Say hello to our new leadership team!

We have elections in June and inducted the new leadership team in July. They will serve through December 2020.

President – Robert Crosbie
VP of Education – Kellie Hobbs
VP of Membership – Monir Memarpuri
VP of Public Relations – Laura Patino
Secretary – Kira Pascoe
Treasurer – Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms – Megan Pratt
VP of Pathways  –  Rachel Fode

Welcome Angela!!

Angela Yee joined us in May and is the newest member of our club.

Welcome Megan Pratt!

Welcome to new member, Megan Pratt!

Welcome Katie Gibbons!

Welcome to our newest member, Katie Gibbons!

Welcome Idan Deutsch, Peter Gierlach, and Richmond Agyemang!

Welcome to our newest members: Idan Deutsch, Peter Gierlach, and Richmond Agyemang!

Welcome Esther Dsouza!

Welcome to our newest member, Esther Dsouza!

Welcome Kimberly Jones!

Welcome to our newest member, Kimberly Jones!

Welcome Sandeep Suresh, Ling Giang, and Alyssa Weis!

Welcome to our newest members: Sandeep Suresh, Ling Giang, and Alyssa Weis!

Welcome Anand Bahl!

Welcome to our new member, Anand Bahl!

Welcome Tina Hoang!

Welcome to our new member, Tina Hoang!

Welcome Eric Zan!

Welcome to our new member Eric Zan!

Welcome to Rae Feshbach!

Welcome to our new member Rae Feshbach!

Welcome Luke Zupan and Laura Patino!

Welcome to our newest club members, Luke Zupan and Laura Patino (returning member - welcome back, Laura)!

Welcome Chris Tibbs!

Welcome to our newest club member, Chris Tibbs!

Welcome Helga Lenart-Cheng and Mary Sullivan!

Welcome to our newest club members, Helga Lenart-Cheng and Mary Sullivan (returning member after 10 years)!

Welcome Robert Crosbie!

Welcome to our newest club member, Robert Crosbie!

Belated Welcome to New Club Members

Welcome to our newest club members, Anh Bui, Rachel Cohen, Chris Pappalardo, Ben Biddick, Dana Hoffman, Sushir Amarnath!

Congratulations to Karen Tran!

Karen Tran has completed her Competent Communicator award!

Congratulations to Rachel Fode!

Rachel has completed both her Competent Communicator & Competent Leadership awards!

Congratulations to Stefanie Borys!

Stefanie Borys has earned her Competent Communicator award!

Welcome Arrash Jalali!

Welcome to our newest club member, Arrash Jalali!

Welcome to Jordan Miller-Surratt

Welcome to our newest member, Jordan Miller-Surratt!

Congratulations to Our Contest Winners!

A hearty congratulations to the contest winners of our club contest this week!

Evaluation Contest Winners:
1st Place: Kimberly Willis
2nd Place: Kim Coady

Humorous Speech Contest Winners:
1st Place: Kevin Galvin "First Impressions"
2nd Place: Trevor Justice "Opportunities Won't Wait For You"

The first place winners will ascend to the Area D3 contest on September 14.

Thank you to all contestants who participated and to all volunteers who made this contest a success! More details about the contest can be found in the September issue of our monthly RTM newsletter.

Welcome to Chris Wilson

Welcome to our newest member, Chris Wilson!

Welcome Trevor Justice Levine

We welcome our newest member, Trevor Justice Levine!

New Officers for July-December 2017

President: Kellie Hobbs
VP of Education: Russ Singer
VP of Membership: Kristen Clopton
VP of Public Relations: Joan Warren
Secretary: Rachel Hoff
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Amy Stewart

Welcome Linda Pratt!

A cheery welcome to our newest member, Linda Pratt!

Welcome Back Kevin and Monir

Welcome back to returning members Kevin Anderson and Monir Memarpuri!

Welcome Pierce Macdonald

We offer a hearty welcome to our newest member, Pierce MacDonald! Welcome, Pierce.

Welcome Amy Stewart!

A cordial welcome to our newest member, Amy Stewart. Welcome aboard, Amy!

Welcome Kevin Galvin!

A happy welcome to our newest member, Kevin Galvin. Welcome aboard, Kevin!

Welcome to New Members Ali and Sandi!

A warm welcome to our newest members, Alicia (Ali) Gutierrez and Sandi Morris. This is our first time welcoming a mother-and daughter team! We are happy to have you.

Welcome Heather West!

Welcome to our newest member, Heather West!!

New Officers 1/1/17 - 6/30/17

Club President​: ​L​​isa Eriksen
Club VP Education​: ​Russel S. Singer, ACB
Club VP Membership​: ​Kristen Clopton, CC, CL
Club VP PR​: ​Joan C. Warren
Club Secretary​: ​Rachel Hoff
Club Treasurer​: ​Rubette Cowan, ACB
Club Sergeant at Arms​: ​Tim Thai

Welcome Megan, Kimberly and Eli!

A warm Rockridge welcome to our newest members--Megan Burnett, Kimberly Willis and Eli Mael. Yeah!

Welcome Elinor Buchen!

We're delighted to have our newest member join. Welcome Elinor!

Welcome Mario Ybarra!

A warm welcome to our newest member, Mario Ybarra. We're delighted to have you as a member, Mario.

New Officers 7/1/16

President: Stefanie Borys
VP of Education: Russ Singer
VP of Membership: Allison Baumeister
VP of Public Relations: Joan Warren
Secretary: Rachel Hoff
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Karen Tran

RTM Went Bowling on June 18!

A group of “game” Rockridge Toastmasters gathered at the AMF Southshore Lanes in Alameda on June 18 for what turned out to a super fun afternoon. We were a well-matched group, as it is safe to say that each player’s game was, uh, inconsistent. Kristen Clopten, who organized the event, put us all to shame in the first game, but we many of caught up in Game 2!

You could easily spot our group at the lanes, as we were the ones--in typical Toastmaster style--who clapped for every player, whether they got a gutter ball or a strike. It was super fun, we had a lot laughs and everyone's game improved as the afternoon progressed.

In attendance were Allison, Debar-ray, Joan, Kira, Kristen, Rubette and Tim. Watch for possible bowling events in RTM’s future. And watch out for Rubette, who doesn’t live too far from the lanes and says she will be practicing in the meantime!

Welcome Lucas Kartalim!

A warm welcome to our newest member, Lucas Kartalim!

Welcome Kim Scott!

We welcome our newest member, Kim Scott. Yeah!

Welcome Edward McDonough!

We are happy to welcome our newest member, Edward McDonough!

Welcome Lee West Jr.!

We are delighted to welcome our newest member, Lee West Jr. Welcome aboard, Lee!

Welcome Tom Schao!

Welcome to our newest member, Tom Schao, who joined this month!

