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Friday, October 24, 2014

Peace of Mind 10/18/14 Minutes...

Peace of Mind...
Plano West ToastersDistrict 50, Area 64Club 614471
Meeting Date:10/18/2014
Total Attendance:8
Toastmaster of the Day:Tia York
ThemePeace of Mind
Word of the DayRelax
Become less tense, to be at ease
Prepared Speeches:Speech Info:Evaluators:
Fayola Huffman Oh the places you'll go...Kim Wright
Joy Sebastian He lied...Dheeraj Pahuja
Tabletopics Master:Fayola Huffman
Best SpeakerJoy Sebastian
Best Table TopicsDheeraj Pahuja
Best EvaluatorKim Wright

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Think on This..."

Think on this... 10/11/14
Plano West ToastersDistrict 50, Area 64Club 614471
Meeting Date:10/11/2014
Total Attendance:12
Toastmaster of the Day:Dheeraj Pahuja
ThemeThink on this...
Word of the DayVictory
A successful ending of a struggle or contest.
Prepared Speeches:Speech Info:Evaluators:
Fayola HuffmanThe Danger of IndifferenceRaj Thakkar
Patricia AdamsI'm a survivorJoy Sebastian
ChristopherAbout me...Dawnie Dahir
Tabletopics Master:Nirav Patel
Best SpeakerFayola Huffman
Best Table TopicsShabana
Best EvaluatorDawnie Dahir

"Think on this..."

"Think on this..."  10/11/14

Plano West Toasters District 50, Area 64 Club 614471
Meeting Date: 10/11/14
Total Attendance: 12
Toastmaster of the Day: Dheeraj Pahuja
Theme Think on this...
Word of the Day Victory
 A successful ending of a struggle or contest. 
Prepared Speeches: Speech Info: Evaluators:
Fayola Huffman The Danger of Indifference Raj Thakkar
Patricia Adams I'm a survivor Joy Sebastian
Christopher                                                            About me... Dawnie Dahir
Tabletopics Master: Nirav Patel
Awards: Recipients
Best Speaker Fayola Huffman
Best Table Topics Shabana
Best Evaluator Dawnie Dahir

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's about love!

August 23 was the last time I attended the club meeting, giving a "farewell speech" to the members at attendance. Here are the main points I could "re-construct" after three weeks :)

I had accepted a job offer in Florida. I will "follow the food" and leave Plano, leaving Plano West Toasters, the club I started in 2003-2004, my "home" for the past ten years.

While packing personal belongs for the trip, I discovered a few pieces of old documents issued by Toastmasters International, memorabilia I kept for more than ten years. Here they are:

- A certificate of a "Member" for the brand new club, Plano West Toasters. This was issued to the "Charter Members" who witnessed the birth of a new club;

- A certificate of "Club Sponsor" for the new club. A Club Sponsor was an existing Toastmaster who is building a new club.

- Four additional certificates, the "milestones" in the Toastmasters education system: Competent Toastmaster (CTM); Advanced Toastmaster Bronze (ATMB), Advanced Toastmaster Silver (ATMS), and Advanced Toastmaster Gold (ATMG, the "terminal degree").

These papers were color coordinated and nicely presented. But none of the them impressed me as much as a statement printed at the bottom of the "Club Member" Certificate, which is a quote from Dr. Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters International:

"Ours is the only organization I know that is dedicated to the individual. We work together to bring the best in each of us and then we apply our skills to help others."

I did not take the "milestones" too seriously. My "DTM acceptance speech" at the District 50 Conference in 2006 caused quite a stir in the audience. The DTM medallion presentation was very ceremonial each year: Each recipient would walk to the stage to receive the medallion, then give a 1-2 minutes "acceptance speech", a lot like in the Oscars! On each side of the stage, the previous DTMs would lined up to shake hands with the "new class of DTMs", then all eyes would be on the stage to hear what each new DTM would say for the glorious occasion!

I said, "We worked very hard for this day. It took me five years to get here! Now I finally completed my DTM - but then, SO WHAT?"

The crowd laughed! I explained that there are many DTMs in the room, and there are many more in the world. There have been many DTMs before us, and there would be many more to come each year. A milestone is no more than a stick on the side of the road. There are always many more to come! When you are the on the stage, under the spot light, people cheer for you and give you a big accolade. Then you walk off the stage, you are one of DTMs in the crowd of thousands. You disappear, like a grain of sand in a vast beach!

Imagine that you stand on a beach holding a camera. When you zoom in to a gain of sand, you see all the individual glitter and glory. Then when you zoom out, that grain of sand disappears.

All personal "achievements" must be seen in the proper context. As a Toastmaster, no matter how much we think we have achieved, we disappear in the sea of Toastmasters in the thousands of clubs in the world. However, without each grain of sand, there will be no beach. The significance of one Toastmaster is when we work with other Toastmasters to build new clubs, providing the positive and mutually supportive environment so other individuals can also grow, and become better human beings. That's how I understand the meaning of working "together to bring the best in each of us, then use the skills to help others."

In this club each of us is just a "member". We are all the same, as members. To keep the club going, we do our best to attract new members and make the club a home for many others to come. In that context we are also "club builders". Each one of us is part of the efforts to bring out the best in each individual. This drive and deed can only be attributed to one common spirit that we call it LOVE, love for humanity, love for the common good.

We all do many things each day and each week. Some actions are driven by LOVE, some are responses to certain obligations. When driven by love, we do things because we WANT TO. When driven by obligations, the actions are passive, and they COST us emotionally and physically. When driven by love, the things we do make us happier and energized. When driven by obligations, we remove the negative consequences on our back, or remove the nagging factors that drain our life and energy.

