The Champions Journeys
Usually, during contests most Toastmasters clubs will find themselves standing behind one member representing and carrying the mantle of the club. This year, Ebony has had the privilege to support no less than three of its members during their very own Champion’s Journey throughout the International Speech Competition.
Mohamed Benhafed – It’s not over…
Mohamed’s path includes hardships and challenges. Falling down and getting back up again. He showed that dreams do not end until you make that decision. Finishing second in the club contest would normally spell the end of his run in the competition. But after this setback, something special happened. He demonstrated the resilience that sometimes we forget to show and said “It’s not over until I win!”.
Mohamed carved his own path to victory by representing his second club and receiving the backing and the support of his friends at Ebony. The decision to not give up on the first try ended up teaching him valuable lessons for his public speaking career and brought him past the local and area contests, all the way to the Division.
Assata Mckenzie – The gift of giving
Assata no longer has anything to prove. She’s grown into a star on your tv, in your magazines, on the internet and is one of the shiniest stars of Ebony. She’s also, after all, a District champion. And so, this year, she took on the challenge of helping others better themselves as speakers. She provided expert evaluations of speeches and presentations. Assata represented Ebony in the Toastmasters Evaluation contest, where she blew people away with her insight all the way to the Division.
As she meet with Ebony’s two participants in the speech competition, she left them with a thoughtful take on the speaker’s role. “Why do you compete?” she asked. “Never forget that it’s not about the trophy you receive at the end, but about the message that you leave the audience with. That’s the biggest gift you can make when you are blessed with being a speaker.”
Ruben Bastien – Conquering a new world
Ruben left behind the comfort of his hometown and a stagnant life to challenge himself and find new opportunities to grow. On September 8, 2016, Toronto became his new home and on April 8, 2017, he was on stage representing Ebony at the District finals for the International Speech competition. His rise was meteoric but not surprising. In a mere seven months, he found a home club in Ebony, honed his skills and showed eagerness to learn and improve at every turn.
Ruben discovered what it meant for him to be part of a winning club. Prizes and accolades have nothing to do with it, he would say. The spirit of a winning club includes an unwavering support and the feeling of camaraderie between members. “I learned to be resilient and to think about the audience from my biggest rivals who became my strongest supporters because we are part of Ebony. And I became their strongest supporter in their own quest for success… because we are part of Ebony.”
Three Ebonites, three unique journeys, three champions in their own rights. And one club that unites them. What a contest season it was for the Ebony Toastmasters Club!