Online Presenters PRESS 11/16/20

NOVEMBER 2020 Issue (Featuring VTM CON 2020 News)

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THANKFUL, for the health of it


SAVOR and CELEBRATE our club connections in this 2nd issue of “the PRESS”. Guests and members are treated to magic moments each and every Online Presenters weekly meeting, occasional contest, and speechathon.

BACKGROUNDS displayed by members are more often revealing meeting themes. is just one of the many royalty-free graphics resources sites we draw from to add vitality to Zoom-meeting together. Remember how Mahfuzur Rahman, Michael Alexander, Sara Gao and Saikishore Raju “got spicy” for us?

PREPARE to PROPEL VTM CON, the 12/5 event

WHY NOT WORDPLAY on DTM?? Angela Heath gave us great idea – to ID the Virtual Toastmasters Conference “VTM”! It will be a wonderful way to enter the last month of a rather challenging 2020, deepening connections with a global family of speakers, presenters, Toastmasters.

CONTESTS and WORKSHOPS to Make YOUR Audience Remember YOU. Online Presenters is taking a leading role in the creation of this collaborative event, VTM CON 2020 – The conference website is hosted on, just like our club website. We’ve been a pioneering online-only club since 2017. President Nik Lakhani‘s dream to bring online clubs together to compete, collaborate and uplevel online skills is coming into being, so do join in.


COOL BACKGROUNDS. Further down in this issue, find the graphics you can download for use during the event — and before the event (help us promote!) Does Conference Co-Chair Lois Margolin look fabulous… or what?! Picture yourself in his grand background space.

WHO are the VTM CON EVENT LEADERS from Online Presenters? Yay, team leaders!!!! It’s quite a task communicating and collaborating with the other 5 great club volunteers, and it’s… happening! Thank you, leaders and committee volunteers.

  • Event Co-Chairs: Nik Lakhani & Lois Margolin
  • PR Chair: David Carr
  • Talent Chair: Pamela Benjamin
  • Contest Chair: Carol Prahinski
  • Contest Chief Judge: Lukas Calafell


THANKFUL for THIS CLUB? Marianne Grady embodies the Spirit of Online Presenters — below she greets and challenges you. At this “harvest season” – how about opting in to make a 1 minute video?? Share your gratitude for the gifts you’ve received, being a part of the OP Family.

Send your .mp4 file to . We’ll highlight some via Facebook and website in the weeks ahead.

What about Online Presenters has you feeling grateful?

FACE(BOOK) it… We’re Social

YES, OP is on FACEBOOK! A growing number of guests and prospective members discover us first … on our Facebook Page! With Marianne Grady’s fine PR help (lots of fun posts) — our Facebook Page IS getting more traffic.

FACEBOOK Folks – help us out by

  • LIKING the page.
  • LIKING posts.
  • COMMENT. See yourself in a meeting screenshot? Say “hey, that was a great meeting” etc.
  • SHARE the VTM CON posts and any others to raise visibility and excitement.
  • REVISIT speeches and workshop posts featured there.
  • IT’s the ALGORYTHM. The more activity on our club page with your enegagement, the more posts become visible on Facebook User’s streams…

What do you think? Does our FB page have “the vibe” of our meetings?

LIGHTER Moments of “Toastgator”

LOVE A Toastgator??!? Or someone finding kinship with another “Big Mike”? BDC, aka Brian David Crawford did not disappoint OP friends and replay viewers of our October 31st meeting. Plus, recently he found a great way to entice a guest visitor to return. Seeing guest Mike sporting a boom microphone similar to his own, BDC chortled, “We need more Big Mic’s around here!”

PRIZES, Achievements

President’s Distinguished Club (again!)

Immediate Past President LOIS MARGOLIN, DTM glows, showing our ribbon.

How wonderful to achieve Presidents Distinguished Club award from Toastmasters International for each club year since chartering in 2017. We’re well on our way already to completing needed goals for this year too. VPE Krishn Ramchurn says we’re eagerly awaiting completion of more Levels 2 and 3 freom our club members…. (nudge, nudge!)

TOASTMASTER of the YEAR Designations!

OP President Nik Lakhani and Secretary Emily Thompson each were honored as “Toastmaster of the Year” 2019-2020: Nik for all of District 71 (the United Kingdom & Ireland) and Emily for Washtenaw Toastmasters in Ann Arbor, MI. They dream big, work hard…. and it’s noticed! Here at OP, “undistricted”… we fully give ourselves permission to go beyond boundaries when celebrating successes.

