How to Broaden Our Perspective

And so a year of heavy weather in so many ways comes to a close.

Vancore is fortunate to be graced with two meteorologists in the mix, each with their own perspectives and speaking styles. Their job this 2021 year has been a little more like war reporting than they would have preferred.

British Columbia saw the most extreme swings of extreme weather ever experienced in Canada, and both Bobby and Giselle were on the front lines of weather forecasting and reporting.

Giselle gave us a hint of what it all felt like – and what Covid has been like for her in general – in a highly personal and evocative speech that evoked the Indiana Jones-like ride that has changed the way she works, socializes and even thinks.

Hat tip to our favourite meteorologists, Giselle and Bobby! You’ve earned your rest.

What a great mix of professions that are represented at Vancore! It provides broader perspectives that helps us to grow.

Vancore is taking the holidays off for two weeks. Wishing you Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

We look forward to welcoming you at our first meeting of 2022 on Wednesday, January 5th.

Be sure to join us! Sign up here for access and notifications.

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How to Build Your Expertise with Public Speaking

When you have a professional meterologist on the roster, things heat up quickly.

Heeeeerrrrree came….Giselle, capping a summer of weather like no other. 

A summer when Lytton, BC smashed the record for highest temperature in Canada ever — for three successive days. On the fourth day it burned down!

That’s the kind of tragic drama we’re talking about. And Giselle did talk about it, extremely well, in a 15-minute stemwinder that kept us all spellbound. She used the Toastmasters platform to help build her expertise as she practiced an important talk for work.

The best thing about Toastmasters is that each member brings a unique area of expertise. Everybody learns something, and not only about public speaking. We all have something valuable to share and we learn from each other.

The show goes on, even through the Covid doldrums of October. This is the perfect time to upgrade your skills so you're ready for golden opportunities that will open up over the next year.

The Toastmasters education system will help you to hone the craft of speaking well and gain a valuable skill that will serve you for life. 

* Communicate important and useful information with clients, employers, colleagues, and other important audiences.

* Enhance your personal and professional reputation and earn the respect of important people in your life.

* Build your personal and professional brand and get known for your expertise, character, and influence how others see you.

* Engage professional colleagues and business associates to take certain actions or consider certain ideas

* Inspire referrals and new business opportunities

Please join us on Wednesday at 3:30 PM PT. 

Sign up on guest list here for weekly updates and notifications.
Prior to 2020, we hosted fun and engaging socials for our members. We can’t wait to bring back our epic socials soon!

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Remembering Susan Chew

Long-Time Member Became the Heart of Vancore

Susan Chew in front of the Waffle House she started in 1955

There are times in life when we’re called to meet a moment with a few carefully chosen public words. This week was one of them.

Beloved long-time Vancore Toastmasters member, Susan Chew — a larger-than-life spirit who was in so many ways the heart of the club — passed away at age 94.

Susan was a member of Toastmasters for 30 years, in three clubs, including more than 10 years at Vancore, and even started a youth leadership club.

So at our Vancore Toastmasters meeting we held our first-ever wake.

The conversation naturally flowed out of reminiscing about Susan’s presence on the club and how she personally touched many of the Vancore members.

Those members who knew Susan tried to capture her for the newer members who never met her. There were laughs and a few tears. Susan would have loved it. (Except she’d have liked more jokes.)

“Susan was an inspiration to me. I love how she embraced speaking partly to keep her mind sharp, and for the cameraderie she found in the club.”

“Susan was always an inspiration! The stories of her life were amazing. She had done so much, met so many people, and loved. I remember she used to bring photos, handwrite our nametags and make everyone feel welcome.”
~ Mary Lou

“What a legacy she left at Vancore Toastmasters and anywhere she touched.”
~ Jonathan

“Susan showed us what is possible. I loved her spunk. I got to know Susan when she made a special effort to come out to New Westminster to support me at my public talk. We later went for lunch at The Waffle House, the restaurant she started in 1955! A natural storyteller, Susan described the people and events in vivid colour. What a privilege to spend time with an incredible woman who was ahead of her time.”
~ Deb

“She was/is an inspiration in so many ways.  She will be deeply missed. She was a sweetheart and accomplished so much in her life.  We were lucky to have her in our presence for as long as we did!! 

I loved her life stories, sassiness and always presenting ways to improve ourselves and the club.  She showed up for socials whenever she could.  I got a kick out of how bold she was…never worried about being PC.  😂  She was so committed to Toastmasters!!”
~ Loa

“I credit Susan a lot for the fact that I saw the light, completed the levels and got my own Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). What I didn’t realize then was how much all the meta activity would help me grow as a speaker and a leader.

Over time, we made a point of going for coffee after our club meeting and I learned more about her large family here and her many experiences.

I think that we were very lucky that she chose Vancore and her legacy has remained. My Toast…here’s to Susan Chew, Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). She broke barriers, took chances and did the work.”
~ Connie

Susan Chew, DTM
1927 – 2021

Susan’s verve to put herself in front of audiences and out in the public eye brought her many interesting opportunities and enriched her life.

