Past meetings 2018


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Past meetings 2017

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 decked the halls for the December 20, 2018 Club #28 Holiday party and Installation of Officers Festive Gathering! The room was beautifully decorated by Club #28 members for this ebullient occasion. Bringing joy and happiness to the lectern, as she always did as our Sgt. of Arms was Tina Weiczorek. Her official thought of the day was a Santa joke: Q: “What is red, white and black? A: Santa coming down a chimney!” as well as a heartfelt wish for a safe, happy and merry holiday season. Also presiding for her last time as our Club #28 President was Renee Ellis CC, CL who introduced Vice President of Membership Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB to formally induct Jonathan Yovaish and Tim Inglis into the club.

 IMG_2405Photo: Tim Inglis , Jonathan Yovaish are inducted as new club members by Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB

Ken Walley DTM was our traditional Master of Ceremonies. Ken reminded everyone of the many reasons why Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 was a very special place to be. He reminded everyone of the wonderful meetings we had, the awards that Club #28 had won but most of all the sheer fun that we were able to enjoy throughout the year. “The fellowship and fun are the things we will most remember from 2018!” said Ken. We did have a featured speaker on this enchanted evening. Maria Son gave her second Pathways speech titled “The Opportunities”. Maria spoke about being financially prepared for life’s emergencies through a strong financial foundation. She has joined the World Financial Group backed by a major life insurance company to educate mostly young people about making wise financial choices. She also gave us some good advice: “Do not save what is left after spending but spend what is left after saving.” After Maria’s speech, David Hundeby CC gave an impressive evaluation of the speech. It was more impressive because he only had a short time to prepare it. The second part of the meeting, the “changing of the guard” section according to Ken, started with outgoing president Renee Ellis’s (CC,CL) “State of the Club” speech. “It has been a joy seeing people grow. Even though we are large we are more like a small family.” Started Renee. She thanked her officers and gave Marie Leoffler DTM high praise for helping us get started in the Pathways program. She noted already earning our next President’s Distinguished Award, growing the club 11 new members in the last three months and importance of her staff being organized. Renee had many bright lights of success aiming down upon our club during her administration. Division C Director Edwin Mercado-Rivera DTM was on hand to install our officers and preside over the Passing of the Gavel Ceremony. The following officers were sworn in: Sergeant-at-Arms Vincent Son, Treasurer David Hundeby CC, Secretary Marie Loeffler DTM, Vice President of Membership Maria Son, Vice President of Education Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB and President Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. (Vice president of Public Relations Kate Murray VC3 was unable to attend the ceremony).








Photo: Division C Director Edwin A. Mercado-Rivers DTM inducts Club #28’s new officers

President-elect Daphne Hart ACS, ALS gave a stirring and inspiring Inaugural Address. She remembered the first time she came to a meeting in 2015, even pointing out where she sat. She talked a little about overcoming the fear of public speaking. “The fear never stops. You just learn to synchronize with it.” Daphne wants to focus on retaining members. Producing Speechcraft programs and most of all encouraging others to be mentors. She mentioned “a formula”:  2V+C=P meaning “your value that you bring to the club is important. What you receive is value, plus your commitment equals your purpose.” She gave us a message of encouragement over the next six months:” Club #28 is only a club, but you as the members make this club rock!” After a standing ovation for Daphne and Renee this meeting and 2018 was adjourned. Thanks to the timer Tim Inglis also for making this meeting a wonderful part of our holidays.


Photo: Past and current Presidents at the December 20, 2019 meeting;  l to r: Marie Leoffler DTM, Renee Ellis CC, CL; Ken Walley DTM, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Detra Flood CC, CL; Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB and incoming President Daphne Hart ACS, ALB.




Time was left at the end of the meeting for some Christmas socializing. Happy Holidays to all!


The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 held its second Auction on December 13, 2018! It turned out to be an incredibly fun… and prosperous occasion. This special meeting started with Tim Inglis giving the invocation from Marcus Aurelius: “Let it happen, if it wants, to whatever it can happen to. And what’s affected can complain about it if it wants. It doesn’t hurt me unless I interpret it’s happening as harmful to me. I can choose not to.” Filling in for our President was Vice President of Education Marie Leoffler DTM who announced that Club #28 had been awarded accolades from the Toastmasters District 84 management team including another “7 of 7 TLI Leadership award”, a “Dedicated Leadership Award” as well as two “Triple Crown” project winners for past president Detra Flood CC. CL and Chi Simons DTM. Before the Auction festivities, Marie also introduced Jessica Bright to present her Ice Breaker Speech titled “Culture Shock”. Jessica told about growing up in a rural community where on occasion she “drove to High School on a tractor.” Finding an urge to explore a broader part of the world, Jessica decided to visit a friend in Dubai, UAE and then go on parts of South Africa. Her adventures in cultures so completely different from what she had ever known both opened her eyes to both how diverse and yet alike humanity is; as well as redefining herself. We truly thank her for bringing us along with her 1st speech! Immediately after the speech Ken Walley DTM was called upon to give, what would turn out to be a very encouraging and affirmative evaluation. Everyone was asked to bring in an item to sell, then they were called to the lectern to tell us why we should by it. The proceeds would go towards a good cause: Club #28! Our Auctioneer for the evening was Kate Murray VC3 who wielded the gavel with the skill of a combined used car salesman, magician and improvisational actress! She sold everything! I was surprised she didn’t sell us the chairs and tables in the meeting room. Items that were sold included gift cards, tickets to improv theater productions, paintings, an organizational corkboard, a professional putter, free pet care services, a seat belt protector, goal setting self-study courses, a desk cabinet, a Parker pen gift set, assorted books and much more… there is no doubt that the auction was a giant success! Let us also give credit to our club Treasurer David Hundeby CC, our Timer Vincent Son, Evaluation collector Linda Klein CC (nice hole-in-one-try with the putter shot), and co-auction organizer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Indeed, thank you to all who made our auction such a wonderful holiday experience!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 December 5, 2018 “Speech-a-Thon” meeting was the first of three special events the club would be holding to celebrate the end of 2018. The meeting started with Linda Klein CC opening with a thought: “The real secret of life is the law of attraction. The law of attraction can also be called be called the law of creation. In other words, life is not happening to you, you are creating it.”  Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC, CL recognized Kate Murray VC3 with reaching her third Pathways level, the first club member to do so. The new slate of officers was also approved for the next Toastmasters term, they are: President Daphne Hart ACG, ALB; Vice President of Education Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Vice President of Membership Maria Son, Vice President of Public Relations Kate Murray VC3, Secretary Marie Loeffler DTM, Treasurer David Hundeby and Sergeant at Arms Vincent Son. Congratulations to our new officers! The meeting went directly into the four prepared speeches starting with Vincent Son’s “Into the Mind” titled presentation. Vincent explained the “science” of Neurosky, a technology for tracking “meditation and attention levels” by charting brainwaves, called “Mindwave”. He explained the “5 Types of Brainwaves”: Gama (rapid), Beta (Increasing activity), Alpha (Stress release/creativity), Thera (relaxed) and Delta (rejuvenating). He explained that the benefits of using Mindwave was to improve brain activity and sharpen your “mental skills”.








Photo: Vincent Son

Our second speaker was Jonathan Yovaish, giving his Pathway Ice Breaker titled “Who Am I?” Jonathan started by saying that he was a second-generation Lithuanian, born in Orlando and went to Boone High School. He revealed that while young he had a “compulsion to become a musician.” “Every room in my house has a guitar!” That does not even mention the keyboards, sax, cello, other instruments, and home recording studio that fuels his love for music. He told us of other life accomplishments including earning the highly coveted Master of Electrical Certification, working for the prestigious Rexel Distribution Company in Orlando and… most important… getting married to wife Rachel in 2008. He is also very proud of being the new owner of a one-year old puppy named Hero. Our third speaker was David Hundeby CC who earned his Competent Communicator Award with his 10th speech titled “It’s Wonderful to be Alive!” David related his experiences and gave us video proof of a REAL motivator known as “Mr. Putman”. He was a camp counselor for the Boy Scouts when David was working toward the scout’s highest ranking, Eagle scout. Mr. Putman instilled that if you have faith in yourself to find out just what you are truly capable of. David also spoke about creating “positive cycles” for others that in turn create confidence and satisfaction in yourself.








Photo: David Hundeby CC

We are so thankful for the positivity that David has brought to our club. Congratulations David! Our last speaker was Chi Simon DTM with her speech titled “Superpower!”  This amazing speech centered on the Vietnamese Celebration of Tet (New Year). She spoke of the very involved and intricate traditions of the holiday; as Chi put it “kind of like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years combined into 3 days. It takes a whole month just to prepare the cooking! She explained that “The entire country shuts down for Tet, we do nothing but play and eat! The best part was her explanation of how the houses are decorated with fireworks and everyone set them off at the same time! “Its not about the money or food, it’s about the memories.” Chi’s superpower? She going to Tet this year! These amazing speeches were all give brilliant evaluations from evaluators Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Vincent), Marie Loeffler DTM (for Jonathan) Kate Murray VC3 (for David) and Ken Walley DTM (for Chi). At the end of the meeting there was even some time left over for table topics questions from Renee! Joey Jacobshagen CC answered the question about what his favorite part of the holiday season was. He answered that it was spending time with his family. Tim Inglis spoke about making New Years Resolutions. His will be to lose some weight. Mike Durovic spoke about some plans to travel next year. Guest Abigail Grant told us that her favorite season was Summer because she like to go to the beach. She said in Michigan “there are actual seasons. It was nice to see the turn of Autumn there.”  Present at this meeting were: Vincent Son, Jonathan Yovaish, David Hundeby CC, Chi Simons DTM, Linda Klein CC, guest Stephine Munoz, Joey Jacobshagen CC, Maria Son, Tina Weiczorek, Daphne Hart ACG, ALB, Mike Durovic, guest Chris Wells, Tim Inglis, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Ken Walley DTM, guest Abigail Grant, guest Nick Graham, Kate Murray VC3 and Renee Ellis CC, CL.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 November 29, 2018 “Satire” theme meeting was not a parody of a brilliant meeting. It was a brilliant meeting! Kristin Steiner started the meeting with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “As for accomplishments, I just did what I had to do as things came along.” Club President Renee Ellis CC, CL announced that the club had won another ribbon for gaining four new members over the past two months! Joey Jacobshagen CC was our Toastmaster for the evening. He shared with us the two forms of satire: Horatian (gentle, witty and in general) and Juvenalian (angry and personal). He also paid tribute to some famous satirists such as Jonathan Swift, Voltaire, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker, Mel Brooks, Sasha Baron Cohen and acclaimed shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Simpson” among others.  Our first time Table Topics Master was Maria Son switched the subject to general questions about current events. Her first question dealt with the subject of gun control. Randy Cadely eloquently spoke about the need for more firearm regulations. “I am in favor of the 2nd amendment but it is impossible to deny that there is a problem.” The second question was focused on the problems that working families have. Tim Inglis pointed out that low salaries were at the heart of the challenges that many local families face. “We need to address low wages and those with low skill jobs but are not able to get out of poverty. Workers need an opportunity for growth.” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB the director of an animal service company; spoke passionately about a question on animal abuse. While Kara was moved to sometimes want an “eye-for-eye” justice after seeing firsthand the cruelty inflicted upon animals, she also spoke about how many of those who perpetuated these crimes had “severe mental problems” and needed help.  Kristin Steiner also elected to speak on the subject of Kara’s question saying that greyhound dogs used for racing were often confined to a small cages and harsh treatment and that she was happy to see that the recent Amendment 13 banning the sport had passed.  Our three speakers were all very impressive. Linda Klein CC in a speech titled “What Can Possibly Go Wrong?” told of a vacation trip that included 7 kids (ages 4 to 9) to a lakeside retreat that would include name-carving in an antique church pew with a pocket knife (“other kids carved stuff!”), a rock-diving collision, a trip to the hospital, “honest vandalism” of a junkyard (“We didn’t know it was wrong!”) and a visit from the police department… all  in two short days. Although this might sound like a nightmare Linda has us laughing while learning some basic child principles! Marie Leoffler DTM gave a speech titled “Communication Relationships”. Marie spoke about the importance of developing relations based upon listening skills and developing information.  Marie told of how a fellow employee tried to undermine her in order to get her job but because of the relationship and trust she had built up with her boss it was the employee who lost her job, not Marie. She stressed the importance of “clearing any agendas from my head” and “to listen for the message” as you develop an association with others. The last speaker was Jose Vela CC with a brilliant Competent Communicator graduation speech titled “Flip Them Off”. It is not what you might think.  Jose explained that people often see things from different angles and coming up with different explanations. He showed us that there were two ways of playing a guitar: with the strings or flipping it over and playing it as a bongo. “Attitude is the key to ‘flipping’ things!” said Jose, “the adage that ‘If you think you can, or you think you can’t… you’re right!’ has a lot of truth.” Jose explained that a “loop” is developed starting with a negative attitude. “A negative attitude leads to lack of effort which leads to a negative result. However, the opposite loop is created with a positive attitude.” The positive result of Jose’s 10th speech was his CC award and we got a chance to hear 10 excellent presentations.  Congratulations Jose! General Evaluator Renee Ellis CC, CL led the evaluation Team of Ken Walley DTM (for Linda), Ken Blake DTM (for Marie) and David Hundeby (for Jose). The evaluations were helpful and well presented. The same can be said of the reports from the “Not Ready For Prime Time Functionaries” (NRFPTF) thanks to Grammarian Randy Cadely, AH Counter Vincent Son Timer Tina Weiczorek, Motion Detector Renee Ellis CC, CL and Vote Counter Kristin Steiner. At the end of the meeting Club #28 member and Area 30 Director Lily- Phuong Tang CC, IP1 reminded us about the upcoming Division C Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests.  In their closing comments our guests Michael Durouic, Ed Paez, Ross Hockney, Tanner Ross, Will Jayne IV, Theresa and David Richardson agree that this meeting was entertaining, fun and informative. Long time Club #28 member Diana Walley ATMG, CL also commented that this meeting seemed “special”.

The Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 November 15, 2018 special “Speech-a-Thon” event is one of the many unique occasions that sets Club #28 apart from other “ordinary” Toastmasters clubs. Starting the festivities was Club #28’s newest member Jonathan Yovaish leading us in the Pledge to the Flag and a quote from Anne Bradstreet: “Words are like honey, a little may refresh but too much gluts the stomach.” Our hostess for the evening was Marie Leoffler DTM. Marie gave a warm welcome to our two guests Scott Muhlbaier and Tucker Toenjes. Before introducing our featured speakers Marie also paid tribute to our cast of functionaries: Grammarian and Digital Recreationist Vincent Son, AH Counter Tina Weiczorek, Timer Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Maria Son. The agenda highlighted five Toastmasters ranging from 1st time speakers to highly accomplished presenters. The first was Randy Cadely with his Ice Breaker speech titled “Persistence” which told the story of overcoming a challenging childhood with a large family to his visions for the future. He told a tale of never giving up on your dreams unless it is to create better goals for your life.  Randy gave us a taste of real speaking talent, weaving a compelling story and humor throughout his first time behind the lectern. David Hundeby gave an emotional and moving presentation titled “You Set the Pace” about a friend he ran with in preparation for a marathon. David’s friend Gigi was a cancer survivor, who with the support of his running group, excelled at long distance running. Showing a determination that defies description, Gigi faced a relapse of her cancer and returned to the road. David’s speech was powerful and moving as well as an inspiration to all who heard it. Our second Ice Breaker of the evening was by Tim Inglis simply titled “Me”. Tim spoke about how an ancestry DNA test would probably come back “inconclusive” if he ever actually sent it in. Tim pointed out that it was not his past that concerned him. He showed us some objects that now define his life: a pacifier as he has just become a father in late June. “I’ve lost sleep, but I value time a lot more.” A helmet: Tim has caught the cycling bug. A compass: for hiking. Finally, a cell phone.  “I have become obsessed with efficiency… I run everything through my phone! There seems to be the hint of a lot of wonderful speeches to come in Tim’s Ice Breaker! The next speaker was Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB whose speech titled “Let History Not Repeat Itself” touched on the importance of learning from history, in this case from the horrors of the holocaust; specifically lessons from the Nazi concentration camp in Terezin, Czech Republic. Kara told how the Jewish residents were first separated into ghettos, held or used as forced labor and later murdered in nearby Nazi death camps. She showed photos of how the Terezin (Theresienstadt) transit camp looked today as well as recalling her tour of this infamous place. Kara’s speech was extremely interesting, with an immeasurably important message. Speaking last was Kate Murray VC2, heading quickly toward her Visionary Communicator Level 3 award with a speech titled “A Moral Shift”.  Kate read to us the classic Greek Myth of Echo and Narcissus. Kate’s reading however had a “moral twist” at the end that came from… Oscar Wilde! Another twist here was that it was Kate who truly had the last word! This was an amazing Speech-a-Thon with topics that varied from the personal to the mythical, from the imperative to the hopeful and much more. Our speakers rose to the occasion, an occasion that had many facets and a long legacy in our memory.

