November ’19 Featured Division: Division H

November Featured Division: Division H

The 2019-20 team consists of:

  • Division Director: John Kendall
  • Area 14 Director: Nadine Bowles-Newark (Now vacant)
  • Area 20 Director: John Allsop
  • Area 32 Director: Violet Cuffy
  • Area 44 Director: Paulina Blaszczyk

What makes Division H special is that we are compact enough geographically for the Division Council to work collaboratively and more importantly share this ethos through an emphasis on hosting joint events.

This year we take pride in exercising joint leadership across the division. Each Area Director with the support of their Area Council will lead on one of the 4 major events ensuring wider ownership and participation, presenting opportunities and increased benefits to all while ensuring higher quality events.

We have chosen the vision – “Inform, Inspire & Empower” – which underpins much of what we do. Why? – this ensures that everything we do aims to benefit all the clubs and all the members.

Toastmasters ultimately is a confidence building organisation; thus, we focus on offering our members a “CAN DO” attitude that delivers great results. We in H aspire to seize new opportunities.

Accordingly, Division H has completed seven Paths the highest in District 71. In the rollout year, Cornerstone Communicators in Area 32 members led with 80% of the D71 pathways awards. This was closely followed last year by Bedford Speakers in Area 44, the first club in D71 attaining presidents distinguished with only pathways educational awards.

We are keen to Recognise our achievers especially Unsung Heroes as well as our better-known Club Stalwarts.

Division H can proudly boast of being a tight knit Toastmasters Community! This year our aim is that clubs and members are provided increased opportunities, do more within their clubs and wider their Outreach programme to others.

Our continued ambition is to bring Toastmasters to the widest possible audience. This means initiating new clubs:

  • In 2018/2019 we added Luton Communicators to Area 32;
  • To serve a different group of potential members Area 44 added Milton Keynes Confident Speakers. They became our first community lunch time club, increasing our total to 17 clubs.

In 2019/2020 we are earmarking area 14 & 20 as key new growth areas.

A change of venue enabled Stevenage Speakers to reach the magic number of 20 members allowing their charter on 30th September. An enjoyable Charter dinner, attended by District Director, John Cox, was celebrated to mark the occasion. See photo below.

Whilst all Areas in the Division work closely together, sharing ideas, sponsoring, mentoring and coaching clubs, working together to make Division events successful, rewarding and enjoyable, we seek to look beyond our borders.

  • Thus, Area 14 is interwoven with Area 41 in Division G around Cambridge and attend each other’s events.
  • East Herts in Area 20 supported Area 41’s new club at Saffron Walden (Div G); and District 91 with Winchmore Hill both now very well-established strong clubs. East Herts is also supporting the prospective GSK Ware Speakers as some of its member work or live in Ware.

Our advanced speakers club, Cornerstone Communicators, in Area 32 serves not only Division H in District 71 but also has members from District 91 mainly from Divisions L & J. Cornerstone has always stretched members of clubs with impromptu speaking, open evaluations and provides opportunities for longer speeches and workshops. Traditionally, it was a centre of knowledge on advanced manuals and all things toastmasters. Now it has more DTMs, more completed paths among members than other clubs and now further stretches its members with regular virtual zoom meetings.

Other clubs have several DTMs – Anglia Communicators with three; another seven clubs have two DTMs each. In total half our clubs have 2 or more DTMs.

Recruitment of members is a form of outreach. Our graduate university Club Cranfield has a high turnover of members, but a strong core of members each autumn presents toastmasters to a 100 plus new MSc students to restore numbers.

Our Corporates lose members as they change jobs but present to new recruits with company support.


Whereas Northampton Speakers, equally successfully, make good use of press releases to encourage people to come along to toastmasters.


Many clubs offer ribbons, pins or certificates for educational awards. Some e.g. Anglia Communicators even have trophies you take home for being adjudged best speaker, evaluator or table topic speaker. Bedford gives a chocolate bar to the one with lowest grunt score (ah erm to the rest of us) & best humour ribbon. Most clubs post photos on their Facebook page or website as a form of promotion. Elena wouldn’t let us leave without a photo for Facebook.

Area 20 clubs have a Just a Minute section in the agenda recognising that some members are bursting to share something newsworthy in their lives.

Our corporate clubs are special.

There are pluses & minuses for corporate club. Our Toastmasters chief advantage is that we offer soft skills training as well as public speaking skills.

Meetings are at lunchtime and must be very efficiency ran to fit into an hour. They have a very targeted market allowing in house “open house” presentation to newcomers. They can use internal systems and have great facilities but work pressures can make members unavailable and of course if they change jobs, they tend to leave the club. Successful corporates have embedded toastmaster activities into their personnel & training, new recruits being encouraged to join.

G-Toast has posters near reception and notification of education awards are sent to line managers. They liaise with other corporates in the Cambridge area including ARM which has hosted events for us. Their companies support membership and celebrations and benefit from the relationships developed across the site from people that would not usually meet.


Eldergate may be our longest established club but it still inspires members with themed meetings and bonds them by extra-curricular activities like going on a Turkish night & comedy evening. There is a lot of interest from other clubs in their Bond themed night carded for 16th December.

West Herts in 32 are holding brilliant meetings, sweeping up Division awards, signing up new members and even trying some exciting new meeting concepts – just because we can! 


One of the hardest tasks for newcomers is evaluation; it is often tasking for the more experienced among us to find recommends for the best or commends for those struggling. Accordingly, some clubs have introduced an evaluators huddle for the break. Here they quickly run through their commends and recommends and the other evaluators chip with extra observations. I believe the practise started at Hertfordshire Speakers.

