View as Web Page

Toastmasters District 18


February 2024 ❤️

We build new clubs and support all clubs in achieving excellence.

Join Us On Social Media

Facebook  Instagram  X  Youtube

D18 Newsletter Archive

D18 Website

D18 Education & Training Resources

Pathways Resources

Toastmasters Podcast

"A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality." ― John Lennon

Message from the Editor

Beth May

Hello Dear Toastmasters,

This month's theme is connection. I'll admit that Valentine's Day influenced my selection of this theme, but my focus isn't on romantic connections. I would like us all to pause and reflect on how important connection is to our personal and professional lives.

We are Toastmasters because we care about communication and leadership. Neither can happen without connection. Connection enables audiences to hear, embrace, and act on our messages. Connection motivates teams to trust, understand, and work together to achieve a common mission.

We are all connected through Toastmasters. That connection is a source of friendship, fun, and enrichment. It also helps us do more than we could do alone for ourselves and each other, our friends and families, our companies and clients, and our communities. It is truly empowering.

This month offers plenty of opportunities to strengthen connections, and make new ones. Let's embrace these opportunities and continue to empower each other through the bonds we share as Toastmasters.

District Director's Point of View

AnnMarie Givans, DTM

District 18,

I chose the theme “Empowered” for our district this year because we are not just members of Toastmasters clubs: we are a family, a close knit community that is strong like an eagle. That strength empowers each of us individually, and our community as a whole.

The eagle is often used as a symbol of strength and freedom. Eagles soar high above the clouds, unencumbered by earthly constraints. Likewise, we have the potential to break through the limits that may hold us back.

As individuals we are determined and committed. Together, we can harness that determination and commitment to inspire and empower each other, chart a new course, and break through limits (whatever we may perceive as our limits). So let us embrace empowerment, and soar to new and greater heights together.

Toastmasters provides a unique platform that empowers us to challenge, transcend, and shatter obstacles as we turn them into opportunities for growth. 

I challenge each one of you to be a limit-breaker within our Toastmasters community. Break the limits you've set for yourself in public speaking, leadership, and personal development and take that leap into the unknown, because that's where growth happens. In the words of the poet Rumi, "Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth." Toastmasters family and friends unfold your myth, break your limits, and let us soar higher together.

"Break the limits you've set for yourself in public speaking, leadership, and personal development."

PQD Corner

Saurabh Tiwari, DTM

Dear District 18 Toastmasters,

Our district hosted another 93 Toastmasters for Club Officer Training (COT) last month, including Toastmasters from other districts. We will be hosting one more COT session on February 17; find the registration link in the "Coming Up..." section of this newsletter. Remember, you don't have to be a current officer to attend - all are welcome! For further information, please contact your Area Director, Division Director, or myself.

At the January COT session, Oscar Zalamia, DTM, provided information about the Pathways Learning Management System (LMS) migration, and gave a Pathways demo. If you missed it, or you attended but want more information about Pathways (and the planned LMS migration), you can attend Pathways Training or Pathways Office Hours with Frank Storey, DTM and Karen Storey, DTM; details for those sessions are also in the "Coming Up..." section.

This month, as club officer training winds down, contest season will begin to peak. Many area level contests will be occurring this month, with the winners of those contests advancing to division level contests in March. Contest Chairs are looking for volunteers to take on contest support roles like judge, timer, and ballot counter, so please consider reaching out to them to offer your help. These contests are a great way to observe and learn from the most proficient speakers in our district, and to get new ideas for our own speeches. So even if you aren't taking on a contest support role, consider participating as an audience member. Contests are listed in the "Coming Up..." section, and on the District 18 Calendar.

Enjoy this season of learning and excitement!

Congratulations to our Newest Distinguished Toastmaster

Congratulations to Wesley Gibbs, of the JPMC Wilmington Toastmasters Club for receiving a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award in January. The DTM award represents the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters. Please join me in congratulating and celebrating Wesley Gibbs, DTM!

To be honest, earning a DTM was never a priority to me until I attended the 2022 International Convention in Nashville, TN. At the time, I was the Club Growth Director (CGD) for our district, and I distinctly remember nearly every district leader in attendance had the DTM designation. I felt a little out of place and pondered: am I doing a disservice to my district by not taking the time to complete the DTM journey? After returning home, I reviewed the DTM requirements and made it a priority to earn this prestigious award.