Doing the "Toastmasters thing" its about love, not for obligations.

All of us follow the same path in a Toastmasters club: We start as a "new member", then we become  experienced member, where we start guiding others, advising and coaching others who are on the same journey with us. If we do not stop there, as we have seen so many DTMs who serve as Area Governors, Division Governors and District officers, they dedicate many years of their lives in the organization, never get paid :) In many occasions they open their wallet in addition to their heart so that others could enjoy the journey! This common path along the common spirit of "betterment" turns many of us from ordinary to extraordinary.

It's about love, not obligation. You have seen it, and will continue to see it in this great organization.

My journey will continue as I move. I may no longer be a paid member in Plano West Toasters, but I will be a paid member in another club in Florida, while continue to help with some of the internet related chores for Plano West Toasters! It's about LOVE, the central element that brings out the best in each of us for better clubs, better communities, and a better society. I hope you, all of us, will walk this path for many years to come.

Goodbye my friends! I will be seeing you in the virtual world :)

- Jack

Saturday, September 6, 2014

"The Fruit of Labor..." Plano West Minutes 9/6/14

Plano West Toasters
Area 64
District 50
Club 614471
Meeting Date:
Total Attendance:
Toastmaster of the Day:
Fayola Huffman CC
The fruit of labor…..
Word of the Day
1. Characterized by hard work and perseverance
2. Working hard to promote an enterprise

Prepared Speeches:
Speech Info:
Patricia Adams
"Matters not..."  The story of Bojangles
Elizabeth White
Denise Loughlin
"Off the cuff..."   An Impromptu Speech
December Sidderwhite

Table Topics Master
Dheeraj Pahuja
Fayola Huffman

Best Speaker
Patricia Adams
Best Table Topics
Christopher (Guest)
Best Evaluator
Stan Ellis

*Highlights of meeting* Patricia gave a message of forsaking the idiosyncrasies that we may have
about others or the frustration that comes with the daunting tasks that we face in life.  Instead: Channel our
energy into our strengths and abilities and God will help us with the rest.
Denise performed an "off the cuff" speech selected by her Evaluator Stan: "How to clean like a 
Toastmaster." It was random yet humorous and she tapped into her thespian talents.  A student "Chris"
visited for the first time, volunteered to be the first TT speaker and won!!! Dheeraj challenged
us with engaging table topics comparing ideas/virtues like: "Fate versus Karma", "Destiny vs. Future",
"Diligence vs. Energy" and "Endeavor vs. Struggle".  It was very existentialistic and prompted participants to
share their personal philosophy of life, 'off the cuff' and within 2 minutes.  All speakers qualified.

Secretary: Fayola Huffman CC

Club Contest & Special Tribute to Jack...

Greetings Jack!

We miss you already!!!  Recap from the club contest:  It was the most packed that I've seen it.  Jack, "word travels fast"... I don't know who leaked =) but it appears that someone sent word that we needed help for our "club level" contest.  "The cats out the bag" so I can freely write the update of our experience in the blog.  Our very own area Governor Dawnie Dahir,  graced us with her presence and assisted with the proceedings.  Manhal Shukayr DTM,  came prepared with ballots and became our chief judge.  There were so many guests we had to get extra chairs!

About the contest: Tia stood in her presidential role & presided as Contest master like the "team leader" that she naturally is.  Dan Curtin, humored us with his "sleeping with Dan speech" and shared about his parasomnia sleep walking experience. Mahendra Dorairaj, shared a familiar speech about his art project 'lie'  & trip to Russia.  Ms. Bianca Felici, was a ' hoot' participating in both the Evaluation and Humorous speech contest, and Carol Mitchell gave a dynamic and spunky evaluation as usual.  Bianca won the Evaluator contest and Dan won Humorous speech contest.

Club business: Ms. Denise returned & she is looking well! Kiran made her debut & stated that she is ready to be a regular.   We will keep our torch burning brightly kind sir and continue to foster personal growth and development in a welcoming international environment.  May you find pleasure & purpose on your new venture in life... An amazing cycling group to ride with... Easily make new friends (not a problem with your personality)... Charter an international group that you are proud of... And discover a church home that feeds your mind and spirit man.  Thank you for your encouragement & assistance in sharpening and developing me into seasoned Toastmaster.  Ms. Bianca & Carol competed as Evaluators Jack... after the competition they gave each other a warm embrace & I thought to myself: "That's the Plano west spirit."  ~Fayola Huffman

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Joint Club Meeting Scheduled, August 16, 2014

Special Event THIS WEEK!
2:00 pm, Saturday, August 16, 2014

Timberglen Library

18505 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas 75287

Joint club meeting with a sister club!

Plano West Toasters has had a sister club in Dallas for many years. We have this tradition to have a "combined meeting" each year, alternating the locations. Last summer the friends at Timberglen Toastmasters came to the Holiday Inn for our meeting. This year, THIS WEEK, Plano West will go to the Timberglen Library to participate in the joint meeting with Timberglen Toastmasters!

Please join us for a great time. Your participation will be appreciated!

The Big Three roles will be assigned through collaboration with Timberglen Toastmasters. For the time being, Plano West will contribute two speakers and two evaluators for the meeting, on Saturday, August 16, at 2:00 PM.

The prepared speakers from Plano West are:
1. Carol Mitchell
2. Mahendra Dorairaj

Evaluators from Plano West are:
1. Stacy Corn
2. Patricia Adams

Please come to Timberglen Library to see us!

- Jack