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Three years ago, I was returning from an Alaskan cruise with Dr. Diana Dee, Dan Cossack, and Siri Payakapan. Siri, her husband Raynong, and I took the train from the cruise terminal station to the Vancouver airport. We took the time to talk about my leadership journey and what I planned on doing next. The truth was, at that point, I had just finished serving as Division Director and was looking forward to taking time off from leadership. The new job I had started wasn’t as flexible as promised, and I didn’t feel able to take on new and bigger challenges. But, life had different plans. Within the next few weeks, I had a call from Dan Cossack asking me to serve as Public Relations Manager. I agreed and my leadership journey took on a new trajectory.
Under Dan’s mentorship, I learned more about serving at the District level. I was encouraged by that trio of Dan Cossack, Diana Dee, and Lori Shapiro to run for Club Growth Director. That was the first leadership position I wanted on my own, that someone didn’t say “I see something in you” to push me into that role. My motivation pushed me to look for and land a new job that was in a more geographically central position in the District.
District leadership is a lot of work and it requires careful planning to maintain a balanced life. As our keynote and International President Deepak Menon stated, service is the core of our leadership. Being able to have a full time job, a family, personal fitness goals all while accomplishing personal Toastmasters goals within my clubs while also inspiring fellow District leaders to achieve their goals is a tricky business. But, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. I’m not super woman but I’ve learned along the way to let go of what doesn’t serve my goals and to fight for what does.
This is why I have chosen the unofficial unbranded theme for this year of ‘Follow Your Arrow.” This is the title of one of my all time favorite songs by Kacey Musgraves. In the song, she expresses that there is no way to make everyone happy and your best bet in life is to follow your arrow – don’t worry about what others think.
I want all of you to think about that phrase for just a moment. Now think about your own personal goals and think about what it takes to launch yourself on the trajectory to accomplish those goals. You have to keep your eye on the target in order to get there.
In terms of the District, what does “Follow Your Arrow” mean? It means that I will lead my team to accomplish the District Mission. The District Mission as delivered so beautifully by the Power couple the Steins - We Build New Clubs and Support all clubs in achieving excellence. Together with Program Quality Director David Hosmer and Club Growth Director Ken Spears, our Division and Area Directors, we will be working hard to build our membership within our existing clubs and provide value to our members through training and workshops. I am so excited for what this year has in store for us.
I know this year hasn’t turned out the way we had hoped. Its Summer and we should all be going on vacation, enjoying the OC Fair, and gathering with friends and family at the beach. Instead, we are masked and stuck at home. But, this is opening new opportunities for many of us to take on new challenges. Zoom has opened up the world to all us with video meetings from the comfort of our own homes. We will be able to attend the International Convention FOR FREE!! It is not the same as being there in person, but what an opportunity to make the world feel like a smaller place.
Follow Your Arrow – think about what that means for you and for the District. I look forward to chatting with you and hearing about your goals and everything you accomplish this year.
Again, I am honored to be serving as your District Director and if you had asked me on that train to the Vancouver airport if I would be here today in this role, I would have told you you were crazy. But the last three years in serving as your Public Relations Manager, Club Growth Director, and Program Quality Director has prepared me to lead the District to Smedley Distinguished!
Christine Brady, DTM
Founder's District Director, 2020-2021
"Follow Your Arrow"
Today we mourn the loss of a titan in Founder’s District, a model Toastmaster and friend to us all. Our dear and faithful friend to many has left our world a little less bright. Diane Beall, DTM (x3) passed over on Monday, July 13. Diane had been an active member since 1997 and served in every major leadership support role in the district. She never received any district recognition award for her service, but working mainly behind the scenes she inspired, mentored, and influenced many who have. Those who have ever been touched by her may look back and remember how substantial she has been to the daily machinations of the district, and the real and emotional support she provided.
