Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blog Action Day 2013

The Theme of Blog Action Day for 2013 it Human Rights. What a wonderful theme. In our day to day lives it is easy to develope a tunnel vision and over look a topic such as this. I've participated in Blog Action Day since the first one back in 2007 and I'm excited about participating again this year.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed". This comes from the American Declaration of Independence and many Americans and people around the world will be familar with the concept of Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.  As Americans this is the baseline for Human Rights, meaning this is the minimum of Human Rights that all of us can expect. As a people, the human race on our planet is failing on even this baseline of Human Rights, but we can also aspire to lift ourselves up and to improve our conditions!

What are Human Rights?  The video does a nice job of explaining the idea of Human Rights "From the start of our lives there are certain things that our governments must do to help us reach out potential...These expectations and claims we have of our government are called human rights." These include (but aren't limited to):

Respect- avoid putting limits on what people can do
Protect- safeguard a person from abuse
Fullfill- to provide basic conditions to allow a person to achieve their potential

Different Views on Human Rights

As people we often tend to believe (and assume) that everyone else shares our beliefs and views and it is often inferred that when other people don't share our same beliefs and views that they're somehow weird or inferior to us.  There are genuine differences in culture, religion, and other factors that lead to our differences in beliefs and views and wherever and whenever possible these should be respected.  These differences can and often have led to difficulty in agreeing on what Human Rights are and should be.

We Can Agree

When we think about our children, our grandkids, our brothers, our sisters, and children growing up in all parts of the world, most of us can agree that we want the best for them and the conditions that they grow  under will be nurturing and supportive for their development. everyoneerent Because someone doesn't share our same belief and view on religion, this should not be held against them.

Not Us Verses Them

Human Rights are not a Right or Left thing.  They are not a Liberal or Conservative thing. They are not a this religion or that religion thing or even a religion thing.  Human Rights are something that all of us have because we're human. 

What Can I Do

The Blog Action Day Team has assembled a great playlist on YouTube highlighting some of the issues related to Human Rights. I'm sure you'll find something there that peaks your interest and something that you can promote. I highly recommend reading The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from the UN.  Bog Action Day has set up a profile on Pinterest.  I've set up a board for Blog Action Day and Blog Action Day 2013 (feel free to repin and create your own boards). They're on Twitter, Facebook,Tumblr, Google+, and YouTube. You can look at the video below and participate in this year's activities.  Remeber that Blog Action Day is on October 16, 2013 this year.

I want to see a better world for my daughters, for all the children of the world.  I want to see a world where they're limited only by their own imagination, motivation, and desires.  I want to see a world where we help each other to make our dreams come true and to reach out true potential.


Friday, October 11, 2013

There Is No Glass Celing in Toastmasters

What follows is the text of the speech that I wrote and delivered to Word Weavers (My Toastmaster Club) on August 21st in a special evening we held honoring 40 years of Women in Toastmasters....

There Is No Glass Ceiling in Toastmasters!

Madame Toastmaster, fellow members, dear guests, and especially all of our Word Weavers women
members. In August 1973 Toastmasters officially opened its doors for female membership and we’re
celebrating this tonight.  With all of the problems that we have in the world today, I can wholeheartedly say that women in Toastmasters are a beacon of light to shine in the rest of our society.  Within Toastmasters, women are powerful and there is no glass ceiling.  Women are only limited by their own desires, wishes, and motivation.

40 years, that is great but why weren’t women allowed in sooner?  As an organization Toastmasters has pioneered a lot of things but we’re also very much effected by the society and times that we live in.  If you look at the role women played in the 20th century, it probably isn’t too surprising that women weren’t allowed to be members until 1973. The women’s movement really started to become active in the 60s and in the 70s there was a movement behind the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S.  But Dr. Smedley and others supported the idea of women getting Toastmasters training and the Toastmistress organization was started.  The first of these clubs was charted in San Francisco in 1938. The Lions. Kiwanis, and Rotary clubs all didn’t allow women to join until nearly 15 years after Toastmasters officially opened our doors!

