by Sarah Lawrence

Leaders with 16 & 21 Educational Awards!

Soon the 2017-2018 Toastmaster year will be coming to a close. We have seen
changes to the way we grow as speakers and leaders. We have been introduced
to new leaders, as our district shifts into more technology-focused
platforms. We have also had the honor to see what can happen when
established leaders are given new tools. There are 2 members who have
smashed goals and continue to give back to District 33.

Greg Bjorgo and DaWane Wanek have gone far above and beyond utilizing the
traditional educational system, as well as completely embracing the Pathways
system. Currently, Greg has earned 16 combined educational awards and DaWane
has earned 21 combined educational awards.  This places Greg and DaWane in
the top 2 spots for the greatest number of educational awards in one year,
for District 33!

Greg and DaWane are examples of what is possible when a member plays all in;
giving back as much as they gain. Maintaining excellence through the
Toastmasters educational system has proven that any speaker can grow into an
exceptional leader.

DaWane has hosted sessions to help other members learn to effectively use
Pathways. These sessions have included a hands-on approach, where the
members bring a device and walk through projects. The success of the
Pathways sessions has led to many members of District 33 becoming more
confident with their use of the program, therefore encouraging more
completed projects.

Since the launch of Pathways, Greg has always been a point of support. His
willingness to provide assistance to any member has given him the reputation
as one of the most sought out mentors. His dedication to success has been

Giving speeches and completing projects is about more than personal growth.
Every moment a member chooses to share a part of themselves, they are
inspiring others! “When leaders are willing to grow leaders” (a direct quote
from one of Greg’s speeches), everyone becomes more successful! Greg has
currently sponsored 19 new members. His absolute drive for personal growth,
and the success of clubs, is something that many members see as linear.
However, Greg’s path is never linear, but instead a funnel of ideas, goals,
and opportunities. He plans to finish the Toastmaster year with 20
educational awards and 20 sponsored members, a goal which has never been
accomplished for a District 33Toastmaster. The 20/20 goal he plans to bump
up to 25/25 for the 2018-2019 year!

As well as creating all these moments of inspiration, Greg has also been
serving as the K-3 Director (second Area Director to have a Distinguished
Area for 2017-2018); Vice President Membership for Jackpot Speakers; Vice
President Education for Storytellers Toastmasters Club;  President for
Summerlin Toasters; Vice President Education for Moving Forward
Toastmasters; and a member of Educationally Speaking Toastmasters.
DaWane has sponsored 20 members. He has taken every new tool and turned it
into an opportunity to help others! He has lead “real time” Pathways
sessions and said “YES” every time he was offered a chance to help (even if
he didn’t always know exactly what he was getting into)! DaWane has always
been dependable in his willingness to give back! Aside from all this, he
also serves as the Division C Assistant Director; President of McAfee
Toastmasters; Vice President Education of Say Watt; Vice President
Membership of Bon Appetit Toastmasters; Secretary/Webmaster of Power House
Pros, and a Club Coach for Mega Watt Toastmasters.

Good leaders give back, but great leaders teach others how to succeed.  The
combined efforts of these two members  have been more than a spark. They
have lit a fire that will continue to light the way as our District
continues to lead the way for communicators and leaders!


Membership Drive

New District 33 Toastmasters Membership Drive
– Get 5 New Members –

May 15 through June 30, 2018 (11:45 pm)

What is your club doing to earn the  Get 5  New Members Incentive? Who can you follow-up with from your Open House attendees?  When can your club add 5 new or Reinstated members?  Membership is everyone’s responsibility — not just the VP Membership. In order to earn for your club the award for  Distinguished or higher honors, all clubs must be at 20 members on June 30, 2018 or at minimum 5 members above your base.  The base is the number of members that were in your club when the 2017-2018 Toastmasters year started on July 1, 2017.    Remember  by earning this incentive, your club will also receive from Toastmasters International a beautiful ribbon to display on your branded banner.

To see whether your club is close to earning Distinguished or higher honors visit This is the Additional Reports  page found on the Toastmasters International dashboard. Once there, click on District 33 in the far left hand or  first column. Then click on “Almost Distinguished clubs” in the 2nd or middle column. The  data will appear in the large right hand column.

