Club Sergeant-at-Arms Role (Officer Blog Series)

*This is a weekly blog series with our Club Officers writing about their personal experience in the role they serve.

Let me tell you the many great things about being SAA! My name is Lou Weimann and I’ve served in this role for the past year.
It’s great to be able to meet n greet all current members as well as guests.  With guests, I briefly explain the meeting and how everything works prior to the start. It’s awesome to make the guests feel as comfortable as possible with a smile and warm welcome instructions so it’s not too overwhelming. As Sergeant-At-Arms, I looked forward to being one of the first people guests see as they try out our club. Anything I can do to help someone overcome that initial fear of joining, like past members did for me and be the person right at the front door to help guests with any questions and/or concerns.

Prior to the start of the meeting, the SAA has the responsibility of “setting up” the room to accommodate all members and guests. All SAAs take great pride in putting the time and work necessary to make the club look the best it can look with all the tables and seating arranged for everyone’s comfort. I felt empowered to be responsible for the set up/breakdown of the room and making sure we have enough supplies to run club meetings. It helped me build leadership skills in a way that if we run out of stuff, I’m accountable, therefore I try not let anyone down by staying on top of it.

Lastly, the SAA makes arrangement and runs our social event – Toast a Member night. This is such a great and fun responsibility because who doesn’t like celebrating the greatness of our members and organizing an event for the club to celebrate our successes.
For more information about SAA, check out this slideshow from Toastmasters International:  SAA ROLE

If this is the role for you, please contact me! saa@toastmasters7.org

About Lou Weimann:

Louis… actually only his mom calls him Louis… you can call him Lou. Lou came to San Diego to join friends and family and ditch the brutal winters of New England in 2011 and never looked back.

Lou loves story telling, ask his friends… and he also talks a lot in his business life, working for Eastridge Workforce Solutions, as a staffing sales person. It was the desire to be a more concise, confident, and intelligent… well, at least sounding intelligent speaker, were the reasons Lou joined Toastmasters 7 in November 2017.

When not at Toastmasters, Lou likes to go to the latest Comic Book (mostly Marvel, but I guess DC, too) Super Hero Movies with his big brother, Jon. Lou is also an ex-hockey player / HUGE ice hockey fan. In fact, during the hockey season from November till about April, as a local professional hockey San Diego Gulls season ticket holder, you’ll find him at the Valley View Casino Center for every GULLS home game.

Club VP Public Relations Role (Officer Blog Series)

*This is a weekly blog series with our Club Officers writing about their personal experience in the role they serve. Club Officer election is coming up! If you’re interested in becoming a part of the Executive Committee, contact the Club President!

I decided to take the role as VP Public Relations a year ago to learn, grow and become more comfortable with promoting awareness about the Toastmasters 7 experience.  Many of our members, including me, look forward to Thursday nights to cap off the week as many members show up with great enthusiasm and high energy.  Even when you feel low, attending a Toastmasters meeting is a sure way to fire you up!  Because of Toastmasters’ positive impact on me, one way I could give back to the club was to accept the role of VPPR.  As I took on this role, my primary goal was to shine a light on the tremendous benefits Toastmasters bring to one’s personal and professional development.  
Member in the Spotlight with Sureal Sparx
You’re probably wondering what does a VPPR do?  As defined by Toastmasters International, a VPPR’s main responsibility is to –
“Generate positive awareness of the Toastmasters brand for the purpose of attracting and retaining members. It requires keeping the public (external audience) and members (internal audience) informed about club or district activities through effective communication channels and media relations. Good public relations will build membership and gain public recognition.”
Generating positive awareness can be accomplished in multitude ways which requires knowledge of various platforms and tools available.  Here’s a quick overview of what we have incorporated in our club:
Let’s start with one of the most popular in today’s society – SOCIAL MEDIA!   Social media is a direct and easy tool to use to connect with the masses.  As VPPR, I found Facebook as the most effective social media platform for SDTM7.  The ‘secret’ is consistency!  I’ve taken advantage of the various tools within the FB platform. From posts with photos and videos to Facebook lives, it has reached a wide range of audience knowing more about what we do as a club.
Keep in mind Facebook is not the only platform out there! This is why we try to keep our other social media channels active like LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.  Of course, it could get overwhelming for a VPPR to do all of the updates. It’s best to focus on one or two platforms that is the most effective. Or consider forming a committee to take care of the other channels.
EMAIL continues to be the main form of communication when keeping our members aware of the club’s activities.  Mailchimp is also another excellent tool to get in touch with guests who visited our club about our upcoming activities.
Having a WEBSITE that represents the club is also important.  This was one of my major tasks as VPPR – to have a website up and running with detailed information about our club along with beautiful photographs (many taken by our resident photographer Antonio Garcia) to attract members.  As part of the website is a BLOG (which you’re currently reading this piece of writing!) with posts from a few of our members who volunteered to share their experiences at Toastmasters through writing.
It’s been a pleasure to serve as the VPPR for the past year! I know the next elected officer will do great and continue to build awareness for how AWESOME our club truly is!  
If you are interested in becoming the next VPPR or take a part in a committee as you can tell this role can use the help of others, please let me know!

