Online Presenters PRESS 3/28/21

MARCH-APRIL 2021 Issue

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Promo, promo – Here’s OP Promotion!

What’s different in Online Presenters since 2017? Everything has upleveled – the way we look, act, engage, and outreach! You’ve likely seen Marianne Grady’s “007 style” club promo video of December 2020, but there was a snappy one made April, 2017 to attract folks to OP, an undistricted online pioneer. Many of the 2017 Charter Year members (still with us now) are in the promo — Check this out — find them and enjoy the catchy music.

Thank you to David Carr, Charter President, current Treasurer and webmaster extraordinaire for captaining our ship from early on. Along with David, 11 of the 2017 charter year members are still with us — including Andy Bern, Carol Prahinski, Debra Carr, George Marshall, Graham Cairnes, Krishn Ramchurn, Lois Margolin, Lou Brown, Monika Tucker and Viviana Widjaja. We’re grateful for your continuity, caring, and all the ways you serve us and the mission of Toastmasters.

Our Newest Online Presenter Toastmaster is April Elizee hailing from Chesapeake, Virginia USA. She was inducted on March 1st. April’s been a member of Com-Unity Toastmasters and previously was a multi- year member of the corporate club, HR Orators. Welcome April! You’re in the right place to refine your online presentation skills!

What can YOU do now?

To keep Online Presenters being a robust and meaningful presence in the Toastmaster worldplease

CALENDAR – What’s Coming Up?

With weekly Monday 7:15 pm Eastern meetings – you will have variety in your club experience with us, for sure! Articles in this issue provide even more detail.

  • MARCH 29, 2021 – Regular Meeting w/ Pres. Lakhani address on districting options for online-only clubs
  • APRIL 5, 2021 – OPEN HOUSE Specialty Focus Meeting
  • APRIL 26, 2021 – WEBINAR CONTEST (winner competes at VTMCON)
  • MAY 3, 2021 – OP BUSINESS MEETING (vote on issues & future officers).
  • JUNE 26-27, 2021 VTMCON Vitrual Toastmasters Conference SAT-SUN


INVITE GUESTS to our APRIL 5th OPEN HOUSE. We’ll be showcasing what makes Online Presenters so oustanding, including high-caliber evaluations, excellent leaders, and globally-diverse members. Past club presidents will offer special reflections, a single speaker will receive 3 expert evaluations, and Table Topics will elicit #MyWhy responses about being part of this premier online-only Toastmaster Club.

SHOW YOUR COLORSdownload your country/state flag or representation of heritage to use as a background — help celebrate the richness of our global membership and cultural diversity.

WEBINAR Contest – Fun Format on April 26

Are you up for a challenge? Compete in Online Presenters’ APRIL 26th mini-webinar contest with a 3-5 minute presentation. There will be a winner – who’ll go on to compete at #VTMCON – the Virtual Toastmasters Conference in June. This event will host the first multi-club webinar contest ever.

If you think of the International Speech Contest as being a competition for who can deliver the best keynote in a compressed, 7-minute format, the mini-webinar contest is the equivalent for an online presentation where part of the speaker’s challenge is to create audience engagement, potentially address questions,  and close with some sort of “call to action.” Trying to create engagement within a 3-5 minute webinar will be challenging, but that’s what makes it a contest!




The Bigger, Better June Virtual Toastmasters Conference

#VTMCON this June will be hosted over two days, — June 26 & 27th. This time there were will be more featured workshops, again under the theme “Make YOUR Audience Remember You.” New will be a webinar contest, and plenty of intermissions so attendees can break for a meal, tending family, or any other need.

COLLABORATIVE CONFERENCE CREATION. Thirteen clubs, with either “Sponsor” (online/undistricted) or “Affiliate” (hybrid/districted) designation, will be important partners promoting the event, providing event team staffing, and hosting engaging activities in many BREAKOUT ROOMS (i.e. networking, entertainment, mini-workshops or fun competition).

