Monday, 13 May 2013 12:47

In Memoriam - Helen Blanchard

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Toastmasters around the world mourn the passing of Helen Blanchard, one of the most celebrated and respected Toastmaster of our time. Helen quietly passed away on Saturday May 11, 2013 at 8:15 PM. She will be dearly missed.

Helen was known as the First Lady of Toastmasters, being the first female to join the organization in 1970, even before women were officially allowed to join. She became the first female President of Toastmasters International in 1985. Her considerable accomplishments during her 40+ years in Toastmasters has earned her the nickname as a "Trailblazer". In 2010, her home district, District 5, created the Helen Blanchard "Trailblazer" award, which has been awarded to comparable pioneers such as Joyce Persichilli.

Helen was no stranger to Founder's District and frequently visited conferences and other events. I first met Helen at a District Conference in Garden Grove and was immediately inspired by her story. I read her book and met her again at the Smedley Club's 85th Anniversary party where I had a chance to speak with her about it. I know she never thought of herself as a trailblazer but was just doing what any good Toastmaster would do.

In 2009, Maira Pineda created the "Homer" award, named for Helen Blanchard as the name she used when joining Toastmasters in 1970. This award is given to those in District Leadership service who emulate her ground-breaking, innovative, legacy building spirit. This year I was honored to receive this award for my technical contributions to the Founder's District. Sadly, I did not get the opportunity to tell Helen how much it meant to me. Fortunately, Helen will continue to inspire me even after she is gone.

Monday, 06 May 2013 22:07

How's Your Club Membership?

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1plus1LogoDoes your club only need one or two more members to be a Distinguished Club? Well, don't just sit there hoping they'll walk through the door by themselves.  If they haven't yet, they won't now, unless you give them a reason.

HAVE AN OPEN HOUSE!! Invite friends, family, and other Toastmasters to come in and check out your club. Send out invitations, put up flyers, put a sign outside where your club meets. It's the end of another Toastmasters year, so use the Open House to celebrate your members' achievements. And if you have the Open House between now and June 30, you'll receive a $10 gift certificate to the TI store in exchange for a copy of your club's Open House flyer (send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. If you don't know what to do, contact Open House Chair, George Day (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and pick his brain - he really knows how to throw a Toastmasters party! But you need to start planning now - it's party-time!

"BEAT THE CLOCK" - A TI-sponsored membership-building program that runs from May 1 through June 30. If clubs bring in five new, dual, or reinstated members, they'll receive a "Beat the Clock" ribbon to display on the club's banner and earn a special discount code for 10% off their next club order from Toastmasters International.

NEW MEMBERS CLUB CHALLENGE - Clubs with 8 or more new membership applications submitted between January 1 and June 30 will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate for the TI store. Each club adding four new members between May 1 and June 30 will receive two entries into the drawing. If your club already has met the first goal, the club will receive two additional entries. (Does not include transfer members.)

NEW MEMBERS DIVISION CHALLENGE - The Division with the most new members between January 1 and June 30 will receive a $100 gift certificate for the TI Store. (Does not include transfer members.) Division B is in the lead; Division G is not far behind with the other Divisions in close pursuit. There's still time to help your club and your Division SHINE!!

JOHN LAU'S 1 + 1 MEMBERSHIP CAMPAIGN - For more information about this marvelous membership-building incentive offered by International President, John Lau, go to the TI website and check it out for yourself.

The goal is one new member per week between now and June 30. You can do it! Will you help? Contact your club VP Membership as soon as possible.

Thursday, 29 January 2015 02:54

How Toastmasters Helped Me

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FLOC pic

Overwhelmed. Anxious. Uneasy. I dreaded being in front of others public speaking. Feeling so uncomfortable with everyone staring at me, "umm" was a huge part of my vocabulary. How can I be a leader and inspire others if I cannot speaking eloquently? "Oh well, maybe I am just not that good at public speaking" I thought to myself.

Thursday, 03 December 2009 22:33

Hollywood Here We Come

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Michelle-Obama-web-v1With the success of having more than 30 local city Mayors support and celebrate Toastmasters International’s 85th anniversary, our public relations team reached out and received endorsements from California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to several U.S. Senators, Members of Congress, and the First Lady Michelle Obama. Now we're headed to Hollywood!

Phase II of our "brand and expand" publicity campaign has started. Requests have gone out to local, national, and international celebrities requesting their support by performing a brief public service announcement about how Toastmasters has helped more than four million men and women learn to speak with poise and confidence.

In addition to being a wholesome story, it will be a fun and rewarding way of giving back to the community – and positive publicity – while encouraging people to learn tangible career skills.

