Speech Competitions

Speech Competitions

This past November, Glen Abbey Toastmasters held our club level speech competition. For our International Speech Contest, members Krista Rowan & Zehra Raza placed first and second, respectively. For our Table Topics Contest, member Zehra Raza placed first and Krista Rowan placed second.

They both qualified and competed in the Area Speech contest. We are thrilled to announce that Zehra placed first in the International Speech Contest and third in the Table Topics Contest! She will go on to compete in the Division level in March.

We are so proud of both Krista and Zehra, as well as all the Glen Abbey Toastmasters who competed. As well, we would like to extend our gratitude to all of our members who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the various competitions ran smoothly.

Halloween Meeting!

Halloween Meeting!

It was a SPOOK-tacular evening this past Wednesday at Glen Abbey Toastmasters as we hosted our annual Halloween meeting! It was the first time in 4 years that the meeting was held in-person.

It was a fun evening filled with speeches, sweet treats, and a best costume contest! First place went to Tina who dressed up as Snow White. And our runner-up was Chris dressed as Sherlock Holmes! We also had the privilege of hearing from HR expert Ellen Zhang, who held a workshop on interview and salary negotiation tips.

A special thank you to Toastmaster Gordon for hosting the special evening. As well, thank you to all of our members who showed up in their Halloween costumes!

Mastering the Interviews

Mastering the Interviews

Who says Toastmasters is just speeches? Not at Glen Abbey Toastmasters! This past week we had Lucy Martins, an expert human resources professional from Halton Healthcare, and previously a Glen Abbey Toastmasters member, drop in to lead an educational session. She conducted a mock interview with one of our members, where we had the opportunity to listen in as she went over most commonly asked interview questions and how to best answer them. At the end there was a Q&A session to answer any further questions members had.

Thank you Lucy for educating us and sharing your time! As well, thank you to our President Chris for organizing these sessions.

First In-Person Meeting of the 2023 / 2024 Season

First In-Person Meeting of the 2023 / 2024 Season

The first in-person meeting of Glen Abbey Toastmasters kicked off with a bang! With almost a full house, members and guests alike came to practice their public speaking skills. Those in attendance were treated to unique speeches such as How to Build a Campfire, and the 4 Different Communication Styles. As well, there was an impromptu Table Topics session held where members were chosen at random and given a prompt, and asked to speak for 1 minute on the prompt.

All in all, members and guests had an exciting time. And we’re just getting started! We’d love to have you join, and come to meetings for the remainder of the year.

Interested in visiting our club to check it out? Click this link: BE OUR GUEST

Glen Abbey Toastmasters Welcomes New and Returning Members To Our 2023 / 2024 Season

Glen Abbey Toastmasters Welcomes New and Returning Members To Our 2023 / 2024 Season

As summer rolls to a close, Glen Abbey Toastmasters looks forward to welcoming new members and welcoming back returning members.

We hope you have had a great summer, and are excited for the year ahead.

We’ve got a great 2023 / 2024 season planned with a mix of in-person meetings and virtual zoom meetings. Plus a number of special themed meetings to enhance your learning journey.

First meeting of the season is online on September 6, 2023 at 7:30 pm

Interested in visitng our club to check it out? Click this link: BE OUR GUEST

GATM End of Year & 31st Anniversary Party [2023]

GATM End of Year & 31st Anniversary Party [2023]

The theme was “Around the World with Glen Abbey Toastmasters.” The map showed 14 countries our members hail from. The food gave us a taste of Persian dip, samosas, khaman dhokla [chickpea], zongi [rice dumpling], shrimp balls, jollof rice, liang pi noodles, chili, Australian coleslaw, apple strudel, and not to forget the locals – Timbits. The dress was Arab, African, Canadian, and Indian.

Past President, Krista Rowan opened the meeting with a reflection on how our club is family and community as well as a space for learning leadership and public speaking. Our guest speaker, Jamie Dinsmore, reminisced about how Toastmasters launched him into a career that has landed him at Microsoft. Elvis Gregov, table topics master, tested our “around the world” impromptu speaking skills. Event committee member and Club Secretary, Emilia Wang, allowed us to share a favourite quotation in our native language along with an English explanation. Chris Zhou, VP-ED and incoming President, gave a slideshow overview of our 2022-23 year.

