May 21, 2019 Meeting Minutes




Brookdale Paulin Creek


Start Time: 12:12 pm

End Time: 12:50 pm


10 Members: VP Education Brian Buckman, VP Membership Bert Rangel, VP PR Holly Young, Sergeant at Arms Kelly Cunneen, Secretary Frank Moraes, Christy Helvajian, Dan Schell, Harry Holland, Stephanie K Thatcher, and Steve Domkowski.

7 Gusts: Gabriel, Gayle, Lou-Jean, Matt, Merideth, Stephanie, and Teresa.


  • President: Brian Buckman
  • Toastmaster: Bert Rangel
  • Table Topics: Holly Young


Gabriel: “Knowing Your Values: Mission and Vision” — Ice Breaker
      Evaluated by Brian Buckman.

New Business

Officer elections coming up next month, June 4th.

Next Meeting

June 4, 2019



Committee Reports



After banging the gavel and making me jump, Kelly read our club mission.

President’s Remarks

Brian took the place of MeL who was on vacation. We all discussed how this shouldn’t be allowed in the future.

He mentioned that this was our sorta-annual open house and we welcomed five new guests. In addition, Gabriel was at the meeting. He has not yet been voted in but is otherwise a GINA (guest in name only). And former Noon Toastmaster and officer Harry Holland showed up.

Officer elections are coming up. Stop me before I secretary again!

I never got to make a pitch for my office, so let me explain a little. The main thing that the secretary has to do is create minutes for the executive committee meetings that happen once a month. And it is good if you create minutes for the regular meetings. But you absolutely do not have to do a narrative for each meeting. That’s something that Harry started and I continued.

As Brian pointed out, being an officer is a great opportunity to lead. Why he is stepping down thus remains one of the great mysteries like who built the pyramids. In fact, History Channel has a documentary coming out, “Did Ancient Aliens Make Brian Step Down?” It turns out there is no proof, but some ancient alien scientists say it could be so.

Space Alien

Toastmaster Bert

Bert started by talking about how scary public speaking is and how it gets easier with every time he does it.

Lots of people feel this way. I’m never really frightened. I’m like a musician who loves to play but sucks. Now that I think about it, I am a musician who loves to play but sucks. I’m also a public speaker who loves it but sucks. However, Toastmasters really has made me better than I was. Long way to go, though!

Bert then told us a parable:

There is a young lumberjack attempting to cut down a tree with a dull blade. He labored for hours and hours with little to no progress. A wise man walked up and said, “Stop and go sharpen your saw. Then you will be able to cut through that tree like butter.” The young lumberjack said, “No. I’m too busy.” And he continued to struggle and struggle with little success.

This parable is the basis for the Netflix original film A Young Lumberjack’s Vengence: Not So Wise Now, Old Man! But I think Bert was making a different point.

Bert went on to discuss his history with Toastmasters. Decades ago, he joined Toastmasters with a girlfriend who needed to prepare for a speech. But after that, he stopped going. However, last year, he joined for himself and it has been a more enriching experience.

Word of the Day: Epiphany

Bert broke with custom by picking a very English word. But it was originally coined to describe the coming of Jesus Christ. In fact, January 6th is Epiphany, the day celebrating the three kings coming to pay respects to Jesus.

Some of our club’s use of this word:

  • Brian: “This past weekend we picked up my daughter from San Jose State. And I noticed there was an epiphany on her face, ‘I’m going to have to live with mom and dad for two months.'”
  • Christy: “I’ve been out of work for about a month and I had an epiphany that I’m not going to go back to work for a while.”
  • Holly: “As you go through life you continue to have these epiphanies that change your whole perspective.”
  • Stephanie: “My epiphany was to join Toastmasters when I was inspired by this guy over there [Bert].”
  • Harry: “I remember last year the chairs were arranged in a circle. I wonder what the epiphany was to change it?”
  • Teresa (Guest): “My epiphany is just being here today… And I like being an honored guest.”
  • Gayle (Guest): “I want to get involved in climate change advocacy and speak at city council meetings. I was so bad when I last spoke and I guess my epiphany was that I need to come here.”
  • Gabriel (GINO): “I had an epiphany about an hour ago when Bert called me and I did not know what I was going to record a podcast on.”
  • Stephanie (Guest): “My new epiphany is that I’m bad talking on the spot.”

Alice Through the Looking Glass

I need to highlight Dan who quoted Jabberwocky from memory:

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
    Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
    And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

Speaker: Gabriel

Gabriel’s speech was “Knowing Your Values: Mission and Vision.” He asked the audience these questions:

  1. What are my core values
  2. Do I know what my mission is?
  3. What is my vision for the future?

Most people don’t have explicit answers to these questions. He discussed how he has answered these questions in his own life.


Table Topics

Holly was in charge of Table Topics and she had some difficult questions for everyone:

Why must you love someone enough to let them go?

Gabriel: If you get to that point, then you accept that they know what is in their best interests.

To what degree have you controlled the course your life has taken?

Stephanie: When I was getting out of college, my father offered for me to help him start the business that we have today. But when he died shortly afterward, it became necessary for me to take it on by myself. So I had very little control of my professional pathway.

If you had an opportunity to get your message out to a large group, what would it be?

Gayle (Guest): I want to speak to the Board of Supervisors and City Council to get Santa Rosa onboard with the Green New Deal.

What impact would you like to leave on the world?

Merideth (Guest): My biggest impact personally would be raising my children with morals and goodness.

What is the most desirable trait a person can possess?

Steve: The most desirable trait is kindness. I think of that every day. Just be kind to one another. It doesn’t cost anything.

If you looked into the heart of your enemy, what do you think you would find?

Stephanie (Guest): I don’t think people make decisions based on their own but rather based on what they think other people want them to do.

Speaker Evaluation: Brian

Brian noted that giving evaluations is critically important — and hard to do.

He liked that Gabriel was relaxed with good pacing and projection. He also liked that Gabriel started his speech with questions.

In terms of improvement, he felt that the speech could have concluded less abruptly and that Gabriel should make more eye contact.

Wrap Up

Bert said he thought the meeting was great. And it was. He then turned the meeting back over to Brian.

Brian polled the guests who seemed to enjoy the meeting. We discussed how this meeting was different from other meetings — in particular, there was no timer, ah counter, or grammarian.

Then he turned the meeting over to Bert.

Then he turned the meeting over to Brian.

Then he turned the meeting over to Bert.

Then there was a rip in the fabric of time.

And with that, the meeting was adjourned — as it always is after major cosmological events.

Our next meeting is June 4th.

Space Alien by The Digital Artist. It is in the public domain. Image from 1897 edition of Through the Looking Glass by John Tenniel. It is in the public domain. Puzzle by Annca under the Pixabay license.

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