Thursday, July 18, 2013


Madam President, fellow board members, members and guests…

The way I feel tonight is how all other presidents before me must have felt as they stood in front of you, the members, friends and guests of this great organization.

These past presidents were like me, nervous and excited, but like me, eager and anxious to make a difference.

 I first heard about this organization in Germany where my husband served with the Canadian armed forces. As I was waiting for my children one day, a lady sat down on the same park bench I was sitting on.  She began telling me about Toastmistress and some of the things  she had learned.  Deep down I was wishing she would stop talking about this mystery organization because I wasn’t interested and I certainly had no plans to ever have to speak in public, give speeches - not on your life! 

I eventually went to a meeting and immediately joined.  Perhaps some of you might remember the only Canadian club to belong to this organization that was outside of Canada - Baden Tri Symbol club of Baden Soellingen, Germany.


I counted the steps to get to this podium tonight, there are 10 and I can now confess to you that it took me over 30 years to get here.

Over the past few months, I have asked myself many times, how did I get here?  What was it that gave me the confidence to seek the top spot of this organization?   There is not one answer to these questions.   There was no pressure, no time line, so why did I do this?  Giving it more thought, what came to my mind is number 1 - I love this organization. Number 2 - I believe in what it stands for.  Number 3 is the support of my family, my club members and those wonderful members who are no longer with us.  They all saw something in me and planted the seed in my head that someday, I could rap the gavel as the leader – I made the right choice.

 Ernestine White, our founder, made these statements in her acceptance speech on August 11, 1939 and I quote,

“Our purpose must be the betterment of our acts and words; the enhancement of our faculty to influence others; elevation toward leadership; control and direction of our every act and word for bringing about waves of activities that will attain the best possible results for the individual and the whole”.

She made the right choice.

These words are as true today as they were then. Our words and actions are what have kept us going for the past 75 years.

What has changed is how we as a world do things.  We are now in an era of technology and every day there is something new for us to buy, learn and use.

Every organization has had to adapt to these changes in order to survive. It was just early this month that charter # 4036 was issued which means we have chartered over four thousand clubs since we first organized.  

To continue to be part of the succession of organizations, POWERtalk international must play an aggressive “catch up” role.

No longer can we count on our name or passion to entice prospective members to join us; we have to offer a product that is current and up to date. Most of all we have to offer something that is better!  Our organization is top-notch!   This is where we learn to say what we mean and mean what we say. On top of that, we have one of the most effective tools used for improving our skills and that tool is evaluation.

There will always be the need to communicate and we are international communicators! Look around this room.  There are more than 15 countries represented.  The binding power of communication has led us here for 5 days and no matter what age you are, no matter how long you have belonged to this organization, you will leave here tomorrow still learning! Why?  Because we have a worthwhile and much needed product.  You have made the right choice.

Look at those members who have gone on to achieve countless goals from the training they received.  They made the right choice.

A book i am reading  by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves entitled “Leadership 2.0” points out that leaders who embody a true sense of character are transparent and forthcoming.  They aren’t perfect, but they earn people’s respect by walking their talk.  They have integrity - they have credibility.  They value differences and they have a vision. 

POWERtalk educates, teaches, and produces leaders. Believe it or not, leadership is not an exclusive club. You can learn to be a leader.  Club, council, region, international, levels are there for you. With the experience and skills you gained from being a member of a committee, to chairing that committee, from serving on a club board, to signing your name as president, there is nothing you can’t do.  In my mind, this organization has taken all of us from a great view to a grand vision! 

Two years ago, President cCarol asked us to ‘be the change’ .  She elaborated  about the qualities of great leaders - one in particular - Nelson Mandella. If you were to review his history and read about the obstacles he overcame to free his people, you would marvel at his determination and strength.  His vision was always clear and focused. He was the change for his country. We need to inject ourselves with determination and strength to launch and keep our organization strong and vibrant in this 21st century.

As we move into another new term, be assured that the team you elected will be listening to you, and working to continue earning your trust and respect.   We know there will be challenges, but along with those challenges will be a team who is committed, and  who is willing to do their best. 

Part of our  strategy will be this directive:-

We will teach by doing. If the sky is the limit, go out of bounds, work hard and laugh often, listen to everyone. 

My new book on leadership is about wolves and something that I think fits all of us is the ‘wolf creedo’ -

Repect Elders, teach the young, co-operate with the pack, play when you can, hunt when you must, rest in between, share your affection, voice your feelings, and leave your mark.

