Press Release: South Florida Toastmaster Errol Leandre Headed to World Championship Semifinals

Press Release

South Florida Toastmaster Errol Leandre Headed to World Championship Semifinals

July 3, 2020 – The Toastmasters public speaking champion for South Florida and The Bahamas learned this week that he will compete in the semifinals of the World Championship of Public Speaking.

Errol Leandre of Homestead won the Toastmasters District 47 contest in May and has now cleared a quarterfinal round of elimination. With 16,800 local clubs in 143 countries, Toastmasters International is a global non-profit public speaking and leadership development organization with more than 358,000 members. Leandre has earned a chance to compete with the best among them.

Caption: Errol Leandre

[ download from https://toastmastersd47.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/errol.jpg ]

“This is surreal,” said Leandre, an IT Project Manager for the Miami Dade Public Schools. “I didn’t expect any of this. When I joined Toastmasters a year ago, I just wanted to learn to speak comfortably in front of people.” When he gave the first version of what became his district winning speech at Cutler Bay Toastmasters in Homestead, suddenly other members began saying, “We’ve got to get you ready for competition.”

“I had no idea how much that speech affected others,” he says.

After getting over his initial reluctance, he found himself a few months later telling his mentors, “I can’t do this on Zoom” after the latest rounds of competition were moved online. “I like it better when I can look into the eyes of the people I’m speaking to,” he explains.

Still, other speakers were facing the same challenge, and Leandre wound up being crowned the best International Speech Contest speaker in the district, stretches from Port St. Lucie to the Key West in Florida and also encompasses the Bahamas.

Based on the video of his winning district speech, judges from the Southeastern United States, the Caribbean, and South America picked him to represent their region in the worldwide competition. At an annual convention in August, a semifinal round will narrow the contenders to eight speakers who will compete in the World Championship finals.

Leandre’s inspirational speech, “Accept What I Allow,” recalls the stuttering issue he suffered as a young man, which got in the way not just of “public speaking” but other ambitions. For example, there was a time when, as a high school football player, he got moved from defensive tackle to the position he really wanted, middle linebacker, but found himself unable to call plays. The more he let his frustration show, the worse the problem was. Yet when he learned to accept who he was and build more confidence, the issue melted away.

Prior to the district contest, Leandre had won competitions at multiple levels — club, area, and division — sharpening his speech each time.

In any other year, getting this far in the competition would have meant travel — the annual convention was originally scheduled to be held in Paris. Instead, a virtual convention has been scheduled for August 24-29.

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Note to editors: We have been directed not to share Errol’s speech video while he is in contention for the World Championship, but we can make it available for your reporter to view.

Contacts:

David F. Carr for District 47
954-290-6788

Errol Leandre
305-967-0336

District 47 Speech Contest Winners in the News

District 47 members are winning recognition in the local media, which with luck will translate into more interest in Toastmasters and their clubs.

The Sun-Sentinel newspaper of Fort Lauderdale published a story on Justin Marguriet and his district winning humorous speech.

The SouthDade Newsleader also published our press release about our district’s International Speech Contest winner Errol Leandre. 

Video of the humorous speech contest winning speeches are available online here, with the winning international speech coming soon.

Table Topics Impromptu Speaking Contest Winners for 2020

Toastmasters District 47 congratulates Carla Montenegro, winner of our Table Topics contest for 2020, along with contestants Sarah Hoit, 2nd place, Paul Taylor, 3rd place, Leah Von Salvo, Paul Taylor, Curtis Rapp, and Jorge Maspons.

District stretches from Port St. Lucie to the Key West in Florida and also includes the Bahamas. Each of the speakers had already won contests at their club, area, and division to get to this level.

Each of the contestants was challenged to deliver an impromptu speaking response to the question, “How are you making a difference in the world?”

Humorous Speech Contest Winners 2020, Video of All Contestants

District 47 congratulates Justin Marguriet, Winner of the Humorous Speech Contest for 2020 with his speech “Mi Hungry,” which you can see below.

Marguriet, a resident of Dania Beach, is a member of Sawgrass Toastmasters in Plantation. The contest, normally held at the annual conference for the district, was conducted over Zoom Saturday night.

Seven of the best speakers from our district, which stretches from Port St. Lucie to the Key West in Florida and also includes the Bahamas, faced off in the district finals. The other competitors were Leah Von Salvo, 2nd Place, Johnathan Dunn, 3rd Place, Rowshan Jones, O’Kffen Cooper, Dave Bricker, and Shawn Bhakta.

