Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Meet Duluth Toastmasters Club 1523: Dave Boe and Randine LePage

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” --Henry Ford

This past December I decided to start attending a Toastmasters group here in Duluth. Toastmasters is an international organization dedicated to helping people not only develop their public speaking skills but also their leadership skills.

If you're one of those people who would rather die than stand in front of a group and give a speech, well, this just might be what the doctor ordered to help you overcome that inner terror.

The group I joined--Toastmasters Chapter 1523--meets on Thursday evenings at the old Central High School downtown. What I liked about this group was the informality of the photo on their website. It was unpretentious and warm. When I showed up at my first meeting I found a room full of friendly people from all walks of life and all ages. Guests are always welcome, and when I returned they even welcomed me back.

This wasn't my first Toastmasters rodeo. When I moved to Duluth in 1986 I attended a handful of meetings in a basement downtown somewhere. David Ross, who worked in some capacity at a hospital in Moose Lake was part of that group. He had an unforgettable charisma and I was not surprised when a few years later he became head of the local Chamber of Commerce. I have no doubt his Toastmasters experience contributed to his career success.

In retrospect I believe it would have helped me personally to have continued at that time.

One of my favorite parts of the weekly meetings was the Table Topics exercise. Table Topics is an opportunity to give a short impromptu speech on a topic that you have not prepared for. It happens frequently in life that you may be asked to stand and share a few remarks on behalf of your company or organization. This weekly exercise helps you become comfortable when these situations pop up.

What follows is a brief introduction to two of our members here in Club 1523. Dave Boe is Vice President Public Relations and Randine LePage is Vice President Education/Treasurer. Sometime in the near future I will introduce several others whom I've been getting to know.

Dave Boe
Dave Boe
EN: How long have you been with Toastmasters?
Dave Boe: Since last Spring

EN: What prompted you to join?
DB: Saw a flyer at a coffee house about an open house of the Duluth Club and went. Very similar to when a woman at the Depot arm-twisted me to audition for a play a couple decades ago.

EN: What have you learned?
DB: If sharing my experiences is learning, then that's what I have learned. If hearing others' experiences, I have learned.

EN: What do you do for a career?
DB: I write, edit, consult and try to keep my ex's happy.

EN: Anything else you would like to add?
DB: 1 + 1 = 2
I've written for a ton of publications over the years. Got my start doing a harmless travel piece for the Ft. Riley Post. The editor (whom I just re-connected with) loved it. I somehow made travelling in Kansas interesting. Ended up working full-time for the Division PAO. Was just down there last Fall, and poured through the Morgue. Talk about memories. Continued in Germany, with black rooms and cut and paste. Since coming back to Duluth I've worked with a number of local and niche publications, some since folded. Did, and do, a lot of PR for politicians (did 12 years with Oberstar), the Air Show, other boards, etc. I'm currently engaged in developing a wargame and editing wargame rules. I also do the occasional Op/Ed for the DNT.

Randine LePage, CC ALB LD1
Randine LePage
I have been with Toastmasters since November 2010. I joined while navigating my last career change. I'd been told about it before but finally could get it in my schedule. I've learned more than I expected about myself and interpersonal communication in all areas of my life. I still don't love presenting and speaking, but I'm more effective and more comfortable with it. I've learned to tailor my style to my needs, abilities and skills, and those of the audience for my message. There is always more to learn to make that message even more succinct!

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Build a Better You
If you're looking for a fun way to improve your communication and leadership skills, Toastmasters is a warm, supportive environment to help you develop your potential in these areas. You learn more than public speaking skills. You'll become more confident in both impromptu speaking situations and in general speechwriting.

There are several Toastmasters clubs meeting in the Twin Ports. Club 1523 meets weekly after hours on Thursdays, which is more convenient for some. Guests are always welcome to visit. There's no pressure or obligation to join. Club 1523 is a warm cross section of veterans and beginners so you'll fit right in, whatever level you're at.

Here's more information on our club:

And for more information on Toastmasters International
visit https://www.toastmasters.org/

1 comment:

Unknown said...

We at Duluth Toastmasters club, are delighted to have Ed Ennyman be a new member of our club. He is a wonderful asset and great contributor to our meetings. We are always delighted to have guests visit our club. - K. Hursh