[Thank you to Kate Murray for her notes on the Moments of Truth meeting!]  Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Moments of Truth – November 8, 2018 – Summit Church

Present​: Renee Ellis CC, CL, Kate Murray VC2, Vincent Son, Maria Son, Tim Inglis, Tina Wieczorek, Jonathan Yovaish, David Hundeby, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Lily-Phuong Tang IP1 , Ken Walley DTM, Diana Walley ATMG, CL, Joey Jacobshagen CC, Kristin Steiner.

Maria Son Ice Breaker (Pathways) Speech Titled “Maria Son

Ken Walley DTM gave the evaluation of Maria’s Speech.

Sgt. at Arms / Timer: Tina Weiczorek

Vote Counter: Jose Vela

Cameraman: Vincent Son

Toastmaster: Renee Ellis CC, CL / Kate Murray VC2

Discussion:​ First Impressions

  • Guests greeted warmly & introduced to officers – 4.5

■      We don’t really introduce them to all officers – necessary?

○     Guest book & name tags provided – 5

■     Guest book used all the time

■      Name tags have been tried, but people don’t wear them

○          Professionally arranged meeting room – 5  ■ Bigger back aisle?

○     Convenient meeting location – 5

■      Summit Church is a good backup when library is booked

○     Guests invited to join – 5

■       Sometimes some guests might feel a little inundated with asks to join

  • Membership Orientation
    • Formal induction – 2

■    Haven’t had one since early 2018 ■      Maybe monthly?

■     VPM to focus on

○     Assignment of mentor – 4

■      Marie working on making mentor-ship program stronger

■    Transition period with some established members not being on Pathways but all new members required to go that route = disconnect

○      Education programs & recognition discussed – 4

○     Learning needs assessed – 3

■     Pathways assessment helps

■      Assessment thru needs survey for new members?

■     Further assessment with mentor

■ Monthly New Member Orientation to go over everything?

○     Speaking role(s) assigned – 5

○      Member involved in all aspects of club activities – 5

  • Fellowship, Variety, & Communication
    • Guests greeted warmly & made welcome – 5

○      Enjoyable & educational meetings planned – 5

○     Regularly scheduled social events – 3

■     None outside of meetings

○      Members participate in area, district, & international events – 4.5

■       Some are well attended (i.e. club 28 well represented in contests), but others less so

○          Interclub events encouraged – 4 ■      Field trips to visit other clubs?

○      Club newspaper/website published and updated regularly – 5

  • Program Planning & Meeting Organization
    • Program & agenda published in advance – 4

■      Agenda emailed, but no good RSVP to ensure attendance

○      Members know program responsibilities – 5

○     All projects are manual projects – 5

○     Meetings begin & end on time – 5

○    Creative Table Topics & activities – 5 ○      Positive & helpful evaluations – 3.5

■    Very positive, but sometimes could use more constructive criticism (depending on needs of speaker)

■       Educate new members & remind established members on how to evaluate

■    Continuing Education &/or Educational Minute to address things like this, ambassadorship programs, etc. – lesser known aspects of TMI

  • Membership Strength
    • Club has 20+ members – 5

○     Members are retained – 4

■     Lost quite a few this last renewal

○      Promotion of the club in the community – 3.5

○     Club programs varied & exciting – 5

○      Toastmasters sponsoring new members recognized – 1

■     Not done at all

■    Would be good to acknowledge & to be another point of contact for new member ○      Regular membership-building programs – 4

  • Achievement Recognition
    • Award applications immediately submitted to World HQ – 5

○      Progress charts displayed and maintained – 4

■      DCP progress on every agenda

■       Individual progress not displayed – will be easier to track with Pathways

○      Member achievements formally recognized with ceremony – 5

○      Club, district, & international leaders recognized – 4.5

○      Club and member achievements publicized – 4

○      DCP used for planning & recognition – 4.5

■      Not all new members know what it means or why it’s important.

Meeting Adjourns.

At the end of the Orlando Toastmaster Club #28 November 1, 2018 “Thanksgiving” theme meeting my notes were lost so I will give as best a recalling as possible from my memory. Thankfully Tina Weiczorek was on hand to open the meeting and give the invocation and Pledge to the Flag. She quoted an anonymous source who said, “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.” Maria Son was our Toastmaster bravely stepping up for her first time in that role. Maria told us of her personal reasons for being thankful, gave us a brief history of the Thanksgiving holiday and also quoted a number of Bible verses that highlighted the meaning and spirit of the holiday. Our Table Topics Master for the evening was Diana Walley ACG, CL who brought a plethora of excellent questions for the occasion. Her first question, answered by Tina Weicorek was “What are you thankful for.” Besides family and friends, Tina said that she had “blessings to numerous to count.”  or Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was asked to describe her “personal perfect Thanksgiving meal.” Kara went with a traditional offering of Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and stuffing. I believe she mentioned pumpkin pie and a gravy that “has a life of its own.” Guest Tim Inglis delighted us with a Thanksgiving memory. Ken Blake DTM told us about a “non-traditional Thanksgiving.” Ken Walley DTM spoke about working on Thanksgiving but later having an all-you can eat buffet at Golden Corral with members of Diana’s family that live in Orlando. Kate Murray VC2 explained that she had a not-so-scary Halloween directing a children’s theater workshop. We had three speakers starting with Jose Vela who gave part 3 of his speech “The Orlando Real Estate Market: A Snapshot (pt. 3)” This time around Jose gave the presentation flawlessly and injected a sincere passion for selecting a professional Realtor to buy or sell a house. Even though there were tons of statistics, Jose used power-point, zeal and enthusiasm to create an atmosphere of urgency in the selection of a real estate agent. To do it justice, you had to see this speech. We did not mind a bit sitting through this speech for the third time! Joey Jacobshagen CC earned his Competent Communicator award with a powerful and insightful speech titled “My Challenges”. Joey described his birth as a miracle that he even survived. Due to the low birth weight Joey was faced with several serious, physical and mental obstacles that have challenged him for the rest of his life. Many of which would have kept almost anyone from public speaking. While his speech was inspirational it has been Joey himself who has given us the courage to tackle our own projects and to succeed in Toastmasters. Watching Joey improve and conquer has been a joy to every member of Club #28! Congratulations Joey! The finial speaker of the evening was Dickson Mo with a speech titled “First Impressions.” Dickson went beyond the obvious to bring us some insight as to what truly creates a powerful first impression. From the simple such as eye contact to the complex “creating an inviting personality” this speech had practical applications for everyone in the room. We also gave thanks for Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB as our General Evaluator who along with evaluators Susan Storma ACS, ALB (for Jose), Kate Murray VC2 (for Joey) and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (for Dickson) poured out a cornucopia of wisdom and advice. Setting the table with delicious functionary treats were the Poetic Pilgrims (PP) of Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, Timer Ken Walley DTM, Tri-pod Turkey Renee Ellis CC, CL, AH Counter Randy Cadely and Vote Counter Jessica Bright. Everyone gobbled up this meeting, including our newest member Kristin Steiner and Area 30 Director Lily-Phuong Tang CC, IP1 who did not get a chance to speak. Our guest Tim Inglis joined our club after the meeting! Welcome Tim! We gather together to ask Table Topics questions, give speeches and evaluations… but it is the friendships we make here that we will always be thankful for. Happy (early) Thanksgiving to all!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 25, 2018 “Fall is in the Air” theme meeting ushered in a wonderful season of leaves falling and Toastmasters talking. Starting the meeting was new member Maria Son with the Invocation and Pledge. She chose a quote from Lee Maynard who said “I love Autumn! The one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.” Our Toastmaster for this beautiful Fall evening was Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara told us many things about the Autumn season. Her incredibly well researched reporting covered the history of the season such as the need for harvesting, ceremonies of thanks, the difference between being in Florida in the Fall and say… upstate New York, how Autumn is celebrated differently in many different countries, Fall festivals and family traditions… this meeting was simply packed full of awesome facts, stories, myths and narratives about the season of Autumn! Also doing her homework with some wonderful questions on the subject was Table Topics Master Renee Ellis CC, CL. Renee had many brilliant queries for our members starting with “Which time change do you prefer: ‘Spring forward’ or ‘Fall back’?” Randy Cadley chose “Spring Forward” as “I like moving forward with my time.” Linda Klein CC was asked if she was “enjoying Fall… or would you prefer another season?” She liked Spring best except for spring cleaning and Fall was fine except that she dreaded the coming of Winter. Guest (and soon to be new member) Kristin Steiner were asked what she like about Fall. “With the time change, I feel like I am getting an extra hour of sleep each day!” Kristin also stated that “There is no ‘real Fall’ in Florida. I miss the changing of the seasons up North.”  Marie Loffler DTM told us of her favorite Autumn memories: jumping into a pile of raked leaves, picking apples to make cider and getting new clothes for the winter. Another guest Rebecca Cassell was asked where she spends her time in a Florida Fall. Rebecca mentioned Disney, Universal and of course, the beach! Joey Jacobshagen spoke about how winter was really his favorite season. “I love the carols, the tree and the presents of Christmas.” He also missed “a good Colorado snow ball fight!”  The last question was for Maria Son added to Joey’s question by saying that while she was not quite ready for the holidays, she was looking forward to spending time with her family. We had three speeches that bordered on the amazing. Kate Murray VC2, working towards her third level in the Visionary Communications path gave us “The Dirty ‘S’ Word”. The word that Kate was talking about was “should”. “Do not put your focus on what is expected of you to do. Even of expectations by yourself.” Said Kate “ask what is it that you want to do.” “’Should’ drives remorse, shame and a feeling of self-consciousness…asking ‘I should have’ only places fault on yourself! Do not let guilt influence your actions or mood. My friend has a saying: ‘No shoes in this house!’ What she actually meant was ‘no shoulds in this house!”’ Our second speaker, Chi Simons DTM gave her Pathway Ice Breaker speech titled “20 Things You Did Not Know About Chi Simons”. We learned that Chi was born in Viet- Nam. Chi said that she was “very different from her brothers and sisters” so much so that her mother “jokingly” told her she was “found in a dumpster”. Not surprisingly, Chi was raised by her Grandmother until she was 16 when her father sold everything they had to move to the United States. Her first job in the states was to roll silverware for $4.00 an hour while she struggled in school and learned English. Through incredible determination Chi graduated with a degree in finance. “It took me almost ten years to get a four-year degree.” She soon started a career as an accountant. “It does not matter what you do. Focus, hard work and persistence will take you anywhere you want to go.” Our third speaker giving his second Pathways speech titled “The Importance of Goals” was Richard Harvey. Richard used the story of David facing Goliath to illustrate how David overcame extreme odds to find success. Richard explained that David “Had a plan. First, he ‘saw’ his victory, then he ‘spoke’ his victory and then he realized his goal.” Richard said that goals must be specific, reachable, time bounded and measurable. “Be proactive with your goals. Even though young Michael Jordan did not make the JV basketball team. He used this setback to encourage him to practice harder and make the varsity team! Eventually his tenacity toward reaching his goals would lead him to the pros.” Leading a Hall of Fame cast of evaluators was General Evaluator Dickson Mo. Giving expert speech reviews were Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Kate), David Hundeby (for Chi) and Lily-Phuong Tang IP1 (for Richard). Our Report Harvesters (RH) also brought wisdom to the meetings thanks to 1st time Grammarian Randy Cadely, Timer Jose Vela, Memory Rake Renee Ellis CC, CL; AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Joey Jacobshagen. Painting praise with all of the colors of the wind were our guests Rebecca Cassell and Kristin Steiner. Kristin joined our club after the meeting. Welcome Kristin! This meeting was as beautiful as a perfect Autumn day.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 18, 2018 “Salt” theme proved Club #28 members were truly the “salt of the earth.” First time invocation and pledge presenter Jessica Bright started the meeting with the thought from Isrealmore Ayivor: “You are the salt of the earth. But remember that salt is useful when in association, but useless in isolation.” An ‘old salt’ of leading Toastmaster meetings, Chi Simons DTM was our Toastmaster on this night. Chi produced many interesting facts about how salt was both detrimental as well as beneficial to our health. She noted that it was possible for someone to ‘overdose on salt’ but also that “without salt, you will probably die.” Chi gave us many interesting health facts about salt such as salt can lead to heart problems and harm the nervous system but also that salt is helpful in replacing sodium lost through sweat. Chi had many such topics that opened a whole new world of information to us about salt. Also bringing with him some questions about the most used spice on earth was Ken Walley DTM as the Table Topics Master. Ken first question was “Salt is in saltwater! Tell us of a beach adventure you once had.”  Jessica talked about going to the beach with a “massive inflatable pizza”. The “pizza” was in “slices” that you blew up and had to put together! They used the pizza to raft down a river. Question #2: “Salt is… on the table! What are your favorite foods?” Richard Harvey said that he was a vegetarian and that his favorite food was, of course “Veggies”! He especially liked stir-fry. The third question got a little harder. “In the Bible, Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt when she turned around to see the devastation of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Is there something in your life that you do not want to look back upon?” Linda Klein CC told of a horrific car crash that she somehow escaped from! The next question: “Also in the Bible, Jesus of Nazareth said that we should “all be the salt of the earth”. What does that mean? Do you know anyone who you think is the “salt of the earth?” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB took this on saying that while salt enhances the flavor of food, it is the people who make life worth living. That love, tenderness, caring towards others make the difference in the joy we will get out of life. Awesome answer! Question six was a little more open-ended: “What do you know about salt?” Soon to be member Mica Rounds, has a lot to say about the subject talking about saltwater being un drinkable, the role salt plays in hypertension, how salt is used to condition water and many other short subjects, all within two minutes! The next question, “Salt water taffy is really good tasting and about the worst thing in the world for your teeth. Do you have a favorite candy?” Vincent Son spoke about his favorite food with salt: Pretzels! He also spoke of a fondness for salt-caramel candy. “So good I can taste it by closing my eyes.” Joey Jacobshagen spoke about the question “If you knock a salt shaker over it is bad luck (unless you toss some of it over your shoulder) do you have a “favorite superstition”? Joey said that “clack cat crossing in front of him, freak me out.” He noted that “cats can be scary.” The last question: “Before refrigeration fish, meat and other perishables were packed in salt to preserve them. What things would you miss from our modern world had you lived 400 years ago?” was bravely taken on by guest Kegan Moore. Kegan said that he would miss “transportation” the most. “I have a need for speed” and “walking will not do the trick.”  We had three remarkable speeches starting with one by David Hundeby titled “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. David told us about the urge to climb Mt. Hood in Oregon (elevation 11,249 ft.) as a child and his triumph of reaching the peek with his father as a teen! He explained the best route, the equipment you would need, the best season and time and the incredible dangers involved with climbing a mountain that high. He even gave us some spectacular views from the top. This was a thrilling adventure! Our second speaker Jose Vela revisited the speech he gave at our last meeting “The Orlando Real Estate Market: A Snapshot (Pt. 2)” This time Jose considered the feed- back that he had received from the last time he gave this speech to enhance its quality. He succeeded in adding passion to the presentation and making his props more dynamic. The last speaker Dickson Mo again present a highly polished presentation titled “Lead by Example” about the subject of leadership. He showed ways to gain control of a rowdy classroom situation he called “clap control.” The importance of enforcing “raising your hand”. He even floated the idea of having group members sing (and dance) to the Aretha Franklin classic “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” if due honor was not shown in the group setting. “You have to command respect” said Dickson. He also pointed out the importance of sharing your own experiences. Dickson concluded “Be honest, know your stuff and they will listen. These three remarkable speeches all received high praise in the evaluation section capably led by General Evaluator Diana Walley ARMG, CL. Diana was assisted by evaluators Lily-Phuong Tang CC, IP1 (for David), Kate Murray VC1 (for Jose) and Ken Blake DTM (for Dickson). The Salt Report Miners (SRP) made our progress crystal clear thanks to Grammarian Linda Klein CC, AH Counter Maria Son, Timer Susan Storma ACS, ALB; Camera Shaker Renee Ellis and Vote Counter Richard Harvey. Our guests Mica Rounds and Kegan Moore were sodium, I mean sold on this meeting. They say that “when it rains it pours” is as good a description of the excellent meetings we have had lately, this is one sure to be salted away.

