Alberni Toastmasters hands out awards

Somass Toastmasters held their annual awards last week in Alberni.

Toastmaster of the Year Chris Finlayson receives his award from with club president Shirley Maxwell

Somass Toastmasters handed out their annual awards last week, recognizing members for their dedication and success over the past year.

Awards were handed out to Rob Mooney for Most Speeches, being the Toastmaster who completed the most number of pre-planned speeches. Kathy Waddell received Rookie of the Year, and Jose-Luis Michel received Table Topics Speaker of the Year for his excellence at the club’s two-minute, impromptu speeches in which everyone at every meeting is invited to participate.

Toastmaster of the Year went to Chris Finlayson.  He has been a Toastmaster since April of 2010, and in addition to completing many of his planned speeches, he competed on behalf of the club and won and placed in speaking contests at the club, area and division level, and served as the club’s VP of public relations.

“I knew after the first meeting I went to, as a guest, that I wanted to be a part of the club,” Finlayson said.

“It’s a great group of truly supportive people who have all been there, up at the podium for the first time, and understand what it’s like, so I really appreciate it because it’s hard to find that kind of experience, and support elsewhere.”

It’s more than just a speaking club, though. Toastmasters has one the most professional and trusted leadership training programs in the world.

“Originally I thought it would just be a speaking club, but the Competent Leader Training program is so comprehensive,” Finlayson said about one of the main things that drew him to the club.

“It’s really a lot more than just speeches, but I have to admit, I do love that part of it too.”

Somass Toastmasters meets every Tuesday at 7:15 p.m. Drop-in visitors are always welcome to every meeting, and if you want more information contact Shirley Maxwell, club president, at 250-724-0976.

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