Welcome Rebecca Crump!

Welcome to our newest Rockridge Toastmaster, Rebecca Crump. We are happy to have you join us.

Welcome Tim Thai!

A hearty welcome to our new member, Tim Thai. We're delighted to have you, Tim!

Welcome to Albert Lee and Sarah Price!

A hearty welcome to our new members, Albert Lee and Sarah Price.

New Officers 1/1/16

President: Debar-Ray Jones
VP of Education: Russ Singer
VP of Membership: Allison Baumeister
VP of Public Relations: Joan Warren
Secretary: Amber Yan
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Stefanie Borys

Welcome to Chris Hanna!

A warm welcome to our newest member, Chris Hanna. Hurrah!

Welcome Rachel Hoff!

We are delighted to welcome our newest member, Rachel Hoff. Happy to have you join us!

Welcome Rebecca and Walfre!

We are delighted to welcome our two newest members, Rebecca Morris and Walfre Cruz! Hurrah!

Welcome Stefanie and Parker!

We are delighted to welcome our two newest members, Stefanie Borys and Parker Townley. Yeah!

New Officers 7/1/15

President: Kira Pascoe
VP of Education: Russ Singer
VP of Membership: Poonum Kaberwal
VP of Public Relations: Joan Warren
Secretary: Amber Yan
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Debar-Ray Jones

Welcome Sharon!

Rockridge Toastmasters has a new member! Welcome, Sharon Frasier!

New Officers - 1/1-6/30/15

President: Amir Adibi
VP of Education: Kira Pascoe
VP of Membership: Mary Peek
VP of Public Relations: Amber Yan
Secretary: Kim Coady
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Jennifer Wheeler

Last meetings of 2014!

Rockridge Toastmasters is planning to have meetings on both December 23 and 30th. Come and join your friends if you are in town!

Three new members joined our club in November!

We are very excited to announce that three new members joined Rockridge Toastmasters club in November. Welcome Sarah Donnelly,Joan Warren, and Poonum Kaberwal!

Welcome Kellie!

Rockridge Toastmasters has a new member! Welcome Kellie Hobb.

Division D Speech Contest-10/23/14 7-9 pm

Please join us at Division D Speech Contest. Debar-ray Jones will represent Rockridge toastmasters. Address:
EBMUD Building
375 11th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Congratulation to Debar-ray Jones!

Debar-ray Jones from Rockridge toastmaster is the winner of Area D3 Humorous Speech Contest. We are very proud of you Debar-ray!

Welcome to New Members

Rockridge Toastmasters welcomes the new members Jennifer Wheeler, Stephanie Szabo and Mary Peek. We are excited to hear your speeches!

Area D3 Speech Contest

Please note that the date of the Area D3 Speech Contest has changed. Below is the updated contest information.

Date: Monday, September 29, 2014
Time: 7-9pm (contestants and contest functionaries must arrive by 6:30)
Location: EBMUD 375 11th St. Oakland 94612

Kira Pascoe and Debar-ray Jones will represent Rockridge Toastmaster at the contest. For those of you interested in volunteering, please contact our esteemed Area D3 Governor, Patricia deSa.

Upcoming Humorous Speech Contest

We will have a humorous speech contest on 8/26/14. Looking forward for great speeches!

Members Achievements

We are excited to announce that Pat DeSa and Wendy Hansen, long-standing Rockridge Toastmasters members, have received Outstanding Achievement Toastmaster award. The award recognizes members for extraordinary service and/or participation in Club, Area, Division, District, and Toastmasters International activities/programs and taking the Toastmasters brand beyond, into the community.

Kudos to Beatrice Stonebanks

Beatrice, former Area D3 Governor, has received a plaque this month in recognition of her contributions as an area governor. In her role as an area governor, she was responsible for overseeing the clubs in the area to ensure every club fulfills its responsibilities to its members. During 2013-2014, she also served as Outstanding Achievement Toastmaster Award Chair.
As a well-known Chief Business Development Officer, she has been successful in integrating communication and leadership skills. She has been a great role model for Rockridge Toastmasters members.

New Ribbon

Developing the leadership skills has been integral to our club culture. Recently, we received a new ribbon in recognition of having the area governor as a member. Pat DeSa, new Area D3 Governor, has been a member of Rockridge Toastmasters since 2000. We are proud of being the home club for the Area Governor!

Welcome to New Members

Rockridge Toastmasters welcomes the new members Betty Ray and Ric Corona. The members of our club take pride in the quality and high standard of our meetings, evaluations, feedback, and accomplishments of our members. You will not only improve your communication skills, but you will find new friends. We are looking forward to hearing your speeches!

New Officers - Update - 7/1-12/31/14

President: Amir Adibi (was Laura Patino, who moved from Bay Area)
VP of Education: Kira Pascoe
VP of Membership: Russ Singer (was Amir Adibi)
VP of Public Relations: Saharnaz Mirzazad
Secretary: Jill Perakis
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Tim Cochran

New Officers - 7/1/14- 12/31/14

President: Laura Patino
VP of Education: Kira Pascoe
VP of Membership: Amir Adibi
VP of Public Relations: Saharnaz Mirzazad
Secretary: Jill Perakis
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Tim Cochran

Wendy to compete in the Division-level Table Topics contest!

Wendy Hanson has advanced to the next level of competition in the Table Topics contest. Please join your fellow Rockridge Toastmasters in supporting her at this event next Monday!

Event: Division D Table Topics and International Speech Contest
Date: Monday, April 7
Time: 7 PM - 9 PM
Location: EBMUD
3715 11th Street, 2nd Floor
Oakland, CA 94612

Congrats to Wendy and Raitis!

We had a nice turnout of RTM club members at the D3 Area contest. Thanks for coming out to support and represent our club, as well as hear some great speeches. In the Table Topics contest, Wendy Hanson won first place, and in the International Speech contest, Raitis Stalazs took home the second place award. Way to go, Wendy and Raitis!

Toastmasters Contests Update

We had an exciting club-level contest last week, with 8 participants in two categories - International Speech and Table Topics. Congratulations to all our RTM members who challenged themselves, and especially the winners! A special mention also goes to Contest Chair Bonnie Tam for organizing this event. It takes many people to make a contest happen, so thanks to all who had a hand in making it such a success.

International Speech Contest Winners:
*1st Place: Laura Patino
*2nd Place: Raitis Stalazs

Table Topics Contest Winners:
*1st Place: Wendy Hanson
*2nd Place: Laura Patino
*3rd Place: Amir Adibi

Raitis (in place of Laura) and Wendy will both be moving forward to the next contest level (Area D3), to be held on Monday, March 17 from 7-9 pm at the EBMUD building (375 11th St., Oakland, CA 94607). Please come join the fun and cheer on your fellow Toastmasters!

