District 3 Toastmasters:  Where Arizona's Leaders Are Made

2012-2013 Member Spotlight Archive

Marcia Buzzella, ACB, ALB Get acquainted with...

Marcia Buzzella, ACB, ALB

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

AZ Motormouths chartered in June 2010 and I joined in August.  Why wasn’t I a charter member? I used the “I give presentations all the time” excuse and ignored the application on my desk.  Then I attended a meeting and knew that I could help and learn.  I dove in and it’s been great!

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

Motormouths and SLEEK.  Motormouths is a closed corporate club and in that environment I am able to mentor others as well as get feedback on my own presentations.  I joined SLEEK as I needed an advanced club to help me continue to learn and find new content and ideas to bring to my home club.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

My biggest accomplishment to date was delivering the Sunday morning Leadership Breakfast educational session at our Spring Conference.  Most people don’t know that I went from that presentation, home and then to the urgent care.  I was off work for a week.  My Toastmasters training had me preparing in advance, eating and sleeping with my thoughts and I was able to deliver them successfully (or at least that is what I am told as the morning is a bit hazy!)

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

Toastmasters has afforded me an opportunity to meet members of the Phoenix Valley whom I would never have connected with otherwise.  I am a bit of an introvert and meeting people isn’t as easy for me as it apparently looks.  I love the challenges that Toastmasters provides and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I plan to complete my ACS, 3rd & 4th CLs and 2nd CC in 2013.  I’ll have more plans for 2014 but it’s too early to comment on those.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

I have to give credit where credit is due on this one … My partner in crime, Patti Boyce, has kept me on my toes in Toastmasters.  We keep each other on track and yes I think there’s some healthy competition going on there too.  She was the first Motormouth to venture outside the club, our first Area Governor and now our first DTM.  She’s a terrific role model and I am honored to be able to work with her day-in and day-out.  (Thanks Patti!)


David Douglas, DTMGet acquainted with...

David Douglas, DTM

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I enjoy creative writing, so when I heard about Toastmaters on a cable TV show I thought it sounded like fun. I joined November 1997 when the company I was working for started a club. I still have every speech I've given on my computer. And I'm still having fun.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

My home club is Maverick Toastmasters Club, Mesa, Arizona. This is a new, vibrant club started by my daughter. I'm also a member of Windward Winners Toastmasters Club, Kailua, Hawaii, out of nostalgia as I was president of the club when I lived in Hawaii.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

I taught conversational English for a year at Tianjin (China) University. I used a Toastmaster-like format for my classes, assigning the students speaking projects. To teach them about evaluations, I evaluated the first few speakers before assigning individual evaluators for each speaker. I have kept in touch with several of my students since then by e-mail. One student recorded a speech for me saying her first year of university she ranked at the very bottom of her class. She was so discouraged when she returned to school that fall that she was thinking of dropping out and going back home. However, my evaluations of her speeches were so encouraging that she decided to continue. She graduated, went on to teach in a community college, and is now chief buyer for an American company with manufacturing plants in China. My evaluations changed this young lady's life, and Toastmasters taught me how to do that.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

I began working for Arizona's Office of Child Care Licensing as a data analyst. I started producing a number of reports the office had not had before. Although I intended them to help the inspectors plan their schedule, the staff who inspected day care centers and care homes began to think of them as criticisms that they weren't doing a good job. While giving a speech on effective evaluations to my Toastmasters club I mentioned that a good evaluator only gives one or two suggestions for improvement so the speaker is not overwhelmed. I realized I was overwhelming the staff in my job. I started introducing only one or two reports at a time, and when those were accepted I'd introduce a couple more. When I retired I asked the staff which of the 27 reports I was producing they wanted to continue; they wanted 25 of them. I credit that to my Toastmasters experience.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I want to continue working toward my second Advanced Communicator Bronze and Advanced Leader Bronze awards.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Willie Jones, a World Champion of Public Speaking.


Mil Pettis, DTMIn memoriam...

Mil Pettis, DTM
(The text below has been altered from its original form. Click here for full original text.)

