Meet Our Executive

Club Executive
2023-2024

President: Greg Levett
Vice President Education: Wayne Christensen
Vice President Membership: Maria Burnett

Vice President Public Relations: Roselle O’Brien
Sergeants At Arms: Catriona Lamont

Treasurer: Thijs Hubber
Secretary: Lorenzo Ritani

Immediate Past President: Paddy Turnhout

Greg Levett – Chartered Civil Engineer leading teams of people on various projects in New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

President

I dipped my toe in the Toastmasters water a few times around the world and finally committed 7 years ago. Initially with Remuera Toastmasters in Auckland and now Queenstown Toastmasters. One of the biggest skills we can learn and never stop learning in life is speaking and listening. The journey is never done and it is amazing to feel like you are making a difference to how you turn up and how others turn up. Ultimately to have fun, meet some great people and learn a few skills along the way.

I joined Toastmasters to improve my ever-developing skill of public speaking on a daily basis in all life situations. Alongside professional pursuits, I have a very active lifestyle as an avid mountain biker, snowboarder, and waterskier. He is also often found practicing the Wim Hoff cold immersion around Queenstown.

 

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Wayne Christensen – Author

Vice President Education

Wayne joined Toastmasters a long time ago, when he was a young copywriter in an advertising agency and suffered from extreme nerves when presenting creative concepts to clients.Wayne credits what he learned Toastmasters with helping him build one of New Zealand’s most successful advertising agencies. His suggestion to improve your presentation skills: “Don’t wait trying to find the confidence. Just find the courage to have a go.You’ll learn that the more you do, the easier it gets. You’re not stuck where you are, unless you decide to be.” Wayne stays involved, he says, “Because, like the gym, you get no benefit unless you keep going.”

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Maria Burnett – Open Spaces Planner 

Vice President Membership

Maria joined Toastmasters after a being encouraged by a manager and thinking about it for a couple of years. The deciding moment came when she was in a work meeting where she felt she couldn’t speak and her hands were shaking and she was worried everyone could tell. 

At her time in Toastmasters she has learnt that:

  1. People don’t know when you’ve dropped the ball – just take a deep breath and carry on. 
  2. Even those who seem extremely confident and competent feel anxious before speaking. 
  3. Public speaking will always have some element of feeling uncomfortable – it’s learning how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable that makes the difference. 

She wishes that she had known that Toastmasters is more than just improving hard skills (such as public speaking and leadership). It is also about the connections you make. Saying that “Every Tuesday I think to myself, I’m far too tired for this meeting. But every Tuesday as I drive or bike home, I feel more energised than when I arrived. The people make it worth giving up your evening.”

She is an Open Spaces Planner who talks to the community to find out what is important to them when it comes to parks, and what they need from to keep them involved in recreation. In her spare time she is can be found trail running/hiking/mountain biking/camping/tramping/snow boarding and skiing. 

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Roselle O’Brien – Change Strategy Specialist

Vice President Public Relations

Roselle joined Toastmasters to improve her MC’ing and networking skills. As a confident speaker who loves sharing stories and moving people to feel inspired to action she realised that being confident was only part of what she needed.  

She’s been learning the skills to inspire, education and persuade, channelling her confidence and passion into frameworks and refining her skills.

She is a dynamic professional with over a decade of experience in construction and social services. As a Change Strategy Specialist & Coach, she works with both organisations and individuals to navigate change. She has held senior operational and national roles in both Australia and New Zealand at Downer, an ASX-listed construction firm.

She is passionate about helping individuals find their inner authenticity so they can live lives with a deep seated satisfaction

 

Thijs Hubber – Accountant
Treasurer

Thijs joined Toastmasters to get over his fear of public speaking and improve his confidence. 

Sergeant at Arms
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Lorenzo Ritani – Project Manager

Secretary

I am a construction project manager based in Queenstown and am an avid outdoor enthusiast. I joined to become more comfortable at work delivering verbal information, chairing meetings, giving presentations. I’ve been with Queenstown Toastmasters coming up 2 years. I want to be like Paddy, the current past president, who can commands a room and delivers information to everyone in the room with ease.

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Paddy Turnhout – Personal Trainer & Coach

Immediate Past President

From travelling different parts of the world to tiki touring around New Zealand in a van I have always loved public speaking but never known how to improve. When moving to Queenstown early 2021 I was told about toastmasters and since then I have learnt much more than just how to feel comfortable on stage. With this great community I have made friends, mentors and networked with a variety of different people which I don’t think would have happened otherwise. 8 months in and I can’t wait to be around longer.

We look forward to welcoming you