New Officers - Jan 1 - June 30. 2014

President: Muriel Taing
VP of Education: Laura Patino
VP of Membership: Russ Singer
VP of Public Relations: Ashley Pratt
Secretary: Gaylene Simmons
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Amir Adibi

New Officers - 7/1/13 - 12/31/13

President: Kristen Clopton
VP of Education: Debar-ray Jones
VP of Membership: Muriel Taing
VP of Public Relations: Peter Gaposchkin
Secretary: Raitis Stalazs
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Ashley Pratt

New Officers - 1/1/13 - 6/30/13

President: Wendy Hanson
VP of Education: Debar-ray Jones
VP of Membership: Peter Gaposchkin
VP of Public Relations: Caroline Glesmann
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Kristen Clopton
Secretary: Steve Adams

Speech and Evaluation Contest Update

2012 Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contests

Since our call for participants to the Annual Rockridge Toastmasters Humorous Speech and Evaluation we held our contest and sent the winners on to the Area level contest. The August speech contest held at Rockridge Toastmasters on the August 28th, was a rousing success! Congratulations to all the participants, especially the winners:

Evaluation Contest
First place: Antonya Williams
Second place: Debra Capitan
Honorable mentions also go to Taylour Nevis and Bakht Khan. All four contestants delivered high-quality and thoughtful evaluations, showcasing their great talents for on your feet thinking and eloquence.

Humorous Speech Contest
First place: Cato Thornton
Second place: Ed Lana
Honorable mentions go to James Frank, and Ingrid Hart. All four contestants delivered entertaining speeches!

Special thanks go to the many RTM members who volunteered for this event and contributed to its success as well as to our Guest Speaker Nikki Lorenz, who delivered her speech for the evaluation contestants.

Next our winners, Cato and Antonya were scheduled to move on to the Area Contest on September 14th in downtown Oakland. Unfortunately Cato was unable to compete, so our runner-up Ed Lana competed. Several RTM members attended to cheer on Antonya and Ed, who both performed exceptionally well. Speeches and Evaluations from all competitors were fabulous and Antonya came away with 2nd Place in the Speech Evaluation Contest. BIG congratulations to Antonya!

Congratulations again to all our club contest winners and many many thanks to all who participated.

Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contest

Seeking Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contest contestants

WHAT:Rockridge Toastmasters Humorous Speech & Evaluation Contest
WHEN:Tuesday Agust 28th, 7pm
WHERE:Veterans Building, 200 Grand Ave., Oakland

Showcase your comic talents and/or sharpen your evaluation skills by being a contestant in RTMs Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest on August 28th.

For the Evaluation Contest a non-RTM member will be brought in to speak and each contestant will evaluate this speaker, and then judges will vote for best evaluator.

The winner from each contest will go on to the Area Humorous Speech, and Evaluation contest, then on to Division and District contests.

Please Note:
1. You must be a member of the Rockridge Toastmasters Club to compete in either contest.
2. You can compete in both contests on the same night if you wish.
3. There are no requirements that you have given any speeches. You don’t even need to have given your Ice Breaker.

* * * Please contact Ralph Nelson if you would like to compete. * * *

New Officers - 7/1/12 - 12/31/12

Announcing the new officers for RTM's July 1 - December 31, 2012 term.

They're already one month in office, and doing a great job!

President:Ed Lana
V.P. of Education:Laura Patino
V.P. of Membership:Ralph Nelson
V.P. of Public Relations:MaryEllen Rhyins
Treasurer:Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms:James Frank
Secretary:Lindsay Zika

Spring Speech Contest a Success!

The Spring speech contest held at Rockridge Toastmasters on February 21, 2012 was a rousing success! Congratulations to all the participants, especially the winners:

International Speech Contest
First place: Steve Adams
Second place: Russell Cohn
An honorable mention goes to Beatrice Stonebanks. All three contestants delivered high-quality, lively, and entertaining speeches - a true inspiration for members at all levels.

Table Topics Contest
First place: Wendy Hanson
Second place: Ralph Nelson
Third place: Debar-ray Jone
Honorable mentions go to Debra Capitan, MaryEllen Rhyins, Shahid Said, Cato Thornton, and Lindsay Zika. All eight contestants stepped up to the challenge and answered the question of the night in their own unique style. Very fun to watch!

Special thanks go to the many RTM members who volunteered for this event and contributed to its success:
Toastmaster: Rubette Cowan
Table Topics Master: Ash Aneja
Chief Judge: Kim Neumann
Ballot Counters: Rohini Patel, Kate Spohr
Timekeeper: Peter Gaposhkin
Sergeant-at-Arms: Laura Patino
Contest Chair: Patricia deSa

The winners of each contest will now advance to the area level contest:
Area D3 Contest
Wednesday, March 21st from 7-9pm.
EBMUD Building
375 - 11th Street
Oakland, CA 94607

All are welcome to attend the Area D3 contest. If you would like to volunteer for this event, please contact Area D3 Governor Maggie Whitcomb at

Congratulations again to all of our club contest winners. Good luck in the next round!

New Officers - 1/1/12 - 6/30/12

President: Russell Cohn
VP Education: Steve Adams
VP Membership: Ed Lana
VP Public Relations: Open
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Sergeant at Arms: Laura Patino
Secretary: Rubette Cowan

Rockridge Toastmasters makes The Wall Street Journal! Read the full article here:

From the President

The VP Education works meticulously to help members achieve their oral communication and leadership goals. To new members the role assignment process might be a bit of a mystery.  Some wonder how the VP Education determines who speaks, who evaluates, who counts um’s and so on.

Assigning roles is more of an art than it is a science. The VP Education takes several factors into account when deciding who will do what and strives to achieve a balance between newer and more experienced members for each meeting. The VP Education also ensures that members are rotating through each role consistently as each role offers a unique opportunity to develop our oral communication and leadership skills.

Take Aways

Talk to the VP Education about your goals. The VP Education is here to help you make the most of your Toastmasters experience. 

Send manual speech requests to the VP Education. Let the VP Education know when you would like to be placed on the speaking schedule and he/she will do his/her best to accommodate you. No request is ignored. If there is no space for the date you request, the VP Education will work with you to find the next best alternative. 

Remember to have the VP Education initial the back of your manual as you complete each speech. In order to receive your Communication Awards, you will need to submit that initialed document to Toastmasters International.

If you have any questions about role assignments, feel free to contact me!

Cassandra Cummings, President RTM

New Club Officers are underway! And the press has been notified!

Rockridge Toastmasters Club proudly announces their new slate of officers!