Mildred Kathleen Guinn Poer Pettis, 86, of Phoenix Arizona passed on March 14, 2013. She was the steadfast rock of our family. Mil's focus in life was learning and teaching. In all aspects of life, Mildred was the consummate educator. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Science in Economics from ASU Business College. She became a teacher and taught at Dysart High School, Paradise Valley High School, North Canyon High School and Glendale Community College. As one of her students once remarked, "I like you, Ms. Pettis, but you taught me more economics than I wanted to learn." Mil contributed her time to further education by being an active officer and member of various educational organizations. Mil was an enthusiastic genealogist, avid reader, reverent hiker and a would-be hacker on the greens. Mil's stroke in 1999, resulted in Aphasia. To improve her communication, Mil joined Unity Speakers Club for Toastmasters International. On July 24, 2007 at the age of 80 Mil earned a Distinguished Toastmaster Award. Mil worked very diligently for this award and was proud of her accomplishment. Mil touched many lives and she will be deeply missed.

Memories and Messages from District 3 Toastmasters

Tim Smith
Have you ever had the feeling that someone is staring at the back of your head? I did at one of my first Toastmasters meetings. I turned around and for a split-second saw no one there but then I looked down and was greeted with the biggest smile. 'Hi, I'm Mil Pettis! Tell me about yourself.' I spoke to her for a quite a while until she said in a loud voice, 'I have no idea what you're talking about but I like you.' I was slightly perplexed until she explained that she was going deaf. I will always remember Mil and I will always remember Mil's smile!

David Hodesh
I met Mil about 10 years ago at a conference at metrocenter she talked me into joining unity where I got to know Mil well she was the VP of Ed. When I was president of Unity, we gave her the nick name "bull dog" which she wore proudly. We worked together great she was more than eager to share her opinion both at the meeting or over the phone during the day, at night, or on weekends. She was a Toastmaster 24/7 and her passion could not be matched. I will never ever forget her.

Sallie Diebolt
Mil was an inspiration. She would sometimes admit that she didn’t understand something, but would learn it or figure it out. I appreciated the reminder that we can all continue to learn and there is no harm in admitting we need help sometimes. If I am lucky enough to live to her age, I hope to be vibrant and inspirational like her.

Naomi Thomas
Mil had the unique talent of making each and every one of us feel special.  For the year and a half that Mil mentored me, I felt as if I were her only project; that I was her absolute favorite person in Toastmasters.  At the special meeting we had at Unity to honor Mil, we all learned that Mil had that same effect on more people than we could count.  Mil encouraged us all and helped us to grow.  She topped it all off by giving her last speech as one that will likely save lives.  What an amazing example!

Margie Crider
Mil was like the energizer bunny, she never slowed down. She was an inspiration to everyone. She was involved in every aspect of Toastmasters, but still managed to be very active in several clubs. When she struggled for a word that would not come to her she didn't get upset or stumble, she would just ask the audience for the word. She was a wonderful example of what Toastmasters can do for everyone. She was also a great friend to all of us.

Susan Ball
Mil and I first met when we were Area Directors in Cholla 6 years ago.  Even though Mil was 16 years older than I, we were the only senior citizens on the team.  We discovered that we attended the same church, lived fairly close to each other, and were both retired high school teachers.  We drove to DEC meetings, Division meetings, and contests together and discovered we had the same political convictions and the same ideas about Toastmasters and District 3.  Mil and I had great conversations about saving the world and Toastmasters.   One night when we were driving somewhere, something about baby bunnies came up – I don’t remember how. 

Mil Pettis, DTMMil said, “It’s easy to kill baby bunnies.” 
I said, in shock, “Why would you kill baby bunnies?”
“Because they’re stupid,” Mil responded.
“But why would you want to kill baby bunnies?” I asked.
“For food, “ Mil said.

When Mil was young, she had to forage for food because the family was so poor. 
Mil had so many stories about her life and Arizona about which I wish I could have heard more.  I miss her.

Julia Sayre
I remember first getting to know Mil Pettis after Susan Ball invited me to visit Walkin' & Talkin' Toastmasters.  I did join the club and Mil was a real spirit in that club, serving as VP-PR and drawing people from all over.  She engineered getting the club to charter strength.  Mil always had a way of convincing people to attend and join her clubs!

The minute she heard I was doing an HPL, Mil immedicately volunteered to serve on my guidance committee.  She gave me such valuable advice on my HPL. Because of Mil, I feel that I truly gained a great deal of understanding both how to lead a team and how to ensure an HPL is properly completed.

Mil later joined Think Tank Toastmasters.  When it came to election time, she pretty much insisted that I run for President -- calling and telling me that she personally needed me to be the president because she and I communicated so well.  I'd already served two officer terms with Think Tank and was ready to sit back and watch others serve. However, due to Mil's very convincing ways, I ran and was elected to my current term.

