Greetings Fellow District 35 Toastmasters,

It’s hard to believe we are already into the 3rd month of 2024.

Overall, 2024 is off to a strong start for Toastmasters across District 35. At the time I write this, over 140 members have already completed more than 250 education awards collectively since the start of this Toastmasters year in July. Congratulations all! We are excited at the District level that one new club is chartered! We are close to chartering several other new clubs; membership renewals are well underway; new members are continually joining your clubs; speech contests are currently in process; and preparation for our Spring Conference April 26th & 27th is progressing well. Momentum is building in our clubs across the District, and I’m very optimistic that we are on track to continue that momentum.

The spring is a busy and exciting time of the Toastmasters year, which I think aligns well with the entire idea of growth and renewal that comes with the spring season.  Despite the mild winter this year, it will be great to see the trees budding and the flowers blooming, restarting our journey from winter to summer. 

Toastmasters, to me is a bit like springtime. My Toastmasters journey challenges me every day to feel more comfortable ‘in my own skin’. It helps me manage my own fears, and allows me to learn, grow, and lead in new and different ways than I can in my professional life. Toastmasters is a learn-by-doing organization, and I continue to learn every day in Toastmasters by doing things, and that has been transformational for me, like the springtime is for the outdoors around us.

As we go into spring, I encourage all of us to continue the momentum we have across the District. Look at where you are on your Toastmasters journey and reground in the WHY you joined Toastmasters. Recommit to yourself, and your growth this Spring and to continue to “Learn by Doing.” Look at where you are in Pathways to sign up for that next speech and set a goal to finish your current level in April or May. Attend and participate in every meeting you possibly can to support your own learning journey and those of your fellow club members. Finally, consider attending a District event, like the Spring Conference to learn from and interact with fellow Toastmasters outside of your club.

I’m reminded every day that I get out of Toastmasters more than I put in, and the more we work together as Toastmasters, the more we all learn and grow, because Together as Toastmasters we are All Stronger.


-by Jason Feucht, DTM, District Director

Let’s chat about mindset for a minute.

This year my team and I are planning a Spring Conference (go register!). The conference happens on April 26th and 27th. There are food and beverage order deadlines, speakers that must be lined up, registration to be opened, and a budget that needs to be established. These things must happen in a certain order, and there are hard deadlines. With this conference, we plan; we implement; things build to a grand crescendo on April 27th, and then it’s over. There’s nothing I can do to make the conference more successful on April 28th, because it’s done. We’ll call this the “conclusion model.”

This year I’m also training a dog. To do that, I have to establish schedules and routines for the dog. I must consistently reward proper behaviors, which sometimes means teaching myself to be more consistent as well. And I need to come to terms with the fact that I might not see results right away – no matter how much I’d like to. There’s no crescendo. There’s no “over.” There’s only “the way things are,” “the way I’d like things to be,” and “what can I do today to move from the first to the second?” We’ll call this the “culture model.”

It’s tempting to think of leadership in a Toastmasters club as a journey that ends on June 30th – the “conclusion model.” But I would submit that building Toastmasters clubs is much more like training dogs. Schedules. Habits. Consistency over time. The thing is, you not only have to do those things during your year; you have to hand the proverbial reins (leash?) to the next group of people, so they can continue. In other words, you need to establish “culture.” To quote Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

This doesn’t mean there aren’t deadlines. In Toastmasters, dues have to be in by March 31st and September 30th, like clockwork. But clubs with a culture of starting dues collection in February rarely need to worry about tracking down unpaid members on March 31st at 6:00 PM.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t challenges. As members achieve their goals, it’s natural for some of them to cycle out as they pursue their future successes. But clubs with a culture of consistently inviting guests, serving their members, and being of service to their communities are typically far less worried about finding new members.

The question is, what can you do – today – to begin to shift your club’s culture in a useful direction?

Here’s a proposal to get you started. Instead of saying, “there are only a few months left in the Toastmasters year – it’s too late to start” what would you do differently if you asked, “these are the first few months of the next ten years for this club – how do we set ourselves up for success?”

I’m looking forward to seeing what you do in the coming few months – the first few months of your club’s next ten years!

