Table of Contents

Photo of Jennifer Kibicho
Jennifer Kibicho, DTM - District Director

District Director Letter

District 35 Platinum Year: Remember, Rejoice, Recommit

Tracking Progress, Rejoicing in Success, Opportunities, and Finishing The Year Strong

Spring is here with the promise of new opportunities. The dreaded winter is behind us, and the summertime is ahead of us. The sun is out longer; the flowers are beginning to bloom again. Are your members blooming and thriving?

Food for Thought

What is your process of ensuring that guests are turned to members and members are quickly onboarded, begin giving speeches, take on meeting roles starting from grammarian and timer, and eventually serve as a club officer?

In sum, what is your process of ensuring that new members:

  • are assigned a mentor within two weeks of joining your club?
  • give their Icebreaker speech within a month of joining your club?
  • are given club meeting roles within 3 months of joining your club?
  • complete a Pathways Level within 6 months of joining your club?
  • participate in Area events (speech contests, joint club meetings) within 6 months of joining your club?
  • take on a club officer role within a year of joining your club?
  • consider District Officer roles within two years of joining your club?

In the final quarter of this amazing Platinum year, let us Reflect on the plans and goals we set at the beginning of the year, Rejoice in our accomplishments and the progress we have made individually, as a club and in the entire District, and Recommit to being good stewards of the Toastmasters Promise by holding onto the baton and ensuring we do our part to pass it safely to the next generation of leaders.

I will repeat the question from the February 2023 Newsletter Edition. What are you doing to ensure that the next generation of Toastmasters will find your club thriving and strong? Let it be said of us that we held on and kept the torch burning during the tough times! Remember Dr. Robert Schuller’s words: Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.

Our District Leadership – including the Trio, Top District Leadership, 7 Division Directors and 22 Area Directors – are doing a phenomenal job. In keeping with the No Member No Club Left Behind 3-Year Strategic Plan, we are currently conducting Area Director visits, and are on track to ensure that 100% of Area Director May visits are completed in a timely manner. Our goal is to ensure that no Club is left behind and that each club is served by the District.

I cherish every moment in service to you as your District Director.


The Dashboard on March 31, 2023

Our District continues to excel in Region 5, ranking 1st in Paid Clubs and 4th in Membership Payments. We are still competitive in the World, ranking 8th in Paid Clubs and 28th in Membership Payments (out of 126 Districts).

However, we still have work to do. At the time of this report (April 1, 2023), we are short 320 membership payments from base membership payments. Please see the Dashboard below. Distinguished District status is within reach—we are 346 membership payments short of being a Distinguished District.

As I noted in the February Newsletter Edition, we all have a part in helping our District finish the year strong. We can keep our Toastmasters Promise to attend meetings regularly, participate in giving speeches and serving in club roles. We can do our part by taking on club leadership roles and stepping out of our comfort zone to serve in the District.

Rejoice: Clubs that Increased Membership in April Dues

Please join me in congratulating the following 14 clubs that increased membership in the April 2023 dues period from the October 2022 dues period:



Increase since October dues


Milwaukee Talkies

31 members


Toast On Tap

30 members


WEGOFAR Toastmasters Club

8 members


NM Speaks!

6 members


Uptowner Toastmasters  Club

6 members


Sturgeon Speakers

6 members


Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club

4 members


Southwest Toastmasters

4 members


Direct Supply Champion Chatters Club

3 members


Church Mutual Club

3 members


Well Toasted

3 members


Love of Laughter

3 members


Capital City Club

3 members


Rock Solid Communicators

3 members

2023 Annual Business Meeting

April 29, 2023 @ 9:00 A.M. CDT

All members of District 35 Toastmasters are invited to attend the Annual Business Meeting where District Council members (Club Presidents and Vice Presidents of Education, Area and Division Directors, Administration Manager, Finance Manager, Public Relations Manager, Club Growth Director, Program Quality Director, District Director, and Immediate Past District Director) are invited to participate by voting on the District Business Items.

PLEASE NOTE: No proxies will be allowed per TI rules for the virtual District Council meeting.

