About Us

Club Officers 7/1 – 12/31/2019

President Erica Stoll
VP Education Stefan Blasig, ACG, ALB
VP Membership Robert Acosta, DTM
VP Public Relations Martin Acosta, ACS, ALB, EC1
Secretary Roozbeh Kalhor, EC1
Treasurer Irina Efremova, PI1
Sergeant-at-Arms Keiko Parker
Immediate Past President Kelly Motakef, ACS, ALB, PM1

Why We are Called Tongue Tamers

According to Plato, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In mid-2001, the elders of the Mission Viejo Church of Christ created a need by asking that the deacons take a more public role and make the announcements at the end of the services. Some of these men were accomplished speakers, but some of them needed training. Providentially, church members Jim & Morgie Pierano, along with the preacher, Kirk McCrary, were experienced Toastmasters and decided to start a Toastmasters Club rather than complaining. Jim & Kirk regularly attended a men’s breakfast on Tuesday mornings and Jim presented the idea brilliantly to the participants. Kirk also announced the intention to form a club at the services and by the end of the year, the prerequisite 20 members had agreed to join.

The Name is Taken From a Passage in The Bible:

Every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who’ve been made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be this way.” James 3:7-10

Club History (as told by Ben Boronow)

The first meeting was held on January 10, 2002 in an auditorium and the format was quite similar to the one used today. It works, right? The first 3 speakers were Luke, Lee & Kirk. The evaluators were all visitors from other clubs. The next meeting was on January 24, 2002 and was aided by only one visiting dignitary. During the months of April & May, Kirk, Jim & Morgie took turns giving the 3rd speech which was from the general category “Tips for Toastmasters.” These speeches consisted of advice on how to do everything in a startup Toastmasters club and were presented in a kind and helpful manner.

Jim was a great salesman and whenever we had visitors, he would sit by them and explain what was going on in the meeting. They usually joined. He was an amazing story teller, but usually disqualified himself by going over the allotted time. I think this was intentional.

Morgie usually read her speeches. They were beautifully written and were presented in a soft manner that still commanded attention. Morgie was a wonderful evaluator. She provided plenty of praise and one or two areas that could be improved with some effort.

Membership remained around 20 members for the first year despite the loss of nearly half of the charter members including Kirk McCrary, as the elders created a different need by firing him. New members joined from both the church and the community to replace those who moved on. The club gradually grew to a peak membership of 28.

Over the next few years, we had many members who were or became excellent speakers. Jerry Petross explained the organization of an informative speech as “Tell ‘em what you are going to tell ‘em, then tell ‘em and then tell ‘em what you told ‘em.” Bev Petross described overcoming agoraphobia. Cheryl Jefferson told us about her heritage. Lisa Johnson admonished us to wear a helmet so we don’t end up like her brother, who was hit by a car as he left their driveway. Ban Wong taught us about acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Adrian Teo described eating urine marinated shark. Bob Harris told us about the 2 fires and a flood which destroyed his first 3 attempts to start a stationary supply company. Scott Smalley taught us about headphones & headphone.com.

By early 2007, the church had gone through some changes and Jim & Morgie’s health had degraded to the point where they could no longer attend. Membership diminished and we held a few meetings with 3 in attendance. But, in late 2007, Barbara B. Howard joined. She suggested that we move to the Farmers & Merchants Bank location and attempted to get the officers organized. The former attempt was successful. The latter was not.

The change was wonderful and the club started to grow again. By late 2009 we were back up to 28 members. The speeches were interesting and the evaluations helpful. We learned about super-colliders, square foot gardening, CPR, leadership styles, beauty products, exercise, hydration, preparedness & UPS. We are down some from that peak, but we are obviously meeting needs & I hope we continue that tradition for many years to come.

Here’s the group’s first newsletter.

Original Members

  • Jim Pierano (VPE)
  • Morgie Pierano
  • Kirk McCrary (Pres)
  • Ben Boronow (VPM)
  • Craig Brady (VPPR)
  • Joel Deister
  • Sharla Garret
  • Richard Grinnel
  • Brenda Guiden
  • Fred Hughes
  • Kevin Kopp (Treas)
  • Gary Marsh
  • Steve Minton
  • Lee Parry (SAA)
  • Greg Patterson
  • Helen Red (Sec)
  • Jim Red
  • Luke Savage
  • John Smithson
  • Barry Wininger