This year’s Toastmasters District 81 conference themed “Strength in Unity, Leadership and Being Resilient” was held in Bonaire from May 16 – 19, 2019. Toastmasters from 26 countries around the Caribbean region assembled for the educational sessions that are carefully designed to appeal to their personal and professional development.
The conference was especially anticipated and attended because of the exciting District International Speech Contest and Table Topics Contest.
The Contestants for the District Contests are Toastmasters who won the International Speech, Evaluation and Table Topics Contest at their respective territory level.
Toastmaster Tris-Ann Richards, the victor of the Saint Lucia Territory International Speech Contest represented Saint Lucia in the International Speech Contest at the Conference and copped the third-place prize, with her speech entitled ‘‘I’ve got this’’. Her speech was based on an empowering lesson she learnt from her grandfather when she faced a set-back earlier in her life.
When asked for her feedback on her success in the competition, Toastmaster Richards said, “I feel honored to have represented St Lucia and the NIC Toastmasters Club in Bonaire. Copping 3rd place was not just a reward for myself, but it also serves as recognition and guerdon for all St Lucian Toastmasters.”
President of the NIC Toastmasters Club, Toastmaster Danielia Chambers echoed the club’s elation.
“The members of the NIC Toastmasters Club are extremely proud of Toastmaster Tris-Ann Richards,” she said. “From inception, she assumed the attitude and determination of a winner. She aimed for gold and believed that she could attain it. That to me is the true hallmark of a winner because as the saying goes “It’s better to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit”. Consequently, her achievement in such a competitive and far-reaching speech competition is a motivation to all of us at the Club to believe in ourselves and our ability to do great things. I also hope that TM Tris-Ann’s success will motivate the youth of Saint Lucia to always aim high and to not be afraid to think big and do big things.”
Toastmaster Faith Ellis of Sagicor Life Jamaica Toastmasters Club, Jamaica captured the first-place and second place was awarded to Khalifa Baisden of Inspired Speakers Toastmasters Club, Trinidad. Toastmaster Faith Ellis will represent District 81 at the World Championship of Public Speaking, set to take place in Denver Colorado from August 21st to August 24th 2019.
The District 81 Conference also hosted elections for the different District Leadership positions including the office of Director for the different Divisions in the District. Saint Lucia is one of the countries that fall within Division C and as such it is quite fortuitous that a son of the soil, Toastmaster Jason Cassius, was successfully elected as the Director for Division C. Toastmaster Cassius currently serve District 81 as the Area Director for Area 20 which is a subset of Division C. Saint Lucia is also a member state of Area 20.
When asked to share his feelings about his new high-profile position, Toastmaster Cassius said “I am absolutely excited and ready for the challenge. I think Toastmasters in St Lucia is doing great, however, this position gives me more room to implement better strategies for growth and exposure within the Caribbean region.
As Division Director, Toastmaster Jason Cassius will be responsible for leading and supporting Division C through supervision and support of the area directors and club executives. Division C comprises of toastmasters clubs in Barbados, Martinique, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.