News Round Up from Division B


Division B – The Brilliant Division

What a couple of months here in Division B, or Division Brilliant Bounceback as I think we should call it!
Andy Hessey
Andy Hessey

For those whom I haven’t met; I’m Andy Hessey and I’m the Division Director of Division B which covers Central South West London from Kensington and Hammersmith, to Southwark and down to Clapham and Brixton.  I’ve been in Toastmasters over six years and maybe more familiar to people in D91 as #Zoomtroll at contests and conferences.  Yes .. I am THAT troll!

So why on earth is Division B called Division Brilliant Bounceback?  Well, to put it bluntly… Division B is back, baby! I was appointed in mid-October.  On my first day, I had just two out of my five Area Directors but wow, have we turned things around in the last few weeks!

Areas and Directors

Let’s start our whistlestop tour of the Division by paying tribute to my Area Director team.  The two old hands are Chris Jolly and Flora Ruffin.  Let me tell you, as a DTM this isn’t Chris’ first rodeo and his experience across West London’s Area B6 is vital and Flora is the steady hand across Area B9.  These two areas have some really strong established clubs such as London Athenians, London Corinthians and London Business School as well as one the District’s newest clubs FTI Consulting

Area B8 will be ruled by Aneeta Phillip who is also the VPE at London Victorians.  You’ll recognise Aneeta as she’s always got a smile on her face and is going to be a wonderful addition to the team.  As well as those Victorians, Aneeta’s patch takes her South of the river to Brixton and Clapham.  Area B52’s new Area Director is Luca Marengo and he will be bringing his enthusiasm and his Italian charm to his clubs including Polish Your Polish and Kings Speakers.

While my team are awesome we are still missing one arm – we are searching for someone to work with Area B18 in the heart of Victoria and Holborn.  I always say that my year as Area Director was so much fun, you get to really stretch your leadership skills.  If that sounds like something that would appeal to you, get in touch.  You don’t have to be based in that area to become their Area Director, so what’s holding back?

I cannot wait to see what happens in the International Speech Contest in the Spring.  We have a huge pool of talent in the Division and a great history of success… and for other Divisions; don’t be too upset when we sweep the board at the District contest in May!

Division B Contests

We now enter December having crowned two excellent Division speech champions with London Business School’s Aruna Shanmugarajha strictly Samba dancing his way in the Humorous Speech Contest.  In a really tight and genuinely funny contest, Aruna was joined by London Victorian’s Adam Paldyna who was laughing his way through heartbreak and Joel Morales bringing home the bronze medal for London Cardinals by making lemonade!

In the topics contest, all I can say is that the four bravest people in London were the ones on the topics stage.  Did we softball them with an airy-fairy question?  Did we give them something full of gravitas asking them how they would solve world peace?  Did we buffalo!

What we asked them was simple – “Please explain why you decided to run naked through the bear enclosure at London Zoo covered in honey” … Now, I don’t know about you, but I think this is a fundamental question that needs answers!

Former District Director, Florian Bay from London Victorians set the tone by stepping onto the stage and whipping off his belt like a Chippendale and gave us a full-blown defence of his actions and ended up taking the title.  Jakub Sokolowski from Polish Your Polish who has only been a Toastmaster for a couple of months put up a brave battle against the bears and escaped with 2nd place while Harvey Domingos came an impressive third.

I cannot wait to see what happens in the International Speech Contest in the Spring.  We have a huge pool of talent in the Division and a great history of success… and for other Divisions; don’t be too upset when we sweep the board at the District contest in May!

Watch Out!

Division B may have been in a bit of a hiatus at the start of the Toastmaster year, but we are roaring (a bit like those bears at London Zoo!).  With just under 500 unique members – a fifth of whom have joined since July, we are a Division on the up.

Expect many many things from Division Brilliant Bounceback in the second half of the programme year and if the thought of being in the slow lane is not something that you want, come and join a Division B club.  Don’t forget you can be a dual member so you don’t have to leave your friends behind to come and ride on the B Train.