-by Robert Wall, DTM, Program Quality Director

The Brewers are in Spring Training, all the hoopsters are driving up and down the boards, and the Pack are trying to find the final pieces of magic. It’s March!  Sure, we could talk about the lengthening days and new leaves bursting with spring, but really, we’re all on our own growth cycles. Let’s check in on where we are and where we’re going…

Maybe you are just starting. You’re one of our about 170 new Toastmasters so far this Toastmasters year, or maybe you’ve found some personal inspiration to focus on your professional goals, and you’re diving into Pathways. Even though we’re not in sunny Arizona, you’re starting to build great habits and skills! Sign up for roles! Schedule your speeches! Try something different to give yourself a new item on your list of things you’re good at! Meet with your mentor and talk about what’s next. When one of your fellow members asks you to join a committee, be supportive whenever you can — this is your chance to make that networking connection and to practice those small group communication skills we can’t usually get in a classroom or in a cubicle at work.

Maybe you’re midseason. Are you having a great year, like the Bucks? Or are you constantly hitting walls and just not progressing as fast as you had hoped (Like Martin Luther High School, zero and 16, sorry kids)? Take a minute to think about what your challenges are — and the challenges are real if they’re why you’re not progressing. Reach out to someone else in your club — it could be your mentor or VPE, or it could be another member who is contributing in a way you’d like to. Have a coffee meeting or a Zoom call. Brainstorm about how you can eliminate the roadblock. Maybe schedule time for yourself to read through Pathways material or practice a speech. (Once a week I schedule one of the smallest conference rooms at work and get away from my desk.) Helping others can sometimes help you focus on refining the skills you’re just learning — volunteer to mentor or to help with new member orientation in your club. Even consider trying to step up outside your club. The District works toward building new clubs and helping all clubs achieve excellence, and it takes a bunch of teams to reach this goal — and while we’re supporting and building, we’re learning new leadership strategies and communication skills that we couldn’t necessarily get to in our individual clubs.

Maybe you’re taking a victory lap. You, personally, feel accomplished. You finished a level, or even a path. Maybe you’ve Triple Crowned! But what’s next? Can you support your club by leading a Moments of Truth? Help at your Division Contest in the next weeks? Maybe figure out your next steps toward your DTM?

The fact is, District 35 has some great team opportunities all year round. Sometimes you can be a contributing player, sometimes you can be an All Star, and sometimes you can even garner a sweet, sweet coaching contract. Right now, some of the teams in draft mode include Spring Conference volunteers, club building/demo meetings, and District leadership! We’re also looking for people with tech skills or interest in developing social media skills. Some projects are focused on specific events, but some are year-long chances to develop relationships, practice evaluating, and supporting on a longer schedule.  

Toastmasters is where you get out what you put in. Reach out to the Trio — Jason, Robert, and me — or your Area Director or your club officers to get even more value from your Toastmasters experience. Happy springtime of growth!

-by Theresa Flynn, DTM, Club Growth Director

District 35’s Inspiring Toastmasters

Relationships Built Through Toastmasters

Celebrating Club Events!

Resource Advanced and Madison Achievers held a joint Open House on Wednesday February 7, 2024, with Past International Director and Accredited Speaker Kai Rambow as our keynote speaker. It was not only a rousing success, but it has also become a new tradition between the two clubs. This is the second joint Open House that we’ve held!

The purpose of the Open House was to promote positive publicity, bring in more guests, and recruit more members for both clubs through an engaging and exciting event. It is a proven and successful tool as it has been used by other clubs to recruit guests. For all clubs that are looking to attract more guests, here were some of the things that we did to hold a successful and well-attended Open House.

Overall, the project took more than a month to complete; it was a joint collaborative effort between the members of Madison Achievers and Resource Advanced along with a little help from outside District 35 as well.

Several officers, VPEs and VPMs from both clubs, completed the project. DeDe Obuch was the project lead while several other club members were assigned specific project tasks.

We decided on a hybrid meeting location with Resource Advanced meeting at Benny’s Cafe in South Milwaukee, Madison Achievers meeting at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Madison, and an online Zoom meeting room for both clubs mutually invited and interested guests. DeDe Obuch from Resource Advanced and Mark Robinson of the Madison Achievers served as tech masters.

We also set up an agenda that would allow time for the keynote speaker, Table Topics, and unique club roles. Even though we had to omit a few roles for the sake of time, this ensured maximum participation for all guests and members. This was ultimately taken care of by both clubs’ VPEs, DeDe Obuch from Resource Advanced and Israr Ansari from Madison Achievers.

