Each month, Oatley RSL Toastmasters features one of our members.
Meet Ross …

Ross has been a member of Toastmasters for 21 years. He joined a Sunday- morning Toastmasters group because his wife was studying on Sunday morning and he found he was at a loose end.

And then he got hooked!

Ross’ speaking ambition is to give a speech in French to a French-speaking audience.
The most important thing that Ross has learnt about public speaking is that if you can make it personal you can make it as a good speaker. His proudest moment was sharing the stage to receive long service awards with three of his Toastmasters friends from when he started – all of whom are current members of Oatley RSL Toastmasters.
Ross is also a presenter of Classical Music on Fine Music Sydney.

The best holiday Ross has had was in France because he found the people so friendly – especially to Australians.

Meet Sue …

Sue has been a member of Toastmasters since mid-2018 and Vice-President Public Relations (VPPR) for 2019-20. She joined Toastmasters because she and her husband were looking for intellectually stimulating activities in retirement. 

Sue’s most enduring childhood memory is living in many countries. Her father was in the British Army and she lived overseas until the family migrated to Australia in 1970, now 50 years ago! Sue says that a childhood of travel taught her to be resilient, tolerant, global in perspective and most importantly to value her three sisters as her best friends.

Sue really enjoys doing things that ‘make a difference’ – for others, for the community and for herself and because she is practical and social in nature she mostly enjoys doing things with others, rather than to them. She is a busy person in this regard as she has taken on the demanding role of ‘Leader’ of Sing Australia St. George.

The Toastmasters challenge she has set herself is to succeed in giving extended speeches to entertain, confidently and without notes. It is evident, though, that she already has particular skills in composing and structuring speeches and enjoys opportunities to work with others in this regard.

Sue came up with a uniquely Toastmasters Kris Kringle initiative for the 2019 Christmas Meeting of the club. For their ‘gift’ each member prepared and presented a 1 to 1½ minute speech of appreciation to a secretly-nominated other member. 

One thing that Sue would like to change about the world is people’s ‘perception of difference’. Sue believes that the world will be a better place when we all come to understand that the things that make us the same are more important than the things that make us different.

The best advice Sue has ever received is from a Tibetan proverb:

The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple and love without measure.

Meet Helen …
January Member

Helen has been a member of Toastmasters since August 2019. She joined Oatley RSL Toastmasters because Frank, a friend from her singing group, and a TM member at Oatley RSL, invited her! She stayed on because she found everyone very friendly and supportive. Helen has started her Pathways education program and has also taken on the role of  Secretary in the executive group.

Helen’s speaking ambition is to become more comfortable speaking ‘off-the-cuff’ in front of groups. At work she is asked to present at meetings and conferences and she wants to express herself well and engage with all types of audiences.

The most important thing that Helen has learnt about public speaking is that just like her, everyone feels nervous when they speak to a group, but that practicing can help overcome these nerves.

Helen’s proudest Toastmasters moment was speaking at the Inter-RSL competition at Forestville RSL in October 2019.  Helen developed her Icebreaker speech with her TM mentor, Sue, to present a speech alongside representatives of other RSL toastmaster groups. Helen says she got very nervous just before the presentation and one of her TM group, Sarah, helped her through the nerves, which allowed her to give it her best on the day. Dee Why RSL won (for the second year in a row) but the Oatley RSL team won the Group Chant with a modified rendition of ‘We Are Family’.

One thing Helen would like to change about the world is to increase our awareness of waste smart initiatives by recycling where possible and considering re-use and repair, starting with a re-usable coffee cup!

Meet Ian …
November Member

Ian has been a member of Oatley Toastmasters for nearly two years. He joined Toastmasters because he was interested in continuing to improve his speaking skills.

Ian’s speaking ambition is to be a good speaker in different contexts and the most important thing that he has learnt about public speaking is that the more you practice the better you get at it!

Ian enjoys cycling, rowing, tennis, theatre and live music. He has done quite a bit of travel and says that the parts of Australia he would most like to visit are the Kimberleys and Broome.

One thing Ian would like to change about the world is that we stop overheating the planet by burning fossil fuels! The best advice he has ever received is: “Be the best person you can be!”

Meet Agnes …
October Member

Agnes joined Toastmasters to improve her communication, organisation and public speaking skills and her ambition is to have confidence to speak in a community setting. She has been with Toastmasters for 20 years and supported three Toastmasters Clubs to achieve their President Distinguish and Distinguish status.