Mil was a darling friend who took everything life gave her head on.  When I visited her after her diagnosis, she expressed that she was very unhappy to be told she had a fast-paced terminal illness.  Then she told me, "Julie, you know how I am. When I have a job to do, I want to do it right and get it done.  Looks like God gave me the job to die, so I'll do my best to handle it right."

Vasanti Deshpande
I have so many memories of Mil; it's hard to name just one, but I am going to write about her last attendance at Think Tank Toastmasters. I happened to sit on her left for dinner. Her son in law JR sat on her right. I got worried when she said that she could not eat anything, not even strawberries, because her blood sugar would go up. She looked frail, but she was the general evaluator that evening, and her voice was strong and her mind was alert. Listening to her that night, no one would have suspected that she was seriously ill and that it was her last meeting at Think Tank.

Talking about the end often takes the mind to the beginning. I remember the evening I first met Mil. There was a club event at (I think) Steve Broe's home during the 2004-2005 Toastmaster year. I heard about her stroke and how she relearned to speak. She was already ATM Bronze, and she wanted to become a DTM at age 80, which she accomplished in the next few years. Despite her difficulties she was very appreciative of what she had. She was a very special lady and I miss her.


Get acquainted with...

Sabrina Hiltunen, ACS, ALBSabrina Hiltunen, ACS, ALB

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined the organization as a charter member of Word Warrior Toastmasters in the summer of 2009.  I received email marketing blasts about Toastmasters at University of Phoenix and was always intrigued but the meetings were held in a different building.  Connie Weiss and Papago Toastmasters were instrumental in starting our Word Warrior chapter and I am glad they did!  I joined Toastmasters to relieve nervousness during interviews and to become a clearer, more concise speaker.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

I am currently a member of three clubs and wish I had more time to be members of others!  I have consistently been an active participant of Word Warrior Toastmasters since we started, serving as an Executive Officer in my eight consecutive term.  Word Warrior Toastmasters are professional, energetic, and inspirational, dedicated to our members and our club.  We earned the esteemed title of President’s Distinguished in our first two years a club and are looking forward to becoming a Legacy Club with our third year as President’s Distinguished!

My Rio Area Governor team member, Theresa Jepsen, and I formed a sister club to Word Warrior Toastmasters at the University of Phoenix’s Main campus, Fountainhead.  Our goal is to charter April 1st and we have worked consistently and tirelessly to do so and overcome corporate changes but are an enthusiastic club with amazing leaders and speakers.  Chartering this club will be my greatest accomplishment in Toastmasters.

As district leaders, we meet amazing Toastmasters outside of our club and I was lucky to serve Down to Earth Toastmasters during my term as the 2011-2012 Rio 4 Area Governor.  I made a lot of friends in that club and really connected with them.  As a result, I couldn’t say goodbye after so joined as a member!  Down to Earth has a strong history within District 3 and leaders.  As a community club, it is different than my two corporate clubs so I appreciate the social and more relaxed atmosphere the club has.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

Overcoming obstacles of chartering a new club.  It has been tiring at times and frustrating through corporate changes but I am very proud of the new Toastmasters and seeing their enthusiasm, excitement, and growth.  We have created a club culture that is supportive, dynamic, and fun, that I am very proud of.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

Toastmasters has helped me in every area of my life but the ones I want to recognize are my overall happiness and friendships.  District 3 has given me a sense of community that I was longing for when I moved to Phoenix.  I have made so many friends in my clubs and district that I really cherish.  Toastmasters are encouraging and supportive and those are the type of people we really need in our lives!  Toastmasters has also built my confidence to where I can express myself without fear of criticism – if I want to break out in dance moves, I don’t care if anyone is watching because I am having fun! *I do this often, as many friends can attest* 

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I look forward to becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster!

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Toastmasters is about relationships and there are many people who have played a significant role in my path to become a Distinguished Toastmaster.  Connie Weiss helped start Word Warrior Toastmasters and we worked closely together on the Rio team while I was an Area Governor.  My Division Governor, Ann Prettyman, mentored, supported, and challenged me in so many ways.  Sarah Martinelli believed in my potential by nominated me as Word Warrior President and Theresa Jepsen and I worked very closely and well together at Word Warriors, Fountainhead, and as Area Directors.  Caylee Rogers is an amazing asset to Word Warrior Toastmasters and teachers our members and challenges me to improve my speaking…this is just like an awards speech, I know I am forgetting someone!!...


