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May 2024
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Member Achievements

Toastmasters conquer personal and professional goals.

Sandy Yong

Sandy Yong

Naturopathic Toastmasters • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Paving the Way for Financial Literacy

I graduated from university in 2009, during the recession in Canada. I started saving my hard-earned money and purchased high-fee, high-risk mutual funds. It wasn’t long before I lost a few thousand dollars. Watching my money disappear frustrated me and I decided to learn how to manage my finances myself.

I spent the past decade reading dozens of personal finance books and have become a self-directed financial and real estate investor. The knowledge I gained from those personal finance books gave me the potential to teach others to become financially independent. I decided to write a book, The Money Master, which is scheduled for publication in June 2019. It covers three pillars to investing: finance, real estate and entrepreneurship. In addition, I am honored to partner with a mental health awareness organization to support mental health research and families who have been impacted. A percentage of the proceeds for each book sold will be donated to the organization.

My vision is to make people feel comfortable having conversations about money and mental health since they can be touchy subjects that affect our daily lives. As a proud Chinese-Canadian author, investor and speaker, I am dedicated to helping women’s organizations through fundraising and empowering young professionals to become financially secure.

I am fortunate to have been part of Toastmasters for the past three years and now speak at conferences and workshops about financial literacy. Blending my talents of writing and speaking has allowed me to share my message of financial security with the world.

Abishek P in white shirt and blue suspenders poses

Abishek P

Coimbatore Toastmasters Club • Coimbatore, India

50 Speeches in 50 Days

In one of his speeches, Tony Robbins, an American author and life coach, mentioned he gave speeches three times a day. The idea of giving 21 speeches a week grabbed my attention and I firmly held on. Inspired by Robbins, I challenged myself to give 50 speeches in 50 days. I worked out a plan to attend a club meeting every day of the week and not just attend but speak. I like traveling and making new friends and this complemented my goal well. Using the “Find A Club” tool on the Toastmasters website, I was able to visit 14 clubs and I made friends at each meeting. I expanded my network of contacts and in the process explored my authentic self.

Ultimately, I gave 50 speeches in 87 days, but truly benefited from this challenge. I can see the change in myself. As a child, a teacher told me my English was terrible, and that stuck with me. This challenge helped me overcome the insecurities that moment created. I was an introvert and now consider myself an extrovert. I can strike up a conversation with a stranger effortlessly and develop a strong bond in no time. I feel confident in my English, which I hadn’t before. Public speaking used to be one of my biggest fears and now it is one of my strengths. The support I’ve received from my new friends has lifted my confidence and instilled renewed faith in the process of self-discovery and personal improvement.

Kelly Russell sitting on chair and smiling

Kelly Russell

Toastmasters X-L • Ventura, California, U.S.

Crafting and Delivering a Captivating Eulogy

When I got the call that my beloved grandfather passed away, my first thought was, I’m speaking at his funeral. This didn’t enter my mind with trepidation, but with resolve and a twinge of excitement. I was confident I could honor my grandfather with clarity and poise, even if it were through tears. My two years in Toastmasters helped me craft a eulogy that captured the essence of my grandfather—a man who spent his life mentoring hundreds of young couples and families in his community.

There were 400 people in the audience—standing room only. When I reached the podium, I paused, took it all in, took a deep breath and began speaking. I didn’t even get through my introduction before tears pricked my eyes, but I kept going. I engaged my audience with compelling storytelling and well-placed humor; we laughed through our tears. I used gestures, pauses and voice inflection to drive home certain points. I was even able to inspire the audience with a strong call-to-action in my conclusion. Since my grandfather invested in so many people, I encouraged the audience to carry on his legacy.

A stream of people came up to me at the reception with tears in their eyes, thanking me for putting into words what they felt about my grandfather and his life. I even got a call from someone in the audience offering me a job. It was flattering.

Howard Hendricks says, “Experience doesn’t make you better. Only evaluated experience makes you better.” At the time, I was new in my role as president of Toastmasters X-L in Ventura, California. I began my term by thanking my club for all their feedback over the last two years. Toastmasters is the reason I was able to honor my grandfather with clarity, poise and confidence.

Jessica Chai Pei Shan gestures onstage while giving a speech

Jessica Chai Pei Shan

Money Mastery (Singapore) Toastmasters Club • Singapore, Singapore

Scaling New Heights

In 2014, I was runner-up in the Toastmasters International District 80 Humorous Speech Contest and the youngest female in Singapore’s history to achieve this milestone. I shared a lesson that transformed my failures into an uplifting and inspiring story for others. I am passionate about speaking confidently and found my calling in motivating others through my Toastmasters experience.

Toastmasters sparked my aspirations to become a motivational speaker. I was invited on international cruises sailing across Japan, Shanghai, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore to deliver talks in English and Mandarin to audiences of 800. With my practice at Toastmasters, I learned how to curate and deliver entertaining talks to make the audience laugh.

My cruise experiences led to more speaking opportunities, and the spirit of volunteerism at Toastmasters inspired me to give my time and talent to serve the special needs community. I volunteered with the Special Olympics Asia Pacific to train regional athlete leaders in public speaking so they can speak with ease on live media interviews.

These empowering experiences enabled me to follow my dreams into a new and fulfilling career. I believe the confidence one can gain from speaking can overflow to all areas of life to build resilience, strength and tenacity. 


Do you have a Toastmasters success story you’d like to share about yourself or another member? Write it in 300 words or fewer and email it to with a high-resolution photo.


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