Back in January 2013, when I joined Park City Toastmasters to help me with speaking in public, I had no idea where this journey would lead me. Not only did I discover a group of people sharing a common goal, I also found new friends and great mentors, in an environment that supported my growth like no other.
As I participated in the weekly meetings, I discovered the value of peer reviews wisely designed to educate and motivate. I grew in confidence with every evaluation. With the support of my mentors, I took on roles within and outside of our club that I wouldn’t have considered on my own.
The results: semi-finalist in the Global Health & Innovation Conference at Yale University; a TEDx Talk (Salt Lake City) about teeth that attracts thousands of viewers and fans from around the world; a Distinguished Toastmaster Award.
Today, I get paid to speak. Quite an accomplishment for a kid who was afraid of answering the phone well into her teen years and always uncomfortable speaking in public.
In paving the road to becoming a sought after Keynote Speaker, I prepared, rehearsed, and delivered dozens of speeches, all of them peer-reviewed by my fellow Toastmasters. The members of Park City Toastmasters supported every moment of my journey as I repeatedly presented in front of our club. After each presentation, love notes filled with purposeful comments, guided me in honing each speech and video. Meeting over coffee with mentors Julio Garreaud, Stacy Dymalski, and Jon Henry, boosted my confidence as they pointed to ways of weaving story and humor into my rather clinical speeches. Priceless.
I know now that great communication skills are fundamental in reaching audiences, in influencing people, and sharing important messages. I also know that there is a gap in communication that desperately needs to be filled: it’s the gap between science and entertainment, between boring and fluff. Along my journey with Park City Toastmasters, I have learned how to connect an audience to a pivotal experience with stories. Stories that matter.
Toastmasters International Mission Is: We empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Park City Toastmasters embodies this statement. Not only does the club create a safe space for every member to stretch their comfort zone as communicator and leader, the club pulls on the stretch, expanding the comfort zone beyond what I could have ever imagined. That is priceless!
Giving back to a Club that has given me so much, I have now embraced the role of Mentor, supporting other members’ journey in their reach for excellence in leadership and communication. I also serve as Mentor to the PCCAPS (Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies) students. I relish every moment of this new role as I continue on my own journey alongside other inspiring Toastmasters.
*Updated December 2020