Saturday, May 19th @ 11:30 AM
2018-2019 District 48 Candidate Showcase
Learn about candidates running for office to lead our District 48 next Toastmasters Year (2018-19) at the Candidates’ Showcase. During the showcase, members will have an opportunity to learn about each district candidate.
Listen to candidates respond to questions and explain their vision for their District leadership, their positions, views and ideas to help improve your District. before the District’s Annual Business Meeting and elections.
All Presidents and VPs Education as well as all proxy ballot holders are strongly urged to attend. Your vote will select next year’s District leadership team.
Be sure to pick up your ballot at the Credentials Desk outside of the ballroom.
Due to time constraints only candidates running for Trio positions will be showcased.
Matthew Siewert, DTM, PDG
2018 District Leadership Committee Chair
Past District 48 Governor 2014-15
Matthew Siewert, DTM, PDG is a passionate Toastmaster from the day he joined the organization. His Toastmasters journey began in 2008 while searching for opportunities to develop leadership skills at a suggestion of his manager. Soon after joining his home club at JP Morgan Chase, he learned that public speaking was part of the program which was not anything he wanted to pursue. In fact, he dreaded the day when he had to get up in front of his home club for his ice-breaker project. Well, ten years later, he can hold his own when speaking in front of a group. Even if Matt never becomes a champion of Public Speaking, Matt mostly cherishes the journey, learning and incremental development process to get him to current day competency level in public speaking.
He set out to pursue leadership skills, and pursued all the leadership development opportunities available, all the way to the top of the District ranks, serving in many club officer roles, Area Governor and executive levels of the Trio as Lt. Governor Marketing (current title Club Growth Director), Lt. Governor Education and Training (current Program Quality Director), and District 48 Governor (current District Director) in 2014-15. Matt has chaired numerous committees with the District, most recently the 2018 District Leadership committee (DLC) to interview, select and nominate candidates for elections in next year’s leadership positions, as well as Project Management Institute (PMI) where he served on the Board of Directors.
Matt credits Toastmasters for many of his personal and professional improvements, demeanor, emotional intelligence, poise and discipline that build up to a recent promotion to Vice President at JP Morgan Chase where he continues to grow his career and still active at his home club where he started. To maximize the Toastmasters program, Matt is also active in the Advanced Articulators Club, the most prestigious and the ONLY advanced club in the Tampa Bay area of which he’s one of the 6 founding members.
As Chair of this year’s DLC committee to select and nominate the candidates to lead our District 48 next Toastmasters year, Matt invites you to be part of the Candidate Showcase, where Candidates for the Trio positions will get ‘grilled’ with questions from the members of the District. Be part of the process, engage in the District, vote, run for office yourself – there is no better way to learn skills that you can pick up when serving in a Toastmasters District. There is no college or institution that equals as a substitution.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Spring Conference and the Candidate Showcase!
Nominated Candidates' Statements
Donna Geeratisoontorn, ACB, ALB
Duangduan Geeratisoontorn, A.K.A Donna G. has been a member at Saint Petersburg Toastmasters Club 2284 since February of 2014. She joined because she desperately needed help, to become a better thinker, reader, writer and speaker. Her listening skill was already excellent, so she listened and learned well from other members. Her positive attitude toward life also helped her get along well with other people. She had served club 2284 as Vice President of Membership, Vice President of Education and Vice President of Public Relation. Currently, she is serving as a Club President (2nd time around), Club Coach for Club 911 (City Power) and Area 12 Director. As an opportunity is always knocking, Donna is now applying for the Division Director for the year of 2018-2019.
Donna was a young teenager with the big dream of becoming the pharmacist. She spent first fourteen years of her life, living in small towns in Thailand with her mom, step dad and two siblings. She was fortunate enough to be able to move halfway around the world from Thailand to USA in 1976, with the support from her biological dad and step mom. With this opportunity, she was one step closer to accomplish her dream of becoming the future pharmacist. In Chicago, as her little life took the twists and turns, along with the fate, destiny and determination, not only she had completed her Doctorate degree of Pharmacy in 1994, she also had gotten married to a wonderful man and had given birth to the two beautiful babies along the way.
