Speaking our Minds with Passion, Respect, and Confidence!

Welcome Members and Visitors! 

Listed below are our latest meeting snapshots to give you a flavor of the challenging, thought-provoking, and FUN times to be had at a Contrarians Toastmasters meeting!


October 16, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 PM ~ Wednesday 
Meeting Theme: Keeping Secrets


October 16, 2019
Meeting Theme: Keeping Secrets

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Kenny

Best Evaluator: Jai

Best Table Topics: Stephanie

Most Improved: Kenny


October 16, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 PM ~ Wednesday 
Meeting Theme: Keeping Secrets


October 9, 2019
Meeting Theme: Deeper Into Space

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Dave

Best Evaluator: Nathan

Best Table Topics: Stephanie

Most Improved: Camelia


October 9, 2019
6:30 - 8:00PM ~ Wednesday
Meeting Theme: Deeper into Space


October 2, 2019
Meeting Theme: Cancer Awareness

Aug 14, 2019
Meeting Theme: Confidence

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: JP

Best Evaluator: Nayan

Best Table Topics: Mike

Most Improved: JP

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~


Aug 14, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 PM ~ Wednesday 
Meeting Theme: Confidence


Aug 07, 2019
Meeting Theme: Influence

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Jamal

Best Evaluator: Dave

Best Table Topics: Mike

Most Improved: Kiki

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~


Aug 07, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 PM ~ Wednesday 
Meeting Theme: Influence


July 31, 2019
Meeting Theme: Better Late Than Never

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Cherie

Best Evaluator: Mike

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Julia

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~


July 31, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 PM ~ Wednesday 
Meeting Theme: Better Late Than Never


July 24, 2019
Meeting Theme: Influence

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Cherie

Best Evaluator: Mike

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Julia

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~


July 24, 2019
6:30 - 8:00 PM ~ Wednesday 
Meeting Theme: Influence


May 30, 2019
Meeting Theme: Blunder Years 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Cherie

Best Evaluator: Mike

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Julia

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

April 3, 2019
Meeting Theme: Wild Times

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Phillip

Best Evaluator: Nayan

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Phillip

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

April 3, 2019
Meeting Theme: Interviews

An interview is just like a conversation. A speech is just like a conversation. Hmm everything just seems to come full circle doesn't it. We started meeting by inducting Phillip as a new member. WOOOOO WELCOME PHILLIP!!! We're stoked to have you. What a great way to kick off April. Nayan led our meeting as our Toastmaster for the evening. Jumping into our prepared speeches, Dave talked about a beloved activity or maybe even sport, chess. He delved into how women are becoming strong competitors in this area. This might be something we should be looking out for. Following, we had Krish talk about his experience of mediation and yoga. He has implemented this into his life and has seen great changes. The life of a yogi is a great life to live. To end our prepared speeches, Miu talked about her knowledge with computer and AI. This is becoming a pressing issues because of the plane crashes we have witnessed in the past few months. Who really is responsible? Is this our future? Interesting topic for sure. We headed into Table Topics with Greg. It was his first time and he did an awesome job. What a great way to prepare for a real interview! Hopefully no one stumbles upon a panel interview... We got to know some of our members better. We definitely would call back some of them. Come by for a visit because we would love to get to know you better too. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Dave

Best Evaluator: Rich

Best Table Topics: Michael F.

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

March 27, 2019
Meeting Theme: Feeling Left Behind

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Judi

Best Evaluator: Dave

Best Table Topics: Steph

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

March 20, 2019
Meeting Theme: Free Will

Free will, is it myth or reality? Are things already predetermined for us? The Contrarians delved into this concept for the night. We had our Sergeant at Arms, Bob, lead meeting as our Toastmaster. Our prepared speeches was kicked off by Mike F. He spoke about communication and how it's similar to fishing. You use a spear when you want to a specific fish. It's the same when it comes to people, a specific person. When you want to attract a large audience, you should use a net. Fishing is relevant to communication as well. Following, we had Nathan give his icebreaker speech. He talked about discipline and how it has shaped his life. He got through a lot of things by being disciplining himself like getting into college and landing his current. It now has lead to Toastmasters today as well. Thanks for being here with us Nathan! Lastly, we had John talked about a hero's journey and the many phases a hero goes through specifically Luke Skywalker. Wooo for Star Wars!!! As we closed our prepared speeches, Mike lead our Table Topics for the night. It was an insightful discussion. We definitely got stumped on a few of them. Is everything we do already decided for us? No answer is right or wrong but we had a good time getting philosophical. Come check out a meeting and see what we're talking about. The choice is yours. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: John

Best Evaluator: Rich

Best Table Topics: Darnell

Most Improved: Nathan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

March 6, 2019
Meeting Theme: Spring Forward

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: John

Best Evaluator: Rich

Best Table Topics: Nathan

Most Improved: Nathan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

February 27, 2019
Meeting Theme: If Not Now, Then When

There is nothing like the present. We must take the time to enjoy where we are. Meeting was dedicated to embracing every minute. We were able to induct in 3 new members. A warm, toasty welcome to John, Mike F., and Nathan. WOOOOO we're so stoked to have you join. Our Contrarian family is growing a little bit more every week. Darnell gave a speech about Mentorship and the importance of it. Following, we had Greg talk about Strategic Relationships. Lastly, Bob came up and talked about Gaia and how it relates to Earth. It's never too late to achieve your goals and resolutions. The best time to start is now. Open house is upon us. Come find out what TM is about!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Greg

Best Evaluator: Mike

Best Table Topics: Judi

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

February 20, 2019
Meeting Theme: Speech Contest

It's the most wonderful time of the year... that's right speech contest season! Tonight's meeting was dedicated to finding our best speakers to represent The Contrarians. We had Darnell and Dave as our competing speakers. We conducted a coin toss and Darnell kicked off our meeting. His speech was entitled Feed Me to the Wolves. He shared with us the struggles he has faced both personally and professionally. In a sense, he felt as though he was thrown into situations and had to find a way to adapt. These adversities has helped him immensely. He was able to be resourceful and came back leading the pack. It was insightful and motivational. Following, Dave told us the story about how ravens came to be the color black. He was able to hone in on his story telling and really bring the story to life. Our judges tallied up their scores and the winner was....Darnell! Wooo congrats Darnell on your hard work! He started off only speaking to our small intimate setting to now speaking to 200+ inmates and giving them hope and motivation to change their life around. We're so proud of your accomplishments. Congrats again! Following, we conducted our Table Topics competition segment. We asked all our participants the same question, If you could meet one historical figure, who would it be and why? Our members' answers ranged from Dale Carnegie to Plato to MLK. It was a great way to see how each member presented their response. Again, our judges tallied up the votes. Our winner was Mike F!! He has only recently became a member as of 2 weeks ago and here he is now representing Our Contrarians!! Great representation all around. We had a great time getting ready and can't wait to see Darnell and Mike F compete. Our work is done...until next year that is. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Darnell

Best Table Topics: Mike F.

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

February 13, 2019
Meeting Theme: Relationships

Love is in the air, show someone you care. In celebration of Valentine's Day, the Contrarians dedicated the meeting to relationships. Relationships aren't limited to romantic ones but also familiar and friendships. Each being unique and quirky in its own way. Erica started off our meeting with Opening Thought sharing how relationships should be a partnership. It helps to know both your own and your partner's love language in order to meet each other's needs. Stephanie took on the role of Toastmaster and lead meeting for the night. We did a little switcheroo since Mike volunteered to give a 5 W speech. Table Topics got moved to the front end. We had our president Dave run our love filled TT. Our Contrarians bared their heart and soul out...within comfortable reason of course! Who was your first love? What couple is an example of unconditional love? What is your favorite love song? It was a heartfelt TT. How can you not love love? Woooo it was exciting for our guests to experience. Our prepared speeches started off with Milind. Following, Mike gave his 5 W, which was ironically about SAD (Single Awareness Day). Most people know February 14 as Valentines Day. It was great not only because it was a 5 W but it was centralized around our theme. Finally, Miu shared about her experience how she came over to America as a refugee. This is a redo of her second speech. She took feedback and improved immensely from her last speech. We were grateful to have another full house filled with new faces. Thanks to everyone that showed up despite the rain. It was another night of great energy and new friendships. Who needs cupid when The Contrarians are here to welcome anyone with positive encouragement, support and high fives! So pop in for a visit!! Cheers to not just our current relationships/friendships but to our budding new ones. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Mike

Best Evaluator: Rich

Best Table Topics: Selene

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

February 7, 2019
Meeting Theme: Seize The Day

We get caught up with our everyday routine. We forget to just be in the moment and enjoy life's greatest gift, the present. We seized the day by doing what we do best, which is challenging our comfort zone and taking strides to our goals. Mike ran meeting as our Toastmaster. Meeting kicked off and we initiated two new members. A warm, toasty welcome to Erica and Greg!! We're excited to have them. A even better treat was having both of them give their ice break speeches. Greg shared with us his story about why he came to Toastmaster and what he's looking to get out of it. It was insightful and we got to know him better. Following, we had Erica talk about her upcoming wedding. There is a lot of planning that goes into it but it's more than just wedding day. We can lose sight of what's really important in the midst of our everyday problems. Sometimes we have to just remind ourselves of the bigger picture. We jumped right into Table Topics. We had Kim as our TT Master. Questions are always thought provoking and engaging. What is something you have yet to do? What is between you and happiness. How do you live in the moment. We had some participation from guests, which is always exciting to see. It is scary especially as a first timer but the feeling after makes it all worth it. Good job to everyone facing their fear. Always great energy with the Contrarians. We learned a little bit about our new members. They did an awesome job. Fun time with Table Topics. Carpe diem vibes all around. Come visit and seize the night with The Contrarians next week! 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Erica

Best Evaluator: Bob

Best Table Topics: Judi

Most Improved: Greg

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

January 30, 2019
Meeting Theme: Turning a New Leaf

As we say goodbye to January, it’s still not too late to turn a new leaf. Steph kicked off our meeting with Opening Thought. There are always things we want to change. What’s stopping us from starting today? We had Kim run meeting as our Toastmaster. Our lineup of speeches was stacked. Our president, Dave, shared a story about two fleas and related how we are fleas in this big world. He is always very animated and has a way with storytelling. Following, we had Darnell talk about different forms of communication. He shared with us different styles of communicating. To conclude, Mike shared with us what responsibility really means. Selene ran a strong Table Topics. Questions were thought provoking and engaging. What can you change today in your life? What is a practice you wished didn’t change? Who inspires you? Inspiration and motivation were bouncing off the walls! Rich led evaluations as our general evaluator. Our evaluators gave valuable feedback and tips for improvement such as coming prepared and making sure to relate back to our speech title. January was a good month. Everyone is making strides to hit their resolutions and goals. The Contrarians help keep each other accountable. It’s never too late to start right now. What are you doing to achieve your goals?

