Elizabeth Shedd


Elizabeth Shedd is an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) candidate set to graduate in December. She spent some time in Ireland and France, had a small chocolate company with two friends, sold books at an indie bookstore, and is now an immigration advisor at Cornell, helping to make sure the several-thousand visitors (students and employees) in Ithaca get the help they need. Through work, study and travel, Elizabeth has fed her passion for understanding different cultures, navigating complicated bureaucracies, and helping people through the most difficult and stressful times in their lives. She joined Toastmasters to improve her presentation, listening, and feedback, and is happy to have found a supportive group to practice these and other skills.

Chris Lastovicka

Immediate Past President
VP Membership, VP Public Relations

Chris Lastovicka (they/them) is a Digital Platform and Strategy Manager at Cornell Engineering. They are also working on an M.S. in Information Science (Information Management and Technology) at University at Albany’s College of Homeland Security, Emergency Preparedness, and Cybersecurity. Chris also earned a B.Mus. in Composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Chris has given several workshops on public speaking including at the New York Celebration of Women in Computing (ACM) Conference. the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, and the State University of New York at Albany State of Grace: Celebration of Women in STEAM conference. Chris enjoys reading, meditating, and cooking, and has a sweet cat named Ansel.

Denise Ward

VP Education

Denise joined Big Red Toastmasters within weeks of starting at Cornell in 2013. She has held executive roles during her membership including President three times. She is always looking to improve her skills for advancement. She hailed here from Long Island, NY 11 years ago. She attended Ithaca College as an undergrad and was familiar with the area. She lives with her husband, two kids in high school and a dog named Maggie.

Joyce G. Kabui


Joyce Kabui, Cornell University MPS ’22 Global Development, is an international development practitioner with 10+ years’ Africa-wide experience. She has vast experience in strategic and behavior change communication, policy, public affairs, and partnership building, influencing and movement building, impact reporting, campaigns, advocacy, and team management.

She is an effective communicator with proven cross-sector knowledge in energy, healthcare access, governance, inequality, food security and livelihoods, gender, community resilience, and education aimed at achieving better economic outcomes and improved quality of life. Joyce was previously supporting the USAID funded Power Africa East Africa Energy Program under the primary contractor RTI International. She also worked with Oxfam International as a Media and Communications Advisor for the Kenya office.

Ms. Kabui is a recipient of the Joint Japan World Bank Graduate Scholarship Program (JJWBGSP.) Joyce also holds a MA in digital communication from United States International University (USIU) Africa and a BA in Communication from Daystar University, Kenya.

Karen Weiss


Karen Weiss (she/her) serves as the Vice President of Membership and Treasurer. She is a Major Gift Officer on Cornell’s Alumni Affairs and Development team. She is based in Miami, Florida, where she takes delight in noting the daily temperatures from November to April with her colleagues, and bike riding to the beach with her daughter.

Tewodros Abera

Sergeant at Arms

Bio coming soon…