Memories from the past

Many of us fear public speaking more than death - but there’s no need to be afraid - as one of the oldest clubs on the Northern Beaches, Harbord Diggers Toastmasters Club has been turning timid speakers into fearless communicators for over 50 years.

It all began in December 1970 when a group of 31 Harbord locals recognised a need to improve their communication skills and formed a new club. The club was hosted by the Harbord Diggers, where it has been meeting twice a month ever since. The philosophy of the club in 1970 was “Better Listening, Better thinking and better speaking”.

Initially, all of the clubs’ charter members were men, but from 1973 Toastmasters opened up to men and women aged 18+ and it didn’t take long for the female membership to grow. Indeed, in 1978 a diary note in our records stated that ‘the female species outnumbers their male counterparts’!. 

Since that time, many members have walked through the doors of the Harbord Diggers. Thankfully the decor has changed from the old wood-paneled rooms and brown and gold wall paper to the current modern club environment with its beautiful ocean vista – and, of course the basic skills we all seek to learn and the qualities we want to embody remain unchanged. Our club mission is to provide a supportive, positive and safe learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Competitions and Hall of Fame

Our members have a history of strong performance in public speaking competitions – some of their key wins in recent years include:

Adam - Area 22 Table Topics 2020

Adam Funnel

Area 22 Table Topics comp 2020

Laura - District 90 Table Topics Award 2019

Laura Fagan

Area 22 Table Topics comp 2011, 2015, 2018, 2019, Hawkesbury Division ‘19, NSW District 90 winner 2019, Winner Area 22 Evaluation comp 2016, 2017

Ross - Area 22 Evaluation Competition Winner

Ross Whitfeld

Area 22 Evaluation comp 2020 and 2021

Hyunyi - Most Improved, John Mascarenhas Memorial Award 2021

Hyunyi Wang

Most Improved, John Mascarenhas Memorial Award 2021

Brad - Toastmaster of the Year Award 2021

Brad Nonnenmacher

Toastmaster of the Year 2021

Renee - 20 Years Toastmaster Award

Renee Salaverry

Recognition for 20 Years in Toastmasters

To view, all of the winners of our competitions at the club level click here.

Our Club Executive Team

Meet our 2021-2022 Executive team

Photo of Anna L

Anna Leadbetter

President

Photo of Michael

Michael Galloway

Treasurer

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Ana Vucinic

Secretary

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Sue Douglas

VP Education

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Jodi Fisher

VP Education 2IC

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Kerryn Divall

VP Membership

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Jamie Cockerill

VP Membership 2IC

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Dana Fischer

VP Public Relations

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Brad Nonnemacher

Sergeant at Arms

Club President Anna at lectern speaking

A message from our President

Most people come to Toastmasters for self-improvement, but it’s important to also enjoy the experience. If we approach our speaking assignments with the mindset of having fun we’ll take away a lot of the ‘performance pressure’ that often goes with public speaking.

Of course, speaking to an audience can make us feel uncomfortable – some may feel trepidation, anxiety or downright fear – but I encourage members to embrace a mindset of having fun from the outset.

So often in life we find ourselves in serious environments - under pressure at work and home so why not use this time - the time we set aside for ourselves - differently? Let’s say to ourselves “I want to do this, so I’m going to enjoy doing it”. Our club is a safe place where we come together to support each other while we learn and practice our skills and have a few laughs along the way . I look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Anna Leadbetter
Harbord Diggers Toastmasters President

Past Club Presidents

Meet our past club Presidents

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Colm Fagan
2020-21

My philosophy is that it is important to get comfortable being uncomfortable - that’s the only way we grow beyond where we are today

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Garry Taylor
2019-2020

I am a great believer in Progress over Perfection - I believe in every member doing their best to slowly get better every day

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Laura Fagan
2018-2019

Positive and constructive feedback is paramount to any great leader - At Toastmasters this is available to every member on a regular basis

A full list of our Past Presidents and Vice President Education (VPE) can be found here.

Our Club is part of a bigger Toastmasters family

Toastmasters is structured like an inverted pyramid that places the Members at the top.

The hierarchy is made up of Club, Area, Division, District and Region

Toastmasters Pyramid Structure

The Club

Consists of individual members (like YOU), and an Executive Committee comprising elected officers who act as, President, VP Education, VP Membership, VP Public Relations, Secretary, Treasurer and the Sergeant at Arms.

The Area

Is a grouping of 4 to 6 clubs. For example – our club is in Area 22 which includes Forest, Balgowlah RSL, Harbord Diggers Daytime, Forestville and Manly Multilingual. Each Area is co-ordinated by an Area Director. 

The Division

The Division is made up of a large geographical area incorporating many clubs. Our Area belongs to Division H (Hawkesbury). This encompasses North Sydney, Ryde, Chatswood and the Northern Beaches. There are 30 clubs in Division H, covering over 500 members.

The District

Finally, Toastmasters is divided into 120 Districts worldwide, laddering up to 15 Regions across five Continents. We belong to District 90 which covers half of NSW, from the Harbour Bridge to the Queensland border. There are 7 divisions in District 90. 

The website for District 90 can be accessed here.