The following clubs need only 5 members to earn Distinguished honors. Which club will get 5 new members to cross the finish line first?  For many of these clubs, getting the 5 new members will place them in the  Select Distinguished or President’s Distinguished category:

Div/Area Club# Club Name DCP Goals
B1 3919454 Elite Toastmasters 5 15 5
B4 5570391 Padre Serra Toastmasters 5 12 5
B5 6609333 Ventura Chamber Toastmasters 4 15 5
C1 5186332 Morelli House Toastmasters 6 11 5
D3 932959 Colorado River Toastmasters 10 15 5
E6 907017 GoTo Toastmasters Club 4 15 5
F3 4439635 CSA Crusaders Toastmasters 7 8 5
G4 4680115 Hanford Toastmasters 6 15 5
H1 1970 Pahrump Toastmasters Club 5 15 5
J3 1864 Conejo Valley Tm’s Club 6 13 5
K1 9366 Republican Toastmasters Club 6 15 5

Toastmasters Youth Leadership Hosts Youth Speech Contests


Thousand Oaks, California Toastmasters  International members Anna Gaz, Phil Cleaver  and Susan Seats from TOTAL (], Liz Brenner ( and Elisia Meffan (6765.Rhetorical  have been conducting a Youth Leadership Program for the last 4 years at several local schools. This program is geared to help students improve their communication and public speaking skills. The program is an informal course in the arts of communication and leadership.  By participating in the program, students learn speaking and leadership skills that they are able to use for the rest of their lives.  They learn to: overcome nervousness when speaking before an audience, organize and present ideas logically and convincingly, listen carefully to others’ ideas and offer advice for improvement to fellow students.  Students are given plenty of opportunities to practice in a friendly, positive atmosphere.  Each speaker receives advice and help from fellow students.  Basic expectations are:  each student participates, students are prepared and respect for each other.

“The Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program provides a supportive and positive environment where students have the opportunity to develop their communication and leadership skills,” says Anna Gaz, Vice President of Education for club TOTAL (Thousand Oaks Toastmasters at Lunch)  “It also provides additional opportunities for many students, for whom English is their second language, to prepare and present speeches including impromptu speaking.”

“I am amazed at the progress that these students have shown,”  commented Liz Brenner, Vice President of Membership for CLU Expressionists Toastmaster Club.  “They are developing practical public speaking skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.”

The Youth Leadership Program is run by local Toastmasters International members. The program includes eight meetings of one to two hour sessions.  A coordinator and assistant lead the session.  Each meeting is conducted by the students acting as invocators, toastmasters, general evaluators, speakers, evaluators and table topics masters.  Each session highlights a specific skill such as organizing a speech, body language, impromptu speaking, listening and voice and vocabulary.  Culminating the eight weeks is a speech contest.  Trophies are awarded to the winners and Certificates of Completion given to each program participant.

“We are grateful that the schools see the value in this program and given us the opportunity to share it. “ said Elisia Meffan.    The following schools have participated in the Youth Leadership program  :  E. O. Green Jr. High School and Charles Blackstock Jr. High School, Oxnard , Redwood Intermediate School, Thousand Oaks, Berylwood Elementary in Simi, and Home study group in Simi.  Over 380 students have participated in the program.  “It is rewarding for me to see the confidence and progress by the students.  At the beginning of the eight weeks most students won’t even look at you when they talk, shy and have no confidence.  By the 4 and 5th week they are raising their hands volunteering for roles and to do speeches.  “Our junior high students’ confidence and willingness to speak in front of their peers went from a zero to 10 over the eight week course.  It was pure joy to observe students evolve as public speakers .  One of our students spoke very little English and she was so motivated and inspired by what she was learning by Anna Gaz that she participated in the Youth Speech Contest on the final day of class. This program is an invaluable service that the Hueneme Elementary School District After School Programs are excited to be a part of,” shared Raven Aipa, Senior Director for After School Programs.

About Toastmasters International: Toastmasters International is a world wide, non-profit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., the organization’s membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries.  Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders.  For more information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit


Local Winners Compete

by Wayne Sebera, Division J Director

You’re invited: Speech Contest this Saturday!

