Region 8 - shows the states of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and the countries of the Caribbean archipelago, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.
Region 8 - Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the Caribbean, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

District 47 was created in 1955, consisting of clubs throughout the entire state of Florida, United States of America (USA). The Commonwealth of The Bahamas joined District 47 in 1973. District 47 grew to become the largest district in the Toastmasters International organization in 2008. District 47 has been split twice, in 2008 and in 2012, resulting in the creation of District 84 and District 48. District 47 currently represents the Southeastern portion of Florida, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and fully online members and clubs from all over the world. District 47 belongs to Region 8, which consists of the Southeastern USA (including the Southwestern portion of Mississippi, plus the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida), the Caribbean and South America.

With over 2,000 members in 163 clubs located in Southeastern Florida, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and fully online clubs with international members, we are highly rated in the Toastmasters International organization. District 47 has been a President’s Distinguished District 12 times. In August 2011, District 47 received the Leadership in Excellence Award for being a President’s Distinguished District for 3 consecutive years. As of August 2020, we are ranked # 1 for number of Distinguished Clubs and #32 for number of paid Clubs from a pool of over 16,800 clubs in the Toastmasters International organization.

(Source: 2012 District 47 Annual Conference Book, District 47’s Distinguished Recognition Program Dashboard reports, and Anthony Longley DTM, PID)


In 1952, Marine Sergeant Ira Callman formed Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) Toastmasters Club #1423 in Miami. In August 1954, Sergeant Callman and Sergeant William Kuck attended the Toastmasters International Convention in Washington, DC. At the International Convention, they met B.M. Wherrette who was from Club #28 in Orlando, the first Toastmasters club East of the Mississippi River. Although there were 14 Toastmasters International clubs in existence in the state, Florida did not have its own District. Several clubs located in Florida’s Panhandle in the Northwest of the State were already assigned to District 29.

“Why doesn’t Florida have a district?” was a joint question posed by Sergeants Callman and Kuck during the Toastmasters International Convention in August, 1954. Ted Blanding, Executive Secretary of Toastmasters International (President of Toastmasters International from 1942 to 1943), replied with: “Why don’t you do something about it?”

Ted explained to Toastmasters Callman and Kuck that ten (10) clubs had to petition Toastmasters International to form a new District; the District then must be in a provisional status for one (1) year, with no funding from Toastmasters International.

Sergeant Callman handled all correspondence to obtain the ten (10) required petitions from the Florida clubs. The Toastmasters International Board of Directors met in February, 1955 and approved provisional status for District 47. District 47’s organizational meeting was held in Orlando in March, 1955 with Ira Callman becoming its District Governor (District Director) and B. M. Wherrette, its Lieutenant Governor (Program Quality Director). The first new club of the District was Coral Gables Toastmasters (1695), chartered in July, 1955.

The first Toastmasters International club in the Bahamas was formed in Nassau, New Providence Bahamas (1600) in January 1969. The club was created by Ernest T. Strachan and named the First Bahamas Branch of Toastmasters #1600. During the 1973 International Convention, four (4) undistricted clubs in The Bahamas joined District 47 as Area 19. In 1981, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas attained Division status as the newly-minted Division I.

From 1955 to 2008, District 47 grew to be the largest district in the world. On July 1, 2008, District 47 was split into District 47 and District 84. On July 1, 2012, District 47 was again split into District 47 and District 48.

(Source:  1955 article written by Ira Callman, the 2012 District 47 Conference Handbook, District 47’s Distinguished Recognition Program Dashboard reports, and Anthony Longley DTM, PID)

“History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.”
CL – Competent Leader
CTM – Certified Toastmaster
DTM – Distinguished Toastmaster
ID – International Director
PDD – Past District Director
PDG – Past District Governor
PID - Past International Director
PIP – Past International President
PRA – Past Region Adviser

District 47 Through the Years


1955-56 Ira Callman, DTM, Miami, FL (Provisional District) (deceased)

1956 B.M. Wherette, Orlando, FL (Provisional District) (deceased)

1956-57 Owen Parrish, Miami, FL (deceased)

1957-58 Donald M. Larson, Miami, FL (deceased)

1958-59 Norman S. Pallot, Miami, FL (deceased )

