Faces & Places

The Public Relations Team is spotlighting different members throughout District 31 titled “Faces & Places”. We want to help connect members throughout our district so everyone can have a chance to learn and network with each other, and get more exposure for your club.

 

Area Directors

“In my experience, my year as area director taught me a lot about myself and about leadership that I never would have learned without stepping up. It also allowed me to meet more people and learn about the differences between corporate vs. community.” ~ Megan Heffernan

D31 is seeking Area Directors for 2022-23!

Are you interested in developing your leadership skills? Toastmasters is where leaders are made! We provide a fun and safe place for you to develop your public speaking and leadership skills at Toastmasters!

What is an Area Director?

As Area Director, you serve as the direct liaison between the District and the clubs. An Area Director is appointed for a term of one Toastmasters program year, running from July 1 to June 30.

Area Directors conduct club visits at least twice a year to each of the clubs within their respective Areas to understand and support club needs. In turn, these visits help District leaders understand how to support and meet the needs of each club.

Area Directors are members of a Division Council — a team to serve the clubs within a Division and support the 4-5 Area Directors within the Division, under the guidance of a Division Director.

Why would you want to be an Area Director?

As an Area Director, you can:

·         Improve your skills as a speaker in a leader in environments outside of your club

·         Share your knowledge and experience to support other Toastmasters clubs

·         Learn from other Toastmasters clubs and bring that knowledge back to help your club

·         Meet other growth-minded individuals from across the District

·         Earn required credit toward the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award

Qualifications

Ideally, Area Directors have served as a Club President or Vice President of Education. However, interested members who have served in other officer roles will also be considered. To serve as an Area Director, you must be a paid member of a District 31 club in good standing.

We need Toastmasters area directors to support the clubs. They are the interface between the district and the clubs to help the members have a good experience and learn what Toastmasters has to teach.

Scott R. Caseley

Scott R. Caseley is a Writer/Director/Public Speaker from the Greater Boston area. Scott recently finished narrating, co-producing, and directing an ensemble audiobook production based on his Young Adult novel, Isosceles featuring 44 performers, a vast array of sound effects, and original music tracks in various genres. The project was produced, mixed, and completed at Cybersound Studios in Boston, Massachusetts. Scott built up a body of work in addition to the novel and audiobook project, authoring, or co-authoring three produced screenplays, various articles for an online film magazine. Scott also directed a feature film, a documentary short, a talk show, a dinner theater production, and co-directed another feature film.

Scott R. Caseley went to his first Toastmasters meeting in July of 2017. Before Toastmasters, the only leadership experience Scott had was serving as a director on some films and a television show. It had been worthwhile experiences, but Scott didn’t think he was at his best back then. he still had a lot of insecurities and a lot more to learn about leadership, and himself. Also prior to joining Toastmasters, Scott had been a guest speaker a few times at local high schools and his alma mater Franklin Pierce University where he earned his bachelor’s some years before. The experiences were wonderful, and Scott started to entertain the notion of being a professional motivational speaker. However, Scott was his own worst critic and knew he needed to learn more about structure and how to speak in a more concise manner. Toastmasters has taught him both things and a plethora of others, and now Scott would like to pay forward the lessons he has learned in and outside of the organization.

Scott belongs to the Alcott Toastmasters club which when the club meets in person meets in Concord, MA. Concord, Massachusetts is where so many authors have called it home including two of Scott’s favorites: historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and of course, Louisa May Alcott.

Throughout Scott’s Toastmasters journey he has earned Competent Communicator status in June 2018. Scott also competed in numerous Speech contests. Scott won 1st place in the Humorous Speech Contest and the International Speech Contest both at the Club level in 2017 and 2020 respectively. He’s currently working on the Innovative Planning Pathways path.