Andy Hessey,

Division Director, Division B, 2022-2023

News Round Up from Division C

Division C, the Creative Division

This year, Division C is feeling creative. We want to create a super community with our corporate and community clubs in Central London. Let me introduce you to a few of our clubs here:

Bayes Toastmasters hosted an Open House on Monday 24th October. I had the honour of being the Toastmaster of the evening and got to wear my witches cape for the Halloween inspired theme! Well done to Vanessa Pochette (President) and Craig Moss (VP Education) for planning this event.

Early Bird Speakers boasts one of the highest members in the Division and has been busy submitting education awards across all levels. As the name suggests it meets in the early morning – the morning people are getting stuff done! Members leave the meeting energised for the day and feeling creative.
City of London Toastmasters raced ahead with new members at the beginning of this year, winning the Smedley Award in August and has signed up the most new members. Well done all! VPPR Cristina (Tina) Plamadeala has been getting creative on social media showing off her marketing skills. Tina has also helped to make some creations for the Division – example shared below. Thank you so much Tina!
Division C is joining the race to hit 5000 unique members. Our goal is to gain a net 100 members and we are well on the way with our vibrant and creative clubs, plus new additions to the family.
Last month we welcomed back KPMG Kommunicators into Area C58. We are very excited to have this club and thank you to Ga Lok Chung for his work in putting this together. The club has already completed eight ice breaker speeches over 20 first-timers taking on meeting roles. Well done to all the new Kommunicators!
This month we will be joined by another exciting new corporate club PA Consulting London. I have had the pleasure of attending their demo and launch meeting recently and look forward to attending more meetings over the next few weeks.

Emily McQuillen,

Division Director, Division C, 2022-2023

Division H March Update

What is happening in Division H?

As the third trimester of the Toastmaster year comes to a close, Division H is celebrating another busy, successful year.

A big thank you to the Division H Leadership Team and all members within Division H for working hard to have successful clubs and areas within the Division so far. We are a close-knit team, we keep the communication flowing, and the results are visible.

On 8th January, we held an interactive training session as part of our Winter TLI (Toastmasters Leadership Institute). We included a panel discussion from clubs in the Division sharing their best practices.

 We achieved another record attendance and received raving reviews throughout, with an average participants’ feedback of 4.5/5. All those that attended found great value in the training provided. A heartfelt thank you to those who attended and provided feedback.

 Many of our clubs are very active.

Congratulations to Brighton and Hove Speakers for having the highest number of new members within the Division to date; and winning the Talk up Toastmasters Award by adding five more new members since February.

Congratulations to Beckenham Communicators and Speakers of Croydon, too. They won the Early Bird Renewal Incentive with more than 12 members renewing in February.

Division News – Club Highlights

We are inspired and celebrate our clubs’ achievements! These are just some of them!

New Charter: Sussex Online Speakers chartered on the 1st of October 2021, now they have an upcoming Speechcraft starting in March!

Gatwick Communicators held an Open House on the 21st of February and created a compelling series of marketing videos you can view here.

Arun Speakers are now running hybrid meetings, along with Kent Speakers and Battle Speakers.

Worthing Speakers Club has achieved 10/10 DCP points in February and is on track to become President’s Distinguished for three consecutive years

Speakers of Croydon recently concluded its annual Speechcraft resulting in every participant joining the club. Presently on course to being President’s Distinguished.

Speakers of Croydon also hosted an Evaluation workshop in February led by Chris Murphy from Tunbridge Wells Speakers and winner of the 2020 UK national Evaluation Contest and runner-up in 2021. The club is moving to a better and more well-presented venue for in-person meetings. Make sure you visit them!

Croydon Communicators and Liberty Speakers are planning a joint Speechcraft. Both clubs are on course to achieve Distinguished status.

  • Liberty Speakers held an Open House event in January with excellent reviews in the community, especially the business sector.
  • Croydon Communicators recently moved to a new home for its in-person meetings. Check them out.

