Big D Contests a Big Success

by admin on August 24, 2014

Big D Fall 2014 Contest
From left to right: Zak Karamally (Humorous, 2nd place), Leana McGuire (Evaluation, 2nd place), Marc Mixon (Evaluation, 1st place), Don Teague (Humorous, 3rd place), Ron Steiner (Humorous, 1st place), Linda Martin (our brilliant Test Speaker), and Courtney Bradley (Contest Master). Not shown is Mac Smith (Evlauation, 3rd place).

It’s fall, and that means Toastmasters contest season!

While Big D Toastmasters is always a supportive and cooperative environment, there are times when we like to indulge in the competitive spirit. On August 21, we held two contests, one for best humorous speech, and one for best speech evaluation. People at all levels of Toastmasters experience participated, some as contestants (half of the competitors have been Toastmasters for under a year), and others in roles such as ballot counters, timers, judges. Most importantly, as we like to say at Big D, “A good time was had by all.”

Contest Winners

Humorous Speech Contest:

  • 1st Place: Ron Steiner
  • 2nd Place: Zak Karamally

Speech Evaluation Contest

  • 1st Place: Marc Mixon
  • 2nd Place: Leana McGuire

Ron and Marc (or their respective runners-up if they cannot attend) will be going on to compete in our Area Contest.

Join us at our Area Contest!

Friday, September 5, 7:00 PM
THR University Auditorium
8194 Walnut Hill Lane
Dallas, TX 75231

The auditorium is located at the back of the Presbyterian Hospital campus, just past the pond if approaching from Walnut Hill. Parking is free and so is the entertainment, so bring a friend along!



Meeting updates

by admin on December 13, 2013

Mark Your Calendar – Holiday Celebration – December 19, 2013
Hard to believe another year has come and gone, but the good news is that the annual Big “D” 2013 Christmas party is upon us. Details are as follows:

Date: Thursday, December 19, 2013
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Where: Steve Patterson’s home
Address: 7405 Lynworth Drive
  Dallas, Tx 75248
Price: $17.00 per person (Dinner Buffet Served)
Details: A short business meeting for installation of officers and introduction of distinguished visitors will be followed by the club’s holiday party.
Bring your spouse and friends to share good will and fun.
For any further questions contact Steve Patterson at

July 19, 2012

The July 19th Toastmasters meeting theme was “Coincidence, “Magic” and Miracles”. Benjamin Vincent was the Toastmaster. The speakers and speech titles were as follows:

Misty Woodruff – “Misty & My Hometown” – Icebreaker
CC Manual #1

Chris Adams – “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
Storytelling Manual, The Folk Tale

Danni Babik – “Positively Helpful Evaluations” – Persuade With Power – CC #9

The awards of the evening went to: Steve Patterson for Best Table Topics, Danni Babik for Best Prepared Speech, Joe Vazquez for Best Evaluator, and Danni Babik for Toastmaster of the Evening.

The word of the day was beguile, which means to influence by trickery, flattery, etc., to charm or divert, to pass time pleasantly. The Toastmaster beguiled the audience and a good time was had by all.

Until next time…..

April 7, 2011 meeting

The extremely wacky April Fool’s themed meeting began promptly at 6:30PM. First we initiated a new member, Jonathan Allen.

Without our usual roles in place, the meeting was turned completely upside-down! Fortunately, we were led by our Lie Master, Mike Weibel through a string of truths and lies. Who better to fabricate these fabulous stories than our very own Matt Gates, Sam Park, Joe Parisi and Preston Swincher!

Next up our Celebrity Master, David Rouble, explained that Sarah Palin, Hulk Hogan, Charlie Sheen and others would be visiting our club that evening to sell us a particular product. Who knew that Jessica Simpson uses a swiffer duster to sweep away her men?

Finally, Brad Johnson introduced Linda Martin (actually Mac McAdams) and Kelly Decker (some say it was really Chase Miller) as speakers for the evening. The members knew something was awry when Linda Martin (Mac) was wearing a strange sweat band around her head, but could not put our fingers on what exactly was different about Linda that night. Mac McAdams (Linda) and Chase Miller (Kelly) helped to critique their work, because constructive criticism is what helps all of us Toasties become the Toastmasters we dream to become!

To all that were here last meeting, thanks so much for your participation! The meeting concluded at 8:26PM and a crazy good time, one of the best of the year, was had by all!

March 10, 2011 meeting

From the meeting minutes provided by Kelley, we know that the regular meeting of Big “D” began at 6:30pm.