Diane was a rock - so dependable, so knowledgeable, so willing to help, to educate and to encourage others. The definition of self-effacing, she shied away from front-line leadership roles in favor of seeing to it that others were supported in their attainment of leadership excellence. Diane impressed everyone with her knowledge of Toastmasters and never hesitated to help when asked. She was an exceptional wizard at planning LACE trainings and all things concerning finances. Diane trained many Division Treasurer Toastmasters, including decorated leaders such as Linda Ulrich, DTM, PDG. Diane never wanted to go far up the leadership ladder, but she made an impact by helping others on their journey.
Diane loved Toastmasters! She was a member of more than 20 clubs throughout her years in Toastmasters. As her leadership roles and personal life changed, so did her clubs. She earned three DTMs while in Toastmasters, serving in every club officer role, District Treasurer (twice), LACE Chair and trainer, Club Coach Chair, District Conference Chair, New Club Chair, District Chief Judge, District Parliamentarian, and a host of other district offices. She helped charter 10+ new clubs and served as Club Sponsor or Club Mentor for each of them. She was also Club Coach for several clubs. She excelled at being a facility coordinator, making sure every detail was tended to before an event. But where she loved to be the most was at a registration table at a district conference or at LACE training. She loved being around people and that seemed to be the place.
When there was a need, Diane was there to fill it, sometimes taking on more than seemed humanly possible. She had a matter-of-fact, no-nonsense way about her that let you know you were dealing with someone who truly had your best interest at heart, and would stick by you until you met your objective.
Working with her was a lot of fun – and you always walked away with learning something new. She never made you feel bad when you didn’t know something, and she was a great and patient teacher. Perhaps this was why many people loved working alongside her.
Diane was a true servant leader whether it was Toastmasters or any other organization she served. She was never afraid to roll up her sleeves and take on any task that came her way. She made it look effortless. Diane was always present, even when her health wasn’t up to par. She never expected or demanded the limelight. She just had the ability to make things happen.
She never micromanaged but was there for support and guidance when needed. Those she mentored developed very important skills to take into work and personal life, and we have Diane to thank for that. She made a positive and lasting effect on everyone she stepped up to teach and develop over the years.
Diane loved to travel with her friends, and was most considerate of her travel companions, such as pre-paying for the group to be picked up at the airport by limousine. She always made a point to spend private time with you and make sure you are having a good time.
Diane was a lot of fun to be around. Whether traveling on an Alaska cruise and getting extremely seasick, taking a road trip to Nevada, or just spending time at her home, you always had an opportunity to learn, grow, laugh, and have a great time. Diane was a great cook and host to so many of us that considered her house as our home away from home. You were always welcome, you were family!
Besides her big smile, Diane always wore bright colors, that cheered all of us. One knew exactly what to get her for gifts. She showed her appreciation by wearing her gifts at many Toastmasters events.
Diane was a member of Achievers club, during the era when Achievers met at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. She was also a former New Yorker “transplant” who became a devoted member of the Garden Grove community. Diane was devoted, constant, and steadfast to the home spun values of life. She treasured the friendliness of Main Street, in Downtown Garden Grove.
She was proud of the fact that she had lived in Southern California most of her life, all within a 15-mile radius. Her Jewish heritage gave Diane the foundation and strength that guided the course of her life. She and her husband, Bill, had Harley motorcycles; she finally sold hers last year. For many years, she belonged to the Southern California Cowboy Shooting club, winning many competitions and trophies throughout the years. Her earlier years with Bill were difficult and she found comfort and help through the AlAnon organization, where she served many leadership roles and mentored many during her years of service to that organization. She enjoyed making jewelry and no-sew quilts, which she gave away to family and friends. While working, she put herself through the University of Phoenix’s computer and business systems programs. After she graduated, Diane was sought after for her business/computer acumen in the development and utilization of complex business systems. She finally retired in January of this year.
One day, during a speech in a club meeting, Diane spun a descriptive tale about historic Downtown Garden Grove. Her speaking power titillated audience imagination. Her descriptions of Downtown Garden Grove conjured up images of Old Towne, Orange, Tustin and Santa Ana.