When Helen Blanchard joined Toastmasters, it was not has Helen Blanchard but as Homer Blanchard, because women were not allowed to join at the time.  When she initially got in contact with her local
Toastmasters club she was told that she could start a Toastmistress club if she wanted, but she couldn’t join Toastmasters.  She spoke to the up and coming women she knew but none of them were interested in starting up a Toastmistress club.  The person she had been in contact with talked to the club and they decided (un-unanimously) that the club was operating on government property so, they should accept women and they decided to help her join, this was in 1970. She became Toastmasters first official woman member, finally changing the "Homer" to Helen.  Because Toastmasters wouldn’t accept only “H” in her initial membership application, her club actually used a Table Topics at one meeting to come up with the name "Homer". 

Helen started her life growing up on a farm in a small town in Nebraska.  Her first job was teaching 20+ kids in a one room schoolhouse, just as you might have seen on “Little House On the Prairie”.  She was working at a U.S. Navy Research and Development Center in San Diego. Her job was to teach engineers how to collect and process the data from the testing they were conducting for the Nave and she felt uncomfortable having to make presentations to men that had far more technical training and education that she did, so she wanted what Toastmasters was offering.  As one of the early women in Toastmasters she had so many firsts it is hard to mention them all but she was the first woman to become a DTM, she was one of the first women to become a District Governor, she was the first women to be elected  as an International Director. She held leadership positions at the District and worked her way through the various leadership positions at Toastmasters, being elected as the first female president of Toastmasters International in the 1985-86 Toastmasters year.  Helen did not really fit the image that a lot of us have about women in the women’s movement, she was someone who always demonstrated that a woman could do something not that she was "entitled" to anything, and she worked for all her accomplishments; as a Toastmaster, as a professional woman, as a wife, mother, and grandmother.  She never intended to be a role model, but there are no doubt countless women that she has influenced to accept the challenges and break those barriers. Sadly she died on May 11, 2013. She wrote a book called “Breaking the Ice”, that I recently ready.  I think that every Toastmaster should read this book. There is an article in the August Toastmaster Magazine about Helen.

Helen is one of 5 women that has served as president of Toastmasters International. 4 women have won the World Championship of Public Speaking.  Evelyn Jane Burgay won in 1977, 4 years after women were officially allowed to become members. Why have so few women won the World Championship of Public Speaking?  David Brooks (1990 World Champion of Public Speaking) made the observation a few years ago that he has found a ratio of 4 to 5 men competing at the club contest level.  Put simply to see more women at the finish line, more need to be at the starting line. 

Looking around our area and District 59, our club has had a lot of women officers (Bryan, Martin and I are the only men this year).  Our Regina has been club president, area governor, and now division
governor.  D59 has had Morag Mathieson and Barbara Hörger serve as our District Governor. 
Leadership is one area that women are excelling in at Toastmasters. 

As a parent, I often wonder about the future that my daughters will have.  I can tell them that I’m proud of the progress that women have made in Toastmasters and I believe that within Toastmasters, there is no longer a glass ceiling that limits what they can do and who they can be.   I further challenge all of you to encourage more women to join us.  It might take the world around us a while to get there, but as Toastmasters, I believe that we will have the day where it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a women, what your skin color is, what your religion is, or any other discriminating and limiting factor known to us today, but that we’ll be judged by who we are inside and our good deeds.  Let’s celebrate 40 years of women in Toastmasters!


Photo Credits:  The photo of Helen Blanchard is on her website.  It was taken officer installation at the Naval R & D Toastmasters Club

My thanks to Merv Olsen of the South Redlands Toastmaster Club for inspiring me to organize a special evening honoring 40 years of Women in Toatmasters and for providing some of the information that I used in my speech. You might also want to read the profile written about Helen Blanchard by Julie Bawden Davis at

Friday, September 13, 2013

2013 Frankfurt Auto Show

The 2013 IAA (Frankfurt Auto Show) is open from September 14th to 22nd. I put together the above presentation and this article to give you my impressions and to help you decide if you'd like to go check it out and to help you see some of the changes in the Auto Industry in the past couple of years.