Outgoing President Jeethan Tellis presented Katherine Bullock with the Toastmaster of the Year Award. He thanked his executive team and introduced the incoming executive team. And we thanked him for his leadership this year, which brought us President Distinguished Award Status and the Shooting Star Award. We said teary goodbyes to those who cannot return next year. And wished everyone a “Happy Summer!”

MP Anita Anand Congratulates GATM on its 31st Anniversary

MP Anita Anand Congratulates GATM on its 31st Anniversary

The Honorable Anita Anand, MP for the riding that Glen Abbey Toastmasters (GATM) calls home, has recognised us for our 30+ years of communication and leadership training.

Over the past three decades, we’ve helped countless members transform from nervous to confident speakers.

Thank you to every member, past and present.

Here’s to many more years of growth, learning, and success together!

Congratulations to Our GATM Winners

Congratulations to Our GATM Winners

Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash

Our club is proud to announce that Toastmaster Connor Grist, our immediate past President, won first place in the Area 83 Evaluation contest… And, Toastmaster Bahareh Tehrani, our past-part president, placed second in the Area 83 international speech contest.

We are all as pleased as punch.

Connor Grist
Bahereh Tehrani
How to Win the Lottery Jackpot

How to Win the Lottery Jackpot

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

by Nisarg Patel

It’s Monday morning. You just got back from your exciting weekend and are about to begin your work week. And right then dreading going to work with the following thoughts crossing your mind:

“Oh man I really don’t want to do this”

“Okay here we go another week, [insert your name] brace for impact”

“Its just same stuff different day”

“Can someone get me out of this situation”

And perhaps, if you are like many Canadians who buy the lottery and had missed the Friday night draw, you are probably thinking, “I wish I will win the lottery someday”.

First off, you are not alone. Specifically, on Monday, workers are only 30% productive, 50% of people are late to work according to the FactSite. In fact, there is a scientific term for this phenomenon known as “Monday blues”.

Most importantly, lets talk about how you can win the Friday night jackpot aka “lottery” so you don’t have to think about “I wish I will win the lottery someday”. That someday is today. You are probably thinking how is that possible. So, buckle up and hear me out on this.

1. Your odds of winning the lottery

Your chance of getting all the 7/7 numbers on the OLG Lotto Max Main draw are 1 in 33,294,800. And your chance of getting all the 6/6 numbers on the OLG Lotto 6/49 Main draw are 1 in 13,983,816. So in simpler terms if you buy a $5 Lotto Max ticket, you have a 0.000003% chance that you will get all the 7 numbers. And if you buy a $3 Lotto 6/49 ticket, you have 0.000007% chance of getting all the 6 numbers.

2. You are already lucky

By the time you are reading this blog, you are 1 in 8,013,662,236 (and counting) lucky individual who is still alive on this planet Earth. And chances are you may or may not have contracted COVID-19 virus but are still fortunate to be NOT one of the 6,804,491 who passed away due to COVID-19 virus. And also you are NOT one of the 124,018 (and counting) who passed away today alone. May their soul rest in peace and may your soul feels lucky. You may not realize but you have already won the bigger lottery. From a macroscopic perspective, your odds of winning the OLG lottery are much higher then your odds of surviving today. So if you woke up today and are alive you won the lottery with higher odds and therefore you should celebrate. Congratulations on the big win!

3. You are already rich

I know some of you, as you are reading it, are probably rolling their eyes and thinking well “duh everyone survives”. I want the money jackpot so that I can be on the cloud 9. If you are reading this blog by now, the chances are you have roof over your head, food on the table and clothes to cover your body. And more importantly if you have more the $6.85 in your pocket today you are part of the lucky 53% of worlds population who does NOT live below $6.85 per day poverty line. In fact, 84% of worlds population lives on less then $30 per day, so if you have more then $30 today you are part of the elite club of 16% worlds population that is already wealthy and have their basic needs met. Congratulations, in case you didn’t know, you are rich. About half of worlds population is struggling to have their basic necessities covered, and yet we are still upset when our barista messes up our coffee order.

You have already won the big lottery, you are already rich and have good health. So what more do you need? I suggest you be happy as you have a reason to not to. If you wake up tomorrow, smile and be grateful for everything you have when half of the worlds population is struggling to have their ends meet. And in case you happened to have a bad day, don’t forget you have already won the biggest lottery you possibly could.







