Category Archives: Recap

May 28th 2014 TM Meeting

8 members and 4 guests showed up for our meeting from last night’s meeting. It was exciting to feel the electricity of the group. Marilou is back as the Foodmaster! The food is delicious as usual.

Congrats to the following:
Best Table Topics Award (tie): Jovi and Richard (guest)
Best Speaker: Arnold
Best Evaluator: AJ for evaluating Arnold’s speech.

See everyone on our next meeting: June 11th [7 pm) at 333 Gellert Blvd. 2nd Floor Conference Room.

See you there.



Story Night Inaugural Meeting Recap

On a clear and moonlit night in downtown San Bruno, the usual breeze was nowhere to be found, leaving the atmosphere unusually warm and pleasant. The beautiful evening sky augured something magical. On San Mateo Avenue, a few pedestrians ambled about, scouting for tasty meal options. Shining like a jewel on the southern end of the street was Sweet Connections, a brightly lit ice cream shop radiating with warmth of a freshly baked pie. If you were in the mood for tangy yogurt or decadent sundae, Sweet Connections was the place to be. But greater treasures still could be found within.

Far back in the party room at the rear of the shop, Peninsula Toastmasters gathered. The Word of the Day for the meeting was “oxymoron”. Indeed, on this night, we were as strangers who knew each other well. As our faux teacup lights flicked dimly with electric light that gave no heat, we were warmed. Though we were smushed together like giant gummy bears, no one seemed to mind. Instead of claustrophobia, there was only nostalgia. On Peninsula’s first ever Story Night, anticipation hung in the air like the morning fog.

The meeting was filled with familar faces. Jaime E. and Jill C. returned to the club like long-lost, prodigal children. There were new faces too. Four guests made their first appearance at a Peninsula Toastmasters meeting. After the Joke of the Day and the Word of the Day, Arnold delivered a speech titled “Say It Like Obama.” And then, it was story time.

Scott bravely led off with a recount of a hilarious prank of how he fooled his coworker into thinking he had been laid off. We marveled at Scott’s cruel sense of humor. It was fortunate Scott lived to tell his tale, “When Practical Joke Goes Wrong” with all his members intact.

Ed followed with a classic camping story about an “Unexpected Journey”. How unexpected? How about an 11-mile hike? It had all the elements of a great survival story, poor planning, starvation, and blisters. To this day, Ed has never hiked again.

Jaime took us on an emotional turn with a touching story about how precious life truly is. He recounted the story of his mother and her battle with lung cancer. She lived and died beautifully. Even to this day, through the story of “Life is Precious”, she enriches lives of people she had never even met.

Arnold made full use of his time by weaving his entire childhood together in an 8-minute tale, most of which blurred together like a drunken poet on LSD. If you missed his story of self-discovery about a young boy’s secret adulation of the female form, suffice it to say you missed the most scandalous story ever delivered in the club.

Timothy brought the baton home with a story about how life perseveres even in the most unimaginable adversity. The enrapt audience sat in stony silence as he delivered an astonishing story, “12 Hours“, about the real-life drama of how a newborn baby was found alive after being mistakenly placed into an icy coffin for 12-hours. Truly, Hope does not disappoint us (Ro 5:5).

Like Love, a great Story is meant to be shared. We hope that some of those who attended will one day retell Story Night as a great story in their own speech or story. We thank all the members and guests who made Peninsula’s inaugural Story Night such a special evening. We also recognize Timothy for doing a masterful job as Toastmaster of the inaugural Story Night at Peninsula Toastmasters.

Please join us again at the next meeting!

Area H4 Spring Speech Contest Recap

It was a crisp and chilly evening on March 28, but spirits were high at the United Methodist Church in Burlingame. Everyone had gathered for the Area H4 Spring Speech Contest, where three clubs were represented by members competing in the Table Topics and International speech contests. After some last-minute organizing, completing of documents and eating of food, the contest was ready to begin.

First up was the Table Topics portion of the competition. The three contestants were each asked, “How have high gas prices affected you personally?” Each took a different tack in answering the question. One contestant spoke of her desperation with trying to save gas, going so far as to say that she wished that camels could store gasoline instead of water! Another struck a defiant tone and insisted that high gas prices did not affect her at all. She felt that since it was out of our control, it was not worth worrying about. Our club’s representative in the contest, Platon, took a pragmatic approach. He first got the audience’s attention by noting how gas prices have more than doubled during the time that he owned his car. The he spoke of how we could all not only save on our gas expenses, but also lead healthier lives by carpooling or even biking to work.