Each Toastmasters Club is administered by a group of 7 elected officers serving 6-month terms, starting in January and July. All members are encouraged to participate in the leadership of Rock¬ridge Toastmasters, providing a great opportunity for growth and confidence building.
Cassandra Cummings - President: The President provides primary leadership and is responsible for general super¬vision and operation of the Club. He or she calls periodic officers’ meetings and presides over them. The President is a member with voting privileges on the District Council.
Steve Adams - VP of Education: The second ranking Club Officer, also a member with voting privileges on the District council. The VP of Education is responsible for assigning Club meeting participation and plan¬ning, organizing and implementing all educational programs. Also tracks members’ pro¬gress in meeting their individual goals.
Russell Cohn - VP of Membership: The VP of Membership is responsible for Club growth and membership re¬cords. He or she makes sure guests feel welcome, processes membership applications, and guides them in understanding what to expect, and what’s expected of them. The Membership VP also matches new members with mentors, and organizes achievement recognition events.
Beatrice Stonebanks - VP of Public Relations: The VP of Public Relations is responsible for internal and external public relations for the Club. This includes publicizing Club events and representing the Club to the media and community. This officer is also responsible for running the meeting adver¬tisements in local media, as well as keeping our web site news section up to date.
Clayton Cole- Secretary: The Secretary is responsible for Club records and correspondence. The Secretary sub¬mits updated membership and officer records to TI Headquarters. He or she also records and presents officer meeting minutes as well as any Club business conducted as part of the regular meeting.
Rubette Cowan - Treasurer: The Treasurer is responsible for the development and execution of financial policies, procedures, audits, and controls. The primary responsibilities are the collection and submission of semi-annual dues to TI and the collection and submission of pro-rated dues for new mem¬bers.
Ed Lana - Sergeant-at-Arms: The Sergeant-at-Arms is responsible for serving as the master host and making proper physical and logistical arrangements for all Club meetings. This officer is also responsible for the orderly conduct of all meetings, including meeting room layout and materials.

The 2011 Rockridge Toastmasters elections went off without a hitch. An unopposed slate of officers was voted in unanimously. The new team is underway and committed to the growth and success of its club and its members!

About Toastmasters: Toastmasters International, with headquarters in Mission Viejo, California, supports more than 10,000 clubs in approximately 90 countries. Structured hierarchically, Toastmasters International is divided into Regions, Districts, Divisions, Areas, and finally, Clubs. Rockridge Toastmasters is Club 5409 in Area 3 of Division D in District 57.

District 57, roughly bounded by the San Francisco Bay Area to the south, the Oregon border to the north, and Livermore to the east, includes almost 150 clubs in 7 Divisions. Division D pri¬marily co¬vers Oakland and Alameda and is divided into 4 Areas. (Local Club) (District 57) (Toastmasters International)

Harvey Earns his CC pin

Harvey completes 10 speeches in CC manual and earns his pin

RTM wins a Smedley!

Congratulations to all Rockridge Toastmasters, you helped us win a Smedley Award; today we proudly hung the newly earned bright green ribbon on our RTM flag.

"The Smedley Award commemorates the founding of Toastmasters International on October 22, 1924, by Dr. Ralph Smedley. One person initiated a program that would go on to affect millions of people. In his honor, if your club can add five new, dual, or reinstated members between August 1 and September 30, you'll receive a Smedley Award ribbon to display on your club's banner."

We did it!

Here's to Ralph Smedley, here's to OUR Smedley and here's to YOU!

Current Meeting Dates are off by one day

Note, the current meeting schedule is off by one day on the calendar. This is being handled and it will reflect the proper dates shortly; all meetings are on Tuesday evenings at 7pm!

Any questions, I am happy to help:

In Celebration of Rita Schnaidt

Host: Rockridge Toastmasters
When: Tuesday, November 09 from 07:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Veterans' Building 200 Grand Avenue, Hall 2
Oakland, CA 94610

Our friend Rita Schnaidt passed away on August 16, 2010. Please join us as we celebrate Rita. She loved Rockridge Toastmasters, and we loved her and miss her.

Please let us know if you can attend and would like to say a few words about Rita, Everyone who wants to say something will get a chance, and we request that you try to keep remarks to about 2-3 minutes -- this is Toastmasters, after all! If you can't make it in person, but would like to send along a message, someone can read it for you. Please mention that in your reply, and we'll get in touch with you.

Let's raise a glass to Rita as we remember her fondly. There will be snacks and drinks after the meeting. Hope to see you on November 9th! Feel free to forward this invitation to anyone you think would be interested.

2010 FALL Conference!!

Here is a link to the info about our Fall Conference! I have posted the details below as well:

Conference: Saturday November 6, 2010 • Friday Night Showcase: Friday, November 5, 2010 San Ramon Valley Conference Center • San Ramon, California

Please let us know if you would like to car pool, so far we have a couple people interested!


Put your left hand up.. put your right hand up...
now let’s RAISE THAT ROOF!”
Be Energized and Inspired! Connect with other Toastmasters!
It takes a village (of Toastmasters) to create a Toastmaster, did you know that? People helping people succeed — that is the heart of the Toastmasters experience. By networking, socializing and learning with a group of people who have the same drive to improve as you do, you will set yourself up for future success as a Toastmaster, and improve your chances out there in today’s increasingly competitive job marketplace.
The District 57 Fall Conference is a one-stop-shop for networking, socializing and learning with other Toastmasters from thoughout Northern California. You will HEAR & LEARN FROM advanced speakers and life coaches, MEET district leaders and CONNECT WITH other Toastmasters.
We’re going to RAISE THE ROOF this fall in San Ramon. We’re going to energize and inspire each other, make new friends and say hello to old friends... and we want you to join us!
What you’ll experience...
• The best speakers in each Division vying for District Champion in the Evaluation and Humorous speech contests
• A Friday Night Showcase workshop that will inspire you to "always better your best"
• An inspiring Keynote Address
• Informative Educational Sessions to take your speechcraft and leadership skills to the next level, as well as “personal growth” sessions
• A First-Timers Meeting for new Toastmasters
• A Business Meeting to keep you abreast of what’s happening in and around the District
• Breakfast, Lunch and a Snack is included!
Schedule of Events (subject to change)
Friday, November 5, 2010
7:00 – 9:00 pm
Friday Night Showcase with Dave "The Shef" Sheffield

Saturday, November 6, 2010
7:00 am
Registration/Credentials Check-in
7:00 – 9:00 am
Breakfast is Served!
8:00 – 8:50 am
Business Meeting and First Timer's Meeting
9:00 – 9:15 am
Opening Ceremonies
9:15 – 10:00 am
Keynote Address: Dave "The Shef" Sheffield
10:15 – 11:15 am
Contestants, Judges, Timers, Vote Counters for Evaluation Contest meet
10:15 – 11:15 am
Educational Program – Morning Sessions
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Evaluation Contest
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Lunch is Served!
1:45 – 2:45 pm
Educational Program – Afternoon Sessions I
3:00 – 4:00 pm
Contestants, Judges, Timers, Vote Counters for Humorous Speech Contest meet
3:00 – 4:00 pm
Educational Program – Afternoon Sessions II
4:00 – 4:20 pm
Break – Snacks – Yum!
4:20 – 5:35 pm
Humorous Speech Contest
5:50 – 6:00 pm
Awards Ceremony
6:00 p.m.
Conference pricing includes: Breakfast, Business Meeting, Evaluation Contest, Keynote Address, Lunch, Humorous Speech Contest, all educational sessions and ceremonies.  