What is Parliamentary Procedure? Bill Kirby Explains

What is Parliamentary Procedure? Bill Kirby Explains

GATM is excited to host an educational speech about what takes place in a parliamentary session, or business session, of our weekly meetings. If you are confused about Robert’s Rules of Order, want to know why it is a good idea to learn how to run a meeting this way, or brush up on rusty skills, this is the speech for you.

Please join us in our first session after the holidays, January 4th. This will be an in person meeting at Trafalgar Park Community Centre, 133 Rebecca St, Oakville, ON. 7.30 – 9.30 pm.

Toastmaster Bill Kirby has been with the organisation for 19 years. He has held all the club officer roles. He has twice been an area director, once a division director and once an alignment chair. He is currently the parliamentarian for districts 65 and 86. His home club is Cambridge Toastmasters.

Congratulations to Our Winners of the Evaluation and International Speech Contest at Glen Abbey Toastmasters

Congratulations to Our Winners of the Evaluation and International Speech Contest at Glen Abbey Toastmasters

GATM hosted on Wednesday December 14 the evaluation and international speech contest for its members.

We thank Tuula Redditt from Brampton and Winner of District 86 Toastmaster of the Year 2019 for being our test speaker for the evaluation contest. Toastmaster Tuula was evaluated by several GATM members. Congrats to Connor Grist, Past President GATM and Wajiha Sabrani for placing first and second.

Congratulations to Bahareh Tehrani, also a Past President GATM and Wajiha Sabrani for placing first and second in the Speech Contest!

Full Screen At Glen Abbey Toastmasters

Full Screen At Glen Abbey Toastmasters

November, 2022.

Chair Krista challenged us to face our fears as a recent meeting theme. What challenging role have you taken on lately? I gulped and was timekeeper for the first time in two years as a member. Five guests joined us, including special guest Area 83 Director, Shannon O’Callaghan.

Halloween At Glen Abbey Toastmasters

Halloween At Glen Abbey Toastmasters

October 19, 2022.

Captain JT steered his crew through another enjoyable GATM meeting that was spooktacular [word of the day], educational and fun. People shared their experiences of escaping out of a real haunted house, running away from meeting skeletons at the door for the first time (without knowing what Halloween trick or treat was), and dressing up as Barney to their first Halloween party because they’d committed themselves to wearing the first costume to be pulled out of the old costume box.

Workshop: What’s in it for me in Toastmasters Journey?

Workshop: What’s in it for me in Toastmasters Journey?

It’s your beliefs and values that drive every behavior, which, when aligned with your core, creates your life purpose and path.
Life purpose isn’t something to be achieved;
it’s something to be created.Would you like to create it ?

Attend the session by Club Retention Chair DTM Guerdah Felix
What’s in it for me in Toastmasters Journey?
Oct 22 Saturday 10 A.M est to 11 A.M EST

Registration Link –

First In Person Meeting 2022

First In Person Meeting 2022

GATM welcomed the new Toastmaster’s season with several guests in person at our new location.

This was Trafalgar Park Community Centre in Oakville.

We will be having a mix of in-person and online meetings.

Here pictured is Toastmaster Reema Duggal kicking off the prepared speeches section of the evening.

And…Toastmaster Chris Zhou with her Best Speaker Award. And…Toastmaster Roger Cogle with his Best Table Topics Award

And...Toastmaster Roger Cogle with his Best Table Topics Award

Delivering A Winning Speech

Delivering A Winning Speech

Join us at Glen Abbey Toastmasters as we kick off our 30th year by welcoming the 2021 3rd Place Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking – Roger Caesar.

He’ll be speaking on Delivering A Winning Speech.

Roger has competed and become a semifinalist at the Toastmasters World Championships of Public Speaking 4 times. In 2021, he won 3rd place. He is also the Founder of Empire Coaching and Owner of Caesar Transport.

Date: September 7, 2022
Time: 7:30 pm

If you’d like to join, please let us know you’ll be coming.