About Elaine Dusetzina: Elaine first stepped into a Toastmasters meeting at a San Diego Toastmaster 7’s Open House back in September 2017.  Immediately, she was hooked after experiencing so much positive energy from everyone. Normally, she’s not the type of person to step outside of her box.  However, she realized she needed to get out of her safe haven after an 11-yr stint with the Navy and becoming a stay-at-home mom for the past 8 years. Being a part of Toastmasters is exactly what she needed to hone her speaking and leadership skills.  Elaine served as VPPR for two terms in 2018/2019.
Elaine recently earned a second master’s degree this time with something she’s passionate about – Exercise Science and Health Promotion with a Wellness Coaching concentration as she aspires to start her own wellness coaching practice and empower others towards a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Her other passion is distance running and would love to run all of the World Marathon Majors (So far she’s ran Boston, NYC and Chicago with only 3 more to go! – Tokyo, London, and Berlin).  When she’s not running, you can find her outdoors hanging out with her 2 daughters, husband and dog.

Club Treasurer Role (Officer Blog Series)

*This is a weekly blog series with our Club Officers writing about their personal experience in the role they serve.

Kubitza_SDTM7

My name is Christoph Kubitza. I am San Diego Toastmasters 7’s Club Treasurer and a Distinguished Toastmaster. This is my fifth term as our club’s financial manager.

My responsibilities include:
$ Keep the club’s financial records.
$ Inform the executive committee and club members of Toastmasters 7’s financial health by submitting statements on a monthly basis.
$ Facilitate the development of the club budget based on event programming and club officers input.

I am also assisted by Immediate Past Club President, Competent Communicator and Leader, Jose Barajas, in the capacity of book keeper.

As your Club Treasurer in the past several terms, I learned (sometimes the hard way!) that maintaining good traceable records is crucial to facilitating filing of fiscal returns while helping officers develop future budgets in a timely fashion.

What is most rewarding is to see our outstanding educational and recruiting performances translate into positive financial returns that enhances our member support towards achieving their Advanced Communication and Leadership goals.

Questions about the Treasurer Role – don’t hesitate to contact me. If you’re interested, I am here to guide you through the in’s and out’s of our club’s financial management.

SDTM7

About Christoph Kubitza:

A Distinguished Toastmaster and a longtime member, Christoph joined in April 2004 after he was laid off by Rain Bird International.   He wanted to become better at organizing and presenting his ideas in staff meetings and to prepare himself for job interviews.

Currently, he’s a Warehouse 1st Shift Supervisor of Kraft Heinz San Diego food processing plant,  home of the Delimex brand of Mexican frozen food.  He’s responsible for a team of 10 Material Operators that supplies 6 production lines.

Christoph has been instrumental in the growth of San Diego Toastmasters 7 serving as a mentor to various members of the club.  He is also helping to grow another club in San Diego, Creatively Speaking Toastmasters. Christoph served as a Treasurer in the past year 2018/2019.

His hobbies are reading, movies, archery, touch rugby, and travel.

Club Secretary’s Role (Officer Blog Series)

*This is a weekly blog series with our Club Officers writing about their personal experience in the role they serve..

My name is Salam Alchi, Club Secretary for San Diego Toastmasters 7. I rejoined Toastmasters in 2018 after a 9 year hiatus and immediately became immersed in the process of my growth as a speaker, leader, and most importantly, as an active listener.

After a few short months of membership, I was presented the opportunity to take the Secretary role for SDTM 7. I was nervous and reluctant to take the role, however after the helping hand of the previous secretary, Corinna Koehler, I found the courage to take the role.

The secretary role by nature is a supportive role. For Toastmasters, it allows club officers to communicate effectively and clearly while having faith the contents of discussion are captured. When I do my job of taking notes, updating sheets, welcoming members, and taking executive meeting minutes, the operations of the club can flow with ease. This role in a nutshell, is a functional record keeper which is a gateway teacher “behind the scenes” of our beloved organization. 

After 4 months of serving, I can say I am absolutely glad that I did for these three reasons:

1. Service:
Being one of 6 leaders in the club, it is a privilege and an honor to be of service to such an outstanding organization. 
2. Accountability:
Being a club officer deepened my responsibility to the club. Though attending is not a “requirement,” I no longer have an easy scapegoat to miss a meeting. Outside of the connections I built organically through participation, the leadership makes sure I have the tools necessary to be a positive contribution to the club. 
3. Attention: 
We are here to grow, evolve, learn, and execute those skills in an emotionally safe space. In order to do so, it is important to actively listen while participating in the meeting. Showing up is great, but the benefits are decimated when mentally checked out. In my role I must provide an accurate ledger for participants, guests, and attendees for each meeting. This includes last minute changes and cancellations. I have learned this process warms up my attentive skills to be a more attuned and active listener while participating in the meeting. 

I look forward to fulfilling the term through the end of the year. 🙂 

About Salam Alchi:

Salam was born in Baghdad in 1988 and immigrated to the US in 1993.  His passion in life is to study and understand the nature of our existence, both individually and collectively. When ready, he will apply what he has learned for the betterment of his family, peers, and environment.