Purley Speakers is on course to be President’s Distinguished! They received outstanding reviews from the community using Meetup to attract guests at its swanky new in-person meeting home. An Open House event is at the planning stage. 

Kent Speakers recently held a joint meeting with their local Rotary Club, and great fun was had by all!

Overall, there are many exciting changes in the Division, so watch this space and keep in touch!

Are you looking for more practice?

Battle Speakers is looking for new members and will focus on hybrid meetings, join them; it’s a great way to get a second club and more practice. Check their website

Did you know?

Division H has had three Area Directors win “Area Director of the Year” since the District was founded! See yourself! 

Division H has consistently had its members serving on the District Leadership Team.

Last year (Guler) and this year Debbie, both from Division H stepped up to take the demanding role of District Conference Director.

Dates for your diary

On 26th March is the Division H International Speech and Evaluation Contest – please register here to attend: REGISTER

The winners will then represent Division H at the District Contest during the D91 Conference 6-8 May, 2022. They will join Dan Magill, Humorous Speech contest winner and Marcus Tomlinson; Table Topics contest winner.

So come and cheer these champions at the District Conference.

Check out the link to the District Conference, get your tickets now and discover how you can help make this another engaging event. D91 Conference

Division H Members Wall of Fame

We love to celebrate our members who have so far completed a Level 5 Pathway awards this toastmasters year:

  • Guler Cortis, Speakers of Croydon / Purley Speakers
  • Emmanual Karamagi, Speakers of Croydon
  • Matt Clark, Croydon Communicators
  • Islay O’Hara, Tunbridge Wells Speakers
  • Catherine Cannon, County Communicators
  • Dave Simpson, Worthing Speakers
  • Phoebe Weston, Arun Speakers

Triple crown awards so far include

  • Alan Chapman, Beckenham Communicators
  • Juli Chapman, Beckenham Communicators
  • Robin Lulham, Eastbourne Speakers
  • Adrian Moore, Speakers of Croydon
  • Debbie Williams, Speakers of Croydon

We look forward to adding more names to the list as members achieve their educational goals.


—Debbie Williams, Division H Director 2021/2022

Division L February Update

What is happening in Division L?

Happy Chinese New Year to those who celebrate with their loved ones!

I’m glad that our District would like to feature clubs and areas within Division L. Division L consist of 5 Areas and 23 clubs. Area Directors are committed to serving the clubs in their areas. Please do feel free to reach out to me, John or Area Directors. As we are here to serve you.

Asst Div L Director – John Akers

Area 16 Director – Brighton Gono

Area 45 Director – Anoop Ramanathan

Area 47 Director – Sushil Shah 

Area 56 Director – Georgina Mylona 

Area 61 Director – Angelie Bharwaney 

Like many members, I’m personally a big fan of Toastmaster International as it has had a positive impact on my life. The more I participate the better I am. The more I share, the more I learn & grow.

The integral part of the club is our members. Members constantly balance work and life i.e., the number of ‘active’ members in the clubs fluctuate hence I encourage clubs to plan regular membership building events like Open House, Speechcraft, etc. I’m pleased to share recent success on this front: –

“Manor House Speakers held a well-attended Open House event recently. It was very successful and resulted in the recruitment of several new members.”

“London Communicators Club ran an open house in-person meeting attended by 22 guests, 2 new members joined on the day.”

“Harrovian Speakers Toastmasters held in-person open house meetings. Rupa Datta, our very own Program Quality Director presented the First Class award won by the club in 2020/2021. In a subsequent meeting,7 guests attended the event and they enjoyed it so much that 2 of them are in the process of becoming a new member!”


“TJX Expressions Speakers held a Share and Learn session, their version of an Open House and over 35 people attended.”

“Angel Speakers are planning an Open House event to attract new members & grow the club. Watford speakers planning in-person Open House too!”.

To find out how your clubs can also grow: Speech Craft  ||  Open House   ||  Guest to Member

Many congratulations to the HOD Speakers Club who celebrated its 20th-anniversary open house, it was well attended and 7 of the club’s former Presidents participated in the event. Also present was a (pre) District 91 speech contest champion and the people present heard how a number of members supported his journey to the Cincinnati convention. They also heard a pre-recorded message from Margaret Page. The founding President asked all present to reflect on the number of lives the club had touched and changed over the last 2 decades!


