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StenoMasters Receives $1,000 Donation During Its Launch Meeting

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StenoMasters official logo.

Stenographers, the silent guardians of the legal record and broadcast captioning quality, can practice speaking up with StenoMasters.

By the end of the speech I was wearing a foam clown nose and had donated $1,000 to help stenographers find their voice.”
— Christopher Day
NEW YORK, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, October 6, 2021 / -- The StenoMasters online speaking club, a newly chartered club of Toastmasters International, had its inaugural meeting Monday night. In a historic first, stenographers were speaking up for the record instead of taking it down. The name StenoMasters is a combination of “stenography,” which means short writing, or the act of taking down verbatim speech using stenotype machine shorthand at high speeds, and Toastmasters. With over 40 people in attendance, five speakers, six evaluators, and a number of attendees from the stenographic community and New York Toastmasters, the turnout exceeded all expectations, according to Joshua Edwards, StenoMasters charter member. Two members of Toastmasters District 46 executive leadership, Prashant Aurora, Area C Director, and Osama Tawi, Club Growth Director, were also in attendance to support the launch of StenoMasters.

The first speaker of StenoMasters was Lisa Burwell, a court reporter from Oklahoma who was in court when Timothy McVeigh was tried for the 1995 bombing. Her speech "An Ice Storm for the Ages" talked about the turmoil and aftermath of that event. She even witnessed the judge deny McVeigh’s request for better food in prison.

Christopher Day, official court reporter from New York, gave a humorous yet insightful speech called "Reading the Rules." His speech had a touch of irony as he encouraged people to know the rules, and then break them. Asked about his speech, Day quipped, “By the end of the speech I was wearing a foam clown nose and had donated $1,000 to help stenographers find their voice.” Indeed, he made a generous financial offer to help StenoMasters come into existence and offset costs for people who may experience financial barriers to membership.

Next was Donna Linton, a CART captioner from Virginia. In her speech, "For the Fear of God," she spoke about meeting her first CART client, coincidentally also named Donna, who had requested realtime captioning in church and was denied. Donna the captioner felt compelled to help her client receive captions so that she could have the same access to the services as all the other parishioners.

The fourth speaker was Nancy Silberger, a state official from New York, who spoke about "Changes." Nancy dug deeply to reveal painful moments from her past, and used the strength she found to encourage others to make changes that they want to make.

Finally, a special guest, former New York Toastmasters President Pamela Olsen, delivered "The Characteristics Required for Success.” She spoke about finding strength to persevere after sustaining physical injuries in an accident. She also won Best Speaker of the Evening.

Several members were present from New York Toastmasters, a venerable club formed in 1965 and one of the biggest in the district encompassing New York City. Member Jue Wudhapitak was the timer. Lola de Miguel was the ah counter, whose role is to count the use of speakers’ filler words. Bianca Magbujos, NYTM’s VP Education, was the Evaluation Master who introduced the evaluation portion of the meeting. In the evaluation section, the audience listens as a member gives a detailed evaluation of each speech, focusing on what the speaker did well and identifying areas for future improvement. Evaluations were given by current NYTM President Ro Reyes-Co and two NYTM members, Erika Jacobi, Ph.D., Mei Gong, along with Cassandra Caldarella from California, and Kathryn Thomas from Illinois.

For more information about StenoMasters, visit or e-mail The club is now accepting new members.

Joshua Edwards
+1 9045886827
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