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Dave

Best Evaluator: Milind

Best Table Topics: Terence

Most Improved: Darnell

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

January 23, 2019
Meeting Theme: Challenging Your Comfort Zone

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Kim

Best Evaluator: Dave

Best Table Topics: Terence

Most Improved: Darnell

Looking forward to another great meeting next week~~

January 9, 2019
Meeting Theme: Back on the Wagon


Doesn't it feel good to start off with a clean, new slate? The holidays were great but we were excited to get back together and kick off the year on the right foot. We opened up meeting with Mike, who gave Opening Thought. Terence led us into our first meeting with great energy as our toasty Toastmaster. Our prepared speeches started off with Selene. She talked about new year's resolutions. Quite appropriate. Most of the time people break their resolutions. Some may think it's overrated. Instead of just setting resolutions, we should be intentional with our "resolutions". Following, we had Steph give a speech about one of her role models. He was just a few years older but impacted her in many ways. She shares all the things she picked up from him. We had Rich as our final speaker. He discusses about the government and asks the question, "Do They Care?". He also elaborates about financial freedom and how he was able to achieve it himself. It was a strong line up of speeches. Terence was on double duty and took on Table Topics as well. He was ready with a myriad of questions. We delved into everyone's resolutions for the year and got to hear many goals. Contrarians are all about accountability! We were pleased to have guests attend and participate. It was an awesome first meeting of the year. The Contrarians would love to see more friendly faces in the near future. So come conquer your fears and show 2019 what you're made of!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Selene

Best Evaluator: Nayan

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Selene

Looking forward to another great meeting next week

November 14, 2018
Meeting Theme: If I Knew Then What I Knew Now

Selene kicked off meeting with opening thought. We had Dave as our Toastmaster for the evening. For our speeches for the night, Ryan gave his first icebreaker speech. He talked about the number of food allergies he has and how he has lived with it. Imagine not having pizza, cheeseburgers, or ice cream. He gave us a glimpse of his every day diet. We learned a little bit more about him and more consciously aware of food allergies. Following, Milind gave his reintroduction speech. He also gave his icebreaker speech. He talked about how time isn't as long as we think it is. We only have a certain number of weekends in our lifetime. If you score it, it really isn't all that much. Lastly, we had Rich talk about certain events in his life as well. We were happy to have all of them share something with us. Going into our Table Topics, we had Kim ask some good questions to stir up memories. We all made mistakes in our lives and have learned from it. Of course, there are times you wish you could get a second chance at a situation. However, would we really learn? As we go forward, we can only try to not make the same mistakes again. The Contrarians are always learning something new every week. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Ryan & Milind

Best Evaluator: Nayan

Best Table Topics: Steph 

Most Improved: Ryan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

November 14, 2018
Meeting Theme: The Entrepreneurial Spirit

Members in attendance: Bob, Terence, Judi, Mike, Steph, Miu, Nayan, Kim, Dave, Milind, Spencer, Franklin 

You are you're own boss when you run your own business. There is a lot of freedom to being an entrepreneur. Meeting wasn't anything like Shark Tank but we got to hear some ideas. Mike started meeting with opening thought. He mentions how being an entrepreneur is the closest thing to playing God. This got everyone thinking about the theme of the night. Judi took over afterwards as our Toastmaster for the evening. We started our prepared speeches with Kim. She talked about consumer spending. We should be conscious of our purchases especially since next week is Black Friday. Save your money folks! We then had Terence give a presentation on Pathways. It was informative in giving not just our members but for guests a better understanding about how Pathways work. For our final speaker, we had our Toastmaster give a speech as well. She read a story from her husband's book Welcome to Hollyweird Collection. Her reading was animated and fun to listen to. As we entered Table Topics, Bob B asked us business minded questions. What is the next big thing? What is the riskiest thing you've done? We were glad to have some guests join us in our discussions. Marlene, former district director, came in and presented an award for Paula. It was for being a great leader to the Contrarians. We're happy for Paula's accomplishments. For everyone not just entrepreneurs, it's important to have a vision and never lose sight of it. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Kim

Best Evaluator: Dave

Best Table Topics: Nayan 

Most Improved: Kim

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

November 7, 2018
Meeting Theme: Win Some, Lose Some

Members attending:  Terence, Stephanie, Selene, Miu, Dave, Kim, Mike, Bob, Darnell, Ryan, Millind, Judi, Howard (Area Director), and Zenaida

Speakers: Darnell

Evaluators: Everyone

Table Topics Master: Selene

Toastmaster: Mike

General Evaluator: Judi

Meeting Summary

President Dave opened the meeting.

Kim’s - Opening thought focused on how our lives are like the Game of life. Making choices on school and career. She pointed out that on sports teams there are winners and losers.

Speech  ~ Darnell engrossed the attendees with a speech that he has given at several prison. The speech told the story of his life and pointed out the secrets to a Life with Purpose. The bottom line was courage and choices. Event+Reaction equals what you get. Event+Response equals what you want.

Table Topics: You Win Some, You Lose Some (Word of the Compromise)

Selene ran Table Topics. She sprinkled interesting quotes with each question. Numerous participants.

Evaluations: Judi led a club-wide feedback session, where each member provided with Darnell with positive and actionable suggestions.

Award Winners:

Best Table Topics - Millind

Best Evaluator - Selene

Best Speaker - Darnell

Most Improved - Ryan

Meeting ended with a few words from Howard. He awarded L1 pens to Stephanie, Josh (not there), and Mike. He also presented the Contrarians with a ribbon in recognition of turning in our Distinguished Club Program plan.

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

October 24, 2018
Meeting Theme: Your Vote

Election Day is nearly upon us. We're winding down and coming to the final sprint. Every candidate is putting in their best efforts for their campaign. The US has a track record of not having the best voter turn out. Why does it matter? The Contrarians took the time to discuss this matter and important issues. Dave gave a humorous opening thought, which kickstarted meeting on a good note. We had Terence lead the night as our Toastmaster. Our first speaker, Judi, gave a speech on Autism. She is an absolute rockstar when it comes to presenting. This speech was special to her. She not only taught us more about the topic but she completed the level for Competent Communicator Silver. Congrats Judi, much deserved! Following, we had Miu give her icebreaker speech. She shared with us her experience on moving from a foreign country and learning a new language and culture. It is always enjoyable to hear every person's story of how they came to Toastmasters. Finally, we had Bob give a reintroduction speech of himself to the group. He talked about how his life and how we should all have a sense of humor. He's been a part of the Contrarians for the past 4 years. It was a nice way to get to know him better. We enter into our anticipated Table Topics. Stephanie was our TT Master. She had a great set of questions ready. Why should we vote? How can we get higher voter turnout? What is the most pressing issue right now? We heard some great responses. We had 6 new guests come in and some first timers ever. We couldn't have been more thrilled to see new faces and get some participation in. Come check out The Contrarians in action. They're always talking about important issues and they care about YOUR personal development. You can also practice your right to vote every week....for best speakers. It's a win win.. even though the following meeting is Win Some, Lose Some. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Bob

Best Evaluator: Kim

Best Table Topics: Terence

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next NEXT week! ~~

October 17, 2018
Meeting Theme: Back in My Day..

They say change is good but it's always nice to reminisce about the past. Things are constantly being updated. It is crucial to adapt to the times or else some of us will get left behind. The Contrarians took a stroll down Memory Lane in tonight's meeting. Mike opened up meeting with opening thought while Joshua was our Toastmaster for the evening. We welcomed in a fellow Toastmaster from another club, Susan. She gave us an empowering speech about sexual abuse and the Me Too movement. We appreciate her coming in and sharing her story with us. Following, Stephanie talked about how we could improve our communication skills. We get around by talking with other people. This is how we connect to another human being. Sometimes it isn't perfect and people get misunderstood. Steph provided ways we could avoid that and improve our communication. We headed into our anticipated Table Topics, which was lead by Dave. He changed it up by having our members pick a topic from a box to talk about. It created an element of suspense. We heard some great stories from not only our members but from some guests as well. There was a great turnout for the night. We appreciate everyone who came up and got to know them a little better. The past can never be changed but it shapes us to be the people we are today. The Contrarians are always present in the moment but also eager to reflect back on the old days. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Susan

Best Evaluator: Sherry

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

October 3, 2018
Meeting Theme: Happy Birthdays!

 Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Darnell

Best Evaluator: Kim

Best Table Topics: Dave

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

September 26, 2018
Meeting Theme: Remaining Neutral 

In many instances, there are sides but there's also a place in the middle such as gray areas or Switzerland. We should always try to hear out both sides to get different perspectives. Stephanie kicked off meeting with opening thought. We continued on with meeting led by Terence, our Toastmaster with the mostest.  We had Bob as our first speaker. He had yet again blessed us with another 5 W speech. Richard Simmons, exercising constitutional rights, Wakanda; just some topics thrown at him. Since he gave a 5 W speech, we switched it around and did Table Topics first. The incomparable Judi was our Table Topics Master. She asked great questions about being in difficult situations and sharing opinions on debatable topics. Was there a time you wished you didn't state your opinion and remained neutral? When was a time you got feedback from someone who strongly express themselves? She incorporated some of her own stories to the question as well. Going into our speeches, Bob was able to piece together a speech well. He has a way of story telling. For our final speaker, we had Milind give a speech on building American fundamental values. He talks about government systems and breaks down the different kinds. It was another great presentation. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Bob

Best Evaluator: Nayan

Best Table Topics: Kim

Most Improved: Miu

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

September 19, 2018
Meeting Theme: Innocent Until Proven Guilty

They say there are 3 sides to a story; both sides and the truth. Is everything conducted in a fair and just way? Unfortunately, this isn't the case most of the time. Timing and place plays a factor. Sometimes you can get caught in a bad situation. We were able to learn some of these experiences about our members. Meeting was a little bit different. Instead of having 3 prepared speeches, we had Milind give a workshop style presentation, If You Do This, You Will Succeed. He helped define what success is, what are core values, and what steps we should take. You are where you are in life as a result of choices you have made. You have to have good habits. The person you will be in 5 years from now will depend on the books you read and the people you associate with. Habits are unconscious decisions. Picture the future you want and then set goals for yourself. We were able to learn a lot from his speech. Following, we had Bob take on Table Topics. We were able to discuss about challenges, misfortunes, and the government. When was a time you were innocent but were accused or vice versa? What would you like to see change with our justice system? Of course, it's always great to seeing new and returning guests. We heard some great Table Topics from them. You could feel the energy. We love the participation. With the workshop, we didn't want to put the burden of one person doing evaluations so we did round table evaluations. We went around the room and every member gave their 2 cents on how Milind could improve. Feedback was positive and helpful. You won't catch The Contrarians in a lie when it comes to evaluations and encouragement. The feedback and support is real folks. You can't fake this kind of camaraderie. Come check it out for yourself!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Milind