For our keynote, we wanted an experienced leader and an amazing speaker who had a compelling message that would sell the positive benefits of Toastmasters to both current members and complete strangers. With the help of Alicia Curtis, DTM, I was able to secure the services of Accredited Speaker and Past International Director Kai Rambow.

Accredited Speaker Kai Rambow talked about getting out of your comfort zone. He told key stories and stressed points involving how he became a humorous District speech champion. He shared info about his hobby of photography. What is the key to becoming an expert at any subject? Good feedback, self-reflection, and practice makes perfect. What perfect place to practice communication and leadership skills than Toastmasters International?

To attract and invite guests, we had to market our Open House. With the help of Laurie Baker and Janet O’Rourke, we created and distributed information about our event in person, on the internet, to specific people, and to members of specific clubs.

The Open House was successful! Members in both clubs worked together with an inspired mission, defined tasks, and an end goal in mind. Over several dozen guests from around the world ended up attending the Open House. Based on our experience, we would recommend to other clubs to hold Open Houses to attract guests and potential new members.

Visit two warm and amazing Toastmasters clubs: the Madison Achievers and Resource Advanced clubs. Join a meeting to deliver a speech and receive an advanced speech evaluation. We offer leadership, mentoring, and the opportunity to grow. Ours are friendly, encouraging, and tight-knit Toastmaster families. We look forward to seeing you! 

by Joe Domblesky, VPM, Resource Advanced Toastmasters Club 

Capital City Toastmasters held a Leap Year themed open house on February 27 at the Fitchburg Public Library. The club promoted the event on LinkedIn and Facebook, and four guests attended! 

-by Nicole Graper, Capital City Club

Celebrating Our District 35 Toastmasters' Achievements!

Picture This! You’re attending the Area A1 Evaluation Contest in mid-January, represented by several very worthy contestants. At the end of the contest, the contest chair conducts the contestants’ interviews, as is done in every contest. When the chair asks the two pivotal questions in every contestant interview, “How long have you been in Toastmasters,” and “What Club do you belong to,” one contestant replied, “I have been a Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club member for two weeks, and I’ve been to one meeting.” Everyone’s jaw dropped. You could hear a pin fall. It was truly an unforgettable moment.

This response was mind-boggling, and the contestant, Tabrez Mahamad, placed 2nd in the Evaluation Contest, to boot. We had discussed the contests and explained requirements and eligibility the night he attended our meeting as a first-time guest. When no one expressed a desire to compete in this contest, he volunteered and said he would try, leaving everyone in awe. We were astonished but told him that to compete in the Speech Evaluation Contest, one must be a member of a club and be in good standing, and the club also must be in good standing. There is no path completion requirement for this contest. Tabrez completed his application, signed up, and paid his dues and fees instantaneously, signifying that all requirements were met. He was assigned a mentor on the spot.

What does this story have to do with our Club’s Mission Statement? 

  • Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club’s Mission Statement, embodied in A Toastmaster’s Promise, says, “We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.” We processed Tabrez’s application in a timely manner and assigned him a mentor. He was logged into TI and the club’s website and immediately signed up for Pathways. As a club, we and his mentor are committed to nurturing him along to complete his Pathways journey and attain the goals that he has set for himself.
  • Tabrez is clear and intentional about why he joined Toastmasters, and he demonstrated this immediately by not wasting time in becoming involved. He did his first evaluation at his first meeting after being coached on how we evaluate, volunteering to be one of our evaluators because we were short one evaluator. With these first steps, he showed a commitment to learning and growing.

Tabrez Mahamad is a dedicated professional with a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and is pursuing an MBA at Jack Welch Management Institute. In his role as a Senior Design Engineer at Milwaukee Tool, he combines his technical expertise and business acumen to drive innovation in product development. Alongside his professional achievements, Tabrez cherishes his role as a loving husband and father to three wonderful children. Serving as the Secretary of the Peace360 Initiative WI Committee since April 2023, Tabrez actively contributes to promoting peace and harmony in communities. Tabrez enjoys playing Badminton and volunteering.


by Yvonne Lumsden-Dill, Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club

Lawanda Chambers joined Cream City Communicators in July 2023 and she’s already speaking on the “big stage.” She was interviewed on “The Jennifer Hudson Show” on February 27, 2024, to share information about Housing Resources, Inc. The segment was recapped and a short interview was also on the Channel 12 news on February 28.

