A Toastmaster’s Learning Experience from teaching Youth Leadership

Youth leadership Program (YLP)  helps students to learn public speaking and develop leadership skills. Also, it teaches them the ability to analyze their strengths and weaknesses.

We usually draw leadership lessons from other leaders at work or teachers, parents, community, and many others. Observing the young participants during the YLP sessions helped me remind myself of the importance of leadership skills and the need to continually apply them to inspire, educate, and transform others.

#1: Importance of Smiling and Having fun

Children are so care-free and have fun. They keep smiling through the entire session 😊.
Moreover, all of them want to be the “Joke master” as they have tons of jokes to share. The laughter and smiles set the mood as well as creates a very positive and supportive environment.

 #2: Be Curious and Ask questions

Children do not have preconceived notions or judgments. They are full of curiosity and ask questions. They want to understand the “Why” and pose logical questions. Natural curiosity leading to questions is a crucial leadership skill for success.

#3: Resilience makes you strong 

I have seen many currents, and past students overcome so much adversity, be it in a challenging home situation or coping up with studies. However, they still rise. Children with greater resilience are better able to manage stress. They always have a positive attitude and maintain a hopeful outlook.

#4: Be Creative and Think outside the box

Children think so creatively and come up with a solution, which is simply amazing. For example, the table topics suggested by them were so unique, and in one of our YLP sessions, the students came up with a fiction story at the end of the impromptu speaking section of the meeting. I felt so privileged to learn and grow from their ideas.

Teaching children is such a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Besides, providing leadership training prepares youth with positive life skills that they will carry into adulthood.

Nelson Mandela said it very well  “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.”

About the Author:

Somesh Chablani is a member of the OMNI-PRO Speakers Bureau, sponsored by District 83 Toastmasters. He loves to mentor students and members on public speaking. Somesh works for one of the leading Fortune 500 Tech company and leads a global team. Outside of work, Somesh likes to spend time with his family, practices laughter yoga and conducts Youth Leadership Programs.

Somesh Chablani, DTM
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/someshchablani


It is awesome to witness a spectacular speaker that engages the audience with a thought-provoking message, supported with colorful stories, and leaves you wanting more. We all want to become great speakers.  There is no feeling that compares to when the audience is completely connected to you and your message.  However, we often focus on the visual and vocal portions of our speech, often to the detriment of the written portion.

I believe that great speaking begins with great writing.  No great speaker became great by ‘winging it’ on stage.  To become great, you should pay the same or more attention to your speech writing as you give to your speech delivery.  It doesn’t matter if you are giving an ice-breaker speech, delivering a keynote address, or competing in a speech contest, I highly recommend that you write out your entire speech.  With a written draft of your speech, you have the ability to craft your message.

Anyone can write a speech; however, it takes practice and patience to craft a message.  While it may take a day or less to write a quick draft of a decent speech, the magic is in the crafting process.  It is that pains-taking process of reviewing, revising, and re-writing that simplifies and clarifies your message and the supporting points.  This process, which separates good writers from the great writers, can take weeks or years.  If you want to connect with your audience, your message must be well-crafted to attract and maintain their attention and address their specific needs.

About the Author:

Mario Lewis, DTM, is an award-winning, energetic speaker, and presentation coach, who provides audiences and individuals with motivational messages and strategies to become powerful and dynamic communicators. He delivers high-powered talks at leadership conferences, and corporate events that teach people how to CONNECT with their audiences to make their message unforgettable.  As a finalist in the Toastmasters’ 2012 World Championship of Public Speaking (and a semi-finalist in 2017 and 2018), the largest public speaking contest in the world, Mario has demonstrated the unique ability to engage audiences of all sizes and backgrounds.

Email:  Mario@MarioLewisConnects.com

Website: https://mariolewisconnects.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mario-lewis-5963a51a7/

The Benefits of Toastmasters

By Ally Bhuiyan, DTM

Ask 100 Toastmasters how they have benefitted from being a Toastmaster, and you will likely get at least 300 different answers.  Indeed, the benefits are numerous, but while for some they are quite concrete (“I got a promotion” or “I got a raise”), for many of us they are not.  If you are like me, you might use broad generalizations such as “I improved my communication and leadership skills,” or “I met some great people and built my social network,” or simply “I just love learning from others and hearing other people’s stories.”

To non-Toastmasters, such general answers might not satisfy; they might think that such benefits can be easily found in other ways or with other organizations.  However, as with our speeches, the personal stories behind our answers are much more interesting than the answers themselves.

