An important part of Toastmasters training is learning about leadership, and the best way to become skilled at leadership is to experience it. Choosing leaders or choosing to be a leader begins at nomination and at the ballot.

District leader elections are held at district councils’ annual meetings at district conferences worldwide between March 15 and June 1. All district officers must be paid members of Toastmasters International for the duration of their terms.

In order to ensure successful district elections, the district director appoints a district leadership committee. The committee nominates candidates for district office and screens candidates for eligibility. The committee nominates one or two candidates for each of the offices of district director and program quality director. The committee nominates one or more candidates for the office of club growth director and all other elective district offices. After receiving nominations from the general membership and seeking out perspective candidates, each candidate was reviewed for eligibility and then interviewed. This year’s District Leadership Committee consisted of the following members in good standing:

District Leadership Committee Chair: PDG, Jeff Harris, DTM
DLC Members:
PDG, Kim Boyd, DTM
PDD, Rebecca Arnett, DTM
PDG, Gene Reyes, DTM
Past District Secretary, Kathleen Newsom, DTM

The work of the district leadership committee (DLC) is critical to ensuring long-term success for the district. Led by the committee chair, committee members screen district leader candidates for eligibility and ultimately nominate the best individuals. Identifying the best candidates for elected positions takes time and commitment.

District leader elections will be held during the District Council Business Meeting on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Copeland Tower Suites & Conference Center located at 2601 Severn in Metairie, LA. The business meeting will begin at 2:40pm and credentials must be obtained before 2:30pm. All members are invited to attend. The District Executive Committee, Club Presidents and Club VPEs cast votes on behalf of the membership. Any eligible voter who is unable to attend must assign a proxy no later than May, 17, 2019. For more details, please visit or email


District Director

As the district’s chief executive officer, direct the district in a way which fosters strong clubs; produces maximum growth in education completions, clubs and membership; and be consistent with the interests of members of Toastmasters International. Motivate the district to achieve Distinguished recognition. Achieve the mission of the district in a manner that motivates volunteer leaders and promotes a standard
of excellence in all district activities.

District Director Nominee:

Joel Dawson, DTM

Joel Dawson joined Toastmasters in July of 2013. He attended every meeting, but never gave a speech. He was asked to compete in the table topic contest at the fall conference. Feeling coerced into competing he decided that Toastmasters wasn’t for him. He decided that after the conference he was going to quit. At the conference, something magical happened. Joel went back to his club with renewed vigor and decided that he wanted to become a professional speaker and that he did. Joel achieved his DTM designation in 18 months but he didn’t stop there. His ultimate goal was to be one of the best speakers in the world! In 2016, Joel accomplished that by placing 2nd in the semifinals of the 2016 World Championship of Public speaking making him one of the top 20 speakers in the world. In 2016, he was featured in the Toastmasters magazine in an article called, “Contest Life Lessons”. That honor was bestowed upon him again in the October 2018 issue entitled “Member Moments”.

Program Quality Director

Under the guidance of the district director, strive to have every club and each member reap the benefits of Toastmasters and to have every club become Distinguished. Provides direction and counsel to division directors, area directors, and club officers on the educational opportunities in Toastmasters. Design and conduct successful district training programs, conferences, and other district educational events.

Program Quality Director Nominee:

Clarence “Chic” Miller, DTM

Chic Miller, DTM is a Charter member of Celebration Toastmasters since March of 2012. Since then he has served in every leadership role in that club including President for 2012-2013 when Celebration Toastmasters reached the level of President’s Distinguished. He is also a member of Celebration Kenner Toastmasters where he has served as President and VPE and is a member of Golden Crescent Advanced Club.
He has participated in International Speech, Humorous Speech and Evaluation contests, reaching the District Level several times. He had the distinct privilege to represent District 68 in Las Vegas in 2015 in the semi-finals of the International Speech Contest.
In 2016-2017 Chic began serving on the District Executive Committee as the Area 14 Director, reaching the level of President’s Distinguished. In 2017-2018 he became the Division D Director and received the Division Director of the Year Award. This past year, as Club Growth Director has been the most challenging and rewarding period of his Toastmasters experience. While there have been moments when he felt he was in over his head, he was reminded of his own statement, “You can’t learn to swim in a wading pool!”
On a personal note Chic is a widower, having lost the love of his life Jackie in December of 2017. They were married for Forty years. He has two grown children (Manley and Chelsea) and Nine wonderful Grandchildren.