Postmarked on or before October 25:
Conference + Friday Night Showcase
Conference only
Friday Night Showcase only

After October 25 – online or on-site registration ONLY:
Conference + Friday Night Showcase
Conference only
Friday Night Showcase only

Business Meeting Only - Free
Register Now Online!

Limited to one registration
per email address and credit card
Or, click here to download a registration form, fill it out and mail with your payment
(must be postmarked by 10/25 , make checks out to District 57 Toastmasters) to:
Chris Pon
Rayner & Haynor Investment Counselors
655 Redwood Highway, Ste 370
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Evaluation and Humorous Speech Contests
Being able to effectively evaluate someone is a very valuable leadership skill, and is KEY to the Toastmasters experience. Our 11:30 am Evaluation Contest will showcase the top evaluators from the seven divisions of District 57.
So you think you know funny? HA HA!! Join us at 4:20pm for the Humorous Speech Contest, where the top speakers from the seven District 57 divisions will tickle your funny bone and show you what funny IS.
Looking for ways to broaden your communication and leadership skills? Looking for a way to give back to District 57? Volunteer for the Fall Conference Committee! We need volunteers in the following ares:
Room monitors
Contact Conference Chair Brendan Murphy at and help us RAISE THE ROOF!


Join this special evening dedicated to Rita Schnaidt

Dear Fellow Toastmasters,

I am so sorry to share the news that Rockridge Toastmasters has lost a prominent and long time member, Rita Schnaidt. Beside her large and loving family in Bakersfield, she passed away last month.

Her obituary is amazing, below is the link. It's beautifully written and packed with evidence of a life deeply lived and loved! This is no surprise to anyone who knew her: <>

Rita Schnaidt has touched RTM and each of us in so many wonderful ways! We will honor her formally by dedicating a meeting to her. This special meeting is in planning: you can give a special occasion speech with a eulogy, share your memories, share a speaking technique she helped you master, or help us all celebrate the gift that was Rita Schnaidt!

If you would like to have a roll in Rita's Memorial Meeting please let me know: date and details to be announced shortly. She is already missed!

My very best to you all,

Beatrice Stonebanks
510.338.0896 phone

Chika and Harvey advance to the Division 3 Area Speech Contest

Chika Nwoko and Harvey Hyman, winners of the Rockridge Toastmasters Speech and Table Topics contest(held March 16th), respectively will advance to the Division 3 Area Speech Contest on March, 30th 2010.

Congratulations to both of them, and we wish them luck at the Area Speech Contest.

Unanimous vote for new officers for January – June, 2010 Term

On December 22nd, 2009 by a motion from the current President, Siobhan Southwick, with a second from Treasurer, Rubette Cowans, a unanimous slate of Officers were elected for the January through June, 2010 term. Officers will be installed January 5th, 2010!

Chika Nwoko

VP of Education
Ash Aneja

VP of Membership
Bakht Kahn

VP of Public Relations
Peter Dosanjh

Rachel Asa

Rubette Cowan

Sergeant at Arms
Kathryn Strong

Unanimous vote for a powerful new slate of Officers!

June 2nd, 2009 by a motion from the current Secretary, Kathy Hraster, with a second from Member, Doug Coe, a unanimous slate of Officers was elected for the July through December term. Officers will be installed June 30th, 2009!
President- Siobhan Southwick
VP of Ed- Steve Forney
VP of Membership- Jeffrey Koubek
VP of PR- Chika Nwoko
Sgt at Arms: Chris Pinckley
Treasurer- Rubette Cowan
Secretary- Rohini

2009 January - June Officers

The 2009 Rockridge Toastmasters presidential election went off without a hitch. An unopposed slate of officers was voted in unanimously. The new team is underway and committed to the growth and success of its club and its members! Officer slate: Beatrice Stonebanks, President; Kemberlee Bonnet, VP of Education; Lee Staub, VP of Membership; Ben Kocs-Meyers, VP of PR; Erica Dong, Treasurer; Kathy Hraster, Secretary; Jeffrey Koubek, Sgt at Arms.

New Officers for July - December 2008

The 2008 Rockridge Toastmasters presidential election went off without a hitch. An unopposed slate of officers was voted in unanimously on June 10, 2008. The new team will be sworn in at a special ceremony on June 24.

Taking over on July 1 and holding office through December 31 are:

President: Steve Forney

VP Education: Chris Pufpaf

VP Public Relations: Beatrice Stonebanks

VP Membership: Rita Schnaidt

Secretary: Phanda Jones

Treasurer: Rubette Cowan

Sergeant at Arms: Peter Gaposchkin

Onward and Upward!

Spring Fling Party and JokeMeister

Our "Welcome to Spring" lunchtime bash at Casa "newest Competent Communicator" Sonia Quintero on Sunday was a delicious and delightful affair. Club members, as per usual, excelled in the food department. Good devilled eggs, Kathy Hraster; yummie Thai and Indian chicken, Steve Fornay; gorgeous cupcakes, Beatrice Stonebanks; which is not to say everything else wasn't equally good. Steve Forney won the JokeMeister contest and with the popularity of the idea of telling a joke as an option for the closing thought, as suggested by Ash Aneja, this will now be permanent on the agenda. Ash and Rita Schnaidt were runners-up in the joke contest and Mary Sullivan and Wanda Hennig tied for fourth place. Onward and upward!

Rockridge Toastmasters Area Contest Winners

Congratulations to Dorian Cougias, a Rockridge Toastmasters newbie but a longtime Toastmaster and veteran speaker, for his International Speech Contest win. Dorian represented our club on 03/17/08 at the area contest held at Barnes & Noble, Jack London Square. He goes on to represent Rockridge Toastmasters in the district contest. Congratulations also go to Mary Sullivan who was runner-up the same night, in the Table Topics contest. Advice she would give to anyone competing in Table Topics? Read your question and then walk away from the podium, she says. She didn't do it, but next time she will!

New officers for January 1 - June 30, 2008

Congratulations to the new officers-elect who will be serving Rockridge Toastmasters from January 1 to June 30, 2008. They were elected by a unanimous vote of a majority of club members at the December 4, 2007 meeting.

