Guest Division C (North East Ireland)

By Division C Director Barry Lane

As I sit here at my desk on January 1, frantically trying to meet PR Manager, Daniel Sandars’ deadline, I find it incredible to believe we are at the halfway point of the season. Or as one of our VPE’s phrased it, “We’ve reached the summit guys, now we can start going back down!!”

Hard to believe, but we have reached the halfway point of another Toastmasters season.

I have been in a member for 14 years now and I’ve never stopped learning because Toastmasters never stops teaching. Learning does not conclude with the awarding of a pin, a ribbon, or a certificate. Every meeting is a forum to pick up on something new, be that a topics response, an evaluation, or speech.

As Division Director, I have had the pleasure of visiting several clubs, stretching all the way from Dublin to Belfast. In fact, I’m pretty sure my car knows the M1 motorway better than I do now. In each club I have attended, I have received a warm welcome and witnessed Toastmasters amazing hospitality to guests. I have learned (that verb again!!) much by observing the diverse ways meetings are run, while always adhering to the Toastmasters Core Values of Integrity, Respect, Service & Excellence.

The 2018 portion of the 2018/19 season has been a frenetic, furious and at times frazzled experience but never less than enjoyable and highly rewarding. Some memorable points

Club Officer Training

A very enjoyable few hours with excellent hands-on presentations by our Pathways Champion (and Fingal President) Graham Dunne and Past International President Ted Corcoran

Autumn Contests

The Division witnessed 4 Area Contests and 1 Division Contest, all of them highly entertaining. Congratulations to Stephen Morrow (Lagan Valley) and Deirdre Davis (Phoenix-Tara) who go on to represent the Division in the Humorous Speech and Table Topics respectively.

Pre-Chartered Clubs

I was privileged to be invited to speak at the Division’s 2 pre-chartered clubs – Dublin 15 Toastmasters (Area 16) and Banbridge Speakers (Area 19). Both clubs are doing well and benefiting from support from neighbouring established clubs.

The Division Leadership Team

Big thanks to the Division leadership team; Marian, Marie, Chris, Michael, and Laurence for keeping me on course.

Pre-chartered Club, D15 Toastmasters

By Tony McIntyre – Founder

In February 2018 we started a new club Dublin 15 Toastmasters in St Mocha’s Parish Parochial Centre, Porterstown, D15. It was a success from the start. The club is being mentored by members from Phoenix-Tara Toastmasters and Castleknock Toastmasters. We have been growing steadily and we expect to charter in the first quarter of 2019. We also have had great support from many other clubs, the Area and Division Directors and this has been an immense help.

Dan Rex Presentation to EI Toastmasters

By Eileen O’Neill – President EI Toastmasters

“Enterprise Ireland had a warm welcome for the team from Toastmasters International and was delighted to receive the Toastmasters International Corporate Recognition award from CEO, Dan Rex. EI Toastmasters hosts fortnightly lunchtime meetings and membership is open to all staff working in Eastpoint Business Park. The club was established in 2013 and currently has 30 members with great cultural diversity represented by toastmasters from Ireland, the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, the US and more

Assistant Director, Division C

By Marian Brennan; President Phoenix -Tara Toastmasters

Seven years ago, while working in a Corporate Company I saw a sign that invited everyone to a Toastmasters open meeting. Suddenly looking at the poster I had an “Aha” moment. This is what I had been looking for, but little did I know that this was going to be one of the best decisions I had ever made. I remember thinking I have arrived! I had loved words all my life and writing short stories had been a secret passion of mine and now here was a place where a group of like-minded individuals were telling me how welcome I was, how I would be supported and encouraged every step of the way along this new journey.

Not too long afterwards I looked up a local club in my area Phoenix-Tara in Dunboyne. I remember so well the welcome I received at the door and the friendly encouraging faces that filled the room that night. Before long I realised I was sitting among some amazing people who were genuinely friendly and welcoming and from that night on I was hooked. I soon learned there was a lot more to Toastmasters than just getting the courage to stand up and speak. You also must learn to know what to say and how to say it. For the first time I learned how to craft my words into a speech that people would be interested in. I learned how to do this within a specific timeframe and through the amazing evaluations that were given each night. I have made friends of the very best kind and been encouraged, educated, and learned what true leadership is all about. From a business perspective it has given me the courage and self-belief to speak to clients and deliver a pitch with confidence. As an individual I have developed, grown, and learned wonderful skills that are invaluable to me. Socially I have made such amazing friends and whatever part of the world I am in I look up a Toastmaster Club that I can attend. This year I am honoured to be President of this great club and I look forward too many more years of remarkable story telling, camaraderie, fun and meeting wonderful people which is what Toastmasters is all about.

Area 10

By Director Michael Madigan

Happy New year from Area 10.

This is a vibrant area with five clubs having a combined membership of 130 Toastmasters.    Each club held their own Christmas party with the usual Toastmaster chats and fun – hard to beat a delicious meal with friends to round out the year.  Now as we move into 2019 all five clubs are planning to achieve nine of their club goals.  2019 meetings are planned to start in early January with open days and a recruitment drive to support the many New Year’s resolutions.  Working with all clubs to keep social media sites up to date to attract new members.  Focusing on one club to help grow membership back over 20 members.

Looking forward to a successful and fun year ahead and continue to learn by doing!

Area 16

By Director Marie McNamee

The clubs in Area 16 are, Castleknock Toastmasters, Phoenix-Tara, Navan, and I.B.M. Blue. As Area Director I am witness to the constant teamwork the clubs in my Area have shown over the year. Always willing, always steadfast, always a team in the bigger picture.

