Letter from the Division Director – Valbona Zefi

Letter from the Division Director

Brussels, 1st September 2018

Dear fellow Division B Toastmasters,

As each year, the new leader’s team for Division B has been elected and appointed and this an exciting moment where new ideas, new goals and new projects have been discussed and approved.

I see Division B as a complete one where great experienced speakers and leaders are part of, and thanks to their involvement and performances young speakers and leaders can get the inspiration and courage to dare more, to go out of their comfort zone. It was exactly what happened with me in 2014, when I started participating at Division B events, I realized how far I could go thanks to the positive support of other experienced Toastmasters.

The connection created at a Toastmaster Club is like a family where trust and caring are fundamental because members depend on each other; it goes beyond a school team because the supportive spirit goes over the competition.

What we end up achieving in Toastmasters goes far beyond our plans, because of the unexpected support and encouragement of people we meet, and the personal enrichment is indescribable. I believe that in the end, this is the reason that keeps us motivated and determined in pursuing towards the success, everything we do.

I warmly invite all Club Officers to visualize your personal growth that the role offers to you, before planning your club benefits, as only when the win-win balance is set you and your Club really win. And say “YES”, to many opportunities that other Toastmasters will be offering to you during this year, because you will be amazed where the ship will lead you.

REMEMBER that you are not alone, beyond your Club teammates you have a Division team who supports you in achieving your Club goals, while enjoying the journey.  Meet the Division B Team

 The friendly and supportive environment that reigns on the healthy Clubs will also guide our work that we will be doing, in collaboration with you, this year.

The main activities planned for this year are :

Club Officers Training – 26/08/2018

Autumn event – Oct/Nov 2018

Toastmasters Leadership Institute – Jan 2019

DOT/DECM (District Officers Training/ District Executive Committee Meeting) – 2-3 February 2019

Division Conference – April 2019

Club Officers Training – June 2019

I look forward to seeing you soon, around.



Valbona Zefi

Valbona Zefi ACB, ALB

Director of Division B – District 59

E: district59divisionb@gmail.com

How a bunch of Ghentroverts kicked off their journey to Rebirth in Athens….

Toastmasters Division B Conferences, which is one of the largest spanning Northern France, Belgium & Luxembourg, are usually a good spot for learning and entertainment.2018 Spring Conference was not any different to previous occasions.

One hundred toastmasters gathered to enjoy a full programme of workshops, evaluations, international speeches, sun, healthy-sustainable lunch and ice-cream! It was energetic, atypical, refreshing and creative like the theme, everybody got ghentrovert! Check the pictures here.

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English Speech Contest:
1- Alexander Pattyn from Toastmasters Fonske Leuven
2- Caylea Young from Green Heart Toastmasters Club of Luxembourg
3- Colm Kehoe from Artful Orators

English Evaluation Contest:
1- Laurence Stijns-Collignon from Casemates Toastmaster Club
2- Laura Jones from Aperitivo Toastmasters – Italian English Toastmasters Club
3- Erik Luijts from Toastmasters Antwerpen

French Speech Contest:
1- Perkis Dondjio from the Club the Orateurs Messins
2- Didier Dehem from Brussels Toastmasters Club
3- Keyla Lumeka from Atomium Toastmasters Club of Brussels

Dutch Evaluation Contest:
1- Philippe Cox from Toastmasters Hasselt
2- Lynn Sommers from Toastmasters Antwerpen

Dutch Speech Contest:
1- Renaat Toppets from Toastmasters Hasselt
2- Lynn Sommers from Toastmasters Antwerpen

German Speech Contest: Caylea Young from Green Heart Toastmasters Club of Luxembourg.

Congratulations to all and break a leg in Rebirth in Athens from 25-27 May, when two Districts will join forces for the BIGGEST District Conference EVER!


Division B hits the headlines at the District Conference in Milan!

Clubs from all over Southern Europe met in Milan for the largest ever D59 SPEAKTOMI District Conference in November 2017.  In total, some 450 members including many from Division B, which is one of the largest, spanning Northern France, Belgium & Luxembourg!  District Conferences are always fun especially when we get to take home a prize. And herein lies a great story. 

Let me first introduce you to our three contestants who proudly took to the stage: Zsuzsanna Corridori (Brussels club) who competed in the Italian humorous speech contest, Carsten Wendt (Brussels club) in the English humorous speech contest and Sydney Schreiber (Berlaymont club) in the Table Topics contest.

