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A Distinguished Year

Essex Toastmasters 2017-18 Year-End Newsletter

Fellow Essex Toastmasters,

It’s been quite a year for our club and I mean that in a good way! Along those lines, I wanted to provide a newsletter to recount some highlights during our journey together over the past year (cue the cheesy memories music...)

It started back in July 2017 with Trisha HK being the prescient Toastmaster and her theme of “Things to Remember”, seriously, that was the theme...Our club was also in a transitional period (i.e. scrambling like crazy) in trying to find a new home after losing our familiar space at the Verona Public Library due to extensive renovations. So we marched on and did our best to find quality replacement venues by employing the Verona Community Center and the Caldwell University Library. Ultimately, our fearless leader, POETM, (POTUS was already taken...) Oscar M with the assistance of other club officers secured the Bloomfield Civic Center as a wonderful new locale starting in September 2017. Since our initial occupancy there, it has been a very welcoming environment which has also had the side benefit of not making me feel guilty about the lack of books I read as I navigate my way to our meeting room :-)

I could proceed by keeping this newsletter going in paragraph form, but it’s 2018 and people seem to want soundbites, not detailed narrative...So (please don’t count this one, Mr. or Ms. Ah Counter), as a way to efficiently reminisce in 4-6 minutes so that there aren’t too many tears, here are some of the highlights during the course of the Essex Toastmasters 2017-18 year…

  • The August meeting in which every single person who attended the meeting, also spoke during the meeting (and no, I’m not counting the networking break)!

  • Jon and Dr. Tyran M blessing our new residency at the Bloomfield Civic Center by claiming top prizes in the Tall Tales and Table Topics contests respectively. From there, both of these men brought their talents to the Area Competition (South Beach was too far) and both went on to claim first place!

  • The mano a mano debate style Table Topics at one of our meetings which demonstrated our club’s creativity while paying homage to the Debate Club in high school.

  • Planting our roots (pun intended) with a table at the Bloomfield HarvestFest and getting the word out about our club and its new location.

  • Dan S and Wendy M being our ambassadors to attract the next crop (using the joke gratuitously from the last bullet point) of Toastmasters by being a presence at the Caldwell University Career Carnival.

  • ? break holiday the during meeting “backwards” our forget could Who (Did you see what I did there?) I’m sure many of you may have forgotten this evening if you were inclined to have an adult beverage to ring in the New Year!

  • Absolutely rocking it with our Essex Toastmasters 60th Anniversary celebration in January. We had nearly 50 people attend including Bloomfield Mayor-Michael Venezia. Additionally, lots of former club members as well as representation from other clubs helped make it a truly glorious occasion. Additionally, Jon G produced an amazing 60th Anniversary Newsletter and Dan S captured pictures like a pro. Lastly, hats off to Wendy M, Monica H, Maddy L and others for their amazing behind the scenes contributions as well.

  • The dynamic duo of Jon G and Dr. Tyran M again showed their competitive merits by winning the Essex Toastmasters Club Contests for the Speech Evaluation and International Speech Contests respectively. At the Area level, Jon valiantly placed second and Dr. Tyran impressed with a first place finish and made it to the Division level.

  • Putting the post office to shame (no offense to the post office, just trying to get a cheap laugh here)...Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night could stop us from conducting a meeting during a Nor’Easter in March!

  • A “5th Thursday” meeting which produced two fantastic Icebreaker speeches and showed the dedication of our club members to go the extra mile (literally, as we had to travel to the Verona Community Center) for this extra meeting.

  • Yes, you GUEST it, our Open House meeting which attracted some quality guests (including my wife among others). It also gave us the opportunity to hear a speech from our Area Director-Javier L who showed off his news anchor broadcasting chops.

  • An introduction to the Toastmasters Pathways Program from Mike R and Gimiai M. Sadly, I missed this meeting and quickly fell off the “path”, but I heard it was a great one that will get our members on the straight and narrow!

  • A fantastic and competitive Essex Toastmasters Officers election in which we got to see some great candidates run for office (what else would officers run for...the hills?).

In addition to all of the above highlights, special kudos to the following members below on their great accomplishments during the 2017-18 year (I apologize if I forgot anyone):

These members gave some really impressive Icebreaker speeches that inspired us all:

  • Kimia S

  • Yuan S

  • Greg C

  • Erica M

  • Anna L

  • Sharrod G

  • Penny P

  • Matteo P

  • Olivier B

  • Cheryl E

  • Kieara G

  • Stephanie A

Additionally, the following advanced members received their Competent Communicator awards for completing their first 10 speeches:

  • Judy G

  • Oscar M

  • Dr. Stacey P

Thank you all for allowing me to serve as your VP PR during the past 12 months, but I can see the imaginary “red card” telling me my time is up with this newsletter. Wishing you all an incredible 2018-19 with Essex Toastmasters!


Zachary Schwartz

VP of Public Relations 2017-18

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