The evening’s theme by venerable Toastmaster Chase Miller was ….. you guessed it: March Madness!! (and as you may know, Chase is from Kansas, who just happens to have the #1 seed in the tournament. Coincidence? We think not. 🙂

Highlights of the meeting included:
– Chase went above and beyond with his theme, passing out actual tournament brackets along with
meeting agenda!
– We found out, sadly, that Dan Martinez will be leaving the club. We really hate to see you go, Dan!
– In an effort to accomodate our growing membership and get more actual speaking opportunities into every meeting (which after all is why we’re here), Joseph announced that we will no longer be clapping during the business meeting.

Unfinished business from the business meeting included a motion to honk the “Ah horn” whenever someone claps during the business meeting in an attempt to help break that long and storied Big “D” habit. An amendment was made to Joseph’s motion that we hold off honking the horn for one month until the club
has adjusted to this new change. The issue wasn’t quite decided before time ran out, so that matter got tabled until next week’s meeting (hallelujah!)

Ribbon winners of the evening were:
Table topics: Dan Martinez
Speaker: Kelly Decker
Evaluator: Linda Martin
Toastmaster of the Evening: David Rouble

The meeting ended at 8:34pm, despite nagging rumors to the contrary (which could not be verified), we’ve determined that once again … a good time was had by all!
* Thanks to Kelley Decker for supplying the minutes to the meeting for this report.

From Saturday, March 6, 2011
At Saturday’s Area 31 speech contest, Big “Ds” own Eric Dyson took home the tall trophy (as opposed to the shorter one for 2nd place) with his speech “Be There”. It was another solid, ‘typical for Eric’ performance, and he is likely to do well at the next contest level (Region?) to be held at Medical City Dallas in April. More info about that contest (date/time, etc) in the next few days.

It’s worth noting that this was also an award winning performance for Big “D” as a club, as a record (to my knowledge) turnout of 13 members plus Denise Sessions showed up to support Eric. How many other clubs in town turned out that kind of a crowd for an Area contest. Uh….. maybe none?

(This pic from club contest, click to enlarge)
Big "D" Toastmasters club contest - Feb 2011

Minutes from meeting on March 3, 2011

The regular meeting of Big “D” began promptly at 6:30pm.

Theme: “Spring Cleaning – Getting Organized”
Toastmaster: Brad Johnson

Big “D” inducted what could very well be a record 5 new members: Nick McFarlan, Andy Clark, Christa Dawdy, Joe Vasquez, and Steve Kunelis

Table topics: Our newest member, Nick McFarlan
Speaker: Tamera Ranney
Evaluator: Danni Babik
Toastmaster of the evening: Ruth Fagerstrom

The meeting ended at 8:30pm and yet again, despite capacity problems and a raucus crowd, a good time was had by all! 🙂

February 24, 2011
From club Secretary Kelly Decker:
The regular meeting of Big D began at 6:36pm. We had several guests (as usual)

Big D welcomed three new members: Ruth, John, Sam Parker.

Toastmaster of the evening: Jennifer “sweatbands and leg warmers” Huch
Theme: I Love the 80s

Table Topics: John “fucia-neon” Sesssions
Speaker: Preston “logged on late” Swincher
Evaluator: Joseph “clearly loves the 80s” Pezanowski
TM of the Evening: Brad “aka Michael Jackson” Johnson

Members dressed up

We were having such a good time, the meeting ended at 8:32pm.

The annual Big “D” International Speech contest was held last night to yet another a standing room only crowd, and once again the evening did not disappoint. The contest featured 6 participants in the Evaluation phase, including:

  • Preston Swincher
  • Kelly Decker
  • Luke Donev
  • Essam El-Beik
  • Jennie Pugh
  • Jonathan Huizingh

It was an impressive performance by the Evaluators, but when the dust cleared Preston appeared as the last man standing, which is to say he won. Coming in a strong second place was Kelly Decker, followed closely by Luke Donev. Preston will go on to represent Big “D” at the Area contest to be announced soon.

If the Evaluations were good, the speeches were great. Three speakers competed this time:

  • Eric Dyson
  • Brenna Smith
  • David Rouble

They were each very, very good speeches and it was a competition worthy of Big “D”. When the votes were tallied, 4 1/2 year veteran and Big “D’s” resident submariner Eric Dyson won with a great speech titled “Being There”. It’s a speech everyone needs to hear, and I’d encourage you to catch Eric at the next contest level if you missed him last night.

Coming in second place and possibly showing as much improvement through 7 speeches as anyone we’ve seen in a while, Brenna Smith gave an amazing speech for the 2nd week in a row discussing the power of the word “Hello”. Simple topic, big message, and clearly something Brenna lives.

Finally, putting his trademark humor into an amusing and clever speech, David Rouble made it clear that while he suffers from this malady he refuses to be ashamed for being one who ….. Snores! Very funny, and certainly contest-worthy.

