Speak, Lead, Grow
From young professionals to experienced managers, personal growth is the name of the game for Toastmasters Club members. 92131’s Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club is no exception, offering community members from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to face their fears, gain self-confidence, and develop important communication and leadership skills in a fun, supportive environment. Join our conversation with Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club President Koshi Matsushita to learn more.
Q&A with Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club President Koshi Matsushita
What is Toastmasters International?
Toastmasters International is a U.S.-headquartered nonprofit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs.
Headquartered in Englewood, CO, the organization’s membership exceeds 357,000 in more than 16,600 clubs in 143 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.
Please give us a brief history of the Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club.
We are a lively and friendly club with members ready to help you achieve your speaking and leadership goals. Active since 1982, we earned the 2018 President Distinguished Club Award in recognition of our achievements.
“Life isn’t scripted, so strengthening your communication and leadership skills will help you in all aspects.”
What is the club’s mission?
Our mission is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills while fostering self-confidence and personal growth.
At-A-Glance | President
Name: Koshi Matsushita
Community: Scripps Ranch
Education: Tokyo Engineering University
Hobbies & Interests: Photography, cycling, running, and travel
Favorite Local Spot: Torrey Pines State Beach
How has the club changed or developed since it was founded?
According to long-term member Janet Melbane: We have a more diverse membership now, which I think has made the club much more fun and enriching. In particular, we have more members who are originally from other countries and speak English as a second language, and I think we also have a more even number of women and men, instead of tending to be male-dominated. We also have many more members coming from the tech industry now, which was a much smaller business sector in San Diego back then.
We have always been structured and well-organized, but I think the meeting atmosphere is lighter and less formal now. Any level of casual dress is now commonplace, and I think there is more humor throughout the meeting. When I first joined, I recall a lot more members wearing suits or other more formal business wear. Then and now, this would be expected for anyone going from the meeting to work in a formal setting, but so many more workplaces have casual dress now, and more people have variable schedules, work remotely, etc.
I believe the club has changed location four times. Our current location is by far the best.
How did you personally become involved with Toastmasters?
I visited a Toastmasters club as a guest in 2007 as recommended by my colleagues at work. I planned to just listen and be quiet at first. Then they started the table topic section where members practice impromptu speaking. I still remember the question, “What is your favorite music and why?” I was asked to participate in the section as a speaker. Although I was nervous and it was my first visit, I went for it. The question was supposed to be so easy to answer, but I found myself struggling to fill the 40-second speech time. I repeated the same phrase multiple times, I stumbled over my words, and I used a lot of “ah” and “ums.” That was the moment I realized there were many things that I needed to work on in public speaking. I joined the club immediately.
What is your current role within the organization and what duties does it entail?
I am president of the club. As president I preside over meetings and supervise the operations of our club. I am also one of the club’s representatives on area and district councils.
What is the most rewarding aspect of being involved with Toastmasters? The most challenging?
It is most rewarding to become a better speaker, listener, and leader within a fun, open, and supportive environment. We have some really great people in our club so becoming better is fun and not like a chore or task. I look forward to it.
The Toastmasters program education system is a self-directed program, so each member can make progress at their own pace. This way it can be as challenging as you want it to be because you set the pace. Despite this, we are each encouraged by our mentors within the club to step out of our comfort zone for effective learning, which might be challenging for some. But even with that, the good thing about our club is that members have said, and I agree, that even if they feel nervous, they know they will only get positive vibes and constructive feedback to make them better, and they’re happy they took on the challenge.
“We have a more diverse membership now, which I think has made the club much more fun and enriching.”
Can you tell us a bit about the other current officers, and any other key players in the club?
Similar to others, our Toastmasters club has eight officers. The reason there are eight is to spread, load, and expand the leadership opportunities at the club level. Those eight positions are: president, vice president of education, vice president of membership, vice president of public relations, secretary, treasurer, sergeant at arms, and immediate past president.
Other key players in our club are members that have worked hard to earn various designations. There are many, but the highest level is the designation of Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). It is a rare level to reach and we have two current members that are DTMs and some on their way to earning it. DTM acknowledges that a member has reached a superior level of achievement in both communication and leadership.
When and where does the club meet?
We meet every Thursday from 7 to 8 a.m. at the SRCA Community Center, 11885 Cypress Canyon Rd.
What does a typical meeting look like?
Our meeting starts at 7 a.m. and finishes at 8 a.m. It is called to order by sergeant at arms, who is presently Niko Podimatis. He takes a few minutes to give the club words of inspiration before we start the meeting. The sergeant at arms then hands the meeting over to me, the president, to open the meeting. I open by keeping the members informed about what’s going on at our club and then introduce the Toastmaster of the meeting. Any member can sign up to lead a meeting as Toastmaster. The Toastmasters of the day will emcee proceedings for that meeting and choose a theme to guide the meeting, and introduce each activity.
A major part of the meeting is the prepared speeches. Members present a speech based on their Toastmasters education manual. Evaluators will give constructive feedback for each speaker. There is a section called table topics where members practice impromptu speeches. The meeting is also supported by members assisting as functionaries such as Ah Counter (who catches filler words and sounds), Grammarian (takes note of interesting uses of the English language), Timer (who helps us speak within time), and a Ballot Counter (counts member votes for the rewards we issue at each meeting for best speech, best evaluator, and best table topics.) Also, there’s a joke at the end of each meeting to send people off with a chuckle.
At-A-Glance | Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club
Name: Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club
President: Koshi Matsushita
Year Founded: 1982
Email: email@example.com (Koshi Matsushita);
firstname.lastname@example.org (Jinlu Yu)
Phone: Koshi Matsushita (President): 408-202-1923;
Jinlu Yu (Vice President of Membership): 650-272-8825
How would somebody go about joining the Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club? What are the criteria for membership?
As long as you are at least 18 years old, you can apply to join Toastmasters. After you join you can use the tools provided to develop your leadership and communication skills.
Are there any exciting events or activities coming up that the community should know about?
Yes, there are many events where the community can come and see speeches:
• Speech Contest, Sept. 28 at 8 a.m. at Watkins Wellness, 1280 Park Center Dr., Vista, CA 92081, free
• Table Topics Speech Contest, Oct. 5 at 9:30 a.m. at Qualcomm Building Q, 6455 Lusk Blvd., San Diego, CA 92121, $5
• The Area 7 Table Topics and International Speech Contests, Saturday, Oct. 26, 9:30 a.m. at UPS Store Corporate Headquarters, 6060 Cornerstone Court West, San Diego, CA 92121, free
In addition, we plan to hold an open house for our club soon, and the date is TBD.
What are the club’s future goals?
Our goals are to achieve the President Distinguished Club Award in 2020, and to help each of our members develop their leadership skills and reach their educational goals. We have long-term members who are working toward DTM and new members who are up and running to reach their goals, which is exciting to see!
If you could grant the Scripps Teasers Toastmasters Club one wish, what would it be?
We have a great environment and energy at Scripps Teasers that I think many people can benefit from. I’d love to see us grow our membership so that others in the community can experience this great group of folks I meet with every Thursday morning.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
Life isn’t scripted, so strengthening your communication and leadership skills will help you in all aspects. We do this with fun, lighthearted people. We always welcome members of the community to come to a meeting. We meet at the SRCA Community Center, 11885 Cypress Canyon Rd. You can walk in any Thursday at 7 a.m. Feel free to email email@example.com prior to visiting to confirm the meeting or with any questions.