Founder’s District Annual Awards Dinner

On August 26, 2015 the Founder’s District leadership team gathered to celebrate our successes from the 2014/2015 year at our annual District Executive Council Awards Dinner.

Congratulations to long term Toastmaster Member John Barry of Saddleback Sunrise Speakers!  Out of over 4500 Members John was recognized as the standout for 2014/2015 and the Toastmaster of the Year for Founder’s District.  His contributions and accomplishments were both broad and deep.  He served as LACE Co-Chair, Division G New Clubs Chair and had significant involvement in 11 new club start ups, in addition to many other facilitation and leadership activities at Division and Area contests and club officer training events!  Thank you John for your time and dedication to this organization and the members within Founder’s District!  We are all very proud of you and we salute you for all that you have invested into the development of others!

Toastmaster of the Year
John Barry, Division G, New Clubs Chair, Founder’s District Toastmaster of the Year for 2014/2015

It is wonderful to be recognized for all of the volunteer efforts and I am grateful for the acknowledgement! No singular person can claim a victory such as this without a team effort! It takes a team of dedicated individuals to achieve accomplishments like this!

Toastmaster of the Year and Div Gov
John Barry, Toastmaster of the Year and Marshall Northcott, Division Governor of the Year

We had a core of people who stepped up in varying capacities to help us ramp up new clubs and support them as they were laying a foundation and establishing roots. What I don’t want to forget is all of the people who made the successes in Founder’s District, Division G, possible between July 1 , 2014 and June 30, 2015.

If you played a role in this accomplishment then these awards are as much yours as they are mine. Thanks to everyone who lended a hand in launching 9 new clubs in Founder’s District, Division G!


In addition, leaders emerged within each club and we were able to transfer ownership to them and move on to other new club building activities. I dedicate these symbols of recognition to these people:

John Barry, Division G New Clubs Chair
Linda Robinson, Area G2 Governor
Marie-Noelle Palermo, Area G4 Governor
Jocelyn Litiatco, Area G1 Governor
Susan De La Portilla, Area G5 Governor
Cindy Carpenter
John Foley
Kian Boloori
Sudhanwa Karmarkar
Stephanie Buchanan
Dave Cornelius
Lori Cantley
Rigo Guzman
Tom Sheltraw
Gwen Earle
Alex Palermo
Nigel Blackwell
Chester Ritchie
Jerry Bryant
Maria Manalili
Camille Rivera
Cayleen Portillo
and Thomas Helms!

I’m blessed to have had the opportunity to work with you! Thanks to each of you for your time, dedication and for supporting our efforts!

Marshall Northcott, Immediate Past Division G Governor


In the Final Analysis – A Message from Your Immediate Past Division Governor

The past 12 months have been interesting, insightful and full of surprises!  Forest Gump taught us, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.”

I would say life in Toastmasters parallels this perfectly.  As a Division Governor (the last one that will ever be because the title is changing to Division Director) you know you are going to be responsible for working with (in my case) 5 appointed Area Governors and you have no idea what you are going to get.  I ended up with a mixed box, two of which had nut filled centers but I won’t say which two.  I personally committed to Chartering five new clubs and had no clue where that was going to take me either.

We set high expectations out of the gate and very early in the year it became evident to everyone that achieving exceptional results was a priority.  In Toastmasters we always talk up the leadership component and in my experience we don’t reflect nearly enough on the leadership experience and the learning opportunities so I made this a priority as I worked with my team throughout the year.  I found myself constantly asking, “What did you learn?”

Here is how our final results looked:

Division G – President’s Distinguished Division 2014/2015

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Area G1 – Jocelyn Litiatco, President’s Distinguished Area 2014/2015

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Jocelyn served as our Division G Contest Chair for the combined Area International Speech and Table Topics Contest in the spring of 2015.  We witnessed tremendous growth in Jocelyn as she stretched to take on challenging assignments like this.  Thank you for your contributions to the team, we are all very proud of you!  She has decided to continue on in 2015/2016 as the Division G Contest Chair.  Keep up the excellent work!

