Toastmasters International 2017 - Vancouver BC


Toastmasters held their 86th Annual International Conference in beautiful Vancouver BC

Toastmasters International is an organization aimed at improving the public speaking and
leadership skills of its members, via club meetings and international conventions. They
consist of over 350,000 members from over 140 countries. Equally impressive,
Toastmasters has been around since 1924!

This year Toastmasters chose to host their international convention in beautiful Vancouver
BC. The event was filled with incredible workshops, information sessions and most of all,
incredible public speakers. Coast Mountain Photography was selected from a field of top
event photography companies to supply 6 full days and nights of event photography
including speakers, awards, candids, party photos, early morning jogs, the final gala, and so
much more.

The speakers included Shailee Basnett, a member of the Seven Summits Women Team. The
only all female group to reach the seven highest summits of the seven continents, including
Mount Everest. She told an incredible speech of leadership, teamwork, commitment and
perseverance with and overall theme of teamwork=success.

Also on display at the event was American teacher and author Erin Gruwell. Erin has been
featured on TedTalks and is known for her unique teaching methods used with
underprivileged kids in Long Beach California. Her story of successfully getting students to
buy into education and work together amongst a violence heavy, gang riddled area of
California, led to the novel “The Freedom Writers Diary”, which then turned into a
Hollywood Motion picture starring Hillary Swank.

The 2017 International Convention also hosted the 1st annual Smedley 5k Fun Run, in
honour of the Toastmasters founder Ralph C. Smedley from 1924. Hundreds of toastmasters
gathered in front of the Vancouver Seawall before sunrise to happily take part in the 5K run
in honour of their founder. Our photographer was there with a smile at 5:30am to capture
this special event.

The event finished with a climatic set of events: The World Championships of Public
Speaking, and a judged and juried set of presentations from top public speakers in hopes of
attaining Toastmasters highest rank of ’Accredited Speaker’. Of the 350,000 members, only
75 members enjoy this highest level of recognition. Of the 7 speakers, 6 were anointed with
this certification. The topics ranged from self-help, mental health, the first race riots in the
USA in 1965, why kids think like they do, retirement planning beyond finances, and more.

Overall, our 3 person team of photographers truly enjoyed being a part of this international
event at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Clearly, Toastmasters is not about business
networking or profiting from attending, other than the rich human connections and
camaraderie present at all times. Toastmasters has obviously made a positive difference in
the lives of these and other members, instilling confidence and the ability to speak
assertively in public and group situations. More than that, it seems like one big and growing
happy family. We were fortunate to play a small part – thank you Toastmasters!

Photographer: Shea MacNeil, Clare Hodgetts, Brad Kasselman