SEC Roughriders Toastmasters
Location change, Area Speech Contest
March 06, 2018

Area 26 International Speech and Evaluation Contest

March 12, 6pm-8pm, please arrive by 5:45pm

 Marsh and McLennan Companies

1166 Avenue of the Americas (46th Street & 6th Ave)
40th Floor, \Sutton Place\ conference ro

Please RSVP to ​

by March 9th for security access to the building. 

Pitch Party Meeting a success, Crowd clamors for more
January 19, 2018

Seven club members pitched themselves or their businesses to the 39 members and guests attending the Pitch Party Meeting on Thursday, January 19. In the Toastmasters tradition, all the speakers were evaluated by fellow club members who shared their encouragement and suggestions for improvement with the large audience.

Long time club members Karol Ward and Nina Kaufman, along with Club President Gerlinde Brixius, Past President Max Alvarez and Club Secretary Claire Ancona-Berk guided relative newcomer Eric Rock in his role as Toastmaster as he planned the packed agenda.  Simon Horowitz opened and closed the meeting as Presiding Officer with his signature wit for wordplay, addressing the overuse of "unique."

29-year member Robert Gedaliah expressed his gratitude to club members and leadership for continuing the traditions that brings him back often. Past President Don Nelson confirmed the need for meetings like the pitch party to spotlight skills that everyone uses, "everyone, absolutely everyone gets asked the question 'what do you do?'"

As they left to return to work and attend other meetings, many members were heard asking when the next pitch party might take place.  Vice President Education Jorge Guano was seen pulling out a calendar and cornering some club officers to confirm a date.  Toastmaster Eric Rock encouraged those interested to incorporate practicing their pitches as they move through the manuals for the Toastmasters Education Program.

Sign up now, Speech Contest on Thursday, February 8
January 19, 2018


CLICK HERE and sign up to speak or perform a supporting role during the contest.


 ​​​Mark you calendar for Thursday, February 8. SEC Roughriders will hold the Club Contests for International Speech and Speech Evaluation. These will be held at our usual location in lieu of our regular meeting. Winners of the Club Contest will move on to compete in the Toastmasters Area Contest.

In addition to competing in the speech contest, many SUPPORT ROLES need to be filled including judges, timers, ballot counters, wranglers and a Sergeant at Arms.  If you have any questions contact the Contest Chair or Vice President Education.


Here's to another great season of SEC Roughriders successes!


Jonathan Frenkel, Contest Chair

Jorge Guano, VP Education


Kick-off New Year with Toastmasters, SAVE-THE-DATES
December 24, 2017

Thursday, January 4, 2018 will be the next meeting of the club's Thursday regular weekly meetings. Holiday Recess on Thursday, December 28. No meeting will be held.


  • January 18, Pitch Party for members to pitch their business or themselves
  • February 8, Club Contests for International Speech and Speech Evaluation
  • March 1, Open House for members and their invited guests
  • March 15, Evaluation Challenge to improve feedback we provide others

Compete and Win!!! SEC Roughriders win no matter the results.
November 09, 2017

There’s power in purpose

 With those words District Director Nancy Garlick, DTM opened the Division B Contests last Monday night. SEC Roughriders Denise Bolte, Mike Haropulos and Don Nelson competed and benefited from the experience. in the Table Topics and Humorous Speech respectively, the contest did have a purpose.

Long time SEC Roughrider and past president of the club, Don Nelson, competed and won at the Club, Area and Division Levels representing another club in which he holds membership.

While competing in Club, Area and Division Level Contests, ultimately Denise and Mike both shined in a competitive field of Toastmasters from other clubs but did not win at the Division Level. They stretched their skills as Toastmasters by choosing to participate in all the contests.

It was a great experience.  All the coaching was wonderful, on many levels- it improved my skills and it was a bonding experience with my fellow SEC Roughriders.  I am overwhelmed with the support Mike and I received.  I would compete again,"  said Denise who competed in the Table Topics Contest representing SEC Roughriders Toastmasters and won at Club and Area Levels in addition to 3rd Place Winner at Division Level Contest.

It was quite an opportunity to get to the next level so I practiced a lot. The suggestions and encouragement from fellow members were great! The extra challenge of the contest and speaking in front of new faces at a different venue all  added to my growth as a public speaker,” said Mike who competed in the Humorous Speech Contest representing SEC Roughriders Toastmasters and won at Club and Area Levels.