I spent the last year completing my second path as well as serving as a Club Sponsor and Club Mentor for SSD Baltimore Gas & Electric. It took more than 6 years from when I first joined Toastmasters, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped me cross the finish line. My word of encouragement to anyone who aspires to earn their DTM is to create a multi-year plan for yourself. For example, dedicate one year to focus solely on district leadership and another year to focus on volunteering as a Club Coach or Club Mentor. Enjoy the journey. The reward is worth it!

Wesley Gibbs, DTM

Two More Triple Crowns!

The Triple Crown Award is one of the most prestigious educational awards in Toastmasters, presented to members who have achieved three or more educational and leadership awards within a program year (July 1 - June 30). We announced 17 Triple Crown award recipients in newsletters from October through January. This month, we have two more Triple Crown awards to announce. Please help me congratulate and celebrate the recipients:

  • Andrea E. Powell, DTM (EH3, MS3, MS4)
  • Jacinta Fontenelle, VC1 (IP4, PM3, VC1)

CGD Corner

Catherine Damavandi

This February: Bring More Spark to Your Club Meetings

Toastmasters International founder Ralph Smedley very wisely noted that “we learn best in moments of enjoyment.” Whether it’s a table topic, prepared speech or an evaluation, an entertaining and passionate presentation will always attract attention. Of equal importance are a well-run meeting, warm greetings, and enthusiasm.

How often do you have these captivating moments in your club meetings? Is it every meeting, or every now and then? Are your club meetings red hot... or do they sometimes lack any spark?

This February, let's bring more spark to our Toastmasters meetings. How can we do that? One way is by using the Toastmasters Moments of Truth program. This is part of Toastmasters International’s Successful Club Series and it reinforces our Club Mission: “We provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.”

Moments of Truth is an exercise in leadership development: as a group, your club will decide what it does well, and what areas need a little more love. Topics of discussion include: how well the club makes first impressions, plans its meetings, and recognizes individual member achievement throughout the year. (You will want to include: how well does your club explain Pathways to new members?) You can download the Moments of Truth manual, slides and guidelines at

Why not host a Moments of Truth program at a club meeting this month? Before your next meeting, print out the Moments of Truth worksheets for each club member. At your club meeting, invite constructive dialogue so your fellow Toastmasters can share their honest feedback. There’s room for improvement in every club and every member's opinion matters, no matter how experienced they are.

If time permits, you could use an entire club meeting to conduct the Moments of Truth program. Note to Club Vice Presidents Education (VPEs): Make sure that the Toastmaster who facilitates the Moments of Truth activity gets credit in Pathways for this project!

Toastmasters is an excellent communication and leadership program that has been around for 100 years. Take advantage of this Moments of Truth leadership opportunity. It’s a win-win. You’ll improve your communication and persuasive skills while reigniting excitement in your club. Club members and guests alike will appreciate the club’s well-run meetings and enthusiasm. That’s probably what brought them to Toastmasters in the first place.

“Truth is only harsh if you’re unable to face it,” according to Stewart Stafford. I encourage every club in District 18 to host a Moment of Truth program in the coming weeks. Make this February a month to remember!

How to Run an Online Contest

Learn All You Need to Know for Running an Online Contest

Are you the Contest Chair or the Chief Judge for a Toastmasters contest? Is the contest virtual? Do you have a contest script? Do you know how you'll collect and process the judges' ballots and timers' reports? If you're not sure what to do, watch this training by Oscar Zalamia, DTM, and learn how to use electronic ballots and get other contest tips.

More Videos Available

District 18 is Rocking YouTube

District 18's YouTube Channel is chock-full of great content, including training videos like the Online Contest training video featured in the article above. There are multiple playlists, including a playlist of guest speaker presentations given at the District 18 Winter Club Officer Training sessions. Have a look - you might find something you didn't even know you needed!

Do you have video content from a Pathways project or other Toastmasters-related activity that could be featured on our district's YouTube Channel? Send an email about it to

Open House Success = More Members

Voice of a Woman Welcomes Eight New Members from One Great Open House

On Thursday, January 11, the Voice of a Woman Toastmasters club held an in-person Open House. Interest in the event was expressed by 40 potential guests, ten of whom attended. Eight of those ten completed applications during the Open House, and all eight are now paid members. With 26 members overall, this club now has the highest membership level they’ve ever had! 👏👏🏼 👏🏾

If your club doesn't already have plans for running an Open House, you may want to consider it! This is a great way to bring in new members, and now is a great time to grow your club, because you can earn recognition through the Talk Up Toastmasters program. There are resources on the Toastmasters International (TI) website to help, and you can even advertise your Open House through the "Find a Club" feature on Being able to advertise club events there is a new capability that was recently added; details of how to use it can be found in an email from TI that was sent to all current club officers on November 14, 2023, with the subject line: "Help Prospects Find Club Events."