The agenda for the meeting has been posted to the District 35 website. The 4 main items of business include:

  1. District 35 Mid-Year Audit Report
  2. District 35 Policies and Procedures update
  3. Voting on District 35 Alignment
  4. Voting on the 2023-2024 District Leadership Elections

Please note that only District Council Members in Good Standing (have paid April dues) who belong to Clubs in Good Standing (with 8 or more paid members) are eligible to vote at the Annual Business Meeting.

District Council Members will receive emails from the Credentials Chair, Eric Young, with instructions on how to be credentialed in order to vote on April 29.

Club Officer Elections

Each May, each of us has an opportunity to commit to serve our fellow club members for at least one year. Remember that part of our Toastmasters Promise is “To serve my club as an officer when called upon to do so.” To ensure a smooth leadership transition at your club, begin planning now for the next slate of 7 club officers for the 2023-2024 Toastmasters year. As part of the onboarding process for new members who joined in the last Toastmasters year and have completed at least one level in Pathways, consider orienting them to move to the next level by taking on an officer role under the mentorship of a seasoned Toastmaster. Please review the Club Leadership Handbook to better understand the roles and responsibilities of the various club officer roles.

Once the club officer elections take place, the current club president or club secretary should update the Officer roster in Club Central with the list of new club officers before the June 30, 2023, deadline. Updating the new club officer list will help the Program Quality Director in the planning of the Summer TLIs.


Toastmaster of the Year Nomination—closes on Saturday, April 29, 2023

Each year, the District recognizes one Toastmaster whose dedication, commitment, and efforts significantly contributed towards achieving the District mission. Do you know someone deserving of this honor? If so, submit a nomination today!  Complete this Nomination Form  before Saturday, April 29, 2023 @ 11:59 PM CDT.


Club President of the Year Nomination—closes on Saturday, April 29, 2023

Last year, we awarded a Club President the prestigious Club President of the Year Award from nominations made by fellow club officers. This year, we will invite every member of a Club in Good Standing to consider nominating their Club President for the Club President of the Year Award before Saturday, April 29 @ 11:59 PM CDT. Please note the following:

  1. You can only nominate the Club President of a Club you belong to.
  2. If you belong to more than one club, please complete a separate Nomination Form for each club you belong to.
  3. A Club President cannot self-nominate.

The survey will only take a minute to complete. Here is a link to the Nomination Form:


Finishing the Year Strong

Time is not standing still, and the clock is ticking pretty fast. Soon, our New Year will become old.

As we enter the final quarter of this Toastmasters year, this is a fantastic time to review our Success Plans. In keeping with our theme for the Platinum Year, Remember, Rejoice and Recommit to our vision for the year:

  • Reflect on our commitment to ourselves (personal and professional goals) and to our club (club success plan) that we made at the beginning of the Toastmasters year
  • Rejoice at our accomplishments so far—how many Pathways Projects or Levels have you completed?
  • Recommit to our personal and professional goals, as well as Club/Area/Division/District goals. I committed to completing the Engaging Humor Path this year. So far, I have completed 4 out of 5 Levels. I am on track to completing Level 5. In addition, I have also committed to completing the Pathways Mentorship Program in the next six months. I am on Level 3, and have a bit of work to do before accomplishing that goal.

How will you finish the year strong?

Jason Feucht, DTM - Program Quality Director

A Message from Your Program Quality Director

Greetings District 35 Toastmasters,

The springtime is one of the busiest times in the Program Quality Year, with us wrapping up Club Officer Training, Area Speech Contests, and Division Speech Contests, all while preparing for the Spring Conference and the District Level Speech Contests.

Speech contests are an important activity in the Spring. Club contests were held in any format and were held prior to January 15th. Area contests were held virtually between January 16th and February 28th.  Division contests started on March 1st and wrapped up with our last hybrid contest on April 14th. I want to take a moment to congratulate all the contestants and winners of the Tall Tales and International Speech Contests at all levels. You have all taken on a special opportunity to stretch yourself in your Toastmasters journey by competing. I encourage you all to continue to do this in the future, and I look forward to seeing our finalists compete at our District Conference on May 5th and 6th at The Abbey Resort.

I also want to thank all the Area Directors, Division Directors, Chief Judges, Contest Toastmasters, Zoom Masters, contest functionaries, judges, and audience members for the outstanding job you have all done putting on fair and fun contests. A special thank you to the Division Directors for taking on the additional challenge of planning hybrid contests. For me it has been especially rewarding to be able to attend most of the Division contests in person and we can appreciate the adaptability that allowed some contests to switch to virtual due to our unpredictable Wisconsin weather.