Friends and Toastmasters as we think about leaving behind all the successes, we have achieved in 2018 we focus on the challenges of the year ahead. We had an extremely successful Division C. Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests in the Carlton Hotel, Dublin Airport on Sunday 18th Nov. Stephen Morrow and Deidre Davis won Division Humorous and Topics respectively. Gerry French and Regina Byrne were the runners up. These contestants will go forward to the District Contest in Norwich 10/12th May 2019. Well done to the Contest Chair, Laurence Kelly and Chief Judge, Teresa Redmond. Also worthy of mention, is our Division Director, Barry Lane for being the anchor of this major event.

Hopefully we will be welcoming a new community club into the Area early next year, Dublin 15 Toastmasters. I attended a meeting recently and the Toastmaster of the evening opened the meeting with a very inspirational quote about teamwork “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go together”. How true this is. We are all very fortunate to have had the opportunity of becoming Toastmasters. It has given us all a voice and the skills to work as a team.

Two years ago, I joined a writing club. Before joining Toastmasters, it was just a dream. Words are powerful. Let us use them wisely. Mindful of the Christmas season on the horizon I wrote this poem for all those who do not have a voice.

The Gift of Time.

The Old Man with his half empty shopping bag
Making his way home to an empty silence
The old woman in the window
Who watches, watches, for movement
Somewhere, anywhere – to fill the empty hours

A young boy sitting on the pavement, with his paper cup, begging
He could be your son or mine
A young girl with her new born baby crying, in the corner of a doorway
Waiting, waiting, not for the coins, or discrimination
But for just a simple smile
We all notice but still we pass by

We complicate our lives with wants and needs
When all we need is time to hear, time to see the old man and woman
And not walk by

A friend whose sick and needs to talk
A friend that’s troubled but knows not why
All they need is time – your time to spare

The bustle of the crowd
I am not noticed
Who are these people hurrying by

Tired, troubled, lonely
This could be you or me
Let not this priceless gift of sharing time
Be wasted by indifference or the pace of day.

Area 19

By Director / VPE Newry Speakers – Chris McCabe

It has been a fantastic year for area 19 with it gaining a new prospective club, a member from the area winning the division humorous speech contest and the area itself achieving select distinguished.

When I first thought about taking on the responsibility of being area director I never envisioned how hard of a role it would be especially when I set the goal for the area to achieve presidents distinguished.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to really see a different side of Toastmasters, as when you walk into your first ever Toastmasters meeting, you do not realise the level of organisation that goes on behind the scenes.

Part of the requirements for the area achieving presidents distinguished is to have a growth of one club which has led to some great experiences.

A new club is like a blank slate, you forget a lot of the stuff that brings a club together which your existing club takes for granted like a venue, evaluation forms and even lights.

I visited a few potential venues and finally landed at the Downshire Arms, a hotel in Banbridge. It was one of the few places that fit the budget in the three towns I had shortlisted.

Luckily, other clubs have pitched in and taken on roles which I’m truly in their debt for. Banbridge Speaker’s regularly pulls in 10 people a meeting and with the New Year focusing everyone on their resolutions, I fully expect the club to charter before the end of the Toastmasters year.

The proudest moment for me has been watching one of area 19’s contestants, Stephen Morrow, compete in and win the division’s humorous contest.

Stephen has been a pillar of area 19, not only starting the Lagan valley club, serving as Belfast Toastmasters’ president but also serving as Area director previously. I fully expect Stephen to do well and place when he competes in the district final in Norwich.

Over the festive period, clubs are having their Christmas parties, my own club Newry Speakers are meeting in the local bowling alley for a game of bowls and a Christmas dinner. Some clubs have an end of the year awards ceremony to present achievement awards to anyone who has excelled in their club in the calendar year.

As we return to our clubs in January, I am encouraging the clubs to hold open nights and really drive growth. My own club had a very successful open night in January 2018 and we are hoping to repeat the success this coming January.

Area 22

By Director – Laurence Kelly

Area 22 embraces a portion of north Dublin City. We have both community and corporate clubs and as Area Director this year, I am hugely impressed with what they both bring to their Toastmasters members.

What strikes me about corporate clubs is that by their nature they must make every minute of the TM meeting really count. They can hardly return to work late just because a lunchtime meeting overran. I don’t think their manager would be impressed by hearing an excuse such as “Sorry boss, but Larry or Patricia went over time on their speech……” These meetings tend to be more focused and full of energy and maybe we could all learn a lesson from their approach.

Having visited both EI and Datalex TM clubs and attended several meetings of a promising prospective club, I have been wowed by their energy and participation. Corporate clubs attract members from several cultural, social, and educational backgrounds. The fusion of this diversity led to several interesting and enjoyable meetings recently. At one recent meeting the different nationalities and professions of the members led to a wide discussion of how Christmas or that season is celebrated or marked by various ethnic groups in Ireland. It was both interesting, educational, and inspiring to hear about the range of meals and family celebrations that were being held over the Christmas/holiday season.

The community clubs have a different approach and a broader range of membership. Those in Area 22, Glasnevin and Viking Voices are very welcoming and enjoyable. The social side comes more to the fore and this helps members to develop and feel comfortable as they explore and develop their speaking skills.

The recent Christmas TM night in Glasnevin club had members from other clubs also. A great night was had, and Santa took a break from his busy workload at this time to act as Toastmaster. Many “speakers tried to ingratiate themselves with him, especially a lady member who “claimed” to be 16!! (Even by reversing those digits you would still be kind to her). Seasonal topics, poetry, and stories with contributions from all present made a very enjoyable and festive meeting.

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