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How does a software engineer who can spends hours in the dark, playing video games, alone, without moving a muscle... become an inspiring speaker, a master of the stage, a Contest Master, an empowering leader and a motivational force in the success of others?
Let me tell you that story... it will inspire you, it will encourage you, and it will make you want to stand up and cheer!!!
Yes fellow Toastmasters! Let me tell you about the journey of Cliff Shimizu, ACS, CL - a journey that began a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
In 1998 two seasoned and influential Toastmasters in Founder's District (Avis French, CL and Colette Gardner, DTM, PDG) were working at Unisys, as was Cliff. They were rebooting the corporate "Unimasters" club and suggested (in their typical gentle way) that Cliff join them to be a Charter Member. With an understanding that Cliff's manager had encouraged him, AND that Cliff's office mate was none other than Mitchell Knight - another seasoned veteran in Founder's District and President of the club - of course Cliff agreed.
Cliff knew enough about himself to understand how beneficial this first step would be ... he felt comfortable in one-one situations, but large groups made him freeze! He focused on the development of his speaking skills, never thinking about leadership - he was happy giving speeches. Of course he held club officers roles - he was among friends and colleagues at Unimasters, that was his comfort zone; he worked with them everyday - no stretch to help manage the club by taking a role now and again...
Cliff was very happy with this state of affairs - for 17 years he was happy with his journey.
Something changed in 2015... as was often the case, the incoming Division Director asked if Cliff would be an Area Director. Cliff's answer had always been an unequivocal "No". But this year, he said "YES".
What happened.... was it that Cliff had a change in career, maybe a mid-life crisis, or did they just wear him down with the question year after year? We may never know exactly what he was thinking, but we do know he has great respect for Marie-Noelle Palermo, ACB, ALB; he wanted to work with her and her Division G team; he was just beginning to see that the whole is so much more than the parts - that every club member contributes to the larger organization by inspiring and supporting others. Saying "Yes" was the catalyst Cliff needed to stretch his leadership wings, test the water, expand the envelope, step outside the box - you know what I mean - take that first step into District Leadership!!!!!
Cliff knew he would be challenged in this new leadership role, but he also knew three things would help him succeed: 1) his mentors (Avis and Colette) would encourage and support him; 2) Marie-Noelle was a proven leader and would provide the vision and leadership for a successful Division G team; 3) Ann Shimizu, DTM was also going to be an Area Director that same year... how could he fail?!?!
Cliff's success as Area Director that year (2015-2016) extended beyond the reports, the training, the meetings and the contests... what he learned about himself, about working beyond his personal boundaries, about how to mentor and inspire others, about the acts of leadership - this experience instilled in him the drive to see beyond his own needs and objectives and to focus on the development and success of others. It instilled more deeply in him the idea of and the practice of servant leadership.
Then, a funny thing happened... In the Spring of 2016, the Spirit of Excellence award recipient delivered a game changing statement that transformed how Cliff saw his own Toastmasters journey. He heard a phrase that resonated with him then and continues to drive his commitment to servant leadership. The speaker said "I had taken so much. It was time I gave back."
Cliff turned to Ann and said: "We should run (for Division G Director)!"
Ann's practical reply: "Why both of us?" Cliff: "Because it will be FUN!!!!!"
What happened to the dark room and video monitor as your only friend? After 18 years Cliff saw the light - giving back as a servant leaders was now his passion.
Born in that moment was the TRIO approach to Division G: Cliff, Ann, and Raymond (McCullough) all ran - no matter who would win - they would act as a trio in driving Division G success... well, we all know how that turned out. And yes, the Trio approach to leadership for Division G worked flawlessly. With a combined vision, Cliff's pursuit for inclusive leadership, and an outstanding crew of Area Directors, Division G soared into success as a President's Distinguished Division - that is how to define leadership!
Cliff spoke to his Division council each month about his leadership passions, his expectation for pushing boundaries, how to reach for success, his inspiration for mentoring others - his message could not have been clearer; it resonated with each Area Director - the results speak for themselves.