We were smitten! Her descriptions and story enticed us. Sensing our curiosity, following her speech, Diane invited us to experience the friendliness and charm of Main Street, Garden Grove. Most especially, she wanted to introduce us to her favorite breakfast spot, ‘Kaye’s Kitchen.’ She revealed hints about this famous restaurant nestled between other store fronts on the “Historic” stretch of Main Street. She was playful, keeping us guessing, despite our barrage of questions. She played the game of keeping us in suspense about the “jewel” of Garden Grove, at 12939 Main St. She had a fascinating mindset. She used her mind to challenge herself as well as others!
We arrived at Historic Main Street. It met all our expectations and more! Despite the mid-morning rush, we were able to choose from inside and outside seating. We chose inside. The old-fashioned high ceilings reminded us of Watsons Drug Store, just off the City of Orange Circle. It felt like being back in the 1950’s. The food and service were great. Warm greetings and deference surrounded us. Everyone knew Diane. Fondness on the part of the staff made you want to keep coming back, which is why everyone, and most especially Diane, kept coming back.
Diane loved bears and boxers! Several of her boxers were rescues, but she loved them like they were her children. The two most recent were Rusty, that passed a few years ago, and her beloved Rocky. She loved traveling and anything outdoors, except heat and humidity. Her home was filled with paintings of outdoor scenes and statues of wildlife and pictures she had taken over the years; some won awards at her Lensmasters Toastmaster meetings. If you were invited to her home, you would see that the main focus of her décor was bears – hence, “Bear” for her nickname.
Diane’s home was always open. She loved to entertain and cook for her guests. And, you better come hungry because she was a great cook and always offered lots of food. Fruit trees – she had apples, pluots (cross between plums and apricots), lemons, oranges, and a couple of others. Diane welcomed anyone to bring a bag, fill it, and take it home to eat or share. She was forever making and giving away jellies and jams. Many memorable Toastmaster meetings were held in her home over the past 30+ years, planning strategies, sharing ideas, friendship, fun, and food.
Diane loved her renovated backyard (it was peaceful, especially with the fountain bubbling) and her many fruit trees. She knew what fruits people liked and every year, we would get the call to bring our bags because the Fuyu persimmons and blood oranges were ripe. We would make more than one trip just to help her get rid of them – what were friends for?
Diane’s loyalty knew no bounds, whether it was to Bill her husband, who was housebound for many years, before he died, last year, or her two huge, and meticulously cared for dogs. At Bill’s memorial, we witnessed Diane conversing with her dogs and they responded with vocalizations and body language. Diane never allowed her dogs to miss their daily walks. We often heard her tell us she could not stay at an event because she had a walking date with her dogs.
Making memories with past District Governors, Alanda Dyer, DTM and Victoria Dotson, DTM, the three went on a “Ring of Fire” road trip of some of the volcanos in the Pacific Northwest. Diane knew her volcanos! There was such a joy on her face as she regaled everyone with stories to go with each volcano. The whole sightseeing adventure kept us laughing.
Toastmasters received the same loving commitment. Diane stood up under pressure! Whether it was fulfilling club roles or serving in District leadership. As a public speaker, Diane was clear, and able to conjure in the mind’s eye how the story looked and sounded. She was brilliant, highly competent, and reliable. She was able to take things calmly as a defensive wall one could count on. Diane worked for large corporations, handling the kind of jobs requiring detailed analysis, yet that did not stop her from rising to every occasion when Founder’s District had a need. We refer to Diane as a Titan. It fits her perfectly. She was strong, powerful and stoical, an enormous contributor to Founder’s District who will never be replaced.
An inspiration to all and a dear and faithful friend to many has left our world a little less bright. But our lives are so much better because she was part of them. Life was not always kind to Diane, but she always came out the other side of each trial with hope for a better tomorrow. Now she’s gone to see that the facility is ready for us when we cross over and I’m sure she’ll be sitting right inside ready to check off our names as we arrive.
So, to our friend, Diane, thanks for all the memories and experiences we’ve had. You taught us much, you made us laugh, then we cried because we have lost someone very special.
