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District 35 Platinum Year: Remember, Rejoice, Recommit
Finishing This Year Strong & Starting Next Year Right
When I joined Toastmasters in June 2014, little did I know that I would make a decision that would forever shape the trajectory of my life. For many years, that decision was not consequential because I had not fully optimized the gift that is Toastmasters since I had not yet taken on a leadership role. As I wrap up my year as District Director, I am so very thankful for the mentorship and training I have received and for the gift that it has been to serve, first as an Area F4 Director, then Division F Director, and then as a member of the Trio as Club Growth Director, Program Quality Director and now as our District Director. In this final newsletter article as District Director, I reflect, rejoice and recommit on both a personal and corporate journey.
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 completed a record 100% Area Director Visits in November 2022 and 90% Area Director visits in May 2023. Our goal is to ensure that no club is left behind and that each club is served by the District.
The Dashboard on June 1, 2023
Our District continues to excel in Region 5, ranking 4th in Membership Payments, and is still competitive worldwide, ranking 43rd (out of 126 Districts). Unfortunately, we are now lagging behind in Paid Clubs and Distinguished Clubs, though performing better than we did last year, which is encouraging news.
There is still time for us to achieve our Membership payment goal of 100% from base, since we are only 116 membership payments short as of June 1, 2023. With more people renewing, I am certain that we can make progress to achieving both our Paid Clubs and Distinguished Clubs goals for our District.
Distinguished District status is within reach—we are 15 Paid Clubs, 116 membership payments, and 21 Distinguished Clubs short of being a Distinguished District.
As I noted in previous Newsletter editions, 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.
As a District, we have accomplished so much and have much to be thankful for. Celebrating the Platinum Anniversary of our District on November 19, 2022 is at the top of my list. I’m also thankful for the club members and the club, area, division and district leaders who helped us achieve so much this year.
Our Spring Conference gave us the Keys to Success for our personal, professional and Toastmasters journeys. We also celebrated several individuals and clubs that accomplished above and beyond and helped advance our District mission.
2023 District 35 Award Recipients
Please join me in congratulating the following individuals and clubs that were honored at this year’s District 35 Spring Conference:
- Toastmaster of the Year: Amy Linn-Strosin, DTM
- Division Director of the Year: Lee Samson, IP4
- Area Director of the Year: Susan Brushafer, MS3
- Club President of the Year: Amy Krymkowski, PM1
- Director’s Award: Menomonee Falls Toastmasters
- Club Website: Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club
- Club Social Media: Summit Seekers Club
District 35 3-Year Strategic Plan
At the start of the Toastmaster year, our Trio team embarked on a 3-year strategic plan. The main elements of the plan were:
- No member left behind
- Intentionally sharing Toastmasters
- Strategic stewardship
As a Team, we have been successful in ensuring most of our clubs in our District received an Area Director visit:
- 100% Area Director Visit Reports by November 30, 2022
- 90% Area Director Visit Reports by May 31, 2023
As of June 1, 2023, we have 15 Distinguished Clubs and 2 Distinguished Areas with 1 almost-Distinguished Area. Congratulations to the following Areas:
- Distinguished Area A1—Division Director Yuriy Ksenidi and Area Director Danita Graham
- Distinguished Area C4—Division Director Lee Samson and Area Director Debra Ruskamp
- Almost-Distinguished Area F2—Division Director Paul Anderson and Area Director Larry Koerber
2023 Annual Business Meeting on April 29, 2023—Highlights
At this year’s Annual Business Meeting, the District Council Members voted to approve the following 3 items:
- District 35 Alignment—The main impact of the Alignment is that our District went from 7 Divisions to 6 Divisions, with the elimination of Division B. Effective July 1, 2023, our Districts have the following Divisions: A, C, D, E, F & N.