I’d like to share the story of my husband, Mushi Bhuiyan, who underwent an enormous transformation after joining Toastmasters, and who serves as an example and inspiration for me on a daily basis.

About 10 years ago, Mushi was a successful consultant for a large international firm, who worked closely with the management teams in several well-known companies.  He thoroughly enjoyed his job, since it involved a lot of travel and dealing with a variety of people.  However, he recognized that in spite of his successes, he was consistently being passed up for promotions.

When speaking with his career coach and HR, he was told that he didn’t possess strong communication skills, and after expressing his desire to improve them, Mushi signed up for a course with Dale Carnegie.  The course was fun, and he learned a lot of techniques on starting conversations, getting people to open up, and asking the right questions.  But the course was short, and expensive.  His company would not pay to enroll him in another course, but Mushi felt he had a lot more to learn.  Now what?

He googled “Cheap Dale Carnegie courses” to see if he could find coupons for additional classes and found Toastmasters on the list of suggestions.  Mushi jumped in head first and never looked back.  He loved giving speeches and receiving feedback; he loved visiting many clubs and meeting new people; he loved the new friends he had made in his home club; he loved that he was able to take on a district leadership role.

After some time, he was able to convince me to join as well, and later still, we joined efforts with another Toastmasters couple to charter Princeton Manor Toastmasters in our town.

In the meantime, work went on as usual, but along with his newfound love for Toastmasters grew a new distaste for many things corporate.  One Christmas, as the proverbial last drop in the bucket, Mushi received a bottle of wine and a fruit basket for his efforts.  Did I forget to mention he is a Muslim and doesn’t drink?

He never did receive that coveted promotion, but it no longer mattered to him  He started his own company instead.  His self-confidence had grown, and along with his speaking skills came listening skills.  He felt a much deeper connection to people.  He started organizing block parties so that the people on our street would get to know their neighbors better.  Once, towards the end of a big potluck, one of the neighbors came empty-handed and looked very distraught.  He explained that he felt uncomfortable coming because he didn’t have anything to share with others.

It turned out that hunger had driven him to check for leftovers.  We were shocked to hear that his house was in foreclosure and that he was having trouble putting food on his table.  It had never occurred to us that people in our reasonably affluent community, people on our own street, were struggling with food insecurity.

Mushi decided on the spot to do something about it.  He teamed up with local restaurants to deliver warm meals on a weekly basis to those in need in his and other nearby communities.  When it became clear that the need was great, he set up a non-profit organization so that he could solicit funds from generous donors to help increase his efforts.  Thus, Urban Food Alliance was formed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Urban Food Alliance switched gears and instead of delivering warm meals, the organization began handing out boxes filled with groceries that could feed families of 4 every week.  The lines of people needing help have been growing steadily, and the efforts to help are ongoing.

Had it not been for Toastmasters, Mushi would probably not have walked this path.  Now, he finds fulfillment and purpose in helping others.  He can smile at the memory of not getting his promotion, knowing that he has gained so much more instead.

True Toastmasters may find it hard to pinpoint in 1 sentence how Toastmasters had benefitted them, because they have embarked on a journey of self-discovery and confidence that will last a lifetime.  True Toastmasters don’t only help themselves; they also help others.  Maybe when people ask us, “How have you benefitted from being a Toastmaster?” we should respond by saying that the better question is, “How has the community benefitted from my being a Toastmaster?”

Addendum: The resources of Urban Food Alliance have been stretched thin during recent months due to the COVID-19 crisis.  If you are interested in supporting the organization and helping to feed the hungry, please make a  donation.

Which Type of Goal Setter Are You? Circle, Zig-Zag or Straight Line

When it comes to goal setting, there are three different types of cycles people can get caught in: Circles, Zig Zags, and Straight Lines. Do you know which one you are? 

Circle Goal Setters

Have you ever got caught in a perpetual cycle trying to achieve the same goal over and over again thinking, “this time it will be different,” but it rarely is? If you’ve ever felt this way, you have been in the loop of a circle goal setter. Circle goal-setters start with a wildly optimistic goal but lack clear objectives for obtaining it. They might start strong and see progress, but they are eventually thrown off their path to success. After a while, all hope for obtaining the goal is completely gone. Has this ever happened to you?