Now that his term as Division Director is complete, his leadership goal has shifted ever so slightly.... he no longer cares to pursue success in his own interest, but rather - in the true sense of a servant leader - his joy is to encourage and support others in their pursuit of excellence.
Cliff - We applaud you! We cheer for you, and for those whose journey you have inspired. We ask you to continue to be the leader, mentor and visionary you became once you stepped outside of your comfort zone. The District awaits you...
Founders District is very pleased to announce that Mike Sato, Area G3 Director, is the Founder’s District 2016-17 Area Director of the Year.
"Mike's dedication and commitment went above and beyond what I have seen from other area directors. He visited his clubs several times throughout each 6 month period," said nominator and Division G Director, Cliff Shimizu. "He delivered trophies to our area and division contest winners and worked diligently to ensure the success of each club."
Sato addressed challenges in his area with dedication and commitment. Three of his four clubs faced relocation of their meeting sites in the past year and Mike was directly responsible for arranging a new meeting location for one of those clubs.
Despite the challenges, Mike's area is currently distinguished. Two of his clubs have the DCP points to be distinguished and only need a few more members to be at charter strength.
Faced with a particularly struggling club in his Area, Ziggurat 425, Mike joined the club as a member, even though this would preclude him from receiving credit as a club coach. The club had 8 members before Sato joined and now has 15 members and became a Select Distinguished club.
According to Shimizu, "Mike was committed to helping the club and made them commit to rebuilding their club. He worked with the club and the members worked hard as a result. He pulled in the support of the division and nearby clubs to boost the attendance and speakers at the club. Members of the club were helping at the Fall Contest as functionaries and by the Spring Contest, the club was sending contestants".
"The turnaround," said Shimizu "has been nothing short of remarkable."
Mike not only led the turnaround of the club, he recorded his efforts in the form of a case study which he voluntarily wrote up.
Mike is now involved in the process of chartering the Ware Malcomb club. This prospective club needs only three more applications to charter. The club has already started conducting their own meetings, beginning on June 2nd, 2017.
In addition to his tireless work with his clubs, Division Director Cliff Shimizu noted several occasions where Mike assisted his Division. "Mike also jumped in as the Division G Chief Judge when past district governor, Colette Gardner, was no longer able to attend due to her medical condition. He also aided Division F as their area contest chief judge, and helped guide Jean Tanquary as a brand new chief judge for the division contests", Shimizu said.
At the end of the day, Mike left no stone unturned as he helped build a new club within his area while assisting his established clubs in achieving excellence.
Founders District congratulates Area G3 Director, Mike Sato, for his outstanding work with his area and for his inspiring leadership by example.
What a journey this has been. For me, and for you as well. Because my story is not unlike your story. When I walked in to my very first Toastmasters meeting, I never dreamed in a million years that I would be where I am today, that I would learn what I have learned today, or that I would feel what I feel today.
I will never forget my first year as an area governor. That is a special time for any Toastmaster, one that will change your life one way or another. It was there that I met some of the most influential people in my life. Many of you have shaped me over the years. Some old friends, some new friends, and some who I hope to become friends. Each one of you in some way, big or small, has had a lasting impact on me. Sometimes it was your helpful suggestion, or a nod of approval, your show of support. But most of the time it was your kind words of recognition, and many times it was in the way I saw you offer a kind word to someone else who needed it. And that’s made all the difference.
Think about all of the situations in your own journey that has helped to get you where you are today. Was it completing a communication manual? Or a leadership level? Was it winning a trophy at a speech contest? Or being a part of committee chair and challenging yourself to do something you didn’t think you were capable of doing? All of these things are nice, but I think what made the most difference in your life, and in mine, is the kind words of friends.
A kind word is the most powerful force in the universe. Kind words have not built our skyscrapers, or highways, or any booming metropolis. Kind words did not usher in the technology that built the internet, that saves lives, and makes the planet a better place to live. Kind words didn’t do any of that, but kind words built the men and women behind those great accomplishments. Kind words can move mountains.