After a brief intermission, next up was the International Speech contest. Again, our three contestants all enchanted the audience with their presentations. One Toastmaster spoke of her love of mystery novels and explained how there are actually different types of mystery genres. She noted that her favorite was the “cozy” and implored the audience to look up any author in the genre, such as Agatha Christie. Another contestant spoke of the joys and adventures of her grandchildren and demonstrated how they may be little, but how they can always surpise us with their intelligence and humor. Peninsula Toastmaster’s own Arnold demonstrated how the little thing mattered through vingettes and examples spanning a wide variety of topics such as politics, the military and education. Arnold also spoke of his own experiences, both professionally and personally, that really helped the audience to connect with his stories.

In the end, while Platon and Arnold may not have collected trophies, they both gained somthing much more valuable: the experience of speaking in front of a large crowd of new people. They both gave wonderful speeches and did Peninsula Toastmasters proud. Everyone had a good time at the contest and are eagerly awaiting the upcoming Division H contest on April 18.

Director’s Commentary With Jaime Espiritu

Our recent feature on the East Palo Alto Senior Center has generated an overwhelmingly positive response from our readers and fans. Many people have written to Peninsula Toastmasters wanting to know more. We sit down with Jaime again to find out more about the backstory of his project.

1. How were you introduced to the East Palo Alto Senior Center project?

One of the pastors at my church (Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View) asked me to do a promotional video in order to persuade the East Palo Alto Senior Center to continue to give funding to the center. The Pastor was a volunteer at the center. I did many video projects at church with him. I first met him when he was doing a program called “Inspire U“. Inspire U is an outreach program that mixes life skills with flag football for at risk kids. I videotaped their flag football games, made highlights and created 1 minute promotional video clips that is shown during the service.

2. Do you feel a personal connection to the people at the center?

I feel a definite connection to the seniors at EPA Senior Center because the people there have no where and no family to depend on. For some, this is there only place to feel loved and for something to do. For others, some just don’t have the money to meet daily needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

3. For you, who had the most inspiring personal story?

The most inspiring story is Mrs. Grant. She is the Executive Director who personally cares for each person at the center. She constantly gives to this organization. Mrs. Grant also gives free monthly breakfast meals to anyone in the community. What struck me the most is the that she personally talks to each person who enters the center. She makes everyone feel like their personal friend.

4. What do you think persuaded the City Council to change their mind about the funding?

The council was about to cut funding at the Center . They just didn’t know what was going on there. The video definitely changes the EPA’s council’s mind  they know now the faces at the center. They heard and seen the stories for some of the members who come there everyday. They hear the voices, the facial expressions and the sites and sounds of the center.

5. Is there still an unmet need? And if so, how can people help?

There is always an unmet need at the East Palo Alto Senior Center. They always need volunteers. They also need donations to buy more food and keep the meal programs going.

On behalf of the community of which we are part, Peninsula Toastmasters thanks Jaime Espiritu for his time and applaud him for his wonderful work. Jaime’s talents truly sparkle on film. Communication is great, but action is even better. To find out how Jaime can help you produce a great video, please visit To learn how you can help at the East Palo Alto Senior Center, please click HERE to contact the organization.

Recap From 2012.03.01 Meeting

New members are the oxygen that sustains the life force of a Toastmasters club. With this fact in mind, Peninsula Toastmasters Club warmly welcomes Cheryl and Neiasha to the club. We hope that you will bring new energy and new enthusiasm to Peninsula! We were also honored by the presence of several guests including our old friend Ricardo and our new friend Orlando.

Our Table Topics theme was musical. Members had to take on the character of a music artist who wrote a hit song and had to explain why they wrote the song. Some classic hits such as “Beat It“, “Tonight’s the Night” “Funky Town“, “Pants on the Ground,” and “I Just Died In Your Arms Tonight” were selected and our ersatz rockstars came up with some very creative stories behind those songs! Kudos to all the new members and guests for your enthusiastic participation. Congratulations to Neiasha for winning best Table Topics! Next time you should wear your sequined gloves on one hand!

Our first speakers for the evening was Arnold. He gave an encore performance for his speech titled “Little Things”. Arnold masterfully showed us that whether it’s voting ballot chads in Florida or speech feedback written on small scraps of paper, little things really do make a big difference.

Our second speaker for the evening was Loni. She gave an uplifting performance on the importance of pursuing our dreams. If we could pursue our dreams with even half of the zeal shown by stars like Susan Boyle and Mahatmas Ghandi, who knows what heights we might reach?