Agnes’s proudest moment was to acquire her Bachelor of Business during the toughest time of her life when she lost her mother tragically through an accident, was looking after a very sick father full time and had to sacrifice her education funds to care for her father.

The famous person she most admires is the first President of Singapore, Mr Lee Kwan Yew who set up a Westminster-style government promoting equality regardless of religion, language or race.

Agnes really enjoys cooking and eating healthy herbal foods, going to movies, theatres or concerts, playing tennis or golf as well as attending competitions and festival functions. The best holiday Agnes has had was in Hong Kong to save the life of her friend’s sister. With the help of her Hong Kong College friend from Wellington, NZ, Agnes completed her mission.

One thing Agnes would like to change about the world is for democratic countries to prioritise national security and economic interests by providing ordinary people with electricity, power and water but also to be moderate and not jump on the bandwagon of extremists of any shape or form.

Meet Anthony …
September Member

Anthony has been a member of Oatley RSL Toastmasters for eighteen months. In that time Anthony has fulfilled the executive role of Sergeant at Arms and has recently become our VP Education.

Anthony joined Toastmasters because his friend Frank, invited him to a meeting as a visitor and he enjoyed the friendly and fun atmosphere.

Anthony’s speaking ambition is to feel comfortable presenting a talk or speech without notes. He says that the most important thing that he has learnt about public speaking is that using notes hinders his engagement with the audience.

Anthony’s most enduring childhood memory is playing with other kids in the canal at the bottom of the street where he lived. Now retired, Anthony likes to undertake the learning he didn’t have time for when he was working. In particular, he enjoys community singing, learning to play piano and studying Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

If Anthony could change one thing about the world he would re-establish a genuine Commonwealth-owned bank to provide credit for public works and to provide guidance (and control if necessary) to the private banks.

Meet Anita …
August Member

Anita started her Toastmaster’s journey at Riverwood Toastmasters five years ago and is now the newly-elected President of Oatley Toastmasters.

Anita joined toastmasters because she found that in speaking situations there was always someone who would take over what she wanted to say or she would feel anxious about taking on speaking roles and would back down.

Her speaking ambition is to speak more slowly, have improved self-belief and to connect better with the audience.

Anita’s proudest moment was achieving her Diploma in Childcare.

She likes to relax by laughing and having fun. Anita’s favourite food is anything except sushi or Vegemite and the one thing that is always in her fridge is food for her cat.

The thing Anita fears most is losing her memories.

If Anita could change one thing about the world she would ban mobile phones so people would again start talking to each other and their children.

Meet Sarah …

Sarah has been a member of Oatley Toastmasters for 6 months. She joined Toastmasters because she believes it provides a terrific platform to learn how to skillfully speak in public in a way that helps you deliver your message and keeps your audience engaged.

Sarah also sees it as a safe environment to learn and grow through constructive feedback and also the knowledge shared by fellow members presenting speeches. Sarah’s speaking ambition is to speak from the heart and run live workshops and online Webinars in conjunction with her business.

Sarah says that the best advice she has ever received is that, “You overeat when you are uninspired in life, like any addiction”.  She says that this is the foundation driving her business to help others because in doing so, she is also helping herself.

Sarah’s three proudest moments in life are: when her husband asked her to marry him, when she had her two children and when she got her first paying client after deciding to leave work and open her own business.

The best holiday Sarah has had was for her 40th Birthday. She flew to LA to shop for a week and her husband flew over to help bring the bags home (“Haha” she says). They then flew home to pick up their children and flew to Paris for a week then on to Croatia for a month.  They LOVED the whole trip. Sarah says that her kids came out of their shell so much more after travelling for 6 weeks.  In fact, Sarah loved it so much that her goal in the next two years is to work towards having two summers each year by spending two months in Croatia during Australia’s winter season.

Meet Ken …

Ken has been a member of Toastmasters for 12 years. He joined Toastmasters because he was looking for a friendly club to avoid becoming insular. His speaking ambition is to gain confidence in speaking with people.

Ken really enjoys speaking with people & finding out their story, what they do, how long they have been there, what they like about their job. If they have a scar or injury Ken is curious about how they got it, how they are coping with the injury and when they expect to recover. He asks millions of questions and if anyone suggests he asks too many questions, his reply is that if people do not like it they will tell him to be quiet!