Read about Susan Chew’s life here or in The Unbreakable Susie Chew

This is why you practice public speaking, folks.

Next week it’s back to the normal template. Please join us on Wednesday at 3:30 PM PT. Sign up on guest list here for weekly updates and notifications.

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How to Cultivate Good Conversation Skills

Why is it important to cultivate conversations skills if you want to succeed in life?

We need productive relationships to succeed professionally and have meaningful relationships for a happy, fulfilling life, and conversations are the foundation of all relationships.

Conversations are based on back and forth sharing of our thoughts, opinions, knowledge and feelings that express who we are, our values and what we want. When you have good conversation skills, you will be able to put others at ease which results in people forming better opinions about you. You will be seen as someone who is approachable, trustworthy, and worth listening to.

At last week’s Vancore Toastmasters meeting

Bruce, long-time Vancore member and author, contributes to the conversation…

There are three subjects you should never bring up in polite company: sex, religion and politics. Or so they used to say.

We didn’t *quite* test that adage in this week’s meeting, since only one of ‘em — politics — was on the table. But the early returns say the old adage is wrong.

Not only can you discuss politics, you should when presented with the question in the Table Topics section of the meeting:

“Imagine you had the ear of a federal or provincial leader. And you could appeal for funding for one cause. What would you pick?”

That’s a good question – maybe even one you’ll have to tackle for real some day. Deb, Vanessa and Bruce took an admirable shot at it, with answers ranging from small business to health to mental health.

They were challenged to think on their feet, get creative in their answers and deliver a coherent response. These are valuable skills to develop, whether in a job interview, meeting with colleagues, or for a work presentation.

It’s fun to switch on our imagination and play around with other people’s pretend money for two minutes! Just another of the reasons we practice public speaking, which helps us develop our conversation skills.

Ready to cultivate your confidence in the art of conversation?

Join a Vancore Toastmasters meeting on Wednesday at 3:30 PM for learning, practice and fun.

Sign up on guest list here for weekly updates and notifications.

Prefer in-person? Contact us at to reserve a limited spot to join us in-person at our downtown Vancouver Toastmasters location when we open for hybrid meetings.

Prior to the lockdown, we enjoyed lively in-person meetings in the AME Boardroom. We can’t wait to welcome you in-person soon.
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Wednesday Recap: Public Speaking is Infectious!

Funny thing about public speaking: it’s infectious!

In Toastmasters, sometimes a theme comes up and everyone seems to “catch it,” like a cold. And next thing you know everyone’s talking about it one way or another.

Case in point: this week’s meeting where the sticky subject was the food in your fridge. From the speeches to the table topics session, most everyone seemed to work it in somewhere.

Starting with Deb’s talk about demoing food, Bruce humoured us with visions of food in the freezer for countless years. Vanessa grabbed onto the theme and came up with a spontaneous speech to entertain us on her family’s interesting philosophy on food.

Good conversation has no expiry date.

And we love a good conversation! As a small, intimate club, we have the luxury of creating opportunities to practice not only public speaking, but also the art of conversation. It is these conversations that help us build connection, understanding, and relationships in the workplace and at home.

Speaking of preservatives, all Vancore members are encouraged to preserve the energy and integrity of the club by getting dues paid by Sept. 30.

Want to learn what you get as a member? Curious to know why it’s the best value personal and professional development that’s available?

Join us each Wednesday at 3:30 PM for learning and fun!

Sign up here for weekly notifications.

Prefer in-person? Contact us at for details on how to reserve a spot to join us in-person at our downtown Vancouver location. There are limited spaces in the room.

Pre-covid Vancore meetings at arooftop venue
Back in 2019 when we met in person, we got to experience some cool venues like this one on a rooftop overlooking the Vancouver skyline. We can’t wait to be able to do this again soon.

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Wednesday Recap – First Ever Hybrid Meeting with OWL!

Live from the VanCore bat cave! Today we saw the future! 

Jonathan arranged our first HYBRID meeting, featuring space-age Owl technology. The camera detects individual speakers and hones in on them so tightly you can see their lips move. 

Or at least, it WOULD have done that had there been any actual speakers live in the room, besides Jonathan. This was a test after all.

The rest of the small but spirited group scrubbed in from the comfort of their homes. 

And we were treated to another installment of Deb’s ongoing master’s class in nutrition — the kind of thing her clients pay good money for but we, as club members, get for free. Yet another perk of Toastmasters!

In the lively Table Topics session that followed, Bobby and Jonathan and Deb had questions like the following dropped on them with zero prep:

“Which died-too-young artist would you grant another 50 years to?”

“What animal ability would be terrifying if humans suddenly had it?” 

Try speaking for two minutes off-the-cuff about THAT.

But they did. Brilliantly.

The party continues at Vancore, every Wednesday at 3:30. 