Going from Division to District is quite a leap as the stage is bigger, the room is bigger and the audience (and competition) is bigger! And they all leaped and rose to the occasion.  Sydney was faced with a difficult question and a large yellow glove! It was a clue in a murder mystery.  Never easy to have to switch on creativity on the spot. He did his best. And his voice boomed loud. Carsten got through to the semi-finals which was a great achievement with his humorous tale: he was placed third in the final!  Congratulations to you both.

Now, let me tell you Zsuzsanna’s story. And why competing raises your game.

Zsuzsanna was placed third in the Division Contest but since neither of the top two could make it to Milan, she had the opportunity to compete again and raise her game, and raise it she did! Competing against 9 others, many of whom were native speakers, she perfected her speech with several coaches in the run up to Milan, warmed up her voice & body minutes before her performance, and exuded confidence with a winning mindset as she roasted her husband for 7′ with her winning speech, BLA BLA BLA!  In the front row sat her husband, who the audience applauded when she pointed him out! Was that the move that got her the vote of the judges? We’ll never know but Zsuzsanna won the hearts of the judges and went on to win the Italian humorous speech against all odds!    

Remember: never let where you place in one contest discourage you from winning in another! 

Congratulations to all our Division B contestants of the 2017 fall District championship: our Division certainly knows how to make you laugh out loud!  

In addition to hearing a world international speech winner in 2001, Darren Le Croix with his keynote SPONGE – and numerous workshops in Italian and French, there were many opportunities to network with old friends, make new ones and mangiare!  Our Gala Dinner was in a magnificent location with frescoes and courtyards and Milanese cuisine: risotto a la Milanese and other delicacies all washed down with delicious wines.

On the closing day of the conference, they announced the new Distinguished Toastmasters. And two of them are in our Division: Congratulations to Hilary Peden (Aperitivo club) and Maureen Delaney (Dacia club) who received their DTM award, bringing the number of women DTMs in Belgium to 4.

Now it’s time for REBIRTH IN ATHENS from 25-27 May, when two Districts will join forces for the BIGGEST District Conference EVER!

Winning at Winterthur

Congratulations to Laetitia Mampaka: she’s our Division B French Speech Winner at the International Conference in Winterthur, Switzerland, which took place the weekend of 12-14 May. You can watch her winning speech which she gave at the Division Contest here:

Aperçu du discours " je suis nounours". J'espère que vous apprécierez. Thank you again Lynn !

Opslået af Laetitia Ma på 29. april 2017

Also competing for Division B was Artful Orator Sydney Schreiber with his speech Regrets, I’ve had a Few, and Thomas Vervaet from Toastmasters Gent, who was one of 13 evaluators in the Evaluation Contest.

Many from across Divison B travelled by car, train and air to join other Toastmaster friends, old and new, from across southern Europe.

The Autumn District Conference will be in Milan, Italy from 24-26 November: SPEAK TO MI registration opens today!

SPEAK TO MI – Add Style to your smile

Warning: if you watch this video you'll be tempted to immediately register! #speaktomi #fallconference #toastmasters #district59 #addstyle

Opslået af Speak-to-mi på 14. maj 2017

Our Division Champs Are Ready for Madrid

Here are the results of the Division B Fall Contest!

Humorous Speech Contest:

  1. Alexander Pattyn (Toastmasters Fonske Leuven)
  2. Sundeep Bhardwaj (To Be Discussed, Luxembourg)
  3. Sandra Lizioli (Artful Orators, Brussels)

Table Topics Contest:

  1. Sidney Schreiber (The Brussels Toastmasters Club)
  2. Danielle Diamond (State Street, Luxembourg)
  3. Paulina Murrath (Toastmasters Fonske Leuven)

Bruno Trounday (Armada Toastmasters, Brussels) will represent our Division at the Spanish Humorous Speech Contest in Madrid. He is also our Division Champion in Spanish Table Topics.

Congratulations to all contestants! To the winners: ¡Mucha mierda en Madrid!
But first, don’t miss “Strictly Come Speaking”, the glamorous Shower of Feedback meeting of the Artful Orators on Wednesday, 2 November in Brussels! Whether you come to give or receive feedback, you will have fun, learn a lot and enjoy the glamour! Find out more.

Let’s work together and prepare our contestants to shine in Madrid. Division B: Where Winners Are Made!

Daniel Mouqué Live on Air

Today, District 59 Champion Daniel Mouqué was interviewed by BRUZZ, the Dutch speaking TV channel for Brussels, on the eve of his departure for the USA.
Watch to the interview

Earlier today, BRUZZ radio listeners woke up to Daniel giving part of his winning speech live on air! He was interviewed in BRUZZ’ morning show.
Listen to the interview

Daniel Mouqué Wins District 59 International Speech Contest

Division B is tremendously proud of Daniel Mouqué (The Brussels Toastmasters Club), who won the International Speech Contest at the District 59 Spring Conference in Luxembourg. Daniel will represent our District in the semifinals of the World Championship of Public Speaking, at the Toastmasters International Convention in Washington, D.C., in August.

