Toastmasters International is an organization dedicated to improving people’s communication and leadership skills in a mutually supportive and positive learning environment. From the basement of a YMCA in 1924 in Santa Ana, California, Toastmasters, now in 116 countries, creates the leaders the world and business needs.
Toastmasters International established District 46 on July 1, 1955, to support the 21 Toastmasters clubs and 454 members in metropolitan New York and northern New Jersey. By June 2008, District 46 grew more than twelve-fold to 260 clubs. This aggressive growth necessitated splitting the district into two. The 128 clubs meeting east of the Hudson River organized into a new District 46 effective July 1, 2008 and the clubs west of the Hudson River became District 83.
President’s Distinguished District status (top-6 ranking worldwide) was attained by six District Governors: Mark LaVergne (1993-1994), Pam Keyzer Judd (1998-1999), Amelia L. Abad (1999-2000), Rose Martino-Gerhard (2000-2001), Steve Chen (2010-2011), and Neerja Purang (2014-2015). Mark LaVergne, Pam Judd, and Amelia Abad also received the annual President’s Extension Award to recognize the three districts with the most club marketing growth.
Select Distinguished District Governors (ranked 7-12 in the world) include Elias Ezra (1978-1979), Deanna Brown (1987- 1988), Jim Samuel (1997-1998), Mary Neff (2009-2010), Raisa Serebrenik (2012-2013) and Kazuo Noguchi (2013-2014). Mary Neff also received the membership award given to the top three districts with the highest percentage of clubs having at least 20 members.
Distinguished District Governors since 1975 include Carol Isselian (1980-1981), Joseph Bowen (1982- 1983), Margaret Flory (1983-1984), Sister Alma Wedge (1984-1985), George Sepsie (1995-1996), Nick LoBue (2002-2003), Bibi Haddad (2006-2007), Radhi Spear (2007-2008), and Jennifer Chan (2015-2016).
In 1995, Mark Brown became the only District 46 member to win the World Championship of Public Speaking (WCPS).
In 2010, active District 46 member Rochelle Rice became only the 59th Accredited Speaker in the world.
* Ten members of District 46 have served, or are currently serving, two year terms as Toastmasters International Director (ID) and one member has served a one year term as Regional Advisor (RA) for Region 9. Congratulations to Raisa Serebrenik, newly appointed Region 9 Regional Advisor, who follows Tony Figueroa and Radhi Spear as RAs from District 46. At the 2015 International Convention, Past District Governor Steve Chen was elected Region 9 International Director, and is currently serving in that capacity.