A light mist of rain was falling as I arrived at the Delta for the final day of the conference…just in time for the Evaluation Contest.  Unfortunatly, I was again running a tad late, so did not get a chance to watch the Target Speaker but I did get to see most of the evaluations themselves.
I was very impressed once again with the calibre of each and every contestant.  Each had their own method to provide a nicely balanced evaluation and I learned quite a bit from each one.  Of course, only three could walk away the winners, and those were:

1st place… Harry Ansara
2nd place… Katherine McLean
3rd place… Julie Boyer

Wonderful job all.

Brunch was again provided and then we reached the pinnacle of the convention.  Mark Hunter took the stage and completely blew me away with each of the speeches he gave (yes, he did more than one) along with an amazing gift of information to each and everyone in attendance on how he worked towards being the 2009 World Champion of speaking.  Mark had a wonderfully relaxed and pleasant personality, and took the time to chat with anyone who took the time to approach him.  This is the kind of individual you want representing the organization as a Champion, and I am honoured to have met him.

Suddenly, that was it.  Shortly afterwards, the conference was officially wrapped.  I took the time to walk around to see if there was anybody else that I should speak to.  In particular, I discussed some Web 2.0 and podcasting ideas with the new District Public Relations Officer Katie Chida.  Plenty of fun stuff to do ahead.

So, looking back, what did I take away from the conference.  For me personally, number one was a lot of ideas and inspiration.  But in addition to this it was wonderful to meet so many other people from so many different backgrounds that share two common elements – a love of speaking and a desire to help other people achieve their goals.  I’m in good company.

The Fall Conference will be held in November.  As long as I am physically able to (geographically that is) I would not hesitate on going, and I recommend to each and every Toastmaster in District 86 that if you have been sitting on the fence about investing in these conferences, get off it and buy your tickets.  It’s well worth it.