Inquiring Minds at the District Conference
Years ago, I borrowed a wonderful Table Topics
idea from the Toast of Shell; I call them "pop psychology topics."
Some of my favorite topics included: "life is like a Metro bus" and
"happiness is like an apple." Over the weekend, I learned a new one:
"The 1991 Spring District Conference was like a newspaper."
Newspapers have sections which cover sporting contests, political
news, food, business reports, entertainment, religion/philosophy, and
pets. The 1991 Conference also had all of these things. As someone
caught in the middle of the swirl of activities, here's a collage of
my highlighted memories.
- The M. W. Kellogg Company's majestic Quality
and Toastmaster display.
- Toni Howard and Mary Baker ubiquitously run
the show perfectly.
- Mary's husband, Victor Montalbano, a fantastic
host at the casino party in Justin's.
- Mary and Victor's seductively cute pooch,
Luciano, who distracted my wife for significant amounts of
- The debate -- the candidates explained why
they were fantastic, and the phrases began to run together.
- "Gee, I Love Toastmasters!!" and "Jean, Jean
the Winning Machine!!"
- 7:00 breakfast meeting with good turnout (of
course, I think any group over a dozen at 7:00 am constitutes a
- 'Bert presenting our semiannual report:
District 56 is third in the world if we stay on track. However, if
things had stopped as of April 30, we would only have been about
number 47. (This is our incentive to maintain our high performance
- Keynote speaker Mark Victor Hansen's fresh and
invigorating style (just right to start things off).
- His basic message: if you want to be a
success, then just do it, and if you aren't a success, then you're
not doing it right (my summary of many groups' consensus, not
- Overhearing running debates as to how
commercial can a speaker be without becoming crass and obnoxious
(and when did Mark Hansen reach that point).
- Bavarian cream doughtnuts in the hospitality
room gave me enough sugar to reach the luncheon.
- As an evaluation contestant, I remember Terri
Saunders' test speech and little else.
- I was the third speaker and heard only Dr.
Alan Griffin and Mike O'Krent; they were very good (they also won
1st and 2nd).
- Preparing for the Business meeting after
- Swarms of eye-catching Linda Carter
- Business meeting -- can you say "L-O-N-G" and
- Exemplary Parliamentarian, Charles
- Neat to see Ann Wuori, Willie Trejo, Jeff
Riggs, and Paula Tunison together once more (the first ones who,
over the years, had served as two of my three Toastmaster
- Linda Carter inexorably and inevitably inching
towards the magic majority, frantically holding back a rocketing
steamroller named Don Samp to win on the fourth ballot by seven
- "Boyce did it!"
- Gratefulness that Jean Riggs, Guy Jones, and
Sharon Sharp ran unopposed.
- Class of the meeting to me: Don was nominated
to run against Jean Riggs, moments after losing, and having the
graciousness to step aside. (Isn't it so distasteful to see people
gone from office trying to clutch to its power and maintain
control rather than let the new wave have their turn to learn the
lessons of leadership?)
- Tom Carter with a magnificently polished and
professional presentation on success (Good luck at
- Noticing that the top three speakers all spoke
about their philosophy of success.
- The one speech with a more unique message, and
the one which I will still remember next year (and even ten years
from now): Lee Rushing's Little Red Record. It told of his
memories and love towards his Grandfather, the simple things they
did which mean so much to him, now, and his encouragements to us
to be a similar, special someone to the children in our
- The food at both contests (barbeque at lunch
and cornish game hens at dinner) was better than at any other
Conference I remember.
- 'Bert saying "I don't want to go." (Don't
worry, 'Bert, you don't have to go as far as Paula did.)
- Mike Roth evaluated my and Karen Mayfield's
evaluations ... with compliments. I know he's discriminating in
his praise, and it made me feel so fantastic.
- Mike Roth received the David Abel Award for
Excellence, and it somehow seemed appropriate.
- Seeing so many of my friends throughout the
weekend, especially Paula Price from San Antonio, who made my
first term as President such a success when she was still in
- Preparations already beginning for next year:
Eloise Latson already recruiting me to help with Toastmasters
- I loved it, and it will take another six
months to recuperate, I'm sure!