What Did I Miss: 9/3/2020

What did you miss last night?

In the Humorous Speech contest, First Place winner, Dave Zarella, compared masks to having a used diaper taped to your face. Second place, Tomo Osako, talked about the pitfalls of online dating. And Kris Manske demonstrated the shell-shock of your social media feed.

In the International Speech contest, First Place winner, Jon Berman, showed us a world upside down and how it inspired him. Second place, Bob Dietrich, introduced us to his Guardian Angel, Sarah. And Jeremy Johnson showed us a life changed from anguish to accomplishment.

Dave and Jon will be going to the Area Contest to represent us Saturday, October 17th. While there aren’t any events posted to https://d5tm.org/district-calendar/ , stay tuned for more information.

If you want to learn more about the contests, the rulebook is good for club, area, division, and district level contests. We organize our contest according to the rules so that our club members can participate, perform functions, and even lead at higher level contests. That’s why you see so many of your fellow club members at higher level contests and serving is various district roles. This club produces leaders and the contests help us build them. Here is a link to the contest information: https://www.toastmasters.org/-/media/df5b90486396457dade944becca89cf0.ashx

Next week, Commander Christoph Kubitza, is going to lead us into our first post-contest meeting.

I hope you’re all doing well and I’d love to see you next week (and the week after, and the week after that, and the week after that)!

Chris Hammell, DTM

A Toastmaster’s Visit

Recently, we had the honor to host a guest from Italy – Antonio Blissett, the Immediate Past President of the Erzelli Toasters in Genoa and the current Area A5 Director.  His visit was a good reminder of how Toastmasters extend beyond our home club and a great way to make connections in new places!  Furthermore, by visiting other clubs, we can learn something new that we can take with us to make our club even better.  With clubs in over 140 countries, it’s almost a guarantee you will find one in every major city.

3/14 Meeting
Group photo of our members and guests

Due to my curiosity, I was interested in learning more about Antonio’s experience with visiting our club.  Here’s what I found out!

TM7:  How did you find our club?
I simply looked you up on the Toastmasters International website, and I didn’t realize at first what the “7” in your name stood for.
I was just lucky to find one of the most history-rich Clubs on the planet !
TM7:  What motivated you to visit?
Wherever I go, I try to see if a Toastmasters Club in the area has a meeting schedule compatible with mine. I did it once out of curiosity, and I liked the experience so much that it has become a habit.
It’s just so exciting to meet other Clubs: you can always learn new tricks and bring them home for the benefit of your fellow Toasties 🙂
TM7:  What was your best experience during your visit?
I was delighted by the team spirit you have shown while setting up the meeting and by the warm welcome you gave to me and to the other guests.
Also, Alberto’s workshop was top-notch.  Engaging, effective, entertaining.

Alberto Alvarado, soon to be Distinguished Toastmaster, presented The Art of Evaluation workshop.  He shared his knowledge and expertise on how to effectively give feedback when evaluating a speech.

TM7:  While it was a different format than our regular meeting, did you notice similarities and differences between your club and ours?
I liked a lot of the formal ceremonies you performed during the meeting – the Pledge to the flag, the induction of a new member with a secret vote. Small but important rites which add solemnity, and increase the feeling of belonging. Our Club is just 3 years old, and we should definitely learn from you.
TM7:  Additional feedback on the way we conducted our meeting?
Really enjoyable atmosphere! Professional, but with the right amount of humor !  

Thank you Antonio!  We look forward to your visit again next year.  And if we ever find ourselves in Genoa, we’ll make sure to connect with The Erzelli Toasters!!

erzelli toasters Antonio Blissett
Post-meeting drinks and eats at our favorite restaurant, DiMille’s. Antonio approves! (With our Treasurer, Christoph Kubitza)

Written by Elaine Dusetzina, VP Public Relations

To be Vulnerable is Just Fantastic

The mission of Toastmasters 7 club is to provide members with a mutually supportive and positive environment to practice public speaking while receiving constructive feedback to improve communication and leadership skills.

One thing I think is especially striking about our club (besides the fact that we like to have fun!) is the members and guests are in a safe and comforting space to explore and push past their comfort zone in developing their communication skills. Over the past six years, I have listened to and been moved by too many speeches to count.

I think it is the speeches where our speakers describe their vulnerability that tends to have a dramatic impact – in both subtle and overt ways. That opens a door, inviting us to develop and strengthen our sense of empathy and ultimately, become better people.

Last week’s meeting was held on Valentine’s Day, our Vice President of Public Relations gave a speech that resonated with me a great deal. I was also her evaluator and she wanted me to evaluate her based on her vocal variety, stage presence, and storytelling while displaying emotional vulnerability – this is a degree of skill that only advanced speakers can execute well, and Elaine did so.