I would not be sardonic by saying that the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 October 10, 2018 “Sarcasm” theme meeting was the best Toastmaster meeting ever held. Yeah right. OK, so maybe not the best ever … but close! Tina Weiczorek had the perfect quote to start the meeting: “Light appears faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.” Of course, it would be Ken Walley DTM as the Toastmaster for this bizarre theme. Ken explained the meaning of sarcasm. “It means derision, mockery, ridicule, satire, scorn, sneering, contempt, scoffing and taunting. We are going to have a wonderful time tonight!” Ken also provided some sarcastic quotes such as Tom Lehrer’s “Life is like a sewer… what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.” Mark Twain’s “Familiarity breeds contempt – and children.” Will Roger’s “A fool and his money will soon be elected.” And Ken’s favorite from W.C. Fields: “Anyone who hates dogs and children can’t be all bad.” Diana Walley ATMG, CL brought along “The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm” by James Napoli and asked for comments from some of the book’s definitions. She started with the word “Achievement as ‘an impressive accomplishment, often accompanied by a sense of triumph. Or as it is known to 98 percent of the population… getting out of bed in the morning.’” Maria Son said that an achievement that she was proud of was earning a black belt in karate and teaching it to her sister. “Advice” was defined as “the only thing more un-welcomed than a baby in a movie theater.” Lily Phuong-Tang CC gave us the advice to visit other Toastmasters clubs and remember that the learning in Toastmasters never ends. “Budget” was defined in the Dictionary of Sarcasm as “the allocation of funds over a period of time for a particular series of expenditures. Usually shot to hell by the sudden need for braces or a new timing belt.” Guest Ben Zbi Binden told us that as a CPA and finance officer he often stresses the importance of having a budget to his clients. “Cell Phone is a device developed by a team of scientists who were determined to make sure that no one would ever be left alone again.” Richard Harvey said that cell phones are “a good invention that needs to be used in the right places.” He noted that “etiquette goes out the window when people pull out their cell phones.” He made note that restaurants, planes, meetings and other tight places are not the place for cell phones. “Coffee” Diana said was described as “a laxative that is often sold with croissants.” She asked guest Christian Morales if “coffee was the best thing ever to have happened to the human race or just an addictive drug that has enslaved us all?” Christian said that “as a laxative, it does get us up in the morning! It also has a very different effect on different people.” The last Sarcasm Dictionary definition was of “Friend: A person you use to pass the time between relationships.” Randy Smith made the observation that the first person you call after a breakup is a friend. A true friend,” said Randy, “is one who is there to provide emotional support.”  Our three speeches this evening started with a David Hundeby speech titled “Shoe Hear Me?”  A veteran of many triathlons, marathons and other long-distance runs; David told us how to protect us from foot pain. “There are 54 bones in the human feet, they make up nearly ¼ of all of the named bones in the body. The feet hold the body up. Ancient conquerors soon learned that to cut off the toes would render a subject unable to stand or escape.” David brought example of proper foot wear and lots of advice on how to keep our feet strong and healthy. Our second speaker Jose Vela also educated us with a speech titled “The Orlando Housing Market: A Snapshot”. Educate is the correct term. Jose, an Orlando Real Estate broker; gave us a plethora of information about today’s current housing market, especially in the Central Florida area. One example: “The overall median price for an inventory home is $231,000 and up +3% in 2018 but inventory is decreasing and the overall sales of 1,374 property is off -6%.” Another interesting fact he gave was that a house will sell 36% less without a realtor. “It depends on the house” said Jose, “not every house will sell for a profit.” We learned a lot from his speech! Our last speaker, Linda Klein CC, was giving her Pathways Ice Breaker speech titled “My Story”. Linda had been given a gift of a very nice Journal to write in to tell “her story.”  “I got this about five years ago and as you can see I have not written a thing in it. I have been too busy living.” She lamented that it is important to pass down stories about your past. She told a short story of her father and brother, saying that it captured how they were. She made a pledge to fill out that journal someday “even if I have to fill in some of the gaps with fiction” … for her grandkids, and for herself. Not to be cynical… but the Master Evaluator Dickson Mo went overboard putting together such an awesome Evaluation section! Helping out Dickson with amazing evaluations were Brenna Droege ACB (for David), Marie Leoffler DTM (for Jose) and Kate Murray VC1 (for Linda). The Sarcastic University Singers (SUS) delighted us with their reports including Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, AH Counter Richard Harvey, Timer Vincent Son, Movie Star Maker Renee Ellis CC, CL and Vote Counter Tina Weiczorek.  Our guests Ben Zbi Binden, Christian Morales, Willsmith Merane, Chris Dean, Randy Smith and Cedric Lee Evers had nothing snarky to say about our Sarcasm themed meeting, only very nice comments. This shows that Club #28 has the courage to try any theme, even sarcasm… and still have a terrific meeting! I mean that. I am not being sarcastic! No, really!

The entire City of Orlando would have been proud of the October 4, 2018 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “City of Orlando” theme meeting. It seemed as if the entire city of Orlando was at the meeting as we had over 30 students from a University of Central Florida business class attending! For the only time in memory, the Herndon library meeting room was filled to the point of capacity and the library staff had to turn away late-comers. Maria Son started the meeting with a motivational quote from Jack Walsh “Before you are a leader success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” Our first-time Toastmaster for this evening Owen Bryan related how he had grown up in Orlando and how he had watched grow through the years. He reiterated that Orlando was “more than just Walt Disney World” and that it was a diverse population and a strong community that comes together in adversity such as in the Pulse nightclub shooting and during hurricanes. He pointed out that Orlando enjoys many rich cultural and historic traditions, Orlando, said Owen, “is more than magical, it is an inspiring place to live.” Table Topics Master, Susan Storma ACS, ALB brought a number of questions, a Orlando fun-facts for our members and guests. Noting that she was born in Orlando, Susan asked Linda Klein CC where she was born and how it is different from Orlando. Linda was born in a very different place: Michigan! Linda mentioned that the weather was very different, especially in the winter time. Susan asked one of our UCF guests, Sam Brawn what his favorite theme park was. He spoke about a water park in Belgium named “Wallaby”. Susan’s next question was for Kristin Steiner asking her if she had a “favorite non-theme park” place to visit. Kristin said she likes to visit the beach. Her favorite beaches are New Smyrna Beach and Cocoa Beach. A returning guest Mica Rounds was asked what his favorite Orlando place to eat was. He had a love of a local Mediterranean eatery. He also has a love of fast food: “Fudruckers! Del Taco! Stake n’ Shake at 2 AM and Taco Bell at 3 in the morning!” Susan pointed out that Orlando is home to an international airport. Vincent Son was asked what his favorite airport was. Vincent could not think of an airport, but he did speak highly of the effect that Toastmasters had made on his life. Fred Student spoke about watching space launches from the Kennedy Space Center. He was most impressed by the recent Space X launches where the booster landed themselves. “The way we see space flight now, has changed forever.” Marie Loeffler DTM talked about Orlando traffic. Even with the I-4 construction going on “Orlando does not even hold a candle” to the traffic in New York City! Marie told us some crazy story about how people drive there. “Sane people use the public transportation.” Andrey Platta told about petting a baby alligator even though she is “terrified of anything that crawls.” Our last speaker, Alyssa Brown said that she would recommend to some one coming to Orlando to check our Disney Springs for an evening of good food and entertainment. We had three speakers starting with Dickson Mo presenting a speech about why our computer is not working titled “Trouble Shooting 101”. Some of his suggestions included “is the cable connected to the wall?”, “is there an on/off switch?” and “is the surge protector functional?” During his speech we learned about beat codes (“it’s your computer telling ‘I’m sick’.”), “power on south test”, “no post”, “no video” and “window stages.” His last advice was very simple… if you have a working computer… “Google it!” Our second speaker was Lily Phuong-Tang CC, CL with a Pathways speech titled “Leadership in General”, Lily tackled the subject of leadership styles. While covering ways of communicating project intelligence such as by being authoritative, setting goals, through coaching or even using purely bureaucratic measures; Lily focused on learning to adapt both to rejection, failure, even success as a leader. Our third speaker Chi Simons DTM gave a highly emotional speech titled “Surprise!” in which she was invited a “a special event” for fellow Club #28 member and good friend Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. When she arrived, she learned that Daphne was having a “pre-surgery support party”. Chi told us about what she wanted to say from the heart to Daphne about her wishes and fears about her recovery. She fought with herself to say it to Daphne, but she did. “Never negotiate with yourself!” Said Chi “follow your heart you will be glad you did.” The speech was a moving, powerful and personal speech that touched everyone in the room. Get well Daphne! The evaluation team was headed by General Evaluator Renee Ellis CC, CL with assistance from David Hundeby (for Dickson), Ken Walley DTM (for Lily) and Brenna Droege ACB (for Chi). They delivered three excellent evaluations. Our Orlando Chamber of Consultants (OCOC) reported on the progress of the evening from Grammarian Richard Harvey, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM, Timer Tina Weiczorek, Mayoral Epistolarian Renee Ellis CC, CL and Vote Counter Vincent Son. Not given a chance to speak in the meeting was member Jessica Bright who was however recognized by the club at the end of the meeting along with standing ovations for first time Toastmaster Owen Bryan and Grammarian Richard Harvey. Many of the UCF students gave exciting, positive reviews of the meeting along with our regular guests. Club #28 on this night made the “City Beautiful” just a little more beautiful!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 27, 2018 “Temperature” theme meeting was “Hot! Hot! Hot!” Starting the meeting was Area 30 Director Lily Phuong-Tang CC, IP1 who began with a quote from Anne Bradstreet: “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” Our Toastmaster was Dickson Mo who provided numerous temperature minutiae that was also useful… such as the fact that men and women have different body temperatures which might affect sleeping comfort levels. He also pointed out temperatures have an impact on work productivity as well as almost every aspect of our day- to- day life. Throughout the meeting, Dickson also gave us a ton of fun temperature trivia. One of Club #28 coolest members Owen Bryan provided some Table Topics question as our Table Topic Master. His first question was “what would you take with you if you had to evacuate for a hurricane?” Maria Son said it depended on the time and transportation, but she would make sure she had the basics of “money, food, water, laptop, phone, clothes… anything I could pack into the car.”  Kate Murray VC1 was asked if she would rather live in the coldest place on earth (East Antarctic -136 F) or the hottest place (El Azizia, Libya 134 F). Kate said she grew up in Wisconsin where it was “plenty cold” and the “snow, ice and wind encouraged her to move” to Florida where it is “really hot!” Kate say she might prefer “a place where it is more neutral.”  Our guest Toya Johnson spoke about her “best beach experience” on Cocoa Beach where she “enjoyed the cool night, talking with some good people.” “If you were in control of the weather in Orlando for one year what would it be like?” Joey Jacobshagen said that there would be “Ice forts and snow ball fights.” This brought about a negative crowd reaction.  He went on, “there would be skiing in the mountains.” The reaction this time was “you would create mountains?” Vincent Son was asked what food he liked to eat when it was hot outside. “Ice Cream” he decided on. “If I could only have one. It would last longer, and it feels cool in your hand.” We had three speakers that all brought joy to this sweltering late September Indian-summer night. Our first speaker was Richard Harvey who was giving his Ice Breaker speech titled “A Little Bit About Me.”  Richard told us about growing up in a close family “There were 8 people in a two-bedroom, 1 bath house!” Later he told of having to adjust to going to school and the other kids making fun of his southern accent. “I won them over by working hard at my studies.” Following in the footsteps of his brother, he joined the Marines Corp. in which he would serve over a decade. He met his wife, had two kids and just celebrated his 35th year of marriage. He started a second career as a school teacher which he found was a true calling. “I found that I was doing something that was making a difference. I was helping kids and making a better community.”  Our second speaker was Tina Weiczorek with a speech titled “A Year in the Life of a Nanny” Tina took us through the typical struggles and the trials of a nanny as well as the development of a child in her care. She spoke about how children adapt to change and so do adults, even nannies. From “picking peas out of your hair and wiping thrown food off the walls” to learning lessons of what is safe or dangerous (“Don’t put that in your mouth!”) to what is good behavior or not so good… Tina noted that changes will come. For the children they develop, for the nannies…they get wiser. Our last speaker was Chi Simons DTM with a speech titled “Routines” about how different routines are important in adding stability to our lives and even making us more productive. In the morning Chi goes through the same steps to put things in perspective (she always writes three pages in her journal before doing anything). Her drive to work can influence her mood. “Bad traffic, bad mood!” There are audio books to focus her thoughts to tame the traffic vibes.  Chi goes to the gym three times a week and always plays the music loud to get motivated. These little habits play a major part of her life, in generating ideas, keeping her on track and even helping to define herself. Said Chi: “You mess with my routines, you mess with my soul!” These three speeches were blessed with three equally brilliant evaluations. Leading the evaluation section of the meeting was a special guest General Evaluator Mduduzi Mthanti CC, the Area A2 Director of District 74 in South Africa! Ken Walley DTM (for Richard), Diana Walley ATMG, CL (for Tina) and Joey Jacobshagen (for Chi) did the honors of giving the evaluations. The Oratorical Climate Scientists (OCS) were recording the vocal temperature of the room throughout the evening with reports by Grammarian Kate Murray VC1, AH Counter Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB; Timer Vincent Son, Visual Thermometer Regulator Marie Leoffler DTM and Vote Counter Marie Son. Our guests Andrew Vannesk, Toya Johnson, Micah Rounds, Raquel Wnedbee, David Augustin, Deidia Delgado, Shannon Potter, Monica Mantilla, Kristin Steiner, Kegan Moore and Mduduzi Mthanti CC were on fire with wonderful comments about this meeting! This “Temperature” theme meeting was as cool as a cucumber on the hot tamale train to pure excellence!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 September 20, 2018 “Financial Literacy” had a lot of good advice for those trying to manage money and much more. Starting the meeting off with a personal message was Richard Harvey. His message was about thinking things out before you act. “Use wisdom in all things. For wisdom is the principal element of true realization and satisfaction.” Our Toastmaster for this meeting was Lily Phuong-Tang CC, IP1. Lily admitted that she had no background in finance but as she went through life she became very aware that money concerns had to be taken seriously. Lily has come up with a personal budget to meet her needs and she encouraged us to do the same. “Planning for the future has meant a better life for me and my family. Planning for emergencies has prevented a lot of hardship that we did not have to go through.” Also on-board with financial planning was Table Topics Master Tina Weiczorek who brought with her some questions for us to think about. She started with Joey Jacobshagen and a simple question of “How do you save money?” Joey had some good ideas such as “Do not be impulsive. “I am tempted by fast food and treats. Stay away from them! Live within your means as well as keep your weight down.” Susan Storma ACS, ALB told us that she started saving money with a piggy-bank at the age of 6. “Learning that lesson young had a big impact on my life. I was able to put myself through collage through my savings.” Linda Klein CC was asked what kind of “needs” were in her life. Because she was retired she said her needs were relatively modest. “Car insurance, food, home investment… I am blessed. I learned that to live below your means and something will be there when you get older, you’ll be OK.” Jose Vela was asked what his “wants” were in life. Jose jokingly referred to himself as a “poor-rican” and said that he “wants money and wants to spend it!” In the end he said that like most people, he really wants to be happy. “Money might not by happiness, but it will put a smile on your face.” Richard Harvey was questioned with who taught him about how to manage money. Richard said that there were many who helped him with finance along the way in life. “Money is a good servant but a horrible master.” He said that “through giving to others he had learned to save for himself.”  New member Jessica Bright was asked when she opened her first savings account. Jessica said that as a young girl about 10 she remembers opening her first bank account. “As a child I was very young when I was taught to save. Now it is second-nature, I even ended up a CPA!”  Ken Blake DTM was asked if there was “anything different” he would do with his money. Ken replied that his three sons were all extremely successful in life. One of them became a financial adviser and Ken wished that he had taken his advice and invested in bit-coins. “Bit-coins went through the roof!” said Ken. Club #28’s “other Ken”, Ken Walley DTM replied to “are you comfortable financially?” Ken was brutally honest. He realized that he was “not going to be rich, and that not all of us are going to be rich.” He lamented that he always seemed to be “just one step ahead of financial ruin. I need a new car, my house needs a new roof, medical bills and just the regular stuff: food, gas, cable, electric, insurance… it all adds up. You must have a plan of some kind, a budget just to survive.” Club #28 was rich in speeches however starting with Vincent Son and a Speech titled “Failure can teach us Success”.  Vincent talked about how we are all very different and very alike in many ways. He passed out a “Personality Test” to show that there are distinct personalities. He observed that we use our own individual strengths and avoid our weaknesses through five survival maneuvers that Vincent listed as control, monitoring, leadership, teamwork and communication. These are, of course effectively trail and error solutions. Which is how he is overcoming his fear of public speaking in Toastmasters. Vincent gave us a lot to think about. Another person giving us a lot to “drink” about was Daphne Hart ACS, ALB with her speech titled “The Importance of H2O”. Daphne told us about the many varied benefits of drinking water. She listed, skin health, stronger, whiter teeth, better digestion, longer life, better hair, reducing stress, helps builds bones and muscles among the thing things you might not associate with drinking water! “Life is simple” said Daphne, “just add water!” She even passed out free samples! Our last speaker was Kate Murray VC1 speaking on the “The Art of Communication” somehow in a 5 to 7-minute speech she covered the “Four Communication Styles” or 1. Direct: Being decisive, confident and in control but also often impatient or demanding.  2. Initiating: by being sociable, enthusiastic, gregarious and friendly but also talking more than listening. 3. Supportive: by being clam, steady, sincere and no-tension, which can be also indecisive. 4.Analytycal or systematic, precise, task-oriented, diplomatic but also prideful and perfectionist. Kate admitted that communication becomes “an art” through the combination of these styles. The evaluation section of this meeting was worth its weight in gold thanks to efforts of General Evaluator Dickson Mo. Ken Walley DTM (for Joey), Ken Blake DTM (for Daphne) and David Hundeby (for Kate) all put in sterling efforts. Also with a valuable return was the work of the Bureaucratic Bank & Trust (BB&T) consisting of Grammarian Owen Bryan, AH Counter Maria Son, Timer Marie Leoffler DTM, Cinematic Cashier Renee Ellis CC, CL and Vote Counter Jose Vela. Our guests Kelly James, Diaris Alexander, Kendra Munroe and Valerie Smith provided a treasure of excellent comments on the meeting. If knowledge can make you wealthy, then this Club #28 meeting should have made you rich.


