As you know, I am a passionate advocate of utilizing biblical principles and Christian faith as a guide for success in my life. Toastmasters has been a very important part of my personal and public life and I wanted to share an article that shows so clearly just how amazing and important speech, communication and community are.
In Today’s Time of Despair, Fear, and Economic Uncertainty Two Women Offer Free Career-Building Workshops: “Pursuing Your Professional Dreams”
As the saying goes, it’s takes two to tango. How did she know? A year ago, Ruth Robbins, a noted career management consultant in Manhattan and a certified career coach, was conducting a weekend career workshop at the Riverside Church. Only 6 people were in attendance, so she thought to herself, we’re in the midst of an economic crisis, I’m offering this workshop for free, and where are all the people?
As the workshop progressed, she overheard a colleague, talking about a new, non-profit group that had just formed called TORCH (Toastmasters of Riverside Church). Immediately, Ruth asked to be put in touch with one of the founder’s of TORCH, Theodore Henderson, and learned that four times as many people attended TORCH on a weekly basis, as had shown up at the weekend career workshops. Could a partnership with Toastmasters be the key?
Theodore Henderson listened to Ruth’s pitch and agreed that a series of career workshops would bring value to the non-profit TORCH community. TORCH facilitates the development of communication and leadership skills. TORCH agreed to host the workshop series.
Ruth designed a workshop series, especially for this group, using the proven approach to developing a successful and fulfilling career strategy, developed by The Five O’Clock Club (a national career coaching group, with strong community service commitment). Ruth took this community service commitment a step further by offering a one time pro bono workshop series of fun, high impact meetings, covering assessment, positioning, resume tips and secrets to effective networking.
Here we are a year later, we’re doing the tango. With attendance so high, Ruth asked, Michele Wood, Executive coach and business consultant in Westchester County, to partner with her on the topic “selling yourself to your target market”, a discussion which involves appropriately introducing yourself and identifying the most appropriate opportunities to pursue. Michele is a member of the Riverside Church who is also affiliated with The Five O’Clock Club.
As the sessions progressed, a greater sense of community emerged among the participants. The first phase was a sense of hope and camaraderie. One of the participants reported, following session number two, that she got a small job as a result of positioning herself better, and feeling that she had a brighter future and with more viable possibilities. The next phase was one of excitement, as participants began to see steps that they could take to reach their professional dreams. During this phase, one of the participants realized her own passion for coaching and is now looking at pursuing that as a career.
In the final phase, people were experiencing the value of career coaching and exploring ideas to continue weekly sessions. We look forward to partnering on this once again as part of our philanthropic plan. As a result of this partnership and these sessions, a mutually supportive community is emerging in this time of despair and economic uncertainty and fear.
Written by Michele D. Wood
Edited by Luvon Roberson