Zig-Zag Goal Setters

Have you ever set a goal, but it took you two to four times longer to achieve that goal than originally intended? If so, you could have been a victim of zig-zag goal setting. This is when you set a goal, get off track, distractions creep in, and you have to reset and get back on track. This pattern continues off and on until the goal is eventually reached. Have you ever taken a zig and then a zag when trying to reach your goals?

Straight-Line Goal Setters

The straight-line goal-setter is the person who sets a goal and accomplishes it without any setbacks. They get from point A to point B without getting off course. Although, the straight-line goal-setter might deal with obstacles as well; however, they have systems in place to keep them on track. Do you have a history of achieving your goals on time every time?

Develop S.M.A.R.T. Goals

If you have been stuck in the cycle of a circle or zig-zag goal setter, then you could reap large benefits from utilizing the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. This is a tool that will help you develop a definite plan for achieving your goals. Here is the breakdown. The S stands for specific. If you want to achieve any goal, you have to know exactly what the goal is and how to accomplish it. If you set unclear or vague goals, you are setting yourself up for failure. Therefore, make your goal as specific as possible.

The M stands for measurable. Are you setting your goals in increments to measure progress? If not, it’s a good time to start. By making your goals measurable, you can celebrate the small wins along the way. This will help boost your confidence as you make progress. The A stands for achievable. Instead of setting wildly optimistic goals, it’s better to set smaller goals and build momentum as you achieve each one. The more success you have overtime, the more likely you will stick with the goal and see it through to its entirety.

The R stands for relevance. Is your goal relevant to where you currently are in life? If not, it will be easy to put that goal on the backburner when you know it isn’t helping you. Set goals you know that can help you get where you want to go. Lastly, the T stands for timely. What is the deadline or timeline for accomplishing your goal? Setting a clear time frame to achieving your goal is crucial for being able to measure your progress and know if you are falling behind or seeing success.

If you want to achieve your goals faster with less delay, utilize the S.M.A.R.T. acronym as your winning roadmap. To also help you achieve your goals, it helps having an accountability partner. You might also want to make your goals public. The more social pressure you apply, the more likely you will follow through. Lastly, find a coach, trainer, or mentor who has achieved the desired outcome you want! Having an expert helping you can expedite the results and get you to your goal even quicker. If you truly want to reach your goals, you must create a plan, put in the time, find the right resources, and push through the difficult times. Just know you can do it. Never give up!

About the Author:

 Jeremy Yencer

Certified Coach, Speaker & Trainer

Jeremy is a leadership enthusiast whose “WHY” is to inspire others to find their purpose so that they can elevate their lives and make a greater impact for themselves and their community. He once was destined to be a high school dropout but shifted his life around by having mentors who helped him discover a path to success. Jeremy knows how valuable mentorship can be and wants to give back to as many people as possible. He serves as a mentor, coach, and speaker helping others discover their “aha” moments.

Website: www.elevated-coaching.com

Email: Jeremy.Yencer@elevated-coaching.com

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremyyencer/

Lessons Learned from Chasing the Championship

In August 2018, I participated in the Toastmasters World Championship of Public Speaking semi-finals in Chicago, IL.  Starting with over 35,000 contestants entering local contests, this competition has been called the “American Idol” of public speaking – the largest of its kind in the world. I placed 2nd in my round, which ranked me among the top 20 speakers in Toastmasters globally.  My speech, “Like A Princess,” was a humorous and emotional story about my daughter Sydney’s 5th birthday party and the lessons I learned about creating special moments for the people I love.  The story and the underlying message resonated with the audience and the judges.  Since the contest, I reflected on my experiences to provide the following considerations if you plan to chase the championship:

Clear Messages, Well Delivered – The top speakers connected with the audience with crystal clear messages that were expertly delivered. The best contest speeches were finely crafted messages, with purposeful words, clear take-always, and a strong call to action. Top speakers bring audiences into their stories, carry them through a range of emotions, and connect with them on a personal level. Delivery is equally as important since the goal is to establish your credibility, and communicate a powerful message.  A clear message with a strong delivery is an unbeatable combination.

Purposeful Practice & Preparation – We become experts by purposefully preparing and practicing our craft.  Top contestants demonstrated a higher level of preparedness.  In 2018, I practiced with dozens of Toastmasters clubs, with audiences of various sizes, backgrounds, and levels expertise to get critical feedback on where to adjust my speech and delivery. Every time you get on stage should be viewed as an opportunity to practice and prepare for the next speech.

