Sunday, 29 April 2018 14:11

Harry Yan Receives Gene Beckwith Award

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Photo by Jimmy KhathSpringConference 20180428 467Harry Yan Receives Gene Beckwith Award

The Gene Beckwith Memorial Trophy was established at the Founder’s District Fall Conference in 1981. The Founder’s District Director selects the Toastmaster who best exemplifies the humor, wisdom and leadership qualities of Gene Beckwith, DTM, PDG. The first recipient of this award was Roy D. Graham, DTM, PID.

I've never met Gene Beckwith so I have no idea how to compare his humor, wisdom, and leadership qualities. Our only option is to compare such qualities with those of recent past recipients of this award. This is the most prestigious award the district will bestow on a member so this selection is not taken lightly. Not one, but multiple years of contributions are considered.

This year's recipient began his venture into leadership by serving as a simple club coach for a struggling club. Ten years ago this club had 7 members and on its last leg. Through hard work and perseverance he helped the club grow its membership year after year up to 37 members and is consistently Presidents Distinguished every year. He remains a member of the club today.

He found his passion in pursuing leadership positions that involved coaching clubs, teaching others to coach clubs, building new clubs, and especially youth leadership programs. As Lt. Governor of Marketing, a position we now call the Club Growth Director, he was largely responsible for building enough clubs to achieve distinguished district status, a rarity in Founder's district for the last 20 years. Two years later as district governor, leading his team under the theme "Pursue Your Passion", he incredibly achieved for the first and only time in the history of the district, select distinguished status.

His leadership skills and wisdom are incontrovertible. As far as humor ... well, if you've ever heard him speak and tell the story about the tortoise and the hare, you would agree that he has no problem with humor. And even more importantly, he is inspirational.

Congratulations Distinguished Toastmaster, past district governor, Harry Yan.


In accordance with the Article VII, Section (d) of the District Administrative Bylaws, the District Leadership Committee, comprising of Bob Hudack, DTM, PDG, Cliff Shimizu, ACS, CL, Frannie Stein, DTM, Harry Yan, DTM, PDG, Kathy Hughes, ACS, ALB, Linda Robinson, DTM, Norm Stein, DTM, and Randy Kleinman, DTM, has nominated the following candidates for the 2018-2019 District Officers, in order by office and then alphabetically if there is more than one candidate per office.


District Director

Diana Dee, DTM

Program Quality Director

Lori Shapiro, DTM

Club Growth Director

Christine Brady, ACB, ALB


David Hosmer, ACS, ALS

Division A Director

John Christopherson, ACS, ALB

Division B Director

Brent Felsted, ACS, ALB

Division C Director

Minh Le, ACB, ALB

Division D Director

Mike Sato, ACB, ALB

Division E Director

Julie Murphy, CC, ALB

Division F Director

Steve Saffell, CC, ALB

Division G Director

Ann Shimizu, DTM


Reported by Siri Payakapan, DTM, PDD, Chair, District Leadership Committee

Sunday, 04 March 2018 23:34

Karen Lucas - Spirit of Excellence

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Karen Lucas joined Toastmasters as recently as 2007 and has accomplished quite a bit in the last nine years. She is a charter member of Caltech Toastmasters, reviving the club as the sole remaining member and awarded the Caltech Toastmaster of the Year in 2011. She simultaneously served as an Area Director in two districts, completing her DTM in 2015, and became a Qualified Speaker of the District 12 Speakers' Bureau and the District 100 Speakers' Bureau. While serving as an Area Director in Founder's District, she was a powerful force in the club building effort assisting other area directors across areas, divisions, and even districts. Her reach into the inner workings of Toastmasters International finds her building key relationships into the upper echelons of the organization. She is currently serving as the first Director of District 100 and we would not be surprised to one day see her serving as the International President, but we suspect her ambitions are much higher than that. Outside of Toastmasters she is a maverick in her community. For the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, she was selected as a White Suiter on her first try, served on the Street Committee, and is the youngest member to be appointed to the Heritage Committee. She is a former Board Member of the Pasadena branch of the United Nations.