1959-60 Donald F. Muller, Jacksonville, FL (deceased)

1960-61 Charles M. Swann, DTM, Sarasota, FL (deceased)

1961-62 Dean Risher, Cocoa Beach, FL

1963-64 Larry Q. Webb, Jacksonville, FL

1964-65 Viggo C. Christiansen, Jacksonville, FL (deceased)

1965-66 John Diaz, DTM, Cocoa Beach, FL (deceased )

1966-67 Winslow Chesley, DTM,*** Plantation, FL (deceased)

1967-68 Charles Avery,* Cocoa Beach, FL

1968-69 Fred G. Thompson,* Miami, FL (deceased)

1969-70 Hugh T. Burgay, DTM,*** Orlando, FL (deceased)

1970-71 John Bowman, DTM,* Miami, FL (DTM Badge #1) (deceased)

1971-72 Michael G. Shane, DTM,*** Ft. Lauderdale, FL (DTM Badge #14) (deceased)

1972-73 Charles L. Jones, DTM, Winter Haven, FL (deceased)

1973-74 Karl E. Righter, DTM, Orlando, FL (DTM Badge #51) (deceased )

1974-75 Carleton Smith, DTM, St. Petersburg, FL (deceased)

1975-76 S. R. Dunn, DTM,*** Jacksonville, FL (DTM Badge #99) (deceased)

1976-77 David Meeks, DTM,* Tampa, FL

1977-78 R. Floyd Sewell, DTM,* Jacksonville, FL

1978-79 Robert Gelfand, DTM, Plantation, FL (deceased)

1979-80 Val Croskey, DTM,* Melbourne, FL

1980-81 Virginia Heddinger, DTM,* Ft. Lauderdale, FL (deceased)

1981-82 Frank Tillman, DTM,** Gainesville, FL (deceased)

1982-83 Jim Stanley, DTM,* Tampa, FL (deceased)

1983-84 Ray Floyd, DTM,* Ft. Lauderdale, FL

1984-85 Dr. Ann Tillman, DTM,* Gainesville, FL (deceased)

1985-86 Clara Gelfand, DTM, Plantation, FL (deceased)

1986-87 James E. Martin, DTM,** Clearwater, FL

1987-88 Lou Funk, DTM,*** Brandon, FL

1988-89 Fred Miller, DTM, St. Petersburg, FL

1989-90 Rosella Bonham, DTM,* Lake Mary, FL

1990-91 Sara Meeks, DTM,* Tampa, FL (deceased)

1991-92 Ed Waters, DTM,* Jacksonville, FL (deceased)

1992-93 Steven A. Bard, DTM, PID, Lauderhill, FL

1993-94 Louise Y. Boyd, DTM, Sanford, FL

1994-95 Rusty Best, DTM,*** Titusville, FL

1995-96 Samuel P. Bain, DTM, Nassau, Bahamas

1996-97 Rex P. Lehman, DTM, Miami, FL

1997-98 Laura Reed, DTM, Tampa, FL

1998-99 Timothy Pesut, DTM,* Sarasota, FL

1999-00 Jack Jamba, DTM, Cocoa Beach, FL

2000-01 Paul Meunier, DTM,*** Orlando, FL

2001-02 Cathy Epler, DTM,* New Port Richey, FL

2002-03 Eileen Sarris, DTM,* Sarasota, FL

2003-04 Margaret Wan, DTM,*** St. Petersburg, FL (deceased)

2004-05 Jim Ocque, DTM, Longwood, FL

2005-06 Godfrey Springer, DTM, Nassau, Bahamas

2006-07 Loretta Sandy, DTM,*** Palm Bay, FL

2007-08 Wanda Brown, DTM, St. Johns, FL

2008-09 Antionette Fox, DTM,*** Nassau, Bahamas

2009-10 Kristina Kihlberg, DTM, *** Pompano Beach

2010-11 Richard Furbush, DTM, *** St. Petersburg

2011-12 Pamela D. Rolle, DTM, Nassau Bahamas

2012-13 Matthew A. Kinsey, DTM, Coral Springs, FL

2013-14 Francis I. Molina, DTM, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