This year, we intend to move mountains. Together we can accomplish more than we ever thought possible. I have the benefit of following some of the smartest and wisest people I know. Each of you in some way have contributed to building my character and into the person I am today. Years ago when I was an Area Governor I had no idea what I was doing. Today, I am confident – confident that I still have no idea what I’m doing but at least now I know I am surrounded by friends who won’t let me fail. I have learned a lot over the years from some very special people and past district governors. Starting with Celly Adamo, may God rest her soul, the only District Governor to have all 8 divisions presidents distinguished. Celly taught me to think big and to respect others beliefs and opinions. Her year was distinguished.
Alanda Dyer showed me how to laugh and be resilient under pressure. She also showed me how the power of kindness and kind words can make a big impact on so many people.
Bob Hudack taught me to find the hidden talents in people and direct others toward their natural talents.
Maira Pineda taught me to be extraordinary, to find your inner light and let it shine.
Ede, Distinguished District Governor, Ede, taught me how to inspire others and lead by example. Ede is a beacon of light for all of us to follow.
Distinguished District Governor Wes Hoover, saw the big picture but also cared about the experience of each and every member. Wes taught me to see the good in all people.
And Victoria Dotson, someone very special to me, near and dear to my heart. Victoria taught me not to be afraid to take chances. Leaders are not always right, but you can never go wrong if you follow your heart. And Victoria is all heart.
Calm and methodical, Harry Yan, the only Select Distinguished District Governor in Founder's District. Harry taught me to remain focused on the mission. Never lose focus.
Linda Ulrich, always there with a hug and a smile. Linda helped me to recognize the human element in all that we do.
Pan Kao, helped me to realize that we are not super human with super powers. We are just people all working together to make this world a better place to live.
And finally, Siri, a master delegator. How she does all the things she does so well I may never know, but I hope to learn someday.
I’m someone who embraces change. Change is exciting for some but scary for others. The world is always changing. Toastmasters is changing, and we must change as well or suffer. Experience has taught me how important it is to remain laser focused on our mission – to build new clubs and support all clubs to achieve excellence.
What then, about the members? Members are the foundation of our district. Without members we are nothing. Strategies and policies do nothing to instill any real change in the lives of the members. I alone can have little impact on the greater population of our district. But each of you can move mountains, by giving all members the same thing you have given me – a kind word. A kind word is all it takes and doesn’t cost a thing.
Be generous with your kind words. Give a kind word to every guest that walks into your club meeting. Give a kind word to every speaker in your club, to your club leaders, to your club’s future leaders. Give kind words to your Area Directors and Division Directors who work so hard for you. Give kind words to your mentors, your mentees, your friends, your colleagues, those you agree with and those you disagree with. Give kind words with reckless abandon and more importantly, be sincere. Change one person’s life with one kind word, and you’ve changed the world.
Founder’s District hasn’t been Presidents Distinguished in almost 40 years. It’s an ambitious goal, but hey, let’s think BIG! Let’s not be afraid to take chances. Let’s enhance our natural talents and be extraordinary. Stay focused on the mission and above all be generous with our kindness to others, give a hug, give a smile, give a kind word. And let’s be Presidents Distinguished Again!
It's has been an honor serving you, as your District Director this year. Collaborating with our leadership team to guide the 13th-largest-number-of-clubs-District in the world, has expanded my horizon in more ways than I have imagined.
Here is my story.
Leadership opportunities, from Club, to Area, to Division, to District, have transformed me from a quiet, private person to a confident leader of 4,500+ members.
I am grateful to Harry Yan, DTM, PDG, who “saw something in me,” and encouraged me to serve as Assistant Division Governor, LACE Co-Chair, and Public Relations Officer.
With each leadership “learning by doing” experience, and Harry Yan as my Advisor, my skills grew and I gained the confidence to campaign and win elections for District’s top three Directorships.
I have grown exponentially, developing fresh insights into District leadership dynamics. Diverse points of view enlightened my perspective. My Toastmaster passion has deepened.
This has been a historic year: we reformed ourselves into two districts, thanks to effective collaboration among 71 District Executive Committee members, assistant directors, chairs of various committees, and especially members.