Our World + 30 Years

Our World + 30 Years

An incredibly fun evening tonight as we celebrated two important things:

Theme: Our World

The theme tonight chosen by Chair Reema Duggal focused on what makes Glen Abbey Toastmasters so special. The culture, the respect, and the diversity of our global experiences that we share with each other every single week. Members were asked come to the meeting dressed in their home country’s traditional dress and share what makes the country they were born in so special. And they did.

With a twist, spurred on by Table Topics Master Gordon Vuong – we held a bilingual Table topics. Members spoke their answers in their native tongue and in English. Really inspiring to hear speakers in many languages tonight – followed by English translations. And then Toastmaster Krista Rowan shared her own language that she spoke with her mother! And finally, General Evaluator Loye Fagbemi spoke about the language his hat speaks (marital status) based on what side it is folded on.

30 Years

It was 30 years ago today that Glen Abbey Toastmasters had their first meeting at Glen Abbey Community Center. The club chartered shortly thereafter. We spoke about the great things that Glen Abbey Toastmasters does for people.

  • Kathy Bullock spoke about her Pathways project to write 8 blog posts in a month – and what she learned.
  • Jeethan Tellis spoke about his Toastmasters Journey from his first meeting to today as GATM Vice President Education.


While it was 30 years since our first meeting, the plan is to celebrate at our Charter Party later in May/June. Hopefully it will be in person!

Public Speaking Tip #4

Public Speaking Tip #4

– Kathy Bullock

Endings Matter

You’ve watched every episode, eyes riveted on the television. Finally, the real killer is about to be caught by the detective. He is shut behind bars. The camera zooms in on a slanted grin breaking out on his face. The scene cuts to a dusky close up on another figure, and you see him hiding the murder weapon under the doghouse in the backyard. Oh! They’ve captured the wrong person. Then the credits roll. Yikes! What will happen next? You worry and wonder.

This kind of ending is known as a cliff-hanger – leaving us in suspense for what will happen next. If this is the end of episode 11 in a 12-episode show, you will spend the week speculating what will happen, but you are assured you’ll find out in the finale. But what if that was how the finale ended? Likely you’d feel peeved. Bring on season two, you hope.

Audiences enjoy closure because it makes us feel satisfied the story reached where it should reach. The central premise of the show is answered. Did the detective catch the killer? Did she say yes to her first love? Did the family resolve their differences?1 Movies, films and fiction offer diverse kinds of endings: happy, sad, tragic. 2 Some clever authors know how to wrap up the plot, but still end, if not on a cliff-hanger, at least on a question that hints at a sequel.

Endings are so important that fans will ditch a series if they are dissatisfied with it, and many won’t even begin to watch if others have reassured them the ending was terrible.

So, endings matter.

And no less to Toastmasters.

A speech has a different responsibility than the movies, tv series and novels I’ve referred to above. A speaker needs to give the audience closure. There is no cliff-hanger moment for a good speech.

Toastmaster’s Best Speakers Series advice on endings is that they are crucial because they are the last thing the audience remembers about your speech. 3

Suggesting a signal that you are to end, with phrases such as “in conclusion,” or “to sum up,” the manual gives six different options for ending a speech:

  1. Use a quotation that dramatizes your main points
  2. Tell a short story or anecdote related to your main message
  3. Call for action
  4. Ask a rhetorical question
  5. Refer to the beginning of your speech
  6. Summarise your main points.

Now that you understand that a speech can’t trail off into the distance, that it needs to be tied up in a bow, let’s hear Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s adage: “Great is the art of the beginning, but greater is the art of the ending.”

Exeunt left.

1 https://blog.reedsy.com/how-to-end-a-story/
2 https://narrativefirst.com/vault/how-to-end-a-movie/
3 https://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Concluding-Your-Speech

Word Of The Day – Exposed

Word Of The Day – Exposed

– Kathy Bullock

This week’s word of the day has exposed how behind schedule I am with my alleged twice-weekly blog posts. I’d appreciate it if someone would hit the pause button on life, so my yen for blogging can be satisfied.

Do I get an award for three week’s worth of words of the day in two sentences?

This week our grammarian proposed “exposed” as the word of the day, to match the meeting theme, which was about how showing one’s vulnerability is a strength for leaders, in spite of it typically being seen as a weakness.