2014-15 Anthony J. Longley, DTM, Nassau, Bahamas

In 2015, the title District Governor was changed to District Director

2015-16 Jeanine C. Kinsey, DTM, * Coral Springs, FL

2016-17 Lynda Hammond, DTM, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

2017 Chim Francisco, DTM, Boca Raton, FL

2018 Antionette Fox, DTM, Nassau, Bahamas

2018-2019 Maurice Fuller, DTM, * Hialeah, FL

2019-2020 Leonardo Burrows, DTM,* Nassau, Bahamas

2020-2021 Barbara Strasdas, DTM, Port St. Lucie, FL

2021-2022 Shakira Taylor, DTM, Sunrise, FL

2022-2023 Austen Canonica, DTM, Boca Raton, FL

*     Achieved Distinguished District

**   Achieved Select Distinguished District

*** Achieved President’s Distinguished District


1971 Arthur Diamond

1983 William Miller (deceased)

1988 Tommy Richardson, DTM

1994 (Fall) Pauline Shirley, DTM

2001 (Spring) JoAnna McWilliams, DTM (deceased)

2008 (Spring) Chris Ford, DTM

2013 (Fall) Mohammad Murad, DTM (President-Elect)

2015 (Spring) Jim Kokocki, DTM (President Elect)

2021 Richard Peck, DTM

2022 Depak Menon, DTM


1986 Frank Tillman, DTM, PDG (deceased)

1988 Dr. Ann Tillman, DTM. PDG (deceased)

1989 David Meeks, DTM, PID

2001 Karl Righter, DTM, PDG (deceased)

2002 Mark Majcher, CTM/CL

2015 Kristina Kihlberg, DTM, PID

2016 Anthony J. Longley, DTM

2017 Steven A. Bard, DTM, PID

2021 Antionette Fox, DTM, PRA

2022 Maurice Fuller, DTM, PDD


John Bowman, DTM, Miami, District 47 Governor, ‘70 – ‘71, DTM #1 (deceased )

Mike Shane, DTM, Ft. Lauderdale, District 47 Governor, ‘71 – ‘72, DTM #14 (deceased)

Karl Righter, DTM, Orlando, District 47 Governor, ‘73 – ‘74, DTM #51 (deceased)

R. Dunn, DTM, Jacksonville, District 47 Governor, ‘75 – ‘76, DTM #99 (deceased)


’10 – 11 Antionette Fox, DTM (Region 8)

2022-2023 Antionette Fox, DTM (Region 1)


‘63 – ‘64 – Charles Swann, DTM, PID (deceased).

‘68 – ‘70 – John Diaz, DTM, PIP  (deceased)

‘71 – ‘73 – Winslow Chesley, DTM, PID (deceased)

‘79 – ‘81 – Hugh Burgay, DTM, PID (deceased)

‘83 – ‘85 – Dave Meeks, DTM, PID

‘87 – ‘89 – Ray Floyd, DTM, PID

‘91 – ‘93 – Evelyn-Jane Burgay, DTM, PID (deceased)

‘95 – ‘97 – Steve Bard, DTM, PID

‘02 – ‘04 – Paul Meunier, DTM, PID

‘06 – ‘08 – Margaret Wan, DTM, PID (deceased)

‘12 – ‘14 – Kristina Kihlberg, DTM, PID

‘16 – ‘18 – Matthew A. Kinsey, DTM, PID

’18 – ’20 – Anthony J. Longley, DTM, PID

’18 – ’20 – Carol Prahinksi, DTM, PID (Region 6)


1974-1975 John Diaz, DTM, PIP (deceased)

2022-2023 Matt Kinsey, DTM


2022-2023 Matt Kinsey, DTM, Toastmasters International President

2022-2023 Antionette Fox, DTM, Region 1 Adviser


*1968 – Miami Beach

Outgoing President – Lothar Salin, DTM

Incoming President – Earl M. Potter, DTM

*1984 – Orlando

Outgoing President – Eddie V. Dunn, DTM

Incoming President – John S. Latin, DTM (deceased)

*2000 – Miami Beach

Outgoing President – Tim Keck, DTM

Incoming President – JoAnna McWilliams, DTM (deceased)


2017 Godfrey E. McAllister, DTM

2018, Anita Fain Taylor,  3rd place winner

2021, Errol Leandre