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June 2024
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Meet the Masters of Online Meetings: Part 2

Members from Australia, Portugal, South Africa, and the United States show their support online.

These members were nominated for their outstanding contributions in helping others adapt and excel in a virtual environment. This is part of a recurring series.


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Agostinho Cajetan Barretto, DTM

New York, United States


A Great Virtual Experience

I would like to nominate Agostinho Cajetan Barretto as a Master of Online Meetings. His contributions to the virtual platform and screen during online meetings are exemplary. What makes him unique and worthy for this recognition is the commitment and time that he spends not just by hosting and creating meetings, but also by teaching others to do the same.

Knowledge is to be shared, and we learn best in moments of fun and enjoyment. That’s what Cajetan has done. His selfless service and tireless efforts have taken us through a great virtual experience for our annual conference, and great meetings not just restricted to his club and Area, but outside as well.

He went the extra mile to create countdown slides (for timing), applause slides, and other supporting materials that make virtual meetings more fun. He also created videos to share and teach his experiences.

And because of all these reasons, I with conviction, and as Past District 20 Public Relations Manager (2016 -17, when District 20 was the largest in the world), nominate Cajetan for the positive ripple effect that he’s created in virtual meetings.

Nominated by Nancy George Vijo, DTM, Kuwait Challengers Club, Kuwait City, Kuwait

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Christine Huynh

New South Wales, Australia


A Can-Do Attitude

I nominate Christine Huynh as a Master of Online Meetings. She was instrumental in our club moving meetings online with Zoom and provided support and assistance in hosting in the new environment.

Christine offered practical help by setting up the logistics for our online voting system—very important when we held our club elections in early May, with three contenders for the President role. Despite a power outage and intermittent Wi-Fi, the election was held due to her dedication and skill, and all members had confidence in the process, resulting in a new President being voted in.

Christine also wrote a blog over the course of a week in April, showcasing exactly why online meetings work, and how to make the new environment an opportunity for learning new skills. This is available to all members, via our club website, and provides invaluable advice on how to make Zoom meetings a success, and not a second-class meeting option to the usual face-to-face environment.

I found Christine to be very dedicated when she was Vice President Public Relations, and over the last few months her skills in assisting in the unknown Zoom environment have been vital. She has always radiated confidence and poise when dealing with our members and guests with a smile on her face and a can-do attitude.

Nominated by Wendy Lipski, DTM, Parramatta Club and Western Gourmet Toastmasters Club, New South Wales, Australia

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Sérgio Águia



Support and Service

I would like to nominate Sérgio Águia, Immediate Past Public Relations Manager in District 107.

Sérgio has outstandingly supported the clubs, Areas, Divisions, and the District throughout COVID-19. He studied the online tools thoroughly (Zoom, Webex, Jitsi, etc.) and helped us run our meetings, events, and contests smoothly. He provided quick guides, cheat sheets, and materials to those who struggled. He has diligently tested, rehearsed, configured, and supported the setup of online meetings and events. From contest chairs, to chairpeople, and chief judges ... everybody has benefited from him, and their roles were made easier thanks to him.

Sérgio has not only helped his home club and Area, but the whole District to make sure we can continue our growth from his knowledge and expertise. He also engages the guests and attendees as they enter the online events with a great use of music and backgrounds.

Thank you, Sérgio, for encompassing the four Toastmasters core values: Integrity, Respect, outstanding Service, and Excellence.

Nominated by Pablo Garcia Estevez, DTM, District 107 Club Growth Director, Ericsson Madrid R&D, Madrid Advanced Speakers, Madrid, Spain

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Gorata Hlope

Botswana, South Africa


Quality Characteristics

I am pleased to nominate Gorata Hlope as a Master of Online Meetings. Gorata’s ambition, intelligence, and accomplishments precisely complement the exemplary qualities of a Toastmaster and make her highly deserving of this recognition.

Gorata was challenged by the Division L Director to learn the ropes and skills that are required to facilitate small to large meetings on virtual platforms. She committed herself to the cause and visited 43 club meetings and speech contests across the world to learn best practices that the Division could apply. I witnessed her growth through her involvement in local club meetings and contests. At the Division International Speech Contest, her amazing talent was displayed. With a detailed and creative approach, the contest was a spectacle. Gorata used slide show transitions, sound effects (hand clap), queued music, and controlled audience interaction. The Division L Speech Contest has since been the benchmark that clubs in Africa have taken a page from.

Gorata was later invited by District 74 to be the Zoom Master at its District Council meeting and Speech Contest. Gorata has also mentored eight incredible Zoom masters across the District. As a result of her accomplishments, Gorata was also invited to be the Zoom-Master during the Africa Day annual lecture by PLO Lumumba, a renowned international speaker ,hosted by an International University; the event was streamed on Facebook and broadcasted across the continent from three countries.

I believe these characteristics represent all that is good in a Toastmaster and certainly in a Master of Online Meetings.

Nominated by Kage Kgobero, Eloquent Speakers Club, Botswana, Africa


In case you missed it, read the first article in this new series. 

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