After a Mardi Gras theme 2 weeks ago, a Valentine’s theme last week and now a big-time speech contest, it will be interesting to see what Jennifer Huch serves up next week as Toastmaster of the evening. You gotta show up to find out, but I bet it’ll be a fun evening!   Just sayin’……

Word to the wise: Get there a few minutes early if you don’t want to spend the evening standing in the back corner of the room.

Signed: By a guy who keeps sitting in the back corner of the room. 🙂

February 10, 2011
The regular meeting of Big D Toastmasters was called to order at 6:35pm.

Toastmaster of the evening was Linda Martin. Linda’s timely and appropriate theme of the evening was “Deep in my heart, you mean a lot to me”
Linda Martin showed us all her sweet side by bringing in candy and making homemade sweetheart comment cards!

Awards for the evening went to:
Table Topics: Preston Swincher
Speaker: Brenna Smith
Evaluator: Eric Dyson
TM of the Evening: Brenna smith (who gave a great mock speech for gearing up college
kids on why toastmasters is so important!)

The meeting ended at 8:48pm and a good time was had by all!

February 3, 2010

January 20, 2011
Another Big “D” meeting was called to order at 6:30 by Essam El-Beik, which I believe included 5 new guests! Wow! No, no….. wait, I’m sorry, was that 10 guests. No, that’s not right either – our Secretary informs me that the official count was that there were 12 guests at the meeting. No kidding! One of which was Gabe’s father, who is also a Toastmaster, which made for a great way to start a meeting.

We inducted two new members, Jade Black and Jonathan Huizingh. Check out their pics here so you’ll know ’em when you see ’em. 🙂

Guess who showed her shining face – Victoria Perez! Victoria was back after a long absence due to working until 6:30 on Thursdays (Uh: less work, more Big “D” Victoria, OK?).

Toastmaster of the evening was veteran member, resident bon vivant and all around good guy Steve Patterson. Steve’s theme for the meeting was “Cartography”. No, that’s not a perspective on life according Cartman from South Park – it’s the study of maps. Steve knows his maps!

The evening Table Topics session was led by Essam. Lucky participants/victims were Jade Black (welcome to Big “D”, Jade!), Jonathan Huizingh (one table topic in the books), Randy Duncan, Jim Wolfe and Chase Miller.

Awards for the evening went to:

  • Jim “I Don’t Tailgate” Wolfe for Best Table Topic,
  • Cliff “I Don’t Need Directions” Hutchinson for Best Evaluator,
  • Nadine “I Count My Blessings” Ryan for Best Speaker, and
  • Nadine Ryan for Toastmaster of the Evening.

The meeting adjourned at 8:35pm and once again, a good time was indeed had by all.

A few details from the January 13,2011 meeting
The regular meeting of Big D Toastmasters began promptly at 6:30pm, and it was another packed house. During the business meeting, Mac McAdam’s motion to form a new location committee was put on hold. This conversation is to be resumed during “old business” and a vote called to form the committee. With an average of 15.6 guests a year, 2011 is off to a great start for Big D as we welcomed 2 new members last week, Randy Duncan and Ross Manyem!

A first time Toastmaster, Brad Johnson introduced one of our more unique themes, facial hair! Apparently, facial hair is a rather recalcitrant problem, shared by both Jesus and Santa! It was also great to hear a relatively new member, Guy Anderson, give his Icebreaker speech.

Our Winners:
Best Table Topics: Bill Bodwell
Best Speech: Mike Weibel
Best Evaluator: Luke Donev
Toastmaster of the Evening: Jennifer Huch

Many of our Big D members learned about a Toastmaster’s tradition last week. Five visitors from the Dallas Singles Toastmasters club attended our meeting and stole our banner! In order to retrieve our famed banner, we will need to send five representatives from Big “D” to a DSTM meeting.

Although we only had 3 speeches this week, the meeting ended late at 8:37pm. Apparently, a good time was being had by all!

At long last, the blog posts are being updated again! Here are notes from the meeting on Jan 6, 2011 (thanks, Kelley)!

The regular meeting of Big D Toastmasters began promptly at 6:30pm. During the business meeting, Big D welcomed a new member, Bill Bodwell! Moving up to Dallas from Houston, Bill is no stranger to Toastmasters. He was in fact, a former president!

We all had a bit of trepidation at Jim Wolff’s theme of the night, Classic Horror Movies, but it turned out to be really quite, well…. thrilling!

Our Winners:
Best Table Topics: Luke “I wanna suck your blood” Donev
Best Speech: Ben “what is your real self worth” Vincent
Best Evaluator: Preston “scary movies make me cry” Swincher
Toastmaster of the Evening: Mac “I know when to quit talking” Smith

I am frightened to say that the meeting concluded quite late at 8:43pm. But, the most important thing was that a good time was had by all!