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

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As the throng settled into a hush, Club #28 Sergeant at Arms Tina Wieczorek called this extraordinary event to order. Proud Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC opened the contests with a quote from Emily Dickenson: “Forever is composed of nows.” She also welcomed the mass of friends, guests and Toastmasters luminaries that packed the room. Our Contest Master on this evening was rising Club #28 superstar Jose Vela. Jose put his usual flare for showmanship and leadership of display. Having a full program Jose kept the contest on time and enraptured us with humor and insight throughout the evening. Even though this was his first time as a Contest Master, one was given the impression that he was born to MC contests! The first contest was the Evaluation Contest. The test speaker for our Evaluators was Jeremy Bennett DTM who was presenting a speech titled “Health Care Without Insurance”. Jeremy explained that through the control of diet, sleep, exercise, poor posture and avoiding “negative intakes such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine and sugar” that we could add years to our life and reach a higher quality of living. “Health care cannot stop you from dying but caring for your health can richly extend your life.” Said Jeremy. After the speech, our four Evaluation contestants were escorted out of the room to prepare their speech reviews. They were given only five minutes and then brought in one-by-one to deliver their individual evaluation of Jeremy’s speech. Ken Blake DTM, Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Ken Walley DTM and Dickson Mo all managed to come up with inventive, insightful and proficient speech assessments. The main topic of conversation during the short break that followed the first contest was: “How in the world are the judges going to choose a winner?” After the break, Tina called our second contest, the Humorous Speech contest to order.  It started with Dickson Mo’s “Just do It!”. Dickson admitted that he had a problem with procrastination and told us of his challenges with getting prepared to write this very speech. Each time something came up (“Clean the car!”) it would lead to something else (“adorable cat videos! “…” Vitamins and minerals on Amazon!”) in the end, he never got the speech started… or did he? Our second speaker was Ken Walley DTM with a speech titled “A Day in the Life of Ken Walley” In this speech Ken told about a “typical day” in his life… and in the world of his alter-ego. We drove along in a James Bond car, fed mountain lions, “Milked” poisonous snakes, roped cattle and saved Orlando from a crime spree as a super-hero… It was quite a ride! Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB in her speech “Embarrassing moments” told us of some of the most, well embarrassing moments of her life. As well as some of the funniest. A building was evacuated due to burnt toast, an incident involving yellow smiley-face underwear underneath silk pants and softball injuries that made people think Kara was homeless were just some of her most embarrassing moments. Lastly it was Kate Murray VC1 who presented a speech titled “Paris… It Depends!” Kate told how at times re-visiting Paris might seem like a fairy-tale type thing to do. But after living there for six years she began to remember the things that were not so wonderful… the smells… the attitudes of those who live there… the inconvenience… the bureaucracy…All of it sidesplitting uproarious. These were four extremely hilarious speeches! At times the laughter seemed to shake the walls and many laughed so hard they almost passed out from forgetting to breathe. Before the results could be announced, recognition was given to those who made this night so very special: The Vote Counters Lily Phuong-Tang CC, Vincent Son and Daphne Hart ACS, ALB; Timers Tina Wieczorek and Orion Craig; Chief Judge Marie Leoffler DTM, Contest Sgt. at Arms Chi Simons DTM and Chris Alvarez; Contest Chair David Hundeby and of course Contest Master Jose Vela!  At last our Area Director Lily Phuong-Tang CC handed out the beautiful trophies to our winners: In the Evaluation Contest Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB came in Second Place and Ken Walley DTM took the 1st Place prize. The Humorous Speech 2nd Place winner was Dickson Mo and the winner of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 Humorous Speech Contest was Kate Murray!








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

[Editor notes: I was not at the meeting for 9/6/2018 and I truly thank Marie Leoffler DTM for her notes on the meeting.]

Agenda for the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 for Thursday September 6, 2018. Theme: Toys. Sergeant at Arms Tina Weiczorek. Call the meeting to order/ reading of mission statement. Announce changes to the agenda/ silence cell phones or put in Airplane mode. Introduce Invocation & Pledge Linda Klein CC. “If you cannot get rid of the skeletons in your closet, teach them to dance” – George Bernard Shaw. Introduce President. President Renee Ellis CC. Greeting and set tone for the meeting. Introduce visitors and guests. Visitors: Toya Johnson – visiting area clubs, we are her second club; Emily Gallagher returned for another visit and Patrica Tunga-Lergo – visiting area clubs, we are his second club also. Announce Club #28 business. Introduce Toastmaster. Toastmaster Tina Weiczorek. The lectern area was decorated with many interesting toys. Greeting and an interesting fact – Mr. Potato Head first made his debut in 1952. According to Tina’s research, the oldest manufactured toy still in existence is the Teddy Bear. Introduce Grammarian Maria Son, word of the day: “optimal”, meaning ‘best’. Introduce Ah Counter Ken Blake DTM who claimed to have the powers of Houdini as he promised to make our filler words disappear. Introduce  Timer Vincent Son. Introduce Vote Counter Omar Khan. Introduce Table Topics Master Lily Phuong-Tang CC. Table Topics Master Lily Phuong-Tang CC. Explain Table Topics and theme. Lily told us story of a favorite memory of  making a Banana Boat that she played in. Conduct Table Topics session.  Return control of meeting to the Toastmaster. Renee told of her favorite childhood toy – a Velvet Doll whose hair grew as she pulled it out.  However the story did not end well for the doll as one day, Renee Ellis CC gave it a haircut and the hair did not grow back :-). Lily then told of the importance of the Dragon in her culture.  It stood for power. Owen Bryan told of the importance of the bird in the Jamaican culture and then continued to tell of his imagination creating toys from highlighters and other treasures. Chris Alvarez told of his toys that were on a mission from space – they were searching to find the owners of a boy.  Their adventures involved a police chase and other adventures. The questioning shifted focus to the value of technology. Marie Loeffler DTM responded by saying that she learns what is needed to do her work effectively and has a base level of competence and paying attention to the balance between technology and human interaction. Jerry Fitzgerald DTM ignored the question asked and instead told of his frustration with clubs whose members present non-manual speeches.  He said that Club 28 is outstanding in the work we do in the “public speaking laboratory’ that is Toastmasters. Maria Son was asked about her favorite childhood toy and she talked of a Barbie Doll that she had as a child. Emily Gallagher was asked to create a character representing her.   She named her character  “Malibu Barbie of Dirt” as  she was a girl who enjoyed playing in the dirt –  her car was a worm. Richard Harvey spoke on leadership toys.  Saying that the train best represented leadership as it staying on the tracks and could continue to move in the right direction at both fast and slow speeds. He also noted that trains were responsible for delivering some of our best leaders across the plains. Lastly, Linda Klein CC spoke of her children’s favorite toy.  She described in detail Pogo the Pony who had springs on each foot – It got the most use and they had the most fun with Pogo. Request timer report. Request vote for best Table Topics. Toastmaster Tina Weiczorek. Tina shared the fact that the puzzle was invented in 1767 by John Spilsbury who cut maps apart to teach geography. Introduce Speaker #1 Orion Craig (PW – Ice Breaker) titled “Turning Point” (4-6 min). We learned that he is currently a Sales Manager and a former Pokemon Champion. Through the hard work and examples set by his parents, Orion learned that, at a crucial moment, a nudge in the right direction can make all the difference in a person’s life. He went on to recount the story of his friend Justin and their interactions at a Pokemon competition where despite Orion’s lost, he encouraged Justin who eventually won the competition. Orion left us with a challenge to help those in need. Request 1 minute for individual feedback. Tina then told us of the 1958 start of the Whamoo! toys and reminded us of the successful Hula Hoop that showed up in playgrounds across the country. Introduce Speaker #2 – David Hundeby (CC #6) titled “Say What?” David told of his experience with Mr. Anderson, a teacher with a high pitched voice which David demonstrated masterfully throughout the speech – it was hard to stay focused on studies while “Kermit” was speaking.  David demonstrated a wide variety of vocal quality including volume and pitch while recounting his and his classmates  misadventures in Mr Anderson’s classroom. Request 1 minute for individual feedback. Tina then told more of the evolution of toys from The teddy bear to the yo yo to Shirley Temple and GI Joe and onward to present day. Interesting fact is that most toys were originally intended for another purpose -most notably Play Doh that was originally used to clean walls. Request Timer’s report. Request vote for Best Speaker. Introduce General Evaluator. General Evaluator Marie Leoffler DTM. Introduce Evaluator #1 Jose Vela. Introduce Evaluator #2 Dickson Mo. Request a Timer’s report. Request vote for Best Evaluator and Most Improved. General Evaluator delivers meeting evaluation (2-3 minutes).As we had only two speakers, it was decided earlier that we would do a short training on evaluating in the hopes of encouraging more members to step up to evaluate their fellow club members. After describing the evaluation sandwich:  Positive comments, followed by suggestions for improvement, closing with positive comments.  Marie led a discussion around the question:  What do you as a speaker want and need to hear from your evaluator in order to move forward.Comments included:  tell me when/if I kept your interest, tell me what specifically I can do to get stronger, tell me if I fulfilled the purpose of the speech,  Others gave more comments on how to evaluate based on Toastmaster training and experience. Everyone at the meeting agreed that the conversation was very valuable and wanted to have similar discussions in the future.  Mentioned that training like this helped them better understand the roles and to feel more comfortable stepping up.  Return control of the meeting to Toastmaster. Toastmaster Tina Weiczorek. Request Grammarian report (2-3 minutes). Ken Blake DTM awarded the perfect “no filler word” prize to  Jose Vela. Request AH Counter report (1-2 minutes). Return control of the meeting to President. President Renee Ellis CC. Make concluding remarks. Ribbons presents by Vote Counter. Winners for the meeting were: Table Topics:  Emily Gallagher, Most Improved: Dickson Mo, Best Evaluator: Jose Vela and Best Speaker: Orion Craig. Standing Ovation for IB Orion Craig! Request schedule report from VPE Marie Leoffler DTM. Request feedback from guests. Reminder of $2 donation. Welcome brief comments from the floor. Meeting Adjourn.

[From my notes.] Club: The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Date: 8/30/18. Theme Marshmallows. Sgt. at Arms Tina Weiczorek. Invocation & Pledge: Lauren Crane: quote from Dr. Elizabeth Kuber-Ross: Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose Club President Renee Ellis CC: Introduces guests: Kevin Alvarez, Alex Cumming, Nehemi (”Nay”) Januier, Calvin Gardner, Richard Harvey and Kay Moye. Meeting Toastmaster: Kate Murray VC1. From Kate: August 30th National Marshmallow Day. Marshmallow fun facts: 1st used in ancient Egypt, used as a medicine, trhe mallow root was later replaced with a gelatin, etc… Also Kate’s five (6?) favorite ways to use marshmallows: 5. S’mores; 4. Right out of the bag; 3. Peeps; 2. In Hot Chocolate and 1. As a “Marshmallow Fluff or Charred Marshmallow off the stick! Table Topic Master: Renee Ellis CC. Question 1: How do you celebrate National Marshmallow day? Answer by Jose Vela: “Go with a S’more. Sister always had the makings at her house, even if she didn’t have any other food!” Question 2: “The world record S’more is a 267 lbs monster made in the Deer Run Camping resort in 2014; what is the biggest thing that you have ever made? Answer by Orion Craig: “We made a ‘beer can burger’ for my father on father’s day. Packed with everything, onion, peppers, cheese… and slow cooked for over an hour, then topped with every topping imaginable, it was gigantic!” Question 3: What is you favorite treat for special occasions? Answer by Kay Moye. The banana pudding my grandmother used to make. “Only she can make it like that. I tried and I can’t!” Question 4: What happens to the marshmallow not cooked at a campfire? Answer Franklin Santos. Just tow week ago Franklin roasted marshmallow outside watching “Nightmare on Elm Street” with some neighbors. Question 5: The Marshmallow capital of the world is Ligonier, Indiana where they have a ‘Marshmallow festival’; what event would you plan for a Marshmallow festival? Answer Guest Calvin Gardner. A celebration of the “Fluffier-nutter marshmallow treat.”  First Speaker Ken Walley DTM; Title: “Selling Toastmasters to your Company: A Sales Training Speech!” Ken gave us a “short seminar” on how to use Toastmasters sales techniques to sell Toastmasters to companies. “Toastmasters will help companies large and small to enhance sales and create a better working environment.”  said Ken, “Sell yourself, sell to others!” Second Speaker: Dickson Mo; Speech Title: “Tonality”. Dickson expressed the importance of having to consider vocal inflection when speaking to others as even a small variance of volume, pace and tone can change the meaning of what you are trying to say. He gave example of using the difference between Canton and Mandarin Chinese dialects! Third Speaker: Lily Phuong-Tang CC, title: “HPL”. Lily gave her High Performance Leadership (HPL) speech reviewing a Demo meeting for Toastmasters in which she invited church leaders to see a “typical meeting” which featured several past Toastmaster District leaders. General Evaluator Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Evaluators: David Hundeby (for Ken), Linda Klein CC (for Dickson) and Marie Loeffler DTM (for Lily). The “S’mores Reports Sing-along Team” (SRS-AT): Grammarian: Tina Weiczorek, Timer Orion Craig, Film Roaster: Owen Bryan, AH Counter: Jose Vela and Vote Counter Richard Harvey. Joining the Club: Richard Harvey! Welcome Richard! Attending: Renee Ellis CC, Diana Walley ATMG, CL; Marie Leoffler DTM, David Hundeby, Linda Klein, Kevin Alvarez, Franklin Santos, Alex Cumming, Jose Vela, Tina Weiczorek, Orion Craig, Owen Bryan, Calvin Gardner, Kay Moye, Lauren Crane, Nay Januier, Omar Kahn, Richard Harvey, Joey Jacobshagen, Dickson Mo, Ken Walley DTM, Lily Phuong-Tang, Maria Son, Vincent Son, Kate Murry VC1 and Daphne Hart ACG, ALB. This was a toasty-tasty meeting!

