I always knew I was destined for some kind of public speaking. For a long time, I had a vision of speaking in front of large groups of people. Mostly, I knew my life experience, my story, had an important message. I knew I could reach a lot of people and hopefully make a difference in their choices and their lives. I had the why, I just could not connect to the how.
Until I heard of Toastmasters.
I joined my local daytime club, Kawana Waters back in May 2015.
Over three years I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I put my hand up to speak outside of the club promoting Toastmasters and fell flat on my face. I crumbled under the pressure. Still, I picked myself and threw myself out there again. I grew so much more confident every single time. And before I knew it I was preparing for my first professional role.
I had been asked by a friend if I could put together a presentation on communication to assist a group of young people to acquire some knowledge or skill on how to prepare and behave in a job interview. Most of these kids had not had any positive role models. They had been kicked out of school. Some were in the program on court orders. Some were in the care of the state and In and out of juvenile detention. They lacked so much that most kids take for granted. Some had very little hope of acquiring professional communication and social skills without this program.
That’s when I came up with “Penny’s 3 C’s” or “Choosing to Communicate Confidently with Penny”.
I break it down into 3 elements. Choices, communication and confidence. I learned that these were the elements of my success and why not share them?
During my sessions with these teens, I try to reach them on their level. I share my story and give them hope that they too can have a bright future even if life didn’t deal them a fair hand. The Teens Take Control program is dedicating to helping these teens create a better life with better choices.  I was so honoured to be a part of it. Which is why I had no hesitations in accepting an ongoing role for my presentation in their program.  I’ll admit, some groups are tougher than others but when they start responding to me and I see I have their respect, I know my message is received.
I am still developing my skills as a speaker. But I know that I have found my calling. I will continue to reach out to these kids. Even if my story saved one from the path they were headed down, it would be well worth it.
There is still a lot for me to do. This is not the end but just the beginning of my career shining brightly.
I dream big so watch this space!
Penny Thomasson
President Kawana Waters Toastmasters Club