Best Evaluator: Joshua

Best Table Topics: Mike

Most Improved: Ryan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

September 12, 2018
Meeting Theme: Myers Briggs

Myers Briggs is always an interesting topic. It's fascinating to learn about the different behaviors and thoughts people have. Logic vs Emotion. When do you choose to be fair and just and when to be supportive and empathetic? There are sixteen different kinds of personalities. Each is unique in it's own special way. We were able to learn little bit more about the inner workings of the human psyche this meeting. We inducted in three new members, which was a great start to the night. Warm welcome to Allen, Ryan, and Ana! We are thrilled to have you. Our Contrarian family just keeps growing and growing. The willingness to learn and grow never ceases to amaze us. Milind took charge as Toastmaster for the evening. Allen opened up the night as our first speaker. He gave his ice breaker speech and shared details of his life. He was able to tied it back to how he made it here at Atria. For 91, he's doing great!! Our prepared speeches continued with Joshua. He gave us an informative speech about all things whiskey. The Manhattan is a favorite drink of his and got us wanting to have one. It is Happy Hour somewhere in the world...Zenaida closed this segment with a presentation about The Millionaire Next Door. We can all be millionaires if we live below our means and invest. Consumerism is all around us. You must pick and choose what is important to spend on. The lovely Stephanie took on Table Topics. She thought up of interesting hypotheticals, where we had to guess the personality. It really got us thinking. Fun and interesting to say the least. We had another full room tonight. It is always wonderful to see guests. We appreciate you making it out. We'll take Manhattans all around now.....Cheers to another great meeting.

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Joshua

Best Evaluator: Ana

Best Table Topics: Nayan

Most Improved: Ryan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

September 5, 2018
Meeting Theme: Planned Obsolescence 

Expiration dates are commonly known as the best by date, the date something becomes bad/unusable. Most of us live on auto pilot. We get caught up with our routine. Little thought goes into living our everyday lives. Few people think about how certain things may one day cease to exist. Hand written letters, beepers, and the milkman are all things that once were commonly used. Now, they've become just a faint memory. One day they are in our lives and the next they're gone. Does anything last anymore? Will things eventually just phase out? Are things built to eventually just become obsolete?

Our Toastmaster, Joshua, led us through the meeting. We had two speech repeats for the night. Darnell and Kim both gave the same speech incorporating the feedback they got. It was great to see the improvement they made compared to their first time. A little recap but it was on leadership and procrastination. Do a quick scroll down to see what they talked about few weeks earlier. For our final speaker, we had Rich give another speech but this time about the political environment. We later delved into our Table Topics with Selene asking some rather thought provoking questions. Some of us got real stumped. We had some a returning guest in addition to some new faces join us. We hope we gave them a warm SoCal welcome! If you can't already tell, The Contrarians enjoy getting to know new people. Some things are meant to end whether it be relationships, discontinuing products, or getting simple upgrades. However, there are the few that can withstand the test of time. We can easily say the friendships, lessons, and feedback gained here at TM stick with us far beyond the membership period. 

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Darnell

Best Evaluator: Terence

Best Table Topics: Rich

Most Improved: Darnell

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

August 29, 2018
Meeting Theme: Technology Modernization

We live in a world of technology. It is all around us. There are advancements being made everyday. Smart phones had been introduced to the public just 10 years ago. Many could not imagine up what we are able to do now. We are entering the world of self driving cars. The future is here. What is the next big thing? 

We were in for a night of delights. Selene took on the role as our Toastmaster for the night. Mike opened up the night as our first speaker. He talked about relationships with people. They are the foundation of everything. It is how we are able to connect with one another. Following, Stephanie stepped up to the plate and gave her first 5 W speech. She did a great job. It was centralized around Apple but the takeaway was to be open minded. We're always in our own echo chamber. If we don't seek outside of that, we will not able to experience anything else around. We had a returning Contrarian, Rich, concluded our prepared speeches. He talked about education and the many different aspects about it. It was nice to see a familiar face. 

Has technology brought us closer or has it made us even more isolated? If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. We're all lost at one point or another but it helps to have someone there. Come be a part of the change and move forward with The Contrarians!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Stephanie

Best Evaluator: Nayan

Best Table Topics: Mike

Most Improved: Selene

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

August 22, 2018
Meeting Theme: Summertime Sadness

Lana Del Rey is not the only one going through a Summertime Sadness. What an appropriate way to say goodbye to the warm summer nights. Summer loving had us a blast and happened so fast.. For the theme of the night, we reflected on good memories and shared wonderful stories. Beaches, acai bowls, and late night adventures are slowly becoming a thing of our past. Although maybe it's not entirely goodbye since we live in SoCal?

Terence started off our meeting with insightful thought about his summer. We had Stephanie lead our Contrarians through the sweltering heat (AC failed us). Kim kicked off the night with a speech about procrastination. She provided three, simple tips to implement into our lives. We'll tell you about it another time. This was a great transition into our speech about Passive Aggression given by Bob. People often try to avoid confrontation. You can pick up on this by body language and different tone of voice. For our final speaker, Judi gave a presentation on impactful speaking. She shared ways we can work on our speech delivery. Isn't that why we're here at TM? We definitely gained a copious amount of information in one night! 

Summertime sadness may be going around but fall frenzy is around the corner. Cheer up folks, pumpkin spice lattes, Halloween, and scarf weather is shortly upon us.

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Judi

Best Evaluator: Selene

Best Table Topics: Zenaida 

Most Improved: Spencer

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

August 15, 2018
Meeting Theme: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Without the lows, we could never enjoy the highs. We kept it light and cheery with Laughter is the Best Medicine as our theme of the night. Meeting was led by Nayan as Toastmaster of the night. We delved into our speeches starting with Terence. Leadership is a reoccurring theme here at TM. It is a component that comes with the territory. In high school, he talks about how he was thrown into it in his marching band. It has followed him to this present day. We are fortunate to have him as our VP of Education. Thanks for all you do, Terence! Following, we had an ice breaker speech given by Spencer.  He touches on his background and professional goals. His career being his focus. He hopes to improve on many things here at TM. Our last speech was given my our District Club Ambassador, David. He talked about what TM means to him. His purpose is to find people with stories to have featured. It was a delight to hear such eloquence from a man of his experience. Moving onto Table Topics, Stephanie isn't shy when it comes to asking interesting questions. We enjoyed having guests participate as always. It's exciting to see people get out of their comfort zone. During times of hardship, sometimes you just need a good laugh. The Contrarians aren't certified doctors but they do know how to alleviate stress with their smiles. Come in for a free trial and/or consultation next week!

Awards of the night:

Best Speaker: David

Best Evaluator: Zenaida

Best Table Topics: Franklin

Most Improved: Joshua

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! ~~

August 8, 2018
Meeting Theme: International Cat Day

Dogs or cats? One of the most controversial topics of today’s times. Our theme of the night was dedicated to our furry feline friends. For International Cat Day, we had Krish shared various facts about them. Our president, Dave, took on the role as our Toastmaster for the evening. We celebrated this national holiday by inducting a new member, Inhee. Welcome, we’re not kittening when we say we’re excited to have you. Our prepared speeches of the night weren’t just nice but pretty cool. We had the delight of having two ice breaker speeches. As Inhee was inducted in, she went head in and shared her story. She spoke about the meaning behind her name and how she lives her life according to her given name. It was real and insightful. Moving on to our second speech, Franklin talked about his purpose for joining TM. He shared with us his background story on how he’s come to where he is now. He found comfort within his group of friends but realized he wanted to beyond what he knew. 

Since our appointed TT Master was feeling unwell, Dave was able to sub in and take on the role. If you were a cat, who would you pick as your human? Dogs or cats? If someone offered you a cat, would you take it? These were some of the questions that were asked. Dave shared a copious amount of cat facts with such enthusiasm and animation. We concluded our meeting with evaluations. Mike and Joshua were able to give helpful critique for improvement such as elaborating details and using vocal variety . At the same time, they gave positive encouragement to our first timers. We were thrilled to see some returning guests and a new guest participate! We're pretty pawsitive that meeting ran quite well. Check out our snapshots on Meetup right meow!!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Inhee

Best Evaluator: Joshua

Best Table Topics: Stephanie

Most Improved: Franklin

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Meeting Theme: Blend in or Stand Out 

Goodbye July, Hello August. What a way to welcome in the month than with our fellow Contrarians. Why be one of the many when you're born to be one of a kind? The theme of the night was Blend in or Stand Out. Bob opened up the meeting with his thoughts on the topic. We then had Joshua lead us through the night as our Toastmaster. We kicked off our speeches with our president, Dave. He shared with us his endeavors with romance. He used vivid imagery and alliteration, which enhanced his story telling about his trip to Yosemite. Following, we had Darnell give his second speech after just giving his icebreaker speech the previous week. We love the enthusiasm. That's dedication folks. He touched on leadership and how he's working on it in his life. Positive behavior leads to successful results. For our final speech of the night, we had Mike talk about leadership as well. Leadership is influence. Are we learning enough from people? What can we do better? He left us with these questions to think on. Going into our impromptu and beloved table topics, we had Kim as TT Master for the first time. They weren't your typical questions but they were thought provoking and evoked real conversations. We had a good time getting a better insight of everyone. 

Evaluations are the most important portion of the night. Our speakers were given valuable and helpful feedback to become even better. Sometimes you don't notice how fast you talk unless someone points it out to you. We're all here to learn and grow. Shoutout to Bob for being a great Grammarian. He always catches the little misuses of language that not everyone notices. Those listening skills are something we all strive to attain. We are always elated to see guests joining in on the fun. We had a great turnout and had a full house, not a single chair was empty. The collective progress within The Contrarians has been nothing but remarkable. Another great meeting for the books.

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Dave

Best Evaluator: Selene

Best Table Topics: Stephanie

Most Improved: Darnell

Looking forward to another great meeting next week! See y'all there. 

