TIPS – New Year Reflection

Tips From Our Past

A New Year…A Time For Reflection and Renewal

By Sherry Hunt, DTM – Immediate Past District Director

I, like many others, spend each New Year’s Eve reflecting on what happened in my life over the previous year that I am grateful for and then lifting up my thoughts for what I hope the New Year will bring. This year was no different so I hope you’ll humor me sharing a few of those thoughts with you . . .

Looking back I’m immediately grateful for all the folks that reached out while our daughter was so ill! Your kind words and prayers made many of those long days just a bit easier to bear. There truly is nothing more frightening for a parent than to watch your child lying in a hospital bed fighting to breathe while you can only stand helplessly by waiting and praying for a miracle. I’m also grateful I was able to be with her during those days and then to walk with her now while she continues to recuperate.

What I learned in those days was how important it is to have a voice and be able to speak clearly and cohesively when your emotions are running high. I am grateful for my Toastmasters experience as that allowed me to fall back on those skills so I could let the medical team know what she needed and how to help all of us through this ordeal. The medical team at Golisano Children’s hospital in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit was AWAZING and encouraged us to be as involved in her care as we were able! Not having to think about how to prepare my words was a blessing in disguise and another way my Toastmasters journey continues to enhance my life in ways I never imagined.

What I hope for the New Year is that more folks will renew their commitment to personal growth by push their boundaries and take a chance at the leadership opportunities Toastmasters provides for us right here in District 65. As with all of the opportunities, you get out of it what you put in BUT I hope you will actually give it a go BEFORE deciding you have nothing to gain from the experience. If I had let other’s talking about their negative experiences turn me away from pursuing leadership in our District, or even decided not to continue after the challenges presented in the 1st 6-months of being the LGM, I’m not sure how I would have handled the situation this past Fall…but I was fortunate enough to have members around me that encouraged me to stick with it and I KNOW I’m a much better speaker, leader and person because of it.

If you need someone to encourage you in a renewal of your commitment to grow by taking this Toastmasters journey, let me know and I’ll do whatever I can to make it happen or connect you with others that are also happy to help! The choice is yours but I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect and be grateful for where you’ve been and hopeful for what is most certainly going to come…

Members, Members, Members

Members, Members, Members

by Kate Olsen, DTM, PDG 2013-2014

Have you completed your Club Success Plan? This plan is your blueprint for success. The plan helps you achieve the Distinguished Club Plan goals. Membership building for most clubs is the hardest goal to meet.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” —Pablo Picasso

Things to consider when developing your Membership Building Program:

  • Develop Membership Building Committee
  • Set dates for your events at beginning of program year
  • When one event is finished, have the next ready to go
  • What kind of events have worked well in previous years?
  • How will you advertise your events?
  • Who will Chair each event?
  • Ask club members to help
  • Have fun planning the events
  • Set a SMART goal
  • Find out if there are District Incentives to help fund your events
  • Consider themed events

If you truly want to be successful and become a distinguished club, take time to write your plan, set realistic goals, and start working to make it happen!

Use this link to learn about the Distinguished Club Program and Club Success Plan:

In the Spirit of Toastmasters,

Kate Olsen, DTM

Past District Governor 2013-2014

If You Fail To Plan

Tips From Our Past

If You Fail To Plan, You Are Planning To Fail

by Jared Kronenberg, DTM, PDG

Jared Kronenberg

This mantra was repeated over and over during club officer trainings and district leadership sessions. I wasn’t sure what it really meant until I became a club president. As I am sure everyone experiences, club officers come from one of two categories: those who are passionate and want to serve vs. those who were “arm-twisted” (or “volun-told”) to fill a position. Although each group has different motivations for taking on their officer responsibilities, both have the same goal: to be successful.