Collaboration Is Critical – Your ability to collaborate is critical to your trajectory as a speaker. It allows you to elevate your skills in a shorter period of time, while getting others invested in your success. I am grateful for my Toastmaster colleagues. Their contribution to my public speaking journey has been priceless.  Collaboration allows speakers to better connect with their audiences and enables us to achieve outstanding results.

Even if you never plan to chase the championship, and you just want to excel at public speaking, it is critical to deliver clear messages, practice purposefully, and collaborate with colleagues. Consider attending a local Toastmaster meeting to begin your journey.

About the Author:

Mario Lewis, DTM, is an award-winning, energetic speaker, and presentation coach, who provides audiences and individuals with motivational messages and strategies to become powerful and dynamic communicators. He delivers high-powered talks at leadership conferences, and corporate events that teach people how to CONNECT with their audiences to make their message unforgettable.  As a finalist in the Toastmasters’ 2012 World Championship of Public Speaking (and a semi-finalist in 2017 and 2018), the largest public speaking contest in the world, Mario has demonstrated the unique ability to engage audiences of all sizes and backgrounds.

Mario Lewis, DTM

Email:  Mario@MarioLewisConnects.com

Website: https://mariolewisconnects.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mario-lewis-5963a51a7/

Storytelling: Is It A Dying Art?

Recently, I was a participant in a very powerful workshop where I presented a short session on storytelling. After my presentation, the response was overwhelming. The participants said that it was informative, entertaining, helpful and very well delivered. However, what surprised me most was that more than one person said to me that storytelling is a dying art.

To me, it was strange because I grew up in a culture and family that was very rich in storytelling. That is how I knew my parents and grandparents and on top of it all, it was simply great entertainment. I assure you that a good story could compete with TV anytime.

Storytelling is as old as the world itself. Humans started telling stories as soon as they could speak. How could they not?! The spoken word came much earlier than the written one, and people had to preserve and pass along information, knowledge, wisdom and entertainment.

Do stories have a place in a business environment? In my opinion, it is a definite YES. Our stories can inspire, educate, entertain, inform, sell and transform our audience members.

Storytelling is a powerful business tool. It is a skill that every business and brand should master. When done well, storytelling can do wonders for a business, such as turn a brand into a legacy, influence the mind share and market share, generate profit and win the loyalty of the intended audience.

A good story makes us think and feel. It helps us to emotionally connect people to a brand.

Keep telling your stories, because only you can!


About the Author:

Isaak Gelbinovich

Isaak Gelbinovich, is a Professional Speaker, Author, Presentation Coach, Workshop leader, International Speaker.

Isaak Gelbinovich, a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) Awardee, is a member of No Limits Toastmasters, located in Staten Island, NY. He is also part of the OMNI-PRO Speakers Bureau, sponsored by District 83, Toastmasters.

Specialties:  Business and Personal Communication; Humor; Inspiration; Networking; Storytelling in business.

Website:  www.isaakprospeaker.com
LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/isaak-gelbinovich-30a4814/
Email:       mail@isaakprospeaker.com

6 Powerful Tips to Elevate and Amplify Your Virtual Presence in Online Meetings

We are all in unprecedented times. The COVID-19 situation translates to tremendous change as the situation and markets rapidly evolve. To successfully lead and manage teams in uncertain times, every leader must effectively communicate and be fully engaged with employees, colleagues, clients, family, and friends.

As people across the globe adjust to working remotely, video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and more are being leveraged for business meetings and virtual team collaboration. However, virtual meetings also need the speaker or host to adjust their style and online presence to be effective, as well as ensure the audience is engaged throughout the entire conversation and meeting agenda. It is very easy for leaders to assume that in-person presence of a conference room is the same as their virtual presence in facilitating a remote/virtual meeting. It is important to remember that attendees often multi-task in virtual meetings and a few dominate the discussion or remain disengaged.

What is a Virtual Presence?

A presence is the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing. In the context of an online meeting, virtual presence is the skill required to have engaging and impactful conversations as well as effectively deliver a positive and impactful digital experience to your audience. Elevating both your persona and presence in a Zoom, Teams, or other virtual meeting, requires not only engaging the audience in video conference-style modality but also ensuring your message is delivered as intended.