NEWS FLASH – Nik just received another award… designated as DIVISION HERO (Division K in District 91.) Wow, just wow, Nik!

PATHWAYS – Awesome Autumn Progress

APPLAUSE, APPLAUSE for Pathways Level Completion Achievements! With 2020 Covid-19 life adjustment, plus many of our members being active in multiple Toastmaster Clubs – it’s outstanding how our members keep growing. Notice who’s working on the same path as you.

  • Antoinette Trim – Engaging Humor, Level 3
  • Birgit Starmanns – Presentation Mastery, Level 1
  • Elizanne Warren-Russell – Effective Coaching, Level 3
  • Krishn Ramchurn – Presentation Mastery, Level 1
  • Lukas Calafell – Strategic Relationships, Level 1
  • Michael Alexander – Presentation Mastery, Level 1
  • Rosena Duncanson – Visionary Communication, Level 1
  • Sara Idehen – Motavational Strategies, Level 3


2 MORE NEW to OP in October — born competitors — each braved our October Evaluation Contest – what a start!

Ginette Francois, DTM hails from Quebec, CANADA. Already she’s been lively in Table Topics and claiming roles; is Vote Counter again on Nov. 16.

Elizanne Warren-Russell from West Babylon, New York, UNITED STATES helped us get acquainted in her November 2nd Icebreaker. Family?? Fishing? Paragliding… prepare for surprises. Catch the replay, timestamp 19:09.

Saikishore Raju rejoined OP, returning to the US amidst Covid-19 woes and county entry travails. He delights in his comeback to Online Presenters, participating in David Carr leading Table Topics on October 26th (Scary movies — do you love them or hate them? timestamp 33:35)

PRACTICE Competing!


THE WINNERS… Andriy Smolenko – 1st, Louis Brown – 2nd and Roxanne Hosein – 3rd. Hear Andriy exuberantly conveying the wisdom of “Facts tell and story sells!

4 OP Winners to compete in VTM CON 2020

You’ll want to root on all the first and second place winners from our fall contests competing at the “next level” at VTM CON 2020 on December 5th. The contests will be in the first portion of the 8 hour event, starting at 8:30 am Eastern.

Speaking of contests — the impromptu debating at our November 2nd meeting spurred Rosena Duncanson (third-place winner of our September Table Topics contest) to try this “sport” again. Just days later, she astounded herself winning an Impromptu Debate Contest on November 7, chaired by Nik Lakani — part of a unique 24-hour online Table Topics marathon. Well done, Rosena!

Impromptu debating, anyone??

VTM CON – the DEC 5th event!


Make YOUR Audience Remember You (theme)

WORKSHOPS at VTM CON are to help you become more memorable and impactful as an online speaker and presenter.

This is an impressive presenter lineup, with workshops on SPEAKER PRESENCE, DESIGN to ENGAGE, UPLEVEL CREATIVITY, SEAL the DEAL, and SPEAKER BRANDING on ZOOM.

AGENDA & TIMES for the Contests and Workshops?

The VTM CON Program times can be found at and may be fine-tuned as the event draws closer.

MORNING/DAY/EVENING for YOU?? You can see how the 8:15 am Eastern (New York/USA) Event Room Opening time is converted for your city/timezone here. Scroll down to see all the cities/zone times.

After the 9 am Eastern Welcomes, the day segments alternate between presenter workshops and contests. Also woven throughout the day are interviews of contest winners and participants, video introductions of the 6 Collaborating Toastmaster Clubs, and breaks.

Register, knowing you can attend as many or few portions of the conference as you like. Our Zoom Room capacity is 500.

BACKGROUNDS to show your VTM Colors!

Come on, come on (do) VTM Promotion with OP! You enjoy the great backgrounds folks are using at our meetings? Well, YOU can use the ones below at OP, other clubs you’re in or guest-visit, AND at the EVENT to help build excitement.

VARIOUS CHOICES… Click to download the images you want – then show your VTM CON colors!

VTM Logo – Social Profile Pic

Make this your Profile PIC on FB, LI !


Be on the lookout for VTM CON emails and social media posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and more – and share!


Register now for VTM CON 2020, a virtual conference for Toastmasters and anyone who wants to learn to make a stronger impression when speaking and leading online. #VTMCON




VTM CON 2020 Contest Chief Judge Lukas Calafell needs additional experienced online contest helpers – Judges and otherwise. Click his name to launch a volunteering conversation.

ZOOM MASTER-ASSISTANTS are being recruited too by team lead Sarinca Janga of One Club One World (OCOW).