Contact us at for details on how to reserve a spot to join us in-person at our downtown Vancouver location. There are limited spaces in the room.

Or join us virtually each Wednesday at 3:30 PM for online learning and fun! Sign up here for weekly notifications.

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Wednesday Meeting Recap: Rocking Our Speaking Skills!

Vancore was founded by mining folks — hence the name! — and Jonathan Buchanan, former club president and current treasurer, gamely carries the industry’s gem-like flame.

It takes a talent to make rocks interesting!

At the September 1, 2021 meeting, Jonathan did it again. He spoke and reflected on his evolving role in his work at the Association for Mineral Exploration. So ends his Persuasive Influence education path, the last rung on the ladder of the Toastmasters Pathways Learning Experience.

Next destination? Top shelf, where mom keeps the peanut butter…or move onto the next Toastmasters education path?

Meeting turnout this summer has been thin but spirited, and Loa kept the streak with a rousing round of Table Topics. 

As fall approaches, we look forward to another year of personal and professional development at Vancore, and to continue building our speaking confidence and communication skills.

Membership renewal starts today – only at Toastmasters does such personal improvement cost just over $3 per 75 minute session!

Join us on each Wednesday at 3:30 PM for learning and fun!

Contact us at for details.

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Double News! Vancore Member Achieves Award | Vancore is a President’s Distinguished Club

We are super proud of Vancore member, Bobby Sekhon, for achieving his Advanced Communicator Bronze award!

Advanced Communicator Bronze is part of Toastmasters legacy education program, the second stage of the Advanced Communications Track.

To successfully complete the requirements, Bobby achieved:

  • The Competent Communicator (CC) award and
  • Completed 10 speech projects in two manuals he selected from the Advanced Communication series:
  1. Technical Presentations and 
  2. Communicating on Video

Well done, Bobby! We can’t wait to watch your progression on the Pathways education system.

Join Loa Fridfinnson and Bobby Sekhon as they discuss Bobby’s accomplishments at Vancore Toastmasters Club and the many benefits of developing oneself utilizing the Toastmaster’s Education Learning Series.

Vancore Toastmasters is a President’s Distinguished Club!!

Toastmasters International rates its clubs on how well they encourage members to pursue their personal public speaking and leadership goals/designations.

All of our members contributed to Vancore Toastmasters achieve President’s Distinguished Club, the highest rating Toastmasters International gives to its clubs for reaching 9 out of 10 goals.

As part of the Distinguished Club Program, Toastmasters International recognizes and rewards clubs that consistently maintain a high standard of service to their members and community. This standard is measured as a series of 10 goals that clubs must strive to achieve each year. The more goals achieved, the higher the award.

We are super proud to be top rated as a President’s Distinguished Club!

Join Vancore Virtual meetings every Wednesday at 3:30 PM

Register here to receive notifications to join >>   

For more information, email:

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Getting out of our comfort zone

Every year for the last two Wednesdays of January, and occasionally throughout the year, we get to try out different venues when our usual location is unavailable.

This is a wonderful opportunity for members and guests to experience what it’s like to get out of our comfort zones and stand in front of a new room. Do this often enough, you will become comfortable speaking in front of any room, regardless of setup, size or situation! We stay in flow; nothing fazes us.

And that’s how our last meeting on January 23rd went. We had a good turnout of members and many guests at a venue graciously hosted by Mary Lou, one of our long-time members. Instead of our usual boardroom style setup, we had the opportunity to be in a presentation style setup. Gertie, our Meeting Chair brought her enthusiastic energy for a fun meeting. Rowan, a member for only three months, regaled his Part One tale of misadventure travels. Lots more to come in Part Two on January 30th, Rowan assures us. We can’t wait to see how the story unravels!


Be sure to attend our next meeting at another (not-so-secret) location! We meet every Wednesday at 4 PM. Check our website for current location. All guests are welcome!



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A Spooky Good VanCore Time

VanCore Toastmasters got into the spirit or shall I was was visited by Spirits this Wednesday. Costumes ranged from scary cute to dad joke witty – that was all you Jonathan.

Deborah’s halloween themed speech got us on the edge of our seats.  It entailed visiting a D-Day cemetery in France where many Canadian soldiers had perished.  The plot thickened as she described taking back to her Airbnb more than just eerie memories.  A presence loomed over her while in the bathtub sending shivers down her spine.  Like in many scary movies we were relived to find out that this one didn’t end in a blood bath, no pun intended.

We continued our session with creative halloween table topic questions from Connie.  Questions referenced the appropriateness of halloween costumes, if the city should hold fireworks on this day, do older kids have the right to candy, what this day means to us and if we believe in spirits. The answers were extremely interesting to hear.  Congratulations to Loa and Rhoda for winning the contest for best table topic answers respectively.

We closed the session with some treats, mingling and group pictures.  Thank you to all those who participated in making this a truly memorable spooky Toastmasters.

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