This idea reminded me of one of my favourite stories about a famous Muslim scholar named Malik ibn Anas, known as Imam Malik. He was born in Medina, now in Saudi Arabia, in 711, and passed away in 795. Imam Malik founded a school of law whose rulings became widespread throughout North Africa, Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), Egypt, and parts of Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Iraq. The school of law takes his name, Maliki law, and is still in use today.

The story goes like this: Once a man travelled a long distance to ask Imam Malik some questions. More specifically, he asked Imam Malik forty questions. Imam Malik answered four of these questions. And what about the other 36? To these he replied, “I don’t know.”

The man was taken aback, ““What should I tell people about these 36 questions for which you said, ‘I don’t know’?” Imam Malik replied that the man should tell the people that Malik says: “I don’t know,” “I don’t know,” “I don’t know.”

I wonder if Imam Malik said that with a straight face. The latent comedy hides the wisdom of not being afraid to be vulnerable, or exposed, in public. The insight is that only an arrogant person, or one lacking self-esteem, will claim to know everything. Not things we seek, nor need, from a leader.

Imam Malik used to say, “It is from the insight of a man of knowledge that he says: ‘I don’t know’.”

How would a Toastmaster feel about answering “I don’t know” to a series of questions posed by the audience? Stupid, embarrassed, undermining my authority or status – these come to mind. But wise?

Considering that a scholar, who lived as long ago as did Imam Malik, was teaching and demonstrating to his followers that it was part of wisdom to say, “I don’t know,” considering his stature as legal thinker, considering his leadership in the Muslim community, we can appreciate that the issue of vulnerability and leadership is connected to a problem endemic to human nature.

Saying “I don’t know,” showing vulnerability, exposing our lack of understanding – this takes courage.

For that, we all yen for, and I wish us all good luck.

Public Speaking Tip #4

Public Speaking Tip #3

– Kathy Bullock

How Can We Incorporate Land Acknowledgements into Our Speeches?

Did you hear the one about the Toastmaster who walked up to the podium and….
A new custom emerged recently that challenges speakers in their attention-getting openings: the land acknowledgement.

I am not advocating a land acknowledgement as a must. Not everyone feels that it is important or necessary. Not everyone will feel comfortable with doing one.

For those of us who want to do a land acknowledgement, how do we, without sapping our sensational openings?

I digress briefly to explain what a land acknowledgement is, and why I believe in them. A land acknowledgement is a short statement to recognize that we live on land that was conquered from indigenous peoples or “purchased” in dubious and insincere colonial treaties. People and city governments across Canada, such as the City of Oakville, adopt a land acknowledgement to recognize past injustices, and as part of reconciliation and good relations to move forward.1

Land acknowledgements typically include naming the treaty and/or indigenous peoples on whose land we live and work. They mention the importance of the land, and finish by thanking the indigenous peoples for sharing the land with us.

Treaty Land Number 14 – The Head of the Lake Purchase

Glen Abbey Toastmasters sits on Treaty Land Number 14, the Head of the Lake Purchase. Signed in 1806, the Mississaugas of the Credit were given £1000 of trade goods and fishing rights along some creeks. 2

Parts of Burlington, Oakville, and Mississauga are in Treaty Land Number 14.

None of us were there in 1806, at this signing. But all of us are beneficiaries of this treaty’s provisions, except the Mississaugas of the Credit. This is why I believe a Land Acknowledgement can be an important step in reconciliation between those of us who are born, or arrived, here recently, and the descendants of those who signed.

Which brings us back full circle to the original challenge: including a land acknowledgement as part of a Toastmaster’s speech.

When Is The Right Time?

Should it be done at the beginning, as is the norm? Should it be done at the end? Can it be part of the speech in the middle?

My spotty practice so far is to give a very short land acknowledgment at the beginning of my speech. I recognize the Chair, our fellow toastmasters, and guests. I tell them that “I begin by acknowledging this land on which I live and work.” I complete a short land acknowledgment by recognizing the Indigenous peoples from here and express my gratitude for being able to be on this land.

I pause for a few seconds, and then launch into the speech, as if I am beginning anew – with the hook, the grabber, the question or quotation to bring the audience to me.

Can other Toastmasters recommend a better way?

I am all ears.

1 https://www.oakville.ca/culturerec/indigenous-community.html
2 http://mncfn.ca/head-of-the-lake-purchase-treaty-14/