President Jim Madder welcomed a large audience today; many guests keen to hear our esteemed guest speaker Samantha Smith:
Guest included: Kristi Robins, Diane Walker, Angela Vistorino, Dawn Unwin, Shabaaz Kahn, Sherry, tbarrett, Varsha Lama, Carla Sereda, Frank Wilson, Karshan Kharel, Laura St. Jacques, Lisa, Pardeep Harry, Rebecca Johnson, Rhonda H, Dana Lamminmaki.

 Cohosts: Mary-Anne Mackett, Matt Villella, Kevin Holloway, Brian Walmark

O Canada: played by Matt Villella (from a Raptors playoff game night)

Land Acknowledgement: Jim Madder.


The meeting commenced with an extraordinary presentation by Samantha Smith whose bio follows (, speaking from her home in Houston Texas. 

Samantha Smith brings a unique and diverse perspective to her audiences, being a former Police Officer and current Volunteer Firefighter, her stories are impactful and relatable. She has shared her stories of mental health and the LGBTQIA+ community with thousands of people from around the World. Samantha is a proud Lesbian, Wife and Mother who was recently named one of the top 28 speakers in the World at the 2021 World Championship of Public Speaking. She is passionate about mental health awareness and breaking down the barriers, specifically in the LGBTQIA+ community to ensure their voices are heard. Samantha is also a speaking coach who leaves her audiences not only empowered to tell their own story, but calls on them to take action, to be accountable and to effect positive change in their communities to protect those whose lives depend on it.

Samantha's skill as a public speaker was on it's full glorious display today.

She commenced with a powerful video of her semi-finalist talk that recalled a tragic encounter (involving mental health) she experienced as a police officer. 
Lessons learned were immediately apparent when building her case for:

Being Vulnerable
Being Courageous
Being Heard.  

Whilst unpacking the meaning of these phrases it became apparent there was an equivalency of all three in a temporal dimension.
Inclusivity is a vital outcome, and we all share personal vulnerabilities, usually with some degree hesitancy "to speak out" when faced on a daily basis with interpersonal challenges.

Samantha was particularly up front in discussing her own challenges in the past and laterally with the international Toastmasters Judges Code of Ethics. 
Her recommendations led to significant changes in the wording to include inclusivity for members of all sexual orientation groups.

Samantha's presentation was  dynamic and very well received. Under the guidance of fellow Toastmasters Matt Villella and Brian Walmark (who officially thanked her), there was an excellent Q and A session.
The club is indebted to Matt and Brian for organizing this session (it was recorded and Samantha is quite happy to share it as well as respond to more queries) ((

CLUB UPDATES (in brief)

1. See JIm Madder's communique for further details.
2. In addition a wee video on the contingent at work at the Dew Drop Inn Painting Project was shown (Kevin Holloway) with commentary and appeals from Bob Tomlinson, the big Chief.
3. Rotary Youth Exchange: an opening for an inbound girl from Thailand is presented for this upcoming year. Potential Host parents please take note and act (John Stephenson)
4.Rotaract Club Lovely Ladies social was a big success (Karissa and Shelley Crawford).
5. Next week 's speaker is MP the Hon. Patty Hajdu, live in person at the (hybrid) meeting emanating out of the Oliver Rd Community Centre
6. Happy Dollars: Shelley Crawford is a born fund raiser!