Raise a Toast (and some funds with it!)

By: Djoudie Etoundi, MBA ’13

Congratulations to all T-Birds: the first Toastmaster Fundraiser Dinner, held at the TEC on Thursday, was a resounding success! Almost $2,000 of funds were collected for this trimester’s recipient, “Food for the Hungry”, close to triple the amount forecasted ($750).

The event kicked off at 6 PM; guests and donors were first treated to a sample of songs performed by Thunderbird’s very own Global Sounds, which not only provided the soundtrack for the evening but also broke the ice for and set the mood for everyone to emulate – entertaining and substantive, casual yet reflective. After most of the attendants had collected their dinner from the buffet tables, the guest speakers shared their insights one after the other on the night’s theme: Food Sustainability.

Ms. Beth Allen presented the many programs and mechanisms designed by “Food for the Hungry” to alleviate global hunger. She echoed many of Mrs. Smith-Izzo’s insights from later in the program and showed the role that free market solutions could play.toast

Miguel Jardine, T-Bird alum and CEO of “Vermisoks”, demonstrated the practical results of the triple bottom line concept through his company’s ingenious use of food wastage to fertilize land in Arizona, while simultaneously reducing costs in the food supply chain, and generating huge profits for his investors.

Jennifer Smith-Izzo portrayed her vision and efforts to make the global supply chain sustainable, a task in the process of which challenging many of the assumptions now become mainstream about the need to increase food production.

Lisa Reinhardt then explained how her search for meaning lead her to create an organic and sustainable chocolate with karmic harmony which she contrasted with the practices of Hostess, and the company’s resulting recent bankruptcy.

But Thursday was also an entertaining evening, with the Business Improv Club providing comic relief through a series of hilarious exercises designed to make the audience think on their feet, as well as relax handle public speaking engagements or interviews more easily. Hobbits and pirates thus ended up being part of the fun!

The Business Improv Club participation was representative of the support all clubs gave to the Toastmaster Club to make this event happen; Net Impact which provided guests, Global Sounds ever ready for a good soundtrack or TSG whose support was constant though discreet throughout. This effort, coupled with the quiet effort of all ordinary T-Birds helped make this night a success.

Special mention should be made of Tiffany Law, the very engine which powered this whole project, and the evening’s host, AZ, who kept the night both light-hearted and focused.

Thanks to our community sponsors: Safeway, Papa Murphy’s, and Nothing Bundt Cake. We are especially grateful to our catering sponsor, TINKOpp, for stepping up and partnering with the Toastmasters club.

Let us continue to grow this event into an ever growing profile in the months ahead.

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