If “Go to an amazing Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting” is on your bucket list (and it should be on everyone’s) then I hope you were at the August 23, 2018 “Bucket List” theme meeting! The meeting started with Orion Craig presenting the inspiration of the week, a quote from Booker T. Washington: “Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.” Another inspiring moment was the presentation of the Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster Award for 2017-2018. Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC honored Chi Simons DTM for her outstanding efforts of “being an example to our new members of the Toastmasters ideal and to all of our members for her support. We recognize the hard work she has done towards achieving our goals both here, in our area, in the district as well as in our community as a whole!” Congratulations Chi! Ken Walley DTM was our Toastmaster saying that items on our “bucket list”; things we want to accomplish before we die, need not be expensive. “one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is take two years and travel the world but that seem unlikely at this time. Another “bucket list” item of mine would be to a mint condition 1962 Woodie Held baseball card. Probably more reasonable. Ken also introduced us to a book “My Ultimate Bucket List” from the Piccadilly Inc. Press (2018 at Barnes & Nobel) in which are listed hundreds of bucket list items. Ken had us vote “I’m in!” if we wanted to add some of theses to our list. Here are just a few he called out:

Milk a cow.

Cash in a winning lottery ticket.

Be on TV.

Learn another language.

Get a tattoo.

Stomp grapes at a Vineyard.

Go jet skiing.

Mud wrestling.

Bungee Jump.

Sleep on the beach.

Have a candle light dinner.

Make a bucket list.

Diana Walley ATMG, CL had the ultimate table topics question list for our members. Her first question: “I’ve always wanted to get in a taxi and yell “Follow that car!” is there a transportation item on your bucket list?” was directed to Tina Weiczorek. Tina said that there is a five-mile bridge in Michigan that she has always wanted to hike across instead of taking a car. Diana’s next query “What award would you like to win in your lifetime?” Jose Vela had a few of them including “World’s sexist man”, “Realtor of the Year” and “winner of the highest paying lotto ticket of all time.” Which would be hard for him to win because he admitted “I don’t even play the lottery.” Diana said that she has on her bucket list to give a large amount of money to a worthy cause. She asked Daphne Hart ACG, ALB what worthy cause is she proud to support. Daphne said that working a mentor to youth and as a resource advisor for single mothers has brought her eminence satisfaction in seeing the difference in their lives. “I was able to cross off ‘learn to ballroom dance’ off my bucket list,” said Diana, “what have you crossed off yours… David Hundeby?” David said that he had accomplished many things but running a marathon was one of the things that he was most proud of. ”It is not the 26 miles that will kill you but the .2 miles at the end! You will need a lot of support to run a marathon!” Renee Ellis CC was asked what “World record would she like to try to beat in her lifetime?” Renee proudly told how she drove her car, thinking it was broken, to a mechanic with the hand-brake on! Renee is going for the world record of hand-brake driving! Admitting that she always wanted to “ride an elephant” Diana was wondering if Joey Jacobshagen had an animal that he would like to “spend more time with?” Joey talked about studying the African Lion. “They are powerful, natural leaders, very protective and would be very interesting to be around.” The last question for our guest Richard Harvey was asked what he thought of going sky diving. Richard said that even though he had a chance to do that while in the military, his “wife put the brakes on it.” Now that his family has grown up, he would not mind thinking about doing it if it was safe. He told a story about a couple that had sky dived to their wedding! What an entrance! Our first speech featured Linda Klein CC who fulfilled every Club #28 member’s dying wish with a remarkable story titled “The Giving Tree”. Her speech told of the relationship between a boy and a tree. From the start of the story the tree provides for young Nathan with a place to play. Later, as Nathan goes through each stage in life youth, middle age and old age; the tree gives him something of itself. In the end, only a stump is left to give to the elderly Nathan, but that is all that he needs. Done in Linda’s imaginative storytelling style, this speech was both intriguing and entertaining, A different type of speech with an objective towards highlighting leadership styles by Kate Murray VC1 titled “The Leadership Toolbox” gave her listeners a glimpse of the Toastmasters Pathway Program’s Visionary Leadership 48 questionnaire towards spotlighting the strength of personal guidance qualities. Kate also divulged how she was ranked in these leadership styles from the top of the list as Collaborative, interpersonal and concession building to the bottom, that of the bureaucratic character. Kate found in doing this project that by exploring the many different styles they became helpful in understanding her most effective leadership abilities. Marie Loeffler DTM, the third speaker offered “The Results are IN” a speech about the challenges of creating a workshop and the production of a “Train the Trainer Webinar.” She relayed the 5 sections of the agenda that focuses on “Facilitating rather than Lecturing.” She also spoke highly of using the Toastmasters workshop template in her own business model. This was a truly excellent introduction into creating successful seminars. General Evaluator Ken Blake DTM has always had the ultimate wish for the perfect evaluation team. It came true with evaluations Jose Vela (for Linda), Chi Simons DTM (for Kate) and David Hundeby (for Marie). The Functionary Dream Team (FDT) of 1st time Grammarian Maria Son, Timer Tina Weiczorek, Film Accomplisher Renee Ellis CC, AH Counter Vincent Son and Vote Counter Orion Craig. Our guest Alex Cumming, Calvin Gardner, Richard Harvey and Paula Avery made their wishes come true with wonderful commentary on the meeting! After seeing a meeting like this one it is a wonder that being an Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 member is not on everyone’s bucket list!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 16, 2018 Open House meeting was a massive success! Almost 30 guests and members attended, making this one of our largest non-contest meetings ever! The meeting started with a thought of the day from Chris Alvarez quoting a character from the “Game of Thrones Turion Lannister (AKA “The Imp”): “Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.” Club President Renee Ellis welcomed our many visitors to our special open house meeting. She also announced a new member, Maria Son who had just joined last week. Welcome Maria! Marie Leoffler DTM our Toastmaster for the evening, gave a brief history of Toastmasters and of Club #28 as well. “Club #28 is an historic club, we can trace it back to the 1930’s. One of the reasons we have been around for so long is that we do not ‘rest on our laurels’ but adapt to the changing times.” Marie mentioned that this was “an exciting time” to be in Toastmasters with the advent of the new Pathways program and a booming interest in Toastmasters among the Millennial generation. Kate Murray VC1, came prepared to challenge us with some Table Topics questions to enlighten our quests about Toastmasters. What has been your favorite TM moment? Was asked of David Hundeby. David said that he loved watching the speeches and being entertained. He specially remembered a humorous speech by Ken Walley DTM. David also said that he takes pride in watching the improvements of others because he believes he has a part in their progress. Owen Bryan was asked if Toastmasters had “made a difference in your life.” Owen said that it had, especially in “gaining confidence.” He told about how a few weeks ago how he had “gone blank” during a Table Topics question but after that on another week, he won the ribbon for Best Table Topics. Owen had even found the courage to be the meeting Toastmaster last week! Linda Klein CC talked about what she was able to do now, that she could not do before Toastmasters. She said that she had gotten over a “mumbling problem” and that Toastmasters had helped her to speak up for herself, given her a “new courage” She also said that she believes that “people really do want to hear what I have to say.”  When asked what she “admired most about another Toastmaster, Diana Walley ATMG, CL spoke very highly of her husband Ken. “He never gave up on attaining his goals. Now he is a DTM!” New member Maria Son was asked what had “pushed her over the edge into joining Toastmasters?” She related that she joined Toastmasters to overcome fear and to “no longer be afraid of having to speak to others.” Our guest, and Toastmaster Richard Harvey gave a powerful answer to the question of “what make a good leader.” Richard sited liking people, being a good listener and being a team player. “When you know what they want you can give them what they want.” Said Richard. Orion Craig when asked “why join Toastmasters?” Orion took to the speaking floor and explained the myriad of reasons to join this club. Among them: “You learn the basics of speaking. Grammar, eye contact, body movement, the use of a pause and how to break things down into simple terms.” The last question for our Area 30 Director Lily Phuong-Tang CC was “what snack are we missing?” Lily suggested a far-eastern favorite: “Hot noodle chicken soup with bean sprouts and herbs.” The prepared speech for our open house meeting featured a speech by a Distinguished Toastmaster and a speech by a member who is just closing in on his Competent Communicator award. Speaking first was Joey Jacobshagen with a speech titled “Take a Vacation!” which endeavored us to do just that. Joey reminded us that we needed a break and had to “recharge our batteries and get away from stress.” He told us of beautiful places he had been on vacation such as Vero Beach, the Bahamas, Colorado, Sea World, he even told us of a cruise he went on in which someone fell overboard. Said Joey: “You don’t even have to go anywhere! I’m on vacation from College right now… relaxing, reading a good book!” By then end of his speech we were ready to go on vacation ourselves! The second speaker was Chi Simons DTM with a speech titled “No More Fear!” This speech, perfect for an open house meeting, relayed how Chi went from a woman who was “paralyzed with fear” to becoming a truly accomplished Toastmaster and public speaker in just five years. “Toastmasters is a ‘detox place for fear. It replaces fear with confidence.” These two excellent speeches were given two exemplary speech reviews by Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB (for Joey) and Ken Blake DTM (for Chi) under the tutelage of General Evaluator Ken Walley DTM. Another example of distinction in service to Toastmasters   was administered by the Toastmasters Education Board of Directors (TEBD) consisting of Grammarian Chis Alvarez, Timer Vincent Son, Reality Verifier David Hundeby, AH Counter Tina Weiczorek and Vote Counter Orion Craig. An Open House meeting like this with so many happy guests made this a truly memorable event. Thanks to our guests: Martin Cook, Justice Exum, Dickson Mo, Emily Gallagher, Peter Guest, Raneata Lemke-Smith, Jennifer Scott, Richard Harvey, Kay Moye, Julia Lee and Francisco Campos ATB, ALB. Best of all Jennifer and Dixon joined the club! This Open House meeting was a perfect window into the learning and joy of Toastmasters Club #28.  

A courageous Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 August 8, 2018 “Fear” theme meeting took place at the Summit Church. Giving an appropriate starting to the meeting was Chris Alvarez with a quote from Henry Ford: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that a plane takes off against the wind.” Going outside of his comfort zone was Owen Bryan taking on the role of Toastmaster for the first time. Owen spoke about how Toastmasters had given him a chance to “test out his bravery” in taking on new roles such as being Toastmaster. He also mentioned that progress is made in facing our fears, taking risks and testing our limits. He also spoke on the subjects of “common fears” in life such as failure and phobias and how to confront them. One Toastmaster, Table Topics Master Marie Loeffler DTM came ready to challenge our fears of extemporaneous speaking skills. Also quoting Henry Ford; “The best surprise is finding our that what you thought you could not do, you can do.” She asked Ken Blake DTM what he found out that he could do. Ken said that it was being “a lawyer”. Representing himself in court, he was able to have the charges dropped for driving an unregistered car, saving himself an $800 fine! Humorist Dave Berry provided the next quote which started with his fear of “falling on lobsters in the dark” and ended with a more intense fear of packages warning: “Some assembly required.” Newest member Omar Kahn could relate telling a tale of having to assemble Ikea furniture every time he moved. “My sister just assumed that it would be cheaper just to buy Ikea than to sell our old stuff.” Omar said, “I’ve been to 18 different Ikeas!” Emily Gallagher took on a quote by Dale Carnegie “If you want to conquer fear, get out there and get busy!” Emily admitted to being somewhat of a “homebody” and then out of the blue signed up for SAK Comedy improv classes! She has been in the beginner’s class for about two weeks now and loves it. Marilyn Monroe proved the next Table Topics quote: “Fear is stupid and so are regrets.” Guest Martin Cook said that his major regret tight now is deciding to take I-4 to get anywhere. “Construction is endless, Roads change overnight, and nothing looks the same!” Marie used the Germain Proverb “Fear makes the wolf seem bigger than it is.” For her question to guest Justice Exum. Justice commented that she had a horrible, nightmarish fear of spiders until she had to comes to grips that she had more power of them they had over her. Chris Alvarez spoke about a Babe Ruth quote “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” He mentioned that the fear of public speaking is stronger in some people than death. “As Jerry Seinfeld once said, ‘Some people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.” Chris said that once you start something, like stand-up comedy; it is often not as scary as you thought it would be. “It is the starting that is hard.” Our three speakers tonight came with very different speeches and subjects starting with Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara’s speech “The Sister Factor”. Kara started with a description of her birth, a grueling 11-hour ordeal that required the nurse to sit on top of her mother! Kara then spoke on her childhood memories, especially about her autistic sister. Her sister endured other trials besides being autistic one involving sexual mistreatment by an adult family member. Kara’s sister’s heart-rendering life had a profound effect on Kara growing up, including depression and a lack of self-confidence. Kara was determined to grow beyond these feelings. She challenged what she thought was impossible and built upon that belief in herself… “just to try. Kara found that she could be successful in life. She embarked on a career in management, later starting her own business. Toastmasters was a part of that process. Now she has been in Toastmasters for 20 years and a optimistic gaze towards the future. Our next speaker was Tina Weizorek with a speech titled “The Bicentennial Quarter”. Tina, a coin collector told us about “her favorite coin” the Bicentennial Quarter which was struck in 1975 and 1976 showing the dates 1776-1976 on the coin. Tina told of the history of the coin, the design was part of a contest with a $5000 Prize for the winner Jack L. Ahr and other interesting trivia. We learned about the meaning of the 13 stars, the torch of victory, the colonial drummer and the Independence Hall engraving on the back. “It is the most collected coin in history” Tina noted. Our third speaker Vincent Son, speaking for the second week in a row gave a speech titled “What is TNTT?” Dressed in the uniform of the non-profit Christian Vietnamese youth and spiritually program “Thieu Nhi Thanh The” or TNTT; Vincent explained the good works that were done in this boy/girl scout type organization. He related on how it had helped him to become a leader as he worked his way up the different ranks of the organization. “Be brave, have confidence and they will love you.” advised Vincent. These three speeches all had brave speech reviews from our courageous Evaluation team lead by the daring General Evaluator Jose Vela. His gutsy support crew of evaluators were Kate Murray (for Kara), Renee Ellis CC (for Tina) and Joey Jacobshagen (for Vincent). This meeting was heroically aided by the bold functionaries of the “No Fear Legion” consisting of Grammarian Linda Klein CC, Timer Orion Craig, TM Video Correspondent Chris Alvarez, AH Counter Lily Phuong-Tang CC and Vote Counter Ken Walley DTM. Our visitors Martin Cook, Justice Exum, Dickson Mo, Emily Gallager and Maria Son, had little trouble speaking out about how wonderful this meeting was. For all of the intrepid members and guests who attended tonight, besides the words spoken this evening, the biggest blow to the power of fear was the example you that set by being here.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Shark week” theme meeting took a big bite out of the typical Toastmasters meeting routine. The meeting started with an invocation by Ken Walley DTM who remembered past Club #28 President the late Michael Joseph DTM with a poem he once wrote: “Toastmasters is the place where fear is displaced.

Where eloquence is promoted, and fear is demoted.

Where self-esteem is honored, and lack of confidence dishonored.

Where passion for greatness destroys all weakness.

To speak eloquently and manage expertly.

To forge life long friendship and confidence to worship.

Toastmasters compliment one’s education,

The energy that lifts a nation.”

