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Toastmasters to celebrate 90th anniversary Thursday

Ninety years ago, when Toastmasters founder Dr. Ralph C. Smedley held the first meeting in the basement of a YMCA in Santa Ana, Calif., only a few people showed up.

Now, with membership exceeding 313,000 in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries, Toastmasters International continues to build on Smedley’s foundation of teaching public speaking and leadership skills.

Theresa Pierce of Granite Quarry was a member of People Growing Together Toastmasters from 2010-2012. She credits the group for building her organizational skills, confidence and helping her pay attention to detail in public speaking, thus developing her public speaking skills during her term as the Rowan-Salisbury “Teacher of the Year.”

Since joining the local Toastmasters group, Pierce says, she has been teaching public speaking through Rowan County Early College’s high school club.

“The skills that Toastmasters teaches helped improve my public speaking as a history docent at the Old Stone House and with staff-development presentations at North Carolina’s Social Studies conferences,” Pierce says. She made lifelong friends who encouraged not only her but also her students.

“I recommend Toastmasters for anyone looking to improve their communication and leadership skills,” Pierce says.

Glenda Edwards of Salisbury has been a member of Queen City Toastmasters and Ballantyne Toastmasters in Charlotte, High Country Toastmasters in Boone and People Growing Together Toastmasters in Salisbury for nine years. She credits Toastmasters with helping her become a better leader, communicator and mentor.

“Since joining Toastmasters, I have gained much more confidence in my leadership abilities,” Edwards says. “I have had the opportunity to lead Toastmasters clubs across the state, as well as organize and lead statewide project and event teams. Improving my communication skills has helped me to become a more effective listener, negotiator and delegator.

“However, my most rewarding experience in Toastmasters has been mentoring others and seeing them gain self-esteem and confidence. If you are looking to improve your leadership and communication skills, Toastmasters is the organization you need to join.”

Dr. Smedley said, “The unprepared speaker has the right to be afraid,” which is why Toastmasters teaches the art of preparation. Toastmasters clubs provide a supportive and positive learning experience in which members are empowered to develop communication and leadership skills, resulting in greater self-confidence and personal growth.

Clubs around the world will celebrate Toastmasters’ 90th anniversary with special meetings. Locally, People Growing Together Toastmasters, which meets at J. F. Hurley YMCA Thursdays at 5:45 p.m. will host an open house featuring keynote speaker and author Jeff Ireland on Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at the Rowan Chamber of Commerce.

The general public is invited to the open house and to visit a meeting and learn more about what Toastmasters has to offer. Please contact Tim Edwards at 336-225-4658 for more information or visit our website at http://peoplegrowingtogether.toastmastersclubs.org/ or our meet-up page http://www.meetup.com/http-1117255-toastmastersclubs-org/.

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