Here are 6 powerful tips for every leader to help exude their virtual presence as well as engage their audience:

Prepare, Engage, and Conclude


  1. Technology Readiness:

Test the online meeting technology in advance. Always recommend the participants to test the virtual meeting technology prior to the meeting. Ensure the meeting link, dial-in instructions, and discussion topics are sent well ahead of the meeting. People need the ability to participate via audio but make it clear if video conference is the preferred norm. Pre-arrange how participants will check in on changing meeting arrangements or instructions. This will help the speaker or host to avoid delays and technical distractions in order to ensure a smooth start.

  1. Agenda and Timeliness:

As a host or the main facilitator, start the meeting a few minutes early. Set clear objectives and send out a detailed agenda including any background documents or presentation(s) to review. A structured agenda always helps to keep things on track and makes sure everyone knows the meeting schedule and topics. Many of the online meeting platforms have capabilities to send out reminders prior to the scheduled meeting.


  1. Lights, camera, action!

The first step is to establish trust within the virtual participants. When using video capabilities, look and focus into your camera, be present and mindful. Ensure you have good lightning. Use a good virtual background to ensure it is palatable and not distracting.

To make everyone feel connected, use eye contact with the audience by focusing on your camera or webcam. Video conferences are best effective when people can see each other’s facial expressions and body language. Practice looking into your camera during the meeting when you speak to keep the audience engaged.

  1. Pauses and Inflection:

Good virtual presence goes beyond enabling webcams and screen sharing. A strong voice, especially in virtual meetings, convey confidence, credibility and makes a strong connection with your audience.

Pausing at intervals or during transitions gives participants a few moments to reflect or note down key discussion points. Vocal variety, or inflection, is a way to communicate by changing the sound of your voice using different speeds and tones. Good vocal variety helps keep the audience engaged and clues them in on your meaning, feelings or emphasis.

  1. Audience Involvement and Feedback:

Audience participation is critical for the success of any meeting, whether physical or digital. As facilitators, we need to monitor the flow of the conversation and keep things moving. Check on the participation: who has shown up and for how long?

The speaker or host can periodically call on participants to comment, speak, or answer a question. The facilitator can also use the meeting platform poll feature or “raise-a-hand” feature to capture the voice of the audience and solicit their feedback. The chat window is also an effective tool to share audience feedback across the group or to the speaker.


  1. Summarize and Close:

Always reserve some time at the end of the meeting for Q&A. Thank the participants for their time and feedback and encourage them to use the chat and poll in future meetings. It’s a good practice for the speaker to close the meeting with a brief summary and participants to-dos or action items.

Virtual meetings have now become are an integral part of our daily lives. These powerful tips and best practices will help any speaker or meeting host to elevate and amplify your virtual presence. In addition, these skills are very relevant to online meetings, virtual trainings, or webinars – for both hosts and participants. it will help in your personal and professional life to be well prepared when the time comes to take on the opportunities that arise in your social and professional networking efforts and/or leadership position.

About the Author:Somesh has over 25+ years of experience in Senior Management roles within the Financial and Technology Industry. Somesh has been associated with Toastmasters from the past 7 years and currently serves as Area Director for District 83, Area 41. He also is part of District 83, Speakers Bureau and has conducted several Youth Leadership workshops across US, Europe and India.

Somesh Chablani, DTM                                                                Cell: 347-276-2026          Email: toastmaster.somesh@gmail.com

Toastmaster Spotlight: Cyndi Wilson, Region 9’s New Advisor

District 83 PRM, Jenna Barone, had the opportunity to interview a very special Toastmaster in our community, Cyndi Wilson, Region 9’s new advisor. Read on to learn more about Cyndi and her experience in Toastmasters!
1.) When did you join Toastmasters and what club(s) are you a member in?
I joined Toastmasters in December, 2007. Presently, I belong to three clubs: Impact 21 Club, Gold Coast Achievers Toastmasters Club and Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Toastmasters Club.
2.) What has been your favorite leadership role you’ve held so far?
Wow! That’s hard to say. I have held every club officer position, area and division governor (that’s what it was called at the time) and the top 3 district positions. I have enjoyed serving in those positions (sometimes multiple times!). If I really have to settle on one, it was my year as District Governor.
3.) What is your top goal as Region 9 advisor?
To support the districts to achieve/maintain excellence while exemplifying Toastmasters’ core values.
4.) With this pandemic going on forcing clubs to go virtual what is the best advice you can give members during this time?
Your club meeting has come to your home or smartphone; no driving to the location, no walking to a conference room!, Take advantage of it! Attend your club meetings online to enhance your speaking and leadership skills and your use of technology.
5.) (assuming you have been a member for some time now) How has Toastmasters changed over the years that positively impacted you?
Toastmasters’ change from paper to the digital environment really showed that Toastmasters knew that they needed to stay relevant for the generations in the workplace. Yes, we are social people and sometimes afraid to try new things, but moving into the digital space, that 24/7/365 global environment was timely and sorely needed.
6.) What has been the biggest takeaway from being a Toastmaster?
My biggest takeaway is that Toastmasters is an international family of members who support you, encourage you and love you. It matters not how our governments clash; when we are together, we care for each other. I am glad to be a member of this family!

