We were pleased to welcome our Area Director, Geno Jaramillo to the meeting.  Geno had come to install our new officers.  Unfortunately Mike Molina, Educational Vice President, Chris Nolte, Membership Vice President, Luisa Herran, Secretary and Ghislaine Demombynes, Treasurer, were unable to attend.  However we were able to   observe Jim Hartnett, Sergeant at Arms, Nick Zwemer, Vice President Public Relations, and Sharon Patish, President accept their new responsibilities.


Our own “Tedster,” Leisha John, presented a challenge, to consider the possibility of expanding our horizons by presenting a topic at Ted Talks.  Sometimes referred to as the “Ultimate Brain Spa,” or “The New Harvard,” Ted gives one the opportunity to stand in the big red dot and espouse an idea.  Founded in 1984, as a one-off event, it is now a global set of conferences, with the slogan, “Ideas worth spreading.”  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment & Design and it is around those three areas the initial discussions revolved, but the focus has now expanded and includes many cultural, scientific and academic topics.  Leisha’s was “White Roofs for Green Schools,” and she happily showed how starting the idea of painting the roof of one school, has taken root and now 75 schools in Dade County have incorporated this trend.  It’s not only a proven financial success, but it has lowered carbon emissions.  How are speakers chosen?  You need to have credentials — have you written a book, is your job a catalyst towards presenting an idea? Do you have a personal connection with the topic?  At the end of your talk, have a call to action.  So, do you have an idea worth spreading?  Organize a speech that is under 18 minutes, then nominate yourself or have someone nominate you.  The nomination forms are available on line.  What’s stopping you?


Paula Hesch is an accomplished designer, a past president of Miracle Mile Toastmasters, and she started our mentorship program…so she is not someone you would think was on her way to prison.  Of course, Paula was going to the Voices of Time Gavel Club, at the Everglades Correctional Institution.  Once each week, the club meets and members of our club attend as leaders or assistants.  Before traveling to the prison you’ll need to give Chris Wolfe (the leader) your driver’s license number, social security number and date of birth.  This starts your Security Clearance.  Once you arrive, the only thing you can bring is your driver’s license, car keys, paper and pen.  You hand over your driver’s license (don’t worry you get it back as you leave) and then just like the airport, take off your shoes, put your keys in a dish and move forward through a metal detector.  When you go to the building where the meeting is held you are handed a panic button (hmm, is that supposed to ease your mind).  As Paula and the others entered the meeting area, 40 men stood and gave them a standing ovation (a sign of gratitude for our assisting their program).  The speeches were incredible — an IceBreaker from a man who has been in prison since 1979.  Another inmate gave his 10th and final speech from the basic manual titled “Crossroads.”  It depicted exactly where he stands today.  Paula found the men motivated, opinionated, focused and knowledgeable.  The meeting ended early and Cristian Stenstrom, said there was time for more Table Topics.  The men were told they could ask Paula questions.  Very good questions were forthcoming, the last was “What will you tell your club about us.”  Paula’s answer to them and to us, “the Voices of Time Gavel Club is well run, interesting and, most of all, enjoyable.

Our time was running out so Hector Hernandez, Table Topics Master had time for only 3 questions.  He queried Tu about whether giving up attachments is helpful to achieving a better life.  Hector then had the misfortune to ask Leisha how he could redeem himself.  Finally he asked Wanda Bee if she thought redemption is overrated.  Leisha won with her answer on how Hector could redeem himself.  Poor Hector.


When developing a speech focus on what your conclusions will be.  It helps tighten the speech.

Have an emotional connection with the audience.

When possible get the audience involved.  Ask questions.

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