Priscilla Hansen Mahoney wins 2nd Place at last Humorous Speech Contest of District 45 Toastmasters

By the Autumn of 2017, World Headquarters of Toastmasters International had made a new requirement that all Districts must reduce from two Conferences down to only one District Conference each year. Hence, at the District 45 Fall Conference, on November 3-5, 2017, at Lake Morey Resort, in Fairlee, VT, US, the District 45 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest was the last and final year that this particular contest cycle will ever happen in the District.

For this last and final year of the Humorous Speech Contest cycle, I chose not to compete.

The reason was easy. I wanted to, instead, focus on supporting and coaching a fellow Toastmaster and friend, Priscilla Hansen Mahoney.

Priscilla had put together a great and very funny speech, titled, “Sink or Swim.” With this speech, she moved beyond the local club to win 1st Place at the Area 6 level contest on September 26, 2017, in Portland, Maine.

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney - 1st Place - Area 6
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney – 1st Place – Area 6 Humourous Speech Contest

Two and a half weeks later, on October 14, 2017, in Auburn, Maine, after making the already-great speech even better, Priscilla won 1st Place at the Division B level contest.

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney – 1st Place – Division B Humorous Speech Contest

Priscilla then took the next three weeks to make the speech even better.

On Saturday, November 4, 2017, at the District 45 Humorous Speech Contest, she gave a fun, funny, and inspiring presentation of “Sink or Swim.”

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney
Priscilla Hansen Mahoney speech “Sink or Swim” at District 45 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest

She was up against a lot of good humorous speeches from some very capable fellow contestants.

Contestants of the very last District 45 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest

In my opinion, the contest was really a neck-and-neck horse race of only the “Top Two,” as the most amazing standouts:

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney’s “Sink or Swim,”
Talia Steeve’s “Pants on the Ground, Mama Would Be So Proud.”

I fully enjoyed eating formal meals with both of these outstanding ladies during the weekend events, making new friends with Talia! She is a great young lady with a great attitude.

Mark Henkel and Talia Steeves

Priscilla and Talia, both of these fantastic women had also become fast friends too!

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney and Talia Steeves

Ultimately, even in a close race like this one, there can only be one 1st Place – which Talia Steeves won.

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney did amazingly: she won the 2nd Place trophy.

Priscilla Hansen Mahoney wins 2nd Place at District 45 Humourous Speech Contest

She did such an awesome job throughout this whole contest cycle.

For me, it has been both a pleasure and an honor to have been even a small part of her outstanding journey to the 2nd Place victory at the very last Humorous Speech Contest of District 45 Toastmasters.

When Priscilla online-posts the video of her speech (which she asked me to record), I will post/embed it here too.
EDIT UPDATE, 1/31/2018:   Here is the video I recorded/engineered of her great speech that Priscilla has youtube-posted:

Absolutely, Priscilla Hansen Mahoney rocked this whole cycle! Congratulations Priscilla!

My Mentor, Joe Grondin, is now an Accredited Speaker

Joe Grondin is my mentor. When you spend any amount of time with me as a public speaker, you immediately know: I think the man is truly amazing. He has taught me some tremendously powerful insights and skills as a speaker.

In Toastmasters, the top level speaking achievements are

The last one is extremely rare and challenging to achieve and receive. By the end of last year 2016, only 69 people had ever earned Accredited Speaker achievement. That’s right: EVER.

Joe has made it to the Top100 (SemiFinals) 6 (yes, SIX!) times. Of those 6 occasions, he made it to the Top10 of WCPS, not once, but TWICE. To make it to the Top100 is an amazing accomplishment all by itself. Obviously, Joe has “blown those out of the water.”

Because Joe Grondin has been competing all these years, he was (understandably) not able to commit to the one final requisite of one-year of District leadership service for the DTM achievement. This year, as he chose to not compete (for a larger reason to which I will get in a moment), he is currently fulfilling that last requirement during this year of 2017-2018. Hence, Joe will also be a DTM, Distinguished Toastmaster, by July 2018.

But more than any of that, Joe has gone way beyond those two great victorious achievements.

On Saturday, August 26, 2017, at the Toastmasters International Convention in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Joe gave his final presentation in seeking to be allowed to earn the Accredited Speaker award. (This was an obviously considerable reason why he chose not to compete this year!) Anyway, his presentation rocked! When the event was completed, 6 of the 7 candidates had successfully achieved the award. Thereby, Joe became one of now only 75 people to have ever earned this prestigious professional speaker award, the Accredited Speaker.

You may see the actual presentation that Joe Grondin gave to earn this award! Simply order the on-demand video of the 2017 Accredited Speaker Finals. Of the 7 candidates, Joe was Speaker #4. His introduction begins at 01:16:35 on the on-demand video.

Anyway, Joe is amazing. Yeah, I know, I keep saying that. Well,….. HE IS!

Congratulations to Joe Grondin for all of his amazing achievements, especially now that he has achieved this truly rare pinnacle. I am both blessed to learn from and honored to call as my mentor,
Joe Grondin, Accredited Speaker.

Mark Henkel Recommends Joe Grondin

Having Joe Grondin as my mentor and coach changed everything for my public speaking growth!

– Here is the video of my recommendation of public speaking mentor, Joe Grondin. –



Hi everyone!
My name is Mark Henkel.
I am a Distinguished Toastmaster and a Professional Speaker with the tagline,
“You Can Do This!”

I’ve been fortunate to speak at the same venue as
Supreme Court Justices and Presidential Candidates.

But I have to tell you,
having Joe Grondin as my mentor and coach
changed everything for my public speaking growth!

What it’s like to learn from Joe Grondin…
it can best be shown with three Numbers:
6, 9, and 27.
What those numbers reveal is the difference between
Adding, Multiplying, and Exponentiating.

These are the 3 speeds that you can develop your public speaking skills.
You can do it by yourself,
and you’ll be ADDING,
like 3+3 equals 6.
Or, you can go find a mentor,
and you’ll be MULTIPLYING skills,
like 3×3 equals 9.
Or. you can learn from Joe Grondin,
where you’ll be EXPONENTIATING your skillset,
like 3 to the 3rd power equals 27.

It’s up to you:
Adding, Multiplying, or Exponentiating;
6, 9, or 27.

When you’re ready to EXPONENTIATE your growth of public speaking,
do what I do:
Have Joe Grondin as your mentor and coach!

You Can Do This!

I was so honored to later also see that Joe posted this video on his facebook. He is so fantastic!

With Joe’s approval, the video is now public on my own youtube channel, as
Mark Henkel Recommends Joe Grondin