We also have a lot of members and clubs doing some great things this year. Congratulations to all members and clubs that are finding success. Here are some highlights:

  • 339 Educational Awards have been earned across the District so far this year – congratulations to all!
    • 37 of the issued awards have been Level 5 Awards for a completed path. Congratulations!
    • 37 Members have also earned a Triple Crown, having earned 3 or more education awards.
      • 172 Education Awards have been earned by someone earning a Triple Crown

I encourage all members and clubs to keep up the momentum, don’t give up, set goals to complete education awards, and grow membership to finish strong and get to 5 or more DCP Goals by June 30th

Where are you on your journey? Don’t forget to keep working on your own goals, as it’s all about us as individual members and our growth. I know I have grown and been challenged this year. Also, if you have not already done so, reinvest in yourself and renew your membership. Even though it’s past April 1st, it’s never too late to renew.

Finally, I suggest everyone take a moment to find and celebrate the successes you, your club, and members are having; there are many, many more out there. Has someone in your club started a new job, welcomed a new family member, gone on a fun vacation? Even small successes are valuable. I encourage everyone to take time finding, recognizing, and then building on our individual and club successes. Success is contagious and the more of it we build on the more momentum we can find. 

As always, if you are interested in helping support Training, Contests, the District Conference, or any other aspect of Program Quality, please feel free to reach out to me at

Thank you for your commitment to yourself, though Toastmasters.


Club Support Seminars

Is your club (or a club you support) struggling with low membership, low participation, and low meeting quality? If so, plan to attend the District 35 Club Support Seminars, hosted by Past District Director Keith Cumiskey, DTM.

This training series will consist of a team of experienced Toastmasters lending their support to clubs by hosting a series of one-hour sessions focused on building club membership and improving club quality. Each session will consist of a 30-minute presentation on a specific topic, followed by a 30-minute open discussion on that topic.

These sessions are designed to offer tangible help and ideas to support our Districts Clubs.

Sessions are be held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 7:00pm-8:00pm. Attendance is open to all, but highly recommended for Club President and Vice Presidents Membership.

Please visit the district calendar for complete scheduling and Zoom link information.

Recordings of prior sessions are also available on the District Website and the District YouTube:

photo of Robert Wall
Robert Wall, DTM - Club Growth Director

Friction, Viscosity, And Forward Motion – Fueling Your Future

A couple of years ago I visited a club in another district, with high hopes of joining. We went through the meeting, and they talked about how much they looked forward to adding members. Then toward the end – when a club typically asks guests for feedback and asks them to join – the officers got into a fight about how to process membership applications.

They had already been arguing loudly, and decided they had to have an immediate Executive Committee meeting to argue further about this. They said all guests needed to leave immediately, and they kicked all of us off the call.

Needless to say, I didn’t join that club. I didn’t even go back. Which brings us back to friction and viscosity.

“Friction” is the resistance at the point where two things touch. Think of car tires rolling down a road, or a pencil on paper. If you take your foot off the gas, the car stops. If you stop pushing the pencil, it stops moving.

“Viscosity” refers more to internal resistance, or “internal friction,” if you prefer. Hold a glass of water upside down, and it will flow. It will change shape. Its only boundaries are whatever physical objects constrain its flow. Hold a jar of peanut butter upside down, and it’s a pretty safe bet that the peanut butter will stay in the jar. The viscosity of water is low, and the viscosity of peanut butter is very high.

With respect to that club I visited, I experienced a huge amount of friction. Remember – before the meeting, I had planned to join. All they should’ve had to do at the end is ask me to apply, and they’d have had a new member.

The reason that didn’t happen was because their club was experiencing a high level of viscosity. They had multiple people on their executive committee that would rather not process any membership applications than process them “incorrectly,” whatever “incorrectly” even means in this context. Their “internal friction” was so high they couldn’t even accept a membership application.

Here’s the thing – neither friction nor viscosity are bad things. But like many things, proper management is the key.

High friction and high viscosity around things that should be simple are a huge turn-off for potential members, potential club officers, and anybody currently serving in leadership.