Serving as our Toastmaster and lifeguard was Lauren Crane who spoke about the Discovery Channel’s annual “Shark Week” extravaganza, now celebrating it’s 30 year. Lauren mentioned how celebrities are put in close contact with these dangerous, toothful predators just to get over their fear of sharks. “It didn’t go so well with Michael Phelps.” Remembered Lauren. This year noted Lauren that they were filming off the close-by coast of Cuba. Other subjects mentioned were how Orcas actually hunt Great White sharks, various shark facts (“sharks can use heart beats to track their prey”) and a segment on “How to avoid shark attacks” such as “Do not go in the water when sharks are present. Table Topics Master Linda Klein CC had an idea top “open up” Table Topics into an extemporaneous “Shark tale”. It started with Ken Walley DTM on a surfboard being chased by a shark while riding a wave. From there the story moved on shore to a bar with a staff that had shark-like attributes (big teeth and “large fins underneath their shirts”. Maybe this was a dream, but Ken was still there offering drinks. The story returned to sea in search of a cell phone… or something like that. A good plot perhaps for “JAWS XVI in 3D”.  Helping to create this story were Ken, with guests Mandy Smith and Emily Gallagher; Owen Bryan, Orion Craig, Chris Alvarez and returning member Joey Jacobshagen. We had three excellent speeches starting with Jose Vela’s speech titled “Talk with Them!” His presentation focused on the art of personalizing public speeches. To prepare for a speech Jose keeps in mind what he calls the “4Ps”: 1.) Using Pitch to convey sincerity and emotion. 2.) Pace, not to go to fast where the audience has trouble understanding or to slow where they might lose interest. 3.) Projection: Considering the size of your speaking environment and audience. 4.) Lastly, the use of the Pause. Either for dramatic effect or just giving you audience time to think about the message. Jose’s speech had all of these and much more. It was the perfect speech for a room full of guests and new Toastmasters. Speech #2 was by Vincent Son. This was a rare speech that was both unprepared and prepared at the same time! Titled “Unprepared” Vincent told of the consequences in life of being not ready ahead of time; the anxiety, the fear, the worry, the forgetfulness; as Vincent put it, “my head hurts! I’m tired! I just want to hide and go to sleep!” On the other hand, Vincent WAS prepared for this speech by using humor and personal stories. He also reminded us of the value of knowing what is ahead. It turned out to be a wonderful speech even though his final warning was “Don’t be like me! Be prepared!”  The third speaker was David Hundeby with a speech titled “Hey, Where ya Goin’?”  David, a Taekwondo martial arts Blackbelt master presented a lesson in self-defense with the help of an assistant Neil Parker and a wealth of knowledge. We learned how to defend ourselves using basic escape maneuvers from an attack from behind, from a “hair grab”, “Wrist grab”, a choke hold and an attack with the arm around the head, neck and upper body. We did this all in seven minutes! Said David “Your body cannot go where your mind has not gone first.” Our Master Evaluator Ken Blake DTM put some teeth into the evaluation section of the meeting reeling in speech reviews by Kara Newcome ACG, ACB (for Jose), Ken Walley DTM (for Vincent) and Susan Storma ACS, ALB (for David). Fishing for Technical reports were the “Shark Week Crew” (SWC) team of Grammarian Owen Bryan, Timer Kate Murray, Shark Bait & Cameraman Chris Alvarez, AH Counter Marie Loeffler DTM and Vote Counter Tina Weiczorek. Our guests Sam Murray, Justice Exum, Dickson Mo, Josh Leonard, Emily Gallagher, Omar Kahn, Mandy Smith, Scott Teeters and Kay Moye were whipped into a feeding-frenzy of compliments about our meeting. As far as Toastmaster meetings go this one was megalodon-sized! I’m hooked!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 26, 2018 “Ice Cream” theme meeting was a real treat! Club #28 President Renee Ellis CC started the meeting with a quote from the late Dr. Norman Vincent Peale: “If you believe that you can’t, then you can’t; if you believe that you can… than you can. Change your thoughts and you change the world.” Tina Weiczorek celebrated National Ice Month by being our Toastmaster for her first time. Tina gave us a large scoop of fun fact about Ice Cream including that average American eats 20 quarts of Ice Cream a year, the first Ice Cream plant opened in 1851, Sweden eats the most Ice Cream per-capita in the world, California produces the most Ice Cream in America and many other interesting Ice Cream facts including that Renee’s favorite flavor is “Chocolate Therapy” by Ben & Jerry’s. Another first was Lauren Crane serving up some questions as our Table Topics Master. Her first question for Owen Bryan was “what is your favorite dessert?’ Owen did not answer ice Cream but chose Candied Yams and Sweet Potato Pie although he admitted they would taste better “with some Ice cream on top”. Vincent Son was asked if he like to stick with one flavor or if he liked to try others. Vincent enthusiastically said the loves to “try as many Ice Cream flavors as possible. I love to mix them up!” Said Vincent, “One flavor is never enough.” New member Chris Alverez spoke about the many ways to eat Ice Cream which included an “Ecuadorian Star Wars light saber with a crunchy chocolate shell.” Orion Craig spoke about his favorite brand of Ice Cream, “the amazing zero-sugar, good carbs, low calories ‘Hallo Top’ brand Ice Cream that does not make you feel guilty even though it is so good!” Linda Klein CC spoke about fast food places you can get good Ice Cream. While she mentioned a few, Steak n’ Shake’s “hand dipped Milk Shakes” won her heart. We had three different flavors of speeches starting with Kate Murray’s “Amazon + OPD= A Lot of Questions”. Kate researched the recent partnership between the Orlando Police Department and Amazon to “test” facial recognition software on private citizens and the ramifications for privacy abuse. “While there are good uses of facial recognition technology such as catching criminals, finding lost kids or even as a dating app…the possibilities of using supercharged surveillance as a means of spying on the general population is an erosion of personal freedom.”  Kate brought up several serious questions regarding this powerful new detective tool. Chi Simons DTM gave another brilliant performance with her presentation titled “Google It”. Chi’s mini one-woman play explored how our electronic devices have come to control us rather than making our lives easier. After googling the subject “How to have Fun” she discovered the first step to having fun was to put the electronic device down! Chi re-learned the beauty of the outside world, taking joy in the “sounds of birds singing and the warm feel of the sun on my skin.” Her speech made you think about what we are missing as we “google” our way through life. Our last speaker Renee Ellis CC gave us a snapshot of her youth in “Indiana Girl” a speech filled with precious memories about growing up in the heartland. Renee grew up in an historical house once used in the Underground Railroad on route to free slaves from the South. Her dinning room was “the first post office in Indiana” and tourists would come by to see the house! “We had to be ready at any time for these unexpected tours” said Renee. It was a dash to get ready as they came towards your room! She spoke of memories of a childhood of dogs and horses and a giant yard to play in. There were iconic winters and the love of sledding and ice skating in a frozen pond! Although the blizzard of ’78 had them snowbound. Lastly, an uncle during Christmas who always arrived “just to late to see Santa”, and 4th of July fireworks viewed on the porch swing… a porch swing where her childhood will always be waiting. These three wonderful speeches all were lavishly praised by our General Evaluator Marie Leoffler DTM and her capable staff of oratorical commentators: Jeremy Odell DTM (for Kate), Lily Phuong-Tang CC (for Chi) and David Hundeby (for Renee). The Technical Sprinkles and Grammatical Chocolate Sauce Condiments Team (TS&GCSCT) was made up of Grammarian Vincent Son, Timer Ken Walley DTM, Sugar Camera Cone Operator Chris Alverez, AH Counter Owen Bryan and Vote Counter Jose Vela. Comments by our guests Jeremy Odell DTM, Shannon Williamson, Myrna Sacasas, Manolita Moore and Kay Moye showed they were all ecstatic about our meeting. Also, on hand was Ken Blake DTM with a closing message about how Ice Cream has a special power to “soothe the soul.” It was the cherry on top.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 19, 2018 “Birthdays” theme meeting celebrated another Birthday (see the May 17th meeting), this one for Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB who would be turning a very young 40 tomorrow! For this festive occasion, Club #28 met at our new “backup” meeting place, the Summit Church. Sgt. at Arms Tina Weiczorek got the meeting started with a reading of the Toastmasters Mission Statement and introduced our “birthday girl.” Few times in the history of any Toastmasters meeting has the Toastmaster been so well prepared. Kara told us of the history of birthdays starting from when they were first celebrated with the invention of the calendar; to the famous people born on this date, July 19th.  She also told us how Egyptian pharaohs and Roman emperors used their birthdays as an excuse for lavish festivals often taken to the extremes. Kara also included a tour of birthday festivities all over the world, the story of the “Happy Birthday” song, why we have cake and candles and much, much more! Also helping to make this evening happy was First time Table Topics Master Jose Vela! Jose asked Lauren Crane about her 16th birthday. Lauren admitted that she shunned the spotlight of birthday but that she was delighted that she could drive a car! She celebrated her “sweet sixteenth” by driving to a store and buying her favorite Ice Cream. Daphne Hart ACS, ACB told a birthday story of how she would visit the neighbors letting them know in advance that her birthday was coming. Then on the big day she would re-visit them to collect her gifts! Ken Walley DTM remembered his favorite cake of all time. It was one recently eaten at his 40th Disney work anniversary; a “triple chocolate cake covered in gummy worms!” Renee Ellis CC spoke about the “worst idea for a birthday party, the piñata. “You blindfold a kid, spin him around and give him a big stick. What could go wrong?” She would fill her piñata with “Baby Ruth bars and Chardonnay.” Tina Weiczorek spoke about having a wonderful birthday party with her friends and an above ground pool as a child. “My mom told us not to eat before swimming but we did anyway. We would play games like ‘Marco Polo’ until we were really tired and then eat some more.” Kara was asked if she knew of anyone famous born on her birthday (July 20th). She had a list: Alexander the Great, The Sultan of Turkey Mahmud II, geneticist monk Gregor Mendel, impressionist painter Max Liebermann, baseball HOF legend Tony Oliva, Actress Diana Rigg, Explorer Sir Edmund Hillary and Mobster “Mad DogColl. The last question for our guest Emily Gallagher was “what was your favorite birthday gift?” Emily told of a gift that changed her life: “a drawing tablet given to me at age 13.” She explained that this gift was really the start of her career as an animator. The gift to everyone in the room were our two speeches. Starting with Susan Storma ACS, ALB who earned her Advanced Communicator Silver Award with a speech titled “Duck Tales”. Susan had everyone laughing as she told about the antics of “gifting” two giant inflatable ducks to her neighbors with the help of her husband Robin. Seemingly appearing overnight on roofs and in swimming pools; these mysterious ducks became the talk of the neighborhood. Could Susan and Robin keep the secret? This was a very funny speech! Our second speaker Lily Phuong-Tang CC continued a speech from last week titled “What I Have Learned from Toastmasters (Pt. 2)” Lily explained that Toastmasters was much more that learning communication and leadership skills. She told about meeting Diana Walley ATMG, CL and finding out that she had been in Toastmasters over 20 years. “Why would people want to stay in Toastmasters for 20 years?’ she asked Lily spoke about making friends and learning from each other. Still she thought that there must be even more than that. She realized that Toastmasters was not only a program but a process of “becoming more than what you are.” Toastmasters was a means of self-recreation through individual challenge and self-awareness. Toastmasters said Lily is “beyond its own organization as a way to empower yourself, you discover your own paths.”  Our two speeches were “unwrapped” with brilliant evaluations by Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (for Lily) who also served as General Evaluator and Ken Walley DTM as the evaluator for Susan’s speech. Another group that made this evening a happy occasion was the Pin the Tail On The Speakers (PTTOTS) functionaries made up of Grammarian Tina Weiczorek, Timer Vincent Son, Party Camera Renee Ellis CC, and the Vote and AH Counter Lauren Crane. Our guest Emily Gallagher pledged to return soon and gave Club #28 some very uplifting praise. This meeting was as if we had closed our eyes, blew out the candles and all of Club #28 Toastmaster dreams had come true

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 July 12, 2019 “Pecan Pie” theme meeting was… yummy! Sgt. at Arms Tina Weiczorek opened the meeting and started it off with a short but sweet invocation: “Life is as easy as pie!”. Our first time ever Toastmaster tonight was Lauren Crane who announced that in honor of “National Pecan Pie Day” we were going to make this dessert our theme! She also gave several delicious facts throughout the night including that the first published pecan pie recipe appeared in 1897! Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB mixed up a batch of interesting table topics on the subject starting with the question: “What is a fond memory you have of pecan pie?” Linda Klein CC was ready with a fantastic answer. She admitted that she loves pecan pie and brownies, with ice ream on them or a large glass of milk. “I never have any left over, even though I live alone.” The next question was directed to “Master Chef” Jerry Fitzgerald DTM. “How do you make a pecan pie?” Instead Jerry told a story from when he was 7 years old. “When my Aunt asked me if I wanted “pecan pie”, I turned her down.  I did not peas and any pie made in a can, could not have been very good.” Ken Blake DTM was next up. He said that he still had a pecan pie from last Thanksgiving. They sell them “buy one get one free” at Publix but it “will probably stay there in the freezer”. He said that he did not like the taste and would rather just “eat a bag of pecans” or if they made a “walnut pie” he would eat that instead. Chris Alvarez was asked “what is your favorite pie?” He said that he remembered his grandmother making a chocolate pie with pecan when he was very young. He stole a piece! Later he said that it reminded him of “how bad I was but how good it was.” Shannon Williamson told us how to eat a pecan pie. His sumptuous answer involved all the senses and included “allow the aroma to cradle the nostrils”, “envision the taste” and “chew gently!” Kay Murray was asked about her favorite dessert. Even though she is determined to keep to a healthy diet she would “break it in a second for her grandmother’s banana cream pie!” We had three more delectable speech starting with Owen Bryan’s Pathways Ice Breaker speech titled “Who is Owen?” Owen explained that he grew up in New York but moved to Florida in 2014. He received a degree from UCF in construction engineering. We also found out his parents were from Jamaica and they encouraged him to travel and “learn everything”. He also misses his favorite dish from New York: “commonly corn porridge.” We also learned that he had such poor eyesight that “it actually heighted my listening skills”. Lastly, Owen’s hobbies include boxing and swimming. Impressive! Lily Phuong-Tang CC spoke next with “What I Have Learned in Toastmasters”. She was amazed that in less than two years that she had found the courage to take on the leadership role of Area 30 Director. She reminisced about the lessons she had learned from being the Vice President of Public Relations and earning her Competent Communicator Award. “I learned how take on challenges as they arise. I have learned not to be afraid but how to approach new challenges.” She also asked for our help and advice through the coming year in her Director tole. She expressed that she is represented of “four nationalities: from Viet Nam, China, the Spanish Community and the United States. “I want to bring Toastmasters to all of them!” The last speaker on her journey to earing her Advanced Communicator Silver designation was Susan Storma ACB, ALB. Susan was giving the required TI presentation from The Better Speaker Series titled “Controlling Your Fear.”  Susan related that she had read an article about famed actress Nicole Kiddman on how she got more and more nervous about an upcoming play. “by the time opening night arrived Kiddman was terrified. If this can happen to an award-winning actress, it can happen to any of us.” Susan then went into the causes of fear in public speaking such as fear of failure, looking foolish and facing the unknown. She gave us excellent skills in how to control our fears including “Susan’s Methods”: Practice (a lot), find a confident posture such as the “super hero stance”; use hand massage and other acupressure techniques. Lastly in “Susan’s Methods” was “they can’t cook and eat you!” She left us with some words to live by: “The goal is not to be perfect. The goal is to be better than yesterday.” These speeches were then baked in our evaluation oven for 30 minutes and brought out piping hot by Master Evaluator Jose Vela. Fellow evaluators David Hundeby (for Owen), Marie Loeffler DTM (for Lily) and Chi Simons DTM did the equivalent of putting the speeches on the windowsill to cool with a steady breeze of knowledge. The America Pecan Board and Associated Functionaries (APB&AF) also played a major role the creation of this meeting thanks to Grammarian Vincent Son, Timer Tina Weizorek, Pecan Baker Camara Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter Ken Walley DTM and Vote Counter Linda Klein CC. We gave standing ovations to first timers Owen Bryan (Ice Breaker) Lauren Crane (Toastmaster), Vincent Son (Grammarian) and Jose Vela (General Evaluator)! Like Pecans in Georgia, we had a ton of visitors: Jerry Fitzgerald DTM, Shannon Williamson, Kay Moye, Orion Craig, Chris Alverez, Franklin Santos and Sam Tarell. All of them were very upbeat and positive about the meeting! Orion Craig, Chris Alverez and Franklin Santos all became the newest members of Club #28 after the meeting! Welcome! A hot pecan pie fresh out of the oven with a big scoop of Ice Cream on top…yeah… this meeting was very much like that!

[Editor’s Note: I was unable to attend the  July 5 2018 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 meeting. Thank you to Kate Murray, our secretary, for these incredible & detailed notes!]