A meeting of the Executive Committee followed immediately after the meeting. Here are a few highlights from that session:
1. Your newly elected officers will be heading to Officer’s Training this Saturday, January 15th from 8-3pm
2. The plan to move the Executive Meeting to a night other than Social Thursday
3. Anyone know that we had business cards? Brenna met with John Sessions on the topic of revamping them.
4. Website email address is all set up (
5. Room change: possibly setting up a committee to research area rooms since our club seems to be growing! One idea was Woodfire Grill.
i. Maximum/manageable club size?
ii. Ebb & flow of members
6. Speech contest – end of February
7. March 31st will be a special “wacky” meeting to celebrate April Fool’s Day

The November 18, 2010 meeting was the semi-annual Big “D” Toastmasters officer elections meeting. We’ve had consistently good turnout for these meetings which had been previously less well attended in years past, which is a tribute to the quality of new members joining Big “D” in recent years, and the recent growth of the club.

We had contested races for the 2nd or 3rd consecutive election, this time for the roles of President and Sergeant-At-Arms. Again it seems like the club will be in good hands, and Joseph Pezanowski proved he’s up to the task of President as he has actually been serving that role plus VP-Education this term. Just being President would seem a little daunting to most people, but for Joseph it’s going to be a relief.

In addition, Tamera made it clear she’s got an interest in adult education and plans to make a difference during her tenure. Brenna came with a solid list of ideas about what she wants to accomplish for the next term, could be big things in store for membership. The VP-PR Mike Weibel was ….. well, Joseph, Tamera and Brenna are each really strong candidates! 🙂 Kelley Decker showed you can (a) win an officer’s role, (b) give a manual speech and (c) waste no time serving the club when she received the nod as club Secretary. Yes, she played the “I can read, write and I have a computer” card, but I think she won on merit alone!

Brad Johnson stepped up to take on the heavy lifting of the Treasurers role, and has already met with the outgoing Treasurer so he’s ready to hit the ground running. Finally, Essam El-Beik will insure that the meetings proceed under control, in order and without distraction as Sergeant-At-Arms. All in all, a good lineup to be sure.

To summarize, here’s the final slate of officers for the January – June, 2010 term:

  • Joseph Pezanowski – President
  • Tamera Ranney – VP of Education
  • Brenna Smith – VP of Membership
  • Essam El-Beik – Sergeant-at-Arms
  • Brad Johnson – Treasurer
  • Kelly Decker – Secretary
  • Mike Weibel – VP of Public Relations
  • See everyone in 2 weeks!

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    September 2 2010

    September 17, 2010

    Minutes for Regular Meeting on Thursday, September 2, 2010 Meeting Agenda Attached Minutes: The regular meeting of the Big “D” Toastmasters on September 2, 2010 was called to order at 6:30 pm by Jennifer Huch!

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    Father’s Day …

    July 26, 2010

    The regular meeting of the Big “D” Toastmasters on June 17, 2010, was called to order at 6:30 p.m. with a quorum being present and Vice-President for Education Linda Martin presiding. With the person scheduled

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    “Old School” and A Night of Awards …

    July 26, 2010

    The regular meeting of the Big “D” Toastmasters on June 24, 2010, was called to order at 6:29 p.m. President-elect Diane Kirksey, ATMB, CL, give the inspiration and led the Pledge of Allegiance, and then

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    Big “D” Toastmasters—A “Perfect 10” Again!

    July 26, 2010

    Chocolate cake to celebrate the occasion of Big “D” earning its 10th DCP Point! Congratulations, Big “D” Toastmasters upon becoming a President’s Distinguished Club for the fifth straight year and at least Distinguished for at

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    Officer Installation Meeting and Dinner Party

    July 26, 2010

    The regular meeting of the Big “D” Toastmasters on July 1, 2010, convened at the home of now-Immediate Past President Steve Patterson at 6:30 p.m. and was called to order at 6:40 p.m.with 28 members

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    No “Empty Orchestra” Here …

    July 26, 2010

    The regular meeting of the Big “D” Toastmasters on July 8, 2010, was called to order at 6:32 p.m. with our new President Diane Kirksey presiding. She began by reading A Toastmaster’s Promise, which every

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    TLI Kick-off a Huge Success!

    July 26, 2010

    The Kick-off for District 50’s Summer 2010 Toastmasters Leadership Institute was an overwhelming success! The cafeteria in the State Farm Building is a wonderful facility and had plenty of seating last February 13; but, it

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    Summer TLI

    July 10, 2010
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