Toastmasters is a place to practice public speaking, improve your communication and build leadership skills. It's a place to develop skills of self-empowerment. Is Toastmasters right for you? Join us as we host a demonstration meeting.
RSVP to Sabrina Boluns at SBolus@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7607.
No Longer Hiding
by Ashley Nemeth
(Copied from the Toastmasters International website.)
Before I joined Toastmasters, I was very shy around those whom I was not comfortable with—basically, anyone other than my family. I had a hard time at work and was very sensitive to anything my boss said to me. I hated going anywhere new and meeting new people.
I was always hiding a piece of me that I was embarrassed of, even though that piece was not always easy to hide. I am visually impaired. This made it awkward to meet new people because I couldn’t pick up on social cues from their facial expressions.
Shortly after joining the Indian Head Toastmasters club in 2013, I did a speech on my disability. It felt so good to have somewhere to go where I could be myself and not have to hide. I set a goal to do a speech every week and make it through all 10 projects of the Competent Communication manual.
During my journey, my vision started to deteriorate even more. Within a few months I quickly went from having fuzzy vision to not being able to see anything except for bright light. This was very hard to deal with, but with the help of Toastmasters I kept giving speeches as a way to help me cope. It made a world of difference to have that safe place to tell my story and have the support of others who never judged me.
The members of the Indian Head club continue to be there for me. When I got my first guide dog in 2014, they were some of my biggest cheerleaders. They gave me the confidence to be my own advocate. I have made a few public speaking appearances, talking about blindness and guide dogs, and have started a support group for seniors new to vision loss.
Two years ago I would have struggled to tell you my name was Ashley Nemeth.
Now I speak confidently and proudly wherever I am.