- Updated District Procedures Manual
- Election of the 2023-2024 District 35 Leadership team
2023-2024 District 35 Leadership
Please join me in congratulating the incoming District Leadership team:
- District Director: Jason Feucht, DTM
- Program Quality Director: Robert Wall, DTM
- Club Growth Director: Theresa Flynn, DTM
- Division A Director: Julie Gerasch
- Division C Director: Lee Samson, IP4
- Division D Director: Paul Anderson, CC, ALB
- Division E Director: Brandon Birrenkott, CC
- Division F Director: Yuriy Ksenidi, PI2
Finishing This Year Strong & Starting Next Year Right
We are less than a month away from the end of the Toastmasters year. There is still time for you and your club to achieve the goals you set for the year. In keeping with our theme for the Platinum Year—Remember, Rejoice and Recommit—here are some things we can do to both finish this year strong and begin the next year with a bang:
- 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. Take time to review and reflect on what went well and what could have gone better in your personal and professional lives. I am excited at my upcoming sabbatical plans and the opportunities to collaborate with other scholars in my home country of Kenya. On the other hand, perhaps I could have submitted more peer-reviewed scholarly articles.
- Rejoice at our accomplishments so far—how many Pathways Projects or Levels have you completed? I rejoice because I have completed 2 projects in the Pathways Mentor Program and I am now on the last project (Advanced Mentoring).
- Recommit to our personal and professional goals, as well as Club/Area/Division/District goals. The one thing we can all do is take advantage of the TI promotion of renewing membership at the current rate of $45 for six months before August 1, 2023. I have renewed my membership dues for all 3 clubs that I belong to until March 31, 2024, saving $45 in membership dues for September 2023.
If you are a District Leader (Trio, Division or Area Director) or a club officer, here are my suggestions of how to finish this year strong and set yourself up for an even more successful year ahead:
- Hold Club Officer Elections and then submit your Club Officer List in Club Central by June 30, 2023
- Plan ahead, Commit to and Register to attend at least one Club Officer Training or TLI (Toastmasters Leadership Institute) for the Summer. Our main TLI is scheduled for Saturday, July 15, with Toastmasters International President Matt Kinsey, DTM as the Keynote Speaker. Click here to register for the July 15 TLI.
- Plan ahead by working on your Club Success Plan:
- Education success: identify your members’ education goals for the year, and then schedule them to give speeches. VPE, consider setting the club meeting agenda at least 3 months in advance
- Membership recruitment drives: schedule Open Houses during strategic times in the year (e.g., Summer picnic, Christmas party, Start of the School Year drive, new employee orientation week, etc.) when you are likely to get new people interested in exploring the Toastmasters opportunity
- Develop a plan that positions new Toastmasters to be successful:
- Assign a mentor within two weeks of joining your club
- Schedule their Icebreaker speech within a month of joining your club
- Assign club meeting roles within 3 months of joining your club
- Guide them to complete a Pathways Level within 6 months of joining your club
- Encourage them to participate in Area events (speech contests, joint club meetings) within 6 months of joining your club
- Mentor them to take on a club officer role within a year of joining your club
- Encourage them to consider District Officer roles within two years of joining your club
- Mobilize your membership to pay September 2023 membership dues before August 1, in order to take advantage of the current $45 membership due that expires on July 31, 2023. Please note that starting on August 1, 2023, Toastmasters membership dues will increase to $60 for every 6 months.
How will you finish the year strong? How will you set up yourself up to start next year with a bang?
Please join me in wishing the incoming team, led by Distinguished Toastmaster Jason Feucht, every success in leading our beloved District, and commit to support them in their leadership endeavors.
In the final month 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. In this Platinum Year, let us commit to doing everything in our power to ensure that our Clubs, Areas, Divisions and District survive and thrive for the next 70 years and beyond!
Thank you for the honor of serving this past year. I have cherished every moment in service to you as your District Director.
A Message from Your Program Quality Director
Greetings District 35 Toastmasters,
It is hard to believe that there is less than 1 month left in the current Toastmasters Year.
Our clubs continue to do outstanding work, to meet the needs of our members while continuing to grow their clubs to set up for future successes. At the same time our members continue to work toward their individual speaking and leadership goals. It’s my privilege to recognize Club and Member successes as of 6/4/2023. Keep up the great work and keep up the momentum as we get to this finish line on June 30th.