Sarita Yadav (Division L Director)


Division A Soundbites

Take inspiration from Division A

Antonia Harrison DTM

President, Shilling Speakers, Area A1

2020/21 Division A Director

When not supporting her own club which she started in January, the other 20 clubs in Division A or visiting Toastmasters events around the world, Antonia focuses on her business as a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Breakthrough Business Coach for Women Entrepreneurs.  She stood for Parliament in 2017 and 2019.  Learning foreign languages is her lifelong interest as well as being on the water, preferably on a motor cruiser.

Antonia’s Toastmasters journey began in 2009 in a Flemish club in Belgium, Toastmasters Hasselt, where she was a founder member and gave her Icebreaker speech in Dutch.  She later became President, a Charter Member of Toastmasters Fonske Leuven and Club Sponsor of Toastmasters Maastrict. On returning to the UK in 2012, she joined Solent Speakers in Fareham where she also became President before Area A1 Director in 2018/19.

See what the clubs in Division A have been doing during September and October

Basingstoke Speakers

Basingstoke Speakers had a joint meeting with Noida toastmasters of District 41, India on 12 September. The meeting was very successful and we hope to have many more joint meetings in the future. Why not watch our meeting recording.
Haritosh Srivastav DTM, VPE, Basingstoke Speakers.

TEDxSouthampton 2021

Russell Streeter ACB ALB, A1 Area Director and member of Solent Speakers in Fareham, will be speaking at TEDx Southampton in May 2021 deferred from 11 November 2020.
This all-day event will feature creative, thought-provoking inspiration around our theme of Human to Human Connection in all its forms and includes a focus on Innovation, Connectedness and Personal Potential.

Russell is a finance leader with nearly two decades of experience in insurance and financial services. His outlook on life has been dramatically shaped by his family’s experience of childhood cancer. Russell’s talk is a powerful and emotional story about Human to Human Connection when a family member is seriously ill. He shares the important lessons he has learnt and discusses the vital contributions that everyone can make in such circumstances to save lives.

Salisbury Speakers Discussion Panel Experts

September 18th saw Salisbury Speakers host the 3rd in a series of panel discussions this year. This one was an exciting discussion on the subject of homelessness, with Salisbury MP John Glen, Salisbury Trust for the Homeless Project Leader Louise Davis, and Liz Dore, (Salisbury Speakers Member) of South West Advocacy Network, the new organisation she has just set up in Salisbury.

A series of questions were posed including ‘What lessons can we learn from the pandemic?’ and ‘” what will the end of the eviction ban mean for homelessness?’  A lively discussion followed, concluding with questions from the audience. Salisbury Speakers member Richard Livesey hosted the meeting very professionally, asking panellists to reflect on each others’ contributions and moving smoothly from one question to another.

Previous discussions were: September 7th ‘Perceptions of Influence in the Age of Social Media’, again hosted by Richard Livesey with panellists: previous Salisbury Speakers member Wendy Searle who famously made a record-breaking skiing solo to the South Pole in 2019/20 together with Richard Belle, a local Social Media expert and Barbara Saph, DTM Salisbury Speakers member.

Finally, an in house panel of Rob Dewing, Alexandra Gillies, who works with sustainable tourism in Africa and Liz Dore discussed ‘Do You Think Plastic Should be Banned?’ on August 3rd.

Taking part in a panel discussion is very different to presenting to an audience, especially via a video conference but Salisbury Speakers are expecting to hold more of these during the year and will welcome members from other clubs.

Chaseside Speakers host the World Champion of Public Speaking

Area 42’s only corporate club, Chaseside Speakers, a JPMorgan club, started their year off with a bang with a keynote speech from last year’s World Champion of Public Speaking, Aaron Beverley, a JPM employee from the States.

Distinguished Toastmaster Haritosh Srivastav

interviews Aaron Beverly.