Get acquainted with...

Prince Leftridge, II, DTMPrince Leftridge, II, DTM

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters in February of 2009 with my wife at University of Phoenix.  However, this is not my first exposure to Toastmasters.  That was in 1990 when I was an intern for State Farm Insurance.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

Elite – The overall positive and fun vibe that the club has is very unique.
Blue – Where I can let my hair (what little I do have) down
NAAAP – Helping their mentor guide them
Built to Lead – I supported Martha when she worked with Angela to start this club and helped them out in various ways.
Epicurean – I am a bit of a foodie, as evidenced by my waistline, and like finding those hidden gems where good food and fun can be found.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

I would say getting my DTM in 3 years.  Sure, it was a LOT of time and work, but they say that anything worth having is never easy.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

People in Information Technology have a reputation for having abysmal communication skills.  However, the culture has changed where soft skills are taking a front seat.  Toastmasters has helped me refine my communication and interpersonal skills.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

Working on DTM #2 but may not be as aggressive.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Honestly, there’s a long list of people who have influenced me.  Besides Martha, those who have helped range from my first mentor (Sally Goodwin) to people like Jeff Haebig, Dominick Clark, Audrey Johnson, Liz Bebo, Trish Blackwelder, Carol Polcyn, and so many others  that have influenced me that it would actually take down the web server that this page is hosted on.


Get acquainted with...

Scott Holly, ACB, ALBScott Holly, ACB, ALB

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

In the late 80s I heard about Toastmasters from a work friend.  I was in college and working; I didn’t need anything else to take more of my time.  In 2009, for some reason “Toastmasters” popped into my mind, out of the blue for no reason.  Maybe a couple weeks after that I heard that a family friend was in a Toastmasters club.  Perhaps two weeks after that I received an e-mail about starting a new Toastmasters club at work.  The timing was too perfect, and I was in.  I joined with a bent toward leadership.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

I am currently a member of Desert Gold Toastmasters, which is a closed club for the employees of TSYS Acquiring Solutions in Tempe, Arizona.  I was the charter Vice President Membership and have also served as President.  There is so much that is special about this club.  One of the things I will point out, because two leaders whom I respect very much have said that Desert Gold puts on the absolute best election meetings.  We have also had a murder mystery and a mock trial to drum up membership.  The club was distinguished in its first year, and the two years since it has been President’s Distinguished.  As a District Officer, I visited many other clubs, and I can say that Desert Gold is definitely a quality club.

The other club of which I’m a member is East Toast of the Town.  I am one of the club’s mentors.  This club was the first new club chartered in the current 2012-2013 Toastmasters year in District 3.  The club is doing quite well, so far.  Megan Cooper is a dedicated President and is doing all she can to have good quality meetings.  The members are doing an excellent job stepping up to take on roles and to enthusiastically give speeches.  This club is mostly made up of employees of Desert Schools Credit Union on the east side of the Valley, but it is an open club, and other people outside the credit union have joined since the club chartered.

I have belonged to two other clubs in the past: Graceful Communicators in Tempe and S.L.E.E.K., which is an advanced club on the west side of the Valley.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

This question is so hard to answer, because there are so many great things of which I have been a part.  For those people who have taken on the challenge of Area Governor, you know that this is a special calling.  It really showed me that I can accomplish great things with the help of willing, enthusiastic people.  Area Directors learn that enlisting the support of others is paramount to accomplishing great things, and that they can transform a vision into reality through patient and motivating leadership.  My Area was Select Distinguished, but that really had little to do we me, and much more to do with the dedicated members of the clubs I supported.  While there is so much more that I have been a part of in Toastmasters that deserves mention, Area Governor stands out as my greatest growth in Toastmasters.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

I have taken on greater leadership roles at work.  I have been a professional programmer for more than two decades, but in more recent years, I have become more of a visionary and a system architect.  I am placing more emphasis on coming up with larger scale solutions to greater problems, and working with larger groups of people to implement the solutions.  Some of this work involves giving presentations and running meetings, and Toastmasters has made a huge difference here.