I have taken positions where I had a good idea of what was required (or thought I did…), but I didn’t have a handle on the year until I sat down with my fellow officers and began talking about our goals. Some people would emerge with their “big ideas” of how to completely transform the club into a beaming metropolis of constant visitors and engaged members. Others would use their past experiences—either as a club member, an officer, or both—to “correct” those wide-eyed officers to the error of their ways, identifying assumptions that will “never work” and serving as the devil’s advocate to all changes. Still, there are others who spent most of the time remaining quiet, listening to everyone, and providing opinions and limited comments that are usually profound and insightful.

In my lawyerly way, I submit that there is a place at the table for all of these officers. Knowledge of the past is instructive, openness to new ideas is vital, and a willingness to try something new is brave. No one likes to be the first to suggest that something isn’t working, but we should embrace those comments and recognize that they are not meant to be destructive, but rather an honest recognition that the club is not meeting a specific need of a member (or many members, as the case may be). On the other hand, a new year is not the time to throw out everything done by our predecessors. Just because our names are not attached to something doesn’t mean that it is wrong and cannot be touched.

We are all in Toastmasters to improve ourselves. Let’s treat this new year, with new officers, and hopefully lots of new members, as our chance to make meaningful changes and recognize that different does not mean wrong. Instead of letting the process play itself out, venture into this opportunity with purpose and create a plan that every member can be a part of and contribute to. Let this Toastmasters year be the year to embrace the past… and the new… together.

This… is a true plan for success.

Jared Kronenberg, DTM

Past District Governor (2014-15), District 65

3 Step Approach To Successfully Building Corporate Clubs

by Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG

Corporate clubs are comparatively quicker and at times even easier to build than traditional community clubs.

When an organization or a corporation initiates and communicates their interest in having a corporate Toastmasters club at their place of business; it’s always a slam-dunk!

It is always good to have a good point of contact established early-on to have ongoing communications. As a result of initial communications, the level of interest coupled with the extent of their need to form a Toastmasters club can be quickly determined.

Preplanning before the actual DEMO meeting is crucial, in order to establish what the two parties working in harmony will bring to the table in starting and forming of a Toastmasters Club. The corporation will generally [a] provide the facility for the meeting place; [b] make internal announcements communications, re: the Toastmasters program, including distribution of TI promotional materials, etc., and [c] provide the critical mass of employees [preferably between 20 to 30 members] to attend the DEMO meeting at a given date and time.

Ideally, the DEMO meeting should be between 45 minutes to a maximum of one hour, including at least 5 to 10 minutes at the end for Q&A. Toastmasters will provide [a] the expertise in starting of a new Toastmasters club; [b] support for the club with two experienced mentors for the first six to as much as twelve months, if needed; [c] hands-on training for the individual club officers, and [d] support of the Area and District leaderships to ensure smooth transition and success.

Here is a three-step approach in building and chartering a corporate Toastmasters club.

Step 1:

The DEMO meeting team ideally should have a combination of some experienced as well as newer Toastmasters. The DEMO team can have between 5 to 7 Toastmasters roles as follows: an experienced Toastmaster, a fairly proficient speaker, a dedicated evaluator, a Table Topic Master, a General Evaluator, with a Timer and a WAG Master [Word master, Ah Counter, Grammarian] as optional roles/positions. The purpose of the DEMO meeting needs to be explained upfront and the benefits of Toastmasters need to be described throughout the DEMO meeting event. In special circumstances and with prior consent, an employee or two may be invited to participate in the Table Topic session. [When at least 17 or more employees are ready to join, as a result of the DEMO meeting, the follow-up date for step 2 needs to be put in-place, immediately at the end of the DEMO meeting and/or within a week.]

Step 2:

At the “organizational meeting” the following items are conducted [a] decision regarding the name of the club by vote; [b] decision on time, place and frequency of the club meetings, by vote and consensus, [encouraging weekly meetings vs. twice a month and/or every other week meetings]; [c] decision on the subsidizing of the membership dues, if any, etc.; and [d] election of the club officers, by vote. [When step 2 is completed, step 3 can be done immediately on the same day and/or within a day or two.]