MAIN PRESENTERS. There will be 6. We’re so excited to already have on our keynote lineup World Champions of Public Speaking Darren LaCroix and Mark Brown, plus Patricia Fripp, National Speaker Association distinctive past President. Find the keynoters bios, emerging conference schedule and more at the event website.

#VTMCON Leadership, Teamwork, HELP Wanted

VTMCon continues to have Online Presenters leaders give inspiration and direction the 2nd Virtual Toastmasters (multi-club) Conference, making it an even more collaborative event.

HELP WANTED! Many of the committees (in RED) are inviting additional team members. Reach out to the team leader for their current, more specific needs.

EVENT Co-ChairsKrishn Ramchurn
Pamela Benjamin
Event ADVISORSLois Margolin
Nik Lakhani
BREAKOUT ROOMSElaine NieberdingYES (1-2)
CONTEST CHAIR (Webinar)Fabiola
LIASON w/participating CLUBSMarianne
PROGRAM Lukas CalafellYES (1)
TALENT Pamela BenjaminSpecial

PRIZES, Achievements

Congratulations for PATHWAYS Level Completions

  • WHO’s on the GO with PATHWAYS PROGRESS?? Applause, applause goes to
    • Angela Heath – Visionary Communication – Level 1
    • Andriy Smolenko – Innovative Planning – Level 1
    • Elizanne Warren-Russell – Effective Coaching, Level 4
    • Elizanne Warren-Russell – Leadership Development, Level 2
    • Emily Thompson – Presentation Mastery, Level 1
    • Tricia Smith – Presentation Mastery, Level 3
  • Congratulate your fellow members; offer them feedback on speeches, connect! Member Emails


Congratulations to our Video Speech Contest Winners Jim Barber (1st Place) and Mike Woodall (2nd Place). It was a rousing competition on March 22nd, also featuring Ginette Francois and Andriy Smolenko. The speeches included moving themes on parent-child relationships, healing, mentoring, and being powerful in rule-breaking. Jim Barber’s winning speech video will become an entry into’s undistricted clubs’ 2021 competition. Good luck!

OP’s Roxanne Hossein won the
VTM CON December 2020 Table Topics Contest
… and loves competing
Now 1st Place-Area 30 Winner Roxanne goes to the Division competition in Florida, USA in the International Speech Contest – World Championship of Public Speaking!

It’s 2nd DTM time for Birgit Starmanns!

Congratulations to Birgit Starmanns, member of Online Presenters since April of 2020 – for achieving her second Distinguished Toastmasters designation about 10 years after achieving her first one. She approached earning this 2nd one in a less hurried fashion, and enjoyed mentoring many more Toastmasters along the way.

Birgit (pronouncer BEER-get) – hails from Mountain View, CA (Silicon Valley) close to the San Francisco Bay area on the US west coast.  She drives a convertible, is an accomplished ballroom dancer, and has long been involved in PR leadership in Districts 4 and 101. Birgit’s been a Toastmaster since 2006, is currently 2nd-time President for the advanced club Evening Stars Toastmasters, and will mark her one-year anniversary with Online Presenters come April.

Need some inspiration for the Level 4 “start a podcast” elective?  Listen to the some of fine interviews and great production elements of “Destination 101” , the bi-weekly podcast Birgit Starmanns produces and hosts for District 101 (it launched in December, 2020).    We sure can learn from our fellow members.

A 30-year Toastmaster’s Reflections

Dr. Michael S. Alexander, DTM marks his 30th year being a Toastmaster. Indeed, that’s a long, long time to learn, grow and serve – Online Presenters offers congratulations! PRESS Editor Elaine Nieberding invited him to offer some pithy guidance for making the most of being a Toastmaster.

Reflect on his most helpful words: “Whenever you hear someone (including yourself) say — I don’t know if I am ready — remind them that you never learn anything by only doing things you already know how to do.”