Two Key Skills to Help You Reach Your Goals

The new year brings the intention of setting resolutions that we want to accomplish but statistics show that just 30 days into the new year over 75% of people give up on them. This year YOU can be a part of the 8% that actually stay committed and achieve their resolutions. First, you need to get clear on what you want to accomplish in the new year. Are you looking to excel in your career? Is there someone you have had your eye on but aren’t sure how to strike up a conversation? Would you like to pick up an engaging hobby where you can meet like-minded individuals?

There are so many areas of your life that you can set goals to improve but you may not realize that your communication and leadership skills serve as the foundation for goal achievement. How you communicate what you are trying to accomplish, and the process in which you approach reaching your goals is crucial to your success.

There are many great resources to help improve communication and leadership, one of the most effective resources being Toastmasters International. This non-profit organization uses a network of clubs across the entire world to promote communication, public speaking, and leadership.

This year put your excuses aside and make the commitment to attend a Toastmasters meeting. District 83 has over 170 clubs with meetings taking place in Northern New Jersey, Staten Island, and Rockland Co., NY. There are 26 out of 30 days in January 2020 to attend a meeting in these areas.

For more information on where to attend a meeting check out the calendar below or find a meeting near you at http://www.toastmasters.org/find-a-club

Blog contributed by Jenna Barone, EC2
District 83 Public Relations Manager
Jenna has been a Toastmasters since March 2018 and is working on her Effective Coaching path in the Pathways program. She is a member of Clifton Toastmasters where she serves as club Secretary.

Meet Fall Recognition Event Keynote Speaker, Stefano McGhee

This Saturday District 83 will be recognizing all members that earned an educational or leadership award from July- September 2019. In addition to awarding members and clubs that achieved these incredible accomplishments we will have Stefano McGhee, Regional 9 International Director as our Keynote Speaker.

Stefano McGhee has been a member of Toastmasters since 2005.  In 2005, Stefano’s wife insisted that he attend a membership night at her local club, Network Voice Toastmasters.  While he would have preferred to stay at home, he finally gave in to his wife and attended the meeting and has been a member of Toastmasters ever since.  In the Fall of 2011, he earned the Distinguished Toastmaster award along with his wife.  The Distinguished Toastmaster Award is the highest award in Toastmasters, awarded for successful completion of many leadership and speaking projects. Stefano is a two-time District Governor/Director of District 31 Toastmasters and is one of only two people in the District to hold the role twice.  Stefano was also elected to serve on the organization’s Board of Directors in 2019 and is developing strategy for the organization’s future. Stefano works in Information Technology and also recently retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Rhode Island Air National Guard.

Toastmasters has helped him achieve many of the great things he enjoys in his professional and military careers.  He enjoys, motorcycling, boating and flying every day he can.

I got the chance to speak with Stefano to learn a little more about him and his experience with Toastmasters:

JB: How did you hear about Toastmasters? 

SM: My wife had been a member for five years and her club was having guest nights every few months and she repeatedly insisted that I attend.


JB: Why did you end up joining the club?

SM: I enjoyed the people, the environment, helping others and refining my own skills.


JB: What has been the greatest takeaway being a Toastmasters member?

SM: The organization is so much more than giving speeches in your club. You gain an expanded network of acquaintances around the world. Toastmasters taught me that helping others make me feel good about what I do.


JB: If you could go back to your icebreaker speech and give yourself one piece of advice what would it be?

SM: Don’t change a thing 🙂


JB: How has your experience been as Regional 9 International Director?

SM: There is a lot to get acquainted with in how the Board and World Headquarters interoperate. It also has provided me with a new opportunity to help our membership understand the foundations of our organization. It also is a great role where I have the opportunity to inspire them to help all of our members achieve what they came for in the organization.