simply do not exist and how communities come together to make life better for everyone. She remembered fishing with nets for food, eating fresh vegetables grown by a river and never thinking about being unjustly deprived. Her travels during her life were a way of learning, growing and seeing change but never forgetting. Said Lily: “If God led you there, then his grace will cover you.” This weighty, eloquent and profound speech was a perfect crown for Lily’s CC award!  Our three speakers were blessed with the sagacity and perception of three Distinguished Toastmasters led by future DTM Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Toastmasters Ken Blake DTM (for Kate), Chi Simons DTM (for Vincent) and Marie Loeffler DTM (for Lily) all lived up to their highly esteemed reputations with brilliant advice and direction. Also giving astute counseling were the Clinical Speech Therapists (CST) of Grammarian Linda Klein CC, Timer Tina Weiczorek, Visual Recording Specialist David Hundeby, AH Counter Daniel Gutierrez and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Towards the end of the meeting Lily was given a standing ovation for earning her CC award! Congratulations Lily! Our guests Owen Brian and Steven Ramos gave glowing tributes to our meeting, each of them asking how they could join our club! Club #28 should be commended for taking on such a crucial subject as mental health; a subject that is becoming more and more important as we learn more about it… and ourselves. Like all of Club #28’s meetings, the power of improvement lies in the ability to learn.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 26, 2018 “Dreams” theme meeting was a Toastmaster’s dream come true! Speaking of dreams, Joey Jacobshagen quoted dream-maker Walt Disney to start the meeting: “All of our dreams can come true but only if we have the courage to pursue them.”  Toastmaster Ken Walley DTM told us what many of our dreams are interpreted to mean, according to the “Uncle John’s Fast-Acting, Long-Lasting Bathroom Reader”. “If you’re naked in a dream,” said Ken, “you feel unprepared for an upcoming event, perhaps even ashamed or vulnerable.” Another dream interpretation Ken noted was “if you are flying in a dream it might mean that you have just conquered a stressful situation. Ken covered what it meant if you were falling, dying, meeting a dead relative, having your teeth fall out, being chased and urinating. On the last one, Ken mentioned, “That means you might have to go. Or… have already.”  Renee Ellis CC, CL served as our Table Topics Master. Renee said that sometimes dreams are about dealing with stress. She asked Joe Mangascle “when was the last time that you tried something new?” Joe told us that just recently he had been helping his daughter train a dog and ended up being part of a dog training video. To his surprise it has become very popular on the internet! Lily Phuong-Tang was asked what gets her excited about life every-day.  She said that she takes time to herself at the start of each day. “Sometimes I pray, sometimes I cry, sometimes I meditate but I realize that every morning is a new day! Somethings I do often, but they never get old. I do things that feel new. Even if I do them regularly. Toastmasters still feels new to me.” Chi Simons DTM was asked what the last dream was that she remembered. Chi said her dream were often “weird”. She said she had a system for falling asleep by deep breathing. Although she hardly ever remembers her dreams, she knows she dreams about the things she is learning such as baking or driving somewhere new. Joey Jacobshagen was asked what his “dream job” was. Joey want to someday start a business that sell musical instruments and features keyboards. “I would have to learn about all the business things people do, like hiring, training, ordering, shipping cash handling, keeping the books… I hope that would not take away from the music part of the business.” Daniel Gutierrez was also asked what his “dream job” would be. He chose being a “network engineer”. Daniel explained that his field would be “data flow into a cloud environment” and that he was in the process of getting his certification now. Returning Club #28 member Christopher Fama ACS, ALB spoke about what he would do if “money was no object”. He spoke about being reimbursed for his $9000 tax bill and then traveling a lot more. Where? “To New Zealand, Japan, China and Australia! I would like to immerse myself in their cultures.” Ken Walley DTM was asked “what do you dream about?” Ken said his dream were so realistic at times he cannot tell if he is awake or asleep. He had a dream about swimming to Barbados. “I was covered in oil, had a camera crew filming me from a boat and I realized, “Why am I doing this? I’m not even a very good swimmer!” In Renee’s last question, Ken Blake DTM said that some of his speech ideas and titles come from his dreams! He even had a dream in which he invents a “heatless stove that cooks like a frying pan.” Ken is going to try to make that invention come true someday! Our speeches were the presentations that Vice Presidents of Education dream of when they write the agenda. Our first speaker Linda Klein CC gave a puppet performance for young children titled “A Chair for my Mother” based on the children’s book “A Chair for my Mother” by Vera B. Williams.  