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Rise Up – Celebrate Your Summit! at the District 3 2022 Conference

We had a great time at the District 3 Conference on May 20-21, 2022 for District 3’s signature event where we will Rised Up and Celebrated Your Summit!  The Toastmasters Conference recognized the accomplishments during the Toastmaster year.  We were happy to return to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Resort in Maricopa, AZ for our gathering.  Please view some conference videos below.

Keynote Speakers

Michael J Holian, DTM, Region 3 International Director – Friday Evening

We are honored to have Michael J. Holian, DTM as one of our esteemed presenters for this conference. He is a newly elected International Director serving on the Board of Toastmasters International and is a working ambassador for the organization, and a past District Director here at District 3.

Mr. Holian will be presenting on the topic of leadership – “Why You Should Step into Leadership (Even if you don’t really want to).”  He will be outlining reasons reluctant leaders need to step up in society and in Toastmasters to lead.

Michael J. Holian, DTM, of Chandler, Arizona, is an information technology specialist for CSAA Insurance Group, where he has worked for the past eight years. He is the product owner and administrator for a suite of software collaboration and developmental tools. Holian is the chair of the governance board, responsible for identifying best practices, reviewing proposed changes, and communicating the product roadmap.

Pat Griffen -Saturday Lunch – Communication and Leadership Award

Pat Griffen, Executive Director of Against Abuse, Inc. known as AAI will be presented with the 2022 Communication & Leadership Award, the highest honor bestowed to a non-Toastmaster. The award recognizes individuals within our Arizona communities who have demonstrated outstanding communication and leadership skills.

In October 1981, a group of concerned Casa Grande citizens who had been studying the phenomena of domestic violence, started Against Abuse, Inc. which was officially incorporated and opened as a domestic violence agency with Pat Griffen as its first Executive Director. Forty years later, Pat Griffen continues as the Executive Director and the agency, known as AAI, continues to grow.

Within five years of opening, Pat built AAI’s services and reputation to the point that La Casa de Paz, a shelter for women and their children, had filled immediately. In 1986, Pat began the Taste of Casa Grande, a fundraiser for AAI, an idea presented by local restauranteurs Nancy and Michael Jackson. For over thirty years under Pat’s guidance, the Taste of Casa Grande expanded to presenting 25-30 local restaurants. The community gets involved, volunteering and donating prizes and gifts for the 90 plus raffle baskets and door prizes. La Casita de Paz was opened in 1989 as an emergency shelter for children removed from their homes for cause.

Under Pat’s guidance, the AAI staff has grown and is now a full-service domestic violence agency that offers all victims of domestic violence shelter services and community-based services for those not wishing to come to a shelter. AAI also developed La Paloma, a supervised visit/safe exchange program that permits non-custodial parents to see their children in a manner so the custodial parent need not fear more violence. AAI also offers an animal safe home system, which keep the pets of women in the shelter.

AAI’s Thrift Store provides basic household items for women preparing to move back into their communities, as well as a clothing bank for women and children.

Against Abuse, Inc. was also recognized nationally in 2009 with the Sunshine Lady Foundation Inc’s Sunshine Award. This award recognizes organizations and programs dedicated to providing opportunities for advancement of education, well-being, and new life choices for disadvantaged people. AAI celebrated their 40th anniversary last year, long with Pat as its Director for 40 years, the agency provides the widest possible range of services to all victims of domestic violence.

In 2005, the city of Maricopa who had seen Pat’s work in Casa Grande, went to Pat seeking her guidance in their efforts to raise the necessary funding to build La Casa de Paz in Maricopa. The shelter opened last year and continues to provide the same excellent services expected from AAI.

More on the C&L 

Neil Giuliano – Saturday Evening


Neil with be presenting “Stories of a Public Leadership Journey: How to Build a Lake in the Middle of the Desert” The dream of Rio Salado had been discussed for nearly 27-years when Neil Giuliano was elected mayor of Tempe in 1994, with his expressed goal of making it a reality or toning back the fervor of the decades old dream if it was unlikely it could happen. Three years into his tenure, construction of the massive urban redevelopment project commenced and in 1999 Tempe Town Lake at Rio Salado was a reality. Giuliano will share stories and insights of Rio Salado, being the first directly-elected openly gay mayor in the US, winning an anti-gay recall election at the height of the culture wars and other tales of his decade long tenure as mayor of Tempe.

Neil Giuliano serves as President/CEO of Greater Phoenix Leadership, the forum for CEO leaders to collaborate with the government, education, and philanthropy sectors to create and sustain a safe, healthy and prosperous community.

From 2010-2015, Giuliano was President & CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF). Prior to his work in San Francisco, Giuliano was bi-coastal (NYC & LA) as President/CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and executive producer of GLAAD Media Awards from 2005-2009.

Before becoming a national activist and NGO executive, Giuliano was councilmember, 1990-1994, and then the youngest person ever elected mayor of Tempe, Arizona, a post he held from 1994-2004.

Giuliano is the author of “The Campaign Within: A Mayor’s Private Journey to Public Leadership” (Magnus Books 2012) and has received numerous awards for his work in public policy and community activism.

He currently resides in Tempe, Arizona.

