Today is a very humbling day for me. It reminds me of my very first day in a Toastmasters meeting, 7 years ago.
Like many of you, I joined for improving my communication and social skills. I believed that this organisation could help me do that after reading Keith Ferrazzi’s book “Never eat alone”. From day one, I saw how Toastmasters empowers people to do magical things and how people by better expressing themselves can ultimately make the world a better place. This is the very same inspiration that continues to drive me today.
It is an incredible honour for me to lead and serve Toastmasters Belgium until 30 June 2020 together with an amazing team. I have been fortunate to work closely with all of them previously. They are excellent: Monica Dimitru – Area Director B1; Marie Dubost – Area Director B2; Valentina Caimi – Area Director B3; Ignaas Vermeulen – Area Director B 4. I have asked Zsuzsanna Corridori to devote additional time to the Division, although she will the District 59 Pathways Coordinator. I am also looking forward to working with Lidiya Bogdanova and Mona Elleathey on PR and Marketing. As we start a new phase of our journey together, we have shared some background about ourselves in our website (www.toastmasters.be ).
Congratulations to all those who have stepped up to your club leadership for the 2019-2020 programme year. Leadership is one of the premier advantages of membership in Toastmasters.
How is Toastmasters Belgium doing?
While we have seen great success, we are hungry to see more.
In our early history, our target was to charter clubs across the country. This may develop further in the upcoming months with the chartering of two new clubs, new prospects and members creating clubs in cities such as Mons, Soigne, Kortrijk, Mechelen/Antwerp, Charleroi and Liège.
Nowadays, our main challenge is to strengthen the existing club structure: access to affordable & suitable meeting facilities; empowering club officers to run their clubs effectively; and enriching our community with new active members- 30 is the new 20.
What is next?
As we look forward, we must consider what each of us could bring to this effort. The opportunity ahead will require us to reimagine a lot of what we have done in the past and to do new things. We sometimes underestimate what we each can do to make things happen.
In fact, we have all the elements: talent, a good brand, our voices, the platform, many resources (including financial), an important and interesting network of members & alumni, positive energy and lot of enthusiasm.
I invite you to use your Toastmasters Membership as a platform to make your personal goals becoming reality. I truly believe that when we find meaning on what we do, everything is easy and flows.
We hope to meet many on you on the events taking place this year. Below a few FREE trainings provide to Club officers and other Members. We vividly recommend you to join all of them, as the content will vary and are a valuable space where work on common projects across clubs.
If you are a club officer 2019-2020 and are unable to join us in any of the trainings dates (June, July or August), please contact us urgently by email toDistrict59divisionb@gmal.com Thanks in advance, this is very important.
There are thousands of opportunities around, some of them can be found by clicking here. You can always contact me, the area directors or your club officers to explore them.
Let us build on the Division foundations together!
Helena RUIZ FABRA
District 59- Division B
Where leaders are made
Congratulations to our Division B winners at the 2019 International Speech and Evaluation contest:
Delphine Morin – 1st place – French Evaluation Contest (Club des Orateurs)
Valérie De Coster – 1st place – French Speech Contest (Club des Orateurs)
Thomas Vervaet – 2nd place – Dutch Evaluation Contest (Toastmasters Gent)
Renaat Toppets – 3rd place – Dutch Speech Contest (Toastmasters Hasselt)
Nick Felix – 2nd place – International Speech Contest (Berlaymont Toastmasters)
It’s finally here: The Autumn Event will be funny, it will be challenging, and it will be FUUUUN!
This event is open to all Toastmasters and Guests. It will be preceded by a Corporate Summit in the afternoon with the presence of Margaret Page VP of Toastmasters International and she will join our event too!
Learn more at this link.
Register on EasySpeak
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!
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:
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!