Call to Council and Meet the Candidates

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Nominated Candidates for the
District 1 Executive Committee, 2019-2020

On Saturday, May 18th during the Business Meeting at the 2019 District Spring Conference one of the items on the agenda is the election of the 2019-2020 District Officers. Below are details about each of the nominated candidates.

For more details about the voting and the proxy form check out the Call to Council Letter. Register today for the 2019 Spring Conference “A Legacy of Leadership”.

District Director Candidate, Ken Starks, ACG/ALB

My name is Ken Starks, and I am honored to be a nominated candidate for District Director.
I attended my first Toastmasters meeting eleven years ago at a club in South Los Angeles, and I remember leaving feeling excited and motivated. The leaders in that club created an experience that gave me valuable insight that made me want to learn more about leadership in Toastmasters.

Through their encouragement, I’ve held multiple club officer roles, and as President in 2013, I led the club to become President’s Distinguished. I have served as an Area Director, Division Director, and I am currently the District One Program Quality Director. It’s leaders like you that inspire me in the same way my club officers did eleven years ago. As your District Director, together we will build new clubs, strengthen existing clubs, and help our members step into their greatness.

My vision is to grow the District and create more opportunities for you to explore your communication and leadership development. It is important to me that all clubs focus on the club mission, and revisit the Toastmasters promise regularly. I want this to be a time when you feel comfortable knowing that change will happen and that your voice and opinion matters.

I have fifteen years of experience managing an IT department for the US Postal Service. I’ve led and worked with cross-functional teams using Lean Principles on various projects throughout the organization. My IT background and leadership experience in and out of Toastmasters makes me uniquely qualified to be the next District Director.

Serving as your District Director is a privilege and given the opportunity, I will pursue the District mission and uphold the Toastmasters values. I am committed to helping you become the communicator and leader you want to be. Therefore, I respectfully ask for your vote.

Vote Ken Starks for 2019-2020 District Director.

“Together we will build a better future for District One.”

Quality Director Candidate,
Keith Jackson, DTM

Keith Jackson has achieved a legacy of success serving District 1 and our members for the past 13 years, having earned 2 Distinguished Toastmasters (DTM) awards and Division Governor of the Year for the 2010-2011 term. He has served in numerous leadership roles in his clubs and the District.

Outside of Toastmasters Keith is the Founder and CEO of an International Engineering and Risk Management Consultancy serving multinational conglomerates worldwide. Keith uses the speaking and leadership skills he learned in Toastmasters daily, when collaborating with cross cultural and multi-disciplinary teams, as well as when presenting strategies and evaluations to client senior and executive leaders.

More important than what he has personally accomplished, is what he can do for others. Keith is committed to serve individual members and clubs through his philosophy of Leadership by Influence through Service, to help everyone accomplish more. Join Keith in helping District 1 and our members to excel as the 2019 – 2020 Program Quality Director (PQD).


Club Growth Director Candidate,
Diane Markham, DTM

My name is Diane Markham. I am a nominated candidate for District One Club Growth Director. I joined Deluxe Toastmasters over six years ago when I started working at a company that hosted a Toastmasters club. My goal for joining was to be a better speaker.

As I improved my communication skills, I joined Praisemasters, The Officers’ Club of District One, and District 1 Trailblazers to hone and to develop my leadership skills. To that effort, I have served as President, VP of Education, VP of Membership, Secretary, and Sergeant at Arms. I took the next step and entered District leadership, where I have served as an Assistant Area Governor, Area Governor, Division Director, District One Chief Judge, District One Speechcraft Chair, and currently serve as District One Club Extension Chair. My goal as Club Growth Director is to build the network of clubs around District 1 and help spread the word about Toastmasters to our communities. I humbly ask for you vote for 2019-2020 Club Growth Director at the Spring Conference Business Meeting on May 18, 2019.

Vote Diane Markham, DTM for 2019-2020 Club Growth Director

Division A Director Candidate
Leann Levine, ACS, ALB

Leann Levine, ACS-ALB, excels in many roles: wife, Boy Scout mom, Aflac insurance benefits advisor, and Toastmaster; and is honored to be the 2019-20 District One Division A Director nominee. Currently, she is the Area A1 Director. Her home club is Professional Women Toastmasters of Playa Vista, California.

Leann’s Division Director leadership goals include 1) leading Division A to Distinguished level or better, 2) chartering one or more clubs, and 3) hosting a virtual council for corporate clubs to encourage sharing of best practices and networking. She is the recipient of the Area A1 Spark Plug Award (2017 & 2018) and the Toastmaster of the Year Award (2018) from her home club. She enjoys cooking, baking, watching a Dodgers game, Pilates, indoor cycling, volunteering at her son’s school, and carefully skiing down an easy green run!