Also, I feel much more at ease mixing with people than before Toastmasters.  I am more confident when I speak.  I was just at the inaugural Formula One Grand Prix race at the newly constructed Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas, and I was interviewed on the news.  I was not nervous, and just had fun with it.  The interview can be seen here in the third segment.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

Advanced Leader Silver, Advanced Communicator Silver, Competent Communicator, Competent Leader.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Wow!  That question is tough to answer.  There have been so many people who have influenced me in Toastmasters, and some may have had more influence in the beginning and some later.  Here are some stand-outs (and somewhat chronologically):  Janet Nash, Terry Lee, Paul Brunaforte, Emi Bauer, Carol Polcyn, Barbara Schumacher, Deanna Dannison, Marc Dratch, Kristin Grammando, Marcia Roberts, Rose Beeson, Darren LaCroix, Hallie Adams, Tim Swearingen, Sara Bonfig, Vicki Picciuolo, Robert Hale, Bettie Covington.  There really are a lot more to mention here, it’s the beautiful thing about this organization: there are so many people who positively influence each other, that it’s impossible to list them all.  I also want to say that there are many people from the clubs I supported as Area Governor who have had a tremendous impact on my journey, and some I expect to see in District Leadership soon.


Get acquainted with...

Celia Messer, ACS, CLCelia Messer, ACS, CL

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters early in the year 2006. I felt the need to increase my vocabulary and strengthen my impromptu response.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

I am currently a member of Mesa Red Tape Toastmasters Club #5597. This club has all the most current technology and up to date facility a club could ask for. The members are there to support and help each other to improve communication and leadership skills. I first joined Chasemasters Club (a closed club) and was a member there from 2006 to 2009, and then spent a year with Tempe Toastmasters. I held officer roles from two terms as Sergeant at Arms, Secretary, three terms as VP of Public Relations, and I currently hold the position of VP of Education with Mesa Red Tape.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

I have learned that I enjoy the delivering Speaking to Inform speeches in front of fellow members and finding out what I enjoy doing has opened me up as an individual. One of the aspects of Toastmasters that surprised me most was just how fun the meetings are. Even without all the skill and relationship benefits, the part of the meeting I enjoy the most is Table Topics. It gives the Table Topics Master the opportunity to be creative and to allow those that do not have a role to speak at the meeting.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

I enjoy participating in volunteer activities, meeting new people. I have taken on the role of Club Coach for Down to Earth Toastmasters Club. I enjoy networking at District 3 Conferences with a diversity of people. I have enjoyed taking my camera to events, sharing pictures with fellow Toastmasters. Another part of Toastmasters I enjoy is being a part of the Demo Meeting Team to charter new clubs.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I feel that leadership is one achievement I must conquer. I have been seeking out someone to be my mentor in this path. I am currently working on my Advance Leader Bronze. Before the year is up I hope to achieve that and my Advanced Communicator Gold.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

I have learned something from almost every person I have met, listening to speeches, and observing the delivery and speakers' gestures. By giving and receiving positive feedback, I think rapport is established much more quickly. I must say there is not just one person that influenced me in the path I am taking. I feel my influence is in me - I set goals, I rehearse my speeches with a stopwatch, I even rehearse a role such as the introduction of the speech objectives with a stopwatch when taking on a role such as speech evaluator.


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Patti Boyce, ACS, ALBPatti Boyce, ACS, ALB

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters in June 2010 as a charter member of AZ Motormouths.  I joined because I wanted to be able to help others overcome their fear of public speakers.  You see, I used to be physically ill just at the mention of public speaking and I found a mentor who helped me overcome my fears!

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

AZ Motormouths is my home club. I am a charter member of that club.  I am a coach and member at T-Bird Talks.  Coaching and being a member at T-Bird Talks has been so much fun!  I just joined SLEEK, an advanced club, to help improve my skills further than I ever thought.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

So far, it’s been being an area governor; a position I nominated myself for even before I was in Toastmasters a year.  It was so much fun working with my clubs and I learned so much about District level work.  It really inspired me to expand and focus on my goals within the organization.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

Toastmasters has helped me tremendously in interview and during ad hoc meetings. I just pretend that life is just one big table topics exercise!

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I am working toward getting my DTM by the end of this club year which will be the end of my third year in Toastmasters.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Oh my gosh, so many people.  I can’t imagine being in a better district than District 3 for friendship, mentorship and people I can turn to for help.


