Speaking our Minds with Passion, Respect, and Confidence!

Welcome visitors and members! Listed below our Club Announcements is our latest weekly meeting snapshot to give you a flavor of the challenging, thought-provoking, and FUN times to be had at a Contrarians Toastmasters meeting


February 25th, 2015
Theme: Foreign Aid


February 18th, 2015
Snapshot: Not yet ready.

February 11th, 2015
Theme: Social Media

Tonight meeting was full house. In addition to 15+ members, we also had total of 8 guests. We were very excited when two of our guests filled-out the application to join our club tonight. Couple of other guests also showed interest to join our club, and received the toastmaster information package from Marlene.

Our toastmaster Bob made sure the meeting went smoothly without any hiccups. We had two speakers tonight. 

First speaker was Daniel Brudner. This is his 1st speech; the ice breaker speech. He focused on how he set goals and achieved several things in his life. He was so confident on the stage, it didn't even feel like this is his first speech. Needless to say, he won the Best Speaker ribbon for the day.

Second speaker was Nori. This is his 2nd speech. He explained how he prepared for 60 days, and completed his 1st 5K marathon. He also explained the challenges that he has to overcome during his preparation. His speech was very inspiring.

During our table topics segment, our table topics master Marlene came very well prepared. She had several interesting questions for the participants. One of the question was: You have to break the news about Kim Kardashian posing nude. How would you break this news on twitter, and what would you say?. Another question was: If two people were fighting in front of you at a Target store, will you take a video of that and post it on youtube?. We were also thrilled to see 3 of our guests volunteered and participated in our table topics segment. Fernando won the best table topics ribbon for the day.

If you are planning to come to our meeting as guest, we encourage you to participate during table topics segment. It is totally optional. You can participate only if you feel comfortable. If not, you can just sit back, relax and enjoy our meeting.

The evaluation segment was headed by our General Evaluator Ramesh. The 1st evaluator was Sean, who evaluated Daniel's speech. Sean was so encouraging, and pointed out how comfortable Daniel was on his icebreaker speech. His evaluation was very positive, supportive, and gave more validation to Daniel that he has started the CC manual on the right track.

The 2nd evaluator was Fernando, who evaluated Nori's speech. Fernando was very smooth, and pointed out all the great things that Nori did today. He also gently recommended an area of improvement for Nori. Fernando was very comfortable and confident as an evaluator, at the same time he was very supportive of the speaker. This earned him the Best Evaluator ribbon for the day.

To experience our entertaining and supportive meetings, vist our club on Wednesday nights at 6:30 PM. We’d love to meet you!


February 4th, 2015
Theme: Patriotism

The meeting today was rather small with 11 members and 2 guests.

The theme for the meeting was Patriotism and our opening thought was given by Matt.

Nick was this evening’s toastmaster and helped run a smooth and fun meeting.

We had one speaker with a prepared speech. It was project #7, Vocal Variety, titled “Speaking in Storms”.

The speech was about introverts versus extroverts, and the fact that right now society praises the extrovert, undervaluing the power introverts can bring to the table. The speech was praised as his “best speech by far” among all the past projects by his evaluator Ramesh. Sean has made impressive progress during his time with Toastmasters.

Since there was only one speaker, there was lots of time for our impromptu segment, Table Topics. Niem volunteered for the Table Topics master role last minute and came up with an out-of-the-box idea. He collected a question about patriotism from all members.
Whoever’s question got picked they were the next to go up and speak. This way each speaker got a turn. Sometimes it is good not to have a way out, so some of us don’t fall back into the old habits of hiding and hoping not to get picked. Tonight we also had an impromptu debate between Ramesh and Bob that truly did our club’s name “The Contrarians” justice. I was in tears from laughing.

Our word of the day was “surreptitious”, and it had to be used during Table Topics, in order to qualify for winning.


Ramesh then evaluated Sean’s speech and praised his improvement, his topic and his decision not to use any notes. At the close of the meeting Nick announced the winners. We didn’t have a best speaker today, because Sean’s speech was 3 seconds short, and therefore didn’t qualify, so decided our strict timer. Anyway, drumroll for the winners: Marlene with her Top Gun story won best table topics, and Ramesh won best evaluator. Today was lots of fun.

We meet every Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Northwood Community Center. The theme for our Feb. 11 meeting is Social Media.  Join us for an exciting evening!


- Karolina

January 28th, 2015
Theme: Aging

January 14th, 2015
Theme: Generation X and the Millennials

January 07th, 2015
Theme: The Afterlife

Our first meeting of the New Year began with area governor, Robert Lee, introducing new board members for the first half of 2015. The new board members are:


president: Ramesh Natarajan

vice president of education: Sean Mattox

vice president of public relations: Steven La

secretary: Marlene Quiram

vice president of membership: Karolina Lorry

treasurer: Rick Huang

sergeant in arms: Bob Bowles


The theme for the meeting was “the Afterlife “and our opening thought was given by Daniel. He shared a personal story of a close friend who died early in life and gave an inspirational afterlife story.

Mahdi was this evening’s toastmaster and helped run a smooth meeting. The first speaker for the evening was Nori and his speech was project #1 – the Ice Breaker.

This is a speech where you introduce yourself to fellow club members, share information about your background, interests, and ambitions. Nori spoke about his ambition to come back to the U.S. after he returned to Japan after spending time in the Midwest learning English at a university. One of his ambitions was to become a motivational speaker. Nori ,you’re on your way and we look forward to hearing more speeches from you.

 Rick was our second speaker and his speech was project #3 – Get to the Point. In this speech the goal is to have a specific purpose to inform, persuade, entertain, or inspire. Rick explained to us how bad cops are really good cops once you look past the surface.

After the prepared speeches and evaluation segment, the most exciting and nerve wracking part of the evening was next: Table Topics!  All of us (myself included) are scared, nervous, and excited when it comes to table topics. Why is this? Because you give 1-2 minute unprepared speech based on the question asked by the torturer, I mean the table topics master. We also have to use the WOD (word of the day) in order to qualify. The WOD was “penchant.”  Fernando was the table topics master and his questions revolved around our theme, the Afterlife. Sean was the first person to go up to the podium and give us his vision of heaven, and guest Novine bravely went up and spoke to us about his vision of of hell and heaven was everyday living, and why he lives his life everyday with a positive attitude. Jeff was next and in his speech he mentioned, “we’re all dead a lot longer than we’re alive” and told us if he were a ghost he would travel to all of the places he didn’t get to go to when he was alive. Sanjay said that people in “heaven don’t wear clothes and return to Earth naked”, and Lani said of all the dead people she would like to meet it would be Albert Einstein.

At the close of the meeting Mahdi announced the winners for best speaker, best table topics, and best evaluator.

Drumroll for the winners: Nori won best speaker, Sanjay won best table topics, and Karolina won best evaluator.

We meet every Wednesday evening at 6:30 p.m. at Northwood Community Center. The theme for our Jan. 14 meeting is Generation X and the Millennials.  Join us for an exciting evening!


- Marlene

For past meeting snapshots, please re-visit our 'Meeting Snapshot Archives' page