Downtown Business Associates Toastmasters

District 49
Club 2076

Honolulu, Hawaii

John Holman

Club Members:
Shannessy Ahu-TM
Tina Bae-CC
Kaitlyn Condon-TM
Taylor Date-TM
James Donnelly-TM
Tom Eloph-TM
Judy Esaki-TM
Judy Esaki-TM
Jeff Esmond-TM
Pat Gomes-TM
Rich Halverson-CTM
Wen He-ACS, CL
John Holman-TM
Travis Ito-TM
Debra Kohn-Lee-TM
Leslie Kurisaki-TM
Dee Dee Lum-TM
Jamie Madriaga-TM
Hiroko Manuszewski-TM
Wendie McAllaster-TM
Torran Murray-TM
Sue Nakamura-TM
Jordan Nakayama-TM
Gabe Nelson-TM
Cheryl Nishita-TM
Gabriela Noriega-TM
Roberto Porro-TM
Tatiana Quezada-TM
Harvey Rackmil-CTM
Alberto Ricordi-TM
Rebecca Salwin-TM
Jessica Shimazu-TM
William Sink-TM
James Smith-CC
Katie Stula-TM
Richard Sullivan-ATM
Rebecca Weatherford-TM
Ted Ting Cheng Wen-TM
Cheryl Yeh-ATMB
Adelina Yim-TM
Hee Ra Yoo-TM
Emily Yoshimura-TM
Evelyn Young-TM
Anne-Kathrin Zehnle-TM

Members Only

Last Updated:
August 18, 2023

Downtown Business Associates Toastmasters
District 49, Club 2076

Honolulu, Hawaii


A    H  I  S  T  O  R  Y

DBA Toastmasters

Downtown Business Associates, better known as DBA Toastmasters, is one of the oldest and most active Toastmasters clubs in Hawaii history. DBA Toastmasters was originally founded on April 1, 1956. At that time, the club was called YBA Toastmasters, which stood for Young Buddhist Association. The club was known as YBA Toastmasters for over thirty years.

In 1987, YBA Toastmasters and Tamarind Park Toastmasters began meeting together. Tamarind Park Toastmasters was named after the location where the club met, Tamarind Park. At that time, both clubs each had about 6-8 members. After meeting for a few months, the clubs decided to merge and keep the older charter of YBA (1956).

When the clubs merged, the members agreed that they needed a new name for the club. Several names were considered until future club president Nelson Nakagawa proposed Downtown Business Associates, or DBA Toastmasters. This new name stuck, and it continued the abbreviated name tradition of the original YBA. The new name also was a more accurate representation of the clubs members at the time, who met in Downtown Honolulu at the American Savings Bank building.

In 1997, computer science professor and DBA member Richard Halverson created the DBA Toastmasters website at As VP of Education, Richard realized how much work it was to schedule weekly meetings. At the time, all scheduling was done manually and over the phone. This provided the motivation to automate meeting scheduling. The website also pioneered a unique scheduling and notification system, that automatically creates meeting agendas three weeks in advance and auto-assigns members to the various meeting roles.

At the time, the club was struggling to attract new members, but the website proved to be a major game changer. DBA Toastmasters began attracting guests to its weekly meetings on a regular basis, a tradition that continues to this day. When the website launched in 1997, one member commented, "But not everyone has email."

Notable members of DBA Toastmasters include:

•  Wendy McAllaster and Leslie Kurisaki, who are the club's longest serving active members who date back to the mid-1980s. Wendy is the only remaining active member from YBA Toastmasters and Leslie was originally with Tamarind Park before the clubs merged.
•  Richard Sullivan (since 1994) and James Donnelly, both of whom have served as DBA President twice.
•  Member and former club president Wen He has competed in a number of District 49 speech contests.
•  Annabel Chotzen was Hawaii Toastmaster of the Year in 1993 and coached Willie Jones to the World Championship of Public Speaking in 1998. Today she is a professional public speaker.
•  Norman Hirohata-Goto was a longtime member of YBA and later DBA Toastmasters. Norman joined Toastmasters when he was a UH student because he wanted to improve his speaking and his pidgin accent, and went on to become well known throughout District 49.
•  Former Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donohue was also a members of DBA Toastmasters. He joined the club just prior to his being named Police Chief to improve his public speaking skills.

In 2006, DBA Toastmasters celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a celebration at the exclusive Bayer Estate. The event included many members from the past and present, including several original YBA members. For DBA's 60th Anniversary in 2016, the club held a celebration at the Ward Buca di Beppo that featured awards, prizes, and Mad Lib Table Topics. For the 2019 Holiday Party, the club hosted a White Elephant Table Topics meeting, where members all brought random items from their home and wrapped them as gifts, which the unsuspecting recipient opened and had to explain why it was the best gift they had ever received.

In the 2019-2020 club year, DBA Toastmasters achieved the highest recognition in Toastmasters for the fourth year in a row, President's Distinguished Club. It is the seventh time in the past nine years the club has achieved this esteemed status.

In 2020, DBA Toastmasters began meeting virtually for the first time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club did not miss a single meeting and continues to meet weekly. Since going virtual, DBA Toastmasters has hosted guests from around the world, from as far afield as Bangladesh, Ireland, Germany, Nepal, and Thailand.

Today, DBA Toastmasters is a diverse club of business professionals who support and encourage each other on their journey to become better public speakers and leaders. It has been the meeting place of many lifelong friends, and where many excellent speeches have been shared.

DBA Toastmasters continues to meet in Downtown Honolulu every Wednesday from 12:00-1:00pm. The current meeting location details and weekly agenda can be found on our website at

If you have not had the pleasure of visiting our wonderful club, please join us!










Tentative Agendas:


Downtown Business Associates Toastmasters meets from 12:00 to 1:00 PM every Wednesday.

Due to COVID-19, all DBA Toastmasters meetings will be held virtually on Zoom until further notice. We will not be meeting in-person at our usual location.

Meetings are Wednesdays 12:00 to 1:00 PM HST
To Join a Meeting:
Zoom Meeting ID: 404 538 2021
One tap mobile: US +16699006833, 4045382021# or
Dial (669) 900-6833

How to Join DBA Toastmasters:

We welcome new members! People just like you join us all the time. We generally have about 8 to 10 new members every year.

The application process is simple.

Click to download the application form.

New member fees are calculated on the reverse side of the application. There is a new member fee of $20, membership dues which vary depending upon the month of your application, plus club dues of $5.

Bring your completed application plus your check (if this is the form of payment) to any meeting.

You will receive your new member's manual within a few weeks, and you'll be on your way!

Questions? Email Dee Dee Lum at or call (808)294-7090



Other Relevant Web Sites
District 49
International Toastmasters
DBA Toastmasters blog