July 25, 2018
Meeting Theme: Blowing the Whistle

Meeting Summary

Blowing the Whistle was the theme of the night. To begin the night, we had Mike give Opening Thought. He shared about how someone blew the whistle on him. It doesn’t just happen in national scandals but also in our everyday lives. Kim ran meeting as a first time Toastmaster. There were some hiccups along the way but conquering first time jitters was a win. Again this week, we heard great speeches. We had Darnell give his ice breaker speech. He spoke on some adversity he has faced and why self-development is important to him. With this sense of purpose, he speaks to inmates in hopes of helping them out as well. Thanks for sharing with us, Darnell. Following, we had a real treat. Bob was kind enough to give another 5 W speech again after only a few weeks! A guitar playing unicorn goes to the moon and gets caught with election meddling. Quite the story…you really had to be there. Lastly, we had Stephanie give a speech on what it means to be a leader. She spoke about how she’s taken up leadership roles and how the meaning “leader” has changed for her. Some people are leaders by example but for Stephanie it’s by serving others.

Going into our Table Topics, Terence got our members engaged with his thought provoking questions. Should whistle blowers always be rewarded? Would you ever expose a secret about someone else? Did the referees play a part in the 2018 NBA Finals game? Krish showed off some of dance moves, which liven up the room. We also had a few guests that participated. We love it when guests jump in the deep end with us! Our evaluators highlighted great points for each speaker while giving helpful tips for improvement. You won't find The Contrarians caught up in a scandal anytime soon but could some secrets be revealed? Stay tuned and find out next week!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker: Stephanie

Best Evaluator: Mike

Best Table Topics: Nayan

Most Improved: Darnell


Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

July 18, 2018
Meeting Theme: Choosing Your Path

Meeting Summary
What an incredible night we had with The Contrarians. We kicked off meeting by inducting in four new members. A warm welcome to Franklin, Darnell, Krish, and Spencer. We’re happy to have you. Terence got meeting going as Toastmaster for the night. Mike gave opening thought on Choosing Your Path. Are we destined for one path or are we able to change that? We don’t always know where we are going. The lineup of speeches was top notch. Kim gave her ice breaker speech. She shared some challenges she faced in her past. It was personal and heartfelt. Joshua presented about the need for blood donation. We also had the honor of having a former Contrarian as a guest speaker, Ray. He did an impromptu speech about the theme. If we are biologically programmed to be a certain way, do we have any control in our lives? Do we really have free will?

We had the lovely Stephanie as our Table Topics Master. She came and led The Contrarians on an amazing quest to find this unknown treasure. We embarked on this journey with different pathways, challenges, and bonded along the way. Our evaluators provided helpful feedback on ways to improve. Shoutout to Spencer for taking on Evaluator for the first time on his first night as an inducted member. We had some first time guests as well. It was nice to see new faces. Needless to say, it was a night filled with great energy. It’s always an adventure with The Contrarians!


Awards for the night:

Best Speaker – Kim

Best Table Topic – Nayan

Best Evaluator – Milind

Most Improved – Spencer


Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

June 20, 2018
Meeting Theme: Nobody Asked Me, But...

June 13, 2018
Meeting Theme: Failures & Regrets

June 6, 2018
Meeting Theme: It's OK To Be Different

Members attending:  Terrence, Stephanie, Nayan, Dave, Paula, Kim, Mike, Bob, and Zanaida

Speakers: Mike and Judi

Evaluators: Kim and Zenaida

Table Topics Master: Dave

Toastmaster: Paula

General Evaluator: Judi

Meeting Summary

President Paula opened the meeting.

Mike’s - Opening thought focused on why we don’t all want to be the same. If we were all the same no one would stand out.

Table Topics  ~ It’s OK to be Different

Dave ran Table Topics. He kicked off and closed the table topics by discussing Mr. Rogers. Questions were insightful dealing with people and differences.  Questions varied from dealing with a bad hair day, pet peeves, to being stuck behind a slow driver. Fun input from the numerous participants. .

And The Awards Went To:

Table Topics – Paula

Best Evaluator - Zanaida

Best Speaker - Judi

Most Improved - Kim

Meeting ended with Paula running the elections. See Paula’s email for the positions now filled.

May 30, 2018
The Contrarians Toastmasters Celebration & Open House
The Duck Club, 15 Riparian View, Irvine.
We heard amazing personal stories from past Contrarians as they recounted their past experience as a member and how their lives were changed and how they grew.

May 23, 2018
Meeting Theme: When The Student Is Ready, The Teacher Will Appear

It is bound to a fun Contrarians meeting when the meeting theme is "When The Student Is Ready, The Teacher Will Appear". Tim set the tone of the meeting with his opening thought. Garrett was quick to fill all the open roles and did a great job as Toastmaster. Stephanie accepted the role of the Table Topics Master and did a great job presenting a wide spectrum of innovative questions during this segment. Both evaluators provided meaningful and constructive feedback during their evaluations. We had two visitors and they participated as well. Contrarians look forward to seeing them at one of our next meetings.

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Judi
Best Table Topic - Joshua
Best Evaluator - Aaron
Most Improved - Kim

May 16, 2018
Meeting Theme: Forgive and Forget

Wow, that was a great meeting. We all enjoyed the topic "Forgive and Forget" because it was very personal and everyone told stories about sincere moments in their personal lives. We inducted 4 new members and it was great that many of them stepped up to take over roles. We started with table topics first this time because Bob volunteered for a 5 w's speech so we needed to give him some time to prepare. Dave led the table topics and did an extremely good job with the questions he gave everyone. Everyone shared personal times in their lives and I think that is what makes the Contrarians so special, there is no judgement in the room. We had two speeches from Bob and Julie. They were both extremely good. The 5 W's speech is challenging. Bob was given the most random topics and twenty minutes to prepare. Julie was a guest and gave the most heartwarming speech ever. Her speech was so moving that there were literally many teary eyes in the room about her journey and struggle finding the right religion. Needless to say, she won 'Best Speech' and was warmly congratulated by many in the room. 

Overall,  I thought it was a great meeting and I am very proud to be a part of this club. 

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Julie
Best Table Topic - Aaron
Best Evaluator - Zenaida
Most Improved - Isabelle

May 9, 2018
Meeting Theme: Those Were The Days

The meeting went extremely well and continues to run extremely strong. We consistently gain new guests at our meeting and continue to obtain extremely consistent feedback about how well the meeting is ran and how fun the members of the club interact with each other. Josh did an excellent job as a 1st time TM and I felt really owned it. We had great speeches from Terence and Aaron about RBF and a bit on the other side of failure. The table topics were ran at an amazing pace and also got a few of the guests to come up and speak. Thank you to everyone who attended.

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Terence
Best Table Topic - Nayan
Best Evaluator - Linda
Most Improved - Terence

May 2, 2018
Meeting Theme: Your Biggest Lie

Another great time with the Contrarians Toastmasters, several new members, guests, love it.  The theme of the night was 'The Biggest Lie'.  Our opening thought was given by our President, Paula, who we're not sure if she was telling the truth or not.  Great, fantastic speeches....  Garrett combined the "Fight Club" move with the former Presidents of the United States.  Mike delivered a fantastic speech with the utmost confidence showing the growth he has had in the club.  Stephanie rounded out the speeches with a very clever and well researched about rotisserie chickens....yes.  Table Topics was hilarious and intriguing as our members talked about their secrets, or were they not....  Informative and helpful evaluations by Nayan, Joshua and Aaron.  Another one for the books....

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Garrett
Best Table Topic - Paula
Best Evaluator - Nayan
Most Improved - Stephanie

April 25, 2018
Meeting Theme: Nuclear Proliferation

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Joshua
Best Table Topic - Nayan
Best Evaluator - Stephanie
Most Improved - Stephanie

April 18, 2018
Meeting Theme: Your Privacy

Nowadays privacy issues are in the forefront, so it was not surprising that Contrarians had a thoughtful meeting with the theme "Your Privacy". Gopal set the tone of the meeting with his Opening Thought. Stephanie did a great job as a first time Toastmaster. Paula presented innovative questions during the Table Topics segment. Both evaluators provided meaningful and constructive feedback during their evaluation. We had four visitors and they all provided valuable feedback. Contrarians thank them for their participation and look forward to seeing them again.

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Terence
Best Table Topic - Chuck
Best Evaluator - Garrett
Most Improved - Gopal

April 11, 2018
Meeting Theme: Space Exploration

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Judi
Best Table Topic - Mike
Best Evaluator - Cassandra
Most Improved - Leslie

April 4, 2018
Meeting Theme: Another Day Another Dollar

When the meeting theme is "Another Day, Another Dollar", it is bound to be fun. Judy set the tone of the meeting with her opening thought. Zanaida did a great job as Toastmaster. Stephanie had innovative questions during the table topics segment. All thee evaluators provided meaningful and constructive feedback during their evaluation. We had four visitors and they all provided valuable feedback. Contrarians are looking forward to seeing them again.

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Nayan
Best Table Topic - Aaron
Best Evaluator - Garrett
Most Improved - Stephanie

March 28, 2018
Meeting Theme: A Drowning Man Will Clutch At A Straw

Meeting Summary:
Our wonderful Sergeant of Arms, Terence, set the tone of the meeting with great energy and enthusiasm!
Garrett, our first speaker, delivered a speech of a historical nature which was informative and entertaining. He made the facts and dates come to life as he recounted the story of Alexander Hamilton. Stephanie's speech was passionate and educational about the plight of the majestic elephants of Thailand. And she had a wonderful call to action. They entertained us and made us think, laugh, cry. Our Table Topics Master, Terence threw out some provocative scenarios when a drowning man chooses to clutch at a straw.

The Contrarians never disappoint! We had fun and challenged ourselves to see the world through different eyes.

And the awards went to:

Best Speaker - Stephanie
Best Table Topic - Judi
Best Evaluator - Rich
Most Improved - Stephanie

March 21, 2018
Meeting Theme: Unforgettable Mentors

Meeting ran smoothly and at a reasonable pace, even with a number of members missing who were assigned to various leadership roles.

Table Topic Chairperson was able to call on 12 members, more than the average for most clubs.

One member did a wonderful 5 “W” speech. Using The New Pathways program

                Who – Benjamin Button

                Where – Far, Far Away

                When – Yesterday

                Why – Because of a Security Breach

                What - ???

Three of the 5 W’s came in the last 30 seconds of the speech.

Guests were comfortable enough to participate in the meeting.  A positive meeting.

with very little comments necessary improvements.

And the ribbons went to:

Best Speaker - Nayan

Best Table Topic - Terence

Best Evaluator

See you all next week for another rip-roaring Wednesday!

March 14, 2018
Meeting Theme: Favorite Cartoon Characters

And the awards went to:

Best Speaker - Garrett
Best Table Topic - Alexey
Best Evaluator - Cassandra
Most Improved - Garrett

March 7, 2018
Meeting Theme: Media Sensationalism

Contrarians had fun with the meeting theme "Media Sensationalism". Charlotte did a  great job as Toastmaster quickly filling up the missing roles. Thank you Judi for taking the Table Topics Master role. Linda set the tone of the meeting with an opening thought. Stephanie and Irina's speeches showed variety and depth. Both evaluators (Mike and Judi) provided meaningful and constructive feedback during their evaluations. We had seven visitors and they all provided valuable feedback. We are looking forward to seeing them again.