As a leadership team we:
I am proud of our accomplishments for the long term strength of both Founder’s District and District 100, including:
Thank you, 2016-2017 District leaders, for your commitment, persistence, and friendship.
In addition to the names listed in the 2016-2017 District Directory, numerous experienced Toastmasters and esteemed Past District Governors, especially Lou Ann Frederick, DTM, PDG, have provided valuable contributions behind the scenes.
I owe much to my husband, Ranong, who chauffeured me around, moved heavy supplies to District events, and photo-documented memorable images.
New Leaders of Founder’s District and District 100, under directorship of Dan Cossack, DTM, and Karen Lucas, DTM, respectively—Congratulations, as you Expand Your Horizons!
Founder’s District members…
Share your success stories, as I do. You will:
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
With the end of yet another year for Toastmasters very close, there was a revelation that came out of the Founder's District spring Leadership and Communication Experience that is sure to set the tone for the new year that will begin in less than 3 weeks.
Speaking is a service.
It was the underlying message of the keynote address delivered by the Founder's District International Speech Competition Champion and professional speaker/ trainer, Daniel Midson-Short, in which the focus of his speech was about emerging speakers and the lessons he has learned on the path to becoming a professional speaker. To go along with a rather profound message of proclaiming that speaking is a service by which value is added to the members of an audience, Daniel offered up some great tips and suggestions for anyone that is serious about delivering more speeches out of Toastmasters as a professional speaker.
The first set of tips is encompassed in a simple number:
What that number symbolizes is the number of times to do the same speech once it's developed to eventually lead anybody to becoming a full-fledged professional speaker. After all, practice does make perfect and a lot of success in public speaking to infer from Daniel's advice is repetition, repetition, repetition. Or, as Daniel put it, consistency and volume leads to speaking greatness. That said, he went even deeper in his advice for emerging speakers regardless of where an individual speaker may be in their particular development by informing the audience of the 3 keys to going from 0 to giving the same speech 100 times. Those include:
He also mentioned that getting known for a particular topic, regardless of the subject matter, can lead to other people finding audiences for that speaker, which can really spark a career in public speaking when it comes to frequency of opportunities to deliver a speech.
As important as the aforementioned tips are, it's even more important to develop the right mindset to ensure success as an emerging professional speaker. Fortunately for the audience, Daniel had words of wisdom to offer by pointing out the mistakes often made by rookie professional speakers.
Of course, the most successful speakers are the ones that can engage the audience in a way that is humorous. That humor, according to Daniel, is brought out by simply being real and the speaker sharing real stories about himself or herself that will help the audience relate to the speaker that much better because it's amazing how much audience members and a public speaker may share in common in terms of those human moments that we all experience in this life.
At the end of the day, and in the part of Daniel's keynote address that offered up the most crucial advice he can offer to emerging professional speakers was advice centered around what matters most when it comes to giving a speech.
That's because what audience members take away from any professional speaker's talk that could add value to their lives is the whole point of effective public speaking. That's why a clear consistent message is very crucial to being successful in that endeavor.
All in all, those that joined Toastmasters to not only improve their public speaking skills, but to take those skills and parlay them into professional opportunities got more than their money's worth from one of the best in the business. Now, it's time for those emerging speakers to put the information into practice and make Founder's District proud as Daniel certainly has done with his contest speaking and now his professional speaking.
Then, the service that is public speaking will always shine through and Toastmasters along with Founder's District will continue to touch the lives of others in such an empowering and enriching way.
Celly F. Adamo, DTM, PDG 2006-07, passed away peacefully Wednesday morning, June7 at approximately 3:28 am at the Los Alamitos Medical Center. She was with her daughter, Christina, and her husband, Frank.
Celly was a member of Knotts Speak Easy since joining in 1993. She soon became an Area Governor, Division C Governor, and then District Secretary. Celly became District Governor in 2006-07 and achieved the first Distinguished District award in five years. She is the only District Governor in which all eight of her Division Governors achieved President Distinguished status.
