Cristian Stenstrom was Toastmaster of the day, leading a great meeting with a theme of “waiting for winter”. He longs for cooler weather this time of year, but living in Miami cool weather does not come around often. Fortunately, he is able to get away to ski in the mountains from time to time.
Our first speaker, Jim Hartnett, graciously volunteered to speak off-the-cuff because the scheduled speaker was unable to make it. Jim shared with us remembrances of the Biltmore before it was the “BILTMORE.” On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, starting WWII. Jim was 10 years old. During the period following our entry into WWII, the Biltmore was turned into a hospital where wounded soldiers, mostly 17-18 years old, arrived daily and were tended to with the best of care. Jim and his friends volunteered and were assigned to work the 2 bowling lanes used for rehabilitation. They were also assigned to keep track of planes flying overhead.
Speaker Two was Anna Kay Lue delivering a wonderful icebreaker. Anna Kay was born in Miami to Chinese parents. She told us her upbringing was defined by three bits of advice from her parents: 1) children should be seen and not heard, 2) eat everything on your plate, and 3) be a doctor. As a consequence she was shy as a child and only spoke when necessary. Her mother is the best cook she knows, which made it was easy to eat all her food. She started pre-med but it was not what she wanted. She graduated from college and went into web design. Her brother became a doctor so even if she didn’t become one it helps to take advice from a doctor, especially if that doctor is your brother.
The Table Topics Master was Virginia Wolber who had challenging questions.
1) Sharon Patish told us her favorite time of year is autumn, not much of it in Miami. Speaking of seasons reminded her of a time long ago when it snowed in Miami. The snow disappeared before it hit the ground.
2) Lina Draney shared with us her most memorable Christmas in 1976 when she spent the night at a friend’s house. Lina had never seen snow before. That night there was dancing and food and then bedtime. She was later awoken by her friend’s mother and led to the window and there was snow everywhere. What impressed her most was how everything was so silent.
3) Chris Wolfe shared his mission statement. Chris said it changes every year but what remains constant is that it should ensure a balance between one’s personal, family and business life.
4) Cristian Stenstrom told us his favorite winter sport is skiing, which he often gets to practice in Europe.
5) Luisa Herran told us what season most resembles her. She started out by saying it was not winter because even if it looks so lovely in postcards with the snow, it turns out to be a mess when the snow melts and people get depressed and commit suicide. However, she can definitely identify with spring which is about renewal and getting rid of the old.
6) Jane de Cardenas told us her most memorable holiday presents are the ones made by her children because they are so very precious to her.
7) Chris Nolte said he and his wife no longer exchange gifts for Xmas. They have opted to share experiences instead, which is a relief to him because she already has too many purses. He is thinking of a weekend away or longer depending on his budget.
8) Nick Zwemer has developed winter sporting skills and it is not skiing which he tried when he was younger with his brother but couldn’t quite master. However, he has developed skills in snowboarding.
9) Tu Duong told us if he could change careers he would be an engineer. He specialized in physics, but wanted to be an economist. However, his nature is more of an engineer than a business person
1st place: Chris Nolte
2nd place: Lina Draney
3rd place: Chris Wolfe
The Master Evaluator was Tu Duong who gave a great evaluation of the meeting followed by evaluations of the speeches.
Evaluator 1, Chris Wolfe indicated that Jim Hartnett’s speech was a great demonstration of impromptu speaking. Good structure, good opening, excellent voice. Suggestion for improvement: conclusion was somewhat weak. Remember to tell the audience the purpose of your speech when closing.
Evaluator 2, Alexander Moreira commented that Anna Kay gave a great icebreaker; it was very personal. The speech was well structured, great opening, and humor. It is difficult to bring humor in when doing an icebreaker. Room for improvement: voice projection (speak louder) and slow down. Also get rid of notes.
We closed by welcoming 3rd time guest, Paul Massard and 1st time guest and Tu’s wife, Hang Tran. Hope to see you in our next meeting.