The Thunderbird Toastmasters

Sneha Pujani

Sneha Pujani

Staff Writer

This is part of Das Tor’s ongoing series, “Club Spotlight,” in which different Thunderbird clubs describe their mission, goals, and why students should consider joining their group.

Thunderbird Toastmasters bring the best of two global institutes. Thunderbird brings an amazing array of students from all over the world, and Toastmasters provides structure that facilitates a scintillating exchange of ideas. Let me introduce the fun community of Tbird Toastmasters by answering four basic questions and officially announcing our new leadership team. 

  • What is Toastmasters International (TI)?

TI is an educational non-profit that has over 350,000 members all over the world. The meetings are designed to promote communication, public speaking, and leadership skills. TI was founded in 1924 in California and has since then spread all over the world! Each meeting has a coach that ensures members progress in their journey. A give and take of positive, constructive feedback is a core principle of the meetings, which encourage everyone to feel comfortable to speak up.  TI has local, regional, national, and international championship contests that challenge members to go beyond their comfort zones while meeting people from all over the world.

  • What does a Tbird Toastmasters meeting look like?

Much like everything else, Tbirds add their own spin to things. Similar to TI, our meetings last anything between 30-60 minutes with an enthusiastic group that engages in fun conversation points. We have table-topic speaking contests with a crowd favorite being crowned winner, and we have prepared speeches and feedback. We count the ahhs and umms, the likes, and other filler words. What is different is that this is a multinational, multicultural group in an informal setting that allows us to learn the nuances of cross-cultural communications. 

The Mission statement of Toastmasters captures our vibe perfectly. It goes like this:

 ‘We 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.” 

  • What is in it for me? 

Even the native speakers have a plethora of ‘likes’ and ‘so’ in their speeches. Once you have these counted for you, you will realize that improving your speech is a matter of practice, and that is what our club provides you with!  For many of us, English is a second language. This brings in a lot of hang-ups and issues, which have one simple solution: a safe space for you to practice and gain confidence. And lastly, the topics of conversation introduce you to the rich life stories of your fellow students. COVID-19 has made our world disconnected, and this is one club that will help you get to know your fellow Tbirds and alumni! 

  • Do I have to pay for it?

Yes, the organized speeches are only available to our paid members. This should not stop you from attending the meeting and participating in the free activities that will introduce you to Toastmasters. The fee is $45 for six months, with a $20 fee for first-time registration. Our generous alumni have made contributions to cover the fees for few deserving and dedicated members. 

When the pandemic hit, our meetings moved to the Zoomland, much like everything else in the world. Starting Spring 2020 until today, our club has met every week, even through the summer! Engaging the student community (Tbirds and ASU) along with the alumni, the sessions were a delightful distraction from the chaos caused by COVID-19. We became a community that shared our lives as we polished our public speaking skills.

Our incoming leadership team that will continue the grand tradition is as follows:

President: Camella Bazemore

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/camellabazemore/

 

VP of Education: Frederico Carvalho 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fredccarvalho/

 

VP of PR: Andrea Awuah 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrea-awuah/ 

 

VP Membership and Treasurer: Gulshan Agarwal

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agrawalgulshan/

 

Secretary: Tracy Pokua Tenkorang 

tracy

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracy-tenkorang/

This is an enthusiastic group of leaders who come from different parts of the world, bringing their experience and stories to the table. We are proud to have them officially take over the meetings and infuse their magic into these get-togethers!

Feel like getting to know some amazing people while working on an essential life skill? Join one of our weekly meetings! Did I mention we meet every week?! Join us on Wednesdays, 1:30 p.m. AZ time at https://asu.zoom.us/j/82411618918

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