Project 1 for Competent Communication – Icebreaker – 28 May 2013

As I am just getting up-to-speed on this blog, I am still looking for inspiration on subjects to write on that will be interesting enough for others to actually want to read.  I am also a new member of Toastmasters.  I joined in May and the next week they had me giving a speech.  As I am spending a lot of time on my speeches, I thought I could post them here on my blog as well.  Hope you enjoy!  For this, my first speech, I was up against an experienced speaker.  I was slated to go second.  She thought I should go first so I would not be nervous.  I told her to not worry about, I did not mind going second, but I was changed into the first slot.  After I did my speech and sat down, she said, “Great, now I have to follow that!”  “That” was not as great as she thought, but it made me feel better as I was very upset with all the “um’s, ah’s” and pauses I did not have while I was practicing.  As expected, she was much better than me and won best speaker for the night.  However, she gave me her ribbon and said that I deserved it.  I really doubt that was true, but it was a nice ego boost, so thanks Joan.  But I was already signed up as a member, so you did not have to do that!!! 🙂

As you read the following speech, remember to thrown in about half a dozen “um’s or ah’s” and picture a funny hat on your head and you will get a bit closer to the feeling of that night.  If you are wondering why “voyage” is highlighted, that was so that I remembered to use it as the word of the day.  It should also be noted that I had a large floppy hat on that had a battery powered luminaria, large cardboard crowns and other decorations in honor of Relay For Life.


Mr. Toastmaster.  Ladies and gentlemen.  My first project is the icebreaker speech where I introduce myself to you.

My name is Karyn Schumaker and I have been a member of Toastmasters for a whole week.  I am in the midst of making a career change, so if you know of anybody who is looking to hire, I would love to talk to you after the meeting.  I was born on February 27, 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Really, you might say, a woman reveling her true age?  I have no reason to lie.  As I found out recently, a site online has that exact information… along with every school I attended from kindergarten to college!  And, as I cannot figure out how to remove the information, I figured I might as well own it.  I moved to San Francisco when I was six months old, so I consider that home.  Go Niners!  I moved back to the Midwest and besides the first two weeks of kindergarten and the last semester of my senior year, my primary education was completed in Ohio and Illinois.  I am a 25 year resident of San Juan Capistrano.  My parents are both alive and still married, coming up on 49 years this summer and I have one sister who lives 1.4 miles away, so I am a second mother to my five-year-old niece and three-year-old nephew.

2013 has been quite a year for me so far.  On February 11, I found out I had to have surgery.  I was going to tell my family about it, but before I could bring it up, my parents announced my father had melanoma and was going to have surgery.  I was still waiting for the results from my tests to find out if I too was dealing with cancer, so I thought I would wait until I had those results and then tell them about my surgery.  The next day, I was informed it was not cancer.  I was going to tell the family then, but when the doctor called to tell me it was not cancer, I was busy cleaning out my office, so I had other news to share with them.  I was sacrificed by a VP to save face for something I had no hand in.  However, it did not help him much.  It did not appease the customer, and it was not a very popular stance at corporate, and he too was let go.  Little bit too late for me, but it has made me feel better!  I moved my surgery up and while I was recovering from it, I started taking classes in how to hunt for a job in today’s market.  I had worked for Sterigenics since 1991, so things are a bit different today.  I have enjoyed the challenges and I think it is really making me a much stronger person.  One of my changes was to join Toastmasters.  While I can sell ice to an Eskimo, I have issues selling myself.  If I believe in a subject, I can sell it.  Even though I believe in myself and my skills, I have issues with selling those skills as I feel like I am bragging and I have been brought up to let your actions speak louder than words.  I am hoping that being with Toastmasters will help me overcome that.  And as I stated earlier, if you happen to know anybody who is looking, I am available!

For many years, I have been a work-a-holic.  I do a lot of work with non-profits, but have not been able to do as much as I would like.  Since I recovered from surgery, I have been busier than ever.  In between my classes, networking and sending out resumes, I have also enjoyed being able to spend some more time with my non-profit groups.  On my way home last week, I was already formulating in my mind what I was going to say tonight.  What I could say or do that would show the real me?  So I decided I would wear this hat to show how I multitask.  I am head of Planning and Intelligence for the San Juan Capistrano Community Emergency Response Team or CERT for short.  As part of that, I have trained to do horse evacuations with the Large Animal Rescue Team or LART.  I even read on the internet how to drive a horse trailer and then passed the driving test in a borrowed truck and trailer.  I attained my ham radio license in February to help me with communications in case I should be called out for horse evacuations as communications in the canyons can be dicey, but I doubt they will let me out of incident command anymore.  A major supporter of LART is the Equestrian Collation of San Juan Capistrano.  Each year they hold a Kentucky Derby Party along with a hat contest.  This was one of three I made this year and a friend wore it as my niece and I already had matching tea party hats.  I did this hat as I am in my 10th year of working with the Relay for Life of San Juan Capistrano and at the kickoff meeting I saw some items on the table that I thought would make a fun hat, so I did double duty and promoted one fundraiser while at another.  I accepted the role of Online Chair for the Relay this year, so I am learning to Facebook, Tweet, Flickr and blog.  I have been a long time supporter of the military, in particular the 1/11 Marines out of Camp Pendleton.  Due to my recent availability, I have been able to do more along those lines including going down to base to prepare barracks for Bravo Battery’s return and then I went down the following week to make and serve breakfast for the single guys.  I went down again that afternoon to assist with the families.  My five-year-old-niece went with me to most of these events and is learning to be charitable while gaining lots of service hours for her Daisy patches.

So, that in a nutshell is my life at the moment, quite a voyage of new discoveries.  Again, I do not like to talk much about myself, but I could go on for hours about my not-for-profit clubs.  I have a few more groups I am involved with, but I am limited on time, so I will save those for another day.  I was recently talking with a couple other people about what we are doing to keep busy during this down time between jobs and after I explained what I was doing for a week with all my groups, the one guy turned to me and said, “You don’t need to find a job, you need to find a rich husband!”  Yes, that is my goal one day, not to find a husband, but to be able to quit working for money and just donate my time.  Until then, I will need to bring in the bucks in order to support my charities, so I am reminding you one last time….. if you know of any openings, I am available!

Again, my name is Karyn Schumaker and I am glad to be part of your group.  I look forward to your critiques of my presentation to help me become a better speaker.  Thank you fellow Toastmasters.

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