Additional tips on running a successful Open House are provided by Terri Abramovitz, Voice of a Woman Club Secretary and Immediate Past President, in the Open House Training Video on District 18's YouTube channel.

Seven of the eight new members pose for a photo at Voice of a Woman's Open House

District 18 Spring Conference

Tickets Available Now

Did you save April 19 and 20 on your calendar when the District 18 Spring Conference was announced in the August Newsletter? Have you booked your lodging and waited with excitement to buy your conference tickets? Well, the wait is over! Tickets are now available at early-bird pricing for either one day (Friday) or both days (Friday and Saturday). Buy your tickets here, before the early-bird discount expires.

If you have not yet booked your Ocean City lodging, please call the Carousel Oceanfront Resort at 800-641-0011 and request the group rate for the Toastmasters room block.

Don't miss this opportunity to experience inspiring Toastmasters educational sessions, contest speeches, fun, fellowship, and ocean views!

Details are also available on the Conference Webpage



We are excited to announce our very own conference T-shirt, custom-designed to feature our Empowered theme. Even if you are unable to attend the conference, you can wear this unique shirt to show your support for our district. For those who do attend, wearing this shirt will make you feel even more connected to fellow participants. And what better souvenir to remember your great time in Ocean City than a shirt you can wear long after the conference is over?


This shirt is made of 100% preshrunk cotton. It is breathable and feels soft to the touch. It is not only a comfortable addition to your wardrobe but also a great conversation starter with the potential to spark interest in our clubs and our district, wherever you go. This shirt will be available for ordering soon. For more information, contact

Calling all District 18 Toastmasters

It’s time to channel your inner creativity and come up with the ultimate donation item for the conference basket raffle. Knock everyone’s socks off with your amazing ideas!

The District 18 Basket Raffle is one of the fun highlights of the conference! This FUNdraiser is an excellent way to showcase your club while helping to defray conference costs.

Sign up today to donate a basket. Next, choose a theme and collect items from club members or solicit donations from local businesses. Drop off your basket at the conference and watch participants bid for your basket!

Click below to sign up to donate a basket

Buy Your Mystery Pearls!

After a successful event last year, the District 18 Conference Fundraising Committee is pleased to once again offer you this opportunity. Enjoy the excitement of buying and owning (or gifting) Mystery Pearls of Wisdom! Three options are offered, and multiples of each option may be purchased, subject to availability.

Purchase your pearls in advance, watch the pearls be revealed over Zoom on February 21 (7pm - 8pm), then receive your pearls by mail. Ordering details follow.


  • Pearl in the Shell (opened live over Zoom): 30 available for $10 each
  • Out-of-Shell Tropical Color Pearl (oblong, larger size): 49 available for $8 each
  • Out-of-Shell Petite, Vibrant Pearl (round, smaller size): 32 available for $7 each

Note: Out-of-shell pearls will be selected randomly in the order that RSVPs are received. Specific colors cannot be requested.

How to Order

  • Payment: Submit full payment in advance for all pearls being ordered to FINANCE TOASTMASTERS-D18.ORG on Zelle
  • RSVP: Email the following information to and
  • Name, Email Address, Shipping Address, and Number and Type of Pearls for each type desired
  • Note that pearls will be


These pearls are being offered on a first-come/first-served basis, with quantities limited (as listed above). Order yours today!

Conference Booklet Ads Due February 29

Conference booklet ads are available for purchase as detailed in the January Newsletter and on the 2024 Spring Conference web page.

Click the image below for details and to submit your order by Feb 29

Ideas Needed!

The District 18 Conference Fundraising committee is seeking fundraising ideas and resources. Do you work in a restaurant where we can have a bingo game? Do you have a great fundraising idea we could use to raise money? Please contact Michael Hoy at: Bring us your great ideas!




There is a Toastmasters Brand Manual that provides rules, guidance, and resources for Club Vice Presidents Public Relations (VPPRs) and anyone who does Toastmasters-related marketing and communications. The purpose of the Brand Manual is to ensure consistency that upholds the Toastmasters mission and values.

While previous versions of the Brand Manual were presented as a PDF file, the current version is presented as a web page; so even if you "know" the Brand Manual but haven't looked at it recently, you may want to visit the new web page. The Brand Manual also contains the new TI Centennial logos, including district-specific logos like the one at the top of this newsletter.

Happy Anniversary!

