This year’s Spring 2015 Conference was a huge hit!

Over 130 members of District 28 Toastmasters gathered at the Westin-Southfield hotel on May 1st and 2nd, 2015, to network with fellow District 28 toastmasters, learn from each other through inspirational and educational workshops, and explore their possibilities with keynote speaker and Toastmasters International Director, Ross Mackay, DTM AS.

The weekend kicked off with a fun and informal Meet & Greet Networking event in the Portage Auditorium of the Westin. Members were able to meet new friends and share in the excitement of the upcoming festivities.

After a rigorous and competitive hour in the ballroom, Kate de Laplante went home with the 1st place award for the Evaluation Contest! A delicious Italian buffet dinner followed and led us into an entertaining night of sock puppet show rivalry, appropriately named Sock Puppets II: Revenge of the Dryer. The Detroit Rocks! team took home 1st place at Friday Fun Night and were honored with prime seating at their very own reserved table for the remainder of the conference.

Lori Toia, Silent Auction Chair and Breakfast Toastmasters, introduced our keynote and opening session speaker, Ross Mackay, DTM, AS and International Director from Toronto. Ross’s upbeat, fun and entertaining personality kept us awake and prepared for Saturday’s program. The morning educational sessions were led by our very own Alycia Hall, CC who presented on Conflict Resolution, Dolores Harris, DTM who presented on Speech Story Development and Ivory Williams, DTM who spoke on confidence in public speaking.

Our International Ambassador, Heather Lane, DTM led us through the ins and outs of the new Toastmasters International’s Revitalized Educational Program.

Ismael Ahmed, founder of the highly success non-profit organization, ACCESS, was awarded the Communication and Leadership Award for the 2014-2015 year during Saturday’s luncheon.

The afternoon followed with a leadership exploration led by Ross Mackay. District Governor, Jeff Kirsch, DTM educated members regarding current district statistics and updates during our bi-annual District Council Meeting.

The ballroom was packed with members watching the exhilarating International Speech Contest before dinner. Steve Helwig went home with 1st Place at the speech contest and will move on to compete in Las Vegas this November during the International Convention.

Saturday evening ended with a wonderful Distinguished Toastmasters Award Ceremony honoring the many members from District 28 who achieved their DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) status this year. The new trio, Collyer Smith, Lashon Bowers and Ray Metz were also ushered into office by International Director and our Keynote Speaker, Ross MacKay.

And to top it off, due to your generous donations and bids, the Silent Auction and 50-50 Raffle, led by Lori Toia and Robert Conboy, together brought in over $1,000 for the district. This money will be used to support district wide educational initiatives.

We thank you so much for joining us this past weekend at the Spring 2015 Conference!

We’ll see you this fall on November 6th and 7th for the Fall Conference (location TBD).

Also, exciting news: the Spring 2016 Conference will be held at the Caesars Windsor Casino on May 6th and 7th, 2016, marking the conference’s return to Canada for the first time in over 20 years. Save the date!