Me & My Muse – Day 2120: Toastmasters District 62 Spring Conference Aftermath

This is it.  The recap that you have been waiting for.  Or is it? I don’t know if you were anxiously sitting around your computer wondering “When is Kyle going to get that recap posted?”  Whether this was you or not, it is all finished.  And the best part about it is that you don’t have to wait for it!  At the end of the weekend, it’s all finished.  The recap is ready to read. All 2007 words.  Are you ready?

This was my experience from the conference that I attended this weekend.  The Spring Conference aftermath from the Toastmasters District 62 Spring Conference at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center in East Lansing, Michigan: April 26-28, 2019.

First of all, the theme.  To change gears, the theme for East Lansing’s Spring Conference was “Dream, Believe, Achieve”.  And from my experience, there was plenty to dream.  Plenty to believe.  And most certainly, there was plenty to achieve.  How so?  Listen to me as I will share my stories about this exciting weekend full of food, speaking and networking.

First of all, the name of the theme was decided because of that being the message of Kristie Stocker, our guest speaker.  She wanted us to dream big, and believe what we can achieve.  And all this can be done with a simple three letter word.  With that, the theme that you see was born.  And as for this recap, we haven’t even started YET!

So what about the weekend?  It begins with the journey.

My journey consisted of a rather lengthy 77.60 miles to the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center.  I had to drive down M-30.  This was the first leg.  After I got to M-46, I turned right.  I then turned left on Barry Road, right on Washington and left onto US-127.  This was the second leg. I drove down US-127, staying on it until I got to exit 78.  I then followed North Howard Avenue until I got to East Michigan Avenue.  I then turned left onto East Michigan Avenue, staying on that road until I got to South Harrison Road.  I turned right on South Harrison Road and then left onto East Brody Road.  I parked my car in the parking deck and got out.

I checked in and took the elevator to the 5th floor.  I then went down the hallway and found my room:  513.  I took the key, scanned the door, and entered.

Upon entering, I saw just the standard room, with two beds.  Here is a picture of the HDTV.

The furnishings were okay.  Double beds, a standard digital alarm clock, HDTV and a coffee machine.  Nothing to write home about.

The bathroom was rather disappointing.  Rather than having a shower like virtually every hotel does, the entire bathroom doubles as a shower.  I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to get the entire bathroom floor all wet.  I will just use my deodorant and wait to freshen up.  No freshening up YET.  At least the bathroom has a sink and a toilet.


Outside the bathroom was the closet, which I used to hang my belongings.

So as to not overdo it on the room, let get to the meat.  Or vegetables if you’re a vegetarian.  After getting situated in the room, I took the elevator to the first floor.  I then went around the corner to the conference rooms.  I went to the registration desk, which was not too far from the elevators.

I registered and then entered the auditorium.  In an adjacent room, there was a buffet of appetizers.  Vegetables, elbow macaroni, chicken, sausage, and two kinds of cheese sauce to put on your pasta.  I got what I wanted and entered the auditorium.  It felt out of place to have my appetizers in the auditorium, but okay.

Doug Brinker opened the conference, and Joshua Gillespie introduced Kristie Stocker.  Her speech was titled “The Most Powerful Three Letter Word”, and it talked about the three letter word that we all needed to learn.  While her speech was really good, her audio wasn’t.  It kept fading in and out during most of her speech.  Either she wasn’t miked good or they didn’t give her a good lavalier mike.  During one interactive portion of her speech, a tech team was able to get her onto a new mike and the audio problems were solved.  Audio hiccups aside, her speech was really good.

After Kristie’s speech, the Evaluation Speech Contest started.  This was led by Barbara Burrill.  Of all the speakers that went, Rocky Nichols came in first place with his evaluation.

With the Evaluation Contest done, the District Director’s Reception followed.  This was upstairs, in room 328.

For snacks, I helped myself to all cheese and crackers.  There was also some salami and some bagel chips with dried fruit and slivered almonds inside it.  The desserts were cupcakes and brownies. I then had a few nice talks.  I talked to Kristie about marathon running, my book, and a little bit about her experience in Toastmasters.  I then overheard a gentleman talking about relationships and I responded with I haven’t found a relationship YET.  I then talked to Amy Moored about relationships and she mentioned how it happened later in her life.  This was fine as I feel like the person should know themself before knowing someone else.

I stayed until 10:45.  Overall, it was a lot of fun and the networking was great.

The next morning was breakfast.  I entered the Lincoln Room for a breakfast of a breakfast burrito, a Quest Bar (that I brought from home), and some coffee.

