Odette building
Odette Building

Odette Toastmasters club recognized for Newcomers’ Speechcraft program

The Odette School of Business’ Toastmasters club was selected by Women's Enterprise Skills Training (WEST) of Windsor as the recipient of their 2014 Journey Toward Success Community Award. This award was created by WEST to recognize and honour community partners who have demonstrated a commitment to WEST and its participants by helping women on their journeys to success. Odette Toastmasters were selected by a nomination committee made up of representatives of the WEST Board of Directors and staff.

This past fall, the Odette School of Business Toastmasters held an eight-week public speaking program for WEST of Windsor. The Public Speaking Skills for Newcomers’ Speechcraft program, was aimed at breaking down language barriers that prevent new immigrants from achieving economic mobility and social inclusion.

Ron McKenzie coordinated this program, enlisting many Toastmasters members from the Odette School of Business' Toastmasters club and surrounding clubs to fill various roles in the program. The Community Connections Counsellor at WEST, Dolor Torres, was instrumental to the success of the program.

The Speechcraft program taught participants how to improve their communication and leadership skills, and gave them the confidence that comes with being a competent speaker. The setting made it easier for the members to speak and meet people since there was strong emphasis on supporting each other, providing mutually positive feedback and making everyone feel welcome. The success of this program can be seen in the results – four participants were able to secure jobs (in part) as a result of to the confidence they found through the help and support of this program.
McKenzie accepted the award at WEST’s International Women’s Day Gala 2014, held on Saturday, March 8 at Caesars Windsor. As Ron accepted the award he said, “What has amazed me through this program has been the courage that the women of WEST demonstrated. We all know how scary public speaking can be. To give a speech in a foreign language and in a foreign country must be terrifying; yet they all did it. Overall I just love what WEST is doing. It’s like giving these women a big hug and saying ‘Welcome to Canada!’”