Congratulations to the following 15 clubs that are currently Distinguished:
- President’s Distinguished
- NEW AfterHours Toastmasters (10 of 10 Goals!)
- Rolling Hills Toastmasters Club
- Select Distinguished
- Sheboygan Club 2121
- Heart Of Eau Claire
- Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club
- Eastside Madison Toastmasters Club
- Reedsburg Area Club
- Southwest Toastmasters
- Church Mutual Club
- CNH Industrial Toast Team
- Ozaukee Toastmasters
- Expressions Club 9769
- Direct Supply Champion Chatters Club
- Leading Voices
- NM Speaks!
24 Other clubs are Almost Distinguished needed just a few more members or education awards.
I encourage all clubs, especially these, to work right up to the finish line to potentially get recognized as distinguished.
- Clubs Meet the Member Goal but need DCP Points
- Uptowner Toastmasters Club – 1 Additional Goal Needed
- Well Toasted – 1 Additional Goal Needed
- Toast On Tap – 2 Additional Goals Needed
- Thriving Communicators – 2 Additional Goals Needed
- ROK the Talk – 2 Additional Goals Needed
- Sturgeon Speakers – 2 Additional Goals Needed
- Ayres Associates Toastmasters – 3 Additional Goals Needed
- Milwaukee Talkies – 4 Additional Goals Needed
- Clubs meet the DCP Points but need Members.
- Capital City Club – 1 Additional Member Needed
- Wisconsin Club – 1 Additional Member Needed
- Love of Laughter – 1 Additional Member Needed
- Madison Achievers – 1 Additional Member Needed
- Oak Creek Toastmasters – 3 Additional Members Needed
- Sentry Toastmasters Club – 3 Additional Members Needed
- Cream City Communicators – 3 Additional Members Needed
- Wisconsin Rapids Area Toastmasters Club – 3 Additional Members Needed
- Marq Our Words – 4 Additional Members Needed
- Speak Up Milwaukee – 4 Additional Members Needed
- Clubs need just a few members and DCP Points
- Allis Chalmers Toastmasters – 1 Member, 2 Goals Needed
- Pewaukee Speaks – 1 Member, 2 Goals Needed
- Milwaukee Metro Spkrs Club- 2 Members, 1 Goal Needed
- Summit Seekers – 1 Member, 3 Goals Needed
- La Crosse Area Toastmasters Club – 2 Members, 2 Goals Needed
- Spectacle City Club – 3 Members, 1 Goal Needed
So many clubs have done outstanding work this year, lets continue to work to get to the finish line and to get as many clubs recognized as distinguished as possible.
Congratulation to the 205 members that have so far earned total of 411 Education Awards! 42 of those members have earned the Triple Crown Award for completing at least 3 levels so far this Toastmasters Year!
Distinguished Toastmaster and Level 5 Awards
- Congratulations Teri McGregor on earning your Distinguished Toastmaster Award!
- Congratulations to the individuals that completed 43 Level 5 Awards, completing their path:
Amy S. Linn-Strosin, DTM
Anthony E. Cooper
Carl W. Ervin, DTM
Cindy J. Laatsch, DTM
Craig W. Carpenter, DTM
David F. Hon
David L. Schmitt, DTM
Gerald L. Ward, DTM
James Traynor, DTM
Janet L. Ward, DTM
Janice G. Flatoff
Jennifer Strachan, DTM
Jennifer W. Kibicho, DTM
Kathy Shine, DTM
Kristine R. Pool, DTM
Kristine R. Pool, DTM
Kristine R. Pool, DTM
Leslye M. Erickson, DTM
Lori Coonen, DTM
Lori Coonen, DTM
Nancy A. Krejcarek
Nancy A. Krejcarek
Ranee Graf, DTM
Richard D. Hawley, DTM, PID
Robyn L. Krueger
Robyn L. Krueger
Teri L. McGregor, DTM
Yvonne Lumsden-Dill, DTM
THANK YOU TO THE PROGRAM QUALITY TEAM
Thank you all for your outstanding work and support of Program Quality and District 35!