This is now the 5th IAA that I have been to, and prior to this I attended half a dozen of the NAIS (Detroit Auto Show), so I've been watching the evolution of cars and trucks for more than dozen years now.

Who has the funnest display at the IAA?  This would be Mini, in my opinion.  The have a two level display.  The second level has a bid slide that you can ride (and I did see a few people riding it!) There is a big television screen where you can paint a Mini in all the colors of the rainbow, anyway pattern that you want, WII style.  On the second level there is a driving simulation as well as a trampoline where you can look at the people below as you jump. By the way, did I mention that there are also lots of Minis there as well?

 One of the spokeswoman at Rolls Royce informed me that the The Alpine Trial Centenary Collection is celebrating 100 years of the Alpine Trial. This edition of the Ghost is in the same color as the Ghosts that did the trails 100 years ago.  It is also interesting to note that the world famous Rolls Royce emblem on the Wraith is made of Swarovski crystal. 

Smart had its "fourjoy" concept featured prominently in its exhibit. There were a few electric Smarts and some interesting customizations.  A lot can be done to make a Smart unique and stand out from others and Brabus has become very good at this.

I got to the BMW exhibit as they started their press conference and I wasn't able to get a good view of the press conference so I decided to look at their exhibit while everyone else was busy with the press conference. I could still see new BMW i8 was still hidden, waiting to be unveiled to the world. They had a few "BMW i3"s, one of their electric vehicles on display.  I also noticed the "BMW C Evolution" motorcycle on display.

Porsche is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 911. They also world premiered the 918 Spyder.  I saw a Panamera S E-Hybrid plugged in.

Over at Opel, I saw a few the new "Adam"s on display.  The is a cute little car with a lot of color combinations and possibilities for further customization. Their Monza concept was on display as well as the revamped Insignia.

VW had a whole lot of "up!", moving the "up!" model that they introduced in the 2011 show into new models like the "e -up!", the "groove- up!", and "cross -up!".  I really enjoyed the model city that they displayed to highlight some of their "blue" (or low emissions) offerings.

It seemed to me that Renault premiered more concept and new vehicles than most of the other manufacturers and you should definitely check out their display. It was also nice to see that their Twizy (which I first saw at the 2011 IAA) has made it into production and I have even seen one parked at a local shopping center. 

When I was going through the Toyota exhibit I was struck by a sign that they had posted, announcing that they had sold over 5 million hybrids.  I was reminded of the Kevin Costner movie "Field of Dreams", where his character is told "if you build it, they will come", as he builds a baseball diamond in a corn field.  Toyota has shown that there is a market for hybrids.

I was really impressed with the Evos concept from Ford at the 2011 IAA and this time Ford had a Social Media team working at the IAA. The Social Media Evangelist in me is curious to see what the results of Ford's social media will be.  The team even sent me a tweet while I was there. 

Over the last few IAAs I have really seen the development of hybrids take off.  Almost every manufacturer is offering (or planning to offer) something other than gas or diesel powered vehicles.  I noticed that some of the car companies are even getting into hybrid racing.  There is still a lot of work to be done here before a hybrid can be seriously considered by your average consumer but it is encouraging to see the progress and some of the exciting vehicles being offered.

I planned to take a lot of pictures and after changing batteries in my camera a couple of times, my camera just died on me.  I thought that maybe my memory was full, so I deleted some pictures, but I still couldn't take more pictures. I then started taking pictures with my iPad, over 600 of them in fact. 

It almost goes without saying but I really enjoyed myself.  There are so many things that I didn't touch upon, so why not go check it out.


I've posted several pictures on Flickr already and will post more in the coming days (look for more albums). I started a pinboard on Pinterest that I will be populating as well. You can also check out my past posts about the IAA (2011 and 2009).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Darryl Heron's 2013-14 Presidential Inaugural Speech for Toastmasters

What follows is the text of the speech that I wrote and delivered to Word Weavers (My Toastmaster Club) on July 3rd....