Come watch the Club winners compete at the 2018 Division J Spring Table Topics & International Speech Contests. It’s this Satrday, April 21 at the Thousand Oaks Library. Registration starts at 9:30 am, and the competition is from 10:00 am – 12:30 pm.

Hope to see you there!


You’re Invited!

by Ann Hill

2018 District 33 Spring Conference
May 4 – 5, 2018
DoubleTree by Hilton, Bakersfield, California

Our Champions of Communication will ignite your communications and leadership flames. Their messages will motivate and inspire you with humor and transferable “real” lessons for everyday challenges to Make the Impossible, Possible. 

“Be Unforgetabtle”

“Own The Stage”
Darren LaCroix, ATM, WCPS, AS

“Where To Look When You’re Looking For Success”
“Making Mentoring Meaningful”
Dana LaMon, DTM, WCPS, AS

Power Networking Lunch & Dinner with our Champion Communicators

All members who pay the Full Conference rate by April 10th will receive one (1) raffle ticket for the opportunity to sit at the table during lunch and/or dinner with our Guest Speakers on Saturday, May 5th
Drawing:   April 11th. Winners announced via Facebook, our D33 website and with a personal email. 

Register Now

or call 1-661-323-7111.
Mention Toastmasters Conference for $109 per night Friday & Saturday. Reservations must be made by 4/21/2018 to receive guaranteed rate. Rates good while group block is available.

Welcome To Our New Blog

by Guy Dawson, DTM

These are some very exciting times to be a Toastmaster.

The development of this Blog is just another power of collaborative efforts in the achievement of a worthy goal. Communication in the digital age can be done through a variety of platforms and I am pleased to see our District embrace blogging as a method to share valuable information with our members.

Thank you, members of District 33 for your continued commitment to growth and greatness. You embody our core values which include Integrity, Respect, Service and Excellence. It has been amazing to work with all of you this year and the best is yet to come.

We are Making the Impossible, Possible in 2018 and the journey becomes more interesting every day. Let’s share wonderful communication and leadership ideas on this blog and engage with one another. Each of us are fortunate to be a part of the most amazing organization on the planet!

Educational Awards Update

by Tim Mullins, DTM

The Honors Keep Piling Up!

I’m truly proud of the efforts our District 33 members are putting into their educational advancements this 2017-2018 Toastmasters year! As of this writing, District 33 members have submitted 588 educational awards — and the “hits” just keep on coming! Their outstanding achievements include:

  • 190 Competent Communicator (CC) awards and 116 Advanced Communicator (AC) awards
  • 116 Competent Leadership (CL) awards and 60 Advanced Leadership (AL) awards

In addition, 19 members have achieved their DTM honor this year. They are (listed in order of date received):

Kirkland Tibbels, Suesan Walker, Jody Mack, Laquita Dukes, Indar Singh, Julie Boyce, Deborah Allmon, Kristina Greer, Eleanor Smith, Susan Harmon, Wayne Sebera, Irene Salazar, Curtis Helt, Charmaine Guss, Lisa Marrone, Sondra Ahlen, Mary Beganyi, Malik Williams and Thomas Sims.

What an amazing group of dedicated Toastmasters and worthy of the distinction: Distinguished Toastmasters. We have 37 Triple Crown recipients (members who have been awarded 3 or more awards), led by:

  • DaWane Wanek            11 educational awards
  • Malik Williams              7 educational awards
  • Kelvin Bell                       6 educational awards

We also have 3 members with 5 educational awards each, 11 with 4 educational awards each and with 3 educational awards each.

Tim giving award to Kyle

District 33 launched Pathways on September 15, 2017;  in just under 6 short months, our members have submitted 71 Pathways awards, which include 48 Level 1’s, 16 Level 2’s, 5 Level 3’s, 1 Level 4 and 1 Level 5 — just over 12% of our total educational awards. Kudos to the incredible group of Toastmasters who make up District 33!

Keep up the fantastic work. I hope to see you at our Spring Conference in Bakersfield in May!


Ambassador Program Paying Early Dividends

by Tim Mullins, DTM

District 33’s Club Ambassador Program (CAP) was officially launched!

