Patsy Bellah, DTM, is a member of the Lompoc Valley of Flowers Toastmasters club, in Lompoc, California. She has been a mentor to Evelyn Ballesteros, ACB, ALB, since 2006 when they both belonged to the same club, the Professional Women’s club near Los Angeles. Evelyn now works for A Window Between Worlds, a nonprofit organization based in Venice, California, where she applies her administrative and program management skills.
Evelyn, please tell us about Patsy.
Toastmasters gave Patsy the skills, confidence and motivation to become an entrepreneur. She operated real estate companies and also started a virtual assistant business. She now helps authors self-publish their work and is an author of several books on the subject.
In 2013, she received the Roy D. Graham Lifetime Achievement Award. Created by District 1, this award acknowledges those who recognize the benefits of Toastmasters and who give back to the organization through their dedicated hard work.
How has she helped you?
Patsy generously shares her time and advice, and her knowledge of Toastmasters. When I was a new member, she thoroughly explained the Toastmasters process and manuals, as well as how to perform functionary roles. She adjusts her mentoring style to meet my needs, for example, by advising me on how to proceed with a project or by collaborating with me on a topic idea. After I deliver a speech, she gives me clear, specific and candid feedback.
Patsy also provides the right amount of nudging at the appropriate times to challenge me. She helps me realize how, through leadership, I can become a more confident speaker. She supported me when I took on district conference roles. Patsy encouraged me to be club president and the decision was life-changing for me. She is always available whenever I have questions or need advice.
What is the best advice Patsy has given to you?
It’s that the Toastmasters program works if you follow it conscientiously. It opens doors that you’d never expect. One of her mottos is: “If you want to learn how to do something, volunteer to do it in Toastmasters. There will be others who will help and teach you.”
What else have you accomplished since becoming a member?
I stepped way out of my comfort zone when I participated in a panel for an education session at a district conference.
Most recently, I met with other past presidents of my club outside of regular club meetings to further build our leadership skills and promote Toastmasters in the community. One of our successes was presenting a Speechcraft program to the Freedom Writers Foundation. The group then chartered a club and I served as its co-mentor. This experience with serving the community influenced my decision to change my career path to work with nonprofits.
What is your favorite thing about Patsy?
Her enthusiasm for Toastmasters—it’s contagious!
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