And the more you want somebody to do something (like join your club!), the more you should actively work to reduce friction, reduce internal resistance, and pave the way for it to happen.

So how do we do that?

I would encourage you to sit down with your club and play “fill in the blank” with these two statements:

“I wish our club could _________.”
“I wish our members would ________.”

See how many things you can come up with. And then, once you’ve come up with your wishlist, think of what’s standing in the way of that – and brainstorm what you can do to reduce or remove the obstacles.

This doesn’t have to be super-organized. Email every member, or talk to them after a meeting. Keep it simple. Reduce the friction. Find your opportunities, and then execute.

I look forward to your club’s success as we approach the end of the Toastmasters year, and I look forward to seeing you at the 2023 Spring Conference!


Club Growth Updates – April, 2023

It’s renewal season again, and we’re doing well so far – over 2/3 of the clubs in our district have made it through renewals with 8 members. The majority of the other clubs are only 1 or 2 members down.

This makes our challenge “finding additional members.” And that’s been our challenge all year.

One of the standard ways of doing this is to try and get somebody to be a “dual member” – i.e., belong to more than one club. If somebody has the time and bandwidth to join and participate at multiple clubs, that’s fantastic! More power to them. I’ve been an active, participating member of as many as 4 clubs at once in the past – and if the decision is value-driven, I encourage them to join away.

But frequently this just means people joining other clubs to keep them in “good standing.” This creates a situation where somebody is really only functionally a member on paper – and that’s harmful long-term, not helpful.

It also doesn’t solve our core problems – increasing the total number of Toastmasters, and getting brand new members.

The real solution here is what the solution has always been – members inviting guests. Beyond generic social media, beyond people finding us on Google, beyond anything else, personal invitations from existing members are by far the #1 way people find a Toastmasters club.

This means that there is no substitute for members reaching out to friends, family, coworkers, and anybody else they meet who could benefit from Toastmasters!

I realize that finding, inviting, and converting members is something that we, as an organization, have had historical challenges with. We have two resources to help you out:

  • A few months back I did a Club Support Seminar on this very topic (, and I would encourage you to take a look. And if you have a hard time taking notes, the info is mostly on the slides.
  • Our district is offering a free 2’x6′ promotional banner to any club that wants one – you just have to purchase the stand. Contact me for details.

Club members, reach out to people you know. Club officers, sit down and brainstorm how you can make it easier for members to reach out. And if somebody isn’t a good fit for your club, help them find one that is.

We’re all in this together – let’s work together and finish this year strong!

Kris Pool, DTM - Spring Conference Chair

Have you found the KEY TO SUCCESS?

The 2023 Spring Conference and Pre-Conference education sessions are just around the corner. Have you registered yet? Are you getting excited to reconnect with friends and make new ones?

If you have not been following the District 35 Facebook page for regular updates, I encourage you to like and follow us regularly at

If you’re not a regular Facebook user, then be sure to bookmark the Spring Conference website page today:

On the website page, you can learn all about:

Planning an event such as this takes quite a bit of effort from a wonderful team of volunteers PLUS the excitement and attendance from you!

Contact me at if you want to donate a raffle basket, place an ad in the program, know or want to be a sponsor, or can volunteer 2 hours during the event.

I encourage you to find your KEY TO SUCCESS by registering and attending this year’s Spring Conference. I look forward to seeing you at The Abbey Resort… and I’m ready for some hugs too!

Photo of Susan Brushafer
Susan Brushafer, Area Director - A2

Instant Speech Analysis … try it out!

Have you tried the new benefit offered by Toastmasters? Check out Yoodli. Click on the Yoodli card to record a speech on the platform. Yoodli‘s artificial intelligence (AI) will then break down insights, such as how many filler words were used, the pace, eye contact, if any non-inclusive language was used, and more. I tried it to prep a speech I delivered in February. I was impressed by the info it captured! I know you will be, too.

Go to: , then, “Get Instant Speech Analysis!”

