Public Speaking Award Stories 09/10

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. As stories build up, you can jump to a particular story by using the links in the following .

Lea Fernance DTM
Sep 22, 2009
Steve Barry DTM
Fremantle Gateway
Aug 29, 2009

Lea Fernance received her award on September 22, 2009. Lea is a member of Jetty Toastmasters in Busselton.

Lea Fernance
Lea Fernance from Jetty

Lea Fernance joined Jetty Toastmasters on the first meeting after the club chartered In April 2006. She refused to be a charter member because she didn’t want to come back to reunions as having a chronic disease she wasn’t sure she would be around long enough to attend any. She had already doubled her expected life span.

Despite her debilitating disease, Lea grasped the concept of Toastmasters with both hands & under the guidance of her mentor Tania Park she surged ahead. Obviously terrified giving her first speech, Lea became determined to overcome her fear, insisting that she fulfill any & every role. So determined was she, Lea rang other clubs & begged for openings to do whatever, especially speak. She gained her CC within 9 months & her CL 3 months later. This inspired Lea more.

Constant coffees around Tania’s kitchen table had Lea pushing, begging,& cajoling on how she could go all the way & gain her DTM. Even when she didn’t feel she had the Ability do certain things Tania jerked her arm just a bit higher up her back & said “Yes you can”. Together they did a Speechcraft course then Tania took a step back, forcing Lea to organize the next one by herself. Driving 50 Kms to either Bunbury or Margaret River clubs, Lea rapidly fulfilled the next 10 speeches & Educationals to gain her Advanced Communication Bronze.

She took on club officer roles then Tania presented her with The High Performance Leadership manual, suggesting she could fulfill the objectives by being next Area Governor. Lea looked horrified, her newly found confidence taking a severe nose-dive. She read the manual then said “Yes”. Not only did she take on the role of Area Governor of W29 which is spread over 200 Kms, but she also became a club specialist for Margaret River which had dwindled to a membership of 3. With Trish Rice, the other club specialist, they worked hard to revive the club & bring it up to 15 members.

Not content with an overflowing work load, but determined to gain her DTM, Lea took on the role of VPE at Margaret River. Lea took no half measures in anything. Having a strong mentor who guided her every step of the way, Lea saw the value of mentors so set about taking on several mentees herself, plus ensuring every new member was given a strong mentor. She fulfilled every role with utmost diligence, ensuring she crossed all her T’s & dotted all her I’s, Competitions were run to the highest standards, she drove many kilometers to the clubs in her vast area, far more times than was necessary. Finally in September this year her final applications have gone in for her Advanced Leader Silver & DTM.

It has only taken three years but they were years of commitment & sheer hard work for a lady who struggles to survive each & every day. No person is more deserving of this award than Lea Fernance!!

(Thanks to Trish Rice for this story.)

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Steve Barry received his award on August 29, 2009. Steve is a member of Fremantle Gateway, Fremantle Gourmet and Canning Vale.

Steve Barry
Steve Barry

Steve Barry has added Toastmasters highest award to his illustrious career in Toastmasters.

It began in June 1998 when he was one of 6 participants in a Speechcraft Course conducted at Notre Dame University by Victoria Quay. At the end of the 6th and final session I invited the Speechcrafters to come next week to the first meeting of a new Toastmasters Club. It was Steve, in his typical, infectiously enthusiastic manner, who responded immediately and urged everybody to come along. They all did and so Gateway was under way. It chartered on October 1 that year and the District 73 Governor, Dick Briggs, came across from Melbourne to join us in the celebratory Charter Dinner in December.

Steve Barry DTM – the shy one

His DTM has been a long time coming because of his shy retiring nature. Shy? Retiring?? Yes – bubbling, infectiously energetic Steve likes to be in the back room, encouraging others to come forward and bask in the limelight. He will do anything for you, but he doesn’t expect anything in return. He is probably severely embarrassed by this public acknowledgement of his success.

Fremantle Gateway

Steve was the first President of the club in 1998 and he has held most, if not all, officer roles in the club since then. Gateway has been one of the most successful clubs in the District in those 11 years – in fact it is the second most successful club since the current award system was established. You can see the evidence for this on a site maintained by a member of District 5 in Arizona, and identify the only club to have a slightly more distinguished record than Gateway.

Since that foundation year Steve has been the only member to maintain continuous membership. It’s no exaggeration to call him the rock on which the club has built such a powerful record.


And it’s not just Gateway. Powertalk was having membership problems. Steve and Glenn Wright offered to help and became Club Coaches. The success of their diligent work with a lot of help from Ross Wilkinson and Sue Voloczi was recorded this year when the club was Presidents Distinguished in the nick of time in June.

Fremantle Gourmet – why not?

Gourmet is another great success story – in collaboration with Ross Wilkinson again. Steve was the inaugural President. You can read the story of the foundation of that very successful club and Steve’s pivotal role in it at Fremantle Gourmet Charter

I have been privileged to know and admire Steve Barry since that first Speechcraft meeting in June 1998. He is a big man with a big record of success and it’s a great honour to be his friend.

David Nicholas DTM

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