Asked to make believe that we were children, Linda’s adult Toastmasters audience was thoroughly entertained by the story of puppet “Lilly” and her grandmother buying a chair for her mother after the family house had burned down. Linda brought the puppet Lilly to life while acting out a meaningful story.This was fun and inspiring… even to the adults! Speaking next was Susan Storma ACB, ALB with another advanced speech titled “Packing for My Vacation in Alaska”. Susan is a world traveler who has visited countries all around the globe and throughout America. She gave us expert advice on how to pack for a trip including some “non-standard items” for her trip to Alaska. This included Ace bandages, winter clothes (Alaska’s Summer weather is our Winter!), ponchos, a monocular (a binocular with one of the lenses missing), hiking sticks & boots, insect repellent (“the state bird of Alaska is the mosquito”) and her “travel moose” that has become a part of her travels all over the globe. We learned a lot and we are ready to go! The last speaker Marie Loeffler DTM returned with ALL of her hand-bells to give a performance that also served as her Pathways Ice Breaker titled “You Thought You Knew Me”.  Using music to highlight her thoughts, Marie wanted to introduce us to the “inner me.” We learned that Marie is a secret iconoclast, a non-conformist and a rebel. “I am a ‘creative’. Yes, I am using ‘creative’ as a noun. I am a person who sees things differently and helps you to see things differently.” Her goal in life she said was “to help other to see their own unique purpose.” She ended her speech with a breathtaking hand bell performance of the song “Every time I feel the Spirt I Play.” This was an innovative and brilliant Pathways ice breaker as well as a wonderful performance! Our General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM did double duty as Marie’s evaluator along with Christopher Fama ACS, ALB giving Susan’s review and Chi Simons DTM assessing Linda’s speech. The “Technical Dream Team” (TDT) of first time Grammarian Daniel Gutierrez, first time AH Counter Joe Mangascle, Timer David Hundeby and Vote Counter Lily Phuong-Tang all did wonderful work. No one could have dreamed that this meeting would be one of the best we have ever had at Club #28. Sound the alarm for Club #28! We are awoken to the fact that each week we bring our very best!

The trail leading to the future started at the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 19, 2018 “Pathways” theme meeting held in the Southeast Library. Pointing us in the right direction was Danial Gutierrez with a quote from Brian Tracy to start the meeting: “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only feel comfortable if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”  Toastmaster Renee Ellis CC, CL drove in us in a straight line down the avenue of success as our leader for this special meeting. Renee spoke about the excitement and curiosity that has been growing as the roll-out date for the new Toastmasters International Pathways Program nears on May 15. Renee explained that “Today we have our District 84 Pathways guide here to give us a complete overview of Pathways and answer any questions we might have. This meeting is to assure a smooth track into the new program here at Club #28.” A segue-way to fun was provided by Diana Walley ATMG, CL serving as our Table Topics Master. She started her questions with the word “Once…” For example her first question was “Once on a highway…” Susan Storma ACB, ALB met a leprechaun! The magically-enhanced green clothed person of small stature was kidnapped by plane then taken to the side of this road in North Carolina. Susan did not receive a pot o’ gold for offering to return him home. He simply disappeared. “Once my car stalled…” Ken Blake DTM said that he accidentally wired the gas gauge wrong in a friend’s Mustang. She ran out of gas. Said Ken, “She had to wait from 5 to 9 in the evening for AAA to arrive. I felt so bad. I could have fixed it in a few minutes had they only called me. They had it towed to me! I fixed it right away.” “Once on a whim I…” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB decided to go to Poinciana, Florida. I had no plans that day so, off I went. When I got there… there was nothing there! I said, ‘Hi Poinciana!’ and ‘Bye Poinciana!’ and then I thought ‘Hey, let’s go to Mount Dora!” “Once I heard an explosion…”  Ken Walley DTM described how he blew up a bowl of chili in his Microwave oven, leaving a substantial mess. “Once when I was pulled over…” Daniel Gutierrez described being pulled over by a police officer and being asked to take a sobriety test even though he had not been drinking. He even “walked the walk” for us! Thankfully, he was let go. “Once I neglected…” David Hundeby told how he put a pot of soup on the stove and then forgot about it, ending up mowing the lawn! When he finished mowing the lawn, he remembered the soup! He ran into the kitchen only to find… that everything was OK. His daughter had taken it off the burner. “Once while I was leaning over…” Renee Ellis CC, CL was gardening when she felt a “little twinge in my back.” Within minutes she was in extreme pain. “I had to take an agonizing crawl back to the house!” Her back spasm eventually subsided, and she was able to function again. “Once a spider…” Kate Murray told how it was not an “Isty-bitsy spider” but a “Biggie-wiggie spider, the size of the palm of my hand!” that terrorized her. “She described it as a “Florida hell-beast!” Following the road-map of our agenda, Renee introduced our featured speaker Marie Loeffler DTM to explain the Pathways program. Marie told what we could do today to prepare, even before the ushering in of the program next month. She also gave us a visual power-point route through the Five Learning Disciplines, the 10 learning paths and the Five learning levels. She also covered the “Transition Distinguished Club Program” and the fusing of the Communications course into the Leadership track. As we neared the end of  this “busy information Street” Marie also answered our many questions. These covered numerous lanes of thought pointing us towards a united passageway towards what should be an amazing program implantation. Also traveling this corridor of adventure was the “Orbit of Change Toastmasternauts” (OOCT) piloted by Grammarian and AH Counter Ken Walley DTM, Timer Kate Murray and Vote Counter Susan Storma ACB, ALB. This meeting was a definite conduit from the Toastmasters past to the new Toastmasters vision… with more choices, a better chance at the realization of our goals and the attainment of personal triumph! Buckle up and start your engines… Pathways is here!

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 April 12, 2018 “Vacation” theme meeting was the perfect get-a-way adventure for a Thursday night! Joey Jacobshagen started the meeting with a quote from Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do. The truly successful people are the ones who make you feel you can be successful too.”  Linda Klein CC was our “meeting tour guide” as Toastmaster. “Vacations are 50% anticipation and 50% participation” she said. She told us some remarkable vacation stories including a trip to Mackinac Island, Michigan in Lake Huron where a “Coke bottle accident” had her watching 7 children in a local hospital. Another story, this time in Mexico had her family running down the street trying to escape a shopkeeper determined to make a sale! Visiting Toastmaster Brenna Droege ACB served as our Table Topics Master while discovering some travel tales from our members and guest. Brenna described a cruise she once took as a “floating spa” and asked Chi Simons DTM if she had a cherished holiday memory. Chi told us of a trip she took once where she had to go through some rough territory to reach a scenic river. When she got there, she realized it was worth the struggle. Her vacation advice? “Have fun, keep going and you will find beautiful things.” Next, Renee Ellis CC, CL was asked if she had ever encountered a “vacation mishap”. Renee told about a trip as a young girl from “Ft. Wayne, Indiana through Kentucky to Pikes Peak, Utah” where her father forced her to endure “flat and boring scenery” and visit “old homes with very dreary tour guides who wouldn’t let you sit on the furniture.”  The only fun she had was seeing if her brother could hold his breath until the “next Stuckeys restaurant came in sight.” Our guest, Princess Ortiz was given the chance to describe her “dream vacation”. She described an excursion she recently took that involved a 5 day cruise to Mexico that featured a wedding on the beach. Joey Jacobshagen also described his dream vacation as a trip to New York where he could visit museums, watch people and eat the best pizza in the world. He also mentioned wanting to go to Nassau (“pronounced ‘Na-SAW, not Na-SAH’”) and Yellowstone National park. “A recent vacation” query was answered by Susan Storma ACB, ALB. She told of a visit to Creighton, Georgia where she went to do some shopping. In a small shop, she found a beautiful hand-cut glass decorative dish. It was too heavy to carry so she moved on. The dish kept haunting her thoughts. She gave in saying “If it’s still there, it’s fate!”  Needless to say, it was, and she bought it. She was delighted to find that her husband was happy lug it around until they returned to their room. Another “dream vacation” request by Brenna was made for David Hundeby. David told of an amazing trip to Norway. He noted that his family had an “insatiable desire to seek out new and unusual places.” We had three speakers all with very different and very interesting topics. Our first speaker Bethany Johnson giving only her third presentation titled “Own Your Story” spoke courageously about having to confront the social injustices of surviving an eating disorder. Her powerful avowal that “Shame cannot survive being spoken” was a premise that no story told cannot be rectified by its example of triumph, be it a victory over bulimia (in this case) or the social sigma of the recovery process itself. As Bethany reiterated that “there [can be] no judgement, only empathy.” This is one of the most significant and meaningful affirmations ever delivered to our… or any other, Toastmasters club. Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB spoke about the upcoming officer selection (in May) for our club to find the leadership team that will take us through the July-December 2018 Toastmasters term. In her speech titled “Club Officer Roles” Kara described the different club officer duties of the President, Vice President of Education, Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Public Relations, Treasurer, Secretary and Sergeant of Arms. Kara also spoke highly of the benefits of serving. “Being a club officer has been the most valuable thing I have done in Toastmasters.” Said Kara. The next speaker, Scott Maloney ACB, ALB volunteered moments before the meeting started to be the third speaker and somehow was able to produce an excellent speech titled “The Journey” that was not only in sync with our theme but also featured a complete power-point presentation! Scott spoke of a trip he recently took to Corpus Christi, Texas to visit Glenda Green, an artist and author of the book “Love Without End”. He described her work as “looking at love through scientific eyes.” As Scott explained, “Pragmatic ideas have an infinity of starting places and an infinity of results.” Scott also showed us how Ms. Green has taken her philosophy into the community. Her view is that there are “practical ways to improve other lives and in doing so, improve the whole world.” Her work has also inspired Scott to take this “practical love” and apply it to visits to correctional facilities and nursing homes. Scott has found through this approach that “’love is learning’… which is a two- way thing.” The General Evaluator on this voyage was Lily Phuong-Tang who had the pleasure of unpacking the wisdom of fellow evaluators Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Bethany), Susan Storma ACB, ALB (For Kara) and Joey Jacobshagen (for Scott). Another group guiding us safely to our destination of knowledge was the Advisory Travel Bureau (ATB) staffed by Grammarian Ken Walley DTM, Timer Tina Weiczorek, Cruise Photographer Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Daniel Gutierrez. Our guest, Princess Ortiz was very excited about our vacation themed meeting and pledged to return soon. Who wouldn’t? This was quite a trip!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 April 5. 2018 “Furry Friends” theme meeting was just adorable. Tina Weiczorek started the meeting with a quote from Helen Keller: “It’s the best and most beautiful things in this world that cannot be seen, or even heard but must be felt from the heart.” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB our Toastmaster for the evening, covered a wide range of interesting anecdotes about the benefits of pet ownership and furry friends’ facts. Kara told how her first foray into being a “foster owner” for a dog, “just for couple of weeks”, ended up being seven years (and counting) of love and adventure. She told how dogs are an excellent health benefit for their owners by delivering an excuse for owners to exercise when walking them. Also pets providing stress- busting moments of play, lowering blood pressure, giving companionship and helping to fight depression. “Dogs are also social ‘Ice breakers’” said Kara, explaining that dog owners love to exchange stories about their pets. She also told us how to communicate by “learning to read the body and behavior language” of your pet. Table Topics Master Ken Walley DTM had our members fetch some answers to questions that he threw out for them starting with “Why do they call dogs ‘man’s best friend?’” Linda Klein CC told about how her puppy Barney had brought much love and meaning into her life. Linda said that “Barney has brought me companionship, and responsibility into my life.” Ken noted that hamsters store food in their mouths, often tripling the size of their heads and then asked if Tina Weiczorek was a collector of anything. Tina proudly spoke of her Barbie doll collection. “Some of the dolls, especially the ones with moving legs and arms; can be quite valuable.” Tina noted that she was not ready yet to sell any of them. Returning guest Brenna Droege ACB spoke about the independent personalities of cats. “I hope that cats are reincarnated as dogs” said Brenna, admitting that she was more of a “dog person.” Brenna also spoke about an excellent dog park at Lake Baldwin. Joe Mangascle was compared to the “Energizer Bunny” and asked to describe a feat of rabbit-like speed and endurance. He almost wore us out speaking about playing college baseball, making a 48-year marriage happy and exciting… and keeping up with his grand kids! Bob Steg ACB when told that some mice build their burrows based on “an architectural design genetic trait”; was asked of what genetic trait that he was most proud of.  