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Stephanie
Best Table Topic - Briana
Best Evaluator - Judi
Most Improved - Irina

February 28, 2018

Tonight, was the bi-annual Contrarians Toastmasters Speech and Evaluation Contest.  We had the good fortune to have our Area Director, Marlene Garcia-Swider, deliver a wonderful test speech for our Evaluation contestants.  The competition was fierce and made for a great contest.  The 1st place winners will be competing at the next level competition representing our club.

The winners were:

                International Speech Competition            1st Place              Chandra

                                                                                 2nd Place              Rich

                Evaluation Competition                            1st Place               Judi

                                                                                  2nd Place             Rich

You can see Chandra and Judi at the Area contest on March 24.  Email info@tmcontrarians.com for more information.    Back to business as usual next week!          

February 21, 2018
Meeting Theme: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Members attending:  Terrence, Casandra, Nayan, Rich, Bob, Alexey, Irina, Milind,and  Paula

Speakers: Nayan and Rich

Evaluators: Garrett and Cassandra

Table Topics Master: Milind

Toastmaster: Paula

General Evaluator: Judi

Meeting Summary

President Paula opened the meeting.

Alexey’s - Opening thought was pointing out how he was tackling the small stuff that day, Rich volunteered to do a 5 W speech which flipped the agenda and provided an interesting challenge.  He tied together a rapid squirrel infestation, the Winter Olympics, St. Patrick’s Day, Global Warming, and leprechaun in an “audacious” believable and funny speech.

Table Topics Theme Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff ~

Milind stepped in to run Table Topics. Questions varied from dealing with a bad hair day, pet peeves, to being stuck behind a slow driver. Fun input from the numerous participants. .

Award Winners:

Table Topics – Bob

Best Evaluator - Garrett

Best Speaker - Rich

Most Improved - Casandra

Meeting ended with Paula reminding everyone that the Speech Contest was next week. Many folks volunteered to participate.

February 14, 2018
Meeting Theme: You Can If You Think You Can

Members attending: Chandra, Terrence, Mike, Casandra, Linda, Nayan, Rich, Bob, 

Speakers: Linda and Chandra

Evaluators: Bob and Nayan

Table Topics Master: Terence

Toastmaster and General Evaluator: Rich

Meeting Summary

Nayan opened meeting on time as stand in for President Paula.

Meeting ran smoothly even though numerous members were at home celebrating Valentine’s Day with their spouses.

Rich’s - Opening thought was how Premier of Israel, Netanyahu responded in a positive manner to the leaders of Hamas who presenter him during a recent cease-fire with a nicely wrapped box of camel dung.

New member Terrence did a great job as TT Chairperson at last minute even though it was his first time as TT Chairperson.

Table Topics Theme Education ~

Casandra did a great job for her first time as Timer and vote counter.

It was nice to see guests for second week in a row volunteer to participate in Table Topics.

Award Winners:

Table Topics – Bob,

Best Evaluator - Nayan

Best Speaker - Linda

Most Improved - Terence

Meeting ended on a high note with introduction of guests.

February 7, 2018
Meeting Theme:  The Stock Market

Another great meeting with the popular Contrarians Club.  We had three great speeches:  a great skiing story from Garrett showing his body movement skills, Milind delivered a powerful motivational speech and Nayan provided a case study for "trying something new" and other ways to motivate employees at performance reviews.  Our theme tonight was The Stock Market and our Table Topics Master, Rich, guru of all things economic and political had some great questions.  We had 3 guests who participated!  Cassandra, Chandra, and Rich all gave outstanding evaluations, with Cassandra killing it on her first time as an Evaluator and just joined our club a week ago.  We elected two new officers after a couple needed to step down from their role.... Cassandra is our new Vice President of Membership and Terence is our new Sergeant at Arms.  Love the enthusiasm of the new members!

Awards for the night:

Best Speaker:  Garrett
Best Table Topic:  Chandra
Best Evaluator:  Cassandra
Most Improved:  Cassandra

Can't wait for next Wednesday!

January 31, 2018
Meeting Theme: What I Know for Sure Is.....

Contrarians never disappoint and this week's meeting was no exception. Cassandra Garcia joined us as a new member - Welcome Cassandra. Garrett set the tone of the meeting with a opening thought. Linda did a great job as a Toastmaster in quickly filling up the missing roles. Thank  you to returning guest Greg for taking the Ah counter role. Chandra took the challenge of the 5W's and delivered an amazing speech. Rich and Mike's speeches showed variety and depth. Rich is now the second member who delivered the speech for the new Pathways program. Table Topic Master – Bob ensured that members/guests had opportunity to sharpen their impromptu speaking skills. 
All evaluators (Terence, Milind, and Paula) provided meaningful and constructive feedback during their evaluation. Congratulations to Terence for filling the evaluators role for the first time. 

And the awards went to:
Best Speaker - Chandra
Best Table Topic - Nayan
Best Evaluator - Paula
Most Improved - Cassandra

January 24, 2018
Theme: Prescriptions for Living

Evaluators one, two and three (Charlotte, Judi and Garrett) did a great job.

It was nice to see two guests Greg and Shiraz were comfortable enough to participate in Table Topics.

Terence's Ice Breaker showed we are attracting excellent new members.

Toastmaster Sanjay ran a very smooth and organized meeting.

Table Topic Master – Medi had good questions but needs to ask members with no roll or minor rolls before he calls on GE, EV’s and Speakers.

Comment on Pathways: We all need to understand Pathways not just new members who are Participating in the Pathways program.

Thank you Nayan for presenting a very thought out and informative speech on a Pathways Overview.

And the awards went to:

Best Speaker - Terence

Best Table Topic - Garrett

Best Evaluator - Mike

Most Improved - Terence

Wednesday January 17, 2018
Theme:  Do As I Say, Not As I Do

What a great meeting!  The Contrarians never disappoint!  Judi was our Toastmaster for the first time took full control of the meeting. ..  Nayan delivered an informative speech about information he learned about Pathways ending with a CTA.  Garrett gave a fun speech on water management, yes I said fun.  He made it memorable with his fantastic images he described.  Nayan was the Table Topics Master and our theme was “Do as I Say, Not as I Do”….. For the Contrarians we had some interesting responses.   We had three returning guests this evening who thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and one who is signing up to be a member!  Love it.


In the end, the awards went to:

        Best Speaker - Garrett

        Best Table Topics - Charlotte

        Best Evaluator - Linda

        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Mike


Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Theme:  Dangerous Selfies

This week's topic of "Dangerous Selfies" made for a very exciting (but safe) meeting. Chandra did a great job of facilitating the meeting as Toastmaster. We were very excited to induct Terence as our newest member. Mike gave a great opening speech inspiring us to overcome our fears. Milind followed up with an entertaining speech stringing together stories about the crazy people he has met over the course of his life. Rich brought the prepared speeches section home with a speech on investing in assets. Stephanie was the Table Topics master, and did an awesome job coming up with thought-provoking questions about danger and selfies! We had three new guests and one returning guest, all of whom enjoyed the meeting! In the end, the awards went to:


Best Speaker: Rich

Best Table Topics: Terence

Best Evaluator: Judi

Most Improved/Breakthrough: Stephanie


As always, looking forward to our next meeting!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Theme:  Reviewing Our Goals

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Theme:  A Christmas Story

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017 
Theme: Deja Vu

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 
Theme: Dating Rituals

Awesome night!  A Contrarian theme:Dating Rituals!  We had the honor to induct a new member, Stephanie.  Paula was the Toastmaster and led a great meeting.  Stephanie gave her Ice Breaker right off the bat, Rich gave a report on the achievements and Alexey talked about positive self-expectancy.  Linda was the Table Topics Master and came up with some interesting questions that delivered even more interesting answers. We had two first time  guests and a returning guest. Glad I didn't miss out on this one!

In the end, the awards went to:

        Best Speaker - Alexey

        Table Topics - Milind

        Evaluator - Brendan

        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Stephanie

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017 
Theme: Brevity is the soul of wit

What a fun night!  The Contrarians never disappoint!  We had the honor to induct two new members, Mohan and Judi.  Garrett was the Toastmaster for the first time and killed it..  Milind delivered a heartfelt lesson on the meaning of the American Flag and Mike told the story of his trip to Japan with great pictures.  Bob stepped up at the last minute to take on the role of Table Topics Master and came up with some great questions that delivered even better answers.  Horse sashimi....had to be there.  Garrett was officially elected Treasurer for the term starting January 1, 2018.  We had two guests this evening who thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and a return guest signing up to be a member!  Love it.

In the end, the awards went to:
        Best Speaker - Milind
        Table Topics - Taka
        Evaluator - Rich
        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Mohan

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017 
Theme: Special Event - Pathway Update

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017 
Theme: Embryonic Stem Cell Research – Pros and Cons

Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 
Theme: Halloween Event

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 
Theme: Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017 
Theme: Tattoos, Piercings and Body Modification

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 
Theme: Don't Sweat The Small Stuff 

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 
Theme: Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 
Theme: Leaders – Natural Gift or Made

Another great Contrarians meeting.....  We had the honor to induct new member, Garrett.  Nayan was the Toastmaster extraordinaire.  Sanjay spoke from an advanced manual with a speech titled: Everything else can wait, but....  Rich delivered an interesting "Letter to Nayan" based on politics and government.  Alexey brought it tonight with being the Table Topics Master with some very thoughtful questions on leadership, the theme of the evening.

In the end, the awards went to:
        Best Speaker - Sanjay
        Table Topics - Medi
        Evaluator - Garrett
        Most Improved/Breakthrough - Garrett

Looking forward to another great meeting next week!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017 
Theme: Fact or Fiction?

The key to a smooth meeting flow is to have roles confirmed by members ahead of the meeting. We are pleased to report that 92% of roles were confirmed on time. Clearly when we utilize the easy Speak website to confirm roles this contributes to a well-organized meeting. Also 12 members advised attendance on time via easy Speak. This is a great tool and I encourage all members to make it a regular part of their meeting update activity. Irina Wallace, one of our newest members, delivered her 2nd speech and is moving right along with her speech presentations and taking on roles. Garrett Rapp, also new to Contrarians, gave a great Table Topic speech and has taken on several roles. We appreciate their  contribution to Contrarians!

And the awards went to!