Aligned with that idea he’s venturing anew, designing Specialty Toastmaster clubs.  He says this is a chance to apply Think-tank/Mastermind models to Toastmasters, and provide a whole new learning experience. 

Likely no surprise, in his long toastmastering tenure, Michael Alexander’s held all of the offices at the club level, served as Area Governor, District Chief Judge, and many other roles.  Like Birgit Starmanns featured above, Michael finds the teaching and mentoring service deeply fulfilling. He says “You learn as much or more from your students than they do from you.”

Dr. Michael S. Alexander’s looking playful
in the 2020 holiday season,

even abandoning his idea that
mostly we look better with
“no Zoom backgrounds!”

RECAP: Outstanding Storytelling Workshop

“Authenticity in Storytelling” — Online Presenters’ first workshop of 2021 featured the dynamic Fursey Gotuaco on February 27th. He drew a huge global audience, not a surprise after his rousing “Seal the Deal” presentation at VTMCON of December 5, 2021.

Visit, or revisit to see how Fursey’s oreo cookie story grabs and pulls us into connection, then engages us to stretch our gestural, positional, vocal and emotional reach. He demonstrates how to use music to support story creation, set mood for vocal practice and oh so much more.

Three bold volunteers shared brief stories. We witnessed the changes with Fursey’s coaching so audiences would more likely feel, think and respond to the intentions of the speakers: Tammie D (The Proposal, 39:00); Moira O’Brien (Do you believe in Miracles? 48:30); Jose Pereira (fall in love with the one in the wheel chair 1 hour mark) Guest Jim (finding the singing bowl partner 1:07); Rod Todorvitch (sailing 1:12) . Q & A starts at 1 hour 23 minutes).

Enjoy this for the first time, or a more indepth revisit. His “Seal the Deal” program at VTMCon #1 offers additional gems of presentation guidance.

April 7th (revised) deadline to get your FREE Pathway

This is a gift to TM members that paid/renewed a full membership for the October 2020 – March 2021 period by December 31 2020. (Paying retro renewal dues now will not give members a free path.) Dual members who renewed do not get multiple free paths (only one). Free path incentive does not apply to print paths.

Don’t let this gift from go to waste. Claim yours before 4/07/2021, start projects whenever you like.

March 30, 2021

Dear Toastmaster, Recently, we emailed you to let you know that you qualified for a free learning path for renewing your membership before the end of 2020. Due to increased demand and a technical issue, path purchases through the member profile are temporarily unavailable.

We are working diligently to fix this issue and return the path purchasing functionality as soon as we can. In the meantime, we have set up this form for you to sign up for your free path.

Please complete and submit the form by April 7. With such high demand, it may take some time to process your request. Path requests will be processed in the order they are received, and we appreciate your patience. Please visit the Pathways webpage if you need help deciding which path is best for you. If you have any questions, please email

Thank you for your understanding and patience.
Sincerely, Supply Orders Team Toastmasters International

Magnetizing the OP VP-PR for 2021-22

Loving Online Presenters? Hmmm – have some PR experience from a club or elsewhere — want to grow those skills?

Consider nominating yourself for this executive role — you’ll gain great leader experience in our premier Toastmaster Club. If looking to earn your DTM, you’ll be able to meet the “club officer” requirement.

I welcome your inquiry, curiosity and having a conversation to explore whether this might be a win-win arrangment for you – and this fine club. When we talk, I’ll share insights gleaned while serving here, and how I could support a smooth office holder transition. Have some questions?? Please reach out.

See you soon at an upcoming meeting. Your feedback on this issue is of course – very welcome.

Your Editor & VP-PR, Elaine Nieberding


Nik Lakhani – DTM
VP Education
Krishn Ramchurn, DTM
VP Membership
Louis Brown, DTM
VP Public Relations
Elaine Nieberding, DL5, VC1
Emily Thompson, DTM
Treasurer & Charter President
David Carr, DTM
Andriy Smolenko, CC, IP1
Immediate Past President
Lois Margolin, DTM