What is the name of your winning speech, and can you share a brief recap of the speech content?

The speech title is “Ignore the Suit.” It opens with a look at our attitudes towards our own aging, how some people deny it and others embrace it. Looking in the mirror becomes frustrating because it is not the person we are and expect to see. In reality, we are a soul wearing a meat suit, and if the spark inside of us shines brightly enough, no one will care what suit we are wearing. Although being healthy and clean is important, instead of obsessing about the suit, we should ignore it and focus on the person wearing it. That applies to any imperfection we see in the mirror.

What’s the name of your home club and how long have you been a Toastmasters member?

In this contest I am representing Shreveport Club, though I just moved to the area from Los Angeles, where I am still an online member of Sundays by the Sea Toastmasters. I have been a member for 26 tears.

What do you like most about participating in Toastmasters?

The social aspects. It is my family – my actual parents are gone, my brothers are spread out with their families, and we rarely communicate, since we are so busy. Beyond that, I enjoy improving my communication skills and sweating out the adrenaline rush of speech contests.

To what do you attribute your winning speech performance?

The combination of humor and a subject that resonates with the audience is important. I see public speaking as an art form. I feel it’s important to take the listener on a journey from point A to point B, and they identify with the speaker if they also appear to be taking that journey, making the realization they want the audience to have.

What advice would you give to other aspiring competitors?

This is an art form, not a science. Don’t follow a formula – use your own creativity to craft something interesting that gives a message. Illustrate the emotions you want them to have – the journey you want them to go on – using your voice, body, and all the tools at your disposal.

What do you do in your professional life away from Toastmasters?

I work in the film industry as an editor and post-production supervisor, though recently I have been teaching film production at a university.