- Teri McGregor – TLI Dean – Club Officer Training Lead
- Keith Cumiskey – Club Support Seminar Coordinator
- Kris Pool – Spring Conference Chair
- Judy Bauer – District Chief Judge
- The Division Director Team for their support of club officer training and speech contest.
- And THANK YOU, DISTRICT 35!
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 as well as set your club up for continued success in the next Toastmasters Year.
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.
Take a moment to find and celebrate the successes you, your club, and members are having, there are many, many more out there. 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.
If you are interested in helping support the District in any way, please feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com.
Finally, a special thank you to all members of District 35. Together as Toastmasters we are all Stronger, and TOGETHER we will all continue to learn and grow and support each other and be the best we can be.
Club Support Seminars & Thank You
We have had some great Club Support Seminars this year. While the last one for the 2022 – 2023 year is complete, recordings and materials from all of the sessions are available on the District 35 Club Support Seminars page. I encourage all Toastmasters to check out these sessions, whether in person or recorded, as a lot of valuable information and ideas for our clubs have been shared and discussed.
We are happy to announce that these sessions will return in the 2023-2024 Toastmasters year. The program will be overseen by Program Quality Director Elect, Robert Wall and Club Growth Director Elect, Theresa Flynn. Expect similarities and some new adjustments as this program continues. Please watch the Club Support Seminars Page as well as the Weekly News for the new schedule.
Finally, I wanted to say a special Thank You to Keith Cumiskey, DTM, PDD whose efforts made these sessions possible, and thank you to all this year’s presenters who stepped forward to share their expertise with us.
Take the Next Step & Become an Area Director
Your fellow Toastmasters need you! We are still seeking Area Directors for the 2023-24 program year.
What is an Area Director?
- As Area Director, you serve as the direct liaison between the District and the clubs. An Area Director is appointed for a term of one Toastmasters program year, running from July 1 to June 30.
- Area Directors plan and host Area Speech Contests. Most importantly, Area Directors conduct club visits at least twice a year to each of the clubs within their respective Areas. This helps them to understand clubs’ needs and allows District leaders to support the clubs most effectively.
No experience? No Problem!
- We have training at the beginning of your year. Monthly meetings with leaders from across the District (both hybrid and virtual) will help you with additional training, expand your network, and leverage their best practices. You are also part of a Division Council lead by a Division Director to provide support.
What’s in it for me?
- This role provides a great opportunity to hone your leadership and communication skills. This is a great way to step outside of your club leadership position and expand your network and skills. As an Area Director you can:
- Improve your skills as a speaker and leader in environments outside of your club.
- Share your knowledge and experience to support other Toastmasters clubs.
- Learn from other Toastmasters clubs and bring that knowledge back to help your club.
- Meet other growth-minded individuals from across the District.
- Earn required credit toward the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award.
How do I Apply? / Questions?
- Email Program Quality Director / District Director Elect, Jason Feucht (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Club Growth Director Letter
It’s that time of year again. In just a couple of short weeks on June 30th, we’ll close the books on the 2022-2023 Toastmasters year!
How has this year been for you?
I’ve talked to a number of you. I know that our district has clubs that are thriving, and we have clubs that are struggling. Members of both types of club have been working hard, which is why it can be tempting to look at the calendar, say “it’s only a couple more weeks,” and throw in the towel. After all, it’s either “in the bag” or it’s “too late to do anything”….right?
The thing is, June 30th is an arbitrary date. And as the old Chinese proverb says, “the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time to plant a tree is today.”
Likewise, whether you’re thriving or struggling, the best thing you can do to help your club succeed next year is to not throw in the towel this year.
If you’re a thriving club and have new officers, congratulations! Make sure to coordinate a handoff so that your incoming team gets the benefit of your experiences this year. You did a great job, but next year your club has to do it again – and transferring that information will help your club continue its success into next year. If you’ve already done a handoff, schedule a joint meeting with the incoming & outgoing Executive Committees and plan next year’s strategy.