We invite you to work with us these next two years.  You will be hearing more about impending changes for our future shortly. Put aside the date to attend Convention 2015 in New Zealand. 

We have weathered 75 years of ups and downs and survived. So let us take what we need from the past to help develop a successful future. With this thought in mind, let me applaud you for your dedication to this wonderful organization of POWERtalk International.    


“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”


Our 2013-2015 theme is based on this quote - which means  as members you have made “the right choice”.


With fillet mignon on the menu and some fun live rock and roll music, it was time to kick up our heels and celebrate the completion of Convention tonight. The dinner honored fellows and past International Presidents then culminated in the installation of the 2013 - 2015 International President and her board.
A truly beautiful installation ceremony was conducted by Shelley Petley, with individually hand made dream catchers, complete with POWERtalk swish were given to the incoming officers as a momento of the occasion. Irvine Walker reduced half the room to tears with his moving rendition of "Wind Beneath my Wings", then Incoming President Val Harper gave her installation address before being presented with a spectacular gavel from President Carol Priess and her President's Pendant.

I will post a copy of the address as the next post. Hugs all round followed as members congratualted the new board in a receiving line, then more hugs as we each farwelled our friends.
Convention 2013 has come to an end, and we all look forward to the next convention in Rotorua...

Oh yes...the dates for Rotorua are...

                   2015 POWERtalk INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION
                   ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND
                   15 - 18 July, 2015

See you there!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


It's always the question everyone want the answer to....where is the next Convention?

Well, the secret is out! This morning at the final business session, a team from the New Zealand Region gave us a beautifully harmonised call to convention at .....

drumroll please.......

ROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND....Dates to be announced tonight at dinner.

We arrived travel-weary, hot and sticky until we stood at the reception desk, greeted with a warm 'ALOHA!', the scent of the flowers , the sound of aloha music and a soft Hawaiian haze. We slept to the sound of the rolling seas.
Our happy experience in paradise continued. Our POWERtalk experience is exciting, informative, well-organised and enriching. Within the warm embrace of our ITC sisters and brothers from around the world, we learn, grow, and bask in our new friendships.
We will travel home tanned, tired, blessed with many new frineds and planning for our 2015 Convention. Til we meet again!

Kay Shewfelt Boyd, Mannitoba Council-at-large

This week I had the privelege of judging one of the preliminary speech contests. As a certified judge I have performed this task at different levels, but it has never been so difficult! In terms of speech delivery, the contestants really raised the bar. Most stepped away from the lectern and used few or no notes. They spoke with confidence and conviction. I'm sure some could have second careers as standup comics. Others aptly demonstrated their powers of persuasion. Very impressive!

If I could offer one piece of advice to the contestants, it would be to study the judge's worksheet. Is the category of your speech clear in your opening? Does the body support your thesis statement? Does your content appeal to an international audience? With less than 5 points separating the top and bottom speakers on my worksheet, these criteria were crucial to my decision. Tailor your content for maximum points.

Overall, I must say that this was one of the best contests I have seen - and amazingly, the final was even better! The speakers were a testament to their POWERtalk training. Well done, everyone!

Shelley Petley D C

Europe 92 members attending Convention want to express their gratitude to our Division III Vice President, Ruth Maltman. We ppreciate her contribution at the business meeting where she ecpressed her concerns and views about the future of the organisation. She courageously stood up and gave a realistic view and offered possible solutions.


Europe 92 Convention attendees want to express their gratitude to Mary Flentje for all the effert she made in representing us at International level.

Marijke Slager - Europe 92

Workshop presented by Kazuko Izumi, Japan Region

'Attractive Conversation with Humour.'

Review by Margaret Craigie

After reading the description of the workshop, I thought it might be about difficulties of English and the sometimes humorous situations that can arise whenever two languages meet.  Perhaps the difference between severe and sever. (Henry VIII anyone?)   

I sat down and was given an English copy of the slide show to come.  Glancing through it, I was waiting for a particular slide in the first few minutes which indicated examples would be given. 

The moment arrived.  The correct slide was showing on the screen, and....

everything was still in Japanese!  The workshop was, in fact, to show Japanese people how to put humour into their presentations back home in Japan. 

I hadn't understood a word, and had instead got myself an experience of how students of English must feel a lot of the time. 

I can only hope I wasn't rude by leaving, as Kazuko seemed very good at what she was doing.  I might be an Accomplished Communicator (of a whole 2 weeks standing), but that's only in English.  I take my hat off to our Japanese members.  They are achieving so much, with huge obstacles.  I cannot imagine doing the same in a language other than my own.  Salut!