Watch Aaron’s winning speech.

Chaseside is using the online format to its fullest by also joining forces with another D91 JPMorgan club to run joint meetings to boost the number of members at meetings and are looking to possibly extend the meetings to even further afield and branch out to other clubs for Global meetings.

David Matoe Club President is keen to have guest speakers and workshops to add variety and interest to meetings so would love to hear from anyone who has something they can share with the club.

Bristol Central Speakers

At Bristol Central Speakers, we wanted to keep our high-energy and collaborative club culture alive even in the new virtual world. Taking advantage of the fact that any club in the world is now only a click away, BCS hosted a joint meeting with a club in Osaka, Japan. Separated by 8 hours in time, we showed up excited to meet the members of Naniwa Toastmasters.

We quickly learned to add ‘San’ after everyone’s name and joked about not being disqualified for going overtime (Osaka rules!). It was an incredibly rewarding experience that showed us how we’re all so similar even though miles apart.

The feedback from our club members has been fantastic. This idea of a joint club meeting is all thanks to BCS’ Secretary, Polly Thompson, and has inspired us to keep exploring the world via Zoom. Who knows where we’ll (virtually) land next.

Solent Speakers

Solent Speakers (A1) ran an Evaluations event on 29 September starting with an “Enlightening Evaluations” workshop from 2016 D91 Evaluations Champion, Ga Lok Chung, teaching us valuable techniques including the COD and GLOVE methods. We then heard three very different speeches and offered a round-robin evaluation of each
  1. Lucinda Harman DTM “Finding Freeman in Confinement”, a TEDx rehearsal
  2. Beatrice Freeman, L5 Preparing to Speak Professionally “Including the Neurodiverse: My Experience”
  3. Dagmara Elminowska, L1 Evaluation & Feedback 2 “The Problems of Being Tall”

42 people attended, included members from abroad. The full meeting is shown at:

Shilling Speakers “In Front of the Camera”

Shilling Speakers in Area A1 hosted a workshop with Luis Dorbecker DTM from Mexico called “In Front of the Camera” to help people with better lighting, framing, backgrounds, camera height etc.  It was particularly aimed at anyone taking part in Toastmasters contests.  You can see the recording at

Division A Conference & Contests

Saturday 7th November 09:45-14:15

The Division Finals of the Humorous Speech Contest and Table Topics will include eight participants in each as Division A has four Areas.  Alongside, there will be keynote speeches from Gavin Meikle DTM on the hidden depths of Pathways and TEDx Speaker and multi-award-winning Deepak ‘DJ’ Justin from D82 with “Unlock the Sherlock: The Art of Cracking a Winner of a Speech”.

Register here:

Celebrate our success with us

15 members of Division A achieved Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) status in 2019-20.

Keith Oliver, Shilling Speakers and Spinnaker Speakers, Area A1, is the only member so far to achieve DTM in Division A this Toastmaster year.

Many congratulations to all 16 new DTMs!!!

We have 42 other awards to celebrate

Pathways Level 1

Claire Jewell, Tjark Schoenfeld, Deborah Franzoni, Xavier Graham, Neil Richings, Philip Gladwell, Michelle Pinrod, Roberto Fuerte, Paul Molyneux, Clappas Petrescu, Alfonso Eduardo, Andrea Righi, Philippa Gray, Caroline Brewer, Pallavia Pawar, Philippa Doyle, Clive Stocker, Jonny Pardoe, Eric Skates, Flora Ellis, Arooj Raza, Lancina Bamba, Olorunbunmi Durowoju, Gemma Nevers, Nina Fahler, Rory McGill.

Pathways Level 2

Mike Burrows, Niroopika Sivapatham, Roman Abylkhatov, Cate Wilson, Eric Skates, Rick Simmonds, Lancina Bamba, Gemma Nevers.

Pathways Level 3

Ariba Surani, Rick Simmonds

Pathways Level 4

Rob Hoblin

Pathways Level 5

Rob Hoblin, Richard Livesey