Congratulations to Denise, Mike and Don for their determination to compete and represent all the best traits of a SEC ROUGHRIDER TOASTMASTER.

SEC Roughriders Win Area Contest
October 18, 2017

SEC Roughriders Mike Haropulos and Denise Bolte WIN.

SECRR 201710 Division Contest Winners

SEC Roughriders Mike Haropulos and Denise Bolte won First Place at the Area Contests held on October 12. They both will advance to the next contest at the Division Level to be held Monday, November 6.  Mike won the Humorous Speech Contest and Denise won the Table Topics Contest.

Club earns highest honors from Toastmasters International and NYC Metro District 46
July 12, 2017

Congratulations to Past President Jack Brown for leading the club to achieve 10 of 10 success goals set by Toastmasters International to earn the President's Distinguished Club Award for the 6th year in a row since 2011-2012.  

For the first time in club history, the Golden Gavel District Award was received through diligent and consistent efforts by the 2016-2017 Executive Committee team of officers.  Only 15 of the 230+ clubs in District 46 have earned this prestigious award.

For the 12th year in a row since 2005-2006, SEC Roughriders Toastmasters was recognized by Toastmasters International as a Distinguished Club among all 15,900 clubs in 142 countries.

Special Speakathon and Evaluator Challenge Meeting - Thursday, June 1, 2017
May 09, 2017

Join your fellow SEC Roughriders at the June 1st meeting for a special Speakathon and Evaluator Challenge. 6 speakers and 6 evaluators will display their communication and evaluation skills during this special meeting with evaluators immediately following the speaker.


RSVP Now for June 1 Special Meeting and help us plan for lunch buffet and room setup.


In addition, a vote will be held to elect the incoming 2017-2018 Executive Committee.


If you have a friend or colleague who’s been curious about Toastmasters, this is a great meeting for them to attend and experience our community of SEC Roughriders Toastmasters.


Roughriders to Compete in Division Level Contest - April 19th!
April 05, 2017

The Division B International Speech and Evaluation Contests is on Wednesday, April 19th. 


Show your support for Jackie Gordon and Nikola Bugarin as the compete at the Division B level.


Division B

Wednesday, April 19th



Douglas Elliman

1995 Broadway 4th fl at 68th street

You must RSVP to attend this event. 

RSVP: Quinn Lemley

SEC Roughriders compete Tuesday, March 7
March 02, 2017

Congratulations to fellow SEC Roughriders Jackie Gordon (International Speech Contest winner) and Nikola Bulgarin (Speech Evaluation Contest winner). They will compete at the Division B/Area 26 Contest. You must RSVP to confirm attendance and clear security at offices

Let's have a great turnout to support them!

When: Tuesday, March 7, 6:00 pm

Where: Douglas Elliman, 1995 Broadway at 68th Street, 3rd Floor


End Of The Year Party 2016
December 01, 2016

Join us for food, wine and good cheer to toast the holiday season!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016 - from 6PM to 9PM

Symphony House, 43rd Floor

235 West 56th Street - New York City


$35 in advance, $45 at the door




Building Your Speaking Skills with Toastmasters
November 13, 2016

A few members did a radio interview titled "Building Your Speaking Skills with Toastmasters"  

Listen to the interview below:

SEC Roughriders Celebrates 60 Years!
February 09, 2016

This month SEC Roughriders marks its 60th anniversary! Don't miss the celebration at our February 18th meeting. Same time, same place. See you there!

International Speech and Evaluation Contests on Feb. 25, 2016
February 09, 2016

Join us on February 25, 2016 for the International Speech and Evaluation Contests. Many thanks to Maralyn Jabour for taking charge as our Contest Chair and Jackie Gordon as our Chief Judge. Support your fellow Roughriders as they compete at this special meeting! See you there!