Get acquainted with...Rose Beeson, DTM

Rose Beeson, DTM

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters in 1993 in San Diego.  The club folded 3 months later and I did not go back until June of 2001.  My boss recommended that I join Toastmasters to get some facilitation experience so that I could start training soft skill courses in the office.  I stayed with the program beyond that initial encouragement to develop my leadership skills because as a secretary back then, I wasn’t given too many opportunities to lead teams.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

I am a member of 3 clubs.  My home club is Speaking First Toastmasters in Tempe.  We are in process of strengthening after a period of rebuilding.  It is a special club because it has a lot of newer members as well as seasoned members.  We also meet in a sushi restaurant which means great food all the time.  I also belong to Think Tank Toastmasters and Epicurean Toastmasters.  Epicurean is a great balance of social event and the Toastmasters program.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

One of the best things about being District Governor last year was working with so many amazing and dedicated volunteers.  I am most proud of how this team worked together throughout the year to achieve not only the District goals but the members’ goals.  The team really came together and we were able to grow our District by 5% last year.  It was an honor to receive recognition at our International Convention this year for our District.  It was not possible without this amazing team.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

It has helped me grow professionally.  I was a Secretary when I joined and now I have an advanced degree and work in project management.  I was able to gain confidence in myself and Toastmasters taught me that I could do anything if I only believed.  It really works.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

Another DTM of course! I really want to contribute to the recording of our District history so I am taking on the role of District Historian for another term.  I love collecting the stories of what makes our District so cool! 

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

There are many people in the District that have helped me along the way like Nancy Starr-Cassidy, Tim Swearingen, and Mike DiCerbo.  Past International Director Roberta Perry was a tremendous supporter this past year.  I was especially influenced by our special guests to the District this year, World Champion of Public Speaking, Jim Key and Past International Presidents, Gary Schmidt and Bob Barnhill.  But the people that truly inspire me are all the amazing members of our District.  They are the ones that keep me on the path to success and personal growth.  The stories of our members are the ones that keep me inspired to a member of this great organization.


DJ McMurrayGet acquainted with...

DJ McMurray, CC

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I was pushed, and I am so happy I was.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

Twilite Toastmasters is a Wednesday night club that is active and fun. All the members are working diligently becoming the best Toastmasters possible. My other club is Maverick, which meets on Tuesday night and they are gamers. Not only do we play well during our meeting with wonderful speeches and playful table Topics on subjects like pirates, roads and home, we also play a game after the meeting where we get to know each other on a personal level.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

Serving as Area Governor. I hope I have helped at least one member of the clubs in my area to understand a bigger picture of Toastmasters and that they can go as far as their dreams.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

I have been a loner all my life.  I work as a bookkeeper and do not interact with people a lot. Toastmasters has given me a chance to interact with people without fear and get help to move forward to the next level.  I am totally surprised at what I have been able to do in the last year. If anyone had suggested I would be standing in front of a group of strangers and speaking three years ago, I would have run the other way... FAST.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I am working on the Triple Crown and hope to have my DTM within 24 months.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Without these two Toastmasters I would not be where I am today: Julia Sayre has mentored me on a personal level since we meet in 2010 and has become a very good friend; I also think Bill Posker has been just as much an influence for giving me the chance to be an Area Governor. Both of these Toastmasters have helped me believe in myself so I can go forward in Toastmasters and get my DTM. 


Get acquainted with...

SScott Hall & Soncott Hall, ACB/CL

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

I joined Toastmasters in May 2008 to manage my fear of public speaking. My fear was hindering my career as a Research Chemist. I am often asked to present my work in front of other professionals at work and at conferences. I represent my Company at International Conventions and I want to present the best I can.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

I joined Twilite Toastmasters in Tempe, when I was greeted by every member of the club during an open house. I made 15 friends that night.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

My biggest accomplishment was competing for the first time in the International Speech Contest. Never in a million years would I think I would ever do this.  I was so nervous before the contest that I couldn’t eat the wonderful free food. Once I gave my speech I felt like a child opening presents on Christmas morning. Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?

My experience in Toastmasters has given me considerable improvement in my confidence and communication skills whether it is presenting a project or negotiating a sale. Serving as Area Governor during the past Toastmasters year has enhanced my leadership and organization skills.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

Advanced Communicator Silver and Advanced Leader Bronze.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

Liz Shaw was an excellent mentor when I served club officer roles and she has given me top notch speech evaluations. Liz Shaw is one of the best speakers that I have ever listened to and has won a multitude of awards. Liz is an exceptional role model for public speaking. I also want to mention Marc Dratch who served as the Division Governor when I was an Area Governor. Marc was very creative and helpful to all the Area Directors in our Division.


