Mentor Moments – Behold a Champion

It all started on a cloudless, chilly July Monday morning. Tafadzwa, a fellow Toastmaster from a sister club called. We had both joined Toastmasters a year and a bit earlier and were both serving as Vice President Education in our respective clubs. He called to hand over a prospective member who had reached out to him. Given the drive to grow our clubs, I found his actions selfless – he felt we were better placed as a club to serve her. How prophetic and profound.

Encouraged by the trust demonstrated by Tafie and without hesitation, I arranged to meet the prospective member. When I met her, I immediately, understood. Theresa, a native Portuguese speaker was far from proficient in the queen’s language. It took me the better part of half an hour to share the details of our club and directions to our meeting venue for that evening. Needless to say, she showed up as a guest and immediately converted to full member.

Within a month, the ice was broken and as they say, the rest is history.So committed was she to Toastmasters that she attended the International Convention in Washington DC the following month and Vancouver the following year. We watched with amazement as she delivered one speech after another and each time growing in confidence. To my amazement, she took up the challenge to contest at the next club international speech contest. How brave! The following year she took up a club leadership role as Sergeant at Arms and now she is the current Executive Club secretary, and Bingo, on the 1st of April this year, she finally did it! Yes she did.

Don’t be fooled, it wasn’t a good April fool’s day prank. Teresa, put up a sterling performance against veteran speakers who have contested at the district stage. She made her case and the judges’ verdict was unanimous. This would be a tale straight from the fairy tale books, but it is real. From her contest speech, the point was made, both in word and in deed.

The enemy standing between us and our goals is within, nothing outside. Once again, the Toastmasters program has been proved, with mentorship, persistent practice, a Competent Communicator and champion is made!

Tinashe Gundidza

Executive Club Zimbabwe