Videos from the district’s International Speech Contest for 2020 will be published following the quarter-final round of judging for eligibility to compete in the Toastmasters International World Championship of Public Speaking. The district winner in that contest was Errol Leandre of Homestead, a member of Cutler Bay Toastmasters. The other competitors were Michelle LeWay, 2nd Place, Hubert Edwards, 3rd Place, Tom Scharstein, Tyler Storer, Trevor Lockhart, and Terry Spencer.

Videos from the contests for Table Topics (impromptu speaking) and Evaluations will be published in the coming days.

Justin Marguriet, Winner of the Humorous Speech Contest for 2020, “Mi Ungry”

Leah Von Salvo, 2nd Place, Humorous Speech Contest for 2020, “Just One Question”

Johnathan Dunn, 3rd Place, Humorous Speech 2020, “If a Little Bit is Good, It Doesn’t Mean a Lot is Better”

Rowshan Jones, “I Didn’t Write a Speech”

O’Kffen Cooper, “Dating Struggles”

David Bricker, Humorous Speech Contest 2020, “The Speaker’s Journey”

Shawn Bhakta, “They Push, They Pull and They Are Really Cool”

District International Speech Contest

Saturday May 30, 2020 6:30 PM EDT
 

To attend via Zoom, please register now. There is a separate registration for each contest.

The online session will open 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. Please sign in at least 15 minutes before the event starts.

In keeping with Toastmasters International rules, participants will be asked to mute their mics and turn off webcams with the exception of the speakers and a few functionaries such as the timer.

Event Types:

District Table Topics Contest

Saturday May 30, 2020 1:00 PM EDT
 

To attend via Zoom, please register now. There is a separate registration for each contest.

The online session will open 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. Please sign in at least 15 minutes before the event starts.

In keeping with Toastmasters International rules, participants will be asked to mute their mics and turn off webcams with the exception of the speakers and a few functionaries such as the timer.

Event Types:

District Evaluation Contest

Saturday May 30, 2020 9:00 AM EDT
 

To attend via Zoom, please register now. There is a separate registration for each contest.

The online session will open 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. Please sign in at least 15 minutes before the event starts.

In keeping with Toastmasters International rules, participants will be asked to mute their mics and turn off webcams with the exception of the speakers and a few functionaries such as the timer.

Event Types:

District Humorous Speech Contest

Friday May 29, 2020 6:30 PM EDT
 

To attend via Zoom, please register now. There is a separate registration for each contest.

The online session will open 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. Please sign in at least 15 minutes before the event starts.

In keeping with Toastmasters International rules, participants will be asked to mute their mics and turn off webcams with the exception of the speakers and a few functionaries such as the timer.

Event Types:

Replay: Using a WordPress-Powered Website to Promote Your Club, Your Business or Yourself (webinar)

WordPress is the world’s most popular system for publishing and organizing websites, used by major publications and marketing organizations as well as bloggers, small businesses, professional speakers, and individuals. Unlike some of the other presentations I’ve delivered on WordPress, this one is not solely focused on the use of the software for club marketing.

This is a replay of a workshop webinar held on May 9, 2020.

In the context of Toastmasters, the simplest way to get a WordPress website for your club is to sign up at the toastmost.org service I run. However, you can also install the same software on any WordPress-powered website (details at wp4toastmasters.com).

If you decide you would like to host a business, personal, or club website at your own domain on website on Siteground (the web host I recommend), please use this referral link (I’ll get a little bonus web hosting, and you’ll get a pretty good deal, too).

District 47 members are also encouraged to share any item of interest to other Toastmasters on the district website.

Write to if you’d like to do that. You can get Toastmasters credit through the Pathways project on blogging.

Using a WordPress-Powered Website to Promote Your Club, Your Business or Yourself

Saturday May 9, 2020 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM EDT
 

Learn how to use WordPress, the world’s most popular web publishing platform, to promote your Toastmasters club, your business, your ideas, or yourself. David F. Carr, DTM, is this year’s district webmaster and the founder of the WordPress for Toastmasters project.

WordPress is a popular choice for small businesses and nonprofits because it gives them a relatively easy to use web-based word processor they can use to update their own websites without being dependent on a web developer.

WordPress can be configured to meet many different design and functional requirements with the use of plugins and themes, many of them available for free.

Fill out the registration form below (which uses David’s RSVPMaker plugin for WordPress) to get the Zoom link for this online tutorial.

Event date is past

Thu, 09 Jul 2020 11:49:42 +0000 last time: Sat, 09 May 2020 10:00:00 -0400