Assignments will be made to assist for a specific time slot (contest or workshop). Reach out to Sarinca via email and help put your Zoom coordination skills to work.

CONNECT with Online Presenters Leadership

We’re here to make for win-win relationships. Here’s how to connect with the Online Presenters officers.

Nik Lakhani – ALB, ACB, MS5, EC4, PM4, VC4
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
Immediate Past President
Lois Margolin, DTM

Editor Talk

In our digital-madness age, I find myself struggling with balancing hyper-focus with ADD “bright shiny object” syndrome. Working on this issue, I had so much fun playing with graphics, and smiling as I came upon images from our meetings. What’s the right balance of celebrating membership and instructing/entertaining?? Help me know. Share some feedback on this issue, just as if you were a speech evaluator (I can take it.)

There’s many months ahead in “the club year” … so would YOU enjoy playing in this arena? collecting fun, quotable quips from meetings? Capturing screenshots live or from meeting replays? Contributing a single article, story or series on a helpful theme? I can’t wait to hear from you.

I look forward to seeing you at Monday meetings and VTM CON 2020.

Your Editor & VP-PR, Elaine Nieberding:

Online Presenters PRESS

OCTOBER 2020 Premiere Issue

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Welcome Online Presenters members and friends! Here’s a 1st-run newsletter format to connect us more deeply as members, and share club news. In days ahead we’ll be tweaking things for a good user-experience on desktop, tablet and mobile devices – and maybe even have a full “email version”. Remember – the table of contents above has convenient clickable links to any part of the news letter.

Together, let’s press on with new discoveries and experiences as Toastmasters, and press buttons on our apps and devices to see this news. Remember – you can revisit this anytime on the OP website in the “Newsletter” blog category without having to dig through email!

PRESENTING Club Officers

Who’s at the helm?? On July 6th, 2020 new club officers were installed by our officiant Carol Prahinski, DTM, OP charter member and former International Director of Region 6 Toastmasters. The full slate was completed on August 31st with a new Sergeant of Arms.

They are: PRESIDENT, Nik Lakhani. VPE, Krishn Ramchurn. VPM, Louis Brown. VP-PR, Elaine Nieberding. SECRETARY, Emily Thompson. TREASURER, OP CHARTER PRESIDENT & WEBMASTER, David Carr. SERGEANT-of-ARMS, Andriy Smolenko. IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT, Lois Margolin.

Online Presenters officers

Your officers hail from 3 continents to lead our 56+ members from 16 countries (and counting!) In our weekly meetings, after-hours conversations and special projects, they are here to serve plus help you grow and savor our human-to-human connection.


Nik Lakhani – ALB, ACB, MS5, EC4, PM4, VC4
VP Education
Krishn Ramchurn, DTM
VP Membership
Louis Brown, DTM
VP Public Relations
Elaine Nieberding, DL5, EC1
Emily Thompson, DTM
Treasurer & Charter President
David Carr, DTM
Andriy Smolenko, CC
Immediate Past President
Lois Margolin, DTM

PRIZES, Achievements


Pathways badges

Online Presenters members have been busy the first quarter of the club year and have many Pathways achievements.  Way to go!!

Congratulations to all those with Level Completions that have been credited to either Online Presenters or another club they also maintain membership in!

  • Antoinette Trim, MS5, EC2 – Effective Coaching Levels 1 & 2
  • Birgit Starmanns, DTM, EH3 – Engaging Humor 1, 2 & 3
  • Elaine Nieberding, DL5, – Visionary Communication Level 1
  • Emily Thompson, DTM – Engaging Humor, Level 5
  • Graham Cairnes, DTM is in a class all his own….. 3 levels listed have been credited to Online Presenters – thank you! Engaging Humor 3 & 4, Innovative Planning 3, 4 & 5. Leadership Development 1, 2, 3 & 4. Strategic Relationships 1 & 2. Visionary Communication 3 , 4 & 5.
  • Latosha Henderson, IP1Innovative Planning, Level 1
  • Lukas Calafell, IP4 – Innovative Planning Level 4
  • Marianne Grady, CC, ALB, EC1– Effective Communication Level 1 
  • Pamela Benjamin, DTM, IP4SR4 – Visionary Communication Level 1
  • Sarra Idehen, EC5MS2 – Motivational Strategies Level 2
  • Tricia Smith, PM1 –  Presentation Mastery Level 1


12 new members to our advanced Toastmaster Club, July through September, 2020 … even we were surprised! Rapid growth brings challenges, and here at Online Presenters, we are up the to the challenge. What’s so wonderful is new members, so excited about what’s here… inviting friends and colleagues to have their own rich experience, starting their own series of RSVP visits. Welcome new members… and guests!