Toastmaster Krystal Melton then welcomed everyone to the Saturday portion of the conference and introduced Kristie Stocker.

Kristie then continued where she left off from last night. She gave her second keynote, titled “Lead With Personality”.  In this keynote, she talked about the four personalities that different people have, using the DISC personality model.  She split the D’s, the I’s, the S’s, and the C’s in different parts of the room.  Being a “C”, I joined the other “C”s in this exercise.  She continued on to tell us that we all possess every letter, but in different amounts.  Even with that being the case, I am mostly a C-type.

I then went to a break out session.  I went to Marcia Maruqes’ session, titled “Unexpected Events in Toastmasters”.  In the session, she talked about two different scenarios of unexpected events, starting with an example of how the Costa Concordia cruise ship sunk and how the captain Francesco Schettino escaped without telling anyone.  While this man spent 16 years in prison for this incident, she explained a more heroic example with Chesley Sullenberger landing the plane in the Hudson River with every person escaping the plane alive.  She related this to how Toastmasters meetings can have unexpected events happen, and how we need to be ready for those events.

After that, there was Candidate Interviews for all of the elected district officers.  With this segment, we got to learn a little more about the people that would be running our District.

Lunch followed, where I was able to enjoy a delicious Kellogg Club Sandwich with a dill pickle.

Lunch was extended, since Ralph Kayler’s “The Revised History of Toastmasters by Part of the Original Cast” speech was canceled.  His was not able to make it, so everyone enjoyed a longer lunch.

A second break out session followed.  I went to Peter Letzmann’s session, titled “Making a Great Speech Better”.  In the session, Peter shared his tips and tricks to improving a speech.  And we best be paying attention, since one of us would be evaluating him in the end.  Fortunately, it wasn’t me, but another woman that did a great job.

The International Speech Contest followed.  Overall, there were some really good speakers.  In the end, the winner was Doug Kleivver.  Doug got first place with a speech where he asks “Who are You?”.  It was a moving speech about a painful divorce and some soul searching which resulted in him discovering that he had a gift to give.  At the end of the speech, he had the whole audience participating, shouting “gift” louder and louder.

After the contest was the Business Meeting, which started close to on time.  I did feel at ease when I found out that Joy Archer was going to be E Division Director for the rest of the year and next year, effective July 1st.  Different items were discussed, with me making a couple of motions. Much of the time was spent on realignment and the budget, but regardless of this, the meeting ended behind schedule.  All in all, the meeting was pretty good.

After the meeting,  Helen Dotson gave her last speech before handing it over to Spencer Van Roekel, the new District Director for the next year.  Spencer than gave his speech and how he expanded his Why.

Dinner followed.  I had a salad, a dinner roll, and Italian Stuffed Baked Chicken Breast.  I then had cheesecake for dessert.

After dinner, Kristie then gave her third keynote, titled “So Whatchu Waitin’ On?”.  In this keynote, she provided some inspiration with a story about a woman who took 19 years to achieve her lifelong dream in getting her Bachelor’s degree and becoming a teacher.  She even mentioned how she herself found the four elements that she needed to have the inspiration to pursue her coaching and speaking business.

The DTM ceremony followed.  Bob Brentin led the ceremony, and there were ten new DTM’s that would receive their DTM medallion.  Only one of which were not present to receive it. I stood in the DTM line and congratulated each new one as they went by (including Rocky Nichols, who earned his first DTM).

When this was over, the evening entertainment began.  I saw a hilarious act by a comedy duo called “Too White Crew”.  A magic show put on by Magic Escapes and Entertainment followed.

Part two of the District Director’s reception followed.  I had one leftover brownie and one leftover cupcake.  With it being so late, I left early.

The next morning, I had a plated breakfast of a sausage links, bacon, eggs, and potatoes.  I ate this all with a bowl of fruit and another Quest Bar (that I brought from home).  I washed all this down with coffee and water.  I listened to Kristie Stocker’s final keynote speech titled “Adversity as a Secret Weapon”.  It was an informative speech that shared how we could use the HARE method to turn adversity into an advantage.

You would think that we would be done with the conference, but we’re not quite finished…YET!  Following that was the last speech.  I and everyone else participated in Lori Haynes’ “Pathways Game”.  It was a board game and I got mostly finished with since my team was very chatty.  It was a slightly updated version of the board game that was featured last year.

I then stayed for the conference glows and grows, thanks yous and other announcements.

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

With that, I will now end…

Muse:  I loved the dream, believe, achieve, or DBA theme.  The frequent use of the powerful word was also good.

Yeah.  I agree.  It was a pretty good theme this year.  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 56 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…