Roughrider Competes in Division C Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest
October 01, 2015

Roughrider Renee Rosenberg is a Table Topics contestant in the Division C Humourous Speech and Table Topics Contest on October 7, 2015. She won the Area 31 Table Topics Contest on September 10, making us proud! Let's turn out to support her.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

The New York Life Building

51 Madison Avenue at 27th Street

Important: Security is tight and RSVP is a must. If you plan to attend, please RSVP via this link:


Roughrider Robert Gedaliah to speak at AXA Insurance Toastmasters Club
August 07, 2015

If you missed fellow SEC Roughrider Robert Gedaliah's inspirational speech Strong Is Your Only Choice on July 16, 2015, you can hear it next week at the AXA Insurance Toastmasters Club. The speech will also be streamed to four locations within the US.


Date:        Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Time:        noon to 1:00 p.m.

Location:   1290 Avenue of the Americas (b/n 51st & 52nd St.), 16th Floor

Club:         AXA Insurance Toastmasters Club

Cost:         FREE!

I'm sure Robert would love to see some familiar faces. Please email or text Robert if you plan to attend: or 917-597-6065. Names have to be on a list to get in to building.

Thank you, Outgoing Club Officers; 2014-2015 Club Accomplishments
June 26, 2015

My Dear Roughriders,

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you over the last year.

I have enjoyed my role as President immensely, and working with a stellar team of officers and engaging with members has been the highlight of my experience! 

Your Club officers have worked tirelessly to ensure that Club operations run smoothly and have executed special projects to further enhance our Club’s stature.


  • Karen Morris – VP Education
  • Cliff Benfield – Treasurer 
  • Margaret Trombly – VP Membership
  • Nancy Gerstman – Secretary
  • Ozzie Mojica – VP, Public Relations 
  • Lisa Veshecco – VP Mentorship
  • Vandana Ranjan – Sergeant at Arms (SAA) 
  • Michael Keating – Immediate Past President

Also, special thanks to Jack Brown for developing mentorship guidelines (now posted on the website), and to Eric Rock, for stepping in as interim SAA.

And lastly, a shout out to our website developer, Frank Reilly who keeps our website running and current at all times.


1.   President’s Distinguished Club (PDC) Status 

  • Achieved PDC Status for the 4th consecutive year within only 6 months by meeting the Toastmasters International (TI) training, membership, renewal, and administration goals.

2.   Club Finances converted from a nominal operating loss to an operating position in keeping with the not for profit nature of the organization. What this means is:

  • We can continue to meet at the Bar Association
  • Our Balance Sheet continues to be healthy

 3.       Awards, first time DTM & Recognition

  • 13 Roughriders received a total of 15 Communication and Leadership awards from TI, including a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award, a first in our 59 years as a Club.
  • Award recipients were recognized in a Formal Recognition Ceremony. Holding a recognition ceremony twice a year has now been established as Club policy.

 4.       Four Club Contests Organized 

  • Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest held in August 2014
  • International Speech & Evaluation Contest held in February 2015

 5.       Special Meetings 

  • Special Meetings established as Club policy with the goal to challenge members and help them stay flexible as speakers
  • In two special meetings held in March & May, evaluations were conducted immediately after speeches; these meetings were well attended and positively received.

 6.       SEC Roughriders Holiday party featuring SIRA 

  • We continued the tradition of hosting a Holiday Party, featuring SIRA (i.e. Roughrider alumni). The Holiday party chaired by Michael Blasie, who planned every single detail with a lot of care, was held last December and attended by 65+ members, alumni and guests.

7.       Membership, Mentorship & Weekly Meetings 

  • 18 new members inducted, surpassing TM requirement of 8
  • 12 new members paired with mentors
  • 50 meetings held in 52 weeks. 4 speaker slots filled for 95% of the meetings. Meeting minutes diligently crafted with a personal touch and distributed every week.

8.       Website Enhancements 

  • Calendar capability enhanced so that:
    • Admins can highlight Special Meetings with a differentiated background color & notes section
    • Members can sign up for a speech only every 28 days
    • Members can sign up to evaluate only after 3 speeches
    • A separate section (from the Blog) has also been created to post Presiding Officer speeches.

9.       Club Welcome Packets for Guests 

  • A new "Welcome Packet" was designed for guests. Packet was entered into a contest and selected among top 16 at the District Conference.

10.    Member Engagement

  • A “Classes” initiative undertaken to create alumni connections, and camaraderie by categorizing members based on year of joining.
  • The "class list” which was communicated to members can be found on the website under:

My Home/Documents/Roughrider Alumni Classes

I sincerely thank the outgoing officers for their time, energy and enthusiasm and for making it possible for us to achieve the above and more!

