Public Speaking Award Stories 0708

WA Award recipients’ stories

On this page we are posting a series of stories from members who have received Awards from Toastmasters International. They are posted in the order in which they are received. You can jump to a particular story by using the links in the following table.

Gail Jenkins ACB
Victoria Quay
Feb 13, 2008
Martin Lindsay CL
Morning Star
Feb 1, 2008
Vicky Post ACB
Feb 21, 2008
Bill Hewitt ALS
Curtin GSB
Feb 6, 2008
Mike Helm CC
Central Communicators
Mar 3, 2008
Glenis Nicholas DTM
Victoria Quay
July 3, 2007
Michael Malone DTM
Young Guns
July 18, 2007
David Nicholas DTM
Victoria Quay
March 18, 2008
Pauline Saunier ACS
April 4, 2008
Nola Haddrill CL
March 26, 2008
Sue Voloczi ACS
Western Founders
April 4, 2008
Pat Wallace-Bell DTM
April 17, 2008
Gil Alexander DTM
April 7, 2008
Mark Richards DTM
Victoria Quay
April 11, 2008

Gail Jenkins, ACB received her award on February 13, 2008. Gail is currently Vice President Education at Victoria Quay and led her club to be the first to achieve 10 Goals in the Distinguished Club Program in District 73 for this current year.

Gail Jenkins from Victoria Quay

I joined Toastmasters in Feb 2006 and received my CC award in November of that year. I was quite pleased to achieve my ALB around the 2 year mark. I had set myself to complete it in 2007 so I was a little disappointed at missing that goal, however, after taking on VPE at Victoria Quay in May 2007 it took a little longer than planned.

I really liked the two manuals I was working on – Story Telling and Speaking to Inform. I found them interesting and I was happy with the speeches I made. Storytelling was particularly enjoyable – I was able to construct a couple of tales that suited the speech objectives and were fun to do.

I felt I was able to build on the skills I learnt doing my CC. I think I am getting a good feel for the amount of content required for speeches up to 10 mins duration and I am finding it easier to come up with a topic than I did in my early Toastmaster days. I think this is because there is a limited amount of content needed and where, in the beginning, I would compile miles more than I need and then try and pare it back, now I am able to come up with a structure and then find enough content to populate the outline without going into way more detail than I can use in the time allowed.

My challenge now is to pick 2 more manuals for my ACS – I have decided on Persuasive Speaking and Interpretive Reading. Given my VPE role I have set myself a goal of July 2009.

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Martin Lindsay CL received his award on February 1, 2008. Martin is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of Morning Star and last December won the Western Division Humorous Contest. He will be representing the Division at the District Contest at Lilydale in May this year.

Martin Lindsay
Martin Lindsay from Morning Star

I started working for this award in June 2006 so it has taken 18 months for me to complete it. The assignments helped me appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes to get things happening smoothly for the meeting on the night. I had to work hard on organising and delegating – I usually tend to fuss and worry to much. My award was acknowledged at the club when the President made a presentation at the opening of the meeting.

Generally, the CL manual helped me to appreciate more the various roles that we take on at Toastmasters, and to focus on the skills we need to develop. I found that the duties of the General Evaluator role as covered by the CL manual, had more overlap with the Toastmaster role than we tend to apply in our club, and this made me realise just how much teamwork there is in organising our regular meetings. There are always some last minute changes to the agenda, and everybody helps out so that the meeting comes together.

The formal feedback on my mentoring made me realise that this is an area that I need to spend more time on. The fact that my mentee would say ‘Yes I feel OK with that” does not mean that they are OK, and I think that, as mentors, and leaders, we need to take more of an active coaching role for new members, especially those who need to build their confidence in the early days.

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Vicky Post ACB received her award on February 21, 2008. Vicki is currently the Vice President Education of Powertalk.

Vicky Post from Powertalk

I have just completed my Advanced Communication Bronze – the first speaking award after completing the CC, or CTM as it was when I did it. It is my second go at this one, because I had a break from TM of about four years, during which time I went travelling around Australia in a caravan. This time around I started working on the award when I joined Powertalk TM just over a year ago.

I completed the Story Telling manual and the Entertaining Speaker, both of which were interesting manuals to complete. The Story Telling was a challenge because I did most of my speeches with the audience sitting in a semi-circle around me. This was interesting because suddenly my listeners were close by and it became an intimate setting, which at times felt intimidating. It was interesting, though and something I can recommend to any Toastmaster who needs a challenge.

The Entertaining Speaker manual presented less of a challenge – average length speeches with easy objectives.