If your club is struggling – particularly if your “incoming” officers look a lot like your “outgoing” officers – I’ve been where you are. And I know it can feel like next year is just “more of the same.” But rather than seeing it that way, I’d encourage you to think of next year as “an opportunity to try something new.” Sit down as an officer team, and have a chat. What worked? What didn’t? And most importantly, what can you do next year to turn things around?
And no matter how your club is doing, nothing will ensure your future success quite as much as creating a “culture of invitation.” Ask your members to invite friends & coworkers. Hold open houses. Call your local radio & TV stations. Call your local newspaper. Share your club’s posts on social media. You never know where your next member is going to come from – and they’re the key to your future success.
We only have a couple of weeks left. Let’s finish the year strong, and lay the foundation for next year’s success!
Club Support Sessions – One hour to improve your club experience
This year, we held 17 different sessions on a variety of topics to help you build club membership and improve club quality, including:
The Skill of Impromptu Speaking
Going Beyond the Club
Retaining Club Members
The Pluses of Covid and Pathways
Think Like a Caveman: Overcoming Fear
Corporate Club Membership Strategies
A Guest Comes to your meeting. Now what to do?
A Forward-Looking Future for a Stronger District 35
Looking Good on Zoom
Toastmaster Sales Cycle
Cleaning up Hybrid Meetings
Conducting A Membership Drive
Running a Successful Board Meeting
Effective Club Coaching
How To Take Notes So People Want To Read Them
This series consists 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. Sessions are (typically) held on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month from 7:00pm-8:00pm. Attendance is open to all, but highly recommended for the Club President and Vice President Membership. Click here to see a summary and recording of each session.
Sessions will begin again in July.
Keith Cumiskey, DTM
The District 35 Annual Spring Conference, Key to Success, is now in the history book of District 35. Those of us fortunate enough to attend in person left with many great memories and new friends as well!
I’ve been a member of Walworth County Toastmasters for 10 years now, and as the “host” club of the Conference, I was lucky to help support Kris Pool and Jason Feucht with some of the preparations for the event. I learned a lot about the importance of being prepared during that experience. Kris and Jason were great examples by being very well organized.
I was also privileged to help Jennifer Kibicho with the D35 Service Project which involved collecting donations for the food pantry for the Sharing Center this year. It was rewarding on a very personal level.
The Sharing Center is a Crisis center and full-service Food Pantry serving Western Kenosha County, which is the adjacent county to Walworth county, where our conference was being held. As well as being a food pantry, the Sharing Center helps with Employment Assistance, including employability training, housing assistance and help for those in a crisis situation.
As the name of the organization suggests, The Sharing Center has a principle of sharing many resources with people in need and also those who benefit are encouraged to give back by sharing as well.
In June of 1994, I was one of those people who was in desperate need.
Thursday morning, June 23, 1994, I went to work as usual (about a 35-mile commute). My daughter Michelle also left to go to her job in Kenosha.
Late on that afternoon I came home to a sight I hope no one will ever see in their own life. I arrived to see the charred remains of my home and belongings strewn out in the yard! An electrical short had caused the curtains to catch fire and proceeded to ignite the ceiling and roof of my home in Twin Lakes, WI.
My town authorities and neighbors did not have my work phone number (before cell phones) and no one was able to contact me or my daughter.
I went to the local authorities to find out what had happened and to call my daughter at work. Through the process we got in touch with the Sharing Center. They helped us to get a start on rebuilding our lives with some small appliances, clothing and linens. The insurance process would take time and the Sharing Center helped bridge that gap.
During the Spring Conference, I had offered to help Jennifer with whatever she might need and she asked if I could drop off the collected items from the Service Project at the Sharing Center. Of course. I was very happy to do this and I shared with her, briefly, my previous contact with the Sharing Center.
When I arrived to drop off the items, Stephanie W. at the center and others were very thankful and took photos which they “shared” on social media.
We collected 96 lbs. of food during the Conference and I would like to personally thank each and every one who participated in making this donation a success. It is great to give back. Thank you.
VP Membership, Walworth County Toastmasters