BUILDING MASTERY – Division D Conference in Opole, Autumn 2019

The city of Opole in southern Poland was the scene of an energetic Autumn Conference. Division D has a high-achiever reputation and this Conference showed that the reputation is well earned.

The professionally organized three-days Conference covered a vast number of quality workshops in two languages, outstanding speeches and amazing parties.

One of the most interesting aspects for me in Toastmastering is visiting places, which I as a tourist would probably miss. Therefore, I was full of anticipation, when my plane landed in Krakow on a sunny Friday morning. Since the past two weeks had been dark and cloudy in Finland, seeing sunshine felt like promise for an engaging weekend. 

My integration with the local Toastmasters community started straight at the airport, when I carpooled with Division D Director Monika Szlachta and Toastmasters Bartosz Was and Dariusz Walat driving from Rzeszow to Opole.

The Conference, located in the University of Opole, was divided on three days from Friday to Sunday afternoon. On Friday we had Polish and English Table Topics Contests and on Saturday the Humorous Speech Contests in both languages. I was deeply impressed by the high quality of the speakers and felt no envy for the judges. All the contestants had really deserved their place at the Division Contest and if this level is the standard one, I am confident that Division D will provide impressive speakers in the future too. The Division D will have a strong delegation in the District Finals in Vilnius in May. One interesting contestant to see will be Cyril Junior Dim, who took not one, not two, but three first places in the Contests: Humorous Speech (English & Polish) and English Table Topics. Quite impressive, congratulations Cyril!

Now let’s congratulate all DIVISION D Conference winners! 


1. Cyril Junior Dim
2. Justyna Walenta
3. Justyna Litynska


1. Cyril Junior Dim
2. Ewelina Rusin-Manin
3. Naviin Prabhu


1. Justyna Litynska
2. Filip Zdrodowski
3. Michal Chodorek


1. Cyril Junior Dim
2. Filip Zdrodowski 
3. Olga Turek-Wozniak

The Conference Chair Basia Beuth with her team had chosen a novel approach when designing the event. Instead of having workshops as a sideshow, they placed workshops in a central role. The workshops, that were running simultaneously in three rooms were held in Polish and English and many presenters were non-Toastmasters. In my opinion a wide assortment of workshops opens opportunities to promote our events to wider audience. We could reach those members, who are not (yet) so keen on contests and get non-Toastmasters interested in our events and hence find new members.

Nothing connects people better than having some good time together 😉 

The Conferences are a lot of fun for sure, however you see a whole new side of persons when the sun goes down and parties begin. Friday’s afterparty took us first to bowling, where Yours Truly almost got the top scores. Not that I would have been counting or it did matter to me at all. The bar & disco was located conveniently in the same premises, hence all we needed to do was to show our VIP passes and make a grand entry to the dancing floor.

On the Gala Dinner on Saturday over 40 (forty!) members received their Triple Crown awards! That is so amazing guys, it was an honor to be there with you. Gala Dinner’s afterparty had a great ‘Funny Hat’ theme, worth considering instead of a full costume theme. The winner of the funniest hat contest was chosen during a fierce dancing battle where the finalists showed their interpretation of Frozen’s Let it go. The contest had clear winner, with her semantically inspired Turkish hat. Congrats, Olga Turek-Wozniak!

Thank you, Division D for this memorable event! You know how to organize Conferences and entertain your guests. Extra DCP point for you for playing a Finnish song at the afterparty 😉

Heikki Siltanen, District 108 Administration Manager

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