There are no other objectives for the ACB, so it is an easy award to achieve. What helped me complete the award in a relatively short space of time, considering that Powertalk is a fortnightly club, is my membership with Fremantle Gourmet Toastmasters Club. Being a member of an advanced speaking club, where you can get a speech in most months, is a great help and makes it a lot easier to finish the manuals.

My next goal is to complete my Silver by the end of this calendar year.

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Bill Hewitt Advanced Leader Silver (ALS) received his award on February 6, 2008. Bill went on Long Service Leave in the second half of 2007, so he doesn’t hold any current Toastmaster Officer positions. Before that however he was President of Curtin GSB and W13 Area Governor, both with distinction.

Bill Hewitt from Curtin GSB

Advanced Leader Silver (ALS)

The story of my award is that it has come because I enjoy being involved with Toastmasters. I don’t want to sit back, I want to be involved if I can make a contribution.

Doing your speeches is easy by comparison. They are all about self! To attain the ALS requires us to have a role as a District Officer. Last year I was Area Governor for P13. What a great year and experience. I was able to visit and support clubs other than my home club which really enlightens you and develops you as a toastmaster and a person.
Then there are the opportunities to be involved in contests; Club, Area, Division and District all happened last year.

The High Performance Leadership project helped gain input into Club Officer Training (COT) and enabled me to add sessions to ensure attendees heard “something new” that they could take away. I was old school and able to undertake the OCL however, look forward to completing the “new” CL manual (thanks Ross W!) while helping to promote it in our clubs.

The ALS happened because Toastmasters needs us all to be involved and to give something back. The speeches will follow and hopefully the DTM.

In summary, be involved outside your club and the leadership awards will come, be involved with your club/s and the speeches will happen. Be involved and a DTM awaits you.

Good luck to all my fellow Toastmasters.

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Mike Helm Competent Communicator (CC) received his award on March 3, 2008. Mike is the District 73 Governor, the first Western Australian to hold that position. Besides the awards he mentions below, he is very active in promoting the founding of new clubs in WA.

Mike Helm DG
Mike Helm from Central Communicators

Last May, I achieved my Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award, the highest award in Toastmasters which recognises performance in a variey of speaking situations as well as evidence of leadership skills. For some members, this is the end of the line but I realise that unless you keep practising, your communication skills will start to decline – if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. So I followed the lead of our Western Australian multi-DTM winners such as David Nicholas with 4 and Glenis Nicholas with 2 and have started all over again, recently being awarded the foundation Competent Communicator (CC) award for the second time.

As District Governor this year I am asked to give many speeches. Here I will invoke the name of another Toastmaster, past District Governor Andris Bilkens of South Australia, who told us a few years ago “Never waste a speech!” So whenever I give a speech, I have it evaluated as a manual speech. Since last June, with many speaking opportunities, I have recently registered my second CC award with Toastmasters International, have completed, but not yet registered, another CC and am half way through my third for the year. I am also half way through an Advanced Communicator Bronze award. I am also planning to register two Competent Leader awards for the year.

It might sound a lot but giving speeches becomes easier as you go along, and all I have to do is make sure I have them all evaluated.


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Glenis Nichiolas Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) for the second time received her award on July 3, 2007. Glenis is only the third person in District 73 to be awarded a second DTM – the Double DTM. She is member of three clubs and has filled all club officer roles several times during her Toastmaster career.

Glenis Nicholas from Victoria Quay

For me, working towards my first DTM was like climbing a mountain. Why do it? Because it’s there? I finished one stage, went on to the next, and the next. After a while, as the climb because much more challenging, the DTM was gradually coming into sight. I mostly enjoyed the process.

After reaching that goal, TMI recommends to start again, because we can always improve. Doing a second DTM made me aware of how I could do a better job, especially in the tasks in the higher leadership roles. Also, these tasks became a means of giving back something of value to TMI, in the form of better administration and the starting of new clubs.

I’m sure this is TMI’s plan! As usual they’ve designed an excellent product. Each time we as individual Toastmasters “climb another mountain” facing our own challenges and improving all skills all the way up, Toastmasters as a whole is kept alive and growing. It’s a win/win situation. There are always more challenges waiting!

Climbed any mountains lately?

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Michael Malone Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) received his award on July 18, 2007. Michael is the VP Education of several clubs – Young Guns, Durack and Central Communicators.

Michael Malone
Michael Malone from Young Guns

I had given a speech on behalf of the family at my brother’s wedding in late 2001 and that had convinced me of my need to improve my public speaking skills! I saw a flyer for a demo meeting for Durack Toastmasters shortly after that and was impressed enough to join up. Like all new members started the daunting task of working through the ten speeches in the communications manual. I found the supportive environment of the Durack Club to be a huge comfort. It was clear that they wanted me to feel confident and improve.