Started November 1, 2017, in just over 4 months we’ve had 82 Club Ambassador visits with reports submitted. My deepest appreciation for and congratulations to the 25 District 33 members who have taken the time to submit a CAP report after visiting a club other than their own.

Some of the comments/observations of our Ambassadors:

  • The club had a very descriptive agenda; there was a lot of humor, which made the meeting fun and it was run very professionally.
  • Made me feel important, welcomed and comfortable right away.
  • Teamwork was the key from beginning to end with this club.
  • I really love the casual, fun, interactive feel of the club.

Folks, I can’t help myself — I must give special recognition to those members who have already achieved Club Ambassador Silver, Red or Blue status. Yes, it’s true! We have our first Club Ambassador Silver (15+ visits) in Monty Shindler from Division F. Kudos to Monty for his mighty efforts. One member, David Boberg from Division J, has achieved Club Ambassador Red (8+ visits). Congrats, David! District 33 also has 7 members who have earned Club Ambassador Blue (3+ visits). They are DaWane Wanek, Joseph Skoda, Gewarren Owens, Karaleen Mork, Tan Pham, Chris Hempleman and Vanneca Phelps. Well done all!

If you want to find out more about this outstanding program, please click on the following link:


Should You Mentor?

mentorAsk Toastmasters who are dedicated to mentoring and they’ll tell you that the benefits
of guiding members are numerous. A mentor’s responsibilities typically include the following:

  • Welcome new members and explain the Toastmasters program
  • Recognize and nurture the skills a member already has
  • Inspire mentees to take on more challenging roles and goals
  • Help members avoid common mistakes and attain goals faster and more efficiently
  • Motivate mentees to complete the Ice Breaker and move on to manual speeches
  • Direct members as they navigate new terrain
  • Nurture members’ confidence in every area of life

Mentors who excel share certain qualities, including the ability to listen well, empathize and motivate. Jack Nichols, DTM, a 25-year veteran member, was mentored by longtime Toastmaster H. Al Richardson, DTM, PID, and now mentors others. “Great mentors actively listen to their mentees so that what is being said is fully understood,” says Nichols, who is a member of the Professional Speakers Club 9 in Anaheim, California. “They allow their mentees a chance to speak and then ask specific, clarifying questions that reveal the motivations and goals of their mentees.”

Effective mentors consider what it was like when they were new members. Many of the thoughts and feelings mentees experience are similar to the ones they had, and mentors who more easily see from a mentee’s perspective are better equipped to offer valid suggestions.

As chair of the mentoring committee, Walton often talks about the importance of growth and motivation. “When both of my mentees got to a certain level with their speeches, I began encouraging them to take on executive roles, and both had terms as president of the club,” says Walton. “It became very important to me to keep mentoring them through their term to pass on my experience as former club president.”

One of Walton’s mentees took some time off, but when the mentee resumed her membership Walton suggested she take an executive role to get back into the fold. “Sometimes pointing out members’ qualities boosts their confidence enough that they realize they can take on these roles,” Walton says.

To remain effective, mentors must also stay relevant, says Nichols. “As a mentor, it’s my responsibility to keep myself educated and up-to-date, so that I’m passing on current real-world information that will help my mentees in the here and now,” he says. “When you’re dealing with someone’s future and they’re relying on you, relevancy is really important.”

Enjoy the Journey Mentees undoubtedly benefit from the wisdom of more experienced members. But mentors also profit from the relationship.Become a mentor, and you, too, will have an excellent opportunity to reflect on yourself, your goals and what you want from the Toastmasters program.

JULIE BAWDEN-DAVIS is a freelance writer based in Southern California and a longtime contributor to the Toastmaster.

Welcome to Pathways

Embark on a journey of personal and professional development through Pathways, Toastmasters’ new education program! Pathways is designed to help you build the skills you need to communicate and lead. It is comprised of 10 paths that teach more than 300 unique competencies:


To make the most of Pathways, start by taking the Pathways Assessment online. It will help you choose a path that’s right for you. Next, explore Base Camp, where you’ll be able to access all of the materials for your learning experience, including your feedback, transcript and printable materials. Here you can track your progress, connect with members from your club and view badges and certificates you’ll earn along the way. Enjoy the flexibility of working online or in select print paths on dynamic projects that provide real-world, transferable skills.