As our current Toastmasters’ year comes to a close, I am thrilled to welcome our incoming President, Cliff Benfield and his fantastic team and I wish them all the very best for the year ahead!

I encourage all of you to get to know the new Board, share ideas and feedback and most importantly to stay engaged!

Thank you again for such an amazing year! It’s been an honor.

Warm regards,

Richa Malhotra, President, 2014-2015

SEC Roughriders Toastmasters

2014-2015 Toastmasters International Awards & Recognition Ceremony
June 24, 2015

Recognition Ceremony for TI Awards for the term July 2014 to June 2015

On June 11, 2015, we had our very first Recognition Ceremony, where Roughriders were awarded Communication and Leadership Awards for the various milestones they achieved. 

The recognition ceremony was a result of a proposal by Kumiko Katayama, Roughrider and Asst. to District Governor based on her work towards the High Performance Leadership Manual. 

The twice a year recognition ceremony to be held in December and June is now part of Club policy and we look forward to future leadership taking this legacy forward!

Thank you, Kumiko Katayama for bringing forward this idea and taking it through the approval process.  

And thank you, Karen Morris, our VP Education, for nudging members forward and tracking progress to help them achieve 15 awards for the year along with the PDC (President’s Distinguished Club Status) in 6 months!


CC - Competent Communicator

  • Sally Grant
  • Pei-Cen Lin
  • Sharon Small
  • Vandana Ranjan
  • Renee Rosenberg
  • Ozzie Mojica
  • Roland Morris

 ACB – Advance Communicator Bronze

  • Jack Brown
  • Miriam HymanACS

ACS – Advanced Communicator Silver

  • Kumiko Katayama

ACG – Advanced Communicator Gold

  • Angela Florentino



ALB – Advanced Leadership Bronze

  • Eric Rock
  • Kumiko Katayama

ALS – Advanced Leadership Silver

  • Don Nelson

Leadership Excellence Award

  • Don Nelson

DTM – Distinguished Toastmaster - 1st DTM in Roughrider History of 59 years!

  • Don Nelson

2015-2016 Leadership Team
May 31, 2015

Dear Roughriders,

I am thrilled to share that the Executive Committee has elected the new leadership team of SEC Roughriders Toastmasters Club for the term July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016!  

President: Cliff Benfield
Secretary: Ken Weiss
Treasurer: Natalia Sucha
Sergeant at Arms: Lynn Pono
VP Education: Max Alvarez
VP Membership: Heather Higgins
VP Mentorship: Mary Campbell Gallagher
VP Public Relations: Beth Karas
Immediate Past President: Richa Malhotra

Please help me welcome the new Executive Committee and also give huge thanks to Michael Keating, our immediate Past President and Head of the Nominating Committee, who worked tirelessly with the Nominating Committee to present a fantastic and credentialed lineup of individuals for election.

New Officer Induction

The new Officers will be inducted in their new positions at the weekly Club meeting on Thursday June 25th.

I hope to see you all there to congratulate and welcome the new Executive Committee and to lend our support to them in the coming year!

Warm regards,

Richa Malhotra
President, SEC Roughriders Toastmasters Club

Special Meeting on May 14th - Evaluations immediately after speeches
May 10, 2015

Dear Roughriders,

On the May 14th, we will be having a SPECIAL MEETING where evaluations will take place immediately after each speech.  

In other words, your prep time for Evaluations will be limited to the length of the speech - once the speaker finishes speaking, you will go right up and evaluate!

Sign up to be an evaluator and for other support roles for the May 14th meeting:

I look forward to seeing you!

Warm regards,

Richa Malhotra
SEC Roughriders
Toastmasters Club 1876

Michael Haropulos & Preston Trombly to Compete in Area Level Contest - February 17th!
February 11, 2015

Congratulations to the winners of SEC Roughriders’ International Speech and Evaluation Contests which were held at our regular club meeting on February 5, 2015.

Michael Haropulos won the International Speech Contest and Michael Landrum came in second place. Preston Trombly won the Evaluation Contest and Michael Blaisie came in second. Each contestant gave an excellent speech or evaluation, highlighting the talent at our Club.  