Area G2 – Linda Robinson, President’s Distinguished Area 2014/2015

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Linda was an absolute delight to work with this past year!  She definitely caught the Club Chartering bug!  We inherited a new club start up initiative from the 2013/2014 team and Linda was a key contributor to the success of this Charter.  I can honestly say that Toastmasters of Laguna Beach wouldn’t have launched if Linda and John Barry hadn’t taken the reigns and poured their commitment into this Community Club!  Linda was there every week for months on end and it was her flash of genius that put the icing on the cake and successfully Chartered this club.  Thank you Linda!  Now she’s at it again, won’t be long and the Advance Toastmasters Club, WOW (Wine on Wednesdays) will be official in San Juan Capistrano.  Linda has also committed to the role of Division G Youth Leadership Chair and Founder’s District Conference Co-Chair for the 2015/2016 year.  Go get ‘em Linda!

Area G3 – Iqbal Rana, President’s Distinguished Area 2014/2015

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Iqbal was steady with his contributions during his term.  Despite some overwhelming personal and professional challenges he managed to stay on top of his Area Governor duties, get out to visit his initial base of clubs and get his reports submitted in a timely fashion.  Thank you Iqbal for your contributions to the team effort!

Area G4 – Marie-Noelle Palermo, President’s Distinguished Area 2014/2015

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Marie-Noelle will outwork most people that is just her nature.  When she takes on an assignment you can count on her to deliver!  I recognized her talent immediately and often joked about the fact that all I needed to do was get her engaged and then get out of her way to make sure I didn’t mess it up!  She is a superstar!  She set the bar super high when she took on the role of Division G Contest Chair for the combined Area Humorous Speech and Evaluation in the fall of 2014!  Marie-Noelle was everywhere this year!  She supported so many initiatives and her contributions were stellar!  Working with her was a blast, I feel blessed that she was a part of this all-star team!  I’m thrilled that she accepted the nomination for Division G Director for 2015/2016, I’m confident that she will do us all proud!

Area G5 – Susan De Laportilla, Distinguished Area 2014/2015

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Susan had the toughest Area and we knew this going into the year.  To make matters more challenging she experienced a number of personal difficulties and setbacks that in all honesty would have caused the majority of people to quit!  Susan didn’t quit however, she made the necessary adjustments in order to accommodate the demands on her schedule and fulfill her commitments as Area Governor.  Susan had a character building year and she stood and delivered!  Although we weren’t able to get this Area over the hump and recognized as President’s Distinguished we added two new clubs which will totally change the landscape for the new term.

Most of all we have fun!  Is it possible to be this focused and results oriented and still have a great time?  Absolutely!  We connected with each other, forged new friendships, learned to respect and appreciate our fellow team members for the special skills and contributions that they brought to the group.  Our meetings were energetic, highly productive and socially enjoyable!

We did something absolutely unheard of, we Chartered nine new Toastmasters Clubs and helped with three additional club Charters for other Divisions!  What I learned from this experience was the power of a team of people and how rewarding it can be to work with others who are excited about being part of a group that forms a new club.  In each case new leaders emerged and new clubs were birthed!

Congratulations and thank you to John Barry, Division G New Club Chair!  He and I worked very closely together over this past year.  We faced challenges and obstacles along the way and came out at the other end with our heads held high!

Cindy Carpenter was the featured speaker at almost every one of our Launch/Demonstration Meetings!  Yes, she was our secret weapon and John affectionately dubbed her “The Closer.”  Her commitment to Division G and all of the new club activity that we had on the go was spectacular!  We kept Cindy very busy and she deserves tremendous praise for her efforts!

Jeanne Cassidy was the Division G Contest Chair and you hardly knew that she was there.  Why?  She is so experienced and comfortable with this role that she makes it look seamless!  She’s what I would call plug and play.  All Jeanne needed to know was when and where and then I didn’t even have to worry about getting out of the way because she was gone and before I knew it, it was done!  Thanks to Gwen for connecting me with Jeanne, that was an excellent call!