In planet Toastmasters, her approach to leadership is novel, sometimes controversial, but definitely innovative. Above all, her dedication to enriching the lives of every Toastmaster member is worthy of recognizing her has having a Toastmaster's heart. Founder's District proudly recognizes the February 2018 Spirit of Excellence Award recipient, Distinguished Toastmaster, District 100 Director, Karen Lucas.

The “Founder’s District Spirit of Excellence” award was set up by past District Governor, Linda Ulrich, to recognize and thank some of our members who have made the biggest impact on the greatest number of members throughout our District and the organization.

The first recipients of this award were Richard Elliott, Chris Gregory, John Latin, Ed Mihalka, and H. Al Richardson. These persons embody the qualities of the "Spirit of Excellence" -- mentoring, leadership, service, outreach, and most of all, a Toastmaster's heart.

Sunday, 04 March 2018 23:25

Bob Hudack - Spirit of Excellence

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BobHudack 140

In 2007-2008 Bob Hudack served as the District Lt Governor and recognized for Excellence in Education and Training at the International Convention in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 2008-2009 he served as the District Governor and initiated the electronic distribution of The Founder newsletter and district directories, resulting in thousands of dollars in savings to the the district. Having superior technical skills and district knowledge, he continues each year serving as the alignment chair for the district in what is a very monumental task. In 2015 he served on the District Reformation Committee contributing to a successful negotiation in the heated debate of splitting the district. He has always been an outspoken champion for the Toastmasters member and every decision and action is made with the individual member in mind. When he speaks, you should listen. For his ongoing mentorship, proven leadership, dedicated service, and devotion to transforming members, he is without question, a Toastmaster with a big heart. Founder's District proudly recognizes the February 2018 Spirit of Excellence recipient, Distinguished Toastmaster, Past District Governor, Bob Hudack.

The “Founder’s District Spirit of Excellence” award was set up by past District Governor, Linda Ulrich, to recognize and thank some of our members who have made the biggest impact on the greatest number of members throughout our District and the organization.

The first recipients of this award were Richard Elliott, Chris Gregory, John Latin, Ed Mihalka, and H. Al Richardson. These persons embody the qualities of the "Spirit of Excellence" -- mentoring, leadership, service, outreach, and most of all, a Toastmaster's heart.

Founder’s District is proud to recognize the following members for achieving their Distinguished Toastmaster award. Achieving the designation of DTM requires each member to earn the following education and leadership awards: Competent Communicator, Advanced Communicator Bronze, Advanced Communicator Silver, Advanced Communicator Gold, Competent Leader, Advanced Leader Bronze, and the Advanced Leader Silver (which includes the High-Performance Leadership (HPL) Project).

Please help Founder’s District in congratulating: 

Donald T. Baliaba

Donald BaliabaDonald joined Toastmasters in January 2015 and his journey has been amazing. He initially joined Toastmasters to improve his speaking skills, but with the help (or sometimes push) of his mentor, Chris Gregory, he became more involved in the program. 

He first served as a club officer and then as the Area C1 Director. He became a DTM two and half years after joining the program because he had great mentors who challenged him and provided support. He can't thank them enough! Maybe the best decision he made was to join Helmsmen Club #770 in Huntington Beach, one of the best clubs in the world. 

Donald believes strongly that it's better to teach people how to catch fish rather than feeding them. With the help of several people, including his Founders district family, he started a Toastmasters club in Yaounde, Cameroon in Africa more than 8,000 miles away from here.  Today, many Cameroonians are enjoying and benefiting from this fantastic program.

As a DTM, he is planning to use his newly acquired skills to continue to learn… and more importantly, to assist and help others to succeed, as well. This is just the beginning.


Arnie Lynn Bengo

Arnie Bengo

Arnie was first introduced to Toastmasters by Jeanne Cassidy. Jeanne was the catalyst that began her journey as they chartered the 3030 Communications club at Working Wardrobes. It was at that point that she took on the role of VP of Education. In the year that she served as VPE, she earned her CC and CL in hopes of inspiring other members to achieve both leadership and education awards. She quickly immersed herself in the Toastmasters World after seeing her public speaking skills improve. Arnie then took on the role of President and eventually became the Area Director for J-2.

It took a little over 2.5 years for her to earn her DTM, an award she desperately sought out since becoming a charter member. 