-Photo credit:

Lawanda is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Housing Resources, Inc. HRI is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families purchase their own homes. You can show your support for HRI at their upcoming gala celebration on Friday, August 9, 2024.

Congratulations, Lawanda!  

-by Kris Pool, DTM, PDD – D35 Administration Manager, VP Education, VP Public Relations, Treasurer, Cream City Communicators 

Ernice Brown, Public Educator, and Vice President-Education for the Menomonee Falls Toastmasters Club has been selected for the 2024 State Advocate for Adult Education Fellowship (SAAEF). This fellowship is a “hands-on, yearlong advocacy training program” created by the Coalition on Adult Basic Education (COABE). Fellows will learn how to work with the media, their communities, and policymakers to create change benefiting adult learners and adult education programs.

Ernice is hitting the ground running. She will attend 2024 Black Advocacy Day at the Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin to learn how to advocate effectively, meet with legislators and community leaders, and attend a reception hosted by Governor Evers.

When asked about how Toastmasters helped her earn this honor, Ernice shared:

“My first thought is of my mother saying, “Don’t quit Toastmasters.” While I was off with an injury and in a rather dark place, this is what my mother said. As I speak to legislators, everything I have learned from Toastmasters surfaces. Toastmasters gave me the confidence to approach legislators with hand extended and speak. Even as I write this, I picture greeting the Toastmaster (of a meeting), fellow Toastmasters, and guests.”

Welcome New Toastmasters Club

We want to welcome Speak-on, a club chartering at Snap-on Tools in Kenosha! Twenty- four people completed their applications to start or continue their Toastmasters journey at this corporate club. Special shout outs go to Kathy Grasty, Doug Anderson, Crystal Ester, and Jacki Miksch for a GREAT demo meeting filling the room! We should hear from Toastmasters International with your charter completion soon!

-by Theresa Flynn, D35 Club Growth Director

Help Your Club Make An Energizing Leap Into Spring

Why do you want to be a leader? This is the question every leader ought to wrestle with. Are we leaders to create followers, or are we leaders to develop other leaders?

Since Toastmasters is a volunteer organization, we don’t seek leadership because of the better pay, prime parking spot, or the premium spot around the table at meetings. Or say you are a District officer, it’s not so that you can spend four hours each month in District Executive meetings!

Hopefully, we are leaders to add value to our members and the organization. This can happen in many ways, but mostly according to the strengths and gifts we possess.

In the first of three Districts I have served in leadership, D62, we had a member, Gretchen Smith. Gretchen was a professional writer. At the time she served in the role of newsletter coordinator and editor. I recall her asking for submissions of articles from members. I submitted a couple, and they were printed right away. She must have liked them because she encouraged me to submit more. In all, I submitted at least twenty articles. Gretchen’s encouragement made me realize I had a gift for writing. I earned a special District award for top contributor. That gave me the confidence to submit to Toastmasters International an article that was published in the Toastmaster magazine.

Since I had already written twenty-one articles, I decided to record those for a series of audible articles I could share as I saw fit. Using an alternative media source allowed people a break from reading to just listen. 

I offer a short example of one of the articles I wrote on leadership.

Who is the leader?

“It was interesting this morning as I watched a flock of wild turkeys travel down the road behind our condo coming from the golf course. It was clear to me which bird was the leader of the flock. It wasn’t the largest bird or one with special markings. What I noticed was the lead bird was the one who checked out an area first. When the area seemed safe and a good source for food was available, the others would follow. Even in the animal world, it boils down to trust. Who is the real leader in your club or our organization?  It may not be the ones with titles, degrees, or the most DTMs. Real leaders earn the respect and trust of others, by looking out for them, and caring about the good of the tribe. If you ever want to figure out who the real leader is in your club or workplace, here is a test. When a question or tough situation arises, watch to see who people look to. Better yet, organize a volunteer event. True leaders will shine like beacons!”

-by Paul Arnhold, DTM, Area A2 Director

Having an up-to-date and engaging website is crucial for attracting new members, keeping current ones informed, and showcasing your club’s activities. I recently spent some time reviewing all the club websites in our District. What I found were a lot of great sites! They are welcoming, contain lots of updated and relevant information, and have easy directions for how to attend an upcoming meeting. I also learned how easy it can be for clubs without great websites to make them great. 