President – Wanda Hennig
VP of Education – Steve Forney
VP of Membership – Rita Schnaidt
VP of PR – Ash Aneja
Secretary – Laura Prives
Treasurer – Sonia Quintero
Sergeant at Arms – Peter Gaposchkin

These new officers will be installed at the December 18th meeting.

Rockridge Toastmasters Contestants Take Second Place in Area Contest

Congratulations to Rita Schnaidt, Humorous Speech Contest winner and to Kent Lewandowski, Evaluation Contest winner in Rockridge Toastmasters' club speech contest. Rita and Kent each went on to the Area D3 contest on October 1st, and each took home second place awards!

Rockridge Toastmasters Wins Beat the Clock Award

Toastmasters International ran a special membership program from May 1 to June 30, 2007.  Rockridge Toastmasters took in five new members during that time. We received another ribbon to add to our club banner and can choose a gift item from the Toastmasters Store.  Our special thanks to new members, Chris P., DeWeena C., Laura N., Laura P., and Rhett P. who joined during that time to help us achieve this award!

New Officers for July - December 2007

Congratulations to our new slate of officers, elected for the term from July to December 2007

President – Mary Sullivan

VP-Education - Sue Garces

VP-Membership – Sonia Quintero

VP-Public Relations – Rita Schnaidt

Treasurer – Monir Memarpuri

Sergeant-at-Arms – Steven Forney

Secretary – Ash Aneja

"Bring a Friend Night" and Potluck

On February the 13th, we will host our club building event, "Bring a Friend Night." First and foremost, the occasion is to promote our toastmasters club to keep it as a viable, desirable club to be a member. Moreover, this event will help raise local awareness of Toastmasters and what it is, in concept and in practice.

Please come and participate- bring a friend, some food and/or drinks, and tell a few others about our planned evening. As always, this will be a fun time to be had by all.

New Officers for January - June 2007

Congratulations to our new slate of officers, elected for the term January - June 2007

President - Suk-King Yiu

VP-Education - Sue Garces

VP-Membership - Carol Moretti

VP-Public Relations - Cepeda Carson

Treasurer - Anna Schooley

Sergeant-at-Arms - B.W. Leicester

Secretary - Chris Fuller

Potluck and Inductions of New Officers

December 19 is our last meeting of 2006 as well as the transfer of "power" among the officers. This installation ceremony is an important tradition that honors the role our officers play in the leadership of the club.

Please plan to attend the meeting & ceremony. Additionally, we will have a potluck that night to celebrate. 

Kevin's Icebreaker Moment

VP Education, Doug Coe, congratulated Kevin Hearne for a job well done on his Icebreaker!

New Officers for July-December 2006

Congratulations to our new slate of officers, elected for the term July - December 2006:
President - Cepeda Carson
VP-Education - Doug Coe
VP-Membership - Heather Webster
VP-Public Relations - E.M. Ginger
Treasurer - Gordon Williams
Sergeant-at-Arms - Kevin Ly
Secretary - Kent Lewandowski

Table Topics Educational Forum - A Success!

As promised, a second educational forum was put in place for early May. This one focused on Table Topics - the subject of much interest, as evidenced by the number of people who participated. Kent Lewandowski did an excellent job of moderating the forum. He asked pertinent questions and kept the discussion running smoothly and on topic. Assisting him in his efforts were the panelists - Tiffany Torlakson, Russ Singer, Wanda Hennig, and Carl Close - all of whom offered pearls of wisdom on how to approach and execute a good Table Topics presentation. The audience was active with comments and questions, and in the end we all learned a lot from the discussion. Rubette Cowan coordinated all the refreshments which are always a crowd favorite. Extra points to Kent for his awesome homemade, vegetarian crostinis which were an especially big hit. We all look forward to another forum next term.

Resurfacing of the Leadership Track

There are changes ahead in the Toastmaster Communication and Leadership Tracks. Most of us are familiar with the basic Communication and Leadership manual and its ten project speeches. Those ten project speeches are the first leg of the communication track to achieve Competent Toastmaster (CTM).

Not as well known is that each member can also achieve Competent Leader standing (CL) by the following:
* Achieved Competent Toastmaster award
* Served at least six months as a Club officer and participated in the preparation of a Club Success Plan while serving in this office
* While a Club officer, participated in a District-sponsored Club officer training program
* Conducted any two programs from The Successful Club Series and/or The Leadership Excellence Series

But the requirements above are about to change -- starting in July 2006, newly joined Toastmaster members will receive two manuals, a communication manual with ten speeches and a second manual titled "Competent Leadership" with ten projects to complete.

Though many join Toastmasters for the "communication track" with its exercises in public speaking, the "leadership track" has always been available and has now been given more prominence with it's own manual, and detailed projects to complete and be evaluated on.

The existing leadership track has three levels: Competent Leader (CL), Advanced Leader (AL) and Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM).

The new leadership track will still have the Competent Leader (CL) achievement level but you will have to complete the ten projects in the Competent Leadership Manual to receive this. After this you can go on to achieve Advanced Leader Bronze (ALB), Advanced Leader Silver (ALS) and then the familiar "Distinguished Toastmaster" (DTM). Check out the new leadership track and the project details to get even more out of Toastmasters!

Speaking about the Speech Contest of February 28

The results are in: Claire Pillsbury (your faithful RTM News Scribe) and Kent Lewandowski are the winners and the official Rockridge club speaker and Table Topic talker respectively, who will go on to represent RTM at the Area contest on March 23. In the event that either is unable to participate on that date, the next runner-up will be asked to compete.

Congratulations also to our second place speech contest winner, Suk-King Yiu, as well as our second and third place Table Topics winners, Alex Black and Ash Aneja, respectively. Honorable mentions go to all other contestants: Sue Garces, Carl Close, Rita Schnaidt, and Peter Gaposchkin.

For those who didn't attend, a Speech Contest meeting is a *very* different animal than our usual agenda and process. There is no opening or closing thought, no speaker introductions, no clicking and 'uh' tally reports, and no oral evaluation report. Club members in the audience do not fill out the familiar evaluation forms for speakers but they do fill out a rather complicated numerical ballot for speakers and for table topic contestants.

Our Education Officer, Cepeda Carson had to work hard to recruit 3 to 4 club members to compete in a speech category and 5 or 6 to compete in a table topics category. Speakers must have completed at least the first six speeches in the basic manual to be eligible.

An ear-splitting fire alarm and building evacuation started the Speech Contest meeting on an intrepid note, and chocolates were served outside to various toastmasters and other individuals from concurrent Veterans Bldg activities. A false alarm was verified and the RTM meeting restarted with only a slight delay.