Lauren Kelly is well known throughout the world of Toastmasters having previously served as Founder’s District Governor and International Director.  She was an excellent resource and welcomed addition to the team in the role of Education and Training Chair!  Lauren lightened my load tremendously by assuming responsibility for Division G Sponsored Club Officer Training and she provided much needed statistical analysis of Division G Clubs and Areas as we entered the last quarter of our term!  She directed our attention to the critical “watch outs” and with this knowledge we were able to influence several outcomes that in turn secured the positive results that we achieved!

It takes a minimum of 20 people to Charter a new club that means we introduced a minimum of 180 people in Division G to the Toastmasters program.  Putting that into perspective, Areas are comprised of 4 to 6 Clubs therefore, we added two new Areas and created leadership and learning opportunities to as many as 63 new Club Officers and 2 additional Area Directors!  We exposed these new members to a proven program for personal and professional development.  We did something that will positively impact many people for years to come, we changed lives!

All of this New Club Chartering activity put added pressures on our team and in some cases stretched people thin.  I was pleasantly surprised and in some cases positively overwhelmed with the way in which our team of volunteers leaned into the additional pressures that were introduced by the growth we experienced!  The Area Governors swooped in behind John and I supported the new clubs as they established roots and laid a foundation for success.  Then more volunteers emerged to take on the six month Club Mentor assignments.  At times it seemed like finding another Mentor was never going to happen but people came out of nowhere to support our efforts.  I’ve always known it’s true and what we experienced proved it, “If you build it, they will come!”

Thank you everyone!  It’s been a slice, you’ve enriched my life and I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to partner with you and get to know you on a personal level!

Marshall Northcott, Immediate Past Division G Governor, Founder’s District

President’s Distinguished Division 2014/2015

Time to Split? – The Future of Founder’s District

Last night at the Founder’s District Executive Council Meeting a proposal was put forward by a committee of seven esteemed Founder’s District leaders, six of whom have previously served as Founder’s District Governor.  This comes on the heels of a letter of intent that was sent to Toastmasters International in October of 2013 by Harry Yan, who was Founder’s District Governor at the time.  The District is fast approaching 240 clubs which is, from a leadership perspective (specifically the top three) no longer manageable.  The committee studied all possible scenarios and collaboratively came up with what they feel is the best option moving forward.

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Founder’s District Map as of October 30, 2014

As the song says, “Breaking up is hard to do.”  The committee has proposed that the dividing line should be the 22 Freeway.  Toastmasters International has declared that the geographic area where Smedley Chapter 1 is located shall continue to be, “Founder’s District.”  Therefore, the newly formed District will be a numbered District.  The DEC voted last night on the motion to present this proposal to the general membership at the business meeting on November 8 at the Founder’s District Fall Conference.  There was some strong opposition against moving forward with this proposal.  Some feel that we are asking too much and that this important decision is moving forward too rapidly without enough information being made available.

Change is difficult for some to accept.  It is understandable that there is a sense of pride, nostalgia and emotional attachment to the association with “Founder’s District.”  I myself was sadden when I originally heard about the potential split.  I would be disappointed to no longer be a member of Founder’s District.  I’m certain that every one of the committee members feels the exact same way!  These are people who have served us for many years!  This is not the first time that Founder’s District has split.  With the aggressive growth goals that the organization has this will not be the last time that it splits either.

The proposed change is inevitable!  It can be delayed by opposition, but if this is something that is deemed to be in the best interests of the membership then as leaders we need to put our sentimental emotions aside and think about how and why this is a good move and then support what has been proposed by our leaders.  This change will undoubtedly have a greater overall impact on the leadership both past and present.  Those aspiring to serve in the top three roles will serve a smaller geographic region with fewer clubs and members.

Division among the DEC leadership will only do us harm.  We need to keep in mind that there are many members who couldn’t care less about this change because it will not impact their reasons for belonging to the organization.  The majority of Members when asked have no clue what Club #, Area, Division or District that they are a member in.  It’s just not that important to them!