Club Growth Director

Under guidance of the district director, make the benefits of Toastmasters membership available to greater numbers of people. Plan, develop, implement, and direct district marketing objectives. Develop and direct programs for new club development, club rescue efforts, club membership promotion, and membership retention. Achieve Distinguished District goals for membership and club growth. Promote standards of service to the member and to the club.

Club Growth Director Nominee:

Shirley Burch, ACB, ALB

Shirley Burch joined Toastmasters April 2016 and began speaking and taking leadership roles from the very start.  She was elected December 2016 to serve Toast of CenturyLink as its President for the next year.  Along with serving as President, Shirley assisted other officers with responsibilities because of workloads each held from changes being made within CenturyLink.   Due to unforeseen circumstances, the elected Area Director of her area was unable to complete the full term as Area 4 Director.  Shirley volunteered to complete the term knowing she would not receive credit from Toastmasters International for the role as Area Director.  It was the experience and exposure that drove her to take on the responsibility.  As a result of hard work, she received the Area Director of the year award in 2018 for the work she had done.  Shirley is currently serving as the Division A Director.
Through the course of serving in leadership roles, Shirley has attained her ACB and ALB and currently working to complete both her ACS and ALS by the end of the 2019 year.  There is a joy in serving and helping others!!!

Division Directors

Achieve the mission of the district within the division, accomplishing district goals in membership building and retention, club extension, and educational accomplishments. Ensure that each club realizes its mission and fulfills its responsibilities to members. Achieve Distinguished Division Program goals and ensure that areas and clubs within the division achieve Distinguished recognition. Serve the division clubs by providing district support and resources through the area directors.

Division A Director Nominees:

Maria Izaguirre, CC, ALB

Maria G. Izaguirre is from Patterson, Louisiana, is a single mom of 3 children and works as a Paralegal/Notary.  Through a personal development seminar, Maria found out about Toastmasters International and attended her very first meeting at Tri-Parish Toastmasters in Gray, Louisiana, during the fall of 2013.  Having worked for an offshore scrap company and also an offshore contracting company, Maria realized the importance of communication and leadership in a team setting.
After being inactive and becoming unemployed in 2017, Maria joined St. Mary Parish Toastmasters to make better use of her time.  She held the VP Education position and currently holds the position of Club President.  Maria has grown into the leader she is through her club leadership experiences, by constant communication with her District Leaders and by attending various TLIs and District conventions. 
Maria was nominated and awarded Area 2 Director for Div. A for District 68 for the 2018-2019 Toastmasters’ year.  Maria has learned to multitask and prioritize certain activities this year, maintaining balance and harmony among family, work and Toastmasters.  Maria completed her Competent Communicator and Advanced Leadership Bronze in the Spring 2018.  She plans to achieve her Advanced Communication Bronze and her Advanced Leadership Silver by the Fall 2019.

Jerry “Jay” McKinney, ACG, ALB, SR1

Jerry “Jay” McKinney is an Instructional Technology Facilitator for the Rapides Parish School District located in Alexandria, LA. In addition to his profession, Jay is a current member of Toastmasters International and he belongs to the Confident Allies Toastmaster Club where he serves as Vice President of Membership. Jay also has the privilege to serve as the Area 3 Director and club coach for The Cenla Gift of Gab Toastmasters Club. Jay’s passion for public speaking, evaluating, and presenting have only grown since joining Toastmasters over five years ago. Supported by his wife Melissa, who also is a member of The Confident Allies Toastmasters club and his three sons, Jeremiah, David, and Jonathan, Jay helping others unlock their speaking potential one project at a time. Jay looks forward to achieving the long term goal he set for himself a few years ago of being a Distinguished Toastmaster within the next year or so. Faith, Family, and Fun are three of principles Jay holds dear to his person and those principles have helped him become established as the person and toastmaster he is today.

Division B Director Nominee:

Larrysa McAllister, ACB, ALB

Larrysa McAllister has been a member of Toastmasters International since October 2016. She is an active member of GSU Toastmasters – Baton Rouge (Club# 4897).
In regard to her Educational Achievements in Toastmasters, Larrysa has achieved her Competent Communicator, Competent Leader, Advanced Leader Bronze, & Advanced Leader Bronze awards. She is currently actively working towards completing her Advanced Communicator Silver & Advanced Leader Silver awards.
In regard to her leadership positions within Toastmasters, Larrysa served as Vice President Education (VPE) or GSU Toastmasters from July 2017-June 2018 and she has been serving as President of GSU Toastmasters since July 2018. In these roles, Larrysa has played a major role in leading GSU Toastmasters to achieving President’s Distinguished Club status.
Throughout her time in Toastmasters, Larrysa has also gained the additional experiences of serving as the 2017 Chair for GSU Toastmasters’ Annual Banquet, competing in the 2017 Evaluations Contest through the division level, assisting with various Speech Contest roles, attending all mandatory officer trainings (TLI), and attending the 2018 District 68 Conference.
Larrysa is now interested in taking her leadership to the next level and pursuing a role as the Division B Director. Larrysa currently works as a First Line Supervisor in a lab where she is often planning work activities based on the organization’s goals, delegating responsibilities, and pursuing continuous improvement projects. These work experiences as well as her current Toastmasters leadership experiences have equipped Larrysa with the skills that she needs to effectively serve in this role.