Meeting Notes: Toastmasters Club 28  Thursday 7/5/18 — Theme: Independence — WOTD: eclipse

Invocation – lovely poem from Lauren Crane (first-time invocation). Guests: Rachel Guest (found us online), Benjamin Rodriguez CC (former T’master),  Jennifer Howell (library walk-in, former T’master), Nicole Bortayik (searched Google for leadership skills) and Tracy Lu (came with Nicole). Business (President Renee Ellis CC, CL): Saturday is TLI! Summit Church in 2 weeks – in the annex – called the Lodge – address number is: 3841 E. Colonial Dr. Orlando. Toastmaster: Daphne Hart ACG, ALB. Fact about Independence Day:  July 4 was unpaid holiday until 1938 → we have some awesome unpaid functionaries! :) Table Topics: Renee Ellis CC, CL. What are your favorite type of fireworks? 1.) Lauren Crane: going to formal events with fireworks – too many close calls doing them at home! “I like big kabooms” & “rain glitter” used in answer! (0:48) 2.) Did you do anything special for the 4th? Vincent Son: Lake Eola at 2pm for fireworks – last year was better, but it was OK this year. (0:36) 3.) What does freedom mean to you? Benjamin Rodriguez CC: having plenty – “I can do what I want and go where I want and tell people what I want them to do!” (0:20) 4.) What was your most memorable 4th of July? Rachel Guest: 10/11 years old – half brother had a new girlfriend – went to fair and fireworks with her family – met new people and had fun! (0:35) 5.) What does independence mean to you? Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB:  The ability to go and do what you want without answering to people – able to pick up and go, not have to ask permission – especially as a woman, when compared to some countries – thankful! (1:14) 6.) When did you first feel independent as a child? Linda Klein CC: 9 years old in Michigan – family friends took her and brother back to Chicago for a visit – went all over the city alone because “no one told me I couldn’t” (0:52) 7.) What is your favorite thing about the 4th of July? Chi Simons DTM: fireworks! Used to go to Lake Eola two hours before fireworks – got harder and harder to find parking – watched fireworks from parking garage, but now it’s blocked by high rise buildings! We rode bikes down there instead – nothing stops her from seeing fireworks! (1:41) 8.) What does independence mean to you? Lily Phuong-Tang CC: being able to do things without a helper – ability – but always nice to have support – lots of young adults aren’t independent – we should help whenever we can – and if you need help, ask for it! (1:33) Toastmaster Daphne: Fireworks: $227.3 million imported from China in 2012! First Speech: Tina Weiczorek – Pathways Icebreaker “From Motown to O-Town” (5:13). Grew up in Detroit – Motown (Diana Ross & Smokey Robinson) and Big 3 Car Companies… First car ‘77 Thunderbird … First job lab tech at a milk company – after 2 years, tasting milk, it got repetitive! Started volunteering at nursing home – great, because always different. Was offered job as an ” in-home” nurse – did it for 8.5 years – also learned life skills! After nursing client passed, aunts offered 3-month ticket to see them in Orlando. Someone sold her on working with children… Went to Seminole Community College and took classes on child development, also volunteered at church. Was offered job as in-home nanny – best job ever! So glad to have gone from Motown to O-town! Second Speech: David Hundeby – How to Say It from CC – “Do Not Lose What No One Can Take” (6:40). Took real-life experience to challenge audience to imagine losing their job. What would you do? Take a deep breath. Take stock of what you have. Make finding a job your new job! Networking… Got to rewrite part of speech because he was offered a new job today! Find a mentor – 2 types – outer (networking, applications, etc) and inner (motivation, support, etc.) Help someone in need – “helps to feed your soul”. Volunteering & shadowing both in your industry and in a new industry. Building a personal brand – “I went to school in the ’80s and we didn’t have personal brands!” Have self care outlet – daily, with a goal (for him it was running). “Take a breath – it’s all going to be okay!” Toastmaster Daphne: Gave a brief history of the flag & of July 4th. She also challenged all of us to type out our intros like Marie! Third Speech: Marie Leoffler DTM– second draft of Evaluation & Feedback project in the Presentation Mastery Path – “Uncovering Your Masterpiece” (7:12). Incorporating feedback received last time – targeted to professional Christian women. Wowed us with hand-bells once again! Beethoven had the “courage & tenacity to follow through on his idea.” Every person is a masterpiece. “I warn you about arguing with God!” Intuitively we all know we have a masterpiece buried inside of us. Three reasons we allow it to stay buried: 1.) People – jerks in our past and other hurtful people. 2.) Culture – constantly bombarded with messages about what we should do and 3.) Ourselves – the real reason. Return of DD! Disaster Diva – CEO & Chair of the Itty-Bitty Committee inside her head… She’s actually trying to protect us. 50-70 thousand thoughts every day – too many – she’s not smart enough to know which are good and which are bad, that’s our job. Challenged us to ask ourselves “what’s my masterpiece?” – keep asking! Brought it back to Beethoven. Toastmaster: Daphne: 4th of July in African American communities and a Frederick Douglass quote. Evaluation 1: Kate Murray evaluating Tina W. (2:35) : “My dream job as a milk taster!” Great storytelling – captivating and followed story the whole time. Still a little nervous & stayed next to podium. Opportunity for more variety in hand gestures & movement. Great chronological structure – also opportunity for mirroring of job offers in Motown and O-Town! Evaluation 2: Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB evaluating David H (2:51): Topic well chosen. Could narrow down points – would make it easier to sum up in conclusion. Evaluation 3: Daphne Hart ACG, ALB evaluating Marie L (3:24): Second evaluation of same speech. Good refocus of challenge. Missed the “uncovering” metaphor – still opportunity to play that up. Missed the handouts. Bells again at the end was a great addition! General Evaluator: Susan Storma ACB, ALB: Meeting evaluation: On time! Filled every empty functionary slot at the last minute. Love that we get to learn & grow with each other! Evaluations showed what we saw, heard, and felt – we all learn from evaluations. Toastmaster: Daphne: We all crave independence. Grammarian: Linda Klein : “We eclipsed the word of the day!”…only used by Daphne once. Descriptive phrase: by Daphne: “beautiful, mosaic, and picturesque.”  Ah Counter: Chi Simons DTM: Added to list! “Next”; “so”; “now”; and “lip smacks.” President: Renee Ellis CC, CL: Ribbons: Best Table Topics: Kara & Lauren. Best Evaluator: Kate & Daphne. Most Improved: Tina. Best Speaker: Marie. Standing Ovations for Tina & Lauren (1st time as Invocation & Pledge (Lauren) and Pathways Icebreaker Tina) Guest Feedback: Rachel – fun club, comfortable vibe – still professional! Benjamin – “I missed you!” Jennifer: – pleasantly surprised – brought back goose pimples. Tracy – enjoyed speeches! Nicole – it was a conversation – ah-counting herself! Adjourn on time!

The June 28, 2018 Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Summer Celebration and Installations of Officers” special meeting showcased the true brilliance of Club #28 and the incredible potential of it’s future. Opening the meeting for his last time as Sgt. at Arms was Daniel Gutierrez. Daniel introduced one of our newest members Owen Bryan to lead us in the invocation and Pledge to the Flag. Owen chose a poem from Robert Longley titled “Next Chapter” that captured the spirit of this extraordinary evening.

Where you find your courage
Is largely up to you
Many paths and choices
For things that you can do

Choose a path with purpose
You feel within your heart
God will guide you forward
Once your direction starts

There is no one right answer
Do what you feel is right
Pick the path that suits you
And lets you sleep at night

Prepare now for your journey
Your obstacles await
It is you who writes your story
And you who controls your fate.

Ken Walley DTM was our Master of Ceremony for this evening. He explained that rather than “brag about Club #28 accomplishments” that he would try to describe why Club #28 has made such an impact on his life. “Club #28 did the unexpected this year,” Ken clarified, “although Club #28 is the only club where doing the unexpected is… expected.” Ken explained that some the reasons for his long tenure in Toastmasters has been the fellowship and friendships he has made (“I have made life-long cherished friends”), the education he has received (“I learn something new every time I come to a meeting”) the fun he has (“I laugh more here in this room than anywhere else on the face of the planet”) and the leadership abilities he has gained from Toastmasters. We did have two featured speakers for this evening, opening with Kate Murray. Her Pathways project required her to give a speech a second time to see if she could improve on the first effort. Kate choose her presentation titled “These FRIES are For You”. It is good to hear this speech repeated because of the timeliness of the subject due to the public awareness of changing social norms towards sexual consent and its predominant place in recent news. Kate reviewed the “guidelines” of consent: 1) Freely given, 2) Reversible, 3) Informed, 4) Enthusiastic and 5) Specific; thus “FRIES”. Helpful and pertinent, Kate’s speech was indeed even better the second time around! Our second speaker Jose Vela speech was titled “The Most Destructive Force in the World is Me!” Jose explained that the single thing that seemed to keep him back from success, was himself. He stated that his ego often brought about a wall to achieving, empathy towards others, self-fulfillment, self-esteem and even love. “The bigger the ego, the lower the self-esteem. Learning to put your ego in perspective enables you to lift the weight of unreasonable expectations, bias and misunderstanding.” His message had meaning to every ear in the room.  Evaluations were also provided to our speakers. Giving excellent advice were Distinguished Toastmaster Marie Loeffler DTM and past Club #28 President Jack Wharton ACS, ALB. Ken announced that sadly, another Summer Celebration highlight the “Ken Walley Outstanding Toastmaster Award”, due to the award not being ready, will be awarded at a future meeting. The second part of meeting was the “Changing of the Guard”, the installation of our new officers for the July-December 2018 Toastmasters term. Ken introduced the incoming Division C Director Edwin A. Mercado-Rivera DTM who presided over the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony.


Inducted as our new officers were: Sergeant at Arms Tina Weiczorek, Treasurer: David Hundeby, Secretary Kate Murray, Vice President of Public Relations Daniel Gutierrez, Vice President of Membership Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB, Vice President of Education Marie Loeffler DTM and President Renee Ellis CC, CL.

Renee Ellis CC, CL’s “2nd Inaugural Address” started with how Renee was given advice to “do something to get out of your comfort zone.” This advice led to Renee being elected twice being elected to the presidency of the “Oldest club East of the Rockies.” She told an allegorical story of a man who fell off a cliff and managed to grasp onto a branch. “Is there anybody up there who can help me?” he yelled. God answered, “Let go!” The man yelled back: “Is there anyone else up there?” But Renee did “let go” and found that she could take on leadership, first by being Sgt. at Arms and then Vice President of Education and finally President. Renee became empowered. “I was empowered by my fellow officers, It was a joy because I had such a wonderful team! They made it easy for me to be president.” Renee also praised the officers for the new term calling them “strong and able” and said that we “are going to support them and help the to enjoy the vital roles they have taken on.” She noted the many, many successes the club has won just over the past six months pointing to a ribbon banner that is “weighed down by ribbons” and a healthy membership. She also welcomed our newest member Lauren Crane She also pledged to help reach President’s Distinguished again in the coming year. As Renee noted in her speech… “We are the coolest club on the planet!” She challenged us this year to “Just show up!” and see what happens. After Renee’s speech we heard from our guests  Jerry Fitzgerald DTMAbdullah Alosaing, Cedric Davis and Marqustz Shipman who were very impressed with our special meeting and pledged to return next week to see a “normal meeting.” If this meeting is an y indication the next Toastmasters year will be the very best for Club #28!

Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 went off the beaten path for the June 21, 2018 “Road Trip” theme meeting. Starting the meeting was our own intrepid traveler, Lily Phuong-Tang CC who quoted Eleanor Roosevelt “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Our first-time Toastmaster Kate Murray took us on a journey of adventure and fun! Kate told us about the joys and memories of some past road trips, especially as a child. “Starting in Wisconsin and “driving to all points east” she remembered looking out of the car window for hours at a time and seeing “different lives in other places.” Rather than being bored, these became wonderful reminiscences. She also said it was a time of bonding “We got to know each other, piece by piece” on these journeys. Kate also mentioned that she was taking a road trip, alone from Florida to Texas and wanted any advice on where to go! Our fellow traveler and Table Topics Master was Renee Ellis CC, CL who packed some excellent questions. Her first question was for Linda Klein CC: “When you take a trip, are you a ‘planer’ or just spontaneous?” Linda said she plans everything. “The trip just works out better.” She told us about a trip from Chicago to Michigan where things just fell into place. “What do you splurge on when you take a trip?” was the question for Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara said that she is not into buying souvenirs as much as collecting things that have meaning or having experiences for future memories. “I’d rather have a wonderful dinner in some exotic place than buy a pithy knick-knack.” Guest Jessica Bright was asked if road trips were more for adventure or for relaxation. Jessica admitted that when she was young road trips were “more wild and adventurous” but now that she is an adult, she is also into enjoying and learning about the culture of where she is visiting. Jessica has been on recent trips to Africa, Dubai and the Jasper National Park. She is planning a trip to Italy. Tina Weizorek told us that like Jessica, she would rather take her time on a trip rather than “run around and see things.” Tina likes to visit family in Michigan and plans a trip to Las Vegas later this summer. Guest Drew Parker, was asked “What kind of traveler are you?” Drew also said that he was “crazy and wild” while in college with his buddies on road trips but now that he has a family, “the road trip has changed a lot.  I have slowed down and now I like to let the atmosphere permeate my brain.” Another Guest, Khaled Alenezi spoke about his love for trying new foods when on a road trip. Our visiting Area 31 Area Director Mona Cherkaoui ACG, ALB was asked if she preferred to visit “tourist attractions” or “hang with the locals.” She spoke about going to places to “temporarily live with and get to know the locals.” She said that “I learn about myself from learning about others.”  Jose Vela spoke about his best vacation ever in Puerto Rico where he ate a ton of junk food, learned SCUBA diving and swam from one island to another. He even helped save a drowning man!” Ken Blake DTM on a road trip got to drive a Shelby GT 350 on some country roads… where he got arrested! “120 mph? Is that all you did?” said the sheriff. After a night in jail and showing the sheriff the car (he was a Mustang buff) the sheriff ripped up the ticket and let him go! At the end of the meeting, Vincent Son also got a chance to answer a Table topic question “tell us of a road trip memory you have?’ Vincent talked about traveling with his family as a kid with his brothers and sisters on a trip where each kid had to stop to use the restroom at a different time! “We added hours on to that trip just in ‘bathroom time’!” His advice was “don’t drink before you drive!”  Our first speaker was Marie Leoffler DTM doing her Third Pathways speech titled “Uncover Your Masterpiece”. Marie used her signature hand-bells to underscore the courage to “follow through with your dreams.” She explained that Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote “Ode to Joy” even though many challenges stood in the way of the piece’s completion. “Because he believed in his dream we now have is beautiful masterpiece. ” said Marie. Marie pointed out that we all face barriers to completing your masterpieces: people, cultures but most of all… ourselves. Marie introduced us to “Didi the Disaster Diva” who sit on our shoulder and picks away at our self confidence. Marie said we can get beyond Didi by remembering that “you do not need permission to work on yourself and achieve your best.” This was one of Marie’s masterpieces.  Our second speaker was Che Simons DTM who gave us a tour-de-force performance titled “Risktaker!”  In a whirl-wind of theatrical entertainment, Chi told about her first big risks in life: jumping from the dresser to the bed, her first sip of beer, her first cigar and her first kiss! Laced with humor and wit (“at seven years old I started smoking and quit smoking on the same day”) we delved into the thought process of a young child exploring a big, new world around her. The results were both insightful and hilarious. Judging this “battle of the DTM’s” was the Evaluation team headed by General Evaluator Susan Storma ACS, ALB who was backed by future DTM Daphne Hart ACS, ALB (for Marie) and Distinguished Toastmaster Ken Walley DTM (for Che). This meeting could not have been such a success if it were not for the hard work of the Road Trip Roadies (RTR) made up of Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, 1st time Timer and Kodak Moment Collector Owen Bryan, AH Counter Jose Vela and Vote Counter Tina Weiczorek. At the end of the meeting our Area Director Mona Cherkaoui ACG, ALB praised our club and told us how honored she was to have been our Area Director over the past year. She also introduced Lily as her replacement.   Our guests Drew Parker, Khaled Alenzi, Lauren Crane, Alaeidean Elmunaier and Jessica Bright all were extremely enthusiastic, some eager to join our club! If this meeting had been a road trip… we would be showing off selfies and photos for years to come!

[Editor’s note: I was unable to attend the June 14, 2018 meeting here are the notes sent  to me by Renee Ellis CC, CL. Thank you Renee!]