We're excited about who has signed on so far (details to be released soon) - and we're looking for more. If you know a celebrity or have suggestions for a spokesperson, please contact Michael Varma at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

California Supporters of Toastmasters’ Month:
In early August 2009, a Toastmasters public relations team contacted all the cities within the Founder's District (Orange, Los Angeles and Riverside counties), as well as a few dignitaries, and requested a proclamation for Toastmasters’ Month or other forms of support. As of 12/03/09, positive responses have been received by:

First Lady Michelle Obama
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California
Senator Lou Correa of CA 34th District
Congresswoman Doris Matsui of CA 5th District
Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey of CA 6th District
Congresswoman Barbara Lee of CA 9th District
Congressman Pete Stark of CA 13th District
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of CA 14th District
Congresswoman Judy Chu of CA 32nd District
Congresswoman Linda Sanchez of CA 39th District
Congresswoman Lorretta Sanchez of CA 47th Distict
Mayor Steven Placido Alhambra
Mayor John Wuo of Arcadia
Mayor John Rocha of Azusa
Mayor John Beauman of Brea
Mayor Bruce Barrows of Cerritos
Mayor Joe Augilar of Commerce
Mayor Allan Mansoor of Costa Mesa
Mayor Walter Allen of Covina
Mayor Lisa Bartlett of Dana Point
Mayor Mario Guerro of Downey
Mayor John Fasana of Duarte
Mayor Guy Carrozzo of Fountain Valley
Mayor Don Bankhead of Fullerton
Mayor William Dalton of Garden Grove
Mayor Keith Bohr of Huntington Beach
Mayor Sukhee Kang of Irvine
Mayor Tom Beamish of La Habra
Mayor Joel Lautenschleger of Laguna Hills
Mayor Frank Ury of Mission Viejo
Mayor Mary Ann Lutz of Monrovia
Mayor Edward Selich of Newport Beach
Mayor Carolyn Cavecche of Orange
Mayor Bill Bogaard of Pasadena
Mayor Elliot Rothman of Pomona
Mayor Gary Thompson of Rancho Santa Margarita
Mayor Curtis Morris of San Dimas
Mayor Eugene Sun of San Marino
Mayor Miguel Pulido of Santa Ana
Mayor Louie Gonzales of Santa Fe Springs
Mayor Doug Davert of Tustin
Mayor Roger Hernandez of West Covina
Mayor Margie Rice of Westminster & Midway City
Mayor Mark Schwing of Yorba Linda


Saturday, 22 December 2012 02:11

Holiday Wishes From Founder's District

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VictoriaDotson Message From the Governor
As we enter into the Holiday Season, I want to wish all of you a very Happy Holiday and a wonderful New Year. May you and your loved ones enjoy peace, joy and lots of great food in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing you after the New Year and celebrating your upcoming accomplishments.  - Victoria Dotson, DTM.

A Special Toastmasters Christmas Founder’s District TV visits several clubs in the District who are celebrating the holidays.  Melissa Wong sings the traditional New Year’s song, “Auld Lang Syne” with pianist Carolyn Kelly and accompanied by members of the Orange Quartet Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society.  It’s an all Toastmasters cast showcasing the many talents of our members. We hope you enjoy this special episode and ring in the new year with joy and peace to all.  View it now on  Founder's District TV.  You can also download the mp3 soundtrack here.

The January 2013 Founder Download the  latest issue of The Founder and meet the winner of the 2012 Fall District Conference.  Keep informed about the new marketing incentives that can earn you free stuff for you and your club.  Also in this issue, Toastmasters who are making a difference.  Laura Scott gives us an insider look at the new Spectrum Speakers Gavel Club for adults with Asperger's and Autism Spectrum disorders.  And finally, Robin Itzler asks, "What's Your Club Tagline?".
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 12:30

Harvey Mayo

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It is with regret that I bear the following news. Fellow Toastmaster Harvey Mayo passed away suddenly on September 30th. For those who knew him, you know what a friend he was. For those in our Toastmasters family that did not know him, let me tell you about Harvey.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 03:53

Happy Birthday Founder's District

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Our 70 Year Pipeline to Toastmasters International

Founder's District is the "funnel," that has been bringing the benefits and value of Toastmasters to all of us in Southern California, since 1944.

Founders District's 70th Birthday/Anniversary is cause to celebrate. For 3,500 of us members, we are proud to be part of Founder's District, whose birthplace in Santa Ana, California, is also the 1924 birthplace of Toastmasters International.