My Inaugural Address for Word Weavers for the 2013-14 Toastmasters Year

Good Evening, Madame Toastmaster, fellow members, and dear guests. America has a long standing tradition where the President of the United States gives an Inaugural Address that lets the nation and the world know what he is thinking about and what he would like to tackle in this time in office. This speech gives the people something to aspire to and sets the tone for that administration. There have also been some very famous Inaugural Addresses over the past 200+ years. I would like to bring this tradition to our club. While my scope is not nearly as lofty or Earth shattering, I would like to take a few moments this evening.

Thank you to everyone who has voted for the officers that will be leading Word Weavers in the 2013-14 Toastmaster year. It is quite an honor and show of trust that you have put into electing us. We all plan and hope to serve you to the best of our abilities.

JFK famously challenged Americans to not ask what their country could do for them but redirected them to think about what they could do for their country. For me I would challenge you to think about how Toastmasters can help you grow and reach your goals and how you can help our club to grow. Our relationship with Toastmasters is a two-way street. Personally, I have gotten so much from Word Weavers and Toastmasters that I could not even begin to repay this if I lived a thousand years and a thousand lives. Do you have a mentor? Are you a mentor? You can give so much to the club and Toastmasters by being a mentor and being mentored? If you're a more experienced member you can share your experiences and your knowledge with newer members and you should also seek out mentors for yourself who can challenge you and help you to develop further.

FDR said in his inaugural address to a world that was in the middle of the Great Depression that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. As Toastmasters, many of us have worked on this fear of public speaking that affects so many people and many of us have taken great strides to become better speakers and some of us even stand on the edge of greatness. I challenge you to take the risks, try different types of speeches, try out different skills, take on new roles. The club will support you! Remember that when asked how it felt to fail 1,000 times in his attempt to create the light bulb, that Edison reportedly said he did not fail, I just found 10,000 ways that didn't work. While I hope that none of us has to do anything 10,000 ways that don't work, just imagine how great it will work when we finally get there!

I challenge each and everyone of you to think about what you want to accomplish in the next 12 months personally, within Toastmasters (as a Word Weaver), and as a club. Set some goals. 12 months will pass regardless of if you do anything or not, but wouldn't it be great to accomplish something in that time. Maybe you can become a Competent Communicator, an Advance Communicator, maybe you can complete one of the advanced manuals, maybe you can work on developing some new communication or leadership skills, maybe you can be a mentor. Think about what you'd like to accomplish and how the officers can help you or what you'd like to see the club do or develop, and let me or the other officers know.

The other officers and I have met and started planning for the year, but at this stage I would like to make you the following pledge to our members, potential and future members:

1. I will listen. I might not always have the answer, but I will try to find it and if my search is completed and I still don't know the answer, I will tell you.

2. I will help you. The other officers and myself want to see you succeed and we'll do what we can to help you do so. If there is nothing that we can do (other than listen) I will tell you.

3. We are open and your feedback is welcome. The other officers and myself want to make Word Weavers the best that it can be, so let us know what we can do to make coming to our meetings and being a member a more meaningful and rewarding experience. We won't be able to implement every idea but we will consider everything. Crazy ideas are welcome.

4. I'll keep the channels of communication open. I plan to keep the club posted on what the officers are doing. This will mean that sometimes I will have announcements and that occasionally members of the officers group will have announcements and reports.

5. I'll make mistakes. I can promise you that me and the other officers will make mistakes, but we will do our best to limit the impact and to take ownership of them. Whenever possible I like to learn from my mistakes and that I'm better for having made the mistake. As a Project Manager I'm very big on Lessons Learnt.

6. It will be fun. We will have fun this next year.

One last thing, as Steve Jobs used to say. When we met on June 5th I said that I wanted to develop a slogan for the coming Toastmaster year. I believe that having a slogan or motto can be a unifying experience and can help us to focus on what we want to accomplish. In my high school every senior class had their own motto, so my suggestion for our motto for the 2013-14 TM year is "A year of growth and creating new memories". Another suggestion out of the Officers Meeting was W5 (Winning With Word Weavers Wiesbaden). Let the other officers and myself know what slogans you like. We're half way through our 10th Anniversary, so while we have had a lot of accomplishments and good memories in the past we're looking towards the future and all of the new and wonderful memories we're going to have. Madame Toastmaster, fellow members, lets make this a wonderful year!