Another difficulty for newcomers is learning who is in the room. We find stickers for name badges put everyone on the same level and encourages intercourse. They also make an individual more likely to be chosen for table topics!

Both Luton clubs will jointly host an open house style meeting in the new year. The clubs are also actively involved in real world community outreach in collaboration Leighton Buzzard and regularly offer motivational sessions during Welcome Week for University of Bedfordshire Masters students.

Liz Burnett from East Herts Speakers and Elizabeth Jordan from Herts Speakers brought the Youth Leadership program to Harpenden’s Sir John Lawes Secondary School (SJL) and Crabtree Primary School. At SJL fourteen Yr. 9 students took part in an 8-week program. As a result of this program they were invited to deliver a modified YLP course at Crabtree Primary School.


At our fabulous contest on 9th November, winners were Jenny Britt (Table Topics) & Ged Bryne (Humorous Speeches) both from 32 where Violet Cuffy is Area Director. But the real “new stars for us” were three new workshop speakers gracing the stage in response to “our push for new event speakers initiative”:

Anita Devi told us about “Three Everyday Heroes”

Judith Jones-Nugent urged us to “Enhance our Speeches through Effective Questioning”

Raza Khan showed us how to improve outcomes with “Emotional Intelligence”

Table Topics finalists with John Cox bordered by ADs, Violet Cuffy & John Allsop

Humorous Speech finalists with Division Director John Kendall & AD Paulina Blaszczyk, 3rd from right

We want Division H to retain its reputation….

Our Plans for the next half year are:

  1. To be presidents distinguished

This requires 50% of clubs distinguished & a net growth of 1 club (Stevenage)

  1. Help our district achieve presidents distinguished status

By 5% net growth in clubs – i.e. plus 1 club

By 5% net growth in member payments – closely related to number of clubs.

By having 50% of club distinguished i.e. 9 clubs.

  1. Help D71 reach Smedley Distinguished

    by 8% new growth in clubs & 55% clubs distinguished

Hence our stretch goals in Div H means adding two new clubs & having 10 clubs distinguished.

We want to recognise our Area14 prospective club, Swavesey Speakers, well on its way and this year’s host club for Area 14 contest; well done! Huntingdonshire Speakers is actively supporting Swavesey Speakers.

Jake Mallon from GSK at their Ware site invited us to provide a demo meeting. This was on a conditional challenge of getting at least 60 guests. Well 150 turned up! Now, they are on track to charter a new corporate lunch time club for the spring for area 20; supported by A20 clubs.

We wish to first recognise our unsung heroes (whom you would have to know the club well to realise them) for difference they make; as well as the better known, club stalwarts who seem to be part of the foundation.

Area 14
Unsung Hero
Known Club Stalwart
Anglia Communicators
Jeremy Turner
Andrew Luckham
ARM Cambridge Toastmasters
Raffaele Aquilone
Kevin Newey
G-Toast UK
Gary Foster
Adeline Morel
Huntingdonshire Speakers
Faye Ritchie
Darren Walton
(p) Swavesey Speakers
Peter Milbank
Tony Stead
Area 20
East Herts Speakers
Anna Xiao
Liz Burnett
Hertfordshire Speakers
Bryan Chipchase
Elizabeth Jordan
North Herts Speakers
Judith Jones-Nugent 
Lynne Wilkins
Stevenage Speakers
Gurps Khaira
Andrea Lee
(p) GSK Ware Toastmasters
Jake Mallon
Rebecca Wigmore
Area 32
Cornerstone Communicators Advance Toastmasters
Clifford Hurst
Jenny Chalmers
Luton Communicators
Fiky Wilkinson
Mujib Rahman
Luton Speakers
Kat Anderson
Rose Marie Calder
West Herts Speakers
Colin Donald
Judy Mallinson
Area 44
Bedford Speakers
James Lowden 
Valerie Swanborough
Cranfield Speakers
Michael Hallett
Binal Sawjani
Eldergate Toastmasters
Gabby Ansah
Jono Poon
MK Confident Speakers
Jenny Chalmers
Binal Sawjani
North Bucks Speakers
Rucha Nagraj
Gordon Adams
Northampton Speakers
Tayo Bowyer
Daniel Sandars
NB (p) = Prospect club

Finally, it is Christmas time very soon.

This is the time to practise being toastmasters! Giving toasts at the last meeting of the year instead of table topics is fun but surprisingly difficult.

We include a recipe to help.

  1. Ensure all have glasses filled before starting.
  2. Smile & Hook to Gain buy-in from your audience in first 7 seconds

e.g. Tonight, I’d like you to join me in honouring one of our Toastmaster members.

  1. Introduce their story

e.g. They were the first friendly face I saw at my first Toastmasters meeting. They have been an

inspiration ever since.

  1. One or two good funny stories full of sensory description & vocal variety. Include audience member & tie to the audience, ending on the punch line,
  2. The big reveal yes I mean you George
  1. The Toast
    1. Pleasing be upstanding
    2. Please raise your glasses.
    3. To our fabulous Toastmaster, we wish you all the best in your Toastmasters journey!
    4. Many thanks George

(adapted from Bradley Peters, North Herts)

And now this!!! Caribbean Rum Punch! Merry Christmas!


2 1/2 cups pineapple juice

2 1/2 cups orange juice

1 cup rum

1/2 cup dark rum

1/4 cup coconut rum

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

3 tablespoons grenadine syrup


  1. Stir all the ingredients together in a large pitcher or punch bowl.
  2. Serve over ice or blend with ice and enjoy!

Compliments AD Violet: let us know how it tastes!!

DIV H TEAM: Violet, John, Paulina &

John Kendall DTM Div Director


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