Meeting Minutes – 11.13.2020

Hi Everyone,

It was Thursday night at 6:00 PM and of course, that means it was time for the Silicon Speech Toastmasters meeting. Last night, as we say, was a “fun one”. But then, they’re all fun because we have a group that never abnegates an opportunity to make it so. Leann Levine, District 1 Club Growth Director, was our special guest. We want to thank her for dropping by and giving us an opportunity to show her how we have grown and the DCP goals we’ve accomplished so far.

New member, Evan Pawelk, did triple duty last night, first with a joke that was not only humorous but a searing look at the year we’re living through. Then, he gave us all hope with the following quote from Ryan Holiday:

Girl in a jacket

Cut that out, tape it to your computer screen and refer to it whenever necessary like the next time you’re trying to write a speech.

A special shout out to all of our functionaries last night including soon to be member Laila Aitken who did an admirable job in her first attempt as Ah Counter (stay tuned folks, there will be an encore performance next week). Alex Bello kept us on time in what was his first turn as Timer then, Evan Pawelk was back as Grammarian, his third role of the night making for what could be known as a Toastmaster Hat Trick.

Lauren Clayton was our Toastmaster managing the meeting with professionalism and panache. She had the opportunity to introduce two very special speeches. The first was an Ice Breaker by new member, Maryam Ashouri. The speech was about her journey from her home country of Iran to living her dream of a life in the US. It was an inspirational tale about overcoming obstacle after obstacle and it was delivered with no notes! I think I can speak for the entire club when I say that we’re very glad Maryam made the trip.

Shar McBee was up next with a speech full of insight and wisdom. It began with a story about Billie Jean King in the zone and led to the time Shar gave up the glamourous life of a TV personality in LA to wash dishes in a small village in India. It was all about the importance of doing the right thing. Just do your Dharma and everything will turn out all right. Good stuff that you may want to watch again in the replay.

The speeches were followed by insightful and constructive evaluations by Karan Bavandi and Li Xin then, it was Sam Nazarian’s turn as Table Topics Master. Sam asked some very interesting questions and, as usual, we learned a few things.

Luis Hurtado shared how a reevaluation of his Catholic upbringing led to difficult conversations with grandma. I think we’ve all had those conversations with Grams.

Laila Aitken talked about the unpopular opinion that men see things in black and white while women share a more nuanced view of things. I don’t see things that way and there are no two ways about it! Did I just prove her point?

Evan Pawelk spent 4 months in South Africa not only learning about the culture but also spending a lot of time in backyards at South African braiis (barbeques) and developing a serious taste for biltong.

Karan Bavandi reminded us about the importance of working with companies and people we can believe in. This is to say, I don’t think we’ll see Karan doing data for the RNC anytime, soon.

Alex Schams believes that a well-made bed, first thing in the morning, can be life-changing. It’s something he learned from the Marines and it’s tough to argue with that group.

Blake Samuelle’s birthday is November 24th (put that in your calendar) and, as you might expect, she’s celebrated more than one birthday with candles on a pumpkin pie.

Li Xin, knowing what he knows now, would have escaped to Hawaii prior to the pandemic. Working from home would be even better if your home happened to be located in the Islands.

Finally, Leanne Levine did an artful job of dancing around a question about Section 230 of the Communications Act. She did a great job handling the question that we’re all glad we didn’t get.

Now, here’s the list for next week:
  • Toastmaster – Alex Schams
  • Table Topics Master – Len Kung
  • Speaker #1 – Evan Pawelk
  • Speaker #2 – Lauren Clayton
  • Chief Evaluator – Sam Nazarian
  • Evaluator #1 – Steve Evans
  • Evaluator #2 – Luis Hurtado
  • Timer – TBD
  • Grammarian – Blake Samuelle
  • Ah Counter – Laila Aitken
  • Thought for the Day – Laila Aitken
  • Joke Master – Alex Bello
Steve Evans
Secretary / VP Education