Note:  Being a history fan, I had lot of fun writing my Inaugural Address.  Why think about doing this in other Toastmaster clubs, roles, and even outside of Toastmasters.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

I'm Pleased to Announce...

I'm pleased to announce that Word Weavers, my Toastmasters club, has elected me to serve as President for the 2013-2014 Toastmaster year.  This is a great honor for me and I look forward to serving my club members.

From the Toastmasters about page " Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. " But there is so much more to Toastmasters than public speaking! They were founded in 1924.  Wikipedia reports that Toastmasters has over 260,000 members in 113 countries, served through its over 12,800 member clubs.  Toastmasters is not as well known in Europe as it is in America, but this is changing as can been seen with the phenomenal growth Toastmasters has seen in Europe. District 59 (Continental Europe) will be splitting into two districts in the 2014-15 Toastmaster year and even Toastmasters in the UK, will be splitting into 2 districts in the near future as well.

I joined Word Weavers in the summer of 2011, so I'm coming upon my 2nd anniversary this summer. They made me feel right at home and I was hooked (in a good way I must say). I had heard about Toastmasters when I lived in the U.S. but I never got around to checking out a club. After passing my PMP in April, 2011 I was ready to check out Toastmasters. The 2nd meeting that I attended at Word Weavers was a BBQ (we had another one on May 15th). One of the things that I really love about Word Weavers (and all of the other Toastmaster clubs I have visited as well) is the variety of interesting and caring people that you'll encounter at meetings and events. It is also a supportive environment where you can try out different communications methods and get constructive feedback.

For the 2012-2013 Toastmaster year I have been the Vice President of Public Relations.  The club website was moved from its previous provider to a site being hosted on EasySpeak, the current president and I  spent quite a bit of time setting up the current website and I've been serving as the webmaster and will continue to do this in the near future. I've really enjoyed being a part of the activities that we've had this year in addition to our regular meetings.  In January our club celebrated their 10th Anniversary and we've made it a club goal this year to celebrate this often.  We celebrated in January, at our BBQ, and we'll be having a special meeting at an old Greek style amphitheater near the Neroberg, which is a water-powered train that goes up/down a mountain in Wiesbaden. The train itself is celebrating 125 years in 2013. 

In 2012 I started up the Toastmasters Podcast Europe along with some other Toastmasters that I've met via LinkedIn.  In March I released the 1st Anniversary episode.  I'm looking to expand the podcast team near future and I hope to be able to create a team that is spread throughout Europe (including the U.K) so that we can keep Toastmasters in Europe together even after we split into more and more districts.  For the podcast I've interviewed a lot of interesting Toastmasters at the D59 2012 Fall Conference in Bonn, Germany as well as the D59 2013 Spring Conference in Antwerp, Belgium and at other events that I've attended. 

I will be getting in contact with the other newly elected club officers shortly and we'll do our preliminary planning for the year as well attend the first of two officers training sessions being held in July. I'm also going to make sure that I get the input from our members as to what they what to accomplish this year and what direction they see the club going.  I want to do my best to serve the club and to get as much out of the experience as I can, so I should be a pretty exciting year. I really can't say enough good things about Toastmasters and I believe that is almost impossible to give back as much as I have received from Toastmasters.

If you're ever in the Wiesbaden, Germany area on the 1st, 3rd, or 5th Wednesday of the month, then we'd be happy for you to stop by, be sure to check out the website for more details.  You can also find a club near you at the Toastmasters International Website. I hope that you'll check out a Toastmasters club soon. For all other officers (both newly elected as well as experienced officers, and all other Toastmasters), lets make the 2013-14 Toastmaster year an exciting one full of growth and lots of wonderful memories with your fellow Toastmasters and guests!

Photo credit:  The Toastmasters Log is property of Toastmasters International.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

My Impressions fom the Toastmasters District 59 2013 Spring Conference in Antwerp

I was one of nearly 400 Toastmasters that converged on Antwerp, Belgium May 10th through 12th for the District 59 2013 Spring Conference. While everything is still fresh in my mind I thought that I'd write about some of my experiences and impressions.