Bob answered that he was most proud of his ability to learn languages. He discovered this gift at very early age. Bob noted that “Just given a few phrases, I can usually begin to understand how the language fits together.” Joey Jacobshagen unlike squirrels, who can live almost anywhere on earth; said that he had lived in Orlando all his life and although he spoke highly of the Fun Spot Theme park, he said “someday I might move Tampa.” Daniel Gutierrez spoke about a confrontation with a wild animal. Well, almost wild. Daniel was put in charge of rounding up a pony when it kicked him! That baby horse really packed a wallop! The last question of “What furry animal, wild or tame, would you choose to be?” was tackled by our guest Ryan Clealy. Ryan chose the interesting choice of the Humpback whale as he called it: “The most distributed animal on Earth.”   Giving the first of our prepared speeches was Susan Storma ACB, ALB with a speech titled “Happily Ever After”. Susan, using stories of personal experience during her 27 years of marriage and a lot of humor, related her advice on how to have a successful marriage. “Respect, humor and appreciation for each other” said Susan “being each other’s cheerleader will help get you through some daunting challenges. Laughter is imperative, but a groan can be as good as a laugh and saying, ‘thank you’ is the most important thing of all.” Susan gave us enchanting insights as to how to make the most of your marriage and have a wonderful time, well… forever after! Our second speaker Marie Leoffler DTM presented a “warm-up” to her more extensive presentation coming up on April 19th on the exciting Toastmasters Pathways program. “Breaking the Ice” gave us a brief introduction to the program and let us know just what we can do in advance to prepare for the Pathways roll-out on May 15, 2018. “Make sure you are able to sign in on the TI website www.toastmasters.org; go to the Pathways page and explore what you are able to see.” Marie also gave us a step-by- step process on how to do our first speech, the “Ice Breaker” speech and how to get the materials for the evaluator to give his/her review as well. This was an excellent way to get toastmasters involved ahead of time for the roll-out. There is a lot more to come! Our evaluation team deserved a pat on the head, so let’s toss a bone to our General Evaluator Diana Walley ATMG, CL who jumped through a few hoops to bring us a superb session. Helping Diana was evaluator Detra Flood CC, ALB who reviewed Susan’s speech. Marie’s TI’s informational speech did not require an evaluation. Also helping to make this meeting as much fun as a ball full of cat-nip were the Petting Zoo Correspondent Team (PZCT) comprised of Grammarian Kate Murray, Timer Vincent Son, Furry Photo Fanatic Renee Ellis CC, CL, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Bob Steg ACB. Our guests Ryan Clealy, Michael Whittaker, Lorena Mohammed and Aisha Elghawaby agreed that this meeting was a “best of show”! No one was in the “dog house” here, this was just a wonderful evening!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 March 28, 2018 “Springtime/Random Thoughts” theme meeting brought visions of the most beautiful time of the year. Originally a Speech Marathon, at the last moment due to speaker cancellations, the meeting was re-designed for a return to our “normal” meeting procedures. Diana Walley ATMG, CL started the meeting off with a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “We were all born ignorant but it takes real effort to remain stupid.”  Stepping up to fill in as Club President and Toastmaster was Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Susan covered Springtime traditions in other countries such as China, New Zealand and Ireland where she illuminated that “Springtime is very different in different places.” She also spoke about the Easter custom of hiding eggs, explaining that in certain parts of Europe the “Easter Bunny only brings colored eggs to good children.” All things Spring are not all good according to Susan as this time of the season “the bugs come out” but for the most part, Susan sung the praises of festivals, birds singing, open windows and baseball’s Spring Training. Ken Walley DTM also stepped in to cover the Table Topics position at the last moment. He based his “random thoughts Table Topics session” on random quotes from three comedians. Starting with Steven Wright, Ken’s first quote was “I remember when the candle store burned down, everyone just stood abound and sang ‘Happy Birthday’.” He asked Vincent Son to tell us about a memorable birthday. Vincent said it was his past birthday, his 21st which made him eligible to drink alcohol. He told about having a nice dinner and his first glass of wine. The next “Wright observation” was “A lot of people are afraid of heights, not me… I’m afraid of widths.” Chi Simon DTM told us that she had overcome a fear of heights by going on a zip-line! “First a small zip line a few feet high and then one that was about three stories high. Was I afraid? Yes! But I did it anyway!” The next Wright quote was “If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving is not for you.” had Ken asking Jose Vela what he considered to be his biggest success in life. Jose said that he had just completed and passed the very difficult Real Estate Broker exam of which he was extremely proud to have accomplished.  Next was “I put instant coffee in a microwave and almost went back in time.”  Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB replied that if she could go back in time she would like to see the Russian Court of Catherine the Great. She also said that she would like to be a flapper in the ‘Roaring’ 1920’s. Rodney Dangerfield was the next comic that Ken quoted. “I looked at my family tree and saw I was the sap. (No respect) When I was a kid, my parents moved a lot… but I always found them.” He then asked Linda Klein to describe her family. Linda told us of a strong and loving family that also managed to laugh a lot. Next from Dangerfield was “I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her,” and “My wife and I had 22 wonderful years. Then we met.” These led Ken W. to ask Ken Blake DTM “What makes for a happy marriage?” Ken, who’s own wife has been recovering from surgery; said that that experience has led them to understand just how important that communication was between them. The last saying from the legendary one-liner king was “As a kid when I played in the sandbox, my cat kept covering me up.” Diana Walley ATMG, CL then recalled a pet of hers of her past. It was a hamster, that bit her… but she loved it anyway.  Ken also had time for two more questions based upon another one of his favorite humorist, George Carlin. First, our guest Jennifer Malave was given the quote “Electricity is just organized lightning.” Jennifer remembered a weather story. At a time when she was visiting her Uncle’s house there was a powerful storm that turned a nearby river black  just before it reached the Ocean. She remembered looking at the Ocean so blue and the river completely black. Another guest Shannon Williams given the Carlin quote “One can never know what a deserted area looks like.” Was asked “what is the most isolated place you have ever seen?” He answered that it was a closet in his past. He explained he had worked in a highly stressful profession and when it got to a place where he needed to be alone, he retreated to the closet. “It was peaceful. I was able to relax by myself and think things out. Then I was able deal with the stress.” This amazing meeting was partly amazing because we had two Ice breaker speeches among our three speakers. Starting first was Kevin Conway giving his first speech titled “Who Am I?”  Kevin came from a family that believed he should be home-schooled, which he loved. He said that he became well- rounded with a love of reading, art and cooking, especially pies. “I cooked pies… every kind of pie; as a way of saving money in High School.” He is attending University of Florida classes here in Orlando originally in Architecture which he changed later to Engineering. “I thought it would be better to build them than just design them.” Kevin also told us of other things he likes to do such as horseback riding, SCUBA diving and going to Toastmasters to overcome his fear of speaking. Next was another Ice Breaker by Tina Weiczorek titled “From Motown to O-Town”. Tina remembered growing up in the Detroit “Motown” area, the home the famous “Motown Sound” and the “Big 3″ car companies: Ford, GM and Chrysler. “My dad worked at GM for over 20 years, he was not happy my first car was a 1977 Ford Thunderbird!” Tina worked at a dairy farm and even though she liked the job, she wanted a life with more meaning. Tina started volunteering in hospitals and nursing homes. She worked hard to receive the requirements to be a trained nurse and professional care-giver. She then spent time serving as a private nurse for an elderly lady who taught her many amazing things including gardening and canning tips.  Tina later found her true calling as a certified nannie and learning child development. “I have worked as a nannie for 18 years. I am now on my 4th family!” She also is “enjoying a new personal growth in Toastmasters.” Maureen Premo in her second speech titled “My Obsession with the Olympics and the Logistics Involved in Getting There.”  She told of her Olympic dream, not to be in the Olympics but just to go to the Olympics! Maureen told some incredible stories about the challenges of finding a place to stay, getting tickets, braving local weather and just getting in the general area. She has bravely gone to Salt Lake City, Vancouver, Los Angles and even the Atlanta Olympics where she experienced the aftermath of a terrorist bombing! Mostly though she enjoyed the cities, friendships and stories. She did get to catch some awesome Olympic hockey games!  Our Spring collection of evaluators was lead by General Evaluator Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. The reviews were as good as Chocolate bunnies thanks to evaluators Daphne Hart ACS. ALB (for Kevin), Linda Klein CC (for Tina) and Ken Blake DTM (for Maureen). The Basket of Painted Functionaries (BOPF) also brought Rosy results from their reports thanks to Grammarian Brenna Droege ACB, Timer Daniel Gutierrez, Photo Flowers Picker Chi Simons DTM and Vote Counter Vincent Son. Our three visitors Jennifer Malave, Shannon Williams and past Club #28 club member Brenna Droege ACB all gave joyful praise for the meeting. This meeting really was like a walk in a garden on a beautiful Spring day.