Crystal Welty, DTMGet acquainted with...

Crystal Welty, DTM

When and why did you join Toastmasters?

In 2004 I was voted in as chairperson for a non-profit group. At first I was very happy then realized that I was going to have to speak for a 3 day weekend to a crowd of approximately 400 people. I was scared to speak in front of two....what was I going to do? I went to work and we had an electronic newspaper. There was an ad for a speechcraft put on for educational points by Toastmasters. It was for three months. I joined the Palm Lane Toastmasters and am still here.

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?

I am a member of Palm Lane Toastmasters. We have people from all walks of life that just need to improve their speaking and leadership skills. It is fun to see them come in, grow and advance in their employment. We had Kelly participate in the District international speech contest. I was so proud of his accomplishment.

Well Done! has also become a favorite group where I have learned advanced speaking and leadership. They invented the word, "fun". They are always promoting district involvement. I have learned a great deal from all the members of that group.

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?

I would say the evening at July Jubilee for the 2008/2009 year I received the, "Gold Miners" award for fund raising and sponsorships in district 3.

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?
I use my skills today to help others suffering from Chronic back pain and inform others of Syryingomyelia, a rare spinal cord illness. I also help other who like me can not exercise to lose weight with the life solutions I used to lose 34 lbs and 16" without exercising. I have been giving seminars up and down the western side of the United States.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?

I want to get my first Triple Crown. That means I need 1 CC, 1 CL and 1 ACB. I am on the way to having it.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?

This is hard because I have had help from many talented and graceful people. At Palm Lane I must say it was Wendy Flood. Her knowledge at club level, kindness and support has made me a long timer at Palm Lane. In my Well Done! club so many have helped but the outstanding person is Roy Schott. He had the patience to help me and the spirit to encourage me to keep on going.


Get acquainted with...

Liz Shaw, DTM

Liz Shaw, DTMWhen and why did you join Toastmasters?
I joined Toastmasters in May 2004. At the time I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and required a service dog to leave my house. I showed up with the dog at Marie Callendar’s for a meeting of Gilbert Toastmasters. My goal was quite simple: to rebuild my self-esteem and self-confidence so that I could rebuild my life and be “normal” again. The people I met that night helped me do just that!

What club(s) are you a member of and what makes it/them special?
I am a member of three clubs. My first club is Twilite Toastmasters in Tempe. I joined there as a coach a few years ago and have stayed on as a member. It’s a very diverse group of people who are warm and welcoming. I’ve really enjoyed seeing it grow!

I am mentoring Maverick Toastmasters in Gilbert. We just chartered in February. Maverick is special because there is so much experience in the room. Mix that up with an informal atmosphere, post-Toasties games, and a strong mentoring program for new Toastmasters, and you’ve got a great club.

Finally, I belong to Think Tank Toastmasters in Phoenix. Think Tank’s purpose is to offer the next level in leadership experience to individuals who have already earned their DTMs by encouraging them to introduce ideas to enhance member experience in District 3. In addition to the standard evaluation, a facilitated discussion is held about each and every speech. I love this format. It’s definitely a stimulating and fun club!

What has been your biggest accomplishment within the Toastmasters program?
Earning my DTM was pretty exciting! I never believed that I could do that, but Tamra Amos and Emi Bauer infected me with DTM fever. After that, I was unstoppable. Starting a gavel club has been a lot of work, but it has been very rewarding. And winning the District International Speech Contest was fabulous. I still can’t believe it! I know you asked for just one, but there isn’t just one!

How has Toastmasters helped you in other areas of life?
My service dog is now retired and spends his days snoozing at home while I’m at work. And that’s a big one, too! I went back to work after 12 years out of the workforce. I’ve been working full time since 2006 thanks to the self-confidence I gained in Toastmasters.

What educational goals have you set for yourself during the next Toastmasters year?
I want another Triple Crown! To earn that I’m going to get a CC, CL, and ACB. Plus another ALB and an HPL.

Who has influenced you the most in your Toastmasters journey?
Emi Bauer. She dragged me to my first conference, mentored me the first time I served as club president, then again the first time I served as club VPE.


Marcia RobertsMarcia Roberts, DTM

This year, Marcia has been serving as Lt. Governor of Education and Training. While doing so, she continued her educational progress and will soon be earning her second Distinguished Toastmaster award. Congratulations to Marcia and we thank you for your service to District 3.

 

 

 

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