Meet a Leader

Meet a Leader – Ola Aralepo

Ola Aralepo is a very funny man, a cheeky chappie, so no wonder he recently won the District 91 Humorous Speech Contest. Our D91 PR Manager, Nigel Oseland, caught up with him over a hot chocolate at Royal Festival Hall on a damp cold November morning.

You have an unusual name, where does that come from?

Yes Ola is unusual, by English standards, but it is very international: Nigerian, Sierra Leonian, Norwegian and Polish. In Yoruba it means riches and the full name Olatokunbo is “wealth acquired overseas”. It’s also a bit like “hola” in Spanish meaning hello, but Ola is also Dutch for “Walls” ice cream.  Oh you mean Aralepo, that means “fulgurite” or “thunderbolt”. So my full name implies I am wealth waiting to be discovered (hopefully soon) or simply “ice cream thunderbolt”. I was born in London, raised in Lagos and I’m now back in London.

Read More

Meet a Leader – Florian Bay

Florian Bay, our D91 Club Growth Director (CGD), is a true Franco-Brit – whilst he is French to the core he has fully immersed himself in his adopted homeland of “Dear Old Blighty”, including our culture, food and customs. Florian is the person most passionate about Toastmasters that I know, and he dedicates much of his time and effort to growing our organisation and motivating its members.


Where do you live and which club(s) are you a member of?

I came to the UK from France in 2005 and I currently live in Beckenham. I first joined Cheltenham Speakers and after moving to London, London Olympians and have been a member of four clubs at one time. Currently, I am the Treasurer at London Victorians (the club I set up in 2014), the VPE at St Pauls Speakers and President at Beckenham Communicators (presently a pre-charter club). Read More

Meet a Leader – Andy Hammond

Each month we focus on one of our district leaders or accomplished toastmasters. This month our PR Manager, Nigel Oseland (NO), catches up with Andy Hammond (AH), this year’s District 91 Program Quality Director (PQD).

I’ve met Andy at a few meetings and workshops now. As well as being clearly focussed and determined, he has a mischievous sense of humour.

NO. Where do you live and which club(s) are you a member of?
AH. I live in sunny LA, actually Littlehampton – called Little ‘Ampton by some locals! I have been a member of Arun Speakers in Chichester since 2001, and founded County Communicators at West Sussex County Council in 2009.
Read More

Meet a Leader – Pedro Casillas

This month our PR Manager, Nigel Oseland, catches up with our new District Director, Pedro Casillas, on his way to the International Convention and finds out how he joined Toastmasters, what drives him and his interests outside of Toastmasters.

After a couple of teleconference calls, I eventually met Pedro at our DLT away day. Never mind his astute understanding of Toastmasters , I was impressed with his vast musical knowledge and was glad to hear that we have a similar taste in music, especially as he was in charge of the music system. Read More

Meet a Leader – Simon Bucknall

Simon is a very busy man. As we approach the International Convention in Vancouver, our District 91 International Speech Contest winner spends his spare time hopping on and off trains travelling to practice his two contest speeches in clubs across the district. Nigel Oseland (NO), our new D91 PR Manager caught up with Simon Bucknall (SB) on a slow and noisy train from Kent.

NO> Simon, I’m quite good at accents but can’t quite place yours; in Hamwic Speakers’ video of the District 91 Contest, you appear to be based in middle-England.

SB> I live in Streatham in South London, Guy applied artistic license to the outside of the house, but I was interviewed at the piano in my living room. I’m originally from Worcestershire but we move around a lot and I have lived in twelve different places.

Read More