Club leadership

Club leadership

The Düsseldorf Toastmasters leadership team is elected every year. Being a club member can be a lot of fun and also help develop valuable leadership skills.

Club year 2021/2022

Andrea Schmitz, President

Andrea is a mechanical engineer working in international mechanical and plant engineering. Her work has taken her to America and Asia. She also enjoys traveling in her private life and getting to know other countries and cultures.
At the Düsseldorf Toastmasters, Andrea repeatedly experiences how people overcome their fear of speaking, how they gain self-confidence and how they become excellent speakers. At the same time, she appreciates the high level of the experienced speakers, who are role models and sources of inspiration for her. All of this has led her to volunteer with the club. “It gives me pleasure and also makes me proud to see how our members develop their potential.”

Malte W. Wilkes, Immediate Past President

Malte is honorary president of the BDU “Bundesverband Deutscher Unternehmensberater”, author of several books as well as columnist and commentator. Malte has experience – also in TV and radio – from more than 1000 public stage talks as speaker, talk-participant and moderator. His areas of interest are inspiration & innovation, change & growth. His core topics are persuasion techniques in leadership, transformation, advertising but also therapy processes. Malte joined Toastmasters in 2013 to optimize his “5-minute speeches” and to experiment with different speaking techniques. He has reached the highest level as a speaker at Toastmasters with the ACG (Advanced Communicator Gold). His credo: “My speeches and presentations should persuade, not inform.”

Björn Schulz, Vice President Education

Björn studied computer science and marketing and is working on a product information system for a large retail group.

In his spare time he loves to produce music in his mixing & mastering studio. At a communication seminar in July 2018 he got the tip to visit the Toastmasters which he followed. At the Toastmasters he appreciates the versatile environment and the atmosphere in which members grow as speakers and also in their personality. Since July 2019, he has taken over responsibility for the education program.

Andrea Steinforth, Vice President Membership 1

Andrea is a real family person with roots in Argentina by marriage. So she is happy to welcome both national and international guests at the Toastmasters in Düsseldorf. Professionally, Andrea studied foundry engineering and is involved in children’s projects in Latin America in addition to her activities in the family casting business.

Michael Scheelen, Vice President Public Relations

Michael gets quickly in touch with people due to his appreciative and authentic communication. As a result, he built up the Düsseldorf entrepreneur network with over 5,400 members. He has organized over 200 events in the past 10 years with this network offering entrepreneurs from Düsseldorf a platform to get to know each other. As an insurance and financial investment specialist, he is always looking for win-win situations. Michael particularly appreciates the Düsseldorfer Toastmasters for their positive energy and respect for each other. In such an environment he takes great pleasure in developing his speaking skills for his lectures, e.g. cyber crime.

Dr. Maik Adelt, Treasurer

Maik is a department manager in the internal audit group of a Dax Company. He regularly faces the challenge – in German and English – to convince employees, colleagues not only in content, but also emotionally. Toastmasters helps him develop these skills. The German and English club evenings give him the opportunity for rhetorical experimentation. He appreciates the friendly, motivating and constructive feedback from the other club members.

Gladys Anne Just, Sergeant at Arms

The hall master worked for many years as an intensive care nurse in the hospital. A few years ago she reorganized herself professionally, now works in sales for a company for hygiene concepts and benefits from her practical knowledge. Giving lectures and training courses for customers is now part of her new area of responsibility and, among other things, she is happy about the inspirations from the Toastmasters in Düsseldorf. She particularly values the diverse personal, professional and cultural backgrounds of the members. She often gets ideas for her speeches during her runs through the woods.

In her role as SaA, she ensures that the members and guests are taken care of during the club evenings and that all materials are available for a smooth process.

Ivan Polak, Vice President Mentoring

Ivan has professional background in marketing and project management, and works for a global company with the European head office in Düsseldorf. He comes originally from Slovakia and has studied and worked in multiple countries across Europe. Ivan joined Toastmasters in Prague in 2013, where he also held several leadership roles in the club. After his move to Düsseldorf, Ivan has re-discovered the world of Toastmasters and the development opportunities that the organization offers. Presentations at work, client meetings, assertive negotiations, all of which can get improved at Toastmasters, while getting to know wonderful people in the club.

Achim Hanebuth, Vice President Digital

Achim is an electrical engineer and can look back on many years of professional experience as a developer and manager in the automotive industry. His work has taken him to many countries and brought him into contact with different cultures. He had heard of Toastmasters before and finally decided in 2021 to join the Düsseldorf Club to develop and refine his speaking skills. He also appreciates the opportunity to get qualified and honest feedback on his speeches there and to practice this himself.

Dr. Claribel von Bockelmann, Vice President easySPEAK 1

Claribel is a scientist born in Venezuela. After getting her PhD in the USA, she relocated to Germany where she works as Product manager for an international wholesale company. In August 2018 she joined the Duesseldorfer Toastmasters with the objective to improve her public speaking skills. From the Duesseldorfer Toastmasters she especially enjoys the diversity of the members and the numerous possibilities to learn and to network.

Sadayappan Murugesan, Vice President easySPEAK 2

Sadayappan is a Computer Science Engineer by profession and works as a Senior Manager implementing software products for retailers in Europe/Asia Pacific. He is an avid lover of the Toastmasters movement and has been a member of Toastmasters clubs in 3 countries. Saday has been living in Düsseldorf, Germany with his family since moving to Germany in 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction books. Saday appreciates the welcoming nature of the Düsseldorf Toasmasters club and considers it a perfect platform to improve communication and leadership skills. In addition, the club is an ideal place for him to work on his German language skills.

Pourya Ahansa, Vice President Big Club Ambassador

Pourya became aware of the Toastmasters during a semester abroad in the USA. He appreciates the diversity of the topics of speech, as well as the benevolent and constructive way of dealing with eachother at the Toastmasters Düsseldorf. He is a lawyer and is interested, among other things, in the international aspects of law. That is why he appreciates the internationality of the club and thinks that in addition to rhetoric, you can also train your intercultural skills here.

Christine Sommerfeldt, Vice President Community Management

Christine is a self employed photographer with her own studio in Düsseldorf. She is specialized in business photograhy and executive portraits. When she joined Toastmasters in 2013, she was looking for a way to help her clients to have a more confident appearance in front of the camera and in their photos. As a photographer, she speaks publically about body language and presence as well as about the importance of having excellent photo material.