Me & My Muse – Day 1399: Toastmasters District 62 Spring Conference Aftermath

This is it.  The recap that you have been waiting for.  Or is it?  Whether it meets or expectations to a T or falls just short of them,  here it is, in its entirety.  The Spring Conference aftermath from the Toastmasters District 62 Spring Conference at the Okemos Conference Center in Okemos, Michigan: May 6, 2017.

First of all, the theme.  The theme for the Okemos Spring Conference was “ROAR (Rate Of Amazing Return)”.  And there was a lot of ROARing this past Saturday.  How so?  Follow me, and you will hear all the ROARs.  It was a day of learning, speaking and networking.

First of all, the name of the theme was decided because it fit well as a good them for the conference.  It was complete with a Broadway Lion King lion logo. That’s about all I know about the theme, since i wasn’t part of the planning this time.

The conference started with Karen Newhouse welcoming everyone to the conference.  Lansing Mayor Virg Bernaro then gave a brief welcome to our group.

After that, Diana Kasza shared with us the Pathways Learning Experience.  This was Toastmasters new education program, and our District is supposed to roll it out in November.  With a limited time frame, she asked to save all questions for another time.

Cindy Pavella then gave “Celebrating District 62 Toastmasters Legacy”, a tribute to three veteran Toastmasters that have recently passed away.

The Evaluation Contest followed.  With only 3 contestants, it was a pretty short contest.  The target speaker was Cathy Koyanagi, a woman who lost her eye sight from eye cancer 10 years ago.  Since then she has been speaking for the blind, and also serving as a blind comedian.

All in all, the evaluations were pretty good.  Faizan Shafique of the MSU Strictly Speaking Club won.

After this, I heard a keynote speech from Daniel Ally.  He shared with everyone the four secrets of success.  Daniel is known more recently for his TED Talk that reached over 4 million views.  Having been born homeless in the Bronx, he has made great strides to be the successful person that he is today.

Lunch followed, with the DTM ceremony following.  Amy Moored led the ceremony, and there were six new DTM’s that would receive their DTM medallion.  I stood in the DTM line and contratulated each new one as they went by (including Carol Prahinski, who earned her third DTM).

After lunch,  The International Speech Contest followed.  Overall, there were some really good speakers, including one that blew everyone away.  This was Noreen Savage, member of an N Division club, the West Michigan Advanced Club.  She got first place with a speech where she talks about her mother and and how much she looked up to her.  With all of her appeal and the impact of her message, she won.

After that contest was the Business Meeting.  Different items were discussed, with me issuing a couple motions. Helen Dotson and Jim Graczyk were elected into their new District positions.  Helen got Program Quality Director and Jim got E Division Director.  All in all, the meeting was okay.

After that, Paul Artale gave an educational session titled “Strength Based Leadership”.  It was hands-on and we all learned as an audience what are strengths were, and how we can use them in our club.  Overall, the session was pretty good.

The dignitary procession followed, with dinner happening soon after.

After dinner,  Daniel Ally gave his last keynote in the form of a Q&A Session.  This replaced his original talk “How to Think BIG?”  We all learned a lot about Daniel from the questions that the audience asked him, including his Christian background.

Karen Newhouse then closed the conference, with Aaron Templeton inviting everyone for a District Director’s Reception afterward.  This was the end of the conference, so everyone was encouraged to help take everything down before leaving, to save the committee a lot of work.

The reception wasn’t much of one, since mostly everyone left.  But I did get some good conversation with a few key people before I left.

When that was over, I went back to my hotel room in Lansing for the night.

If you didn’t have time to read all that, let me give you the short version.  I learned a whole lot yesterday, as did everyone else who was present.

With that, I will now end…


Muse:  That was beautiful.  Not like your fake entry from yesterday.

Fake?  That was real!  So I scheduled it in advance.  How else was I supposed to leave something like that if I was gone yesterday?

Muse:  The hotel did have a computer area.  You could’ve left it then.

And yeah, I had my laptop, too.  But the wi-fi wasn’t very good in the room, and I didn’t want to do it there.  Well, I’m finishing, okay?  I believe that I said everything that I needed to.

Muse:  I learned a lot from my conference too, but I’m tired.  I didn’t sleep well last night so I’m going to take a nap.

Okay.  I’ll let you do that…

Today’s high is going to be 53 degrees and the silver lining is getting this recap done.

To all of you who have ever had a wonderful learning experience, I hope that you all have a fantastic day.


Muse:  That conference recap was golden.  I loved what I learned at my conference too, but man, am I tired…