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Changing Perspective My Personal Story

Here's how I changed my perspective—and changed my life! Toastmasters has given me a different perspective on how things can be rather than how I think they are. This has been a sea change for me.

I spent 20 years in the Submarine Service. Submarine Service is a largely procedural and process-driven environment. As submariners, we were creative and curious but always within the boundaries of keeping everyone safe.

When I first became a club officer in 2016, the person leaving the role gave me 20 minutes to learn the ropes while she went off the grid for five weeks. Every role I commit to, I take seriously. While I knew that people in my club would support me, I also believe if it is to be, it’s up to me. So instead of signing up for one club officer training, I signed up for five training sessions, thinking that hearing five different approaches would give me well-rounded knowledge. It did.

At my first District conference, I attended a breakout session with Gina Grahame. Gina Grahame won our District Conference and made it all the way to the World Championship of Public Speaking. Her life story made anything I have dealt with in my life seem like a walk in the park. She told us about the pain she endured until she found the strength to follow her truth. After hearing her story, I was inspired to find the strength to overcome the emotional pain that had held me back for many years. It also dawned on me that Toastmasters could be a powerful platform for self-healing, and I went after it.

That one session changed my life. It made me realize there will always be others who have traveled a more difficult road than me. Thank you, Gina. You gave me the courage to finally face specific experiences that have haunted me throughout my life. Your session also made me realize what Toastmasters represents and the power of what it can do to improve one’s life. After that session, I decided to go all out and make Toastmasters a defining part of my life.

I belong to six Toastmasters clubs—Plane Talk, Evening Stars (Advanced Club), San Francisco Downtown, Lightning Luminaries, Toastmasters Leadership Club, and Laughlovers. I joined Downtown and Lightning Luminaries after serving as their club coach. I enjoy each club for the unique character each embodies.

I’ve served as Vice President of Education 5 times (5 different clubs) and President of four. On the District level, I’ve been a Pathways Guide, Logistics Manager, Area E-5 Director, Division E Director., Club Growth Director, Program Quality Director, and District Director. I chose downtown San Francisco because it is much more accessible from public transportation and because it is where the greatest need is and the greatest opportunity.

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