Its a busy time for Andy O’Sullivan. As District 91’s Chief Judge, Andy is spending his time travelling to division contests and preparing his judges for the Spring Conference on 5-6 May. As well as finding Andy on our Contest & Judging page, you will also find him in the Hall of Fame as last year’s Toastmaster of the Year.
Tell me a little about your background and home life.
Born and raised in Sidcup, Kent, I spent most of my career working in banking. As someone who struggled with the confidence to speak up in meetings or give presentations, I knew that I’d have to develop my public speaking skills … one day!
Where do you live and which club(s) are you a member of?
Living close to the Elephant & Castle, I’m President of London Toastmasters, a recently Chartered club at London Bridge. This is a club I started last November, due to the massive demand for membership at my other clubs, London Public Speakers and Central London Toastmasters.
Steve Vear is our Division A Director and he was awarded Division Director of the year for 2016/17. I see Steve and the various DOTs and DECs I am always impressed with how prepared and engaged he is offering calm, collected and sensible council. I wanted to find out more about what motivates Steve.
Tell me a little about your background?
I’ve lived in Andover all my life; you may know Andover has the home of Twinings Tea, Stannah Stairlifts and The Troggs – it’s a happening place. I worked in IT distribution for 17 years but I recently became Head of Resource Management for an Examination Board. I was born with cerebral palsy, it’s part of who I am but doesn’t define who I am, and I plan to live life to the full regardless; you can hear more about this in a previous interview.
This month, Nigel Oseland, our D91 PT Manager, caught up with Paul Rhys-Taylor, a.k.a. PRT our Admin Manager and ICT Chair.
Tell me a little about your background
I was born and raised in London, of Jamaican parents. Educated Anglican but rejected the faith as a child. Then found it for myself as a young adult. Lived with certainty for over two decades but over the last few of years, I’ve been on a ‘truck stop of doubt’.
This month Nigel, our PR Manager, chatted with Beauty Zindi, our D91 Finance Manager. Beauty has been very busy keeping the DLT in check, introducing a more streamlined finance processes and securing our district budget.
Hi, you have both an unusual forename and surname, where do they come from?
Beauty means exactly what it means in the English language. In Zimbabwe a lot of parents give their children English adjectives as names. Beauty is a common first name in Zimbabwe, but in the UK it gives me celebrity status. I have a middle name – Chiwoneso which means mirror or torch light. As for my surname, according to my late grandfather it is made up of two Zimbabwean ideophones “zi” and “ndi” (pronounced like in candy). “Zi” in this sense is similar to the “zzzzzz” sound made by bees and it means unsettled, roaming about, whereas “ndi” is the opposite. My grandfather told me that his great grand parents had to travel from place to place before they found a place they could call their own. So after they settled, they said to themselves they had been “zzzzz” and they had become settled, therefore “ndi”. They brought the two ideophones together to make the name Zindi. In Zimbabwe there is a place called Zindi where we are considered royalty – okay every African considers themselves royalty!
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.