Michael Haropulos and Preston Trombly will go on to represent SEC Roughriders at the Area Contest which will be held on February 17th at Thomson Reuters Rooters Time Square.

Contest Details:

Date: February 17th, Tuesday

Time: 6:15pm – 9pm


Thomson Reuters Rooters

3 Times Square

Millennium Board Room

New York, New York

Areas 31 & 32 contests will be combined.


I’d like to encourage all members to attend the Area Contest and support your fellow Roughriders.  

Karen Morris 

Vice President of Education

Club Level Speech & Evaluation Contest - February 5th
December 03, 2014

Dear SEC Roughriders,


February 5th is our Club Level International Speech and Evaluation Contest, so please mark your calendars.  Please let our VP Education, Karen Morris know if, 

1)             You are be interested in competing in either or both contests


2)             If you would like to be a Co-Chair of the Contest. 

Signing up for a Contest Support Role/Being Contest Co-Chair or Chief Judge…counts towards getting credit towards your Competent Leader Manual.

The winners of the two contests will go on to compete at the Area Contest on February 18th at 6pm, hosted by Thomson Reuters Rooters. 

The Area winners will go on to compete at the Division level, the District level and finally on the world stage, this year in Las Vegas! 

This is a fantastic opportunity for all members who want to challenge themselves in a more competitive environment. 

So sign up to compete or support and let me know in case you have any questions.


Best Regards,

Karen Morris

Vice President of Education

Toastmasters International Achievements - Congratulations!
September 11, 2014

Dear Roughriders,

On behalf of our Board, I would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the following members who completed Achievement Awards in July and August.


Competent Communicator Awards

Sharon Small

Pei-Cen Lin

Sally Grant


Advanced Communicator Bronze

Jack Brown


Advanced Communicator Silver

Kumiko Katayama


Advanced Communicator Gold

Angela Florentino

Nina Kaufman


Advanced Leader Bronze

Eric Rock

Kumiko Katayama


I hope that each one of us can be inspired by our fellow members’ accomplishments and take this opportunity to renew our own goals to become better public speakers and leaders.


If you are close to completing an award, now is the time to PUSH! If you are stuck in a rut, please contact me or your mentor about getting back on track.


We are here to help you achieve your goals and complete your CL, CC or advanced manuals. As you advance through the Toastmasters manuals you raise the level of talent in our Club.


The Club’s most important asset and the key to our success is our membership so congratulations and thank you from all of us.


Thank you,

Karen Morris

Vice President of Education

Congratulations Humorous Speech & Table Topics Contest Winners! Area Level Contest - September 17th, 2014
August 27, 2014


Congratulations to our winners and runner-ups of the Annual Humorous Speech contest:

Table Topics Winner:
Martin Cowart  CC
Humorous Speech Winner:
Jack Brown  CC, CL
Table Topics Runner-up:
Max Alvarez  CC, ACB
Humorous Speech Runner-up:
Don Nelson  ACG, CLB
The winners will be competing in the Area contest being held on the 17th of September from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. So please come out and support our fellow members for this wonderful and exciting event. 
Event location will be at:

Thomson Reuters Rooters
3 Times Square 22nd Floor New York, NY 10036-6564

Cindi Laird 347-601-5147 or Velma Jackson-Wilkins 646-528-4262

RSVP & Photo ID is required
Ozzie Mojica
VP Public Relations
SEC Roughriders 
Toastmasters International Club #1876



2014-2015 Club Leadership Team
May 16, 2014

Join us in welcoming and supporting the new Executive Committee Officers for 2014-2015, effective July 1, 2014:

President: Richa Malhotra
Treasurer: Cliff Benfield
Secretary: Nancy Gerstman
Sergeant at Arms: Vandana Ranjan
VP Education: Karen Morris
VP Membership: Margaret Trombly
VP Mentorship: Lisa Veshecco
VP Public Relations: Ozzie Mojica
Immediate Past President: Michael Keating

The above new Officers will be installed in their new positions at the weekly Club meeting on Thursday June 26th. 

We hope to see you all there to congratulate them on their successful nomination and to lend our support to them for the coming year!

Lenny in the Spotlight!
May 05, 2014

​Did you know Lenny has worked on everything from hippie music festivals to gas power plants?

Here's how SEC Roughriders has helped him with his work and how he'd like to serve the club in the future:

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