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December 2022 View PDF

Marsha Collins, ACB, ALB

By Mary Nesfield

FROM LEFT: Qais Bashir and Marsha Collins

Marsha Collins is a GIS spatial analyst for Fairfax County, Virginia. She prepares maps and graphics for presentations at public meetings. She has also worked with the Fairfax County Adult Learning Program to help people obtain their GED or improve their basic skills.

Qais Bashir is a transportation construction project manager for Fairfax County’s Capital Facilities Division. Born in Afghanistan and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he heard about Toastmasters from co-workers and company emails. A life-long stutterer, he joined the B-2 Toasters club to improve his speaking, and Marsha became his mentor.

What was it like for you to join a club?

When I was introduced to Marsha, I was so self-conscious about my stuttering that I couldn’t even say the word stutter. Marsha sensed my pain and frustration and inspired me with her wisdom, passion and enthusiasm for public speaking.

How has Marsha helped you?

She introduced me to other Toastmasters clubs, where I drew more inspiration, met new friends and was inspired to practice more, speak better and make positive changes in my life. In fact, I grew so passionate about speaking better that in June 2015, I attended the Successful Stuttering Management Program, a three-week intensive speech program in Cheney, Washington. 

What do you appreciate most about Marsha?

It is Marsha’s passion to help people. What had been a major difficulty for me turned into an opportunity. She said I would surprise myself if I remained committed to Toastmasters. I thank her and my club members for their encouragement and support. I couldn’t have imagined the improvements I’ve made over the past few years. I have truly grown and surprised myself.


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