Scott’s currently about to finish serving as the Club President at Alcott and as the Area 21 Director. A few years back Scott served as Vice President of Membership at Alcott. If Scott were to select one thing as the best part of taking on these roles is when he witnesses some camaraderie amongst groups of people from various vocations, geographic locations, and they all treat each other as equals, there to learn, have fun, and perhaps most importantly feel okay being themselves. Personally, Scott’s favorite role is being an evaluator because he’s a director and when he gives feedback on someone’s speech it reminds him a bit of giving notes to a performer after a rehearsal for a play, or after a take on a movie shoot or audiobook production. Scott finds it helpful for the feedback to be a mixture of accolades and suggestions, and never being less than kind and attentive. When directing an actor, you both have the same goal and that is to have the best performance possible. It’s the same in his opinion with the partnership of an orator and an evaluator, you want the speech to be the best it can be, especially if the orator wants to have a second take at it down the line.

 Scott learned numerous things from joining Toastmasters, too numerous to mention here. Here’s Scott’s top three examples. First, how to run a meeting following parliamentary procedures. Second, how talk within time limits. Third, the most important lesson of all, that everyone has a story worth telling, and you can learn a lot about someone in how they share it with their use of vocal variety, gestures, and pacing, in terms of using pauses where appropriate.

Scott has been a podcast host, a motivational speaker, a two-time speech contest winner, and earned the title of Competent Communicator from Toastmasters International. If you’d like to learn more about any of these endeavors or Scott, please visit https://scottrcaseley.com.

 

Jay Karthik

On April 1, District 31 was invited to showcase the value of Toastmasters at the annual fair of the National Federation of the Blind in Boston. This event was one of the first in-person exhibitions the organization has hosted since the pandemic. There were ten exhibitors in all, showcasing various accessible solutions and tools. This opportunity to participate in the fair came about through the partnership of Division H Director Jesse Welty, DTM and the President of the Massachusetts chapter of the National Federation of Blind, Shara Winton.

Toastmasters Jay Karthik of the Watertown Saturday Toastmasters and Daryl Dauphin of the New Life Toastmasters managed the Toastmasters table, highlighting the benefits of Toastmasters while answering any questions that the guests had. Several guests had not heard about Toastmasters and were interested in learning more. The flyer handed out connected the guests to the accessible page “Toastmasters for Everyone” created by Division H Director Jesse Welty, DTM.

When asked if Jay ever thought he would be doing an event like this, he stated “Prior to joining Toastmasters, I definitely would not have signed up to do some of the things I do now. Both at work and socially.”  Before joining Toastmasters, Jay wasn’t assertive enough and felt like he was not articulating his ideas clearly and effectively. When Jay joined Toastmasters in 2012, he was desperately trying to find ways to boost his self-confidence and hide his inhibitions, therefore he decided to join Toastmasters.

Jay received his CC award in a few years and took a break when he moved back to MA from NJ. Jay currently belongs to two clubs: Watertown Saturday Toastmasters & Tragicomedy. Jay won 2 Triple Crown awards in 2019 and 2020. Jay is hopeful he will qualify for the Pathfinder award this year. Jay is working on two Paths within Pathways which are Engaging Humor and Leadership Development.

Jay’s home club used to meet on Saturday mornings at a Church in Watertown. The club is currently meeting online and exploring options to host hybrid meetings. The club members had a great outdoor meeting at an amphitheater in Watertown last summer and are looking at scheduling more such meetings this year. The energy and vibe were fantastic, and they played some improv games that could only be facilitated in person.

Jay has held all major roles except VP-Membership and Treasurer. Of all the club officer roles Jay has held, he loves VP-Public Relations the best. He felt there were fewer protocols to follow and more freedom to run as many open houses as possible, special meetings and advertising wherever I could get my hands on.

Jay’s favorite roles at a meeting are Toastmasters and Table-Topics Master. Jay saw himself improve drastically with responses to table-topics questions. Jay noticed he doesn’t ramble on and on anymore, trying to have the perfect landing, which doesn’t happen most of the time.

Jay has learned two important aspects: active listening and being spontaneous. As well as learning to offer feedback in a diplomatic fashion and engaging the audience. Jay has asked himself why he’s such a fan of Toastmasters and why he continues to be a member. Jay stated the answer is simple. “I see the need to keep the saw sharpened, as Stephen Covey mentions in his bestseller, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I tend to feel rusty when I have not gotten my monthly dose of Toastmasters. I also find Toastmasters to be an avenue for me to be creative and working on engaging humor that can lift other members up.”

