Our mindful President, Kelsey Long, opened this week’s meeting with an observation that out of the 2000 people that have been United States senators, only 11 have been black. Kelsey noted some of the barriers to entry that have led to this disparity in representation for people of color. She then led us into our usual minute of silence in acknowledgment and support of the Black Lives Matter movement before turning the meeting over to this week’s Toastmaster, Amelya Black.
Amelya chose “recovery” as her word of the day, taking a strong stand on the definition “a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.” Throughout the meeting, Amelya reminded us all that normal is a setting on an appliance, and not a word that should be used to describe a person’s physical, mental or emotional health. After an illness or setback, adjustments will definitely have to be made, and Amelya encouraged us all to strive for a growing state of being rather than a return to “normal.” We had thirteen members in attendance, including returning member, Marlit Hayslett (welcome back, Marlit!). After going over the meeting roles Amelya turned the meeting over to our first speaker of the day, Kerstin Haase.
Kerstin gave a Level 3 Elective project on Connecting with Storytelling from the Presentation Mastery pathway. In her talk, “Who’s Reading the Chart?” Kerstin shared with the group her experience with trying to navigate the electronic health records system on behalf of a family member with an undiagnosed illness. As someone who also works in the patient charting industry, Kerstin was able to provide a double-sided perspective on the EHR system. She walked us through the myriad of shortcomings in the system, including the convoluted way in which information is gathered, stored and presented, and the lack of time physicians have to delve in to the records before seeing each patient. She concluded by noting that the EHR system needs to be redesigned to ease the burden on healthcare workers as well as families living in the “calm chaos” of a long-term illness. Her evaluator, Greg Sutton expressed his appreciation of her choice of topic and its relevance, as everyone has experienced frustration with the lack of continuity in the healthcare system. Greg also noted that Kerstin did a great job of drawing in her audience with a powerful introduction, and then presented her speech with a good pace and effective hand gestures.
Our second speaker, John Doggett, gave a personal talk about his experiences in college and then as a husband and father. In his talk John expressed with passion and vulnerability the hardships he and people close to him have faced, and the journey that brought them all to where they are today. John’s story was moving, and served as a perfect illustration of Amelya’s theme of the day, that recovery from trauma is a process, with the goal being growth rather than a static state of “normal.” John’s evaluator, Karen Rhodes, thanked him for sharing such a personal story and noted that those kinds of vulnerable speeches allow for the most growth as a speaker. Karen also noted that John did a great job of starting off light-hearted and then progressing to more serious topics, and wrapped it up with an appreciation for family.
Summer Murphy served as Table Topics Master, and asked participants to speak about something that helped them recover from a past illness or bad experience. Before giving their answers, each respondent was first tasked with commenting on the answer that was given before them. Everyone did an outstanding job of actively listening as well as impromptu speaking. Members acknowledged the recovery processes presented by other members and then shared their own recovery stories. The exercise gave us all an appreciation for the struggles that our friends, family and colleagues might be facing and an awareness that actively listening to their stories may be an important part of their healing.
Tim Murphy served as the General Evaluator, and provided a thorough review of the meeting, noting that each meeting transition had included a respectful acknowledgement of the previous speaker. Dave Burr was the Timer this week, and reported on times for the prepared speeches, Table Topics responses and speech evaluations. Anu Parvathaneni served as Grammarian, and noted our filler words and the Word of the Day usage.
The meeting roles for January and February have been posted online here. If you are unable to fill your role for a particular meeting, please reach out to your fellow Toastmasters who are not scheduled that day to find a replacement.
The next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting will be at 7 am, January 28 EST on Zoom.
The roles for that meeting are as follows:
Speaker 1: Norris (extended speech)
Speaker 2: N/A
Table Topics 2: Tim
Gen. Evaluator: Savannah
Speaker Evaluator 1: Anu
Speaker Evaluator 2: N/A
At our weekly Sunrise Toastmasters meetings we all support and encourage each other to make ourselves better communicators, better leaders, and better humans. Join us for a meeting and see how!