While the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was saving daylight, it was also saving wonderful memories from the March 22, 5018 “Daylight Savings” theme meeting at the Southeast Branch library. Starting the meeting with a quote from Paul Coelho was Renee Ellis CC, CL who said “If you have a past with which you feel dissatisfied, then forget it, now. Imagine a new story for your life and believe in it. Focus only on the moments when you achieved what you desired, and that strength will help you to get what you want.” Our Toastmaster of the evening was Walk Jones DTM.  Walk spoke about how the idea of daylight savings time came about including how Benjamin Franklin stumbled across an idea much like it in a satirical piece about the perceived laziness of the French. He also pointed out how it gives us more time to spend outside on beautiful Spring days like we have been enjoying lately. Walk also commented that Daylight Savings Time (DST) is not for everyone as it has become unpopular especially to late sleepers during “spring forward” in the Spring.  Diana Walley ATMG, CL was our Table Topics Master and she sighted some DST history of her own when she asked: “When a man named George Hudson came up with the idea of Daylight Savings Time in 1895, it became almost instantly popular. Within 10 years it was put into a bill before the House of Commons! What do you think of this idea? Maureen Premo said that the Florida legislature had just approved a resolution to do away with Daylight Savings Time. She said that it did have practical purposes however such as saving energy and money. Chi Simons DTM was asked if sleep was important to her. She said that it was very important and that she tries to get 8 hours of sleep each night. “It keeps you young” Chi noted.  Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB when asked if she had ever been too early or too late for a very important event, recalled when she found out that a syllabus with the wrong information had her in the wrong place for taking a college finial. “A few minutes after the test was supposed to start, I noticed I was still the only one in the room.” A professor bent the rules so that she could get another chance at the exam. Marie Leoffler DTM was asked if she was a “morning or a night person”. She replied, “definitely a night person!” After explaining that she “does not function well in the early daylight” and that she had been used to staying up late when she owned a dance studio. Marie admitted that “I have no patience for day people!” Returning member Monica Walley CC was reminded that Franklin was often wrongly credited with the invention of DST but was often rightly honored as a genius. Monica was asked who she thought was a genius. She mentioned the late Stephen Hawkins who had only passed away the day before. “When I think of genius he comes to mind.” Monica also said that they should do away with Daylight Savings Time as they do not have it where she lives in Hawaii. We had three speakers… two with highly fanciful speeches and one with good down-to-earth advice. Speaking first with a Speech titled “A Florida Folktale based on Jack and the Beanstalk” was Linda Klein CC. Linda spun a yarn about a young boy who found a plant in a swamp that grew “up past the clouds.” He climbed the plant and found that there was dry ground above the clouds and a trail that led him to a group of women sewing clothes from large rolls of fabric. They told him he should not be in this strange place and the boy got scared. He ran back to the plant, but it was gone! He went back to the women and they said they would make him a rope from their cloth, but they made it too short and the boy fell back to earth on his head! Now buried from the waist down, the boy hatched a plan to escape: “I’ll go to the next farmhouse a borrow a hoe and dig myself out!”  Speaking second with some excellent advice for everyone titled “Why Exercise?” was Vincent Son. When he was 15 years old, he found out when lifting soil-bags for his mother’s garden that he was not as strong as he thought he was. “I was proud that I was even able to move one bag. Then I found out there were ten more!” Vincent gave three reasons he likes to stay in shape. First, he feels more energetic when he is fit. Second, he feels stronger and can accomplish more. Lastly Vincent thought because of the benefits of working out he feels that he influences others to want exercise as well.  Walk Jones DTM filling in for a speaker who cancelled at the last moment; was working on giving extemporaneous speeches. Which was perfect for this occasion! Given “Pinocchio”, “Tinker Bell” and “Barney the puppy”; Walk was challenged to come up with a story. We ended up with a love triangle between the (now-human boy) Pinocchio, Captain Hook and Julia Roberts dressed as Tinker Bell. Not your typical Disney movie. Best supporting actor was Barney the puppy, a hound-dog that caused havoc when people tripped over him… this was a lot of fun! Having the most fun was Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB our General Evaluator who was put in charge of two of Club #28 favorite truth-tellers: Lily Phuong-Tang (evaluating Linda) and Ken Walley DTM (for Walk). Kara even got to evaluate Vincent’s speech! Adding to the sunshine were the Power Hour Kids (PHK) of Grammarian Bob Steg ACB, Timer Maureen Premo, Daytime Video Saver Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter Monica Walley CC and Vote Counter Marie Loeffler DTM. At the end of the evening, club members Brandt Reyes, Joe Mangascle and Bethany Johnson spoke about the meeting and identified themselves as either day or night people. Not surprisingly Joe is a “day person”. Giving high praise for our meeting were our guests Marisyd Porter and Monica Walley CC. This is an hour and a half of time that we will long save in our memories.