Whether your Toastmasters club’s website needs a complete overhaul or just a quick refresh, here are 10 tips to help you get it done efficiently:

  1. Update Meeting Information: Make sure your website reflects the most current meeting schedule, including the date, time, and location. For in-person meetings, include a map. For virtual meetings, list the link or give clear instructions for how to get the meeting link. Nothing turns away potential members faster than outdated information.
  2. Add Fresh Content: Keep your website dynamic by regularly adding new content such as photos, member spotlights, or event recaps. Fresh content keeps visitors engaged and encourages them to return. Regular updates also push your website to the top of search engines when people are looking for you. 
  3. Encourage Member Profiles: Visitors want to see who current members are and what they may have in common with a member before they visit. This simple update takes each member only minutes to complete. 
  4. Update Officer Information: Update the list of club officers with current roles, contact information, and photos. This helps prospective members connect with club leadership and facilitates communication within the club.
  5. Invite Guests to Visit: Include an invitation on your homepage for guests to visit your club. This simple update will help to encourage visitors to your club meetings. 
  6. Include a Phone Number and Name on the Contact Us Form: This will appeal to those visitors who prefer to use the phone. 
  7. Revise Member Resources: Ensure that resources such as manuals, speech schedules, and educational materials are easily accessible and current. This helps members stay organized and motivated on their Toastmasters journeys.
  8. Highlight Recent Achievements: Showcase recent awards, recognitions, and accomplishments of your club and its members. This not only boosts morale but also demonstrates to visitors your club’s success.
  9. Use Correct Branding: You want visitors to your site to know that they are visiting a valid Toastmasters website. That is why branding is so important. Be sure that you are using the correct Toastmasters logos, colors and branding consistently throughout your club’s website. Here is a link to the brand manual:
  10. Streamline Navigation: Simplify the website navigation to make it easy for visitors to find the information they need. Use clear labels and intuitive menus to guide users to key sections such as meeting details, membership information, and resources.

By implementing these 10 tips, you can quickly refresh your Toastmasters club’s website and enhance its effectiveness as a communication and recruitment tool. Remember, your website is often the first impression that prospective members have of your club, so make it count!

Happy updating!

-by Teri McGregor, DTM, PDD, D35 Public Relations Manager

It’s March, and that means it’s your last chance to participate in and submit your activities for District 35’s Targeted Incentive Program (TIP). We’ll be able to do the grand final announcements as we all party and celebrate at the Spring Conference at the end of April. By completing the TIP, clubs can focus on membership incentives, officer development, and finishing projects for the last months of the Toastmasters year.  

By March 31, 2024, please email screenshots, photos and details of great club outings, visits to other clubs, ways you’ve publicized your club, and any of the other options to

Earn banner ribbons in three ways: bring in at least four new people to Toastmasters; grow your club with an additional five members; or bring in five members during the Beat the Clock membership drive. Yes, you can double dip and bling your banner!  

If your club is creating a new culture of success and aiming towards Distinguished, plan as a team to get those speeches in and bring in guests. Why? If you’re Distinguished after three years of missing that mark, your club is eligible for $20 in District Dollars!

-by Theresa Flynn, D35 Club Growth Director

Toastmasters After Hours

DJAB knows how to have fun while putting in the work! On February 19 (U.S. President’s Day), they hosted a slightly belated Valentine’s Day Zoom event. It provided the opportunity to watch silly Hallmark movies together and royally roast any of the predictable actions. Amy Linn-Strosin generously offered the use of her Zoom and provision of the movies.

They also have a tradition of incorporating HPL work in between shows on movie nights. As such, Jill Keating presented the first several portions of her HPL to the crowd so she could get some valuable feedback. 

Even if virtual, DJAB get-togethers are always a great time and often educational to boot. It’s what the presidents would have wanted for their day!

-by Jill Keating, Secretary, DJAB Toastmasters Club

2023-2024 Triple Crown Awards

Barb B. Sexmith, DTM


Carl Rosine, EC4


Carla Lenk, PI2


Charles E. Elftmann, PM3


Cindy J. Laatsch, DTM


David Humphreys, PM2


David L. Hendrickson, DTM


Erin M. Perzichilli, DL3


Jim Kohli, DTM, PID


Julie A. Gerasch, PM2


Kathy Shine, DTM


Kristine R. Pool, DTM


Matthew Metivier, EH4


Neal Johanson, PM3


Ranee Graf, DTM


Susan Brushafer, PI2


Susan J. Kohut, DTM


Teri L. McGregor, DTM


*Bold text designates new awards