Saturday, 09 February 2019 03:49

A Moment In History

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Anniversary Icon

Founder's District celebrates 75 years of producing leaders and enriching the lives of members from around the world. It all started in Orange County, California on July 1, 1944. As the birthplace of Toastmasters, Founder's District is the first of nearly 130 districts founded across 143 countries worldwide.

In 2019, Founder's District serves as the creative catalyst, preparing members for their future with seven divisions, supporting 135 clubs, and serving over 2500 members across Orange and Los Angeles County. Toastmasters' long-term success and sustainability reflects the effectiveness of our hands-on, experiential learning as envisioned by Dr. Ralph Smedley, "Toastmasters is a laboratory where members experiment with words, ideas, voice inflection, body language and emotional connections."

With a collaborative and communicative mindset, our leaders and members continue to engage, expand and evolve Toastmasters into an inclusive and interconnected network of members infused with creativity and positivity. Toastmasters is a human connection ecosystem that enables people from different cultures, backgrounds and professions to converge weekly or bi-monthly in a fun, friendly and supportive atmosphere. A club meeting or district event is where members can "turn fear into opportunity" and "strangers turn into friends". With opportunities to lead and collaborate throughout the organization, members gain as much energy as they exert. Members choose to co-create with each other or co-develop a special project to elevate themselves, the club, and/or the organization. As a result, everyone rises together.

Looking ahead, John Kotter, author of Leading Change states, "The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades." The rapid rate of change can be intimidating for any one person. Toastmasters can ease the rapid transformation pressures by providing a relaxing and fun environment in which members can experience:
1) personal transformation 2) professional development and 3) social skills to improve themselves and ultimately, 4) to be of service others.

As a member since 2016, I have observed the transformational powers of the Toastmasters process. I've grown first from the inside, and Toastmasters has left an indelible mark in my life. Over the next few months, I will interview and share stories from visionary leaders and members within and outside of our district to cast a net of ideas, thoughts and actions with you. By sharing our stories, we can uplift, inspire and become the creative catalyst for others. Happy 75th Anniversary, Founder's District!

Contributed by: Gisele Nguyen, President
Sensational Salesmen Toastmaster, Club 417

Sunday, 18 November 2018 16:37

TEDx vs. World Champion of Public Speaking

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Just like there are different genres of dance, like jazz, ballet or hip hop, there are different genres of speeches. There are fun and heartfelt wedding toasts, inspiring 45 minute keynotes, persuasive campaign speeches and countless others.

Each speech genre has a different tone depending on the audience, content and performance. I've given speeches to audiences of various sizes, cultures and ages. I remember all of them, but there are 2 that stand out to me the most: the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking and TEDx.

In 2016, I surpassed 35,000 contestants to place 3rd place in the World Championship of Public Speaking. Since then, I have been invited to speak all around the world including, India, 4 countries in the Middle East, China and Russia.

Which led to an invitation to TEDx on January 2018.

The two genres are drastically different and I had to adjust my speaking style and writing in each.

Here is a breakdown of the main differences.


Audience: U.S. The TEDx was set in Culver City, CA. An audience of about 120 that consisted of mostly native English speakers. They shared my culture and humor and I didn't have to adjust my jargon to be understood.

Content: Research based. Credibility should be established through research. Although, I included a personal story to emphasize my pointe, the subject should be rooted in solid arguments.

Structure: Simple. I used an easy to follow structure that had 3 examples to support my argument.

Humor: Not essential but appreciated. There are a few sprinkled here and there but I didn't bury the content under humor.

Type: Inspirational/Educational. The audience should walk away with a new piece of knowledge.

Performance Style: Casual. Much more conversational and intimate.

World Championship of Public Speaking:

Audience: International. There are about 2,000 members in the audience from 142 countries. I had to focus on a common human experience (friendship, appreciation, work ethic etc) that speaks across all cultures.

Content: Story based. I used stories from my own life to support a single message.

Structure: Artistic. I used many literary tools like foreshadowing, call backs and metaphors in my speech. At this level of competition, there must be some technical skills that go beyond just a message.

Humor: Frequent and well timed. Humor is an unwritten requirement in a Championship speech. I averaged at about 7 laughs per minute.

Type: Entertaining/Inspirational. The audience should walk away uplifted and inspired.

Performance Style: Dramatic. Facial expressions, acted out dialogue and staged choreography. Championship speeches have evolved into an almost theatrical performance.

Although there are many types of speeches, if you can master one, you can master them all. Just like dancing, you can learn all the tools, but the most important part is to actually practice them.

And that is exactly why Toastmasters is so valuable.

Josephine Lee is an industry leading entrepreneur and an award winning public speaker.

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At your service,
Josephine Lee

The Pointe Shop
200 E. 3rd Street
Santa Ana CA 92701




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Sunday, 29 April 2018 14:11

Harry Yan Receives Gene Beckwith Award

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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.

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