As life moves on, in 2001, she decided to move her family of four to Saint Petersburg, Florida. Donna continued to be blessed with all the wonderful things in life with great jobs, great families and friends. However, as she was climbing up the ladder of success in her pharmacy world, she had a very difficult time managing the daily tasks as a clinical coordinator of Pharmacy. She decided to step down after three years of that middle management position. Donna continued to work as a staffing pharmacist in the evening shifts. Although life seemed to be ok on the surface, Donna was looking for the answer to something. She started to assess her own life and realize that she really needed to brush up in her English speaking skill. She concluded that since English was never her primary language; she had failed to perform well at her job as a clinical coordinator. That! When, she was introduced to Toastmasters. She had found her answer…. Join Toastmasters!
Toastmasters may not be the answer to everything, but it was an answer to something to her… She had found her self worth. After three years of being a member, she feels like a “million bucks”! By following the Toastmasters program, she had improved so much in her ability to think, to write, to speak and most of all, to connect with others. She used her Toastmasters Skills on the daily basis in connecting with others at various settings. She is more proud of who she is today, just simply be a Toastmaster.
Jeannette Sweeney CC, CL
My name is Jeannette Sweeney, currently Area 11 Director for District 48. My vision for the 2018-2019 Toastmasters Year as Division Director is to have fun and learn more about the members involved in Division B. My vision for my Area Directors will to be their backbone support throughout the 2018-2019 term. To be their friend, guiding them to be the best they can and are willing to be for themselves. I plan to meet with the Area Directors approximately 2-3 times each 6- month period. Allowing for updates on progress with their clubs and to allow them to initiate their own ideas for Division B to be the Beaming Division for District 48.
I have provided a positive atmosphere throughout my Area 11 Director position within District 48.
I enjoy creating and making the events fun and enjoying for both participants and the audience. I have assisted in creating wonderful centerpieces for the Fall Conference. I have assisted with organizing a few events in my own Club 2284. One of which was an amazing Roast for one of our former President and former member of Club 2284. This allowed me to help me execute my plan– Philippine theme. The former member relocated to the Philippines. This was an amazing event.
Teresa Norton ACB, ALB
Vision: My vision as Division C Director is to help clubs continue to embrace Pathways and leverage it to empower members to become better speakers and leaders by getting “Back to Basics” in their clubs. I believe that focusing on club quality, mentoring, and evaluations will help us continue to conduct effective meetings, train new leaders to build for the future, and give valuable feedback to existing leaders so they keep growing; thus, allowing us to continue club growth and membership retention.
Qualifications: In Division C, I am serving as Area 32 Director, where I have often filled in for my existing Division Director. I have trained club officers and members and given guidance to other Area Directors that faced challenges.
Past Experience: In the U.S. Navy, I trained administrative staff, managed records, and managed a program budget. As a business owner, I managed and trained employees, and operated a document imaging business. I’ve been a member of Palm Harbor Toastmasters Club since 2013. I have served in many leadership roles in my home club and as a philanthropist, I’ve led national charitable organizations.
Message: I will build stronger leadership and help Area Directors utilize the Pathways Program to enhance club member retention.
I want voters to consider my demonstrated leadership and experience in mentoring individuals and organizations, and implementation of programs. I am a dedicated, established, and eager leader in my community, club, Area, and Division and I always promote Toastmasters to everyone. I will strive to take ownership in serving every club in my Division and facilitate with Area Directors to bridge the gap between Clubs and District leadership while helping members achieve their goals.
Martin Spencer ACS, CL
Joshua Hunziker ACG, ALB
I enlisted into the United States Marine Corps after graduating from high school. I was promoted rapidly and held numerous leadership positions throughout the duration of my enlistment. As a Staff Sergeant (E-6), my service in the Marines ended in December 2006.