I asked Elaine what motivated her to give the speech.  To which she responded –

“When I signed up to give a speech on Valentine’s Day, I wanted to push myself further out of my comfort zone by sharing an emotional story. My past speeches have been informational without touching on emotions whatsoever.  In the past months, I’ve heard many powerful and vulnerable speeches that really touched my heart – Jeremy and his transformation because of his daughters, Tomo and the loss of her father, Landon’s area contest winning speech and recently Dave Z.’s inspirational 10th speech.
Initially I thought about telling the story about my husband and how he is the opposite of my Dad but I didn’t want to just talk about my love life. Instead I wanted to share a part of me that others can learn from. I realized this after listening to my daughter’s speech.  In comparison with the rest of the students who did their TED talk at school, Eyva’s speech was encouraging.  This inspired me to open myself and also present an encouraging speech .  I felt my story of discovering self-compassion can move someone towards discovering their own.
The speech also made those raw emotions come alive – in a way it helped to revisit these emotions as I drew strength from them. Through suffering can I only grow stronger.”

And that is a sentiment I suspect a lot of you can relate to. Thank you, Elaine, for sharing your story.

*Thanks to Joy Clausen Soto, Guest Speaker, and winner of the evening’s Speakathon for the inspiration of the title of this post. Her speech was based off Zig Ziglar’s use of the word ‘Fantastic’. Yes, sometimes we have Speakathons because we have so many outstanding members waiting to give equally outstanding speeches.



TM7 Author Bio

What is a Roast?

On August 23rd 2018, our Toastmasters club had a special event: A Roast of one of our most beloved members, Eric Linder.  Eric recently earned the Distinguished Toastmaster designation, also known as a DTM. The DTM is the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters.  Prerequisites to attain a DTM are substantial, with members generally taking 3-8 years to earn the award.  Find out more about Toastmasters International Distinguished Toastmasters program on this link => Distinguished Toastmaster.

In a way of celebrating our members who received the coveted DTM designation, our club has performed roasts to acknowledge their accomplishment by poking a little fun at them.

Did you attend Eric Linder’s Roast?

For those who have not attended a roast before, a roast is an event where someone is being honored.  The person honored is subjected to jokes at their expense.  Traditionally the roasters, the people making fun of the honoree, are the family and friends of the person being honored.  These friends and family members will start off by making jokes towards people in the crowd or their fellow roasters.  Then the jokes move to the spotlighted member and finally end on a nice note praising the highlighted member.

Unfortunately for Eric he doesn’t have any friends (this is an example of a roast joke)!  A call was made out to members in the Toastmaster club to help roast him while celebrating his accomplishments.

Here’s how the roast went down!

The Roastmaster (also known as the MC of the evening) was Bob Dietrich.  Bob is an accomplished speaker who has also achieved his DTM.  He did the best he could to keep the roast on schedule and full of laughs. Unfortunately Bob is just not very funny, so he failed at the 2nd part!

The roasters of the evening were: Shadi Abudayyeh, Matt Mounier, Diane Horton, Sue Linder (Eric’s sister!), Antonio Garcia,  Sureal Sparx, Yesica Vazquez, Dave Zarella, Chris Hammell, and finally, Eric Linder himself.  Some of the roasters were incredibly hilarious (such as reigning club’s funniest member Shadi Abudayyeh) and some of the roasters were, to put it mildly, not funny (Yesica Vazquez).  Many of the jokes at these events are quite rude, risqué, and unbecoming of me listing them here, so I’ve taken the liberty of including some not as adult jokes here that received laughs.

I’m not saying that Antonio has a big forehead, I’m just saying it was a stunt double in the movie Three Billboards.”


There’s an old saying that says nice people can’t be funny. Tonight, Diane Horton will prove that.”


Matt likes to call himself the Mortgage Millennial, which explains why everyone hates him.”



Lou Weimann, our Club’s Sergeant-At-Arms commented on his experience of attending this roast:

“There are so many benefits to being a member of Toastmasters 7. One benefit I never knew about was the comradeship the group members share which leads to hilarious events like this ROAST. I never thought I could laugh so hard and almost piss my pants countless times. The jokes were so funny and I am so glad I didn’t miss this event. As if I needed any additional positive reinforcement for joining Toastmasters 7 months ago… but this ROAST is that additional awesomeness. Thank you, Eric Linder, for being a great person, a great sport and most importantly a great mentor to us all! “

Video credit to Bob Dietrich


Check out these photos from the Roast by our awesome photographer, Antonio Garcia – Access only available to SDTM7 members:



Written by Shadi Abudayyeh, Club President, CC/CL.  Check out his bio on our Meet Our Club Officers page.
Our club meetings are held every Thursdays (also last Tuesdays of the month). 6:30pm to 8pm in Normal Heights Community Center.
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