Lou Ann Frederick

Lou Ann FrederickLou Ann is occasionally asked, “Why another DTM?” The answer is about how committed she is to both setting and achieving goals. It is important on an individual level but even more important when she participates as a member of her club to achieve Distinguished Club Status.

This is Lou Ann’s 4th or 5th Distinguished Toastmaster award and while the first one was the most notable, the work done for each successive award is equally important. Every new club that was developed, every speech project she devoted herself to, every relationship as she worked through leadership, it all added a positive dimension to her.

As she joyfully ages, she sees the need to step into a new phase of her life:to move out of the way so the newer members can fill roles and enhance their own futures. January will mark her 35th year in Toastmasters. It has been a great journey and Toastmasters helped Lou Ann achieve things in her career that were not possible otherwise.


Connie C. Haddix

Connie Haddix

Connie joined Toastmasters as a charter member of Quote Masters, in January 2009, because she needed a change from a season that was difficult, at best. She had lost her husband three months prior and her father just 6 weeks after that. She needed a way to redirect her grief.

Toastmasters delivered on that promise and then some! She found camaraderie amongst the members, creation of new goals and vision for her life, and an exciting adventure as a Toastmaster. This will never change for her.

Her DTM journey has been intentional and she is very pleased to reach that goal. However, the best part has been engaging with other members, by mentoring and holding each other accountable. Her heartfelt thanks goes to the Toastmasters International leadership and staff for continuing to strive for excellence in all facets of resources, educational platforms, and member engagement. You have served your global community well, with a compassion than lingers. 


Claudia Kabot

Claudia KabotClaudia began her Toastmasters journey eight years ago. At first, it was about improving her own communication and leadership skills. But, as time went on, she gained even more from helping other members.

Claudia became very active in her club by initiating and organizing successful club events; representing her club at area and division contests as a speech contestant; sponsoring and mentoring many new members; and attending all business meeting at District Conferences.  

As an Area Governor, she built relationships with her area clubs. She chaired division contests and brought many of her Tools 2 Lead club members to serve at Area and Division contests.

Earning her DTM marks not the destination of her Toastmasters journey, but the beginning of many more great accomplishments.


Kimberly M. McFee

Kimberly McFee

Kimberly joined Helmsmen Club #770 Toastmasters in May 1995. She joined because during a work performance review she was told that she needed to work on her platform skills. Her goal was to join a club and get through her first ten speeches and get her competent communicator award and then quit. That was over 20 years ago. Her bucket list goal with Toastmasters was to, one day, achieve her DTM. Because of work commitments and life, time got away from her. Fast forward to 2 years ago she pushed herself to run for club president, become an area director, and complete her HPL. Finally, she achieved the DTM in July 2017.  Mission accomplished!




Jodi Rifkin

Jodi Rifkin2Jodi Rifkin has been a Toastmaster since she was a teenager. Back then she was shy but after years with Toastmasters she grown to be more confident and outspoken. She is a proud member of Unimasters and is a Speakers Exchange Coordinator. Her career in E-commerce has been enhanced by the skills she honed at Toastmasters. She enjoys traveling, being a Girl Scouts Brownie Leader and Girl Scouts Trainer. She aspires to fulfill a childhood dream to carry the Olympic Torch.





Olimpo Salmoran Palomino

Olimpo Salmoran Palomino

Olimpo got passionate with Toastmasters when he attended his first contest in 2009. At that contest Olimpo was impressed by the level of engagement and the spirit of service and professionalism of everyone involved! Since that remarkable event in 2009, Toastmasters has been an inspiration for his life!

The thing that he loves most about Toastmasters is that Toastmasters International improves the life of all members in one way or another.

Olimpo’s commitment in the future is to continue to support Toastmasters members in achieving their objectives and to improving their lives.


Anna Shcherbak

Anna Shcherbak2

Anna has been on an amazing 8-year journey to achieve her DTM award. Along the way, she met many remarkable people, established life-long friendships, and gained the confidence to pursue her passion of teaching children. The Toastmasters community has influenced her life in many positive ways and she is forever grateful for the support, love, and encouragement she has been shown by her fellow Toastmasters.









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