The Leadership Luncheon took place on July 15th, 2023, hosted by District 101.

The primary objective of this event was to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of the previous Toastmasters year under the leadership of District Director Kalpana Aroda, DTM. It also aimed to recognize individuals who displayed exceptional dedication and exceeded expectations. The program was held in person and registrations reached full capacity. This event symbolized a fresh start and a return to traditional in-person gatherings, providing members valuable face-to-face opportunities to connect and network.

International Director Anwesha Banerjee, DTM (Region 8), graced the occasion and led the ceremony for installing the officers for the current Toastmasters year. Additionally, she presented trophies to the winners from the previous year. Taking moments to reflect on their accomplishment gave opportunities for all to pause and applaud.

The following individuals were honored during the Luncheon for taking extra steps and helping the district.

🏆 Division Director of the Year – Jaymol George
🏆 Area Director of the Year – Rovina Suri
🏆 Toastmaster Of the Year – Jay Mojnidar
🏆 Club Officer Of the Year – Sarah Tang

The winner of Division Director of the Year award, Jaymol George described her feelings in detail and how she felt alive, inspired, and grateful when she received the award. Here’s her statement in her own words.

“I started my Toastmasters journey in 2016. My current home club is CiscoSpeaks. This is my very first time winning a Toastmasters award, and I feel alive, inspired, and grateful! When DD Kalpana, PQD Abhijeet, CGD Raji started describing one by one the qualities of this person, I was mesmerized, wondering who this person is. My jaw dropped in awe as soon as I realized this winner is me. OMG! I won the Division Director of the Year 2022-23 award. The memories are still fresh in my mind, with the air filled with applause as I walk to the podium to receive this prestigious award from International Director Anwesha—an acrylic trophy with my name printed on it. Getting 13 out of 28 clubs distinguished with no club loss is a huge accomplishment, especially with the recent layoff storm. I take this moment to congratulate each of my six Area Directors: Rushikesh, Ray, Sonya, Nagaraj, Rovina, Charu, and all the club members who did their work along their learning journey. Division E (E for Excuberance) finished strong and achieved Select Distinguished!”

Rovina Suri, DTM, winner of the Area Director of the Year award and a member of the Cupertino Toastmasters since 2016 commented, “After a three-year hiatus due to the dreaded pandemic, District 101’s Leadership Luncheon was finally held in-person. These luncheons are always fun because so many volunteers get recognized for their unwavering support of the district and for their countless hours of service. It is due to these volunteers (Club Officers, Area Directors, Division Directors, and the District Leadership team) that the district achieves all that it does in a given year. To hear about the achievements of the district and to see many get recognized for their efforts is so inspiring. For me, an in-person event has more meaning than an online meeting because one can feel the energy in the room and also because it allows me to catch up with other members and share a few laughs. I particularly enjoy the part where the outgoing District Director is roasted—so many laughs are generated. Perhaps we need a laugh counter for this part of the meeting!”

According to Jay Mojnidar, winner of the Toastmaster of the Year award and a member of Cupertino Toastmasters for the last three years, “Leadership Luncheon was a delightful experience finally meeting in person the individuals with whom I have collaborated and received invaluable online assistance, witnessing their presence in its entirety!”

Sarah Tang, winner of the Club Officer of the Year award, and a member of Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters since its conception in 2020, thanked her fellow officers at Women L.E.A.D. Toastmasters, including Helen Josephine, Preetha Menon, Ramya Radhakrishnan, Liz Spicer, Ramona Wang, Grace Cardona, and Hannah Flack. She also thanked her previous club officers, including Priya Shastri, and club founders, including Abhijeet Joshi, for providing an inspiring example of leadership.

Shooting Star Awards

District 101 Leadership team (2022-2023) introduced the Shooting Star Award to recognize the members who took extra steps and made a huge difference for their clubs or areas.

🌟 Tam Le
🌟 Justin Reynolds
🌟 Ray Liu
🌟 Marianna Jones
🌟 Pamela
🌟 Kate Plant
🌟 Dan Rachlin
🌟 Venu
🌟 Randy
🌟 Bryan Dosono

The Roast and Toast session was masterfully orchestrated by Solarzar Dellaporta, DTM. This segment of the event provided an opportunity to reflect humorously on the outgoing Director’s achievements, ensuring a lighthearted and enjoyable atmosphere. Such roasting rituals are a customary part of the Toastmasters World, and participation in roasting the outgoing District Director was open to all. Seven courageous members from District 101 fearlessly took the stage, delivering hilarious three-minute roasts and toasts dedicated to Immediate Past District Director Kalpana Aroda. Each participant brought their unique style, eliciting bursts of laughter from the audience. The event culminated with the District presenting Kalpana Aroda, the Immediate Past District Director, with a leadership plaque, honoring her exceptional service.

Ray Liu, a toastmaster for the last three years with Cupertino Toastmasters Club was surprised when he won the Shooting Star award. He said, “It was a great opportunity to meet so many Toastmaster leaders in person and see them as whole persons and not just as headshots. Meeting everyone was very much enjoyable. I would like to thank Solarzar for his comedic and magic performance as Master of Ceremonies for roasting our outgoing District Director Kalpana, and the funny and sincere roasters. I was surprised to receive the Shooting Star for my Area Director performance, my club mentorship effort, and my radio interviewing experience. More surprisingly, two other leaders from my home club, Cupertino Toastmasters also were recognized,in an even bigger way—Rovina being Area Director of the Year,and Jay being Toastmaster of the Year. I thought we should have Toastmasters Club of the Year award, and it would belong to our common home club.”

Another winner of the Shooting Star award, Bryan Dosono, expressed his joy and said that the Toastmasters community had played an instrumental role in shaping his leadership growth and executive presence in the workplace. Completing pathways in presentation mastery and visionary communication has enhanced how he articulates and innovates the meetings he runs on a regular basis. He dedicated this recognition to his shining District 101 public relations team, his home base at ToastItNow! (eBay), and the professionals he gets to coach at QSpeak (Qualcomm)!

As the new officers set out on their journey, this event served as a powerful reminder of the importance of building a strong community and nurturing the growth of members as they venture into the world of Toastmasters.

Enjoy some moments of leadership luncheon through pictures.