In working through to my DTM, the two speeches that still stand out for me were my ice breaker and about a year later the 10th speech in my basic manual! The ice breaker had that heart thumping terror that I’m sure is familiar to all new speakers. I spoke about my first date with my future wife and practised so much that I can still remember most of the speech now, six years later. My PS10 was about SIDS and I was so very proud to have completed those ten speeches and know that I was now a Competent Toastmaster.

The advanced speaking stream was a lot of fun. I tended towards the narrative manuals, such as Story Telling, Entertaining Speaker and Speaking to Inform. There is something new to play with in every one of the manuals, to both stretch and motivate advanced speakers.

In my opinion, the leadership stream is not as well promoted to new members, which is a shame, because it’s incredibly powerful. The new leadership manuals are very thought provoking and a great development tool. The structure of the High Performance Leadership project manuals are incredible. This is the sort of thing that businesses pay thousands of dollars for, to develop their leaders, and here we have it as part of our leadership stream in Toastmasters.

Overall, the journey to DTM has been very personally rewarding for me. Am I totally over my fear of public speaking? No, I’m afraid not! I still get nervous before every presentation and worry about it for days before hand. But I do feel that I am far better at managing that nervousness and using the adrenaline to add emotion to my presentations.

So what next? I really enjoy seeing new members going through the same journey that I did, particularly in those few few heart thumpers. For myself, I’ve just done the new Competent Leader manual and the new Competent Communicator. So I guess a second DTM is out there on the horizon one day. I speak regularly in my day job, so I need to feel confident. Getting good at public speaking isn’t something you do once, then leave behind. It takes ongoing practice and support, and Toastmasters continues to give me that environment.

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Pauline Saunier ACS received her award on April 4, 2008. Pauline was a Founding Member of Amity Toastmasters in September, 2006. She is Vice President Public Relations

David Nicholas
Pauline Saunier from Amity

Attaining the Advance Communicator Silver Award seemed a far off dream when Amity Toastmasters Chartered in October 2006 and yet here we are in April 2008 which finds me now looking forward to the challenge of a further ten speeches and my ACG.

Toastmasters gives us all the opportunity to extend ourselves and constantly seek to improve. The Professional Speaker Manual stretched me beyond all I thought possible from being an Entertaining Speaker to giving a workshop on a topic of my choice “How to be a Book Critic”. My second manual “Speaking to Inform” gave me the opportunity to research little known subjects which in turn improved my general knowledge and enabled me to pass on my findings to the other Amity Club Members.

Earlier this year I was the MC for the book launch of Hugh MacKay’s latest book: “Advance Australia Where” in Albany. This would not have been possible without the knowledge and confidence that I have gained from Toastmasters

As I progress through the Toastmasters system I become more aware of how well it works, encouraging us to never rest on our laurels but to continue through the advanced manuals, stretching ourselves to seek the goals that make for a better person.. It is exciting to take up this challenge, which is to strive to do our best. There is nothing more euphoric then the feeling of achievement, knowing that you have succeeded, and are ready and able to take up the next challenge.

What is your next Challenge?

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David Nicholas Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) for the fifth time received his award on March 18, 2008. David is the WA New Clubs Coordinator and to date has been founder for 3 new clubs this year with more on the way.

David Nicholas
David Nicholas from Victoria Quay

5 DTMs!! Isn’t that a bit excessive? So why do I do it?

I don’t really know. I enjoy the activity – the speeches, the workshops, the Club Officer roles, the District Officer roles, starting new clubs, setting up and running websites – like this one – but, I think, best of all is finding and encouraging talented members who can emerge as leaders and inspirers of others in their own right.

I’ve been a member since 1995 so some of these inspirational leaders are no longer with us. From the past I think of Lesley Amm DTM, Peter Nicholls DTM, Lisa Cluett DTM and Cliff Boer ACG, all from Victoria Quay and Kaye Hastings from Sandgropers. From the present I think of Glenis Nicholas DTM (twice), Alan Smith DTM (with a second coming in July) and Mark Richards (DTM in April), also from Victoria Quay. Outside Victoria Quay I have encouraged Meechan Wong, Eric Davies, Michael Malone DTM, Gil Alexander (soon to be DTM), and in a small way Mike Helm DTM, our District 73 Governor.

Working with these dedicated and talented people has been a pleasure. They have made possible the astonishing growth in WA Toastmasters since Lesley Amm and I founded Victoria Quay in 1995. We were the 21st Club in WA – now there are 42 – and still counting. Working with a big range of people, in that time I have founded 14 Clubs in WA – and hopefully still counting. Some of those clubs have had their ups and down, but all are still meeting regularly.