The three speeches took up the first half hour or so and then the Table Topics consumed most of the second half hour. For the contest, there was an interesting twist on our usual Table Topic procedure. All contestants were asked the same question so every contestant other than the current TT speaker or those who had already spoken, had to wait outside the room. Despite this isolation hardship, all performed very well and delivered interesting cogent responses to the topic: "What is the hardest job they ever had, and why was it important to you?" Ironically, Kent Lewandowski's articulate and winning response was how he tried to avoid working hard whenever possible!

Author Author! (Rockridge Toastmasters' article published)

Rockridge Toastmasters' own Kathy Hrastar is the author of the interesting and inspiring article on speaking for classes learning English as a second language. Look in the February 2006 issue of Toastmaster magazine to find her excellent essay about her experiences. As Kathy points out, she learned a lot and the audience of English language learners also benefits, in hearing a different voice than their teachers,and in valuable listening and comprehension practice. Congratulations Kathy on your article and thank you for sharing your story to inspire the rest of us.

Officers: January 1 - June 30, 2006

President: Patricia deSa
VP Education: Cepeda Carson
VP Membership: Ash Aneja
VP Public Relations: Claire Pillsbury
Treasurer: Doug Coe
Sergeant at Arms: Kent Lewandowski
Secretary: Cathy Curtis
Immediate Past President: Rubette Cowan

First Educational Forum Held

Rockridge Toastmasters held its first Educational Forum on November 29, 2005. The topic was “How to Give a Great Evaluation,” and the panel consisted of Craig Wood (moderator), Ash Aneja, Kathy Hrastar, and Russ Singer, all stellar evaluators. Refreshments and sweets were served, and it was very well attended. All in all, it was a great success, with everyone getting lots of ideas on how to improve their own evaluating skills. In fact, it was so successful, we will definitely do this again, probably two or three times a year. So, if you weren't able to make it to this first forum, there will be other opportunities.

Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contests

There were a number of speech contests held throughout District 57 this fall. We were very pleased to have such a good showing at all levels—from club, to area, to division, and finally, to the district level.

Our club contests were held on September 6th. The contestants for the Humorous Speech Contest were Patricia deSa, Darrell Smith, and Brian Ward, and the contestants for the Evaluation Contest were Ash Aneja, Cathy Curtis, and Tiffany Torlakson.

The Fall District 57 Conference was on November 5th, where Patricia deSa placed third in the Humorous Speech Contest, after taking first place in the club, area, and division contests. She was in a field of seven very experienced, excellent speakers, so coming in third was no small feat! Hearty congratulations to you Pat. We’re all very proud of you!

Annual Picnic

Craig Wood organized the annual picnic again. Our "summer" picnic was held a little late this year, but it didn’t take anything away from the fun. This year it was held at Lake Temescal. The food was yummy, and a good time was had by all.

Take Us Out to the Ball Game!

We did it again! Rubette Cowan and Craig Wood organized a great night at the Oakland Coliseum to catch an A’s game, and to watch the spectacular fireworks. We all had so much fun going to two A’s fireworks games last summer, we couldn’t resist the temptation to do it again. It was a very enjoyable (albeit a little chilly) night. By the way, the A’s lost to Minnesota, 0-1. But that won’t stop us from going again next year.

Officers: July 1 – December 31, 2005

President: Rubette Cowan
VP Education: Patricia deSa
VP Membership: Doug Coe
VP Public Relations: Bakht Khan
Treasurer: Cathy Curtis
Sergeant at Arms: Cepeda Carson
Secretary: Peter Gaposchkin

International Speech and Table Topics Contests

Club Level Contest – March 8, 2005

Table Topics Contestants: Diane Beeson, Cathy Curtis, Patricia deSa, Rita Schnaidt, Sara Weisman

International Speech Contestants: Ash Aneja, Sue Garces

Officers: January 1 – June 30, 2005

President: Mary Sullivan
VP Education: Rubette Cowan
VP Membership: JD Margulici
VP Public Relations: Darrell Smith
Treasurer: Suk-King Yiu
Sergeant at Arms: Patricia deSa
Secretary: Michael Chao

Picnic Fun

Thanks to Craig Wood for organizing our annual picnic in Tilden Park in Berkeley. The overcast day and the chill in the air couldn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm of those who attended. We had tons of fun, from playing bocce ball, to learning how to hula hoop, to playing a very competitive -- but still friendly -- game of Scrabble. It was a wonderful day, especially if you happened to be on the winning team! We’re already looking forward to next year’s picnic.

Officers: July 1 – December 31, 2004

President: Ash Aneja
VP Education: Jennifer Reed
VP Membership: Rubette Cowan
VP Public Relations: Rita Schnaidt
Treasurer: Teri Buford
Sergeant at Arms: Doug Coe
Secretary: Peter Gaposchkin

Division D Speech Contest

Come "clap and applaud" for Rockridge Toastmasters' Jennifer Reed at the upcoming Toastmasters International Division D Speech Contest.

Date: Thurs., April 15, 2004 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Location: Kaiser Permanente Regional Bldg.
1950 Franklin St., 2nd Floor
Conference Dining Room
Downtown Oakland

Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Please come and cheer Jen on to another Win!!

Two Rockridge Toastmasters Winners in Area Contest

Hearty congratulations to our own Jennifer Reed and Troy Christmas for bringing home prizes from the Toastmasters International Area D3 Speech contest. Jen took first place in the International Speech Category, and Troy, a brand new Toastmaster, won 2nd place in Table Topics. Jen is moving on to the Division D Speech Contest on April 15, 2004. Please come cheer her on.

Rockridge Toastmasters Contest Winners

This evening's meeting of Rockridge Toastmasters was our Spring 2004 International Speech contest. Please congratulate the First Place winners, Jennifer Reed in the Speech category, and Troy Christmas, the Table Topics winner!

Jennifer and Troy will represent Rockridge Toastmasters at the Area D3 Speech Contest on Monday, March 29, 2004. The Area contest will be held from 7 to 9pm in the Joseph Bort Building at Lawrence Dharms Auditorium, 101 8th Street, Oakland, CA. Members are encouraged to attend the Area contest and support our club's winning speakers!

New Communication and Leadership Program Manual

The new 2004 edition of the Communication and Leadership Program Manual is now being delivered to new members of Toastmaster International. The organization has changed the order and some titles of the 10 speeches in this "basic manual". For members who have the 1999 edition, you can compare the sequence and titles of speeches in the new manual by using this chart:

Speech # New 2004 Manual TitlesOld 1999 Manual Titles
1The Ice Breaker (unchanged)The Ice Breaker
2Organize Your SpeechSpeak with Sincerity
3Get to the PointOrganize Your Speech
4How to Say itShow What You Mean
5Your Body SpeaksVocal Variety
6Vocal VarietyWork with Words
7Research Your TopicApply Your Skills
8Get Comfortable with Visual AidsAdd Impact to Your Speech
9Persuade with Power (unchanged)Persuade with Power
10Inspire Your Audience (unchanged)Inspire Your Audience

Smedley Award

Rockridge Toastmasters has received a Smedley Award for Membership. The award recognizes our success in club growth for the two-month period of August and September 2003, when we added 5 new members. The award ribbon will be added to the numerous award ribbons on the Rockridge Toastmasters banner.

