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.









It’s time to hold club officer elections and submit your club officer lists!

For all clubs with semi-annual officer terms, new club officer lists need to be submitted by December 31. Clubs who submit on time receive credit towards their Distinguished Club Program.

You want to be sure to submit club officer lists for the “future term” otherwise you may be updating the current term list.

You can use the instruction link below to submit your list through using “Club Central.”

 Download Instructions



Thursday, 14 September 2017 16:12


Written by

Chris Gregory2As Public Relations Manager for Founder’s District I have a motto which I wish all to follow:

Make History, Not Lose History

The reason I have this motto is that I feel that there have been opportunities that we’ve missed to celebrate over the last few years. We’ve missed out on the opportunity to document, photograph and write articles on certain special anniversaries of either clubs or club members.

In an effort to curb that, I have implemented a few changes to the Public Relations Team, which include recruiting Christine Brady as the Talent Scout and David Moore as the Special Events and Anniversaries Scout.

Both are asked to scout throughout the district and through our available data to “go where no person has gone before” in order to find pertinent information and share it with the right people who can share it with the appropriate Toastmasters world.

Their information will be passed both to the Division Directors and to either FDTV for talent or Social Media for Special Events. We need your input to help make this happen. If you have information for Talent or Events, please give to Christine for Talent or David for anniversaries or events.

I encourage more participation across the board in the Public Relations arena both from the Public Relations Team and from the Toastmaster members. All Public Relations members are also included in this offer which includes the Division PRM’s plus their teams. Also encouraged to participate is any individual member who either brings an outstanding article or brings light on something that is happening within Founder’s District. Each month, I will be looking for those whom I believe have gone above and beyond their Toastmaster expectations and I will be rewarding 2 members a $25 Toastmaster gift certificate.

The 2 individuals I’ve chosen to recognize under that program initially include:

Avis French, who even while ailing, remained liaison between Founder’s District and the local community. Avis continually works to make sure we have opportunities to serve as local judges for local school and community speech events. These events weigh heavily on Toastmasters participating as they see us working to our core values of integrity, respect, service, excellence. Avis is also looking to our Toastmasters community for someone who may want to help out and possibly transition through the next few years. Thank you, Avis.

Steve Itzkowitz, who worked up until the final hours before being admitted to the hospital for his surgery. Steve is a real trooper and is always the first in line to help make it happen. After the awards night, Steve took on doing a lot of the articles. I love him for all he does and now need him to concentrate more on delegating. Thanks for all your work, Steve.

Here are a few other mentions of individuals that I really appreciate stepping up to the plate:

   Lawrence Crandall, who is always there when you need him and then some

   Jeff Lee, for stepping up when Steve was ailing given how much we had to cover.

   David Shostak, the man of the hour, who is setting the way as an example for everyone.

   Mike O’Neil, who has been my right hand man in the Tech Team.

   George Day, who has been doing amazing programs and software in the background that have made a big difference. We need you back.

I could go on but let’s save some for next month. 

Tuesday, 12 September 2017 01:15

2017 Division Director of the Year - Cliff Shimizu

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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...

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