On the upside this proposal will open up all kinds of opportunity for people to serve and get involved as a new District forms!  It can and will be an exciting and wonderful time that is full of new horizons for people who aren’t even involved in Toastmasters today!  I’m hopeful that we are presented with more information that will help people better understand the reasoning behind the split and how it will benefit our members moving forward.  Splitting isn’t immediate.  Once the decision is made to do so, it is a three year process.  In the year prior to the split the District Governor will have two teams reporting to them.  Then the following year the Lt. Governor of Training and Education will likely become the District Governor.  (Keep in mind that as of next year we will no longer be using these designations, District Governor will be changing to District Director).  As I scan the map above, a north, south split seems like the only logical move.

Expect to receive an email about this in the near future.  Every voting delegate (this includes Club President and V.P. of Education) will be invited to attend the business meeting at the Fall Conference.  If you are a club member please encourage your leadership to attend on your behalf to ensure that you get the facts about the split.  A final vote will likely be scheduled for the Founder’s District Spring Conference in 2015 .

Marshall Northcott, Division G Governor, Founder’s District
“Members Matter Most!”

Get with the P.R.O.G.R.A.M.
Persistence ● Recognition ● Opportunities ● Growth ● Responsiveness ● Achievement ● Motivation

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Greetings Fellow Toastmasters of Division G, Founder’s District!

The end to another Toastmaster year is upon us!  Congratulations to those who set Educational (Communication) and Leadership goals over the past twelve months and with commitment and persistence successfully achieved those goals!

Thank you to Immediate Past Division G Governor, Gwen Earle for all her hard work and dedication to the team!  Your volunteer efforts are genuinely appreciated.  Over this past year you have touched the lives of many of us including myself!  Thank you for serving as our leader and congratulations for being the first Founder’s District Division Governor in the 2013/2014 year to achieve recognition as a President’s Distinguished Division!  Your team of Area Governors are very proud of you!

We wish you great success as you take on the next great challenge within Toastmasters as Founder’s District Secretary.

Thank you to our outgoing Area Governors, Tracey Fullenkamp Area G1, Valerie Ojeman Area G2, Chester Ritchie Area G3 and Gayle Larkin Area G5!  In so many ways (too many to mention in fact) each of you contributed to the success of Division G this year!  We hosted fantastic Area and Division Contests, Club Officer Training events and made a difference in the lives of others!

Special thanks for the role you played in assisting these Clubs as they reached Distinguished (or better) recognition.  In addition, congratulations to the many committed Toastmasters who served as Club Officers this past year and played a pivotal role in helping their clubs have a strong year.  The Distinguished Club program offers us a measurement standard that is a reflection of club health and overall Member satisfaction and those of you who worked towards the achievement of this coveted recognition deserve to be applauded!  (The information provided below is based on Dashboard Reports at the time of preparing this article)

President’s Distinguished

Rancho Speech Masters Toastmasters Club –

UniMasters –

Coastmasters Toastmasters Club –

Possibilities Unlimited Club –

Fluent Philosophers Club –

Saddleback Sunrise Speakers Club –

OC Toasters –

ToastMaster Gardeners of OC

Tongue Tamers Club –

Select Distinguished

San Clemente Toastmasters –

Challengers Toastmasters Club –

Easy Speakers –

Panasonic Flying Toasters –

KBB Toastmasters –

Saddleback Valley Toastmasters Club –

CCI’s Articulate Actuators –

Irvine Toastmasters Club –

In addition to all the hard work devoted to the growth and continued success of existing clubs I am proud to say that we have added a new Club to the Division G family this year!

Newly Charter Club

South Orange County Toastmasters –

Our New Clubs Chair, John Barry and his team are working diligently as they gain momentum in hopes of launching a new community club in Laguna Beach.  Special thanks to John, Linda Robinson, Marie-Noelle Palermo, Gwen Earle, Rob Swineford, Sherry Tomasula and Mark Kasperowicz for their time and dedication to this very worthwhile cause!

