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March 18, 2014
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Empire Toastmasters celebrate 25 years

Empire Toastmasters Club celebrated its 25-year anniversary on March 14 with a luncheon party catered by Summer Thyme’s Bakery.

More than 40 people attended the celebration, which was held at the Nevada County Contractors’ Association. Karen Chileski, the Empire Club’s founder, was the keynote speaker.

Chileski spoke about the club’s history and about how some members kept the club viable for 25 years. Ron Egenes and Diana Carolan also spoke, telling of their experiences on how Toastmasters has improved their communication and speaking skills.

Over the years, Empire Toastmasters has not only helped members learn communication skills, but has equipped members with leadership abilities.

Because of the leadership training, many of the Empire members have made a difference in the community.

Jerri Glover, president of Empire Toastmasters, is also the chairwoman of the Ambassador Committee and chair-elect for the board of directors of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, as well as a local business owner.

“Toastmasters has helped me become a more effective leader of my personal business and my volunteer positions with the Chamber of Commerce,” Glover said.

“I have been able to communicate more effectively and see how I can improve my organization and leadership by focusing those skills, even on the most seemingly menial tasks. For instance, when leading a committee meeting that has almost 30 people in attendance, I am able to guide the members through the meeting topics in one hour. This keeps the members focused, as well as, honors their time by making sure things start and end on time.

“The development of my extemporaneous speaking and listening skills through Toastmasters training has also helped me in responding to contentious issues on the fly, as well as participating in radio interviews relating to my business and the Chamber,” she added. “Overall, Toastmasters has been one of the single best investments I have ever made in myself, my business and my efforts with the Chamber. I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to increase business, improve their standing in a company or become a more effective volunteer for any organization.”

Paul Dessau, a member since 2008, has also become a leader as section chair for the Sacramento Sierra Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Pioneer Arts Spring Show chairperson.

Dessau’s Toastmasters experience has allowed him to assist with leadership positions such as presiding over board meetings, staffing committees, updating bylaws and other numerous services.

Dessau is Empire’s newest member to receive the highest accolade in Toastmasters of the Distinguished Toastmaster Award.

Sarah McTighe, vice president of public relations for Empire Toastmasters, became a member in 1993. She joined the club to advance her communication skills as she was doing public speaking as part of her job. She continued her membership due to the leadership component of Toastmasters.

“Due to my training in Toastmasters, I was able to coordinate financial classes at Twin Cities Church in 2005,” she said. “The class started with 24 people, but grew to 150 people in two years. I had to recruit new leaders for 10 classes to serve these community families. I not only had the confidence to speak in front of audiences, but I was able to train group leaders and apprentices.

“The financial class changed many families’ lives in allowing them to eliminate debt and build savings. Although I only coordinated the classes for two years, Twin Cities Church still offers the class that teaches families to manage their personal finances. Because of my leadership experience with the financial classes, I was able to become a financial coach and start my own business. I believe none of this would have ever happened if I hadn’t joined Toastmasters.”

Empire Club meets from noon to 1:30 p.m. Fridays at the Holbrooke restaurant in downtown Grass Valley. Anyone interested in attending can show up, call Sarah at 530-432-6861 or go to

“Overall, Toastmasters has been one of the single best investments I have ever made in myself, my business and my efforts with the Chamber.”
Jerri Glover
president of Empire Toastmasters

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The Union Updated Mar 18, 2014 11:38PM Published Mar 18, 2014 11:38PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.