Now that Ken is approaching retirement he would like to travel. In Australia, he would like to tour around and stay at some amazing places for an extended period of time. Overseas places he would like to visit are Japan, South Korea, Fiji, China & all the countries in Europe.

Ken’s most enduring childhood memory is of spending the holidays at his grandmother’s small property at Clunes on the Far North Coast of NSW. Ken says that he would roam all over the countryside and walk to his Uncle’s farm four kilometres away to help bring in and milk the cows and that as he gets closer to older age he looks back on these memories with fondness.

The people Ken most admires are those who are willing to have a go, to strive for a better life for them, their children, their grandchildren and the community around them. He admires people who employ others so that the employees may also fulfil their dreams. In particular, Ken admires those who started life with their backs to the wall but have been successful even though they were not given the opportunities that others have had. Kerry Stokes & Frank Lowy are two examples Ken gives of people who have built successful businesses although they had difficult beginnings to life.

Meet Tony …

Tony has been a member of Toastmasters for about a year. He joined Toastmasters because he enjoys speaking and missed not doing it professionally after he retired. Tony’s speaking ambition is to keep speaking and exploring ideas through speech. He is also keen to mentor younger members who would like to draw on the experiences that he has had in speaking.

The most important thing he has learnt from public speaking is to know what you’re talking about and use it to inform, entertain or persuade. Now Tony is retired, he likes to read, talk and sing.

One thing Tony would like to change about the world is to get rid of hate and prejudice. The famous person he most admires is Charles Dickens; the writer but perhaps not the man. Otherwise, he admires Gough Whitlam or Barack Obama.

When asked what is always in his fridge – Tony has a clear answer – marmalade.

Meet Joan …

Image of Joan

Joan has been a member of Toastmasters for 30 years. She joined Toastmasters because after been asked to speak at the first Aboriginal Conference in the 1980’s she felt that her presentation of her Conference papers could have been better.

Joan’s speaking ambition for this year is to complete the last three speeches she needs to do to obtain the Advanced Communication Gold level ( ACG). The most important thing that Joan has learnt about public speaking is that even the most nervous person can be guided through the process to develop the confidence to achieve his or her speaking potential.

Joan is now retired and besides Toastmasters, she enjoys painting. Joan really enjoys hearing from her past students about how they benefited from the Youth Leadership program which she ran for over two years in a primary school and eighteen years in a secondary school. The number of children and young people involved over the years of the program would number well over a thousand.

In terms of travel, Joan would most like to visit is the North and North West of Australia.

Joan recalls her most enduring childhood memory as the security and love of her parents and older sisters and says that the best advice she ever received was to be herself.

Meet Rebecca …

February Member of the Month

Rebecca’s speaking ambition is to build her self-confidence. The most important thing she has learnt about public speaking is that the stories we share are all valuable, whether true or made-up, as they provide insights to the audience.

Rebecca’s proudest moment was in 2015 when in the one year she won four big trophies. Two in Toastmasters: International Speech winner in Area 39 and Oatley RSL Toastmasters Table Topics winner and two in golf: President’s Trophy and Golfer of the Year.  Rebecca really enjoys playing golf, especially when she is winning!

The best advice she has ever received is through this quote: “Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.” Rebecca says that the best holiday she has had was an adventure in Egypt where she learned a few Arabic words, got lost, swam in the Nile, held a lion cub and tasted the sweet natural rose petal tea. She also loves nuts!

Meet Frank …

Frank has been a member of Toastmasters for 30 years. Although you would never guess it today, Frank joined Toastmasters to overcome his nervousness.  Now, Frank is a man people listen to because his views are perceptive and well expressed.

Frank has seen how Toastmasters empowers people and changes their lives for the better. He says it’s uplifting to be part of something so special. Frank believes that in a speech, structure and content need to be augmented with a mix of delivery techniques such as vocal variety, body language and appropriate props.  When addressing an audience, he pauses to arrange his ideas and then he speaks from the heart.

Frank’s role model is his mother who taught him: ‘If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing well’. Frank’s application of this principle is evident in the work he does as Vice President (Education) for Oatley RSL Toastmasters. Frank has made many good friends through Toastmasters and has become a confident and accomplished speaker – although he maintains that there’s always room for improvement.