Contributions to this article by Linda Ulrich, DTM, PDG, Alanda Dyer, DTM, PDG, Frannie Stein, DTM, Siri Payakapan, DTM, PDD, Lorrie Briscoe, DTM, Richard Daugherty, DTM, Mary Berg, DTM, and Daniel Cossack, DTM, PDD.
What a wild time this is. The Coronavirus situation has been escalating the past few weeks. I have been in touch with Toastmasters International, and our leadership team to discuss what the District should do for our upcoming contests and events. The Governor, Gavin Newsom, called for a moratorium on large gatherings over 250 attendees. None of our scheduled events will be that large.
We have decided to proceed as scheduled – for Area, Division and District events (which you can find on the district calendar at foundersdistrict.org/contests).
However, there are precautions that all of us need to follow:
The District is discussing ways we can live stream the contests for those who need to stay home, to watch the contests (we have to prepare a plan and get the technology in place). We are also building a contingency plan for the District events, should we have to eventually cancel the live events.
The District Leadership team values our members and wants to provide safe and interactive events, without risking your health. Please use your best judgement when deciding whether to attend the live events. We are continuing to monitor the directives of our Toastmasters International leaders, and our government officials.
We will continue to keep you informed if the situation should change.
Bottom line is that we will be holding our events as scheduled, until further notice.
Thank you valued members. Be safe out there!
Hello fellow Founder’s District Toastmasters!
July 1st, 2019 is the beginning of the 2019-2020 Toastmasters Year. It’s time to celebrate our successes and plan for our future. We finished strong, with 73 of 138 clubs distinguished. We had 15 Distinguished, 9 Select Distinguished and 49 President’s Distinguished. WOW that’s over 50% of our clubs. Congratulations to all of you.
This year, through the Magic of Collaboration, we will focus on building strong new clubs, supporting our 138 existing clubs by offering a lot of training opportunities for the new club officers. Pathways adoption by clubs and members will be a key focus. This is the last year that those working through the legacy manual system will be recognized for completion of those education awards. If you want a DTM, then you must complete all requirements by June 30, 2020. We want to provide support for clubs that want to strengthen their membership and grow their clubs. Stay tuned for more information on new and exciting incentives and recognition programs.Our goal will be to bring Founder’s District to Smedley Distinguished by June 30, 2020. Let’s work together as a district TEAM to make that happen.
Today is Founder’s District’s 75th Anniversary! Founder’s spun off from District 1 on July 1, 1944. We will be celebrating on Sept 7th, 2019, in Irvine. Save the date!
Fierce, yet friendly competition in the District contests showcased talented Founder’s District Toastmasters representing the best in all seven divisions. Their impromptu and prepared speeches took the audience on an emotional ride; laughter, tears, heartbreak and inspiration.
The district speech contest was held on May the 4th, 2019 at the Business Expo Center in Anaheim, California. The conference theme was "Harness the Force".
Congratulations to Founder’s District International Speech contest winners! Finishing in first place was 5 time winner, Daniel Midson-Short, from Coastmasters Toastmasters Club in Division G with his speech titled "Not My Problem." The second place trophy goes to David Moore with his speech "Impossible". David is from B Braun Toastmaster Club in Divison D. Cliff Shimizu representing MeridianMasters in Divison B with his speech "Don't Do It To Win" took third place.
Daniel Midson-Short advances to the region quarterfinal round of the contest, vying for one of 14 spots in the semifinals, to be held at the Toastmasters International Convention Thursday, Aug. 22 in Denver, Colo. From there, six contestants will advance to the World Championship of Public Speaking,® which take place at the convention Saturday, Aug. 24.
The seven divisions of Founder's District also competed in the Table Topics competition. The first place title goes to Diane Baughman of Tools 2 Lead Toastmasters Club in Division A. The second place trophy goes to Stephanie Courtillier of Rancho Speech Masters Toastmasters Club in Division G. Steve Babyak from Newport Center Toastmasters Club in Divison E took the third place trophy.