Best Speaker – Rich Lombardi, a Toastmasters veteran and wonderful speaker

Best Table Topics -  Garrett Rapp

Best Evaluator – Nayan Ajbani, also a Toastmasters veteran and one of our best evaluators

Most Improved – Irina Wallace

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 
Theme: Your Biggest Lie?

Wednesday, September 6, 2017 
Theme: Excellence or Perfection?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017 
Theme: Ridiculous Job Interview Questions

Wednesday, August 23, 2017 
Theme: If You Won a Lotto

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 
Theme: Blend In or Stand Out?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 
Theme: Regrets, I've had a few

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 
Theme: Out With the Old, In With the New

Tonight's meeting was hosted by Rich, who did a wonderful job of keeping the energy high and the show running on time.
 We had several people not show up to fill their roles and had to spend extra time in the beginning of the meeting assigning them, although this was still an entertaining portion of the evening.

Milind gave a speech on Communism vs Capitalism and the other 2 speeches we completely impromptu by Bob and Brendan. 
Brendan had a very interesting topic, but went over his time limit and did not qualify to be voted for best speaker. 

Our district director was also attending the meeting and provided an expert evaluation and an engaging table topic. She noted that our club was on track, if not exceeding everything that we are required to do as part of Toastmasters.

Tonight’s winners were:
Best speaker: Bob
Best Evaluator: Puala
Best Table Topics Speaker: Zenaida 
Most Improved: Linda

Wednesday, July 27, 2017 
Theme: The "A ha" Moment

Tonight was another action packed meeting with three great speeches and many Contrarians’ type table topics questions.

Alexey shared a nice opening thought by telling everyone that we all have an “Aha!” moment at some point in our life.
After that Bob, Toastmaster for tonight’s meeting, took control of the meeting and made sure all the segments are completed on time.

The first segment of the meeting was prepared speeches segment. In this segment we heard three great speeches on different topics.
First speaker was Paula, who gave an impromptu speech from one of the advanced manuals. In her speech Paula talked about how she got hooked to Contrarians Toastmasters club. She also shared many benefits of being a Toastmaster.
Second speaker was Irina, who gave her first a.k.a. “Ice Breaker” speech from CC manual. In her speech Irina shared with us her story from her childhood and key lesson “Integrity, being honest to admit who she is” she learned.
Third speaker was Linda, who gave her second speech from CC manual. In her speech, Linda also shared her personal story and key lesson “Capture the moments with your loved ones” she learned.

The second segment of the meeting was Table Topics a.k.a. “Impromptu Speaking” segment. It was led by Rich, who asked members and guest questions on various topics, mostly related to our meeting theme.
The third and final segment of the meeting was evaluation segment. It was led by Sanjay.
In this segment, the three speech evaluators, Nayan, Charlotte and Rich provided constructive feedback to three speakers. After that Sanjay gave constructive feedback on overall meeting.
During business segment of the meeting, we elected Alexey as our new VPPR. Congratulations Alexey on your first role as a club officer.

Tonight’s winners were:
Best speaker: Linda
Best Evaluator: Rich
Best Table Topics Speaker: Charlotte
We were also lucky to have one awesome guest “Rocky”. 

Wednesday, July 05 @ 18:30
Theme: Summer Adventures
Location: Atria Woodbridge, 1 Witherspoon, Irvine, CA 92604

Wednesday, June 28 @ 18:30
Theme: Course Corrections

We have been meeting consistently all year round but have yet to catch up with importing data for the meetings between October and December 2016.  Will do that as soon as feasible!  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday June 21, 2017
Love or Respect

Wednesday June 14, 2017
Perception or Reality

Wednesday June 7, 2017
To be or not to be

Wednesday May 31, 2017
Circle of Love

Wednesday May 24, 2017

Wednesday May 17, 2017
Spring Forward

Wednesday May 10, 2017
Cartoons and Comic Books

Wednesday May 3, 2017
Spiritual or Like-Minded

Wednesday April 26, 2017
Leader of the Free World

Wednesday April 19, 2017
Constitutional Rights

Wednesday April 12, 2017
Trendy or Trending

Wednesday April 5, 2017
Corporate America as opposed to Global Corporation

Wednesday March 29, 2017
Open House

Wednesday March 22, 2017
Theme: School of Hard Knocks vs. Formal Education

What a fun meeting we had tonight! 15 members and 4 guests were present to listen and give feedback to three prepared speeches. Mike opened the meeting with his opening thought to tonight’s topic “School of Hard Knocks vs. Formal Education”. Nayan, our Toastmaster, had the agenda ready and all the helper roles filled. First off, Rich gave an informative speech about taxes. Mau presented another one of his interesting, inspiring talks and Steve rehearsed his “Smile” speech before participating in the Saturday District competition. What a treat to listen to what everyone had to say! Next, tonight’s impromptu segment Table Topics was led by Sanjay. He had prepared questions to the topic “School of Hard Knocks vs. Formal Education”, which led to both fun and serious approaches. We thereby also learned about some members’ delicate pasts, which just goes to show how comfortable we are and the support that we feel in our club. Karolina then led through the evaluation segment by introducing the three evaluators. Chandra gave constructive feedback to Rich, Milind to Mau and Zenaida to Steve. We ended the meeting with our grammarian and ah-counter report, a general meeting evaluation by Karolina and the awards given out by our Toastmaster Nayan. Our president Paula greeted our guests and announced our open house and anniversary event next week. Thank you all for a fun and educational meeting, as usual.

- Karolina

Wednesday March 15, 2017
Theme: Speech Contest

Wednesday March 8, 2017
Theme: Dangerous Selfies

Wednesday March 1, 2017
Theme: Social Media

Wednesday February 22, 2017
Theme: Eat to Live or Live to Eat

Wednesday February 15, 2017
Theme: Life and Death

Wednesday February 8, 2017
Theme: V-Day

Tuesday October 18, 2016
Theme: The Fashion Industry

Tuesday October 11, 2016
Theme: Airbnb Rentals

Tuesday October 4, 2016
Theme: Baby Boomers vs. Millennials

Tuesday September 27, 2016
Theme: The Great Outdoors

Tuesday September 20, 2016
Theme: Humorous Speech Contest

Tonight, Duward gave a rousing and hilarious speech about his time in a college dorm room known as Room 15. We laughed as he spoke of  drunken rubber chicken fights and neighbors constantly bothered by the vibrations made by the sound of Room 15's eclectic taste in music. Afterward, we all had a chance to evaluate his speech.

For Table Topics, everyone was asked a question by the person who spoke previously. This lack of theme meant we were allowed the opportunity to explore a wide variety of subjects for the remainder of the evening. Paula won the ribbon for Best Table Topic this evening.

Please join us and find out why we all love to be Contrarians.


Tuesday September 6, 2016
Theme: Labor Day

Contrarians speakers are a bunch of aspiring orators who work hard to polish their speaking craft.  Our prepared speakers, Steve and Lynn, truly fired up the Contrarians Prepared Speech session; both eloquently spoke about the beauty of living a self-determined life.  Kudos to Steve and Lynn, who succeeded in enthralling, inspiring, and persuading the audience.  Our speech evaluators, Nayan and Sandy, displayed their critical listening skill in giving specific, helpful critiques to the prepared speakers.

In our club, all members are motivated to speak better.  Not only do we strive to make our speeches, prepared or impromptu, perfect, we also help each other to achieve a common goal – to become competent speakers.  Come to join the Contrarians and see us in action!

- Niem

Tuesday August 30, 2016
Theme: Happiness

Tuesday August 23, 2016
Theme: Higher Education

Tuesday August 16, 2016
Theme: The Summer Olympics

Tuesday August 9, 2016
Theme: Modern Dating

Tuesday August 2, 2016
Theme: Technology Addiction

Tuesday July 26, 2016
Theme: Myth & Legends

You never know what Tuesday night is going to bring.  We started the meeting with the induction of two new members, Rebecca and Rio.

Niem served as a superb Toastmaster who also delivered an opening thought on our theme for the evening.  He was helped by Marlene as Timer, Mau as Ah Counter and Farzad as Grammarian.

We had a full night of speeches beginning with Rebecca delivering a fantastic Icebreaker, Paula “rallied the troops” around her speech to get our club to President’s Distinguished Status and Sanjay gave a wonderful persuasive presentation from an advanced manual.

Our Table Topics portion of the evening was led by Chandra, with thought provoking questions leaving our members to decide myth or legend.    Our evaluators for the evening, Mark, Lynn and Steve did a fabulous and thorough job and at the end of it all, Paula won Best Speaker, Mark won Best Table Topic, Steve won Best Evaluator and Lynn was Most Improved.

As always, a fantastic night, not to be missed, ever!


Tuesday July 19, 2016
Theme: Reality vs. Expectations

Tuesday July 12, 2016
Theme: Expression

You never know what Tuesday night is going to bring.  Chandra guided us through the meeting as Toastmaster.  He was helped by Mark as Timer, Bob as Ah Counter and Marlene as Grammarian.

We had a full night of speeches beginning with Helen, Alex and Jose giving his Ice Breaker

Our Table Topics portion of the evening was led by Steve, who but an interesting spin on Expressions.    Our evaluators for the evening, Farzad, Sara did a fabulous and thorough job and at the end of it all, Alex won Best Speaker, Dan won Best Table Topic, and Helen was Most Improved.

As always, a fantastic night, not to be missed, ever!


Tuesday June 28, 2016
Theme: Climate Change

It was Sandy’s first time as a toastmaster but the way she conducted the meeting it looked like she had already taken this role many times. Good job Sandy, keep it up!!

Our first speaker was Farzad, who shared a few tips on how to become a better influencer. If you want to know more details, like Farzad, you can read the book “Shortcut to Influence”.

Our second speaker, Zenaida, talked about what are possible causes of “Mass Murder in USA” and what is her solution to this problem.

Our third speaker, Steve, talked about how Starbucks has become a marketing giant over many decades.

Paula was the table topics master for tonight’s meeting. She asked many questions from the “Road Rage” book. Each speaker had to pick one quote/sign from the book and tell everyone how it affects climate change.
You got to be at the meeting to see yourself, how people came up with many creative answers using their own personal stories and that too in 1-2 min speech!!

During evaluation segment, Rich, Milind and Chandra provided constructive feedback to three speakers, while Sanjay gave a general evaluation of the whole meeting.

Tonight’s winners were:
Steve (Best Speaker), Chandra (Best Evaluator), and Jeremiah (Best Table Topics Speaker)

We also had three first time guests and few returning guests.
Overall it was a fun meeting. If you are a visitor, come check us out on any Tuesday at 6:30PM.


Tuesday June 21, 2016
Theme: Deja Vu!

When the meeting theme is Déjà vu, you are in for a pleasant surprise and today’s meeting didn’t disappoint anyone. Paula gave the opening thought and nicely set the platform for the meeting.