This was my second District 59 Conference. For those of you who don't know District 59 represents Toastmasters of several countries in Continental Europe. I have some really great memories from my first District 59 Conference (held in Bonn, Germany in November 2012), so I was ready to build from those memories and excited to be at my first district conference where some of the winners go on to represent the district at the International Convention (being held this year in Cincinnati). I've attended several contests now and it is quite an experience to see how the level of speeches grows from the club contests, to the area contests, to the division contests, and on to the district competitions, I can only imagine how great it is to experience the speeches at the International Conference! For me there are so many reasons that I was happy to be in this gathering of Toastmasters from all over Europe. The conference began so full of promise for me and I couldn't wait for things to get rolling.

Before the conference I was really looking forward to meeting Ed Tate. He is the 2000 World Champion of Public Speaking, and the first World Champion of Public Speaking that I have been able to meet personally. I attended an extra workshop that he did Friday morning where he showed the attendees how we can create stories for our speeches. I really liked the bully stories that he told us, this really helped set the stage for us to create out own stories. Ed Tate also gave the Keynote speech on Saturday and did a workshop on Sunday. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the Toastmasters Podcast Europe (I will be posting this in the coming weeks). Ed Tate's website can be found here. I also met and interviewed Olivia Schofield, she was the winner of the District 59 International Speech contest in 2011 and went all the way to the finals in Las Vegas. Her website can be found here.

There were several workshops on a wide variety of topics. Besides the ones put on by Ed Tate, I was able to attend workshops given by Jack Vincent and Robert Cockburn. Jack Vincent's workshop was on networking. Robert Cockburn talked about the unexpected successes he has experienced at a Toastmaster of 29 years. I would have loved to see more of the workshops but I really enjoyed what I was able to attend. I was able to interview Robert Cockburn, so look for this to be part of a future podcast episode. Unfortunately, for those of us in D59, he'll be moving to Australia soon, but this should be quite a benefit for Toastmasters in Australia.

I was given the opportunity to watch Democracy in action at the District Council Meeting. The DCM was interesting because of what happened when a reorganization plan was presented for voting by the DCM and what happened after that as well as the officer elections in this transitional year before D59 becomes two districts. There was a proposal to reorganize some of the clubs within the areas and divisions within the district for the coming Toastmaster year. There was a little bit of controversy as a last minute amendment was proposed that would have changed the areas in Switzerland. Without getting into the details, the disagreement was about if there would be some German only speaking areas in Switzerland. Since German and French are two common languages spoken in Switzerland, you can understand why deciding to put clubs into areas that were organized around a single language could be a problem (especially when you think about who would be able to compete in what contest language and all the ramifications associated with this). The end result was that the amendment failed and Switzerland was to be reorganized as originally proposed. The district also held elections for the next Toastmaster year. As the district is getting ready to be split into two districts in July 2014, so after all of the voting was done there was one set of district officers (minus the District Governor) for the would be Northeast division and one set for the would be Southwest division. Division and Area Governors were also voted on. Since candidates could be nominated from the floor, there were a few people that were nominated from the floor.

The Budapest Conference team had a few people in Antwerp and they did a presentation about the District 59 2013 Fall Conference and had a table to start accepting early bird registration for the conference. The them for the Budapest Conference is Laugh and Learn. There were proposals from Krakow and Paris for the D59 2014 Spring Conference. The Krakow bid won. Hans Peterson led the Budapest team in their efforts, he also was one of the Toastmasters Podcast Europe team that started the podcast with me (I'm hoping that he'll have more time for the podcast after the Budapest Conference is over). I interview Hans and I did a wrap-up interview with the Antwerp team. I plan to put both of these interviews in the next episode. I also would like to say job well done to the Antwerp team!

Budapest is the location for the D59 2013 Fall Conference 

In the past year my home club adopted EasySpeak for use in meeting planning and to host our website, so it was nice to see that Malcolm Warden, the father of EasySpeak was in Antwerp along with Bill Monsour (who I interviewed in Episode 8 in Bonn). I did an interview with Malcolm Warden that will be posted in an upcoming episode. In the interview he told me about the development of EasySpeak as well as some features that are on the horizon.

