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April 2024
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Preview the Exciting Speaker Lineup

The 86th Annual International Convention


Register for the Toastmasters International Convention, taking place August 23 through 26 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Choose from a variety of registration, add-on and special event options. Registration for access to the events Wednesday through Saturday, including the World Championship of Public Speaking®, is 525 (575 after July 3). Alternatively, you can enjoy the VIP experience for 570 (620 after July 3). Can’t get enough? Sign up for additional events such as a city bus tour, the Smedley 5K Fun Run, networking lunches and more.

Here are highlights about the featured speakers:

Erin Gruwell

Toastmasters International has named Erin Gruwell its 2017 Golden Gavel recipient for her commitment to improving education by offering training and curriculum to teachers, and scholarships and outreach for at-risk youth. Gruwell exemplifies the Toastmasters values through her integrity, her respect for the individual, her ­service to others and her focus on motivating individuals to become their best selves. Gruwell will be honored with this prestigious recognition in August at the 86th Annual Toastmasters International Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia.

As a high school English teacher, Gruwell encouraged her dis­engaged students to write about their life challenges in diaries. She eventually captured her former students’ collective journey in the best-selling book, The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them, which also became a critically acclaimed movie starring Hilary Swank as Gruwell. She then founded the Freedom Writers Foundation, which offers programs to improve the education of all students. She created the Freedom Writers Methodology, a progressive teaching philosophy and curricula and uses it to teach educators around the world how to implement her innovative lesson plans in their own classrooms.

After the release of the book and movie, Gruwell began receiving requests for the Freedom Writers (her former students) to speak around the world. Although the students had bared their souls in the diaries, the prospect of standing before audiences and telling their very personal stories was daunting. Gruwell knew a colleague in Toastmasters and arranged for the students to attend an eight-week Speechcraft session at the Freedom Writers Foundation in Long Beach, California. “The Toastmasters leaders made it their mission to model what great speaking is for us, to help ease the Freedom Writers’ anxiety about presenting and to encourage us all to take risks as speakers,” Gruwell says. “Toastmasters became a game-changer for us.” The group soon chartered its own club, Freedom Writers Toastmasters, in September 2014. Brimming with confidence and polished speaking skills, the Freedom Writers now travel the globe presenting to audiences of vulnerable and voiceless youth, with a message of hope that they, too, can overcome enormous odds to transcend their circumstances.

A new documentary titled Freedom Writers: Stories from an Undeclared War is set to be released next spring through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States.You can hear Erin Gruwell speak by registering for the Toastmasters convention. To learn more about Gruwell and the Freedom Writers, read the cover article in the May Toastmaster magazine.

Keynote Speaker Delatorro McNeal II, MS, CSP

“Toastmaster to Top Speaker.”

Ranked as one of the best motivational speakers in the world, Delatorro is a 10-year member of the National Speakers Association and executive producer and star of the business reality TV show The Keynote. He shares what it takes to achieve any goal with excellence and integrity.

David Dye

“Winning Well: Leading for Transformational Results—Without Losing Your Soul.”

An internationally recognized expert in leadership and employee engagement, David will share tips, tools and techniques for volunteer leaders.

Diane Ciotta

“Life is Like a Sales Call.”

Diane is a professional keynote speaker and entrepreneur whose Training Classics sales refinement company teaches about integrity and accountability to sales professionals. Learn more about selling from your heart—not from your head.

Kindra Hall

“The Irresistible Power of Strategic Storytelling.”

Kindra is an award-winning columnist, author and champion storyteller. She shares the psychology behind strategic storytelling and how to fully take advantage of it in your career and presentations.

Mark Hunter, DTM

“The Voice of the Bonsai—A Conversation on Leadership.”

Mark is the 2009 World Champion of Public Speaking and has held leadership positions for 40 years. He will share how his interest in growing bonsai trees led to insights in leadership from the ­relationship between bonsai masters and their trees.

Mohamed Ali Shukri

“Life in Your Speech.”

Mohamed is a health and safety expert, corporate trainer, award-winning speaker and Co-Active coach. He shares how to change someone’s life by putting life in your speech.

Sandra McDowell, MA, CEC, PCC

“Neuroleadership: Leading with the Brain in Mind.”

A sought-after speaker and facilitator, Sandra has extensive experience in communication, executive coaching and leadership in the financial services industry. Learn about new developments in neuroscience and how to best harness your brain for improved productivity, communication and overall well-being.

Shailee Basnet

“Together We Reach Higher.”

Shailee is a professional speaker and freelance trekking guide who summited Mount Everest. The coordinator of the “Seven Summits Women Team,” the world’s first female group to climb the highest mountain on each continent, she shares lessons learned during her journey that you can apply to your own life.


Visit the convention webpage for registration packages, the complete schedule of events, education session information, full speaker profiles, hotel and travel descriptions and—new this year—member testimonials!


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