AMELIA WOODE, PM2 – United Kingdom












MAKE KNOWING YOU EASY – (new AND seasoned OP members). UPDATE your PROFILE INFO, PHOTO and more from the convenient links on the Welcome page of the OP website. Add your latest achievement initials. Fine-tune your bio so we can appreciate you even more. Enjoy helping members in some specialty area? You can put it in your profile.

TABLE TOPICS Contest Winners

Roxanne Hosein, 1st Place TT Winner

“What would you tell your younger self and why??” was posed on our most recent Table Topics competition.  Catch the replay here to be inspired (again?!) by all our contestants’ answers from our September 21st contest. First Place winner Roxanne Hosein inspired us with “Keep breathing!” starting at timestamp 55:10. Find Angela Heath at 40:20 and Rosena Duncanson at 52:00. Roxanne Hosein & Angela Heath will compete at the DEC 5 Conference/Contest event.


and Sign-up on the October 31st Meeting Form


Have you ever been a TM contest judge? An evaluation judge — or an online-contest judge? Try something new, it’s fun! Let Evaluation Contest Master Lukas Calafell know you’ll sign on —

Your judge role will be secret! Lukas will let you know how to get ready. On 10/19, you’ll be called into a breakout room and review how to use the online scoring system.

David Carr, Club Charter President, created this system that growing numbers of clubs are using for contest scoring — and it doesn’t require convoluted sharing of PDF judge score sheets! Two blog articles below provide online scoring info and visual context that may be helpful.

PREVIEW the DEC 5 Event

Global Online Conference (with contests!) – December 5th! Join the fun that Saturday, starting 9 am Eastern/US time (2 pm London time). This is a mega event with 5 (mostly advanced) toastmaster clubs. Not to be missed — evaluation and table topic contests with our own club winners competing, workshops and special guest speakers.

Mark your calendar now, so you too can get globally Zoom-y with members and friends of Online Presenters, Witty Birds, Firebirds Collective, Plateau Toastmasters, and One Country One World Toastmasters.

  • Witty Birds has 40 members from 25 countries
  • One Country One World formed during Covid-19 lockdown and chartered with 27 members recently – from 25 countries.
  • Both have members from all continents (except Antarctica – I suspect there are not clubs there!)

We’ll arrange enhanced attendance capacity for the Zoom-room, and will let you know how to RSVP and claim your seat.

It’s a great time to join the “lead and help team” now forming. You’ll gain experience with global event coordination and execution that might be perfect for an HPL, DTM or other Pathways project.

Global Online Conference co-directors are Lois Margolin and Nik LakhaniContact them to explore how you could assist with PR, talent coordination, zoom mastering, contest roles.

PROJECTS – Help Wanted

The Online Presenters PRESS will evolve in look and features, with your use of it and contributions to it. 

Let’s have fun as co-creators, club-collaborators and celebrants of our victories and achievements. What can YOU do, now, and in the future?

  • For our PRojects/”Help Wanted” next or ongoing issues, tell what project or support needs you have. Examples — workshop participants or helpers, guest speakers for another club you’re in, HPL or DTM initiatives or Pathways levels 4 & 5 projects. 
  • Creative juices flowing (writing or video creation)? We’ll review your ideas and submissions. Look over your pathways projects ahead – and imagine one that helps our PR effort and grows your skills.
  • Toot your own horn about an achievement – even a Pathway level you’ve credited to another club.
  • Enjoy mentoring? Willing to help a new club member, even one brand new to Toastmasters — get sound footing early on?
  • JUMP IN NOW to help launch the DEC 5 event. Reach out to Global Online Conference co-directors Lois Margolin and Nik Lakhani to join the event coordination team, and have fun along the way.


It’s been a labor of love the past few weeks orienting myself to creating in WordPress (the platform for this website)… and I still have plenty to learn. Future issues will likely contain more video, photos from meetings, humor, quotes, tips…, contributor columns.

Please email me with comments, submissions and contribute to our PR efforts.

PR, PR, PR – starting out with “the PRESS”, I’m having fun with PR wordplay… you can praise the categories… or tell me your ideas and preferences! I sang it before (as I took on this VP-PR role) and I’ll say it again… “Come on Baby, do OP PRomotion with me!”

Your Editor & VP-PR, Elaine Nieberding:

Elaine Nieberding
VP-PR Elaine Nieberding Master Privacy Policy