Founder's District is the indispensible conduit between Toastmasters International's World Wide Headquarters and its Orange County/Los Angeles members. For 70 years, Founder's elected officers have guided and energized our progress through its Division Governors, who support our Area Governors, who in turn support the clubs by helping club officers meet the needs of each individual member. Success rests in the hands of the above mentioned stalwart members, who are willing to step beyond club level, to help Founders District's top four elected officers uphold the integrity of Toastmasters Educational Program in Speaking and Leadership

There are countless fellow Toastmasters to appreciate, congratulate, and celebrate—who have given their time and talent serving us in Founder's District leadership. Perhaps one of them is you!

In addition to celebrating 70 years of volunteers who have guided and guarded the quality of our experience in Toastmasters, there are "hands- on" skill development, professional growth opportunities for any member who steps into District work.

Founder's District provides its 3,500 members with practical resume experience in management, with the opportunity to lead in governance positions , to create and collaborate in chairmanship positions, to work in District Television production(performance and/or technical), to organize and produce special events, to assemble project management components, to train and instruct, to oversee budgets and set funding strategies, to build teams, to mentor and coach, to judge speeches within Toastmasters and in community service organizations outside of TM, to grow as a writer/photo journalist in Public Relations, and to learn the art of "marketing and selling" by working with Human Resource Heads in corporate Club Development.

Involvement in any of the hundreds of District activities translates into generalizable and transferrable practical job experience.

Yes! There is much about Founder's District to celebrate! The moment we to step out of our Toastmasters club and step into Founder's District teamwork, we have opened our world to professional and personal skill development for every part of our life.

There's a lot to celebrate! Founder's District, 1944 to 2014: Seventy years of Bringing the Toastmaster Speaking and Leadership Skills Program to Southern California.

Founders District Photo and Video Documentarians, Richard and Linda Doherty, have captured and preserved for posterity thousands of the scenes and moments in Founder's recent History. Perhaps you will find photos of yourself and Toastmaster friends by going to the Founder's District Photo Gallery. Here's to you, Founder's District!

At the recent District Executive Council Meeting, Gwen Earle, ACB, ALS was presented with the illustrious 2012-2013 Area Governor of the Year award. Within the Founder’s District, Toastmasters truly know how deserving of this award Gwen is and congratulate her on this tremendous success.

The effort, energy, and leadership that Gwen has demonstrated throughout the past year, has created stellar results for her as an Area G-2 Governor and for Division G.

Saturday, 25 October 2014 00:13

Gustavo Arellano

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Founder's District is proud to announce the 2014 Fall Conference Communication and Leadership Award recipient, Gustavo Arellano. Gustavo will deliver his acceptance speech during the Hall of Fame Lunch on Saturday November 8, 2014.

Gustavo Arellano is the editor of OC Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Orange County, California, author of Orange County: A Personal History and Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, lecturer with the Chicana and Chicano Studies department at California State University, Fullerton, and a consulting producer on FOX’s animated show, Bordertown. He writes “¡Ask a Mexican!,” a nationally syndicated column in which he answers any and all questions about America's spiciest and largest minority. The column has a weekly circulation of over 2 million in 39 newspapers across the United States, won the 2006 and 2008 Association of Alternative Weeklies award for Best Column, and was published in book form by Scribner Press in May 2007. Arellano has been the subject of press coverage in national and international newspapers, The Today Show, Hannity, Nightline, Good Morning America, Chelsea Lately and The Colbert Report. He is currently a consulting producer on Bordertown, a FOX animated show scheduled to debut January 2015. Gustavo is the recipient of the Los Angeles Press Club's 2007 President's Award and an Impacto Award from the National Hispanic Media Coalition, and was recognized by the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a 2008 Spirit Award for his "exceptional vision, creativity, and work ethic.” Gustavo is a lifelong resident of Orange County and is the proud son of two Mexican immigrants, one whom was illegal.

Monday, 05 May 2014 01:36

Good Luck Victoria

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VictoriaDotsonOur beloved past District Governor, Victoria Dotson, DTM, is relocating to the state of Washington and this will be our last chance to enjoy her company and say our goodbyes. Second Stage Club #3742 is hosting an Open House party on Saturday May 10 in the honor of Victoria. The party is located at the Mesa Verde United Methodist Church, 1701 Baker St., Costa Mesa, CA 92626. You can drop by any time between 10 AM and 5 PM to spend some time with Victoria and hang out with friends.

Victoria Dotson was the 2012-2013 Founder's District Governor and is best known for her bold leadership style, jovial work ethics, and love for animals. The picturesque and serene Washington State is fortunate to have someone as beautiful as Victoria.

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