In Person Educational Speakers

It is fitting that one of the featured speakers will be Anne Lorimor from Arizona. At 85, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa as the oldest woman to reach the summit. In July 2019, she climbed again to set a Guinness World Record as the oldest person to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Anne Lorimor will tell you about her background, which factored into her career choices and her causes. She will offer suggestions on how you can live an exciting and productive life that you love while making your own contribution to the world in her talk, “Aiming for the Stars: Words of Wisdom from a Nonagenarian.” Conference registration is open for members as well as non-members to see Toastmasters in action, participate in educational sessions on personal and professional development, and presentations by notable speakers.

Anne Lorimor has two chief passions in life: climbing and empowering children and youth from low-income families. She is not your typical great-grandmother, sitting in her rocking chair. She climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro the highest free-standing mountain in the world, twice. While this is a monumental achievement, Anne did not do it for herself. The purpose was to gain attention and funds for her cause of empowering underserved children and youth. In turn, her audience is encouraged to pay it forward by helping others. Anne says, “My life is about helping kids in every way possible. To empower kids can create a ripple effect that benefits all of us.” Her motto is, A hand up, not a handout.

According to Debbie Allen, an international business speaker and bestselling author.

“Anne Lorimor is a powerhouse of motivation and an inspiration for any type of audience. Her positive mindset, amazing accomplishments and unstoppable spirit allows her to present a dynamic keynote presentation.”

It is fitting that one of the featured speakers will be Anne Lorimor from Arizona. At 85, she climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa as the oldest woman to reach the summit. In July 2019, she climbed again to set a Guinness World Record as the oldest person to summit the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Anne Lorimor will tell you about her background, which factored into her career choices and her causes. She will offer suggestions on how you can live an exciting and productive life that you love while making your own contribution to the world in her talk, “Aiming for the Stars: Words of Wisdom from a Nonagenarian.” Conference registration is open for members as well as non-members to see Toastmasters in action, participate in educational sessions on personal and professional development, and presentations by notable speakers.

One of the featured in-person presenters will be BabbleOnBrooke an International Award-Winning Host, TV/Stage Actor and Fortune 500 Spokesperson turned Odds-Defying Warrior, Motivational Speaker and Coach

During a successful career in Hollywood, BabbleOnBrooke was in a car accident that totaled her SUV and left her with a rare neck injury. For the next several years, she would receive no answers or hope as her health spiraled downward, severely impacting her ability to breathe and speak.

Living a life with no light at the end of tunnel, she eventually became housebound and received home healthcare while spending 24/7 laying flat on a massage table, staring at the ceiling, being spoon-fed, becoming estranged from her family, going bankrupt, speaking through blinking, and falling into a deep suicidal depression.

How did this happen? And more importantly, how did she overcome it ALL?

Find out from Brooke herself, who turned her lemons into the greatest lemonade ever, and she will teach you how to do the same.

Following the car accident, Brooke became housebound for many years with a severe neck injury that impacted her breathing and speaking. She shares this 10-year journey, “From Hollywood To Housebound To Healing”, to encourage others to keep going (what “babble on” means).

Brooke has become a large presence in the social audio world. After success on Clubhouse, she became an official Twitter Partner with her show “The Inspiration Station” and her course “Moderating Made Easy” has been called the most comprehensive on the market. She is the ultimate hype person – creating supportive environments for audiences and clients to believe in themselves is always her goal.

CarrieVee Verrocchio, a Motivational speaker, Author, Podcast host, and Certified Transformation, Forgiveness, and Grief Coach, who competed in the 2020 Semi-finals of the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking. CarrieVee will be presenting on the “BE-Attitudes” she practices for embracing resiliency. Conference registration is open for members as well as non-members to see Toastmasters in action, participate in educational sessions on personal and professional development, presented by notable speakers.

After going through multiple life-changing traumas in 2021, CarrieVee decided if she was going to survive – and thrive – she was going to have to establish and practice the “BE-Attitudes” to embracing resiliency. They have become a key teaching point in helping others create reliance in their own lives – despite the trauma that they are experiencing or have experienced. These “BE-Attitudes” bring the joy, the peace, and the power. 

 CarrieVee is a Motivational Speaker, Published Author, Podcast Host, and Certified Transformation, Forgiveness, and Grief Coach, and helps those who have forgotten how to dream, how to overcome their excuses and live the lives they were created to live.

She is the founder of the Radical Empowerment Method – a program designed to walk people through the exact method she herself used to move from a life of feeling invisible to a life of empowered success and action.

Julie Menden will speak on the topic of self-leadership: the secret to unstoppable success. The public is welcome to attend and participate in the educational development workshops and experience firsthand what membership in Toastmasters offers.

What sets apart those that create massive success in their personal and professional lives? It’s the ability to intentionally lead yourself to your desired results and activate your mindset to work for you instead of against you. Attend this session to learn a unique framework that will allow you to choose how you show up and respond to situations to own your development and reach your potential.

Recently recognized by Influence Digest as one of the Top Coaches in Milwaukee, Julie Menden is a Leadership & Performance Coach, Speaker, and Trainer. Julie works with leaders, business owners, and teams to overcome self-doubt and mental blocks, to step into their confidence, drive results and achieve joy, fulfillment, and unlimited potential in their personal and professional lives. With certifications as a Leadership Development facilitator, Certified Professional Coach (CPC), Energy Leadership Index Practitioner, and Positive Intelligence Coach focusing on mental fitness, Julie is passionate about helping her clients activate their leadership, mindset, and high-performance habits for success. 

Juris Kursuli Spirit Award

Winner: Barbara Schumacher