Barbara Kondilis

Member Spotlight: Growing Toastmasters in Greece

Barbara Kondilis, ACG, ALB

Journey began April 2001

My Club

HAU Athens Toastmasters Club
Club Number:
Athens, Greece, District: U
Meeting Time:
2nd & 4th Wednesday 7:00 pm

“Practice does make perfect, so I have gotten better at structuring speeches and I’m getting the audience more involved with difficult topics.”

Journey Highlights:

  • Achieving the Advanced Communicator Gold and the Advanced Leader Bronze.
  • Serving in various officer roles including more recently as area secretary.
  • Currently working on the High Performance Leadership program and earning my DTM.

Having spent time in hospitals as a young patient, and later working in mental health and health care settings, I yearned to learn more about public health and social work, which I integrated into my graduate studies at Boston University.

My first exposure to Toastmasters came in Georgia while training for my job at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the time, I had been videotaped for training, and when I saw myself on camera for the first time, the result left a lot to be desired. Because of the enthusiasm I felt during those first few club meetings I visited, I joined the Providence Toastmasters when I transferred to Rhode Island to work for the Department of Health.

In 2004, right after the Olympics, I moved to Athens, Greece, for my profession. I had many positive experiences as a member of a club in the U. S., so I founded the HAU Athens Toastmasters club, the first Toastmasters club in Greece. My employer, Hellenic American College/Hellenic American University, collaborates with the Hellenic American Union (HAU) in Athens, and the leadership staff there was very supportive of my idea to start a corporate club. With the help of several key members and mentors like Dennis Fokas, DTM (who has since passed away), we expanded the number of clubs and we now have almost nine (some are in the process of being chartered), and will soon be joining a European district.

My job requires me to present research related to psychology, public health and applied linguistics at conferences, and I’ve been invited to schools as a consultant to help structure training workshops for various social science or public health-related projects. I also work one-on-one with individuals who want to improve their presentation skills, primarily in English. Practice does make perfect, so I have gotten better at structuring speeches and I’m getting the audience more involved with difficult topics such as bullying prevention, working with student challenges, volunteerism and more.