Division C Director Nominee:

Hazel Mascarenhas, CC, CL

Hazel considers herself a “Global Citizen”, having lived in three different countries before moving to the United States in 2016. When a friend suggested Toastmasters as a way of meeting people and making friends in a new city, she decided to give it a try and joined Kenner Toastmasters in 2017 and has never looked back. Besides the friendly atmosphere, Hazel thrives on feedback from fellow toastmasters to become a better communicator and leader. Toastmasters proved to be a good fit due to Hazel’s love of lifelong learning. As Vice President Education at Kenner Toastmasters, she motivates and encourages her fellow toastmasters to achieve excellence. She is also Club President at Golden Crescent Advanced Toastmasters Club.

Hazel holds a Masters in Biochemistry and a Masters in Catechesis from the University of Dayton. Besides English, she speaks two other languages fluently and is familiar with two more. She is an active member of her local community and volunteers as an ESL tutor at a local charity. She has extensive experience as an underwriter and risk coordinator for multi-national Insurance companies.

When she’s not busy with Toastmasters or community involvement, she enjoys cooking up a feast for family and friends. She’s the proud mother of two college going boys. At present, she’s working on promoting Toastmasters within the family and deeply appreciates the support of her husband who is also a member of Kenner Toastmasters.

Division D Director Nominee:

Rene Cintron, ACB, CL, MS1

René Cintrón is, first and foremost, dad to his amazing three daughters (21, 18, 16) and currently serves as the Chief Academic Officer for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS). The LCTCS a public, multi-institution system serving a diverse student population seeking workforce development training, academic programs of study, and the high school equivalency encompassing enrollment reaching over 150,000 students and over 24,000 graduates each year. In this role, he provides direct leadership for academic affairs and institutional effectiveness functions. René has led successful efforts standardizing methods for collecting, assessing, reporting, forecasting for Our Louisiana 2020: Building the Workforce of Tomorrow (comprehensive goals put forth by the Board of Supervisors), developing several system-wide articulation and scholarship agreements with four-year universities across Louisiana that include data sharing, and working with the Louisiana National Guard and the LA/MS U.S Army Recruiting Battalion to provide expanded opportunities for veterans to earn college credentials.

Prior to LCTCS, René served in various positions at Delgado Community College in New Orleans, LA including Instructor of Business, Assistant Dean of Business and Technology, and Executive Director of Planning and Research. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran who has been involved in curriculum development and teaching in military, secondary, undergraduate, and graduate levels; in-person, online, and blended environments. René has been actively involved in curriculum design and several research, implementation projects, and publications including evaluation of organizational effectiveness, ensuring student success in non-traditional learning, and accelerating student progression through to completion of credentials and degrees.

René earned his Ph.D. in Organization and Management from Capella University, his Master of Business Administration from American InterContinental University, and his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of West Alabama, as well as an Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Management from the Community College of the Air Force.

René joined Toastmasters in 2017 to help hone his speaking and leadership skills as he progressed in his professional career. He served as Treasurer of Northshore Toastmasters when it was recognized as President Distinguished Club and now serves as President with his club being on pace to reaching the same distinction. His Toastmasters educational achievements include Motivational Strategies Level 1, Competent Communicator, Competent Leader, and Advanced Communicator Bronze.

Please note that any member in good standing, including current members of the district executive committee, may still run for an office as a Floor Candidate.  Floor candidates have the same opportunities and responsibilities as nominated candidates to run for any district officer position.  Anyone who wishes to run as a Floor Candidate must:

1)    Sign the Toastmasters International Officer Agreement and Release Statement.

2)    Submit a completed Candidate Nomination Form.

3)    Formally enter their name into nomination at the District Council Business Meeting on May 18th, 2019.

Please submit all nomination and release statements and/or address any questions regarding this announcement to the Jeff Harris, DTM, District 68 Leadership Committee Chair, at

View the Candidate Campaign Guidelines.