Meet Our Club Officers

Meet our outstanding group of officers who do their best to ensure Club 7 is one of the best Toastmasters Club in San Diego!  Not only does Toastmasters help you to become an effective communicator, it also sets you up to be a better leader for your group or community.

Club President

Sureal Sparx, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

Sureal Sparx at a Toastmasters Conference

Sureal Sparx is a full time Realtor® who joined San Diego Toastmasters 7 in April 2015. Outside real estate, he is passionate about speaking and coaching for personal development.

His first visit was “love at first sight”. He decided to join the club immediately and has never looked back.  Because the speaking and leadership opportunities through Toastmaster are simply unmatched, Sureal gets to sharpen his skills at every meeting and every Toastmaster event.

He uses these skills on a daily basis through negotiations and sales in Real Estate. The club offers a safe and supportive environment to practice allowing him to outperform the competition in the real business world.

In the Past, Sureal has served San Diego 7 as Vice President of Membership for 4 terms. He also was Area 12 director for the District, overseeing 5 clubs, one of them being a newly chartered club within District 5!

He is also honored to have earned Distinguished Toastmaster, the highest recognition given in the Toastmaster Organization.

Outside Toastmasters, Sureal enjoys exercising (Body Pump in particular), hiking, and accomplished his first Marathon in June 2019.

Music, Arts, great food, and traveling are some other areas of his interests.

He is always happy to meet new people, so make sure to go and talk with him.

Vice President of Education

Joyce Persichilli, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM), District 5 Club Quality Director

Joyce Persichilli (Per-sick-kelly) is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) twice over and a member of three Toastmasters clubs in California—San Diego Toastmasters 7 & Toast of the Coast in District 5 and Past District Governors Club 407 in District 100. She joined Toastmasters in July 1996.

Joyce served as District Director in 2002-2003 and again in 2016-2017. Since leaving office in 2003 she continues to support our district and region.  In 2010, Joyce was the first recipient of the Helen M. Blanchard “Trail Blazer” Award, presented to her by Helen M. Blanchard the first woman president of Toastmasters International. She has been named District 5 Toastmaster of the Year not once but three times. The most recent as the 2018 Toastmaster of the Year for District 5 Toastmasters. 

In 2010 she was appointed the first Region Advisor by then Toastmaster International President – Pat Johnson. Joyce served two terms as Region Advisor. During her second term as region advisor, our region was the number one region in North America.

In 2018 Joyce received a Presidential Citation from Balraj Arunasalam, Toastmasters International President for outstanding and continued contributions to Toastmasters International’s organizational growth and excellence.

She continues to serve as a club officer, District Judging Chair and mentor for district leaders.  She currently serves our district as Club Growth Director for 2020-2021.

When not involved in Toastmasters she volunteers as an advocate for senior citizen rights for the San Diego County Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. Joyce was also recently appointed a board member for the Commission for Aging.  She credits finding her voice for the aging population of the city of Chula Vista through her experience in Toastmasters. In her spare time she especially enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. Joyce is a prime example of servant leadership and a cherished member of our club and community. 

Vice President of Membership

Alberto Alvarado, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

Alberto Alvarado

Vice President of Public Relations

Chris Hammell, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

Chris Hammell performing at National Comedy Theatre

Chris Hammell has been a member of San Diego Toastmasters 7 since 2010. He won first place in the Area 21 and 2nd place in the Eastern Division Humorous Speech Contests in 2011. He was club VPE throughout 2014, a past Area 26 Director, and the Area 9 International Speech Champ. In this club he has won the International Speech, Humorous Speech, Tall Tales, Table Topics, and Speech Evaluation contests. He has presented several times at the Toastmasters Leadership Institute and was a featured speaker at the Fall Conference. He was awarded Member’s Choice at Club 7 and given a District Governor’s Award on the final year before it became the District Director’s Award. In 2018 he was awarded the Helen Blanchard Trailblazer Award.

Chris is also a member of Improv Masters, a Toastmasters Club that he co-founded. He is also on a House Team at National Comedy Theatre where he enjoys performing improv. Chris also enjoys comic books, Marvel Studios films, action figures, and the sound of his own voice. Oh, and during a short stint as a stand-up comic, he opened for Dat Phan, the first winner of Last Comic Standing.

Club Secretary

Eric Linder, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

Distinguished Toastmaster and leading club subversive Eric Linder has enjoyed his membership in Toastmasters since early 2006. Since that time, Eric served as an Area Director as well as President of San Diego Toastmasters 7 for five 6-month terms, and has over the years trained dozens of Club Officers for their positions, despite their protests.

Having recently taken early retirement from a challenging tech career, Eric now enjoys tormenting his four grandchildren by challenging them to footraces, which he (decreasingly) wins. Not being responsible for their health, he regularly treats his grandkids to unhealthy, tasty treats – while their parents proceed with their domestic squabbles.

Exposed to adult humor from an inappropriately early age (14), Eric has always enjoyed all things funny, and most recently has a great time listening to comedy podcasts by notable comedians, including Tom Segura, Whitney Cummings, and Bill Gates.

Club Treasurer

Lynette Benitez, Competent Communicator (CC)

Lynette Benitez

Lynette Benitez, CC/LD1 is a Competent Communicator and a Leader Developer I. She is a Past VP of Membership in 2018-2019 holding 2 terms and the recipient of the 2018 San Diego Toastmasters 7 Club Rookie of the Year award. She was part of the Membership Committee 2017-2018 for Denisse Ypina-Favela, VPM. She has been a member since 2017 and had originally joined to help her stage presence with in-class education for teams of developing students.

My first visit, “It just felt right…I finally found people that could relate to my desire to learn. We are constantly fueling each other with endless information. If you’re all about self development in and outside of your career. Toastmasters 7 is the Tribe for you!”

Outside of Toastmasters 7, Lynette is a full time Insurance Broker and the Director of Operations at The Lawrence Potter Insurance Agency. Toastmasters has helped Lynette master her communication, leadership and organizational skills.

Lynette also enjoys salsa dancing, boxing and simply being a mom.

Club Sergeant at Arms

Ray Samson

Immediate Past Club President

Jon Berman, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM)

San Diego Toastmasters 7 Club President, Jonathan L. Berman, is the 12th club member since 2004 to earn Toastmasters International coveted Distinguished Toastmaster award.

An adventurous traveler and surfer from San Diego, California, Jonathan joined San Diego Toastmasters 7 in 2014. Berman thrilled his audiences with stories of the Brazilian Favelas, the friend zone, and his love for astronomy. He is a two-time Club Humorous Speech Champion and the 2016 Area 9 Humorous Speech Runner up.

As VP of Membership and VP of Public Relations under Club President, Amir Guri, in 2015-2016 Berman demonstrated to be a women’s advocate. Indeed, Berman campaigned to fill a gender gap at San Diego Toastmasters 7 by organizing the first All Ladies Toastmasters meeting and recruiting 4 new female members that evening including Past Club President, Aimee Fuller. If that was not enough he was voted best female bartender at our 2015 club Halloween party for his Caipirinhas.

Last year as 2019-2020 as Distinguished Toastmaster and Area 9 Director, Yesica Vazquez was gearing to take over as Southern Division Director, she sought out members that she could trust in supporting clubs and members as Area Directors – while also being able to provide a friendly and directive demeanor. The first person Vazquez went on a quest to scope out was Jonathan Berman. Lucky enough for her, Jon accepted and took over as her successor as the Area 9 Director.

During his term as area director, Jon proved to be an exceptional leader.  He is a true reflection and representation of the core values of Toastmasters.