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News | March 8, 2023

Women's History Month - Telling Her Story through Toastmasters International

By DCAA Staff Writer

Ms. Gloria Harrell, Administrative Assistant for the Policy and Quality Directorate, was selected as the Toastmaster of the Year for the McNamara Complex Chapter of Toastmasters International. At the suggestion of her supervisor, Ms. Harrell joined Toastmasters in 2019 to improve her communication skills and become more comfortable speaking in public. “I suffer from Glossophobia, clinical term for fear of public speaking, said Ms. Harrell. I froze at seven years old when the school auditorium's curtain came open, and I saw that sea of faces staring at me. I've been trying to vindicate that little girl ever since. I still get a lump in my throat just picturing her standing there scared and frozen stiff. “

Joining Toastmasters has done wonders in vindicating that little girl. At every Toastmaster meeting, there are several speaking contest. She would participate in the impromptu speeches where each speaker picks a topic of their choice and gives a short speech. At first, Ms. Harrell was nervous but the group was very supportive and gave her constructive feedback on her presentations. Over time she improved due to the excellent coaching of her fellow toastmasters. During this coaching, the toastmasters highlighted that Ms. Harrell’s best speeches were those where she drew upon her life experiences and told her story.

Taking the coaching to heart, Ms. Harrell began to bring more of her personal experiences into her speeches, and she started to win more often. She improved to such an extent that she was awarded the Toastmaster of the Year Award for her chapter. She thanks her fellow Toastmasters and prayer for helping her vindicate that little girl. She is still active in Toastmasters and is now the Area 12 Director for District 29 helping local chapters organize their contests.