After some encouragement from my wife Jen, I decided to join a Toastmasters club in April 2008. Toastmasters has empowered me to build upon the foundation of leadership I learned in during my military service.
I have served as Club VPE and Club President on multiple occasions, and I am currently serving as the Division E, Area 52 Director. My tenure as Area Director has been a tremendously rewarding experience.
I am immensely appreciative for the benefits that Toastmasters has brought into my life and I am passionate about sharing my story with others. I believe Toastmasters can help anyone develop the skills they need to become a more effective communicator and a stronger leader.
As Division E Director, my goal is to ensure that everyone in my Division, from Area Directors to the newest member, has access to the information they need to make the best of the opportunities that being a Toastmaster affords.
Kurt Carr ACS, ALB
Clubs are the soul of Toastmasters. They are where members meet weekly to help each other achieve the personal goals that initially drove them to our doorstep.
Ralph Smedley, the founder of Toastmasters International, said it best; “Ours is the only organization I know dedicated to the individual, we work together to bring out the best in each of us and then we apply these skills to help others.”
The primary mission of the District Director’s job is apply these Toastmaster skills to help club members. The simplest and most direct way to accomplish that is to provide the clubs with the support and resources that they need to be successful. It is also critical that the Division provide high quality events like TLI’s and contests to ensure that high-achieving members have opportunities for accomplishment outside of their clubs.
Of course the introduction of Pathways to District 48 is going to create challenges which will require a lot of effort to effect a successful transition, it is a challenge that I look forward to. But the ultimate key to success as a Division Director is to help the clubs solve their own day-to-day problems by listening with an empathetic ear and offering reasoned suggestions when appropriate.
I have been a Toastmaster since 2010, starting out at a club in Akron, Ohio before joining two clubs in District 48. I have served as VP of Membership, VP of Education and President for a President’s Distinguished club. Since March, I have been visiting the 19 clubs in Division G to get a better understanding of their needs. I have also participated in all of the Division G events for the same reason.
Professionally, I am a business and technology consultant who uses his leadership skills to help others succeed in strengthening their business and achieving greater personal success.
I am proud to have been nominated by the District Leadership Committee and look forward to serving the Toastmasters in Division G as we work together to make 2018-19 a resounding success for all of the clubs and members that make up our division.
Freeman Morey, DTM
I am a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe of Indians from Princeton, Maine. At four years old I was removed from my family and placed with a “non-Indian” foster family in Old Town, Maine.
Being raised in a culture very different from my native heritage I’ve learned to see more than one side of an issue. I have always strived to bring people together and be understanding and tolerant of different views and beliefs. I have tried to use these skills to be the best Toastmaster I can be and encourage others to be the best they can be.
I have been a civil engineer, Indian Human Services worker, heavy construction worker, and carpenter, to name a few. As an engineer I was awarded “best field engineer” in the largest heavy construction company in Maine.
As a Tribal Family Coordinator I was elected to the Maine State Governing Board which dictates policy to the Maine Dept. of Human services. I was also selected as a delegate to the 1980 White House Conference on Families and chosen by the other Maine delegates to address the 1400 conference attendees. In construction I became field supervisor and have become a master carpenter.
Thus far, my accomplishments in Toastmasters have been:
- Awarded Outstanding Toastmaster twice, 1st in District 47, Division “G”, than in District 48, Division “B”.
- Served as club coach to Star Toastmasters and helped the club to Presidential Distinguished.
- Served as SAA for District 48.
- Served as District Chief Judge for the last three years.
- Received the “Joseph E. Miller Class Act Award”.
- Led Area 21 to Presidential Distinguished as Area Governor.
- Served as Division “B” Governor.
- Won the Triple Crown Gold.
- Chaired club, area, and division contests, as well as three TLIs.
- Presented training sessions at clubs, TLIs and District conferences.
- Won awards in the Ambassadors program and attended over 250 speech contests.
