District 46 History

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. Our District has grown over the years, and has undergone reformation (splitting into two districts) twice: in 2008 and 2020.

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.

By June 2020, District 46 grew again, to nearly 250 clubs. Clubs located in Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan south of 34th St., are in the newly formed District 119 as of July 1, 2020. Clubs in Westchester, The Bronx, and Manhattan north of 34th St. remain in District 46.

President’s Distinguished District status was attained in six District years (District Governor/Director in parenthesis): 1993-1994 (Mark LaVergne), 1998-1999 (Pam Keyzer Judd), 1999-2000 (Amelia L. Abad), 2000-2001 (Rose Martino-Gerhard), 2010-2011 (Steve Chen), and 2014-2015 (Neerja Purang). 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 status was attained in the following years (District Governor/Director in parenthesis): 1978-1979 (Elias Ezra), 1987- 1988 (Deanna Brown), 1997-1998 (Jim Samuel), 2009-2010 (Mary Neff), 2012-2013 (Raisa Serebrenik) and 2013-2014 (Kazuo Noguchi). 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 status since 1975 was attained in the following years (District Governor/Director in parenthesis): 1980-1981 (Carol Isselian), 1982- 1983 (Joseph Bowen), 1983-1984 (Margaret Flory), 1984-1985 (Sister Alma Wedge), 1995-1996 (George Sepsie), 2002-2003 (Nick LoBue), 2006-2007 (Bibi Haddad), 2007-2008 (Radhi Spear), and 2015-2016 (Jennifer Chan).

In 1995, Mark Brown became the only District 46 member to win the World Championship of Public Speaking (WCPS). In 2000, Dave Romanchick placed 2nd in the WCPS.

In 2010, active District 46 member Rochelle Rice became only the 59th Accredited Speaker in the world.

* Eleven members* of District 46 have served a two-year term an International Director (ID). Also, *four members* have completed a one-year term as Regional Advisor (RA) for Region 9. Radhi Spear is the only Past District 46 Governor to serve both positions -- RA in 2015-2016, and ID in 2017-2019.

Past District 46 Governors / Directors

2019-2020+Mark LaVergne, DTM, PID*/
++Elaine Rogers, DTM, RA*
2018-2019Raoul Yacinthe, DTM
2017-2018Nancy Garlick, DTM
2016-2017Tom Marino, DTM
2015-2016Jennifer Chan, DTM
2014-2015Neerja Purang, DTM
2013-2014Kazuo Noguchi, DTM
2012-2013Raisa Serebrenik, DTM, RA*
2011-2012Penelope Boehm, DTM
2010-2011Steven Chen, DTM, PID*
2009-2010Mary Neff, Ph.D., DTM
2008-2009Elaine Rogers, DTM, RA*
2007-2008Radhi Spear, DTM, ID*
2006-2007Bibi Haddad, DTM
2005-2006Antonio Figueroa, DTM, RA*
2004-2005Himendu Chaudhuri, DTM
2003-2004Brad Shilling, DTM
2002-2003Nicholas LoBue, DTM
2001-2002Fran Okeson, DTM
2000-2001Rose Martino-Gerhard, DTM
1999-2000Amelia L. Abad, DTM
1998-1999Pam (Keyzer) Judd, DTM, PID*
1997-1998Jim Samuel, DTM
1996-1997George Tully, DTM
1995-1996George Sepsie, DTM
1994-1995Emmogene James, DTM
1993-1994Mark LaVergne, DTM, PID*
1992-1993Laurie Jones, DTM
1991-1992Richard Maemone, DTM
1990-1991Gregory Batson, DTM
1989-1990Maria Wojcicki, DTM
1988-1989Neal Gerhard, DTM
1987-1988Deanna Brown, DTM
1986-1987Hadassa Legatt, DTM
1985-1986Lee Abramson, DTM
1984-1985Sister Alma M. Wedge, DTM
1983-1984Margaret Flory, DTM, PID*
1982-1983Joseph L. Bowen, DTM
1981-1982James Friend, DTM
1980-1981Carol E. Isselian, DTM
1979-1980Morris M. Meislik, DTM
1978-1979Elias Ezra, DTM
1977-1978Frank Banks, DTM
1976-1977Frank Tully, DTM
1975-1976Rudy Stiefel, DTM
1974-1975Leroy Schellhardt, DTM
1973-1974Lavern Lee, DTM
1972-1973"Robby" Roberts, DTM, PID*
1971-1972Robert Lommel, DTM
1970-1971Major Joseph Boland, DTM
1969-1970William J. Winters, DTM
1968-1969Joseph W. Hickenbottom
1967-1968William I. Van Gelder
1966-1967Grafton Dickson, DTM, PID*
1965-1966Meyer Bronstein, Esq.
1964-1965James G. Kalley, DTM, PID*
1963-1964Peter F. Sarhou
1962-1963Cleve L. Campbell, PID*
1961-1962William J. Costello, DTM
1960-1961Commander William Gerber
1959-1960Karl M. Shaw
1958-1959Thomas R. McDonald, PID*
1957-1958G. Henry Leslie
1956-1957Robert A. Gibney, DTM, PID*
1955-1956Dr. Walter R. Campbell

*  Served as RA or ID
+  Served first half of year
++ Served second half of year
 ^  Served as ID from neighboring District 53

Toastmasters International Presidential Citation Winners from District 46

  • Elaine Rogers - 2019
  • Antonio Figueroa^ - 2018
  • Raisa Serebrenik - 2017
  • Amelia L. Abad - 2016
  • Dunstanette L. Macauley^^ - 2016
  • Radhi Spear^ - 2009
  • Grafton H. Dickson - 2006
  • Pam Keyzer Judd - 2003
  • Robert Share - 2002
  • Fran Okeson - 1999
  • Margaret Flory - 1994
  • William Demchuk - 1986
  • Leroy Schelhardt - 1980
  • Rudy C. Stiefel - 1979
  • M.D. “Doc” Faige - 1976

^  Has or had membership in District 46. Listed on TI website as District 83
^^ Has or had membership in District 46. Listed on TI website as District 94