There is nothing that brings more joy to the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 than a speech Marathon like the one we had at the Southeast Branch library on March 15, 2018. To get the evening started, Tina Weiczorek, mindful of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day quoted two Irish proverbs: “Say but a little but say it well.” and “A kind word never broke anyone’s jaw.” Club President Renee Ellis CC, CL was the Toastmaster for the meeting. Renee soon got to the five featured speakers for our speech marathon. So many new members have joined recently that we have enjoyed some wonderful new talent. That was on display on this evening. The first speaker Bethany Johnson  titled her speech “Comfort Zone Madness”. It started with a quote, “A Comfort Zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.”  Bethany’s speech was about confronting insecurity, not listening to the voices of doubt inside you and being determined to succeed. She told about a recent trip to California where she took on a highly demanding task with steep expectations: dog training. Her goal is to start a dog training business possibly later for blind assistance dogs or even professional canine employment. This seminar she was attending was her first step toward her dream. It turned out to be life changing because she proved to herself she had the abilities to succeed and that she had the belief in herself to do it. She even agreed to take on her first dog training job. Her answer was a resounding “I can! I will! I must!”  Speaking next with the 2nd #2 speech of the evening from the Basic Manuel was Kate Murray with her speech titled “Don’t be an Elephant”. Kate spoke about the psychological topic of “learned helplessness” giving an example of how elephants are trained. She explained that when they are small they are tied to a stake in the ground so that they will not escape. When they get older and have the strength to pull the stake out of the ground, they will not even try as by this time they are convinced that they do not even have the ability. She also spoke of the experiments of Martin Seligman, in which dogs “trained in ‘Learned Helplessness.’” The lessons of this acquired failure can be seen in humans such as a child giving up on math (“I’ll never get it, why even make the attempt?”) or adults voting (“My vote doesn’t mean much, why go to the polls?”). Kate had good news however that we can change our belief systems and break through the barriers of learned helplessness. Jose Vela was our third speaker in a row giving the “organize your speech” project from the Basic Manuel. His speech was titled “The Four ‘F’s and Why”.  Jose asked, “What motivates us?” He spoke about having a reason to want to accomplish goals, “if you were going on an all expense paid world cruise; I’d bet you would jump out of bed when the alarm goes off.” What motivated Jose were his “Four ‘F’s”: Fame, because everyone seeks to achieve status; Freedom, different by each person’s definition but defining your mission; Family (and Friends), those who push you and inspire you and Fortune… the means to an end, the reward for hard work. Fantastic speech! Joey Jacobshagen was the only speaker not on speech #2, instead his speech “How to Sign In on A Excel Spreadsheet” was his Eighth speech as he comes close to his CC award. Showing how things were “done 12 years ago when I was trained.” Use Power-point, Joey gave us step by step instructions how to enter the company name, Day of the week, date, names, sign in and sign out times, etc. He also showed us how to do revisions as well! Now, all caught up on Windows spread sheets, we are ready if the need arises! Returning to the second speech in the basic manual Jacob Soto delivered a fascinating look at working at a high-tech company with his speech “The History of Google Featuring an Elevator Pitch”.  Jacob spoke of his “dream job” and why not? He told about the amazing history of the company starting with the idea of it’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to create a search algorithm, which they named “BackRub” to the present-day internet monster that includes Google Maps, Google News, Gmail and Google Chrome. He told us about some of the breakthrough advances developed by Google such as voice search and satellite imagery for Google Earth.  He told us of the many benefits the company offers besides excellent medical and dental, 401k… like free lunch, casual dress, a shuttle to work and a gym on campus. After his “elevator pitch” we not only wanted to work at Google, but we wanted to hire Jacob as well! The responsibility for the evaluation section of the meeting was placed in the capable hands of General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM. On this night we also had an “Evaluation marathon” featuring Ken Walley DTM (for Bethany), Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Kate), Susan Storma ACB, ALB (for Jose), Marie Leoffler DTM (for Joey) and Bob Steg ACB (for Jacob). A marathon does not run itself so the work of the Toastmasters Track Officials (TTO) was greatly appreciated… much thanks to Timer Lily Phuong-Tang, Vote Counter Daniel Gutierrez and Instant Photo Camera Chi Simons DTM. Both of our guests Andy Ransom and Evie Middleton were cheering the speech marathon like their favorite runner was crossing the finish line! People are already lining up for our next Club #28 speech marathon!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!