International Speech Contest

Rockridge Toastmasters will hold its International Speech and Table Topics contests on Tuesday, March 23. The winners of this contest will represent the club at the Area Contest on Monday, March 29. Members who are interested in participating, please contact our VP of Education, Jen Reed, at Everyone is welcome to come, listen and vote.

Let's Go Bowling!

On Feb 28th, six of us brave RTM'ers warmed up our arms and polished our shoes and went bowling at Albany Bowl. We played a few games, drank a few beers, and had a great time. Yes, there were several gutter balls, but there were also lots of strikes. Did we have a "ringer" among us? It seems Craig Wood may have been a Pro Bowler in another life. (No need to mention here who didn't break 100!)

Congratulations to our newest officers

President: Russ Singer
VP Education: Jennifer Reed
VP Membership: Rita Schnaidt
VP Public Relations: Mary Sullivan
Treasurer: Rubette Cowan
Seargent at Arms: Cynthia Shartzer
Secretary: Peter Gaposchkin

The goal for the new term, says new President Russ, is for everyone to "have fun". And that's attainable. Rockridge Toastmasters knows how to do that!

Confused? or Creative?

Have you ever considered the structure of Rockridge Toastmasters meetings? Wondered where and how that weekly outline originates? Well, think no more!

It is the duty of the evening's Toastmaster to create a theme, plan the agenda, and contact all members with roles. Traditionally, the Toastmaster follows a routine agenda because it includes the necessary speakers, flows well, and generally ends within the allotted hour's time. However, it must be noted that the Toastmaster has free reign with the meetings! As long as the scheduled speaking roles are included, the meeting can be formatted any way the Toastmaster wishes.

For instance, it's not essential to include Opening and Closing thoughts; perhaps there could be a mid-meeting Roundtable. Or, as shown in an experiment at a recent meeting, there could be a Tabletopics Evaluator. Maybe the Tabletopics participants could be called upon intermittently throughout the meeting. Whatever the Toastmaster plans for the agenda is fair, as long as s/he contacts the appropriate members to let them know what is expected of them. Likewise, if a member is ever confused about his/her role for the evening, the Toastmaster is the one to contact.

Additionally, the roles for each week are assigned by the Vice President of Education, approximately one month in advance. Therefore, if the Toastmaster wishes to structure a meeting with slightly different roles, s/he should contact the participants in advance to arrange any changes and avoid confusion.

So remember, change is good! Creativity is allowed! As Toastmaster for the meeting, it is okay to experiment. It is also okay to fall back on the routine agenda, which seems to serve Rockridge Toastmasters well.

Congratulations to our newest officers

President: Dan Psomas
VP Education: Ash Aneja
VP Membership: Rita Schnaidt
VP Public Relations: Kathy Hrastar
Treasurer: Brian Collins
Seargent at Arms: Peter Gaposchkin
Secretary: Sue Garces

Rockridge Toastmasters achieves highest status in Distinguished Club Program

Prodigious congratulations to all members of Rockridge Toastmasters for their Herculean efforts in helping the club achieve its educational goals! For the first time in our club's illustrious six-year history, Rockridge Toastmasters has earned "President's Distinguished Club" status in the Toastmasters International "Distinguished Club Program" (DCP). This is the highest level of achievement in the DCP, with a very select group of clubs achieving that honor each year.

To wit, among 126 clubs in District 57, only four clubs (i.e., 3%) have thus far achieved President's Distinguished Club status in the current year, which ends June 30th. (Scroll down for more information about the Distinguished Club Program.) 2002-3 has been a monster year for Rockridge Toastmasters and we're in great shape to continue the momentum for many years to come!

Are my Toastmasters dues tax deductible?

Tax day is right around the corner! For those of you who have yet to submit your 1040 forms, you may be wondering whether your Toastmasters dues are tax deductible. As with so many tax-related issues, the answer depends on your situation.

If Toastmasters helps you maintain or improve skills required to perform the duties of your present employment, then your Toastmasters dues may be tax deductible. Individuals for whom this may apply include salespeople, teachers, managers, lawyers, trainers and others who need to be effective communicators and leaders in order to do their jobs.

You'll need to itemize your deductions in order to deduct your Toastmasters dues from your taxes. In addition, these dues payments, like other educational/business expenses, are deductible only to the extent that they exceed 2% of adjusted gross income.

For more information on tax deductions for Toastmasters, refer to the following document posted on the Toastmasters International website. Good luck with your taxes. And we'll see you on Tuesday night!

Russ and Sue represent club at Area contest

Russ Singer and Sue Garces competed at the Area D3 International Speech and Table Topics contest on Thursday, March 20. Both Russ and Sue did a great job representing Rockridge Toastmasters. Russ finished first in the International Speech contest. And Sue was runner-up in the Table Topics contest. Five contestants participated in each contest, so Russ and Sue's strong performance is certainly a testament to their skills in public speaking.

Russ will next compete in the Division D contest at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 21st at the Joseph P. Bort Metro Center, 101 8th St., in Oakland. Sue will serve as a backup in the event that the Area D3 winner, Wendy Kupsaw of Lakeview Toastmasters, is unable to participate. Congratulations to Russ and Sue!

Contest Results

Rockridge Toastmasters held its annual International Speech and Table Topics contests on Tuesday, March 18. The winner of the International Speech contest was Russ Singer, who told a riveting story entitled "The Smell of a Rose." Matthew Rampton was runner-up with a speech called "The Future of Communications" and Peter Gaposchkin finished third with "Reducing Pollution."

Sue Garces won the Table Topics contest, delivering a thoughtful impromptu speech on a challenging topic: "What superpower would you like to possess?". Dan Psomas was runner-up.

Russ and Sue will represent the club at the Area D3 contest on Thursday, March 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kaiser building, 1950 Franklin St., Oakland. Matthew and Dan will serve as back-ups in the event that Russ or Sue is unable to participate. Congratulations to all contestants and best of luck at the area contest on Thursday night!

Congratulations to our newest officers

President: Dawn Tso
VP Education: Dan Psomas
VP Membership: Craig Wood
VP Public Relations: Rita Schnaidt
Treasurer: Paul Friedlander
Seargent at Arms: Ash Aneja
Secretary: Peter Gaposchkin