Our third speaker for the evening was Eugenia. She gave a special occasion speech, which was a toast to her respected colleague Helenka. A toast is a relatively short speech, but short speeches may be more forceful than longer ones with the right energy and the right delivery. Eugenia’s speech definitely fit that description. We toast her for her performance!

Thanks again to all the members and guests who participated in our meeting last Thursday. You are truly a blessing to this club. We hope to see you on March 15!

2012 Spring Club Contest Recap

The Spring Contest is an annual event where club members compete in the International Speech and Table Topics contest. It’s one of the two premier events in the Toastmasters Club calendar, with the Fall contest being the other.

The International Speech is the highlight of the year not just for the club, but for the entire Toastmasters organization. Winners from the clubs go on to compete in the Area, the Division, the District, and finally in the the World Championship of Public Speaking (WCPS). Many former WCPS winners and runners-up have gone on to launch a fabulous career as professional speakers. Rory Vaden, Craig Valentine, and Darren LaCroix are just some of speakers you may have heard of. You may check out video of recent WCPS winners HERE.

Two Thursdays ago, Peninsula Toastmasters also took their turn in the spotlight. The International Speech is 5-7′ and the topic is usually of an inspirational nature. The Table Topics Contest is the same as the usual Table Topics and contestants have 1 – 2′ to answer the question. Arnold, Julie, August, and Eugenia took part in the International Speech Contest. Platon, Loni, and Arnold filled out the slate for the Table Topics. Platon and Julie were first-time competitors in the contest! Ed was the Contest Toastmaster and Timothy was the Chief Judge.

The competition in the Table Topics was fierce and the winner had to be decided by the Secret Tie-Break Judge (It was Jaime! Shhh). The question was if people can still find success and all three contestants acquitted themselves well with thoughtful answers. Loni was the winner and will represent Peninsula Toastmasters at the Area Contest next month.

The International Speech contest was an eye-opening experience. What a difference a year makes! Any of this year’s contestants could have won the club contest last year. The individual improvements were remarkable, especially for Julie and Jaime. Arnold took home the Gold with a speech about little things that make a big difference. Arnold will join Loni at the Area Contest. Chief Judge Timothy claims that he deserves credit for coming up with the speech idea during Arnold’s last evaluation. Whatever, man.

One of the hallmarks of a good club is the level of competition at the Spring Contest. We are pleased then, to give Peninsula high marks! We thank all the participants and functionaries for their outstanding performances. You are truly what makes the club special.

We only wish that more members had been present to enjoy the many great individual performances. Speeches are meant to be heard. No one gives a speech to an empty room. Please remember that we are a community and we need to support each other even if we’re not participating as contestants. We can always use more judges!  Who knows, maybe you will be inspired to compete in the next contest!

See you on Thursday, March 1st at 7:15PM!

Division H Open House Recap

If you didn’t attend the Division H Open House last Wednesday, you missed an evening of fun! Our VP of Education Loni Malinao ably represented our club for the many guests who were present. Her charming smile and bubbly attitude no doubt won many converts! Hopefully we will see the fruits of her work at the next Toastmasters meeting.

National Speakers Association Chapter President Jim Carrillo was the the Toastmaster for the event. He opened the meeting with a story about the beginning of his long relationship with Toastmasters. Jim greeted all the attendees warmly and made them feel right at home. The brave souls who introduced themselves to the audience were rewarded with a gift card redeemable at the Toastmasters International Shop.

The Open House was conducted in the format of a regular meeting with usual functionary and speaker roles. Toastmaster Jim Carrillo was masterful in going over the agenda for the evening, being careful to define each role. He discussed all the minutia of how to incorporate the use of the Word of the Day “Delight” to ending the meeting on time.

Our keynote speaker was Immediate Past District Governor Mike Barsul, who gave a 5 – 7 minute speech on using the right tools to give a speech. Mike used the analogy of baking a cake. While baking a cake you have to use the right measurements for each ingredient if you want the cake to be a DELIGHT and not a DISASTER. The point of Communication, Mike said, is to motivate, encourage, and inspire others.

As the meeting came to a close, several of the guests commented on how they were delighted by the friendliness and support of Division H Toastmasters. A few of the guests told Loni they plan to pay a visit to Peninsula Toastmasters!

And finally, we again thank Loni for doing such a great job at the Open House. We are blessed to have her as our VP of Education! Be sure to say “Thank You” the next time you see her! Be sure also to support her at the Area Contest in March!