Let's "Toast" these Toastmasters Clubs

The anniversary of a Toastmasters club holds significant importance as a symbol of its journey, growth, and accomplishments over the years. Whether it's a young club celebrating its first years or a long-standing club celebrating decades, its anniversary is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the club's dedication and commitment to communication, leadership, and self-improvement.

Happy anniversary to clubs that chartered in February:

  • 78 years: Brandywine (2/1/1946)
  • 59 years: Kritikos (2/1/1965)
  • 30 years: Winchester (2/1/1994)
  • 22 years: Toast UPS (2/1/2002)
  • 19 years: Debedeavon (2/14/2005)
  • 18 years: Stine-Haskell (2/15/2006)
  • 17 years: Southern Delaware (2/16/2007)

Note: At 78 years old, Brandywine is the oldest club in our district!

Let's join these clubs in acknowledging and celebrating their anniversaries. As they reflect on their progress, honor their founders and past members, and set new goals, we wish them continued success!

Coming Up...

Get more info from the District 18 Calendar

Note: All times are Eastern Time (ET)

Area-Level Speech Contest Period Continues

Monday, January 15 - Saturday, March 9

See District 18 Contest Plan Reminder, below.

Talk Up Toastmasters Program Begins

Thursday, February 1 - Sunday, March 31

See the Membership Building Programs web page for details

Areas 61/62/63 Speech Contests

Saturday, February 3, 12pm – 4pm (online)

No registration required; Zoom link not yet available

POC:Nancy Waring, Division F Director,

Area 71 Speech Contests

Wednesday, February 7, 6pm – 8pm (online)

POC: Dwayne White, Area 71 Director,

Area 73 Speech Contests

Thursday, February 8, 2pm – 5pm (online)

POC: Shante Copeland, Area 73 Director,

Areas 11/16 Speech Contests

Saturday, February 10, 9am – 12pm (online)

Join Zoom here (Meeting ID: 690 207 1175, Passcode: Areas1116)

POCs: Stephanie Steckel, Area 11 Director, and Berlin Stokes, Area 16 Director,

Areas 12/14/15 Speech Contests

Saturday, February 10, 1:30pm – 5:00pm (online)

Join Zoom here (Meeting ID: 690 207 1175, Passcode: Area121415)

POCs: Jennifer Bush, Area 12 Director, and Lauren Hansen, Area 14 Director, and

Alvin Kingcade, Area 15 Director,

Deadline for Nominations for 2024/2025 District 18 Leadership Positions - EXTENDED

Saturday, February 10, 11:59pm

Nomination forms are on the District 18 website at:

POC: Jim Book, District Leadership Committee Chair,

See more information in the Reminders section below.

Areas 41/42/43 Contests

Sunday, February 11, 10am - 3pm (online)

No registration required; Zoom link not yet available

POCs: Sudha Wariar, Area 41 Director,; Deeply Sinha, Area 42 Director,; Bhavana Kanchibotla, Area 43 Director,

Areas 61/62/63 Speech Contests

Tuesday, February 13, 7pm – 11pm (online)

POC: Nancy Waring, Division F Director,

Area 72 Speech Contest

Friday, February 16, 6pm – 8pm (online)

POC: James (Bobbe) Frasier, Area 72 Director,

District 18 Club Officer Training - Session #6 of 6

Saturday, February 17, 10am - 12pm (online, Zoom will open at 9:30am)

Register at

Pathways Training

Sunday, February 18, 12pm - 2pm (online)

No registration required; join here (Zoom)

See details here

Areas 52/54 Speech Contests

Sunday, February 18, 2pm – 5pm (online)

Join Zoom Meeting here (Meeting ID: 385 136 3113, Passcode: 647084)

POCs: Shehnaz Chaudhri, Area 52 Director, and Mary Ann McCloskey, DTM, Area 54 Director,

Pathways "Office Hours"

Tuesday, February 20, 6:30pm - 7:30pm (online)

No registration required; join here (Zoom)

See details here

Mystery Pearls of Wisdom Reveal

Wednesday, February 21, 7pm - 8pm (online)

RSVP and purchase required in advance to POCs: Patricia Pines, and Peggy Burton-Herring,

See article above: "Buy Your Mystery Pearls!"