In 2013 Celly had a bilateral mastectomy after which she went through six months of chemotherapy and radiation treatment. She was cancer free up to just over a year ago when the cancer returned in the bones and the liver. After additional chemotherapy treatment, it seemed that the liver cancer had vanished but the bone cancer remained. Throughout all this time, she was working for AT&T until about a month ago when she took a medical leave. Then within 3 to 4 days into her leave, her liver began to shutdown causing fluids to stay in her body. She was still quite functional, but much slower and sluggish than usual, and the fluid buildup was quite extensive. She looked like she was 10 months pregnant—with triplets. Finally after much urging from her husband and daughter, she went to the ER last Friday evening. She was sluggish, but relatively coherent and conversant. With the help of dear church friends from church, she arranged her own funeral arrangements (see below). Soon however, the toxins from the fluids began to affect the other organs. Tuesday morning she was taken to the ICU with extremely low blood pressure. Throughout the day, she was unresponsive while she had several relatives and classmates visit her. Celly passed comfortably and peacefully just before 3:30 am, June 7. Though cancer can be a painful and drawn out part of love, Celly was uncomfortable, but never in pain—at least not until the last few short hours.
Whoever may be interested, here is the schedule of viewing and services.
Friday, June 9 from 5 to 9 pm
2425 W. Lincoln Ave.
Saturday, June 10 at 8:30 am
St. Irenaeus Catholic Church
5201 Evergreen Avenue (at Grindlay St.)
Irvine, California, April 26, 2017 - We are pleased to announce that Daniel Midson-Short will represent Founder’s District at the Toastmasters International Speech Contest Semifinals. The competition takes place at the organization's 2017 International Convention, to be held August 23-26 in Vancouver, Canada.
Daniel, a member of Coastmasters in Dana Point, California, surpassed fierce competition to win over the judges with his speech, “Secret Power.” The speech touched on the themes of courage, passion and finding your talents in life. When it comes to connecting with an audience, he said, “is to share a story that is relatable and entertaining for them.”
Daniel will compete with 101 other District Toastmaster winners from around the world who advanced to the 2017 semifinal round after a six-month process of elimination through club, area, division and district speech competitions. Their five- to seven-minute speeches are judged on content, organization, delivery and style.
“Toastmasters speech contests are another way to build your confidence, sharpen your skills and speak to many different audiences,”says Daniel. “I am looking forward to once again competing on on the semi-final stage in Vancouver!” Daniel is a professional speaker and workshop trainer based in Orange County, California. He joined Toastmasters 5 years ago to become a better speaker and share his message with a wider community.
The Toastmasters International Speech Contest began in 1938 and is the world’s largest speech contest, involving 30,000 participants from 142 countries. It culminates with the popular World Championship of Public Speaking held annually at the organization’s International Convention.
For more information about the 2017 International Convention, please visit the following website:
About Toastmasters International Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit 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 information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit www.toastmasters.org. Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.
Have you heard the expression, “Power behind the throne?” Can you name someone who for several years has been a “Power behind Opportunity Drawing Fundraising?” Who do you know that is able to mount that project, and make it fun for everyone while doing it? The answer is: Charlotte Drake; she is an “Opportunity Drawing Master.” Charlotte volunteers her service at speech contests, setting up the gift tables, donating prizes, describing the prizes, and selling the drawing tickets that off-set contest food and venue costs. When the contests are over, it's Charlotte and her team who have earned solid returns to cover the expenses of producing speech contests.
Whatever the event, Charlotte is known for her generosity of service: she arrives earlier and stays later than anyone else. She sets up, cleans up, and brings abundant portions of hand cut fruit. She is chef of the gourmet crafted foods she brings.
Whether it is a formal meeting or a casual gathering, once she has arranged and set up the room with gifts, food, and learning materials, you will find Charlotte, at the back of the room looking out for the needs of every person, whether there are two or two-hundred people in the audience. Charlotte handles problems before others even notice them.
