Club History

May 2011
Advanced Public Speakers Toastmasters Club received its charter from Toastmasters International in May 2011.  The club mission is to provide a Toastmasters environment that is truly advanced in every way - by establishing a culture of thorough and granular evaluations, highly productive meetings, quality club documents, record keeping and website, and maintaining the highest expectations for officer leadership.

Club sponsors were FX Charpentier and Neerja Purang. Club mentors were Gouri Seetharam and Georgia Jones. All had been officers of the S&P Effective Communicators Toastmasters Club, and all were working for Standard & Poor’s at 55 Water Street.

The Original Charter Membership Roster, May 2011: Mitchell Abramson, Harry Aneziris, Sue Bayat, FX Charpentier, David Hoberman, Eloise Johnny,

Georgia Jones, Chetan Karande, Sandy Liu, Kevin Maher, Christine Navigante, Neerja Purang,

Jaya Rudrabhatla, Camille Dyer, Tushar Deshpande, Todd McKinney, Jose Garcia, Ivana Zgaljic,

Karthik Paladugu, Gouri Seetharam.


July 2011- June 2012
Officers: President, Sergeant at Arms (and acting VP Education) - FX Charpentier, VP Education - Sue Bayat, VP Membership – Sandy Liu/Todd McKinney, VP Public Relations - Ivana Zgaljic, Secretary - Eloise Johnny, Treasurer - Chetan Karande.

During the first full year FX Charpentier and Ivana Zgaljic ran most of the club operations. Because other APS members were busy volunteering for District 46 positions, the club sometimes met only once a month. FX established the APS officer protocols, procedures and document storage system on Google Drive. Ivana and FX built-out the APS Google based website. FX and Chetan Karande opened a club bank account and Georgia Jones created the APS logo used on club documents.

APS hosted its first “special format” meetings – a Table Topics-a-Thon, and a later one featuring dual good cop-bad cop evaluations. At the first APS club contest in January 2012, first place went to Todd McKinney for International Speech and Eloise Johnny for Table Topics. APS membership briefly dropped below 20 members, but the club finished the year with exactly 20, and a DCP ranking of Select Distinguished.

July 2012- June 2013
Officers: President - Todd McKinney, VP Education - FX Charpentier (replaced by Gouri Seetharam after Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30) VP Membership - Gouri Seetharam, VP Public Relations/Sergeant at Arms - Georgia Jones, Secretary – Kimberly Taylor, Treasurer - Neerja Purang.

APS reinstated bi-weekly meetings and adopted the practice of having a specific theme for each meeting. Damage from Hurricane Sandy closed 55 Water Street from November to April, but the club never missed a meeting thanks to a special benefactor - Mimi Hou. Mimi arranged for APS to meet at the Thomson Reuters building at 3 Times Square, and she was subsequently named an honorary APS member. Georgia Jones continued to build-out and improve the APS website. Neerja Purang became APS special meeting coordinator, and special format meetings that year included a team building scavenger hunt in lower Manhattan, and the first APS humorous debate - Resolved: Dogs Should be Banned from Manhattan. The debate meeting was a great success, generated excitement within the club and positive publicity throughout District 46.

Club contest winners in August were Leila Singh for Humorous Speech and Harry Aneziris for Table Topics. Georgia Jones competed successfully in Table Topics up to the District level. Club contest winners in January were Brian Robinson for International Speech and Harry Aneziris for Evaluation. APS achieved a milestone when three members competed at the District 46 International Speech Contest in May: Michael Platania, Todd McKinney and Brian Robinson (who represented APS.) The club finished the year with exactly 20 members, became President’s Distinguished with a Perfect 10 DCP score and achieved the District Club Excellence Award, both for the first time.

July 2013- June 2014
Officers: President – Gouri Seetharam, VP Education – Todd McKinney, VP Membership – Rafay Khalid, VP Public Relations – Derek Chen, Secretary – Marcia Berry, Treasurer – Georgia Jones, Sergeant at Arms – Harry Aneziris.

APS entered the year with continuing momentum. Several members were serving as Area/Division Governors, yet the number competing in contests remained high. APS captured the Traveling Gavel from FactMasters, and then gave it up to District Governor Kazuo Noguchi and his home club, Global Expressions. Special Format meetings included a Personal Finance/Debt Free Workshop hosted by Georgia Jones and Jason Wisdom, a heavily attended Elevator Pitch Workshop conducted by Michael Platania and a special “Roast” meeting for President Gouri Seetharam who left in May to join the U.S. Department of State.

Club Contest Winners in August were Gouri Seetharam for Humorous Speech and Brian Robinson for Table Topics. Club contest winners in January were Laurent Nicourt for International Speech and Brian Robinson for Evaluation. Brian Robinson became District 46 Table Topics Champion in November, and District 46 Evaluation Champion in May, an unprecedented accomplishment. Brian was also a finalist in the District International Speech Contest, this time representing Jade Toastmasters.

During this year several APS members became involved with Jade Toastmasters, and a “club mentoring a club” model emerged. Initiated by Derek Chen and Gouri Seetharam, a total of six APS members mentored and/or joined Jade, which went from having only six members to finishing the year a Perfect 10 DCP club. APS also achieved President’s Distinguished, Perfect 10 DCP status and the District Club Excellence Award for the second year in a row.

July 2014- June 2015
Officers: President /VP Public Relations - Georgia Jones, VP Education/Secretary – Todd McKinney,
VP Membership – Marcia Berry, Treasurer – Pam Burke, Sergeant at Arms – Christine Navigante.

President Georgia Jones led APS to its most productive year so far as the club garnered 15 educational awards and attracted 14 new members. The club played a more prominent role in District 46 with members Neerja Purang serving as District Governor and Manuel Saldana as Area Governor. In October, APS captured the traveling gavel from LIU Brooklyn but immediately gave it up to a large delegation from Bay Ridge Toastmasters. Georgia Jones continued to improve the APS website, adding a club history page, a kudos and shout-out page, and a photo for each meeting on the recap page. 

APS held a number of special format meetings including a District-sponsored workshop featuring Toastmasters World Champion of Public Speaking Darren LaCroix and TED Talks specialist Cathey Armillas that attracted over 100 people. The club held its second annual humorous debate in December, based on Brian Robinson’s book “How to Meet Women on the Subway” (which was inspired by his 2009 District Championship Humorous Speech of the same title). APS also hosted a District-sponsored Club Mentoring Workshop in March.

In August Harry Aneziris won the club Humorous Speech contest and Marcia Berry won the club Table Topics contest. APS had three members compete at the District 46 Table Topics contest in November; Kadisha Currie, Harry Aneziris (who took second place) and Marcia Berry who represented APS and became the District Table Topics Champion with a memorable performance. In February Brian Robinson won both the club International Speech and Evaluation contests. In the spring contest season six APS members competed in various Area Contests. At the District 46 Conference in May, Todd McKinney (representing Jade Toastmasters in International Speech) and Harry Aneziris (representing Pinnacle Toastmasters in Evaluation) both competed, but failed to place among the top three contestants.

APS once again achieved President’s Distinguished status with a Perfect 10 DCP and  the District 46 Club Excellence Award for the third consecutive year.