This evening we had three speakers. Chandra, Sara, and Mark gave a speech on topics ranging from Financial Freedom, 4 enemies, and Scared to Death. Each speaker did a great justice by actively engaging with the audience and provided valuable information to all.

Our table topics master was Bob. Bob allowed the meeting to flow rather than dictating with his own questions. It was something new for the contrarians

Our evaluators for the evening were Steve, Marlene, and Sandy. Evaluations are crucial to member’s success as the constructive feedback allows speaker to improve in the future speeches.

At the end of our meeting, our timer Sara tallied the votes for three categories:

Best table topics: Jeremiah

Best evaluator: Sandy

Best speech: Mark

This was a fun meeting with a mix of serious and lighthearted tones. We also had three special guests. 

We meet every week on Tuesday evenings at 6:30. If you are interested in joining a Toastmasters club, you are more than welcome to join us a guest.

-Nayan Ajbani

Tuesday June 14, 2016
Theme: Gun Control

Gun control was the theme of the evening. Marlene gave the opening thought and shared countries with the strictest gun control measures. In Germany, anyone under 25 has to pass a psychiatric evaluation, and in Italy, to obtain a gun permit, you have to establish a genuine reason to have a firearm, pass a background check for both criminal and mental health. In  the U.K. and Japan, handguns are illegal for private citizens.
This evening we had several speakers. Jeff gave a speech titled “Breaking the ice – again”, Steve wrote a poem he wrote about Mohammad Ali titled “Fly like a butterfly and Sting like a bee”, and Mark gave his icebreaker speech and shared the work ethic encouraged by his grandfather, who immigrated to the U.S from Italy as a child and eventually owned his own company. 
Next was table topics and Karolina was our table topics master. After that was the speech evaluations segment, where the evaluators give their feedback to the speakers.
At the end of our meeting, we tallied the votes for three categories:
Best table topics: Sandy
Best evaluator: Jeremiah
Best speech: Mark
We meet every week on Tuesday evenings at 6:30. If you are interested in joining a Toastmasters club, you are more than welcome to join us a guest.

Tuesday June 7, 2016
Theme: Everyday Conversation

You never know what Tuesday night is going to bring and it started off with John and Alicia strangely taking measurements of Jeremiah while he was getting the meeting started.  Even stranger, they were measuring for a coffin, all in good Contrarian fun.

The meeting continued with Alicia as Toastmaster for the evening and she was helped by Sanjay as Timer, Mark as Ah Counter and Sandy as Grammarian.

We had two fabulous speakers going head to head (and one was an icebreaker!).  Milind, ever the character, delivered an impactful speech about procrastination and Alex, who shared that he is a smart ass – in the right club!) delivered an icebreaker speech that won us over.

Geared with props and all, we had another truly awesome table topic session full of laughs and truth, including Mark’s love for gambling with children’s lunch money.

Our evaluators for the evening, Dan and Lynn did a fabulous and thorough job and at the end of it all, Alex won Best Speaker, Farzad won Best Table Topics and Dan took the prize for Best Evaluation.

As always, a fantastic night, not to be missed, ever!


Tuesday May 31, 2016
Theme: Summer Fun

Summer fun  was the theme for this evening’s meeting.  Farzad gave the opening thought and shared  his recent trip to the Grand Canyon as part of the beginning of his summer fun.   Summer usually marks the beginning of fun trips.

There were several speeches scheduled for this evening. Alicia was our first speaker, and she talked about how food was her medicine after she stopped being a food zombie. After changing to a plant based diet her medical issues improved and have never returned.

The next speech was given by Chandra and he spoke about how he found himself unhappy despite having a a new baby, a  great job, and a new car. Realizing he needed to change, he spent several days meditating and practicing yoga, and afterwards,  noticed a a positive change.  The experience made him realize happiness was internal and could be controlled.

Our last speaker was Helen, who gave her first speech, known as the ice breaker. She was born and raised in France, and moved to Wales in the U.K. For her undergrad studies. From there she spent six months traveling across countries. Over a year and a half ago, she was transferred to Irvine, CA, and has recently accepted a  transfer to Canada. In addition to her global traveling, she will be pursuing her pH.D in Canada.

After the speaking portion, it was time for table topics and Sara was  the table topics master. Nayan talked about his recent Fitbit challenge and had won by walking over 20,000

steps a day in the last several days. Karolina shared her favorite time to go to the beach was at sunset, and Jose had a summer goal to learn how to dribble a wall.

At the end of our meeting, we tallied the votes for three categories:  Best Speaker, Best Evaluator, and Best Table Topics.  Helen won best speaker, Jeff won best evaluator, and Jose won best table topics.

We meet every week on Tuesday evenings at 6:30. If you are interested in joining a Toastmasters club, you are more than welcome to join us a guest.


Tuesday May 3, 2016
Theme: Dangerous Selfies

Tonight was a first for our Contrarians Club. Long time Toastmaster, Rich, gave a unique presentation from an advanced Toastmaster manual. The objectives for his presentation were to facilitate a discussion with a group.

He chose the very versatile topic of drones and divided the club into 4 separate groups, asking each group to brainstorm ideas on the beneficial uses of drones as well as the potential downside. Two of the groups were asked to give examples of military drone use and the other two groups were asked to brainstorm on the non-military uses of drones.

Each group had a delegated spokesperson who stood up and shared their group’s ideas with entire club.

This project was a wonderful way for everyone to work together, share ideas and even allowed our guests to participate in a non-threatening way.

Rich did a great job of facilitating the discussion and presenting his own ideas on the topic.

Our second segment of the evening was delivered by our Table Topics Master, Sasha. Our meeting theme was “Dangerous Selfies” and Sasha asked some thought provoking questions that seemed to bring out the best in all of our members and even the brave guests who volunteered to speak.

With so many fun questions and creative answers, there was a lot of laughter from the audience as our Table Topic speakers entertained us throughout the night.

During our third and final segment of the night, our General Evaluator, Alicia, evaluated Rich’s discussion as well as the rest of the meeting.

As the meeting came to an end, our Toastmaster, Farzad, delivered the closing ceremony and handed out a ribbon to our Best Table Topic speaker which happened to be the always entertaining Jeremiah!

If you have never been to a Contrarian’s Toastmaster meeting, you have no idea how much fun you’re missing. Some people have told us we should charge an entrance fee for the entertainment value alone. We love hearing that! We would also love to see you at the next meeting. Join us every Tuesday night at 6:30 PM. We hope to put a smile on your face.

Tuesday April 26, 2016
Theme: Minimum Wage

Tuesday April 12, 2016
Theme: Etiquette in Today's Society

Tonight’s theme, etiquette in today’s society, seemed rather dull at first but the Contrarians quickly showcased their out-of-the-box thinking. They never shy from a challenge.

Lynn, our Toastmaster tonight, flawlessly guided us through the meeting. Having recently rejoined the club, she’s quickly getting back into the swing of things. We’re glad to have you back, Lynn.

Our two prepared speakers, Sara and Ed, delivered phenomenal speeches. Sara discussed the importance of the mentee-mentor relationship, especially touching on the mentee-mentor Toastmasters program.    

Ed, meanwhile, one of our newest members, gave his first speech. Having already presented us in the Table Topics portion of the area contest, he is making swift strides towards becoming an accomplished speaker.

Paula, tonight’s Table Topic master, asked creative questions that inspired equally creative answers ranging from proper gift giving and receiving to proper bathroom etiquette. Our members persistently give it their all.

Afterwards, Sanjay and Chandra evaluated Sara and Ed respectively. Evaluations are unquestionably crucial to Toastmasters’ success; a good evaluation is never harsh nor brutal but honest and sincere.

We meet every Tuesday night. Everyone is invited - including you.

Tuesday April 5, 2016
Theme: Men vs. Women

Tuesday March 29, 2016
Theme: Celebrity adoration

We had so much fun at our meeting this week. Our 3 speeches included Steve informing us of his deep, deep and perhaps inappropriate love of pizza. Millind spoke of the benefits of failing and how failure is necessary in a process leading towards success. Finally, Rich gave a wonderful speech about technological advances simplifying modern life.

Alicia was our Table Topics Master for the evening. The topic was "Celebrity Adoration". Alicia taped pictures of celebrities on the walk with questions on the back. Her creativity in leading Table Topics allowed us all to have a wonderful time filled with laughter and anticipation.

All 3 of our speeches were well critiqued in the evaluation section of our meeting.

Please join us and experience the joy of attending a Contrarians meeting.


Tuesday March 22, 2016
Theme: All things Fernando

The Contrarians once again lived up to the spirit of the name of the club.  The table topic, which was well run by the Master Nayan, was all about a departing member of the club, Fernando.  Fernando, a well-liked Contrarians speaker, has tremendously improved his speaking skills since he joined the club.  His confident, hilarious speaking style has recently made him a repetitive winner of table topic competition.  And he did it again at his farewell meeting.  A sweet and memorable departure for Fernando.

Our first-time Toast Master, Steve, managed to run the meeting with minimal glitches in spite of a late start.  Steve's smooth co-ordination helped prepared speakers and evaluators deliver their speeches well and on time.  Farzad, with his confident delivery of speech, and Kristen, with her attentive listening skill, were respectively the best speaker and evaluator of the night.  Only in Contrarians Toast Master club do aspiring members quickly develop leadership and speaking skills in a camaraderie atmosphere.

Even though Contrarians members are serious in mastering their speaking skills, they also love having fun.  They do often get together for casual dining and sharing life experience.  Eureka! was their latest get-together place.

Please come to visit and see Contrarians in action.  You may not want to leave the club after the first visit!


Tuesday March 15, 2016
Theme: Club Contest - International Speech and Table Topics

Tuesday March 8, 2016
Theme: Adventure travel

As always, we had a great meeting with Karolina as Toastmaster and Jeremiah stepped up to do the inductions for the evening as well as other Contrarians who took last minute roles – thank you!  We missed are start time by a few minutes, but we are working on that, right?  Denis delivered opening thoughts on Adventure Travel with some fantastic quotes.  We had three fabulous speeches including Steve helping us to overcome mediocrity, Sasha provided us the omnipresent question of why you can’t spend less than $300 at Costco and Rich convinced us to become landlords.  We had an entertaining table topics segment and our new members Ed and Corey really stood out.  Our Evaluators Farzad, Nayan and Marlene all did a fantastic job.  Farzad challenged Steve, Nayan came through with a spot on evaluation and Marlene provided a great overview of the wealth of information Rich provided as well as some good suggestions.

Tonight's winners:  Best Speech – Sasha, Best Table Topics – Ed and Best Evaluator – Nayan

As always, I can’t wait to see what next week brings!