Step 3:

Actual collection of membership dues, signing of the club constitution and club by-laws, membership and club officer listing, and mailing of the final documents to TI, can be accomplished in this meeting.

Please note that in certain circumstances it may become necessary to take the ATO [Application To Organize] route/approach in chartering a corporate club, especially when the respective corporation is not fully ready and/or committed to start a new club and/or does not have the critical-mass of members required to start the club. Patience and perseverance are required when dealing with low-member clubs.

The key to success of the three-step approach requires comprehensive preplanning, a dynamic DEMO meeting, and keeping the enthusiasm alive immediately following the success of DEMO meeting in organization/execution of the new club.

Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG

Sam has been personally involved in building and sponsoring over a dozen corporate and community clubs. Sam has used the above three-step approach in forming corporate clubs successfully and many of these clubs are still thriving today.

District 65 – A Year In Review 2017

District 65 – A Year In Review – 2016-2017

By Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG

Year in Review

Every new year is an opportunity to strive for improvement. The best way to do this is to take a look at the year that has just finished and review at all the great accomplishments.

Your District 65 Trio and the entire district council are reviewing these reports to assess the district’s strengths and weaknesses. They will then develop a strategic action plan to make improvements for our members, clubs and the district.

Below is a summary report on how individual members, respective Clubs, Areas, Divisions, and the District performed during the year 2016-2017 ending June 30, 2017. These detail analysis are based on the basic information provided by TI as of year-end.


  • 680 new members joined the various clubs in the district.
  • 49 charter members were inducted in the district.
  • 36 members earned the ‘Triple Crown’ award [2%].
  • The district ended the year with approximately 1,670+ members.
  • Some 432 individual educational awards were earned by members.
  • There were 183 CC; 104 CL; 40 ALB; 7 ALS; 43 ACB; 27 ACS; 12 ACG; 10 LDREXC; and 6 DTM.

The 6 Toastmasters who achieved their DTM are as follows: Melvie Hall-Bellinger of Frederick Douglass TM Club; Kelly L. Saucke Roland of Postprandial TM Club; Gerri Sullivan of Orange Orators; John McCormick Daybreakers Club; Rachelle Cohen of Mohawk Valley TM Club; Lillian Marie Knight Faison of Lyceum Club.

There were 16 ‘Club Coaches’ active during the year and 9 were awarded their completion certificates and 7 are pending.

Four New Club Sponsors and Mentors were active during the year to support building of two new clubs.

It is estimated that the district lost approx. 50% of its membership base [i.e. 970+ members] during the course of the year. The membership retention rate therefore was approx. 50%.


Two new Clubs were chartered during the year. ‘Lawley Lingo’ in Rochester and ‘Toast the Grid’ in Syracuse.

Two Clubs [FLCoE in Cortland and Port City in Oswego] have not renewed their membership dues in April 2017.

Three Clubs [Olean, Crown City, and Geneseo] have not met their minimum requirement of 8 members on the club’s roster.

The new TM year begins with 6 ATO’s [Application To Organize] in process.

A total of 32 Clubs became Distinguished Clubs or better as follows: 19 Clubs became Presidents Distinguished; 6 Clubs became SELECT Distinguished; and 7 Clubs became Distinguished.

Some 65 Clubs did not achieve Distinguished Club status.

Some 32% of the clubs [1/3rd of the clubs in the district] have 20 or more members and operate at charter strength; 54% have less than 20 members; and 14% of the clubs have less than 10 members. Therefore 2/3rd of the clubs continue to function below charter strength, as has been the case for the past several years.

The first club officers training had 353 officers [50%] trained and the second club officers training had 283 [40%] club officers trained. This average out to 45% of club officers trained during the two training sessions. Not a single club had all seven of their club officers trained at both training sessions.