Some sample insights:

Karen Polege
Karen Polege, DTM -

Update on Ukrainian Toastmasters, Humanitarian Aid and Conference Challenge

It’s been a few months since my last update on the Ukrainian Eclectic Image members, and I’m happy to report that not much has changed. Yarina is finishing the first year of her master’s program in Prague, Czech Republic. Fedir is finishing the first year of his university studies in Kingston-upon-Hull, England. His mother, who is also in Kingston-upon-Hull, has been working since soon after they arrived in England. Gulnar is in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She just completed a training program offered by the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association in cooperation with a local university, and gave a speech at the graduation ceremony. The program included an internship, and Gulnar was hired as a regular employee at the end of her internship. Her parents are in Austria, living in a garage apartment owned by Gulnar’s former classmate’s husband’s parents. Gulnar lived with them in Austria for a few months before going to Canada, where she lived with a relative of mine for a few months before striking out on her own. Eclectic Image’s Ukrainian Toastmasters continue to be involved in the club, performing their officer roles, presenting speeches, and serving in meeting roles. Their positive attitudes and resilience continue to amaze me, especially when I remember how much uncertainty underscores their daily lives. 

I continue to lead my online conversation groups.  It feels more like a group of friends rather than a teacher and students, and I hope to stay in contact with some of them long after the war is over. 

I also continue to raise funds for Greg Holt and his group of Ukrainian volunteers.  Greg is an American English teacher who has lived in Ukraine for the past eight years. Last summer and autumn, Greg and his volunteers delivered food and medical supplies to several Ukrainian cities and villages in the eastern and southern parts of Ukraine. During the winter, we bought generators for some hospitals and warming centers, including a hospital close to the front lines. Now, Greg and his volunteers deliver drinking water to a city near the Bakhmut front, so close to the fighting that the Red Cross and UN aren’t providing aid there. All the bridges in the area have been blown up, and it’s possible to cross the river only via a pontoon bridge. Greg and his team use civilian vehicles to transport about 1000 liters of water per trip. The International Red Cross mentioned this area in a recent report that was publicized by several American news outlets, including Reuters and the Associated Press.[i] The Red Cross described the people living there in “horrific circumstances,” “pushed to the edge of existence.” Greg describes the situation, the people living there, and some details of the water delivery project in his online donation webpage:

Greg has enough donated money to last through the end of April, but the civilians in this area will need help to survive for months to come. If any District 35 Toastmaster donates to this project by the end of the Spring Conference on May 6, I will match the donation dollar for dollar up to $1,000. Any donations from friends and family of Toastmasters will count, too. Please write “Toastmasters Challenge” in a comment so that I know which donations to match.


Headshot of Dick Hawley
Dick Hawley, DTM - Past International Director

UW-SP Toastmaster Club #6141– 5th Oldest University Toastmaster Club in the World

There are over 14,700 Toastmaster clubs and just 485 of them are university clubs. The UW-Stevens Point club ranks as the fifth most tenured university Toastmaster club in the world.

The club origins date back to the fall of 1985 when C.Y. Allen, a professor at the university, contacted me about starting a club. I was the Area Governor at the time and we ended up chartering the club on May 1, 1986. A university club does offer quite a few challenges:

  1. The continuous turnover as students graduate;
  2. Students do not have the discretionary funds to join an organization;
  3. Most students have heavy class workloads and usually have one or two jobs to help with expenses, so choosing a time for the meetings can be difficult;
  4. Semester break and summer does not allow for productive meetings;
  5. There is a need for strong support from either the Communications or Business Departments; and
  6. The club needs a tenured Toastmaster in the community that commits long term to coach and mentor the club

Fortunately, we have been able to overcome those obstacles for  37 years. Four individuals were instrumental in overseeing the club over the years – Professor Dan Dieterich committed over a decade to the club’s success early on. This was followed by Ted Kowalski, DTM, from the Stevens Point club, who also served for over a decade. Currently Brian Cychosz, DTM, and Roberta Bie, DTM, from the Sentry club, have mentored the club for over 10 years. Without their devotion, the club would have died years ago.

For meeting times we chose Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 and it seems to work well. The club does not meet during break or the summer.

A professor in the Business Department has allowed us to visit her class to promote the club and waived certain requirements in her curriculum if they join Toastmasters.

An alumnus benefactor has committed to paying new members’ fees and dues for any members who join the UW-SP club, as long as they are students.

Having a committed faculty advisor is also key to continued success of the club. Professor Elizabeth Martin has championed this club for many years and is much appreciated by the club members.

If any of the District 35 members have family members or friends attending UW-SP, reach out to me at and I will provide information on how to start the process of them joining this unique club.