 

Christy Meng

In 2018, Christy Meng was looking to improve her public speaking skill and decided to join Toastmasters. Christy’s life before joining Toastmasters was quieted and muted through joining Toastmasters Christy was able to learn how to speak up and let her voice be heard.  Belonging to Toastmasters helped Christy build her confidence of speaking up publicly.

Christy belongs to two clubs which are Toast of the Town and Advanced Articulators of Andover. Currently, these clubs are meeting virtually. Christy is working on three different Pathways: Dynamic Leadership, Persuasive Influence and Visionary Communications. Throughout Christy’s Toastmasters journey she has taken the club coach role. As a club coach Christy was able to help a declining club thrive again. One of Christy’s accomplishments is coming in 3rd place in the District’s International Speech Contest in 2020. Christy also earned District 31’s Triple Crown Award twice.

The recently spiked Asian Hate Crime awakened Christy that speaking up and unmuting the so-called Model Minority is much needed and often language is the biggest obstacle. As a bonus, while gathering interest, Christy realized there are people who want to sharpen their mandarin skills on the other hand. Christy hopes this club can benefit people with Toastmaster principles in general while improving their bilingual skills. Christy hosted the English-Mandarin Bilingual club demo meeting on February 15th that had a great attendance. They also received overwhelming positive feedback through a post-demo survey. The mission of this new virtual English-Mandarin Bilingual club is to help both English speakers improve Mandarin and Mandarin speakers improve English to communicate effectively in both languages. Do you speak or are you learning Mandarin? Help charter the first bilingual club of District 31! If you speak both languages or know people who do, share your interest, and help us spread the word by sharing the email: mandarin@district31.org.

 

Dr. Sherri Raftery, DTM, PDG

Dr. Sherri Raftery, DTM joined Toastmasters in 2005 after seeing an ad on TV. “I was watching my local cable station – and saw an ad ‘Would you like to conquer your fear of Public Speaking’… I called Marlene Westerman, Vice President of Membership, originally thinking this would help my performance skills surprisingly my leadership skills emerged.”

Since joining Sherri has held every club officer role, she’s currently the VP of Education for Metrowest Toastmasters Club.  She also enjoys presenting at Club Officer Trainings, perhaps we’ll be able to have Sherri present at a future TLI.

Sherri has earned 4 DTMS, 2007 Area Governor of the Year, 2007-2008 Excellence in Marketing, 2008-2009 Excellence in Education & Training, 2009-2010 Distinguished District Governor with the theme “Take Center Stage”, 2009-2010 Excellence in Leadership and in 2016 Toastmaster of the Year.

Fun Fact: “When I served as the 2008-2009 Lt Gov of Ed & Training, I started the TRIPLE CROWN Award for D31 and am pleased to see it continues now as a Pathways Award.”

According to Sherri, her “life has improved since joining Toastmasters. I am a professor, teach public speaking and communication courses at North Shore Community College and Fisher Colleges.” Most recently Sherri completed her doctorate in Education Leadership in Higher Education Ed.D.

“I wanted to thank fellow Toastmasters for allowing me to come to your clubs and practice my dissertation defense “Foster Youth Mentorship Programs in Higher Education” – I appreciated the feedback and support from members. I was also honored to have TMs attend my Dissertation Defense on Monday November 29, 2021, on ZOOM. My hope is to increase foster youth’s access, retention, graduation rates in college, instead of them becoming incarcerated.”

Sherri is a resident of East Boston, lives near the Tall Ship (with an oyster bar) which features three custom mahogany bars, built around the grand mast surrounded by the city skyline and Boston harbor.

It’s clear that Sherri has accomplished a lot and has so much to offer our current and future Toasties. Thank you, Sherri, for all you’ve done in support of District 31 and for starting the Triple Crown Award (now the Pathfinder Award).

Share This