Date: June 14, 2018. Club: The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28. Theme:  Music to Motivate & Inspire. Renee Ellis CC, CL was our Invocation & Pledge, Secretary & President. Tina Weizorek made beautiful music as our Sgt. at Arms and Grammarian.  A 1st Time Vote Counter was Owen Bryan and playing multi-instruments was David Hundeby as Ah Counter, Timer and Music Video Maker!  Jose Vela was so multi-tasking as a 1st Time Toastmaster and a 1st Time Table Topics Master. During the Table Topics session, Jose asked Owen Bryan “What song inspires you?” He said  that one gains a definition of a song by finding a common  personal bond, with a tattoo, with the lyrics by whatever keeps pushing you forward with life.  Orion Craig spoke about the moods that music can inspire. One song by Drake gave him energy to push through hard tasks . Other songs bring many different moods. “The rhythm  and the beat keep me going.” Daphne Hart ACS, ALB gave an example of a song from a movie that motivated her. She choose the Bill Withers song “Lean on Me“. Said Daphne, “This song brings people together!”   Speaker #1 – Kate Murray – 2nd Pathways speech (Title: “These Fries are Good for you!“).  Kate’s speech was about the concept of “Consent”. Kate explained that consent was 1. Freely given, Reversible, Informed  Enthusiastic and Specific… thus, “FRIES”.  Speaker #2 – Lily Phuong- Tang CC -IB Pathways Speech (Title : “Thank You and Memories” ) Lily thanked God for the guests she has brought into Toastmasters and for the people she knows in Club #28 that have made a difference in her life. Lily announced that she will be the new Area 31 Director starting on July 1st. She thanked all who have shown faith in her to reach this level. “Faith gets you far!” said Lily, “tap into it!” Speaker #3 – Ken Blake DTM – Ice Breaker Pathways Speech (Title: “The Good, The Bad and The Great”) was about the new TM Pathways program comparing it to the classic Program. General Evaluator and Evaluator #2 (for Lily):  Daphne Hart ACG, ALB. Evaluator #1 (for Kate) – Marie Loeffler DTM.  Evaluator #3 (for Ken B.) – Chi Simons DTM.  We had 4 Guests: Orion Craig, Chris Alverez, Jessica Bright and another person whose name I did not write down. He said he was going to come back next week. Orion and Chris are thinking about joining the club! Toastmasters in attendance: Jose Vela, Kate Murray, Lily Phuong-Tang CC, Ken Blake DTM, Daphne Hart ACG, ALB; Marie Loeffler DTM, Chi Simons DTM, Owen Bryan, Tina Weizorek, Renee Ellis CC, CL and David Hundeby.

The superpower of the Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 “Super Heroes” theme meeting was the ability to instill confidence and public speaking knowledge into any situation… OK… and to make the world safe for goodness and decency! Starting the meeting was Ken Blake DTM with an inspirational message from author Jim Rohn “Successful people are willing to do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”  Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Super Woman! You’re right! It’s Daphne Hart ACG, ALB coming to the rescue as our Toastmaster.  Daphne Told us about the “Golden Age of Superhero comics (c. 1938-1950) and the antics of Captain American, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and many others. She even defined what a “superhero” was, in part… “dedicated to fighting the evil of his/her universe, protecting the public and battling supervillains!” Daphne gave us a list of the most popular superheroes as well as talking about their movies that have been so popular recently.  As Table Topics Master, Yes, it’s Ken Walley DTM, strange visitor from another planet who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Armed with questions to thwart the curiosity of others; Ken asked Chi Simons DTM “Who is your favorite superhero character?” Chi said it was Elastigirl of the Incredibles Family, who was both “an amazing superhero and incredible mom.” She said that she was as impressed with her abilities to “always protect her family” as she was with her “super stretching powers.” When asked what her current “real-life super power” was, Kate Murray said she had the “miraculous abilities of computer scheduling and organization!” A gift beyond most of our small comprehensions. “If you could have only one superpower, what would that power be?” was the next question asked of Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB. Kara echoed the dream of many: to fly! “I would still like to fly even though I am afraid of heights!” she said. Our returning guest, Orion Craig, was asked why superhero movies are so popular and routinely breaking box office records, answered that it was the combination of two things: “First they are fun, without heavy, depressing themes. They have action, drama, suspense and lots of comedy. Second, they are pure escapism. Everyone dreams of doing these things that are impossible.” David Hundeby pondered the question of “what if Superman really existed, would he be a threat or a help to mankind?” While cringing at the thought of a malevolent Superman, David understood that even a super-hero would need human contact and interaction on Earth and would be compelled to protect us from evil. Very insightful. Lily Phuong-Tang CC was asked if Americans live way too much in a fantasy world. She said that because of our riches in this country that we “have too many opportunities to avoid the harsh realities of life.” “In a way” she said, “it’s a way of protecting ourselves and sometimes hiding our feelings.” Vincent Son was asked who his “favorite super-villain” was. Vincent choose Loki “the half-brother of Thor, who can control magic.” Vincent said he was “Master of mischief.” At the end of the meeting another returning guest Chris Alverez, whom Ken had skipped over accidently for his question; was asked: “Is there a real super-hero that you look up too?” Chris’s answer, a tribute to his mother; literally brought a collective “Awwww” from his audience. “I did not know she was superhero when I was a child,” he said “but I know it now. She was always there in times of need, always there to protect me.” The speakers tonight were not only able to able to change the course of our meeting with their speeches but could have changed the course of mighty rivers! Our first speaker Jose Vela gave his 4th speech titled “What You See Is What You Get!”  He spoke about making a First impression. He said there were three factors to creating the best personal image. First said Jose, is simply to “smile”. It welcomes friendliness and openness. Second, he said was “eye contact”. He asked the question of “what is the first thing a child does when he is in trouble? He looks to the ground.” Eye contact builds trust and a sense of genuineness.”   The third part of the formula was “enthusiasm”! Good attitude Jose noted “is everything. 80% of how people perceive you are through visual cues.” Our second speaker Linda Klein CC gave a completely different type of speech:  a verbal journey down the Mekong Delta river in Vietnam titled “My Kind of Cruise.” During this journey we traveled by boat, by foot and bicycle.  We met the rural rice farmers, we partook in the culture, food and customs. We visited a golden temple infested with wild monkeys. We took in breathtaking scenery; banana groves, a “cloud of butterflies” and visited “faded red and blue stilt houses” in a small boat, weaving underneath them. What a trip! It was a beautiful, visual word-poem.  Able to bend steel in her bare hands, General Evaluator Renee Ellis CC, CL was able to use her fellow Justice League of teachers Ken Blake DTM (for Jose) and Marie Leoffler DTM (for Linda) to blend the powers of knowledge and wisdom for our speakers.  And who, disguised as the “Clark Kent’s” (CK’s), the mild-mannered reporters for a grand metropolitan newspaper: Grammarian Kate Murray, AH Counter Kara Newcome ACG, ALB; Timer Tina Weizcorek, Jimmy Olson-Clone Chi Simons DTM and Vote Counter David Hundeby, all gave wonderful reports. Our guests, Raneata Lemke-Smith, Jessica Bright, Orion Craig and Chris Alverez, all pointed to the sky, exclaiming the virtues of joining a club like ours. Some very intent on doing so! Why not? Club #28 fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice and the American way. And now this ends another exciting episode in the adventures of Super toastmasters Club #28!!

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 31, 2018 “Memorial Day” theme meeting paid respect to those who paid the ultimate price to insure our liberty of life here in America.  Daniel Gutierrez started the meeting with a Japanese proverb: “Discipline will overcome intelligence” meaning that devotion and perseverance can overcome even the best planning. Our Club President Renee Ellis CC, CL started out the meeting with the announcement of another club recognition: the “Talk Up Toastmasters” ribbon, awarded for gaining 5 or more members during February and March. Filling in a Toastmaster vacancy was Linda Klein CC . Linda paid tribute to those who gave their lives while serving in our armed forces. Linda spoke about the history of the holiday noting that Memorial Day did not become an “official federal holiday until 1971” but that it was celebrated at different times of the year before then. “It is different from Veterans Day and Armed Forces Day in that it remembers those who have died for our country.” She also stated that over 1, 300, 000 have died defending America and that more than 600,000 (including Confederate forces) perished in the Civil War alone. Daphne Hart ACS, ALB also revered our country’s heroes with some excellent questions about both Memorial Day as well as some questions about our senses. Her first question “Do you think in America, Memorial Day is observed as intended?’ Lily Phuong-Tang CC, in a moving answer emphatically said “Yes” and that she was proud to be in a country where the sacrifices of our veterans are an example for the youth. “They need to see that someone has come before them and set up freedoms they should not take for granted” said Lily. One of our guests and a past Toastmaster Bill Eaton was asked if he put up a flag for Memorial Day. Bill said that he was himself a veteran and that has a flag pole which he raises the flag every day. He remembered a time after WWII when “Whole towns shut down to honor those who have served. The parade seemed to last all day.” Owen Bryan was asked if we should do anything different for Memorial Day. Owen offered that we should help those vets who have survived but “might need a helping hand” due to injury either physical or psychological. Daphne then switched topics to “our senses and our abilities of perception.”  She asked another guest and Toastmaster, Shannon Williamson if he has any memories in which are triggered by the sense of smell. Shannon has a vivid memory of the smell of his Grandmother’s “Johnny cake” a type of bread that had such a wonderful smell that no one had to be called. “Nobody had to ring a bell when grandmother made Johnny cake. You could smell it all over the neighborhood and everyone came running to get some!” Kara Newcomb ACG, ALB was asked about the “Power of an old song” to bring back memories. She recalled playing classical music to get a cat to come out from hiding. The song however that brings back the most memories is Don Mclean’s iconic “American Pie” which was the official “bunk song” while she was at summer camp. The last question, for another one of our guests, Orion Craig was “How does adrenaline effect memory?” Orion said that the “defining traumatic event of his generation” was 9-11 and that everyone remembers where they were as it played out. “We strained to understand how such a tragic event could happen on a day so normal.” He said that details often “get lost in the adrenaline and emotions of the moment.” He gave the example “You will always remember getting robbed but you might not be able to tell the police what they were wearing or their hair color.” All three of our speeches this night will be easily remembered. Kate Murray gave a meaningful, powerful and emotional Pathways Ice Breaker speech titled “Remember the Rules”. These were the “rules of her father” that have somehow always stayed with her. She admitted that like most families, hers was “not perfect” and that her father had flaws such as struggles with alcohol and having a temper; but he was a caring father that “instilled so much good” which overcame his weaknesses. His rules:  1.) “Do what is right and avoid what is wrong.” Kate said that she has learned to “trust her inner-confidence.” 2.) “Do the best you can.” Kate refuses to settle for “’good enough’ even if ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’. I know what my best really is.” 3.) “Treat others as you wish to be treated.” Admittedly, not her father’s original but “a good baseline” to follow. With tears in her eyes, Kate ended with, “My father may have been a ‘mess of imperfection’ but it was his love that mattered and these three rules have carried me through.” The second speaker, Ken Walley DTM, also giving a Pathways Ice Breaker tiled “A Day in the life of Ken Walley” gave the audience two versions of a typical day and let them choose which to believe. One “typical day” involved feeding raw meat to mountain lions, “milking” rattlesnakes, driving a James Bond Austin- Healey car complete with smoke screen, being the CEO of Disney World, branding and herding cattle and swinging home on vines through a jungle to take his rightful place as Orlando’s resident super-hero! Scenario #2 was Ken getting up, going to work as a waiter, driving through I-4 traffic, doing the dishes, having dinner and being in bed by 10:30 pm. Many Toastmasters had a tough time deciding which one was true. The third speaker with yet another completely different speech titled “A Life That Rings True” was by Marie Loeffler DTM. Marie told us of the myriad of reasons one should create a professional rapport with a life coach. Among them was to embrace uniqueness, build confidence, stand up for what you believe, be a part of creating a better and more productive work environment, seeing yourself in an extra-beneficial new light; to deal with and use to your advantage buried fears, re-defining core values as well as turning hopes and dreams into realistic goals…and realities! She spoke about a 6- week program called “A Life That Rings True” in which you can start putting your “true self to work for you.” Ready to step up?  These speeches were all excellent and the same can be said to their evaluations. Diana Walley ATMG, CL as the General Evaluator led a team of accomplished speech reviewers: Renee Ellis CC, CL (for Kate), Chi Simons DTM (for Ken W.) and Daniel Gutierrez (for Marie). The Technical Division #28 (TD28) also rendered some flawless reports thanks to Grammarian Ken Blake DTM, 1st time AH Counter Owen Bryan, Timer Kara Newcomb ACG, ALS, Documentary Correspondent Chi Simons DTM and Vote Counter Daphne Hart ACS, ALB. Also attending tonight was Kel Germain who was announced as Club #28’s newest member! Welcome Kel! Our guests Chris Alvarez, Orion Craig, Shacree Webb, Bill Eaton, Meg Hunt and Shannon Williamson all were intensely exultant in their praise of the meeting. Hopefully they will all become new members of our club soon. This was an important meeting with an honorable message to all who remember in gratitude our fallen heroes.

The Orlando Toastmasters Club #28 May 5, 2018 “People I Admire” theme meeting included a lot of people that everyone admires. One of them, Tina Wieczorek, started the meeting with a story about a farmer who was asked by a passing stranger how long would it take to make a shortcut across his field. The farmer replied “9.5 seconds.” The man answered “Really? That seems like a very short time for such a large field.” “Well,” the farmer explained “My bull will charge anything moving within 10 seconds!” Tina explained this illustrates that sometimes shortcuts are not a good thing and that you should know what is ahead of you before making plans. What was ahead of us on this evening was an amazing meeting! Renee Ellis CC, CL as our club president announced a long list of awards the club had attained at the recent Toastmasters Conference held in Orlando. Among the awards were the “Triple Crown Award” and the “League of Volunteers Award” won by Chi Simons DTM. Another feather in our cap was the “Toastmasters Award of Excellence” won by Marie Leoffler DTM! The club again earned ribbons for the TLI officer “7 of 7 Award” and the “Tremendous Twenty Award” for dues renewal.  Renee stepped in to take over the role of Toastmaster at the last moment and spoke about some of the people who had truly made an impact upon her life.  She spoke about how her father raised her with a sense of responsibility and love as well as her Uncle Bill who added much fun into her life, including trips to Disney World! Diana Walley ATMG, CL made this “People I Admire” theme a special event by bringing back the beloved “Central Florida Dead or Alive Show”. The first pairing was Tina Wieczorek interviewing Daniel Gutierrez who was playing the part of Ludwig Van Beethoven! Tina asked some tough questions of the master composer. Daniel handled the questions about “The Emperor” Concerto, his Fifth Symphony, learning to play the piano, being deaf and even his own funeral expertly. Next, Ken Blake DTM interviewed Martin Luther King Jr. who was played by our newest member Owen Brian.  Owen did Dr. King justice by answering questions about the Civil Rights Movement, the Montgomery bus boycott, civil disobedience and his assassin James Earl Ray. It was a compelling conversation to watch. The last interview featured our only living celebrity, new princess Megan Markle. Our own Club #28 Royal, Chi Simons DTM took on the role while being questioned by David Hundeby. Chi spoke about the royal wedding last week, being a movie star, Queen Elizabeth II and working for charities. As always, the CFDOAS was a hit… and a whole lot of fun! We only had two speeches but they were simply entrancing. Our first speech by Ken Walley DTM from the Advanced “Professional Speaker’s Manual” was titled “Growing Old is Grrrrreat!” Ken gave us many reasons to look forward to growing old such as “People will carry your suitcases for you” and “you can tell the weather with your joints” but his main message was that every age has good and bad things but being a senior citizen can be one of the most productive and rewarding times of your life.  Ken had us laughing and looking forward to being “Medicare certified”! Our second speaker, Daphne Hart ACS, ALB did a spur- of the- moment volunteer speech titled “My Three Bone Life”. It would turn out to be one of her best.  She started her speech with a rendering of the song “Dem Bones” which brought her to the conclusion that “you only need three bones in life: a wishbone, a backbone and a funny-bone.” She talked about having dreams and goals (wishbone), about having courage and belief in yourself (back bone) and the need to laugh and have fun (funny-bone). Although a simple concept, she had many inspirational points and as many heartwarming, personal stories. These two excellent speeches both had brilliant evaluations thanks to General Evaluator Chi Simons DTM and her team of speech appraisers: Marie Loeffler DTM (for Ken) and Renee Ellis CC, CL (for Daphne). The Toastmasters Mutual Admiration Society (TMAS) also played a large part in the success of this meeting thanks to Grammarian David Hundeby, Timer Daniel Gutierrez, Admirer Photog Chi Simons DTM, AH Counter Ken Blake DTM and Vote Counter Lindsey Hewett. Our guests Kel Germain, Kathleen Pope, Lindsey Hewett, Guerdine Mersilus and Phylesia Hill expressed a true enjoyment of the meeting and became instant Toastmasters supporters. All of them pledged to return next week! It was also announced that Owen Brian had joined our club! Welcome Owen! Due to time, not every Toastmaster was able to speak, so I do want to mention Vincent Son and Lily Phuong-Tang CC who were also at the meeting. We will make sure you get a chance next week! Those who were here to make this meeting truly special: Renee, Marie, Lily, Owen, Phylesia, Kel, David, Ken B., Vincent, Chi, Daniel, Lindsey, Tina, Guerdine, Daphne, Kathleen, Ken W. and Diana… you are all people that I truly admire!

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; 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 Williamson 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.


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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