I was really looking forward to all of the speeches and the evaluations and I wasn't disappointed. I was able to attend one of the Evaluations semi finals in English as well as the finals. This was quite an experience, because I know that most Toastmasters want good feedback and it was a real pleasure to see how the feedback was delivered and to see what I might be able to use in the future when giving my own feedback. I've heard different Toastmasters say that an evaluation is a speech and many of the contestants showed how this can really be the case! Like most of the attendees, I was not disappointed by speeches, there were so many memorable and touching speeches. I was touched and impressed with the speech that Kaylie Peng gave and won with at the Division F contest about the love that she felt for her baby brother. I had the previlage of seeing Raquel Belo give her speech in the semi finals and again in the finals. I will always remember her saying "Get up, Believe, Walk Again". Christine Roos made us feel better about getting older in her speech. I attended the workshop that John Zimmer did in Bonn about writing a contest winning speech, so I was looking forward to seeing John Zimmer do his speech and he didn't disappoint us. I was fortunate enough to interview Kailey Peng, Raquel Belo, and John Zimmer.

District 59 will be splitting into two districts in July 2014. For me this is bittersweet, because I like the idea of Continental Europe in D59 but I realize that give the growth of Toastmasters in Europe, maintaining one district forever would be unruly to manage, so I see the need for the district to become two (and as time goes by there will be more and more districts). This is one of the things that I talked to Robert Cockburn about in our interview. Our current Lieutenant Governor of Education, João de Mendonça, will be our District Governor in this transition year (I talked to him about the transition year and other topics in an interview as well).

Like most everyone else, I was looking forward to see winners of all the contests in the awards ceremony. It was really nice to see that João de Mendonça, Morag Mathieson and her husband all received their DTMs (Distinguished Toastmaster)awards. The contest results are posted here. I'd like to say congratulations to all the winners and participants of the contests. The International Speech Contest and Evaluation Contests were also held in German and French, currently these contests end with the District Conference. It was nice to see the John Zimmer will be representing D59 in Cincinnati in the International Speech Contest. He wrote a nice blog post about his experience. His blog is really good, with all kinds of good public speaking material.

The winners of the International Speech Contest in English

I really enjoyed the conference in Antwerp. I can't recommend attending a district conference enough, especially while District 59 is still Continental Europe! I had the opportunity to interview lots of interesting people, so you can look forward to a few episodes from all the interviews that I did. The Fall contest season should be exciting and there should be another memorable conference in Budapest. I hope to meet you there.

Photo Credits:
The Antwerp Bear comes from the Friday day by day photo album of Roland Pauwels
The Budapest picture is a Tumblr (note it is also used on the D59 2013 Fall Conference website).
The winners of the International Speech Contest in English comes from Susanne Kischnick's photo album


Ps.  If you'd like to see some of the pictures from the conference in Antwerp you might find the following links useful...

Susanne Kischnick's photo album

Roland Pauwels created day by day photo albums for Friday, Saturday, Saturday the Party, and Sunday.

Pictures posted via Twitter are on Sharypic.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Now Accepting Applications...

     I'm pleased to announce that I'm now accepting applications from forward thinking Companies and Organizations to employ my services and experience...

     My company has decided to close down the location that 1,100+ employees are tied to (including myself).  I've worked 16 years for my company, holding several differnt jobs, for several different clients, working on several different projects.  My company was acquired by another company  a few years ago and now it seems that my location and the people tied to it are no longer needed.

     I don't wish to dwell on this decission, but see this as an opportunity to change my lfe for the better. Have a look at my application for forwrd thinking companies and organizations as well as my alternative resume below.

     If you're a foward thinking company or organization that wants to change the world (or you know some that do), get in contact with me (details are in the application and/or the alternative resume). Contact me ASAP.  Lets Change the World!

Darryl Heron

P.s. Be sure to include "Change the World" in the subject line of any email you send me.  There are 1,099 other people that are also looking for an opportunity to make a contribution.  Let me know what your needs are and we should be able to work something out!