“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…” – Hermes Trismegistus


Club President’s Role (Officer Blog Series)

This is the first post of the Officer Role Blog series.  Each week, an officer of our club will write about the specifics of their role.  We are starting with the Club President and let me warn you ahead of time that this post will entertain you as it is written by none other than one of our most humorous members!

My name is Shadi Abudayyeh and I’m the Club President of San Diego Toastmaster’s 7 (even though for the past few years being a president has gone a bit out of style).  

_DSF2396

You might be wondering what a president in a Toastmaster’s club actually does?  Well, according to the official Toastmaster’s job description:

“The club president is the chief executive officer of this club and is responsible for fulfilling the mission of this club. The president presides at meetings of this club and the club executive committee, appoints all committees, and has general supervision of the operation of this club. The president shall be an ex officio member of all committees of this club except the club nominating committee and shall serve as one of this club’s representatives on the area and district councils. The president shall transmit to this club for its approval or disapproval all ideas and plans proposed by the area and district councils which may affect this club or its individual members; and shall take no action binding upon this club without either specific prior authorization or subsequent ratification by this club.”

So that’s totally clear now, and you know exactly what a club President does, right???  If that above description doesn’t shed much light into what the role actually entails, don’t worry, you’re not the only one.  When it first came to my attention that my name had been mentioned as a possible president for the club, I read that above description trying to find out more information and didn’t get any real additional information.  So with that in mind, here are some basic information of what the club president actually does for a Toastmaster’s club:
  • THE PRESIDENT DOES EVERYTHING:  No, this is just a joke, the role of the president actually doesn’t have as much weekly responsibilities as some of the other executive committee roles.  What the president does have to do is a little bit of everything.  If I’m at a meeting and I notice that a member with an assigned role isn’t present, I look for a potential replacement, or I can put myself in the role.  If the agenda or guests’ names needed to be written on the whiteboard and no one else is writing it, well guess who writes it down with their sloppy penmanship?  And if someone has a question about a role, or needs a form, or just needs help with something, the president should be taking it upon themselves to help out wherever they can. Additionally, the president acts as a “Base Camp Manager” for the Pathways Program, and can help access and approve Pathway experiences. 
  • They represent the club outside of meetings:
    The president represents the club in a variety of circumstances, whether it’s receiving an award on behalf of the club, giving awards on behalf of member’s achievements, or receiving more awards on behalf of the club (what can I say, the club does well).  The president is also supposed to vote on the behalf of the club on various referendums, and schedules and chairs the club executive committee meetings.  I hope that paragraph was as exciting for you to read as it was for me to write.
  • They lead the club by example:
    It is the duty of the president to make sure that all the members in the club are happy and are achieving the goals they set for themselves, while realistically balancing the responsibilities for the club.  If there’s something that can be improved on in a meeting, it’s my undertaking to make sure those progressions happen.  If a member (or a guest) has an issue with something that is going on, I need to first listen to the issue, understand it’s significance, and then try to resolve where necessary.  If someone needs help, I reach out and make sure they get the help they need, whether it’s from me or someone else.  Even though talking to new people isn’t my favorite thing to do, I always try to greet and talk to every guest at our meetings.  
When I was first asked to consider being the club president, I wasn’t overly interested in the position, and didn’t understand why I should be selected when we have so many wonderful members of the club. I was told by Sam Hepburn, one of our past club Presidents, that being the president takes a special type of disposition; you have to constantly perform at a high level, understand what the club and its members need, and always help out even when no one is watching.  I’ve tried to take that to heart, and put the interest of our club’s members above my own.  Even though I joined Toastmasters to improve on my speaking, I haven’t given a speech since July of 2018.  I try to attend every meeting I can (even though there’s a few places I’d prefer to be on Thursday evening than on my couch watching football while drinking a beer).  And if after any meeting I don’t personally put away 30 chairs and three tables, I know I’ve been talking too much and not working enough.    
I would highly encourage anyone interested in learning more about the role of the club President (or any of the other executive committee roles) to please talk to me, and I’ll try to answer any questions you may have.  I wholeheartedly believe the old adage that our club is only as good as our members and if you would like to be a part of the executive committee, I would highly encourage you to do so! 
Pres SDTM7

About Shadi:
Shadi joined San Diego Toastmasters 7 in August 2015, and ever since then the rest of the club members have been trying to think of ways to get him to leave (unsuccessfully, to their detriment, so far). Shadi served as the President for two terms in 2018 – 2019.
In his occupation as a business analyst, he was recommended from his place of work (some stagecoach company called Wells Fargo) to join Toastmasters because he has a tendency to ramble and isn’t an accomplished speaker.  Both of those points are still true, but now he’s just a bit more loquacious (also to the rest of the club’s detriment).
When Shadi isn’t at Toastmasters he can mostly be found at home with his wonderful girlfriend and silly dog (separate entities of course), at a brewery debating his three favorite “B words” (burritos, baseball, beer) or planning his next vacation (maybe Portugal).  Shadi welcomes and encourages you to come visit San Diego Toastmasters 7 and see how it can help improve your life in ways you didn’t anticipate.