Charlotte has had more than her share of challenges. What sets her apart is her resilience, her sunshine attitude and the way she transforms obstacles into opportunities. She triumphs over tragedy. When confronted with the struggles of both of her parents dealing with Parkinson's Disease, Charlotte founded what became an international support group known as PEP: Parkinson's Educational Program. What started out in Newport Beach, at Charlotte's Park Newport residence, quickly grew from 4 to 300 people and proliferated into satellite support groups in every state in America, then expanded into 13 countries and five languages.
Charlotte provides the same “obstacles into opportunities” resourcefulness in Toastmasters. Her club, HarborLites, is all about supporting members’ needs. She sees HarborLites as a “safe harbor” where individuals grow and develop in the presence of mutual nurturing and mentoring.
In 2014/2015, Charlotte's personal excellence earned for her the DTM – Distinguished Toastmaster, which is the highest educational award. She was also recognized as Toastmaster of the Year and received the Area Governor of the Year Award. In 2015/2016 Charlotte was awarded 4 Triple Crown Awards, an unprecedented record.
For her indomitable spirit, on March 22, 2017, Charlotte Jayne Drake, DTM, was awarded Founder's District Spirit of Excellence Award, presented to her at the District Executive Committee meeting, by District Director Siri Payakapan, DTM.
Over 500 Toastmasters invaded Chapman University on January 14 to attend the Founder’s District Leadership & Communication Experience (LACE) seeking training for their club officer positions, new skills as well as wisdom and truth.
It was the wisdom and truth part that was well-addressed by 2005 World Champion of Public Speaking and the keynote speaker for the festivities, Lance Miller.
Lance’s keynote address proved to be inspiring, irreverent, informative, humorous and passionate. The one thing that stood out about Lance from the very beginning was how much he credits Toastmasters for the skills he has developed and uses to help individuals and companies all over the world.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where the more you work, the less is being accomplished? To maintain and increase our productivity level and expand our horizons, we need to take time to renew, refresh and rejuvenate. We freshen our perspectives and stimulate positive changes. We rejuvenate our relationships by networking and sharing ideas with others.
Two days prior to the Toastmasters International (TI) Convention, all the trios (District Director, Program Quality Director, and Club Growth Director) of 100+ districts from 13 regions (nearly 16,000 clubs in 142 countries) were vigorously trained, by TI staff and International leaders.
In January, midway through the term, all trios from each region travel to a specified Midyear Training location, to assess the progress and strategize the second half of the term, with another region.
It was bound to happen.
The members that attended the 2016 Founder’s District Fall Conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Cerritos, CA were bound to feel full and satisfied once the festivities were completed.
No, it wasn’t the chicken marsala, caesar salad, vegetable lasagna, steamed vegetables, bread, tiramisu, chocolate-covered strawberries and cookies that filled attendees up, although that didn’t hurt.
Rather, it was all the wonderful benefits of Toastmasters the attendees were reminded of and all the nuggets of wisdom they received from the keynote speaker of the day, Craig Valentine, as well as the Communication and Leadership award recipient, USC roboticist, Maja Mataric.
For his accomplishments and years of loyal, creative, and dedicated service to the Toastmasters program, Founder's District has recognized Michael Alexander with the “Spirit of Excellence” Award at the District Executive Council Meeting on August 31, 2016.
Michael is an accomplished and award winning public speaker, coach, and trainer. He is a member of ACTS Toastmasters Club #416 in Division B and is interested in becoming a professional public speaker.
Toastmasters is reaching out to all members and offering new Pathways to learn communication and leadership skills. This exciting new educational program has been under development since 2010 and will begin its rollout in 2017 with a gradual flow throughout the world.
The modernized learning experience is the result of years of planning and expertise by a large team, including the Board of Directors, World Headquarters staff, and member volunteers. The program’s wide-ranging benefits include:
In the afterglow of the 2016 Toastmasters International Convention, it was time for Founder’s District to come together for its first District Executive Committee or DEC meeting of the 2016-17 administrative year that took place at the Garden Grove Community Center and was attended by just under 100 members.
There would be the usual discussions of approving meeting minutes from prior DEC meetings as well as the annual budget. Having been part of district boards in the past, budget discussions usually are long and, at times, a little contentious.