The Back Story
Debby credits Toastmasters, an international speaking and leadership organization, with saving her job in her early 20s. Her position with a Dallas-based publishing company required her to teach and public speak. Yikes! She would rather have solved math problems or watch all-star wrestling. Not sure why she accepted the job or probably more importantly why they hired her, she quickly realized she needed to conquer her glossophobia—no not the fear of lip gloss, but rather fear of public speaking. Its root word derives from the Greek word glossa, meaning tongue.
At any rate, Debby joined Toastmasters International, salvaging her educational trainer job where she taught fundamentals of writing, graphic design, and photography (to name a few topics) to groups of anywhere between 10-500 people. And, drum roll please…Debby not only kept her job, but was promoted the following year.
The Now Story
Thirty years later, Debby is once again active in Toastmasters International, a relevant and life-shaping organization that includes people like Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; actor and comedian Tim Allen; and Debbie Fields Rose, founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies.
Having earned the Competent Communicator level in her 20s, Debby most recently achieved Toastmasters’ highest honor of Distinguished Toastmaster, requiring she complete two speaking and leadership paths (approximately 35 presentations), as well as a combination of high performance projects and training, serve in club and district leadership roles, coach a struggling club to distinguished level, and lead various projects and workshops. Achieving Distinguished Toastmaster is quite an undertaking, commitment, and incredible honor.
Leading up to COVID Debby won her area international speech contest with “Oooo la la, Summer 1983.” In her speech, she described her experience as a foreign exchange student in France as an 18-year-old that included topless beaches and bidets, language barriers, and a whole lot of cheese, chocolate croissants and wine. Due to the coronavirus regulations however, Toastmasters cancelled all remaining speech contests that year, eliminating chances at further advancement. Oooo la la.