Tuesday March 1, 2016
Theme: Conspiracy Theories

Tuesday February 23, 2016
Theme: GMO Foods
This was a really fun meeting with a mix of serious and lighthearted tones. It started with the opening thought by Bob, who spoke really knowledgeably about GMO (genetically modified organisms) with supporting evidence and statistics to support his statements. This was followed by the introduction of the meeting by president Jeremiah who was bombarded with snowballs (crumbled paper balls) by the toastmaster contrarians. Sasha prepared an excellent list of table topic questions ranging from self-aware pumpkins to weaponizing peanut butter. Karolina gave a very informative and strong speech about post traumatic stress disorder. Jeremiah gave a 5W speech and caught the contrarians by surprise by opening up about his personal sex life. The evaluators were Rich and Niem. They were both very positive and gave great feedback for the two prepared speeches. Tonight’s winners: Best speech (Karolina), best evaluator (Niem), and
best table topics (Alicia).


Tuesday February 16, 2016
Theme: The Stock Market - Enjoying your 101(K)
Tonight’s meeting started right on time. Jeff gave a nice opening thought by sharing few quotes from the famous book “Prophecy” by Robert Kiyosaki.

Marlene, the Toastmaster of tonight’s meeting, introduced her helpers and then handed off the floor to Table Topics Master Nayan.

Nayan has prepared many questions related to meeting theme. Sasha and Chandra responded to individual questions, while Sanjay/Farzad and Sara/Dennis participated in debates.

In the second segment, Fernando and Paula gave 5W (Who, What, When, Where and Why) speeches while Rich gave a fun and educational impromptu speech on 401K.

Fernando in his 5W speeches shared a fun story about his grandma and his trip to Italy and waited until the end to bring his 5Ws (Bernie Madoff, Tampons, Private Jet, 1960 and Sex).

5Ws for Paula include: Fidel Castro, Christmas Party, Montana, Yesterday and Shopping spree. She used her story telling skills to tell us how Fidel Castro fell in love with her by seeing her picture on her website and how in the end she got $10K gift card from Fidel to go on shopping spree.

Rich, in his impromptu speech, shared his knowledge about 401K and some of the myths that young people have :).

Evaluation segment was led by general evaluator Sanjay. Chandra, Jeff and Sasha gave constructive feedback to Fernando, Paula and Rich respectively. Bob provided ah-counter report while

Karolina provided grammarian report. Sanjay summarized what we did well and the areas where we could have done better as a club.

Tonight’s winners were:  Fernando (Best Speaker), Jeff (Best Evaluator), Sara (best Table Topics Speaker)

We also had three special guests. Overall it was a fun and education meeting.

See you all next week.


Tuesday February 9, 2016
Theme: Prostitution

It was awesome meeting this week; we had three ICE breaking speeches with good mix of self-introduction with heart touching personal stories and good exposure to digital music. You can always expect exciting speeches with inspiring stories and exposure new areas of knowledge from contrarians. Overall it was wonderful meeting with some humor mixed serious thoughts on prostitution. 

Don’t miss the next week meeting themed on:  The stock market.


Tuesday February 2, 2016
Theme: Marijuana Legalization

Well the February 2nd meeting had a wonderful whiff of fun and was loaded with interesting speeches and answers from our Table Topics participants. Rich gave a Speech about Freedom, Chandra about Diamonds and Steve about inventions that have moved our society forward over the years. Sara lead the stoned table topics segment with multiple respondents. Eventually the winners were announced as follows: Best Speech: Steve Higgy, Best Evaluator: Nick, Best Table Topics: Fernando. Looking forward to next week: Prostitution. Drugs, Sex and...the Contrarians!


Tuesday January 26, 2016
Theme: Presidential Election Debates

We had a great meeting as always, but tonight was really special because we had two brand new members in our club giving their first speech. Steve and Milind gave their Ice Breaker speech. It is very interesting their approach. Steve told us a little bit about himself and specially how we have to decide of who we want to be and become in life and how to make a difference in others. Millind spoke about the importance of being authentic in everything your do, including speaking in public. During our Table Topics we have various speakers improvising and speaking about our them for the night: The Presidential Election Debates, Karolina made it really fun when she made us write a question regarding the topic and put it in a hat, and wow!! we got a great debate and interesting approaches to the topic. Finally, we had our evaluation segment were Paula and Jeffrey evaluated our speakers. Their energy enthusiasm and feedback were very positive. Just another night at the Contrarians...

Tuesday January 19, 2016
Theme: Alien Nation...the truth is out there

Tuesday January 12, 2016
Theme: Veganism

This evening we began our meeting by inducting four new members: Steve, Dennis, Nicholas, and Kristen. We welcomed each of our newly inducted members and pledged to provide them support during their Toastmaster journey. We had our first volunteer from one of our newly inducted members, Steve, who accepted the volunteer role of Sargent-in-Arms. Way to go Steve – thanks for stepping up to the plate!
Farad gave the opening thought on veganism and shared his thoughts that all diets should be personalized; there are different foods for different people. As someone on a paleo diet, he noticed his brain process improved when he reduced his carbs and sugar intake.  Something to think about next time we take a big bite out of a cheese pizza.
In order to give Sanjay time to prepare for his impromptu 5 W speech, we reversed the order of the meeting and we did our table topics first.   Alicia was our table topics master for the evening and she always brings enthusiasm to her role. Fernando was asked what vegan means to him. He said he thought he would save money when he dated a vegan. However, she was always able to smell the most expensive vegan places during their trips to San Francisco . She found a place that served expensive crickets- he advised un not to trust vegans! Alicia shared vegans don't wear leather, feathers, visit animal parks or go to the circus.
Sara gave a motivating speech on 2016 goals and gave us five steps to achieve our goals in 2016. Tonight’s winners: Best Speaker: Sarah, Best Evaluator: Niem, Best table topics: Karolina.

Tuesday January 5, 2016
Theme: The Art of Love and Money - Contrarians Club Open House Potluck!
Guest Speaker Todd Creager will be coming to speak on the Art of Love and Money. Great event with 50 attendees! Food was awesome, special thanks to Alicia for organizing the Potluck food, Sara for scheduling and organizing the event and special thanks to our newly installed president, Jeremiah who displayed his leadership in the face of being forced to get people out of the venue in a timely manner!

If you would like to know how the meeting went, check out our Meetup group and see what attendees commented! http://www.meetup.com/The-Contrarians-Toastmasters/events/224468231/


Tuesday December 15, 2015 @ 6:45PM
Theme:  War on Christmas?

Apparently there is a war on writing Snapshots! I am sure that this will be fixed with our new Executive Committee starting their term January 1, 2016. 

It was a fun meeting from what I remember and that is that Alicia was Table Topics Master and Jeffrey won Best Table Topics. It's been so long he almost forgot what that felt like.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to everyone in the club for their contributions to this great organization. Looking forward to another successful year of growth and we will miss members lost due to changes in their lives or our club location and schedule. 

Please join us at our New University Park address next year: 

University Park, 
1 Beech Tree Lane
Irvine, CA 92612
We will be kicking off the new year with a Contrarians Club Open House on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 from 6:30PM-8:00PM.


Tuesday December 8, 2015
Theme: The Refugee Crisis

At the Contrarians, you can always expect the unexpected. At the instant that you think it can’t get any better, it does. That’s the heart of our club - the laughter, the amusement, the kindness.

Tonight, Angela once again showed her brilliant depth and sweet elegance. She did not ask any leading questions; instead, she maintained a respectful and sensitive demeanor. She was the best choice for Table Topics Master, and an inspiring one to boot.

Since she became the Vice President of Membership, Sara has wanted to do an open house. Her idea finally came to fruition. To celebrate a new year, a new term, and a new location, we will host an open house January 5, 2016. High-fives to Sara for making this happen!

Our second speaker, Nayan, always chooses topics that speak to the heart. Soulful, his remarks generate a lot of smiles in the room. We’re glad to have him as a member.

Jeff, serving as Toastmaster, did a splendid job. Our attendance wasn’t very high, probably due to the upcoming holidays, but he made sure that every role was filled.

At the Contrarians, every meeting is better than the last. Come check us out - you won’t regret it.

Wednesday December 2, 2015
Theme: Dogs vs. Cats

Wednesday November 18th, 2015
Theme: Facebook

November 12th, 2015
Theme: The Monkeysphere

With a theme such as The Monkeysphere, there was question marks in my head over what the heck The Monkeysphere could be. Soon as the meeting started Jeremiah answered the question in his opening speech. The Monkeysphere is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships and care about. The number being 150 people.

After the insightful opening thought Jeffrey did not hesitate to share his prepared speech about Change. Jeffrey explained that while turning 40, it can be difficult to accept change but in the right mindset one can welcome change for the best givien great examples of why change has affected him in a positive way.

Jeremiah again took the floor as Table Topics Master. He had us each write on a piece of paper the worst job we could think of. He then had had each of us pull a paper from the bag and have us create an impromptus speech as to why such job was the best job in the world. Each member went up explaining why such job was perfect for them which had us laughing in tears over each one of the members answers.

After settling down from Table Topics, Angela gave Jeffrey his speech evaluation. He had good pointers on how to make his speech more impressionable.

Overall the the meeting was great and I cant wait to go again.

- Fernando

November 4th, 2015
Theme:  Equal Opportunity

You just never know what exciting things will be happening at a Contrarians Toastmaster meeting.

Tonight we began with a short but lively display of limbo as our President was welcomed to the stage. Several members and a guest took turns getting limber under a broomstick as the audience members cheered them on. 

Our opening thought on the evening’s theme of Equal Opportunity, was powerfully delivered by Max on why exclusivity should be eliminated.

Long time member Wayne was our Toastmaster for the evening guiding us through our speech segment. We enjoyed three incredible speeches given by Farzad, Chandra and Jeffrey. Each speaker shared important, heartfelt and unique messages that were informative as well as entertaining. 

Our impromptu segment called Table Topics was run by Nayan who asked important questions related to our Equal Opportunity theme. We heard from both members and guests during this fun and exciting portion of our meeting. 

General Evaluator, Alicia, introduced our evaluators for the evening. Roxanna, Bob and Rich each gave their assigned speaker valuable feedback on what they did well during their speeches and what they could improve upon in the future. 

After an entertaining ah counter report from Jeremiah and grammarian report from Paula, plus an overall evaluation of the meeting given by Alicia, our Toastmaster Wayne held our closing ceremony and introduced the winners of each segment. Congratulations to Chandra for Best Speaker, Rich for Best Evaluator and Paula for Best Table Topics. 

Come join us in person for the full Contrarian experience!

~ Alicia

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