Division B Director Candidate,
Alan Shinkman, CC/CL

HOME CLUB: Professional Women Toastmasters

Area A6 Director – District 1 2018 to 2019
Competent Communicator
Competent Leader

I worked at NASA in Houston, TX as a Space Shuttle Flight Controller in an environment of a high degree of quality control. Also I tested Space Shuttle Astronaut simulators in an environment requiring a high degree of being detailed oriented.
My recent work experience as an engineer with the California Public Utilities Commission inspecting power plants in Southern California involved planning detailed inspections of power plants.
I am also a filmmaker as an actor, director, writer, and producer, focusing on non-violent material only. In addition, my recent filmmaking included writing, producing and directing my first student film, for classes at the UCLA Extension.
My experience in finance includes planning Toastmasters club speech contests and Area A6 speech contest, and financing my first film.
I have experience in developing procedures for inspecting power plants and testing Space Shuttle simulators.
Always have two or more ways of accomplishing any goal. Have backup systems on your backup systems. When working with people with various backgrounds it is the responsibility of leadership to create an environment that everyone feels is safe and their creativities can flourish.

I want to be a district officer in the role of Division Director to help all the members of my division to feel comfortable in their journeys of self-discovery as a speaker and/or officer. I see Toastmasters as an antidote to a social world that challenges people to feel acceptable. In Toastmasters new/old members are always home no matter which club they are at. The major objectives of the district are to provide a safe and enjoyable environment where all of its members can take on responsibilities that provide for maximum personal growth. Being all that we can is what Toastmasters is all about.

Division C Director Candidate, Jessica Denham, VC2
Hello, I’m Jessica Denham and I would like to earn your vote for the position of Division C Director. When I became a Toastmaster in January 2016, I was almost physically incapacitated by stage fright. I know firsthand the power that our organization has to transform absolutely anyone into a confident speaker and leader. That is my motivation and my inspiration, to help others step forward into a bolder and brighter world.

Only a few months after I joined Toastmasters, I took a club office. I served as Vice President Education during the initial launch of Pathways, which was an excellent opportunity to learn the details of both educational programs. I earned a Triple Crown in 2018, and coached three other members of my club to do the same. I am currently serving as Area C2 Director. I received an award for Area Director Excellence in January 2019. I am also Club Coach for Wine Tasting Toastmasters. Service has always been irresistible and fascinating for me. Division C is positively dazzling with its concentration of talent, brilliance, and professional accomplishment. I am proud to be a part of Division C and eager to explore how far we can go together.
Vision: Inspire Division C members, offer enhanced training and mentoring opportunities, and innovate ways to build club growth.

Division D Director Candidate,
Tawanda Duck, ACS/ALB

I am member of Bay Cities Club. I am happy to say I have taken advantage of both the Leadership Track and Communication Track in Toastmaster. I previously held the offices of President, Vice President of Education and Vice President of Public Relations in my home club, Bay Cities, and am currently serving as District 1, Division D, Area Director – D4.

The communication journey has been good to me. It has taught me to be an effective communicator and polished speaker, which led to my participation in speech contests. I took 1st Place at the International Speech Contest for Area D1 and Division D in Spring, 2012 and Area D1 in Spring, 2016. In the Spring, 2018, I took 1st Place at the Evaluation Contest for Area D7. I am also a Qualified Speaker of the Speakers Bureau.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, meeting new people and Toastmasters!

Division E Director Candidate,
Jonathan Eckman, ACB/ALB

Prior to joining Toastmasters I developed my leadership and financial skills while serving as both a Union Treasurer and President (AFT 6108), and as a manager responsible for creating and balancing a budget for the Operations Department at LBCC. I was also responsible for contract negotiations where I learned the art of reaching reasonable settlements with sometimes unreasonable people, and learned that there were many ways we can achieve our desired goals.

I’m seeking the Division E Director’s job to help my fellow Toastmasters feel that they have the opportunity to develop their speaking and leadership skills in a safe and rewarding environment. I want every Toastmaster to feel that they can try for those “stretch” goals, including serving as either Club Officers or serving in the District, without worrying if someone’s got their back. I also want every Toastmaster, whether new or seasoned, to feel welcome and at home whether it’s at the Club, Area, Division, or District level.

Division F Director Candidate
Janell Williams, ACB, ALB, LD1

Janell Carla Williams is a nominated candidate for Division F Director. She has been a an enthusiastic member of Toastmasters since 2016 and has served as President, Vice President of Education and Secretary in her home club Talk Nation. Janell is serving as the Area Director for Area F6 and servers as a trainer and club coach and believes strongly in the power of possibility.

Janell has spent 23+ years working in the Ticketing Industry at Live Nation / Ticketmaster and is currently working as Software Engineer. It is here that she has developed and exercises her love for live events and theater.

In addition to the passion that comes from speaking and collaborating with fellow Toastmasters, Janell is active in her church and volunteers regularly there and with Lula Washington Dance Theater. A former Girl Scout Leader, Parent Council Officer and Booster club leader her love for working with people is always apparent. Her hobbies include attending concerts, crocheting and spending time with her friends and family.

Call to Council

District Steering Committee, Area Directors, Club Presidents, & Club Vice Presidents of Education:

Your presence is needed at the Spring Business Meeting during the 2019 District Spring Conference on Saturday, May 18, where one of the items on the agenda is the election of the 2019-2020 District Officers. Attendance at the Business Meeting is FREE if you choose not to attend any of the other conference events. Please check-in at the Registration Desk before proceeding to the Credentials Desk for your delegate’s packet and ballots. The Call to Council Letter and the proxy form can be found on the District 1 website.
Club Presidents and VPEs only:
If you cannot attend, please complete the attached proxy form and send the signed form with a member of your club. (Note: emails cannot be accepted)

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