Daniel Mouqué was not the only fellow Toastmaster from our Division who performed above and beyond in the Spring contests. We also congratulate Bruno Cacciapuoti (Le Club des Orateurs, Brussels), who came third in the French Speech Contest, and Valentina Caimi (Berlaymont Toastmasters, Brussels), who came third in the Italian Speech Contest.

Belgian Toastmasters celebrating Daniel Mouqué’s triumph in Luxembourg.
Belgian Toastmasters celebrating in Luxembourg.

Team B had a real blast in Luxembourg. Besides performing spectacularly in the Spring contests and rooting for their contestants, the more than 60 strong delegation from Belgium, Luxembourg and Northern France attended as well as lead captivating workshops, featuring Tom Aerden, Karin Bral, Margarida Brites, Crista Filip, Covey McAllister and Thomas Vervaet. And of course, we went above and beyond in partying, dancing and networking, like only Toastmasters can!

The road to Washington, D.C.

In the coming months, all clubs in our District are warmly invited to grant Daniel stage time to make his winning speech even better and to test material for the speech he is preparing for the final — without a shadow of a doubt, he will need that speech! What better way to support our District contestant, on the road to Washington, D.C.?

The first club to host the District Champion is Toastmasters Hasselt, at their 5th anniversary meeting on Saturday, 28 May. Register for this meeting!

The Brussels Toastmasters Club, Daniel Mouqué’s home club, will be welcoming home their District Champion on Tuesday, 31 May. Register for this meeting!

In 2015, contestants from Districts 59 and 95 took part in several “The Road to Vegas” events, one of which was organised at the Artful Orators club in Brussels. In London, two more districts joined the party for a shower of feedback. Right now, initiatives are being taken throughout Region 11 (of which all said districts are part) to stage events that will support our contestants as one EMEA family, in true collaborative Toastmasters spirit. We will keep you posted!

Full results of the District 59 Spring contests

International Speech Contest

1st: Daniel Mouqué, Division B (Brussels, Belgium)
2nd: Stewart Bornhoft, Division G (Monza, Italy)
3rd: Peter Zinn, Division C (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

English Evaluation Contest

1st: Peter McKenzie, Division K (Barcelona, Spain)
2nd: Carina Schey, Division J (Nyon, Switzerland)
3rd: Carol Bausor, Division F (Lyon, France)

French Speech Contest

1st: Patricia Mansecal, Division G (Rome, Italy)
2nd: Alain Petillot, Division A (Paris, France)
3rd: Bruno Cacciapuoti, Division B (Brussels, Belgium)

Italian Speech Contest

1st: Annalisa Crespi, Division G (Monza, Italy)
2nd: Melchior Glatthard, Division I (Bern, Switzerland)
3rd: Valentina Caimi, Division B (Brussels, Belgium)

Credits to Sean Ryan and Margarida Brites for compiling and sharing this list.

World Champion Pitches Toastmasters to Creative Professionals

Who better than the World Champion of Public Speaking himself to promote Toastmasters? That is what Mohammed Qahtani did on 20 May 2016 at CreativeMornings, a monthly breakfast talk for the creative community in Brussels. As a partner of CreativeMornings Brussels, our Division assists the event in coaching its speakers.

Mohammed accepted the challenge of delivering a 2 minute pitch that instantly energised the audience — at 9:30 in the morning! He explained how feedback is at the core of Toastmasters meetings, how joining Toastmasters has changed his life and how it could change the lives of the creative people in the audience.

Afterwards, people came to meet this very special guest and wanted to know more about Toastmasters. Brussels clubs, be prepared to welcome new members who are eager to improve their creative talks!

Memorable Masterclass with the World Champion in Antwerp

On Thursday 19 May, World Champion of Public Speaking Mohammed Qahtani gave a Masterclass at Toastmasters Antwerpen.

After a keynote that was a 15 minute public speaking crash course in its own right, Mohammed gave instant feedback to no less than 15 speakers in front of a room packed with 70 enthusiastic Toastmasters and guests from all over Belgium and beyond.

The Wall of Feedback, as seen at the Lille Division conference, ensured that all speakers went home an envelope full of written feedback from attendees, on top of their on-stage coaching by the World Champion.