Fast Forward/Rewind July 16, 2021

Today we had a very special meeting at Sunrise Toastmasters. It was an engaging group with ten members in attendance, as well as two returning guests, Kerstin Haase, and Nereida Sutton. Our distinguished president, Kelsey Long, pointed out that today is the anniversary of the Black Lives Matter movement. The BLM movement was originally a hashtag in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of 16-year-old Trayvon Martin. As is our custom, we started the meeting with a minute of silence to contemplate the work that still needs to be done to achieve justice and equality for all.

Norris Bass served as the Toastmaster and started with a round of introductions in which each person described something that causes them to be “engaged,” which was the word of the day. Norris did an outstanding job as the master of ceremonies for today during, what turned out to be, a meeting that was both powerful and emotionally delicate .

Our first speaker, Kelsey Long, shared with the group a personal experience that touched the hearts of everyone present. In a talk that was well-crafted and eloquent, Kelsey used the story of her “idiosyncratic” journey to remind us that we should approach each other with kindness and understanding, as we do not know what turns each person’s journey may have taken. Kelsey’s evaluator, Anu Parvathaneni, echoed the sentiments of the entire group when she expressed how honored and grateful she was that Kelsey entrusted us all with her story. Kelsey’s speech, and the response of our members and guests, illuminated the safe and supportive space we create for each other to share and grow.

Karen Rhodes presented the second speech, a Level 3 Elective project from the Visionary Communication pathway. In her 2-3 minute talk title “Proof Positive,” Karen described the results of a two-week mood journaling project. Karen noted that practicing her ability to “reframe” her perspective has helped her to be generally more positive. Tim Murphy stepped in as her speech evaluator, and noted that the hard work of that project was keeping a mood journal for two weeks. He also reflected many members’ feelings that this short mini-project left us wanting more information about her journaling experience. Hopefully Karen will revisit this topic in a longer project presentation!

Savannah Murphy’s reputation as a challenging Table Topics Master preceded her, and everyone at the meeting was excited to see what questions she would throw our way. Drawing slips of paper with the names of members and guests present at the meeting, Savannah called on people to give a 1-2 minute impromptu introduction of another member of the group. Even our guests joined in, with the luck of the draw leading to Kerstin Haase’s introducing herself, and club member Summer Murphy introducing our other guest, Nereida Sutton. This exercise was an excellent practice for an important skill which we all need to master.

Angela Marsh led the evaluation portion of the meeting, and complemented everyone on the schedule for a job well done.  John Doggett gave an excellent report on the times for each speaker and the adherence to the agenda timing, and Nereida Sutton, in her first meeting role, noted that we need to pay attention to our “ums” and praised the powerful language used in Kelsey’s speech. Congratulations, Nereida, on completing your first meeting role!

Next week’s meeting will be at 7 am, July 23 EST on Zoom. The roles for that meeting are as follows:

Toastmaster: Karen
Speakers: (1) Anu, (2) Bettina
Table Topics: Kelsey
Gen. Evaluator: Savannah
Evaluators: (1) John, (2) Tim
Timer: Nereida
Grammarian: Dustin

Join us at the next Sunrise Toastmasters meeting for an engaging experience and another opportunity to grow as leaders and communicators!