As we gear up for the new Toastmaster year these past two weeks have been extremely busy!  This past Thursday many of us attended the Founder’s District Officer Induction Ceremony and on Saturday June 28 the entire Founder’s District team attended Area, Division and Division Treasurer training!

Here is our Division G team for the 2014/2015 Toastmaster year:

Assistant Division G Governor: Jeanette Salazar

Area G1 Governor: Jocelyn Litiatco

Area G2 Governor: Linda Robinson

Area G3 Governor: Iqbal Rana

Area G4 Governor: Marie-Noelle Palermo

Area G5 Governor: Susan De la Portilla

Division G Treasurer: Munni Krishnan

Division G Secretary: Careena Dudic

Marketing and PR Chair: John Foley

Division Contest Chair: Jeanne Cassidy

Area Contest Chair (Fall 2014): Marie-Noelle Palermo

Area Contest Chair (Spring 2015): Iqbal Rana

New Clubs Chair: John Barry

Club Coach and Mentor Chair: Marguerite Bonnett

Education, Training and DCP Chair: Lauren Kelly

Contest Chief Judge: Colette Gardner

We are still in need of additional volunteers to fill some critical roles so please let me know if you would like to offer you expertise to this energetic and enthusiastic group!

I look forward to working with this fine group of men and women as we strive to continue Division G’s tradition of President’s Distinguished for the 2014/2015 year!

The Division G theme for this year is: “Members Matter Most!”

And we will be encouraging all of you to “Get with the P.R.O.G.R.A.M.”

Persistence ● Recognition ● Opportunities ● Growth ● Responsiveness ● Achievement ● Motivation

Wishing you all the best in your Toastmaster journey!

Marshall Northcott, Division G Governor, Founder’s District


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Please welcome our new Division G Leaders!

It is with much excitement that we announce the 2012-2013 Founders District, Division G Leadership team.

We are privileged to have these amazing people as part of the Founder’s District, Division G:

  • Kevin Graham, Division Governor
  • Scot Shier, Area G1 Governor
  • Gwen Earle, Area G2 Governor
  • Ryan Price, Area G3 Governor
  • Vittal Agirishetti, G3 Assistant Governor
  • Fei Zheng, Area G4 Governor
  • Bill Brown, Area G5 Governor 

We are also thankful and excited to have the Division G support team with us:

  • Chester Ritchie – Treasurer
  • Daniel Midson-Short – Publicity Chair
  • CW Gruenig- Club Coach and Mentor Chair
  • Contest Chair – Jeanne Cassidy
  • Contest Chief Judge – Colette Gardner

Here’s the making 2012-13 our most successful year ever for Division G!

Congratulations Division G!

Congratulations! to all the Division G members. It is my pleasure to announce Division G has achieved Presidents Distinguish Status this year.

We did it!!  A big thank you to all the members who contributed and made this possible.

Thank you to all Division G Area Governors and Staff for their continous effort to make Founder’s district to be the Best and nothing less! It was an honor to serve as Division G Governor for 2011-2012. Please help me welcome the new Division G Governor, Kevin Graham and his team for 2012-2013. I wish them a great year!

With Best wishes,

Sushma Rajput                                                        

Kevin Graham, Incoming Division G Governor

Division G has an outstanding heritage as a leader in the Founder’s District and it is an honor to be elected as Division G Governor. I’m thrilled with the caliber of  Area Governor – candidates and we’ll be announcing those appointments in the near future. Serving south Orange County, Division G presently includes 25 clubs, who boast over 500 members.

Nothing is more important to the division leadership team than ensuring that the clubs are meeting the needs of the individual member. Once the Area Governors are appointed, the division leadership team will be recruiting committee members to serve the division in a variety of roles ranging from marketing, public relations, membership, new club growth and more. So be sure to raise your hand, jump up and down, call and email if you are interested in contributing above the club level. More information will be posted as we approach the new term starting in July.

Division G is going to have an outstanding year in 2012-2013 and we want YOU to be a part of that success. Toastmasters International truly is the world’s leading organization for developing thinking, listening and speaking skills.

Thank you for your service!

Kevin Graham

Division G Governor-elect