Areas 21/23/24 Speech Contests

Saturday, February 24, 9am – 1pm (online)

POC: Harriet Armstrong,

Areas 55/56 Speech Contests

Saturday, February 24, 2pm – 4pm (online)

POCs: Thom Probus, Area 55 Director, and

Nikhil Sharma, Area 56 Director,

Deadline for Conference Booklet Ad Submissions

Thursday, February 29

See details on the 2024 Spring Conference web page

Areas 32/33 Speech Contests

Saturday, March 2, 10am – 2pm (online)

POCs: Roxanne Liebermann, Area 32 Director, and Craig Delfosse, Area 33 Director,


This section contains reminders for items previously published (either in a prior edition of this newsletter or in a separate email blast)

Nominations for District Leadership Positions

As announced in the January 11th email blast to all District 18 members, the deadline for nominations has been extended to February 10th. Visit the District 18 Officer Candidate web page for more information and a link to the nomination form.

District 18 Club Officer Training (Not Just for Club Officers)

One session remains. If you cannot attend one of the District 18 sessions, you may attend another district's club officer training session. Regardless of which district's club officer training session you attend, be sure to register in advance so that your club(s) get DCP credit!

District 18 Contest Plan Reminder

District 18 contests are summarized in the accompanying table. All contests will be run in accordance with Toastmasters International's 2023-2024 Speech Contest Rulebook. In addition:

  • Clubs in Areas with four or less clubs may send both the first- and second-place winners for each contest to their Area-level contests
  • Areas in Divisions with four or less Areas may send both the first- and second-place winners for each contest to their Division-level contests

Area and Division contest dates are being added to the District 18 Calendar. (If you are an Area Director or Division Director, please ensure that your contest dates are posted.)

More information was provided in the October Newsletter and additional details and resources may be found in this Speech Contests FAQ from Toastmasters International and on the District 18 Contest web page.

2024 Toastmasters International Convention

We will be celebrating Toastmasters International's centennial at the 2024 Convention, which will be held in the Founders District in California - where it all started! There many reasons to attend the convention, including the opportunity to see the International Speech Contest Semi-Finals and the World Championship of Public Speaking.

Ready to make milestone magic? This one-minute-and-five-second video will have you excited about the convention!

Click on the image below for more details and to register.

Club Officer Checklist - February

All Officers

  • Register for and attend a Winter Club Officer Training session if you haven't already (last chance!)
  • Work with club members to build a basket to donate for the District 18 Conference Basket Raffle
  • Continue thinking about succession planning for your role in 2023/2024
  • Support Area speech contests 
  • Conduct executive committee meeting(s) with each officer reporting on accomplishments, challenges, and plans
  • Use the Club Performance Report to review progress against the Club Success Plan goals for the current year Distinguished Club Program
  • Use other Toastmasters Club Officer Tools as needed


  • Continue to encourage officers to attend Winter Club Officer Training (last chance!)
  • Preside over executive committee meeting(s)

VP Education

  • Support your club's contestants at Area contests
  • Continue preparing for the Pathways Base Camp transition: help members ensure that their educational achievements are accurately reflected in Base Camp and Club Central (see article "Get Ready for the Pathways Base Camp Transition" in the PQD Corner in the December edition of this newsletter)
  • Continue working with members on their educational goals
  • Ensure agendas are complete and participants understand their meeting roles
  • Reach out to paid/inactive members

VP Public Relations

  • Promote the Talk Up Toastmasters membership campaign (Feb 1 – Mar 31) during meetings and in club newsletter/website
  • Externally publicize your club's Open House or other membership building activity (use the Find a Club events feature mentioned in the Open House Success article, above)
  • Publicize your club's participation in Area contests
  • Publicize your club's and club members' achievements (e.g., on social media and/or in the District 18 Newsletter)
  • Use your club's social networking sites and outreach opportunities to publicize club activities

VP Membership

  • Conduct Open House or other membership building activities with support from other club members
  • Increase recruitment efforts for Talk Up Toastmasters (reach out to prospective members and former members)
  • Greet club meeting visitors and distribute guest packets ("blue folders")
  • Follow up with prospective members (club meeting visitors and others)


  • Begin collecting membership renewal dues for the April-September term
  • Support budget and expense tracking for your club's Open House and other membership building activities
  • Continue processing dues submissions from new club members
  • Continue tracking club expenses against the club's budget


  • Assist with Open House and other membership building activities
  • Document meeting minutes at executive committee meeting(s)


  • Assist with Open House and other membership building activities
  • Manage and maintain club equipment and materials
  • Set up and break down required materials for each club meeting

Your input and feedback are welcome.

Want to see a topic included? Have a story or photo share? Let us know!

Provide Feedback

Please share the information in this newsletter with your club members.

Not subscribed yet? Subscribe here.

Check out the Toastmaster Magazine and the Toastmasters Pathways web pages.

Integrity • Respect • ServiceExcellence