The following 7 Clubs were suspended during the year:

Positively Speaking and Simon TM Club in division ‘C’; Speech Petrol and Twin Tiers in division ‘D’; Verbal Spartan, Savvy Speakers and Devil’s Advocate in division ‘E’

The year was ended with 97 “paid” clubs.

The following 11 Clubs achieved 10 or more educational awards as follows:

  • Good Morning Syracuse – 14 educational awards
  • Empire Statesmen – 13 educational awards
  • AM Lockport – 13 educational awards
  • Rhetorical Roar – 13 educational awards
  • Lawley Lingo -12 educational awards
  • Assured Communicators – 11 educational awards
  • Downtown TM; Utica National; Simon; Blues Expression; GCC Multi-Cultural Communications Club

The following six clubs recruited the highest amount of new members:

  • University at Buffalo – 21 new members
  • Downtown Toastmaster – 20 new members
  • Master Toast – 18 new members
  • Cayuga – 15 new members
  • Empire Statesmen – 13 new members
  • Larkin Leaders – 13 new members


Only two Areas out of a total of 23 Areas became Distinguished Areas. Area 15 [Area Director, Saundra Loffredo] in Buffalo; and Area 51 [Area Director, Celia Beaucage] in Syracuse.

There are FOUR Areas that have over 100 members. Area 15 with 129 members; Area 11 with 126 members; Area 24 with 106 member; and Area 51 with 101 members.


Only one Division out of 5 Divisions became a SELECT Division. Division “B” lead by Division Director, Corey Wilson.

Division ‘A’ is the largest division with 479 members; followed by Division ‘E’ with 384 members; followed by Division ‘B’ with 351 members; followed by Division ‘C’ with 262 members and Division ‘D’ with 197 members.

Division ‘A’ and Division ‘E’ has largest number of clubs with 25 clubs each. Division ‘B’ has 19 clubs; Division ‘C’ has 16 clubs; and Division ‘D’ is 15 clubs.


The district fell short by 425 members to achieve the Distinguished District “Member Payment” goal of 4,114 payments.

The district fell short by 15 Clubs to achieve the Distinguished District “Paid Clubs” goal of 112 Clubs

The district fell short by 12 Clubs to achieve the “Distinguished Clubs” goal of 44 Distinguished Clubs.

Congratulations to all members, club and district officers for your contributions and efforts during the year.

Sam Mehta, DTM, PDG


Tips From Our PAST – July 2017

Tips From Our PAST 

Each month we would like to share some great tips from our PAST District 65 Governors and Directors. They have been there, in the trenches, both locally, regionally and internationally. We can all learn from their experience and wisdom.

Club Success: It Can be Yours!

By Linda Lathrop, DTM – Past District Governor 2012-2013

Linda Lathrop

Your success and the success of your club is determined by your vision of the possibilities but you must also have a plan. Realistically you should review what happened during the past Toastmaster year 2016-2017 and evaluate what worked and what needs to be improved upon, what changes are needed, and what exciting new ideas can you implement. Involve all of your club members.

A few years ago I was the president of a struggling club and we set a goal to reach twenty members and be a distinguished club. The club officers worked together to develop the club success plan using the manual provided by Toastmasters. Each time the club met I spoke about our plan giving updates on our progress,. We celebrated as new members joined, we celebrated when education awards were achieved, and we charted our progress. As a result we became a select distinguished club!

What you can do:

  • Speak enthusiastically
  • Speak often
  • Speak about your goals more than most members think wise
  • Speak praise when members make progress and achieve their goals

The seven P’s of success are: planning, promotion, people, potential, positivity,  perseverance, and possibility.

There are six things you can control according to Mark Sanborn

  • How much you prepare
  • How hard you work
  • How quickly you grow
  • How fast you respond
  • How clearly you think
  • how much you follow up

My favorite word is possibilities. Remember that you are a promise, a possibility, and a great big bundle of potentiality!

Nothing is impossible… if you do the work.

Speaking of Possibilities!
Linda Lathrop, DTM
Past District Governor 2012-2013