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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.
Do you want to supercharge your club and attract flocks of new members to your club? Are you interested in building new clubs? Come join us at the Founder’s District Fall Marketing Workshop on Saturday, July 27, 2013. Learn valuable tips and proven techniques for club growth, membership retention and building new clubs from some of the top leaders in Toastmasters.
Happy New Year!
Many people join Toastmasters with a clear vision of how they will use their improved leadership and communication abilities. For those who are looking for a new opportunity though, this might be it.
The Segerstrom Center for the Arts (formerly Orange County Performing Arts) in Costa Mesa is beginning a new docent class soon. Volunteer applications are being gathered for a training that will occur over five Fridays in March.
Docents lead tour groups through both the Performing Arts building as well as the Concert Hall according to a script that the individual learns.
As a two-year member Docent, I can tell you it is exciting to go backstage, learn the information about the venues, and to share it with the public of all ages.
Congratulations to Daniel Midson-Short of Coastmasters Toastmasters Club #6658 , winning first place in the District Humorous Speech Contest on November 3rd, 2012. As an Aussie living in America, Daniel dispelled the myths and stereotypical beliefs that Americas have about Austrailians. The second place trophie went to Charlie Cheatham of Table Talkers Club #1246 in Buena Park. Charlie humorously compared himself to Marcus Dupree, the star who never was. Third place went to Aneeza Haleem from Lake Avenue Toastmasters Club #8360 in Pasadena. Other competitors included George Day, Jennifer Jenkins, Kelly Hudson, Ricardo Munoz, and Angela Stout. See interviews with our winners and other highlights of the contest in our latest edition of Founder's District TV .