I belong to quite a few clubs – too many, according to Glenis – but my main club is Victoria Quay. As a club we pursue excellence to the best of our ability. Under the current Distinguished Club Program regime we are the only club in District 73 to have always been Presidents Distinguished. As well we have always achieved the 10 possible Goals. And to cap that, we are always the first club in the District to reach 10 Goals. As I write this on March 28, we have just done that again. So what you might say. I think it’s a mighty lot, because our members are inspired to work for their own personal very best and are inspired to aim very high because they know they belong to the most successful club in the whole District.

My fifth DTM plaque arrived from the US today – they come a lot quicker these days. They are rather big so there is nowhere to put another one. It’s not the plaque, or the award that counts to me. It’s the pleasure of working with Toastmasters, from nervous Icebreakers to Cliff Boer winning the Interdistrict final in Atlanta; from a first time Club Officer to Mike Helm, our first WA District Governor; from Mark Richards’ first speech in 2001 to his current year as Western Division Governor and the Charter of Canning Vale last week.

If you haven’t experienced that kind of pleasure yet in Toastmasters I recommend you aim for it – go for the Double DTM award which Victoria Quay sponsors. It’s a lot of work, and a lot more rewarding pleasure.

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Nola Haddrill Competent Leader (OCL) received her award on March 26, 2008. Nola is the Vice President Public Relations for JusTalk.

I joined JusTalk in April 2005 and I didnt have any intention of going for the competent leader award, at the time I wasn’t even aware that an award existed; I just thought it was all about doing project speeches.

However in May 2005 when the club had Club Officer nominations, somehow I got roped into being the Treasurer. I was Treasurer for 12 months (2005/2006) but have spent the last two years as VPPR and am due to step down this year.

Being VPPR has taught me some new skills, the main one being learning how to load information onto to the JusTalk website. While it has been labour intensive taking notes and photos for each meeting, it has been very interesting and challenging, it’s a skill I didn’t have before and would like to keep using. I have basic skills to update our website but every now and then I learn something new which makes it more interesting.

Going to Club Officer Training has encouraged me to meet and interact with people outside of JusTalk. I have met a lot of nice people which I took further by putting my name on the register to be a judge and I’ve gone to a few clubs over the last year and seen how they are run.

Although I have only recently achieved my Competent Leader, I am looking forward to achieving my CL Bronze Award. After reading the requirements in the project speech books, I have realised that if I stay on as a club officer, I can achieve this within the next six months and I’m very excited about it.

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Sue Voloczi, ACS received her award on April 11, 2008. Sue is currently Vice President Education at Western Founders. She is representing Western Division in the District 73 Contests at Lilydale in May.

Sue Voloczi
Sue Voloczi from Western Founders

It took me 13 months to complete my Advanced Communicator Silver award. The advanced manuals I used were Interpretive Reading and Humorously Speaking. As with all Toast Masters manuals, there is a clear progression in both manuals each project introduces just enough new information in to build strong skills. I enjoyed both manuals and found the Humorously Speaking manual particularly helpful. I previously had no idea how to tell a joke and now I feel that I have acquired some skill in this area.

As always, my evaluators have been immensely helpful in showing me how to get better at each element. I am still working on timing and pausing. The key to steady improvement is regular activity as it is for any for any activity.

The ACS award also requires presentation of two workshops. I recently presented Impromptu Speaking and Body Language from the excellent materials supplied by TMI at a Speechcraft program. They say there is nothing like teaching to help you learn – they are quite right!

And now on to my ACG!

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Pat Wallace-Bell DTM received her award on April 17, 2008. Pat is currently Vice President Education at Successful

My journey to my DTM

It’s been a very long journey but well worth it. I am still stunned I eventually made it – and if it hadn’t been for the help and encouragement of my fellow Toastmasters and the fact I can’t bear to be beaten once I’ve set myself a goal well – ..

My journey actually started in late 1990 when I attended an AIM course – Women and Success –  facilitated by Vicki Landre. Every one of us on that course had a fear of public speaking and Vicki, a member of Sunrise Toastmasters Club, invited us all to attend a meeting of her club. Late January 1991 I fronted up, knees knocking and feeling decidedly sick with nerves. I was horrified to find I was the only one from that course that had made it to the meeting. Vicki consigned me to the care of Roger MacMillan and I have to say if it hadn’t been for Roger and Vicki’s encouragement I would never have gone back to a second meeting.

