Month: July 2016

Almaty Toastmasters Spotlight Series: Greg Heaver

Almaty Toastmasters Club – Member Spotlight Series will be featuring all the current members of the Club. Stay tuned to learn more about our fellow Toastmasters, why joined the Club, what they like about it and what is their life like outside of the Club activities!

Today’s “spotlight” features Greg Heaver, the founding member, Treasurer and recently appointed Vice President of Education of Toastmasters Club in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which was established in December 2013. We are delighted to present this interview.

Greg is an avid follower of Australian Football. This photo was taken at the Kangaroo Bar in Almaty in 2014 on the day of the Grand Final. His team Hawthorn won of course.
Greg is an avid follower of Australian Football. This photo was taken at the Kangaroo Bar in Almaty in 2014 on the day of the Grand Final. His team Hawthorn won, of course!

1. What is your happiest childhood memory?

Each summer when we would spend a few weeks down at a caravan park on the beach together with our cousins and their families, just running around barefoot through the sandhills, eating icecreams, and swimming in the ocean.

2.  When did you join Toastmasters? What made you join?

I think it was in 2011.

Even though I already had some unsucessful stints at public speaking clubs in Australia on my resume, I thought I would give it another shot, simply because I knew that I needed to change.

3.  Life outside Toastmasters or what do you do for a living?

I work for a mining company.

4.     How do you use communication skills in your daily life?

Well, communications is required at some level to just survive in this world. And the better you can do it, the better your life, and the lives of those people around you, will be. So I try and use my skills to create better relationships, and better experiences.

  1.   What do you like best about our Club?

The comradeship, the energy, and the passion of our members. It is infectious.

  1.   What have you learnt since you joined? Do you feel that you had grown as a communicator or a leader since you joined Toastmasters?

I can say without doubt that I have become a better speaker. I know that simply from watching some of the early speeches that were recorded.

But despite saying this, when I watch some of the other incredible Toastmasters in our Club, I realise that I still have a lot to learn in this art.

What I have also learnt is that public speaking is like any skill. No matter how much you progress, if you don’t continuing practising on a regular basis, then you quickly unlearn things and find yourself going backwards, which is not fun.

  1.      What are your personal hobbies and interests?

I love riding my bike, and I love playing poker.

When I was younger I had serious aspirations in the former. Now that I am a little older, I have serious aspirations in the latter.

  1.      Can you share random or surprising facts from you biography?

One of my first jobs was as a ‘checkout chick’ (in case that is Australian terminology, then ‘Person who scans the grocery items and works the cash register in a supermarket’), three times a week after school.

  1.      If you could have a lunch with anyone, who would that person be and why?

No-one in particular comes to mind.

  1.   What is the most important thing you would tell your friends and family about Toastmasters?

That it is never too late to face your fears in life. And if those fears are speaking in public then Toastmasters provides a friendly, encouraging, non judgemental forum which will be able to help you succeed – providing of course that you have the courage to try.

Greg is the current Vice President of Education at Almaty Toastmasters Club. Previously, he held the role of a Treasurer since the Club’s establishment in December 2013. He remains the key member of our Leadership team and recently established a Mentorship Program within the Education Committee that he chairs. Members, guests, fellow Leadership teammates and the founding members and officers of Almaty Toastmasters Club all treasure Greg’s excellent organizational skills, positive energy and enthusiasm for the Club! 

Thank you for this interview, Greg! We all appreciate your leadership and commitment to Almaty Toastmasters Club and your previous role as a Treasurer (which expanded to interim roles of Secretary and Sergeant of Arms a number of times) as well as mentor to so many members of the Club – was both inspiring and encouraging! We wish you all the best with your tour as a VP of Education starting in July 2016, where all your amazing efforts so far – already gather high praise from all members and guests of the Club.

Meeting on 15/06/2016

Hello, dear fellow Toastmasters and readers! It’s been a while since we have written a blog! If you have been following us and our events, you may know why 😉 We will keep you updated soon! We had another great meeting on June 15. Yernur Satybaldiyev was the Toastmaster that day. Also, we were thrilled to have Samat Panov, the founder of Astana Toastmasters Club! Some time ago the President of ATC paid us a visit, so it is becoming a good tradition! Read to find out more.


Banksy’s ‘Park’ in Downtown Los Angeles

Prepared speeches

We had 3 prepared speakers. Our first speaker was Ernar Kossamanov with his Project no.3 ‘Wind of Change’. Ernar is a relatively new member of our Club but he already is one of the most active ones. How to leave your past behind you and change? Change for the better! Our speaker has some tips what might help you do that. Watch his speech and learn why we should all strive to be Patrick and not Kodak! 😉

Our second speaker of the day was our Competent Communicator, Yadykar Abdirakhmanova with her speech ‘My Teaching Experience at Turan University’. It was very interesting and dear to the audience because this is where we host our Toastmasters meetings as well. We learned more about Yadykar’s teaching path, about different programs University has to offer. Check out the speech here.

And the last but not least was our dear guest, Samat Panov, the founder of Astana Toastmasters Club, a good friend for many of us. Yernur, our Toastmaster of the meeting, was especially thrilled to introduce Samat’s speech. ‘Two Bowls, Which One is Bigger’ is the title of the speech: a story about dreams, about achievement, about how Samat managed to fulfill one of his big dreams. Here’s the video, make sure you check it out.

Table Topics

I was lucky to be a Table Topics Master that day. The session was dedicated to street arts, Banksy, Pasha Cas. Here are some of the questions our impromptu speakers had to answer:

– Street artists want to raise awareness about hot topics: society, politics, ecology. Do you think graffiti can lead to changes?

– Do you think Art is getting worse over time or it’s becoming more creative?

– How would you raise awareness about something important to you?

(social networks posts/public speaking/arts/protests…)

Banky’s work in Brooklyn, NY
Pasha Cas’ piece of street art in Almaty


It was an excellent meeting. Thank you to everyone who took roles and to the audience who made that meeting happen: Evaluators (Gaukhar Axakalova, Greg Heaver), General Evaluator, Zhansaya Edilkhan, Grammarian, Madina Jumagulova, Ah-Counter, Damir Naurozbayev, Timer, Shokan Ilyas. P.S. This made me think that if I ever received an Academy Award, my acceptance speech would be 20 minutes long just listing names 😉

Thanks for reading and we will see you very soon at the meeting and in our blog!

Gaukhar X