I have a strong commitment to Toastmasters and have been dedicated to each role that I have performed. I am very excited to begin this next chapter in my Toastmasters journey and to support Toastmasters members along the way!
Robyn Featherston, DTM
Robyn, an attorney in Tampa Bay, joined Toastmasters in 2012 after learning about the organization from her uncle. Robyn grew up on the other west coast, in Southern California. Before following family to St. Petersburg and attending law school at Stetson (in Gulfport), she worked for banks and credit unions, then switched to a career driving a tractor-trailer around the United States and into Canada. Robyn is the loving (and sometimes frustrated) dog-mom of a 10-year old black lab that loves to escape and run circles around the block.
Robyn jumped into Toastmasters with both feet and has not looked back. Within a month of joining Gulfport Toastmasters, Robyn became Acting Secretary and soon became club Secretary. The rest is history: VPE, President, District Secretary, Area Director, and more.
She currently serves as the Division A Director. Robyn has also been active in several attorney associations.
Robyn is passionate about Toastmasters and spreads the word wherever she goes.
Emily Drenberg, DTM x3
I joined Toastmasters in October of 2006 at the behest of my supervisor. My company was starting a new Toastmasters Club as a form of enrichment for employees that also offered the opportunity to learn new skills that might be helpful in future promotions.
I’ve learned a lot in Toastmasters over the years and time management was a big conquest in the early years. Toastmasters made me the master of the minute! Next came confidence. For me, confidence was the elusive butterfly. One minute I would have it and the next it would flutter away. That’s when I encountered a quote from Roger Staubach: “Confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something… hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.” Confidence is something that one must work on day in and day out. It’s not automatic and it doesn’t stay with you. You have to work at it. And what better place is there to work on confidence then Toastmasters?
During my membership in Toastmasters I have undertaken almost all of the club officer roles. I have served at the district level for District 47 & for District 48. In District 47 I served as an Area Governor, Sunshiner Editor and Public Relations Officer. In District 48 I also served as Area Governor, Division Governor, Fall Conference Chair, Administration Manager, and now as Club Growth Director. All of this experience has given me a broad understanding of the needs of members and their clubs. I have experienced the different phases of both community clubs and corporate clubs. I have experienced first-hand the practicalities of starting, and establishing, one successful community club (Spirited TM) and four successful corporate clubs, Lazydays TM, NACturally Speaking, ASI II, and ConnectWise’s Owl’s Nest. I have started seven new clubs for the 2017-2018 year to date as Club Growth Director.
I’ve spent the last 6 months working together with two exceptional leaders. I’ve learned a great deal from both of them. Most importantly, I’ve learned that consistency of leadership and tradition is important to building a solid foundation. I’ve also learned that listening to the member is the cornerstone of success. And I’ve learned that I can lead.
Why am I skipping PQD? Our District needs a strong leader like Vijayn Nair and with Cathy Naabe announcing that she will not continue on to District Director, I consider it my duty to the members of District 48 to lead the continuum of the momentum our current Trio has begun. The role of PQD is about running conferences and educational programs. Over the past seven years I have gained experience in running conferences and educational programs. In 2015, I served as the 2015 fall conference chair for “It’s all Greek to me!”
I also served on the committees for the 2016 spring conference, the 2017 fall conference, the 2017 spring conference, and our final 2017 fall conference. I have chaired four separate TLIs over the past seven years, and I have been a presenter at eight different TLIs.
I believe this experience, plus that of serving as CGD, gives me what I need to lead our district in 2018-2019 as the District Director. We were very fortunate this year to have elected a District Director with prior Trio experience in another District up north. Vijayn Nair’s experience helped ground Cathy Naabe and me. His leadership style has been collaborative and supportive. He has allowed us both to venture out on our own, while remaining at a safe distance to offer guidance and direction when needed. I want to continue in Vijayn’s footsteps. As IPDD, he will be a valued and critical advisor for the new 2018-2019 Trio.