CTM – I delivered my Ice Breaker on April 17 1991 and my Project 10 on September 7th 1993. Speedy I wasn’t but I enjoyed the journey.

ATM –  it took me till June 1997 to accomplish this but bear in mind then you had to complete 3 manuals (Storytelling, Public Relations and Speeches by Management were my choices), have held a Club Officer role and delivered 3 speeches to outside audiences

ATM Silver – April 2002. Manuals were Special Occasion Speeches and the Professional Salesperson

ACG – Advanced Communicator Gold – April 2008. Manuals were Speciality Speeches and Interpersonal Communication.

On the Leadership track I achieved Competent Leader in February 2003, was a mentor for Blue Collar in 2001, completed the High Performance Leadership program in March 2007 and my Advanced Leader Silver in April 2007.

Amongst my journey moments I cherish – being asked to an Area Governor for 1993-94 by Mike Ellis, my Area achieving Distinguished Area, and completing a challenge put by District 73 to complete my ATM in 1996/96 before the awards were restructured

Now seventeen years to the day from my Icebreaker I am a DTM. Thanks everyone for sticking by me and encouraging me. There are so many people I should thank but they are so many, many no longer with Toastmasters, so just consider yourselves thanked


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Gil Alexander DTM received his award on April 7, 2008. Gil is currently Perth Division Governor and WA Speechcraft Coordinator.

Gil Alexander
Gil Alexander from Durack

As a senior member of the SKM staff, I was Charter President of the Durak Toastmasters club when the club chartered in July 1999. I was a reluctant participant initially. However the regular attendance at Toastmasters became additive and I began to miss the stimulating start to the day if I did not attend.

The first year of Toastmasters was a growing and challenging experience. I achieved my CC in mid 2000, and progressed through the ACB, ACS and ACG manuals, completing them in late 2006. I became WA Speechcraft coordinator in 2005, a role I found extremely rewarding, although very time consuming, running courses as well as training fellow Toastmasters to run the courses.

I entered into District service by taking on the Area Governor P30 role during 2005-2006. I am currently the Perth Division Governor 2007-2008. In late 2006 I became refocussed in the completion of the DTM as I entered into the leadership stream qualifications.

Some may say that I should have had a more focussed approach on personal achievements. However my motivation has always been more towards gaining the experience and to enjoy the process, rather than to focus on the accolades and rewards. As I am continuously reminded, Success is a process not a destination.

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Mark Richards DTM received his award on April 4, 2008. Mark is currently Western Division Governor and has his sights set on President’s Distinguished Division Governor.

Mark Richards
Mark Richards from Victoria Quay

Seven years ago I was involved in the publication of a children’s book and I had to make business proposals to many different companies. It was suggested that I improve my speaking skills and was told about Toastmasters. I was asked by a fellow businessman to visit the Victoria Quay club in Fremantle. When I did, the standard of the speakers, the number of successful members in this club and their achievements in Toastmasters amazed me. There were 5 DTMs!

I was in awe as I watched them perform their speeches and I decided then, to emulate their success.
My CTM took about a year to complete and I still recall my Icebreaker and how nervous I was. My ATMB came in Oct 2003 and I loved the Entertaining and Humourous manuals as they helped me develop my adventurous side. The ATMS arrived in Mar 2005. The Specialty and Special Occasion speech manuals really helped my formal side. My ACG came in Nov 2006 and I must say that this award was my most satisfying; I really felt that I had achieved a level of confidence in public speaking that I was very proud of.

My HPL project was to organize the Convention Dinner dance and that was a huge challenge that taught me how to lead a team and reaffirmed to me how wonderful my wife is. Speechcraft co-ordinator really stretched my leadership skills and I found this to be a most rewarding challenge, to lead a group of really enthusiastic Toastmasters through 6 weeks of intensive training was brilliant.

But of all the leadership challenges, Area Governor was by far the most challenging and rewarding because it makes you face projects like, organizing COT, helping clubs achieve the DCP and so much more.

The highlights of this journey have been, becoming SAA, where I got to speak every week, which advances your speaking skills very quickly. Then President of my club where I started to learn all the aspects of becoming a leader. Achieving President’s Distinguished Area while serving as Area Governor and winning Area Governor of the year after my term was a huge highlight.

Being Western Division Governor this year has been Awesome! Working with a fantastic group of Area Governors, and now to top it all off, I have helped form a new club, Canning Vale Toastmasters, with my wonderful wife Robyn and have put together a really enthusiastic group of fresh new Toastmasters.

So I would say in summary.

It’s not the destination, but the journey that has given me the greatest honour; becoming a DTM.

Mark Richards DTM
Western Division Governor 2007/08

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