About StoryMasters

StoryMasters’ journey started on April 10, 2011

StoryMasters 2011

Our Story

Over the Years

  • Club’s Original Idea: Tina Tomiyama
  • Club’s Co-Sponsors: Tina Tomiyama and Hiba Hamdan
  • Club’s Mentor: Margaret Mitchell
  • Club Name: Originally “Storytelling Club,” changed to “StoryMasters,” per Philip Wiest’s idea
  • Initiation Business Meeting: Sunday, April 10
  • Club Charter — Membership: 25 members joined between April 10th and April 21st
  • First Official Club Meeting: Sunday, May 8, 2011 at a restaurant in Culver City
  • Moved to Tina’s home in View Park
  • Started offering summer storytelling workshops with two StoryCrafts
  • Celebrated fifth anniversary with gala event at Institute of Musical Arts
  • Sponsored two storytelling workshops at IMA
  • Taught “Tall Tales” workshop at January Toastmasters Leadership Institute
  • Taught “Business Storytelling” workshop at July Toastmasters Leadership Institute
  • Sponsored “Business Storytelling” at IMA
  • Sponsored “Storytelling Professionally” at IMA
  • Sponsored “The ABCs of Storytelling” at Tina’s home
  • Expanded membership prerequisites to include professional speakers
  • Started offering online meetings in April
  • Became a virtual club in September
  • StoryMasters changed its name to The StoryMasters Club and became an independent storytelling group.

How To Become a StoryMaster

The StoryMasters Club (note our new name!) is excited to announce that we are in the process of transitioning to an independent storytelling club (separate from Toastmasters International) where tellers of stories and lovers of stories alike can gather to learn, practice, celebrate, and promote the ancient art of storytelling.

All current members of The StoryMasters Club are automatically grandfathered into the new club unless they choose to opt out. Past and new guests to the club can choose to join the club as either an active or associate member.

Active members are expected to speak, perform roles during meetings, and possibly serve in club leadership roles. Associate members are expected to attend meetings as active listeners and contribute to round-robin evaluations of the speakers. The club will continue to meet via Zoom, on second Sundays, from 3:00–5:00 pm PT.

The StoryMasters Club does not currently charge membership dues. We do anticipate charging nominal membership dues sometime within the next six months.

Dues will be very affordable and will cover the club’s operational costs only.
If you’d like to join The StoryMasters Club as either an active or associate member, please complete the Membership Application.


Join Us For Our Next Virtual Meeting

August 11, 2024 @ 3-5 PM Pacific Time

We will send the meeting information a few days before the meeting. Please RSVP at least 30 minutes before the meeting.

Searching for a Home

Tina Tomiyama/Founder
StoryMasters started out in a Chinese restaurant in Culver City with a rarely-used banquet room. But the restaurant gained popularity and sometimes we got there only to find out that the banquet room was in use. We tried other restaurants and community centers. Ouch! Expensive. We were running out of options.

The Story of StoryMasters

Hiba Hamadan/Founder
It took me few seconds to answer Tina Tomiyama’s e-mail. “What a great idea, Tina!” I said. “Let me know how I can help.”
Now, when my dear friend and mentor Tina says “Jump,” I’d say “How high?”

Hiba Hamdan
Margaret Mitchell

My Road to StoryMasters

Margaret Mitchell/Charter Member
It was almost inevitable that I would one day join StoryMasters—an extraordinary club of advanced Toastmasters committed to developing their skills in the ancient art of storytelling.
I started down the road to StoryMasters when I was a child growing up during the mid-1940s and 50s.

Listening to Stories

Lin Van Gelder/Charter Member
When Hiba Hamdan, DTM, approached me about joining a brand-new club that was forming, I knew it would be something special. Hiba’s help and her personal story had been crucial to my early Toastmasters experience, as she mentored our company club at Boeing and taught us to be Toastmasters. I was honored when she invited me to join StoryMasters as one of the founding members.

Lin Van Gelder
Anna Ziss-Patton

Love of Storytelling

Anna Ziss-Patton/Charter Member
My earliest, best memories of my father are of his stories. Every night before I went to sleep, he would read to me from old, hardcover books that featured classic, detailed illustrations. No watered down, picture book stories, he chose original Grimm’s and Hans Christian Anderson stories— scary and thrilling and oh so spellbinding!

Living the Dream

Walt Grassl/Charter Member
They say never let the facts get in the way of a good story. But what if the facts make it a good story?
On Wed, Mar 20, shortly before 10 PM, I received an email from Miyo, asking me to contribute to this newsletter. Where was I? At a writers workshop conducted by “We Make Movies.” Coincidence? I think not.

Walt Grassl
Jon Caplan

Telling Stories at Work

Jon Caplan/Charter Member
A.P. Møller-Maersk, commonly known as Maersk, is the world’s largest shipping company. On June 27, 2017 company computers started rebooting spontaneously. Nobody knew what was happening but within minutes the problem spread around the world – taking out more than 50,000 computers – and shutting down the company.

How and Why I Found StoryMasters

Janine Burke
To make a long story short – I needed MORE – more than the regular Toastmasters meetings could provide. After 10 solid years in Toastmasters, I had done ALL THE MANUALS many times. I was getting tired of composing the same old speeches. That is when I was invited to join Story Masters and I have not looked back since.

Janine Burke
Jacki Williams-Jones

My Path to StoryMasters

Jacki Williams-Jones
I first heard about StoryMasters when I was their Area Director in 2015. The first time I stepped into Tina Tomiyama’s house, I could feel the friendly vibes of everyone present. I noticed that the format of the club was different, which allowed for more speakers, plus the feedback that everyone gave, not just the evaluators.

Confessions of a StoryMaster

Mallery McMurtrey
Raise your hand if you joined Toastmasters to become more confident presenting. Me, me, me . . . that was and still is my goal. When my body took over and started trembling during my first speech, I was shocked and felt betrayed. What was happening?!

Mallery McMurtrey

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